Disclaimer: The characters and show used in this story are owned by the people that made them, except for the OC's I put in.

Sorry for the wait and thanks to those that reviewed, Fav'd and Alerted the story, so I wonder what's to come from this new chapter. A lot went on with my other stories, so enough said.

(Pokémon English)

'Pokémon Thoughts'

"Human Talk"

'Human Thoughts'

Since this includes Ash and the others more than the last chapter, here are their ages.

Ash-17

Iris- 15-16

Cilan-18

Georgia-16


Pokémon: Destiny Relic Hunters

2: New companions for the road ahead

The two Trainers were still in their position when Dragon Buster, Georgia found them, who still had that irritating grin to Iris' eye because of what things looked like to her that might have gone on before her arrival.

"Well I never saw this coming. The Unova League Champion and the Dragon Girl all alone in a forest, where who knows what might happen." She said, finding this amusing to what it insinuated.

That same insinuation made the two finally get off one another and immediately to their feet, both being quite red in the face that may put an apple to shame a little. So as Ash remained where he was while looking to the ground, Iris went up to Georgia and really gave it to her as the Future Dragon Master blew up in her face.

"And just what the heck is that supposed to mean?! Are you thinking that out of all the guys out there I chose to be with someone as childish as him?" A single finger shot at Ash without having to face him, keeping a glare on the Dragon Buster.

At the closeness Iris' face got, Georgia turns her head away to look at something else, spotting something in the girls words to make things fun. "I wasn't thinking of anything near that. Those are your thoughts, Dragon Girl, not mine. Makes me wonder what else goes on through that little brain of yours."

That said really got on Iris' nerves, making her look as if she was going to explode from the way she was looking… which she eventually did. Her red face became evident enough as it was more out of anger than embarrassment. "At least I have a brain, you stupid, so called Dragon Buster!"

That got Ash to snap out of it, immediately taking cautious steps back in case anything was to happen. Although he should at some point intervene at this moment, but should wait until things get a little worse. This should be about any minute… now.

Georgia didn't take those words kindly, her head now forward so her eyes could bore into Iris' own, the two close to being nose to nose along with their deadly gaze. "Who are you calling stupid, kid? At least I don't rely on a single Pokémon since mine are pretty much strong enough to last in a battle for more than five minutes."

Iris smirks at a recollection that came to mind that she reminded Georgia on. "Says the girl whose Beartic lost to my Dragonite."

The Dragon Buster leans in a little, where things really began to heat up between them. "This coming from a child that doesn't bother to use her weak Pokémon since she has said big, strong and not forgetting, disobedient Dragonite on her team!"

"Okay, that does it!" She yells, about to raise a clenched fist to her. This being the point where Ash came in, took her by the wrist before she tried anything violent and backed her away from Georgia after he wraps his other arm round her stomach.

"Let me go, Ash! I'm going to give that Dragon Buster a piece of my mind for what she said about my Pokémon!" She yells, trying to break free from his hold, which he held on as best he could so he could calm her down.

"Don't strain yourself. I'm sure there's not much to give!" Said Buster says loudly, a hand at the side of her mouth, not helping matters any further. This drove Iris even further to what she wanted to do to her, and made it worse for the Trainer that held her.

"Calm down, Iris! You never act like this with whatever Georgia says, so why not treat this like one of those times?" He asks, almost losing his hold on her somewhere in the process. But it seems to have worked as she became a little less angered now, though still looked fierce from the way she scowled at the amused person across from them.

Finally Iris calms down with a released sigh, knowing Ash was right. Her eyes went to the ground before she said to him quietly. "You're right, Ash. Thanks… Now can you let go of me?" Seeing as he still had his arm around her and his other hand on her wrist.

Before he did that, Ash asks her first with a brow raised. "You're not going to do anything you're going to regret later, are you?" Not going to let her go until he gets an honest and reasonable answer.

"I'm not, as long as she doesn't tempt me."

'Close enough, I guess.' He thought before he finally releases her, being watchful while she was still at a distance to grab just in case. Only she began to walk away in a huff in the direction the camp was probably in, seeing as it was the way they swung from.

As Ash looks on with a smile, glad that she held herself back, he hears Georgia ask, sounding close this time. "How can you travel with someone that can explode like that?"

He turns to find she indeed got close enough, probably while he kept an eye on his friend. None the less it was a question he answers with a smile. "She isn't really like that once you're with her long enough. Besides, I know someone who can be a little worse, especially on a bad day."

Georgia tilts her head, a question that she may as well keep to herself for a bit on how worse a person can be until she feels like asking. So what she did was shrug and say in dismissal of the matter.

"If you say so..." Then the sound of a rumbling stomach could be heard, and for once it wasn't Ash this time since both his and Georgia's eyes went to hers.

It made Georgia a little embarrassed. A hand went at the back of her head to rub to show for it. "I guess it's been a while since I last ate."

That said made Ash smile, a question to how a person could not recall the last time they had eaten came to mind. Being the nice guy that he was he asks her. "If you want you can join me, Iris and Cilan. We're having a special meal together before I head back to Kanto with Iris to train for the Elite Four Challenge. Also to show her around my home region while I'm at it."

Unfortunately, as Georgia ponders the request, Iris was not out of earshot and… "What!" Spun round and almost stomps her way back to them, obviously raised her temper back up with what she heard.

She got so up close to Ash that he had to lean back, hands up in defence, a sheepish look on his face as he may have done something wrong it would seem. "You offered her food! That means we have to take her back with us, or did you forget that part?!"

Ash nervously laughs, seeing no way to calm her from this one. He then gives an excuse and hopes for the best. "Well it is the right thing to do. Plus, you know how Cilan makes extra so there's really no trouble in putting out an extra bowl."

He peaks open a single eye to see that nothing has changed in Iris' emotion, her narrowed eyes and fists on her hips, probably prepared to strike him this time if he wasn't careful. So Ash made sure to back away to keep at least some distance, until he was a little further behind Georgia.

Who now followed his movement with arms folded beneath her chest. "Want to rethink about that someone you told me about?" A smile graced her features at how nervous the young man was, all because of one person that shouldn't be taken lightly.

Ash didn't answer the question, and Iris continues to look at him until she got tired of it, releasing a loud sigh as proof. She turns around, not making eye contact at all with anyone, before she walks off as if she hadn't a care in the world. "Fine, if you want her to come do what you want. I on the other hand am heading back to the others with or without you if you plan to take your sweet time."

Those words were rather unexpected to hear, as if she had already given up without really trying, which was why the two looked a bit surprised of the turn of events.

As Iris went off, Ash took steps forward with an outstretched arm, in hopes to assure that everything was okay. But Georgia's hand on his shoulder got him to stop and look her in the eye, the very eyes that as if spoke to him to say for him to let her be for now.

Both pair of eyes then look forward to find Iris had gotten further on ahead of them, not seeing the somewhat sad expression on her face as a part of her replayed a certain part of their argument. It made her think to herself with a serious expression, a clench fist raised in her line of sight.

'I'll prove to her that my Pokémon aren't weak, and that Dragonite can listen to me. I'll even make it a promise if I have to.' That thought in mind, she continues on her way, not looking back to the two that kept their distance from the girl.

A short time later, Cilan was humming away as the soup was already done and he was now preparing the Pokémon food. Then came a sound of aggravation of a girl that was getting closer, which made him prompt his head to look over to find Iris walking to him, not happy from the looks of it.

But Cilan left it to say with a smile at the sight of one his friends return from who knows where. "Hey there, Iris, you're just in time. Soup's ready, so… Is something wrong?" He now asks after the Dragon Village girl walks by him to the table after she heard that soup was ready.

The lack of response from her made the connoisseur confused, about to ask what was wrong until he heard Ash's voice call his name from where Iris came from. When he looked he was rather surprised to see Georgia with him.

Ash scratches the back of his head a little as Cilan looks from them to Iris and then back to them, gesturing his head over to the girl at the table in a way of asking Ash a word less question. A question he gave a similar response to by tilting it to the one with him, who raised a brow to the trainer at what they were doing.

His assumption, now confirmed to be true, made the green haired young man sigh, shaking his head at how this was going to be an interesting meal, seeing as how Ash probably brought Georgia for that possible reason. Unless there was something else behind her appearance that she might keep to herself if not asked.

After she released her Pokémon to join everyone else, plus given them their food, the humans now sat at the table where it was set with the fruit salad, a sweet berry drink to cool down from the nice, hot bowl of soup each of them had with a bread roll. Plus it was from this that Iris eventually forgot why she was so mad, until or if a certain someone says the wrong thing.

Through all this Cilan decides now to ask Georgia, who sat opposite him and next to Ash, which left Iris next to him. "So, Georgia, what brings you round these parts? Are you training your Pokémon or just passing through?"

Her eyes were closed as she breaks apart her roll and dips the small piece into the soup. "A bit of both really, since I've been almost everywhere in Unova it's kind of tricky thinking of new places. Plus I'm hoping to find an answer to this tough question I'm thinking on." She puts the piece in her mouth after she finishes her answer.

The three stare at her, which she ignores by her eyes still being closed and continuous take in's of her soup. Ash's curiosity got the better of him, since he was the one to ask before either the others. "What's the question you're trying to think on?"

She opens a single eye to glance his way, not really interested in anyone's help for this as it was none of their concern. "It's none of your business to know. Besides, it's a personal question so I really don't want anyone's help to find an answer."

Iris frowns at the lack of kindness in her words, making her almost tap her bowl with her spoon and say. "He was being nice, so there was no reason to be that way. Do you even know how to be nice to begin with?"

The question got a not so happy reaction; Georgia's hand clenched on the spoon she held for starters, her teeth shown to be clenched and eyes not long after glare into Iris' once again.

She was about to stand up and say something when Ash quickly speaks up, hopefully to avoid another argument like in the forest. "Hey, Georgia, when did you catch a Sneasel?"

Attention was now brought onto Ash, then to the mentioned Pokémon that was with Georgia's lot that hung out and ate with some of the others.

The same Dark/Ice type Pokémon that got ticked off because Dewott decided to flirt with it, that appears to be a she, which earned him to be frozen by her Ice Beam. Most that saw it had a good laugh whilst she just went back to eat as if nothing happened, being fortunate that Pikachu told Emboar to go unfreeze him. After he did that, it took one glare from Sneasel for Dewott to back away and perhaps never try it on her again.

"I was pretty much leaving Giant Chasm at the time when I met Sneasel. After I finished some training I was heading out of the forest, then I heard what sounded like a Pokémon crying out in pain so I went to check it out. When I got there I saw a few beat up Absol run away and Sneasel didn't seem impressed at the time, until she spotted me and wanted to battle."

Ash, Cilan and Iris looked at her story in their heads, Ash having to say, impressed with what he was heard. "Absol, huh? That's a tough Pokémon when trained right in both battles and contests." Recalling how Drew uses his Absol in Pokémon Contests.

Cilan's holds a finger up to point something out to them. "You also have to take into consideration that Sneasel's are part Dark and Ice type, so another Dark type may hardly leave a scratch, depending on their strength's that is. Though Bisharp would have been your best choice." He now rubs his chin at the thought.

Georgia placed her spoon down to fold her arms at what he just explained, especially to what he thought at the end. "Believe me she was, and though I had the advantage Sneasel put up a heck of a fight. We pretty much learned the hard way that she knew how to use Brick Break, which is of course a Fighting type move."

Cilan mostly understood her there, seeing as Bisharp's aren't that well with moves learned by fighter types, even those that can still learn them when not in their right element. Only Iris thought it was kind of funny, which Georgia didn't miss.

Before she could ask what was funny, Iris beat her to it with a hand over her mouth to hold in her contained laugh. "So you had the advantage and Sneasel still kicked your butt."

Ash could've sworn he heard a growl from Georgia, this time it didn't seem to be her stomach. So he holds up both hands to make sure nothing happened while they listened to the story, but the Dragon Buster still manages to speak her mind.

"And how did you know how it ended, Dragon Girl? Bisharp did her best in that battle. Even though she lost it just gave Beartic the opportunity to finish things for me to capture her in the end."

Iris gave a few claps, not at all impressed with how things pictured in her mind with the way it was said through her sarcasm. "Really nice story, I'm on the edge of my seat."

Now Georgia shot to her feet, both hands now on the table. "You will be in a second!" It was thankful that Ash got up also to bring Georgia back down by the shoulders. Cilan remained where he was, scratching his cheek at how this could turn a lot worse if something weren't sorted.

So he leans in to whisper into Iris' ear, quiet enough for the two opposite to not hear. "Can we please enjoy ourselves and not try to cause a fight in any way? I would rather this time to be at its best since I won't know when I'll see you guys again once we part at Castelia's Docks."

She knew what he meant, but it seemed he may have missed out one thing, that she points out the same way in volume. "We still have to pass Driftveil City, over the bridge to Nimbasa City, then pass Nimbasa Town and through another forest before we get to Castelia. Basically we got lots of time to spend before me and Ash leave."

It didn't help Cilan enough as he knew the destinations pretty well on how much they had left to trek through, being another reason actually on why he wanted this to go well. "I know, but…"

"Hey, can I ask you something, Cilan?" The duo's conversation was interrupted by a certain someone that thought it was okay to just intervene, which Iris was not pleased with.

"Don't you know it's impolite to cut in on people while they're having a private word?" Iris now asked, a glare aimed at the girl that went ignored along with the question.

Georgia's eyes went from them to Growlithe, who was eating its food on the ground next to its Trainer. "Well, while you two had your word I asked Ash about the cute, little Growlithe right there." Said puppy heard its name and looks up, a tilt of its head at the stare it gained from the new person. "He said that you, Cilan, caught it and that I should hear the story from you."

This made the big haired member of the group give a frown to the nervous turned trainer, who spoke in defence at her rather than the person that brought him the blame. "I didn't mean for her to ask right now!"

The connoisseur didn't think it through much since there was no harm in telling her how his capture of the Fire type went.

"It happened when we were leaving the Unova League, we had to go through Giant Chasm since our original route was closed off due to a mudslide and would take too long of a wait until it was opened again… As we passed through the forest we heard someone in pain and went to investigate, only to find Growlithe here injured from what looked to be a battle. Luckily we stocked up on Super Potions and Hyper Potions since there was no Center nearby."

Georgia nods her head, understanding the story so far, but found there was more when he continued after some of his drink was taken in. "Growlithe may have gotten treated afterwards but it needed rest, so we stayed with it over night to be sure everything was all right. I woke up a little earlier than the others the next day to find that it had gone, so I went to find it without waking the others."

Iris folds her arms to that, unpleased really with the memory that followed. "Yeah, I'm not happy at the part where you went off on your own when Pokémon could've been out looking for their breakfast."

Georgia had her spoon fill close to her mouth at the time, her eyes on Iris, looking at her up and down with a raised brow shortly after. "Who are you, his worried mother? Cause you still look and sound like a brat to me."

He feared Iris might say something, which she probably will, that will cause more to lead to an argument, so Cilan quickly continues.

"Anyway! It turned out Growlithe was in battle with another, a rival perhaps or a brother from the way they battled when I found it. Even when still hurt Growlithe did not back down, a bitter fragrance was in the air at that time between them that there was no telling where it might've led to if I did not intervene with Crustle... After that I took care of it to the best my limits could give, even without Iris and Ash helping… When Growlithe was fully healed we took it back to its pack that lived in caves in a nearby mountain, only the leader, an Arcanine, wouldn't take it back, probably because of it being weak, none of the others stood up for their comrade."

Cilan looks down to the saddened pup, obviously it was hearing the story that was being told, giving his Trainer a reason to give a comforted smile despite its eyes being downcast. What he said next though was bound to make the Fire type feel better.

"I couldn't bear to see Growlithe so upset at being abandoned, so I promised the Arcanine that I would not only take Growlithe in, but when I was done with it then it would return stronger than any member of its pack."

This heard made the Pokémon look up in happiness to Cilan's words, its happy expression being rather an overjoyed one.

Ash and Iris gave a smile at the memory, specifically the bold promise he made. Not knowing that the two looked back at the time as they departed and thought they saw a smile on the leaders face, though it could have been their imagination so they kept quiet about it.

Georgia was pretty much speech less, her mouth being slightly agape and her eyes unable to blink until the need to be. Unsure of what words to say right now, being kind of a mix right now. "That… well, I… Hmm…"

The sound of the Pokémon laughing got them to turn their heads to find most of them watching Emboar attempt to juggle a balled up Axew and Pansage. Pikachu and Stunfisk tried to get Emolga to join in, being the right shape and size, only she flat out denied it.

The entertainment going on made Growlithe finish what was left of its food so it could go and get a closer look. The sight of the fun made each of the humans smile at how much their Pokémon enjoyed to even watch, even though certain ones didn't even bother to do so.

Seeing this made the Trainers go back to their conversation, as there was one story left that Georgia may as well hear. "Since Cilan got his over with, do I have to take a guess on who caught the Deino that is unfamiliar to when I last saw you all?"

For that the Dragon Villager points to herself with a thumb, a proud smile given. "I'm the one that caught Deino. Got a problem with that?" She got out the last part at the sight of the sigh that escaped the Dragon Busters mouth, as if expecting that.

She waves her hand as if it was nothing and allows Iris to continue. "Oh, nothing, go on. I may as well hear how that Dragon got added to your sor…" Fortunately Ash became bold and clasps a hand over her mouth before the assumed words came out.

"Why don't you just tell her the story, Iris?" Cilan suggests, giving Ash some assistance in someway. Georgia glares sideways to the person that kept her mouth closed from speaking her mind, real tempted to bite down on the hand if he didn't have his glove on.

"After we got through Lacunosa Town and The Village Bridge without any trouble for once," Giving Ash a stare to his confusion, his hand no longer over Georgia's mouth. "We were on our way to Opelucid City when we came across Deino losing badly to a couple Vullaby, so I got in to stop it. Lucky for us I had some of my herbal medicine because the poor thing was poisoned during its battle... I didn't want to leave it so I told Ash and Cilan to go on without me, only they refused and stayed. It took a few days but it paid off in the end, until Deino however wanted to have a rematch with those Vullaby... In the condition it was in I knew it wouldn't last two seconds against them."

She stops mid way on the last part to look over at the Dragon type, along with the others, to find it staring at an arguing Snivy and Bisharp. Whatever the argument was about it made Snivy smirk at the Pokémon she won against at one of the Battle Club Tournaments when she was a Pawniard. From the way Bisharp held up both arms she wanted to battle, if Beartic hadn't held her back that is.

Fortunately Snivy didn't need the same restraint, but Pikachu stood ready in between just in case and Scrafty behind the Grass type should she try something.

The confusion on her Pokémon's face made Iris smile. "Since Deino was determined to fight, I decided to help train it so it would be ready, though I had to wait a bit for the injuries to heal, so in the mean time I gave some tips on how to fight properly that may work on the Vullaby. When time came to actually train I used Excadrill and Emolga to show some tactics, having Ash or Cilan as partners for more of a lesson."

The Dragon Buster took all this in, her head on a propped arm on the table, taking in what was said like the other two.

"The time came when Deino finally put all that it learned to the test after we all came across the same Vullaby by chance. Everything went fine until they decided to double team their moves, so I intervened again by having Excadrill help out to make the battle even. The two worked rather well together and I made sure Deino gave the finishing blow to both of them in the end… Afterwards, just as we left, Deino came running at me and wanted to join my team because of what we've been through."

Memories of that warm moment flooded Iris' mind that it made her happy, same goes for the others, except for one. "I liked Cilan's story better." That said made things suddenly go crash as then Georgia decided to ruin the peace.

Iris shot her a look, both hands slapped onto the table as she got to her feet. "What do you mean, you liked Cilan's story better?!" Startling the guys a little at the unexpected outburst, it even got most of the Pokémon's heads to turn.

Georgia remained in that same position as she did while listening, just lack of eye contact before she explains. "Cilan stood up and made a bold promise to an Arcanine that was a leader of a pack, while you only helped a Deino's injuries and taught it how to battle properly so it could beat a couple Vullaby. Hardly something to be impressed at if you ask me..."

"Yeah, well nobody asked for your judgement on the stories! Cilan and I were telling you of how we helped and caught new friends, not to have you judge on whose story was better."

Now Georgia shrugs her shoulders, rather smug with how things are going to rile Iris up, eyes though still not made contact with the other girls own to see the results.

Cilan tried to ease things with his hands out in a calmed motion to Iris, in an attempt to help get her to sit back down. "Now, now, let's keep the peace, you two. I'm sure we can go without any arguments like the Pokémon are doing, so let's enjoy like they are… or were doing."

That last part got all of them to look and see most eyes belonging to their Pokémon were on them thanks to Iris' outburst. So to assure them all was fine, Ash stood up to say on everyone's behalf.

"It's okay, everyone. Just go back to whatever it was you were doing, it's only Iris and Georgia being themselves."

They knew what he meant and had done as told, though Pikachu, Pansage and Axew broke from the lot to be with their trainers right now.

As Ash sat down, he didn't notice the questionable brow given to him by the Dragon Buster rather than his big haired companion. It seemed she may have wanted to ask what he meant by that, but decided not to and just think of something else to say.

Being a question for the green haired male to answer, who watched his Pansage perform some tricks, like walking on his hands to receive a short applause from Pikachu and Axew, also a smile from his Trainer.

"Hey, Cilan. Ash mentioned that he and big hair there…" Pointing to the now glaring Iris, having a spoon in her mouth at the time, which went ignored so Georgia could go on without a word in from her. "Were going to Kanto, but he missed you out. Do you have a reason for that?"

Cilan finishes his drink whilst she spoke, though listened very carefully and explains what she needed to hear. "Actually I do. You see, I received a message from Nurse Joy from the Pokémon Center in the last town, and it was from my brother Chili from the Striaton Gym. He wanted me to phone home so I did, turns out Cress got hurt during training and so they want me to return to Striaton City and help things round the Gym and restaurant while he heals."

"But the leagues are over for now, why do they need you back? The restaurant I understand, but the Gym, too?" She now asks out of curiosity, also to see how the connoisseur plans to answer this one.

"The leagues might be done, but a Gym Leader may as well use this time to get to training for both themselves and their Pokémon. When the time comes we would be ready to face any challenge that would come our way with a great taste of victory!" Looking very determined, fire burned in his eyes and his left hand was raised, shown to be clenched as he looks up to the sky.

The action got the three humans to chuckle at Cilan funny, same for the two Pokémon, Pansage being in an enthusiastic cheer for his Trainers words.

As Ash kept an eye on him, whilst he still thought it to be humorous, Georgia leans in to whisper since he was closer, getting his attention in the process. "A bit dramatic don't you think?"

"That's just Cilan for you. He tends to get this way once his mind is set on something." He responds, making sure he wasn't heard by the two opposite, mainly the person in question.

So after that it was a surprise no more fights went on during the rest of their meal. A good conversation would spur up here and there that led to some teasing on some parts, but other than that it was all well to the end. The Pokémon seemed to enjoy themselves also, although a few mishaps here and there that came close to fights between certain Pokémon, so they had to be broken up.

When all was done, the stuff cleaned away and the Pokémon returned, except of course for Pikachu and Axew, everyone was now on their way to Driftveil City. But along the way there was one question bugging them, well mostly Iris really.

"Why are you following us? Don't you have somewhere else to go with other people to bother?" She asks the redhead that was behind them, the other two not bothered to put in their own words.

Georgia rolls her eyes and looks up to avoid any eye contact like before. "Maybe I just like being around that charming personality of yours." Her sarcasm made Iris close to actually growl before she gave a real answer. "Besides, it's a free world so I can go wherever I like. I don't see a problem with that."

"I do!"

Now hands went to the back of her head, irritation crossed her features at her rivals, what sounded to be, protest. "Well tell it to somebody who would want to listen to a person with a bush sized hair style such as you."

This drove the two into a new argument that made Ash, Pikachu, Cilan and even Axew sigh, seeing as the two were at it again. It was a good thing that Ash and Cilan were at front; otherwise they would've gotten caught in the middle of it, literally.

"Do you think those two will ever give it a rest and at least try to be friendly to each other?" Ash asks to the equally felt person next to him, in hopes that a positive answer would be said.

(I'm with Ash.) Pikachu puts in in agreement, his ears being better to unfortunately catch what either were saying if the two were either further ahead or behind. It was almost a headache worth to listen to them argue like they were now.

"Sorry, Ash, but I'm a connoisseur not a fortune teller. But I do hope that Iris and Georgia would put their rivalry behind them one day and do just that." Cilan said. Both look back to see things heat up once again, making them and Pikachu release yet another sigh.

"Do you think that day could be sometime today?" Ash asks, his head facing forward so he would not have to look at the duo at least. Not even hoping for an answer for this one because he might know that it won't be one in his favour.

Fortunately their luck had come in the form of a distant explosion that was barely heard by humans, but Pikachu sure got a good hear of it a little better than them. It got everyone to turn heads, being Cilan the one to ask just to be sure he wasn't the one that heard it.

"Did you all hear that, or was that just me?"

Ash steps beside him, not liking the sound because it normally led to trouble. He said, the girls arguing now forgotten due to this, looking serious too. "I hear it too. We better go check it out. No telling what it could be."

Iris and Georgia stopped due to the far off sound, watched the two boys run off in the direction before they to did the same.

"Galvantula, use Electro Web!" The Trainer calls out, his hand pointing to the target that turned out to be a Mienshao.

The Bug/Electric type launched its attack in the air, having it expand right for its opponent, who simply leapt off the ground it stood on. Mienshao showed quite the feet it jumped at as it caught onto a trunk of a tree and its feet planted on the bark behind it.

"Now use Thunderbolt!"

Garvantula's body becomes surrounded with electricity, letting the attack launch at the Pokémon. Mienshao released its grip and pushed off the tree to avoid being hit, performing an aerial spin before it lands on its feet at a fair enough distance.

The Trainer of the dual type was in his late twenties, grey eyes, with black hair that was a mess of spikes at the front. His clothes consisted of a white buttoned, short sleeved shirt, tucked out of a pair dark grey trousers better suited for traveling, wearing a pair all black running shoes and same coloured belt. He had on a rucksack suitable for camping, a rolled up sleeping bag tied on top.

The man grinds his teeth at the second failed attack, but he didn't plan to give up there from the looks of it.

"All right, Galvantula, use Bug Buzz!"

Mienshao narrowed its eyes, finding this to be the chance it needed, though it had to be quick. As Galvantula's eyes glowed, Mienshao cups both paws at its side and starts to form a blue sphere of aura, just as the bug move was released in a sound wave.

Mienshao did the best it could to keep up the concentration through the disruptive sound, and when it was ready, it launched the sphere, clutching its head afterwards.

The Aura Sphere made contact, creating an explosion that sent the target stumbling out of the small smoke cloud. It even put a halt to the Bug Buzz.

"Galvantula, are you okay?!" He exclaims with obvious worry, quite surprised that the fighter Pokémon was still able to pull off the attack during that.

His Pokémon shook its head and stood ready to show it was still able to fight along with a response, making the Trainer smirk at how tough his friend is for enduring this much.

Before he could issue a command, Mienshao took the time to make a run for it, only escape wasn't an option after coming so far. He looks up at the trees and thought of a quick plan. "Galvantula, use String Shot to get to Mienshao through the trees!"

Doing as ordered, it took seconds going through the trees, thanks to its attack, that the bug dropped itself when it got a good distance in front of its opponent.

"Quick, Thunderbolt, right now!"

The Electric attack was fired, but Mienshao already seemed to have taken precautions, because it quickly held out both arms, eyes glowing green, summoning a green barrier around its body.

'Damn!' He thought, biting the nail of his thumb. 'It knows Protect, Better put that on the list.'

The attack struck the force field, causing no damage to either it or the one inside. Once it was down the summoner shot into the air, holding out its right arm before it glows white, being the attack Brick Break. It slams onto Galvantula's head, making it move away from the hit in a stagger.

It nearly lost balance from the move but recovered, only to feel its feet being lifted off the ground, turning out to be Mienshao surrounded by a white aura, holding it up with ease.

When Ash and the others got to them from behind the man, they found him to be surprised at what took place. One of them was about to ask what was going on until they saw the battle in progress.

Mienshao tosses Galvantula as far it could into the air, then fires an Aura Sphere that made impact. Next it jumps out of the way before its opponent crashes to the ground.

"Galvantula!" He cries out in complete concern, seeing the injuries his friend sustained, also as it struggled back to its feet.

Instead of continuing, Mienshao gave one last stare before it turns round and walks off. But the sound of the Pokémon's voice got the fighter to turn half way round, find the opponent struggle before it finally collapsed, then continues onward to leave.

Instead of calling on a different Pokémon, the Trainer made a rush to check on the one that was injured. Getting down on a knee, he was careful on where he placed his hands. "Are you okay, pal? That last one looked it might've hurt."

(I'm… fine… Just need some food, and I'll be good as new after some rest.)

Being with the dual type since it was a Joltik, the two learned to understand one another, which was why the man laughed at what it said. "How about I sort out your injuries and then you can eat. Sound better to you?"

He received no negative comeback so he took it as a yes, still not noticing the onlookers that now came up behind him. But he eventually did when it was Cilan the one that spoke, leaning in a little as he was closest. "Excuse me, but do you want some help?"

It startled the man to the point that he nearly jumps out of his skin, as he was that unaware of the small audience since he was that into the battle and now helping his friend. He turns round to see two guys, two girls, a Pikachu and an Axew.

He wasn't sure what to say, until the painful moans of Galvantula made him snap out of it and get back to treating it. Digging through his back pack he took out a Super Potion and already began to apply it to the wounds, eventually answering the question.

"Could one of you get me the bandages from my bag while I do this? Need to make sure I spray each of Galvantula's wounds, otherwise he would probably get infected for battling too long with them."

As Cilan did the honours to help out, the others look closely to find that there were more injuries on the Bug/Electric type than what they thought from afar. It made them ask themselves on how long did the battle really take.

After time spent bandaging up Galvantula, they allowed him to sleep outside his Poké Ball. This gave the five of them time to talk on what happened with the Mienshao, which started out of course with the introductions.

"Thank you for your help with my Galvantula. My name's Eric Cross, it's nice to meet all of you." The man says with a smile, sitting on the ground with said Pokémon behind him.

Everyone else was the same in front of him; even the two Pokémon, Georgia on the other hand stood, leaning against a tree with her arms folded.

"I'm Ash Ketchum from Pallet Town in the Kanto region, and this is my buddy Pikachu." Ash starts things for their group, having the happy Electric follow with a wave to Eric after his name was given from Ash's right.

Next was the purple haired girl on his left. "Mine's Iris, I'm from the Village of the Dragons. This is my good friend Axew." She looks down to said Pokémon, who gave a cheery response from his trainer's lap.

Then there was the green haired member next to her. "My name is Cilan of Striaton City. It is nice to make your acquaintance." He gave Eric a slight bow of his head from his place, also a hand to his chest.

Georgia on the other hand was not the sort giving away much and just gives her name. "Mine's Georgia." Not bothering to move from her place, though she seems intent on listening on a certain subject that was bound to come up.

Except, Eric look to be fascinated on certain thoughts that came to mind, firstly on Ash. "You're Ash Ketchum? The same person that won the Unova League and is from a region that's different from our own?" Referring to himself, Iris and Cilan at the time, knowing of locations of their homes, quite astonished it would seem.

The questions made Ash smile, scratching the back of his head as he chuckles. "That's one way of putting it, yeah."

Next Eric looks at Iris' confused turned expression, giving his second thought up question. "And are you the one that possessed that berserk Dragonite that caused damage at the Junior Cup Tournament held in Lacunosa Town?"

The memory of it made Iris slump her head, obviously not wanting to be reminded of that time, being taken as the answer he wanted. Georgia snickers at Iris' misfortune of being asked that out of all questions, even when Eric continues she kept it up for a bit.

"I never saw a Pokémon go out of control like that before. What were you thinking in using it without knowing what it was capable of, especially when it came to listening to you?"

His words made Iris feel depressed, as if being lectured by a teacher for a mistake she made. Axew pats her arm in show of comfort, also looking worried for his trainer at the reminder of her battle using Dragonite against Ash's Krokorok, who then evolved into Krookodile.

"Hold on." Ash said, coming to his friends defence, and what he said next made Iris look at him with surprise. "Dragonite might not be listening to her now, but I know Iris will get it too eventually. It'll just take time, that's all."

Cilan nods his head in agreement, not finding a better way to put it than Ash did, and Iris felt warmth rise within her chest towards the person that said those words at his belief in her. Even though Cilan agrees with him it was a better feeling on the one person than both.

Georgia though frowns at the support the future Dragon Master was getting from her friends, more specifically from Ash, making her feel a twinge that was a little strange to her. But she shrugs it off as nothing important and decides to moves things along. "Since we're done with the intros, mind telling us what was going on with you and that Mienshao?"

The tone she used got all eyes on her before Eric releases a sigh that got him his attention back. He gently strokes the head of his sleeping Galvantula, pretty much ready to give his tale.

"I started out traveling Unova in exploration at the time before I came across it. A Mienshao, one that was strong enough to take on a number of seven Krokorok's, and a Krookodile for a leader I assumed when I first laid eyes on it… It showed strength, endurance and speed, even cunning in using its surroundings. That Mienshao was strong that something inside me urged me to catch it, but the sight of the beaten Krokorok's and Krookodile made me think if my Pokémon were even strong enough to match it…"

Eric's eyes drift to his friend that looked to be peaceful as it slept, a smile given as he continues. "So I trained myself and them for a few weeks to see where it would lead, find clues and have fortunate luck in running into the Pokémon. Only each of my team were beaten in the end after I challenged it to a battle. But that didn't make us give up, right pal?"

All he received from the Bug/Electric type was a short grunt, taking it as a positive response since his friend hadn't awakened.

They all took this in, though Georgia was the one that seemed to be concentrated on the tale more, including on what Eric said next. "This Mienshao appeared to be different than any other of its kind. The way it fought you could tell it was dedicated to its training, even for a wild Pokémon. Also, what makes this one different is that it's mute."

"Mute? As in it can't speak?" Cilan asks in clarification that he heard right, receiving a confirmative nod.

This seemed to have intrigued mostly Ash and Iris, Cilan being quite curious. Georgia on the other hand had a small smirk that only she knows why, which no one noticed.

"I don't know if it was something after its birth, an incident in a battle or a traumatic event. What I do know is, besides strength and skill, that it's a way to tell it apart from other Mienshao."

"That's good enough for me."

All heads look back at Georgia, seeing her move off the tree she leaned on, walking up to them with a smile. "So the rumours on this particular Mienshao are true then."

Pikachu and Axew seem a little confused, Iris gave her a look, Ash looked to have a question in his head, but Cilan was the one to ask that was similar. "You've heard about this Pokémon, Georgia?"

She remained standing, arms still folded and eyes looking from one person to another, not liking Iris' stare so she just lingers on her whilst giving her explanation. "That same Mienshao seemed to have made a name for itself in some of the towns I passed through before coming here… Some trainers I talked to said they tried to catch a Mienshao that didn't speak a word at all, taking down half their team before escaping. I even found it beating a couple high levelled Pokémon, thinking it would be perfect to catch and use on Dragon Girl in our next battle..."

"Ah-hah!"

Iris sudden outburst, plus shooting to her feet that startled Axew off her lap, caught everyone by surprise and move away from her a little.

A finger pointed at the blinking Dragon Buster, speaking out loud as if she were right on something. "I knew there was a reason why you were following us! You were looking for that mute Mienshao this whole time, weren't you?"

It didn't seem such a big deal to her as she shrugs her off, eyes closed and away from the other girls glare. "If so I don't see why it has anything to do with you. Like I said before this, it's a free world, you can go wherever you want and do whatever you want… as long as you don't get into trouble for it."

It may have been a good point that some of the guys agreed to, but it didn't change Iris' mood of things for not even a second. "If that's the case, then you don't mind if I go on my own hunt for Mienshao to catch it."

That got Georgia's attention, now staring at Iris as if to wait for her to continue if she had anything else to say to add. Except she didn't, which made the Dragon Buster ask, a brow now rose. "And why would you want to do that? Last I checked Mienshao is a strong Pokémon who deserves an equal for a Trainer, not one who can't control one single, trouble making Pokémon."

She knew who she was referring to and did her best to calm herself for what came after. "Well it's better than you catching it to increase that big ego of yours."

Georgia now giggles, a finger points to Iris with a grin. "If I had an ego at least hopefully it would be a decent size than your hair."

The two kept going with a new thing to argue on for a bit until the real matter comes back to mind, leaving their male audience to watch and talk at the same time. Being Eric the one to ask out of curiosity.

"Are those two always like this with one another?"

Answer for the question came with a series of nods from both humans and Pokémon, Axew staying out of his Trainers way this time, paws folded along with a sigh.

Cilan saw it to himself to explain to Eric the reason between the two rivals. "You see, Iris is a Dragon Trainer who wishes to be a Dragon Master in her future. Georgia on the other hand is a Dragon Buster and is intent on beating Dragon Trainers such as Iris. Basically put they're rivals."

Eric understood now, though he wished the two could keep it down a little so his Galvantula could sleep without any interruptions.

"You don't listen to me so why should I listen to you? I'm catching that Mienshao, even if I have to do it on my own!" Iris said, rather smug for saying that.

Her rival on the other hand glares, in protest against what she heard of course. "I'm the one that heard of it, and I've been searching for it since then. You on the other hand just want it so I won't be able to catch it."

What Iris did next was that she stuck her tongue out, lowering her left lid rather childishly. "It's a free world, you can go wherever you want and do whatever you want." Remember?" In a teasing tone that was to be an impersonated voice of Georgia.

The same person that now growls at her, both hands tightly clenched for using her previous words. Just as she was about to retaliate she, same with the others, heard a certain someone join in on the argument by saying. "I'm going to catch the Mienshao!"

"What!" Both girls yell, their heads turn to look at a determined Ash that now stood in front of them, Pikachu on his shoulder that was the same as his friend.

Ash gives a shrug at the two pairs of eyes aimed at him in a deadly glare. "With the Elite Four Challenge I'm going to need to do some serious training so my Pokémon can battle even close to their level. Might as well catch some new Pokémon while I'm at it, and that Mienshao seems like the perfect choice to start."

Their glares now aimed at the Kanto Trainer that stood before them, not being nervous at the sight of them it seems on the outside. Iris was the first to lean in close and say. "Well you have to get through me if you want that Mienshao." Not coming to the conclusion that Ash taking part would be like a help for her to keep the Pokémon out of her rivals reach.

Georgia follows after, addressing to both of them instead of just Ash. "And the same goes for me to the both of you. No way am I going to miss this chance after coming all this way."

Cilan watches them continue this debate, seeing that no one was going to win this by just words alone. So he stands up and claps his hands to get their attention, his words out in the open with a smile that would hopefully solve all their problems. "I propose a challenge!"

It indeed worked when he got what he wanted out of them, including Eric. "Huh?"

"A challenge, since none of you can't sort this out yourselves. You all split up to find Mienshao, seeing as it's still probably in the forest somewhere. Whoever finds, battles and captures it would keep it without any arguments from the other."

The three seemed to think on the idea, finding it to be a reasonable one. So after seconds pass, Cilan found it right to get an answer. "Well? What do you three think?"

Eric stares from one person to the next, a little intrigued to see where this goes. Although there was a little problem in this, being that he may have competition to gain the Pokémon should he wish to continue to catch it.

Ash gave Pikachu a look, receiving a shrug from him since it was Ash's decision not his, though it did seem the right thing. "Okay, I'm in."

Iris was the same, giving a nod, her eyes closed and arms crossed, having Axew climb up on her left shoulder. "Count me in."

Georgia, being the obvious last, didn't find a problem with the idea, a shrug made with her words. "Sure. I'll go along with it for now."

With all in agreement, Cilan reminded them of the rules and sent them off in separate directions to where they last saw Mienshao gone off in. It left Cilan to look on with a proud expression at them.

Eric on the other hand seemed a little confused at everything, as it seems the four had forgotten something. "Umm, excuse me…" The sound of his voice got the connoisseur to turn round half way to face him before he finishes. "Don't I get a say in this?"

Georgia moves passed the trees and pushed aside to get through some bushes, not finding any sign of her prey whilst looking about in whatever direction she could think of that it would be in.

As she kept on going she mutters to herself in irritation. "Finding one specific Pokémon in this forest is harder than I thought it would with those two now on the same task as me."

She thought it was going to be hard considering the location she has to search through. Except luck seemed to have been on her side, because further on up ahead was the one Pokémon she was searching for, practicing some bodily movements with its arms and feet.

'Today's my lucky day.' She thought to herself, a smirk at her find before she decides to make herself known to it.

Mienshao gave a calm rotation of its arms from one side gently to the other, eyes closed as if in deep concentration, until the presence of someone made it come to a halt. A single eye now opens to see who dared to disturb it, to find it was a human female.

Georgia kept her advance on the stood still Pokémon, not losing the smirk as she digs in and takes out a Poké Ball. "I didn't expect you to still be in this forest after your encounter with Eric. But I guess this doesn't count as the first time for me being wrong."

The Mute Fighter tilts its head a bit to one side, not quite understanding what she means. Though what it did understand was that she was holding the same device the other human had to call out his Galvantula, so it meant that this person wanted a battle.

Georgia watches Mienshao ready itself into a fighting position, a sign that it knew what she probably wanted.

"At least we're on the same page, because you're mine at end of this! Time to battle, Sneasel!" She threw the ball and released the Dark/Ice type from within.

"Sneasel!"

She call out, landing on her feet in a battle ready position like her designated opponent, a grin on her face for being chosen for this.

Georgia shoots her arm out and made the first move. "Get in there and use Metal Claw!"

Sneasel charged in with her right claw out at her side, having it glow white. Each swipe she gave made Mienshao avoid it by stepping aside or jumping over to further dodge.

At the sight of it back flipping away, Georgia calls out another attack. "Shadow Ball!"

Creating a ball of dark energy, after combining two smaller orbs at the tips of her claws, Sneasel launches it. In response, Mienshao did the same with Aura Sphere, having the two meet in an explosion to create a small cloud of smoke.

"Keep your guard up, Sneasel! Mienshao will make a move at some point!" Georgia instructed. For that, Sneasel puts up both arms to be ready for anything.

What came next was her opponent coming at her with its right clenched fist enveloped in a swirling green energy.

"Don't let that attack hit you!"

She manages to dodge the move a second time till the energy dissipates, having the owner of it now move away to keep some space between them so Metal Claw wouldn't be used at close range.

"Ice Beam!"

The light blue ball forms in front of her opened mouth and fires a beam from that ball at her target. Whose body glows white before the attack struck, and went right through at the same time a small number of clones appeared in random spots.

Sneasel steps back, not sure who to go for seeing as only one of them was real.

For this Georgia ponders her options with a hand beneath her chin. "Double Team, huh..? There's only one way to flush out the original." The recent thought being a useful one to use out of whatever she could think on.

"Shadow Ball each of them to flush out the original!"

Dark orbs were repeatedly fired on each of the clones until none of them remained, right to the last one thought to be the original. Only it turned out to be a clone as well.

This tactic surprised Georgia, as it was different for her opponent to be out of sight like this after all of the illusory copies were taken out. She looks in whatever direction she could think of, thinking at the time that it could come out of nowhere, reason why she checked the trees, too.

Then her answer came when the Fighting type shoots out of a tree and comes down using Brick Break. "Dodge it, Sneasel!"

It was fortunate that she did, but doing this gave Mienshao the time to create an Aura Sphere, and it didn't give time for a second evade after the sphere struck, sending her flying onto her back in pain.

(Aggh! That hurt a little.) Sneasel mutters, sitting up with a claw to her head. She snaps her eyes open to the sight of Mienshao making the next move with the use of Brick Break again, going into a roll for it to be missed.

Mienshao kept going even when the attack ceased, showing useful ness in hand to hand that got the dual type to dodge from time to time, only to get hit once or twice, even thrice. She tried an attempt of her own with her claws.

It caught a mid swung claw and spun its body so Sneasel could be thrown away, almost to hit a tree if she hadn't rotated her own body so her feet could touch the bark and bounce off to land with a roll.

Her recovery made Georgia smile, plus the condition she was in was to as if say she was still able to fight. "Ice Beam!"

Mienshao saw the attack fire and this time uses Aura Sphere to take it on, an explosion was made that caused sparkles to appear and rain down upon them. Though the change did not halt the Fighting type as it rushes in.

"Slow it down with Shadow Ball!"

The first dark energy ball was avoided, followed by a second and again with another, until her target was close for her not to try it again. Its right fist engulfed in using Drain Punch that could not be avoided as she took the hit.

It made her stagger back, feeling a little of her health and energy drained to recover Mienshao on what it lost. She was almost close to hit the tree if the attack had more power put into the punch.

"Sneasel! Quick, use Screech!" Georgia exclaims with haste before something could happen to her team member.

As she took a breath, Sneasel was already struck before she could unleash her attack. She was knocked against the tree that she pushed off of, forgetting her orders and attempted to strike with a claw. Only Mienshao grabs it and then spun round before tossing the Pokémon over and onto her back, not needing the move Strength to do it with the speed and power used for it to work.

Georgia was rather surprised with how skilled the opponent was without using its attacks. Not able to think straight on a tactic to go against it, she brought out what was at the top of her head.

"Try and use Screech again!"

But the attempt failed at the sight of an Aura Sphere that appeared in a single held out paw, ready to end this battle with an expression as proof to it.

With Iris

While Iris kept on her search for Mienshao, her mind was on not just which Pokémon to use against it, but also how she didn't want to lose to a certain person and have her rub it in her face.

Determination pumped through her right to her clenched fists that her eyes gazed down to in front of her. "There is no way I'm going to let her catch that Mienshao. I'm going to beat her to the punch even if I have to battle her if she gets in my way."

(Iris?)

She looks to her left to find a worried Axew poking out of her hair. Suddenly, after one look at her friends face, she immediately calms down and strokes Axew head to show there was nothing for him to worry about.

"Sorry about that, Axew. I guess I should take Ash's advice and not let Georgia get to me than she already has." She said, a smile given for no apparent reason except for comfort.

The Dragon type now tilts his head, not being around to know what Ash said that may have been really useful to help his Trainer in her situation with her rival.

Before he could ask what it was, both their attentions were taken by the sound of something moving above in the trees. She moves herself to where it led to, then hides behind a tree close by when it looked that whatever was up there was coming out in the open.

The thing turns out to be the very Mienshao she was looking for, as it was the only one around to her knowledge.

Its back was turned to her, paws brushing off the leaves that remained on its body before its ears heard the voice of someone from behind. "I found you!"

Not startled even a bit, Mienshao looks back to see another human, possibly the same reason as the other two with the way she spoke.

Without a second to waste, to not give it time to escape, Iris takes out a Poké Ball that belonged to Excadrill. She didn't want to use Dragontie for this, despite it being strong enough to take on the Fighting type, because she wants to prove Georgia wrong about her Pokémon, even though she wasn't around right now.

"Let's go, Excadrill, time for battle!" Iris calls out, tossing the enlarged ball high, releasing the battle ready Pokémon.

"Excaaa!"

Mienshao, like its battle with Sneasel, got in a stance to show it was ready, as it was not going to runaway from a fight without at least a go to see where it leads.

Both Pokémon stared each other down, not caring the difference between them in whatever the other lacks.

"Excadrill, use Dig!"

The Ground type responds by jumping into the air and drilled his way underground. Mienshao looks in various parts of the ground to determine where its opponent would come out from, which could be anywhere.

With its head to the right, the ground in front bulged up, which the sound was caught by the fighter's ears. Excadrill shoots out and Mienshao narrowly gets away, coming close to a claw to the face.

"Now, Excadrill! Metal Claw!"

Both the dual type's claws flash white and then turn into iron. He rushed in and swipes from left to right at his opponent, who dodged each one with ease, having jumped over with a stomp on the drill bit on top of his head.

Before Iris could give a command, Mienshao summons an Aura Sphere with cupped paws and thrusts it at Excadrill's back, sending him flying face down from the results of it.

"Excadrill, are you all right?!" Iris cries out, worried over at how close the attack struck, plus Excadrill's being the type weak against Fighting type Pokémon such as Mienshao.

(Come on, buddy, you can take a hit like that!) Axew's turn to say in show of support, his right paw pumped and raised as high as he could reach.

Excadrill indeed got to his feet and turns to face the silent Pokémon, a scowl at the damage he received instead of the other way round. The look on his face did not faze his opponent. Mostly it stood ready for a move to be made on his part.

'Why didn't Mienshao make a move while it had the chance?' Iris thought in her head, soon to shake it out before she gave new orders out loud. "Try Dig again!"

Like before, the dual type jumps into the air and drills his way underground. Mienshao just follows his movements until he went under, now to wait patiently for the move to be done like before when it was used.

"Come out behind and give Mienshao a taste of your Metal Claw!"

Upon command, the ground explodes more than last time, and Excadrill leapt out with his move active. Though when it was performed by a double swipe, it was a surprise to what happened next… Mienshao spun round and caught both claws with its paws, after a white aura surrounds its body.

"Whoa, that is some power it has…" Iris states in awe, not expecting such power and confidence to be possessed by this Pokémon in its skills. Axew was a bit speech less to say anything and just continues to watch what happens next.

The two did their best to push the other back, Excadrill used enough power in his continued attack to move Mienshao enough that the dirt beneath its feet was brought up a little, which it noticed.

"That's the way, Excadrill! Keep pushing as hard as you can!" The Trainer encourages on, along with her Dragon type companion on her shoulder.

Mienshao notices the distance it lost from this grapple contest of strength and power and knew it wouldn't last long once the Strength move would be gone. So it thought fast and used speed to escape by a jump back, which startles its opponent and almost made him stumble to the ground.

Iris kept an intense gaze on the Pokémon that got away, and shot a hand out after it lands. "Time for Drill Run!"

Excadrill combines both claws to the drill bit on his head and shot off like a spinning drill after a leap, right for Mienshao. Who stood its ground, both arms held out and eyes aglow before a protective barrier appears to take on the attack.

To no avail did the attack break through, not even a crack for that matter, though Iris did not allow him to give in because of that. "Keep it up, Excadrill! Mienshao can't hold that barrier up forever!"

Her words were true since even a Fighting type such as Mienshao has its limits, so an idea to be thought up quick before the barrier decides to fall. But it seems luck was on its side, as Excadrill could not continue on with his attack and came to a stop.

This made Iris look worried at the way her chosen Pokémon released his breath to show it may have gone on a bit longer than it should have in Drill Run.

Mienshao on the other hand didn't seem to care, as it drops the protective barrier and jumps away before a close range move could be used on it. What happened next was that it got both legs together and bounced high into one of the closest trees.

Like his Trainer, Excadrill rose a brow at this tactic, going in closer to see if he could spot the out of place Pokémon since it shouldn't be hard to spot it up there. If of course all the leaves weren't obscuring his vision, plus the tree being tall didn't help either.

What came down was a small branch, followed by more that were getting bigger to the point where he had to move out of the way from size able trunks.

'He's using the tree now in both ways? That's pretty much unfair.' Iris thought, biting the inside of her cheek as she tries to think of an idea to get Mienshao down without further harm to the tree. Suddenly it came to her with a snap of her fingers. "I know! Excadrill, go underground and…"

Before she could finish, a few blue spheres flew down and explode around her friend, who manages to get out of it with little harm done and gained a good amount of distance should it be tried again. Although it wasn't over when the cause of it came down with ease and dashed towards its target, both arms held back.

Excdrill already had his defences up via raised claws and waited for an attack to come either by physical from Mienshao or word from Iris.

"Quick, use Focus Blast!" She hastily gave to whatever was at the top of her head at a time like this, even though a wrong choice with what happened next.

When the attack was fired, the target used great speed to move out of the way, surrounded by the familiar white aura afterwards of Strength being used. The attack came to a stop and a startled Excadrill looks at the Fighting type now in his line of sight. It thrusts both arms forward and gave a mighty push that sent him crash land onto his back further onward, taking up the grass and dirt with him.

"Excadrill!" Iris cries out, unsure of what to do with her mind racing more than it should.

(Come on, get up!) Axew spoke up, not giving up on his friend to win the fight.

(You're good… I'll give you that…) Excadrill said, a struggle to get to his feet after a combination of Strength and a normal double handed palm thrust instead of the move itself. Mienshao though gives a scoff at the compliment, it even manages to hide its own tiredness after all the energy used.

But this battle had to come to an end at some point, and one of them was not going to walk away a loser whilst the other prevailed.

With Ash

With an extra pair eyes Ash still couldn't spot what he was looking for, even believed the girls probably had better luck than him and Pikachu did right now. For now they stuck to a search for clues to at least find that the Pokémon might be in their area.

"Think we should double back to see if we missed something, Pikachu?" Ash asks, his arms crossed as his eyes went high into the tall trees.

Pikachu was off his shoulder and attempted to get a whiff of Mienshao's scent or a sound of something out of place that could direct him in the right direction. Not able to catch either, he turns his head to Ash and shrugs before he said unsurely. (We could try it. Though I doubt we'd have much luck in finding even a trace if I can't find anything.)

Though it seemed hope less for them, it didn't stop Ash from giving the short, reassured laugh as Pikachu walks up to him. "I'm sure it will change, it is a big forest after all. Maybe we'll do the double check before we move to the next part."

After Pikachu climbs onto his shoulder, Ash was about to make his walk back, till something made the Electric types ears perk up. His head moves enough to get the young man's attention, being confused on whether or not if something was wrong.

"Are you getting something, Pikachu?" He asks, not receiving a response. His eyes followed once Pikachu jumps off his shoulder again and rush to certain parts with a sniff from his nose, seeing where the unknown scent came from the better.

A bit onward a certain Pokémon sat up in one of the trees, nursing an injury it sustained as a final given move from the Excadrill it dealt with.

'That Excadrill wasn't bad. Though it could use a little more training in its speed if it wanted to catch up to me… The Sneasel was a well kept fighter, despite not landing a direct blow on.'

Mienshao kept busy on the survey on its left arm, as well as some marks it gained after the way it finished off in the last battle. While it was busy on its thoughts and self examination it didn't look to see the two coming to the tree it resided in. Although it did when Ash spoke loud enough for it to hear, giving a reason for Mienshao to look down.

"Pikachu, aren't you going to tell me what's going on?"

Said Pokémon ran in the right direction and stops until it was just under the right tree, looking up to find what they searched for through the whole forest staring back at him. Pikachu gives a smile at the accomplishment, turns his head to Ash as he approaches and just points up.

Ash stops in time before he looks to what his friend found, only to smile at what, or rather who it was. "Great job, Pikachu, you found it!"

The praise made said Pokémon bashful and rubs the back of his head, though Ash stayed on track through it and calls up to the one still in the tree. "Mienshao, come down here! I challenge you to a battle!"

What he said made the Fighting type narrow its eyes at the challenge for another battle, this time from yet another human. Mienshao could run, but then this person would probably follow it for who knows how long, and it couldn't run forever with the energy it used in its previous battles.

So with a sigh there was no other choice to make really, and Mienshao responds to Ash by a long jump out of the tree, landing at a fair amount of distance with its back close to another tree.

Ash notices the marks and thought to himself if either Iris or Georgia were the ones that made them, meaning they had their go and now it was his. So with a grin he takes out a Poké Ball before he says to Pikachu. "Sorry for this, pal, but I'm going to need you to sit this one out."

The result being that he didn't mind as it was the Trainers choice on who was to go into battle, unless the need to protest was required, which it wasn't. (I don't mind.)

"Snivy, I choose you!" The ball was thrown and a burst of light emerges when opened to reveal his Grass type choice, her leaf arms folded and head held a little high.

"Snivy."

(Good luck out there!) Pikachu calls out to her in encouragement, both paws waved high. Though Snivy wasn't looking, she was more grateful on the inside than out, being focused on what she was up against than the tingle she felt after only hearing what are normal words.

"Let's start things off with Vine Whip!" Ash starts off with.

Both vines shot out for Mienshao, who stood its ground with both arms raised, right to the point to when they wrapped round them. The two struggled to pull the other in, a duel of strength despite Snivy's size, but it ends quickly when her opponent used Strength itself to easily bring her in.

Thinking fast, Ash suddenly came up with something. "Use Energy Ball!"

A created green energy sphere formed at her opened mouth and she fires it at her target. To avoid Mienshao releases its grip on the vines to jump out of the way, with Snivy able to stop herself using her recalled vines.

Mienshao cups its paws at the side, creating a sphere of aura, using it as payback from the projectile Snivy used on it. It was not hard to miss for Ash to give out the next order. "Snivy, block Aura Sphere with Energy Ball!"

Snivy was quick enough to create the ball and the two attacks were launched at the same time, in the end to explode upon impact. It gave Mienshao the chance to use Bounce, having itself jump over the already dissipated cloud of smoke and came down on her after an aerial flip and its right leg stuck out.

"Dodge it!"

Her actions came at the right time, backing away so her opponent's foot could hit the ground instead.

"Now, Leaf Blade!"

It was Snivy's turn to jump. The leaf at the end of her tail became surrounded with a wavy light green aura. Mienshao defends against it with Protect, but in the process of calling on the attack its arm must've taken more damage from Excadrill's attack than it thought because of the pain it felt after the time used.

The failed attempt allowed Leaf Blade to make a hit, allowing a trail to follow from where it slashed as Snivy's move sent the Pokémon back. After it recovered, Mienshao clutches its arm, a form of a scowl given to the Grass type.

Ash focuses on the injury and deduced that it was indeed either of the girls doing, but that did not stop him from going easy on what he was told to be a tough Pokémon. "Try your Vine Whip!"

For this Mienshao made sure its left arm was out of the way and deflected one vine with a good swing, although she manages to get the second to wrap round its arm after it didn't move from its position. Snivy struggles to hold on while Ash thought of something quick, only Mienshao didn't give any chances.

It brought Snivy in like a fish on a line, Snivy even attempted to hold her ground, taking bits of it with her.

"Snivy, Eneregy Ball!"

In the process of the first task, the Grass type charged up for the attack and only one thought came to Mienshao that may prove useful.

The moment she fires the ball, the target used Bounce to avoid it and descends down with a single leg out. Snivy reacted by doing the same, only unable to use Bounce she moves away in the air instead of towards her opponent.

But Mienshao had hoped this was to be a result and used the still wrapped vine to bring her in while the Grass type was defenceless. The move made her come in alright, which made Snivy brace herself for whatever was to come.

Fortunately she was saved by Ash's quick thinking. "Snivy, use Energy Ball on the ground to create some cover!"

Whilst in the process of the spheres creation, neither of them anticipated Mienshao taking a firm grip on the now release, wrapped vine, spinning the user round thus a halt made in the ball.

Snivy was then let go, being hurled into a tree, her back making contact with it. As she got up with a bit of a struggle, Mienshao raised its better arm to create an Aura Sphere, aimed right for her.

"Snivy! Try and dodge it!"

She may have gotten to her feet, but it was too late as the sphere was already launched, unable to move out of the way in time. It made a direct impact that exploded her back against the tree, now being in a condition that was not better than before.

Though it seemed over, the Grass Pokémon did not give up as long as she was conscious, to which Mienshao plans to sort out.

At the sight of what it was about to do, Ash looks to Pikachu who looked to have want to intervene as the Trainer wanted to do himself. And the sight of the fired Aura Sphere made him react to the idea. "Pikachu, stop that sphere with Thunderbolt!"

He made it in time, to both combatants surprise when one attack was intercepted by an electric one, to which led to an explosion before it came close to the target. Their eyes went to the duo that came to Snivy's aid, Ash at her side while Pikachu took front and was ready for anything.

"You okay, Snivy?" Ash asked in worry, his eyes looking her over at what she gained from the battle. His words seemed to be on deaf ears though as the Pokémon clenched her teeth, frustrated at the interference when she was still able to fight.

Her eyes glared partly at Pikachu for going along with Ash when even he knew she was tough, and the rest towards Mienshao for putting her in this spot.

A pair eyes glared at the intervention the two performed and took it as a sign of giving up, leaving Mienshao the option to just leave before another Pokémon like Pikachu could be used against it.

The eyes of Ash, Pikachu and Snivy watch as the tough fighter turns round and begins to walk away. As it continued on, Ash stands to speak out to it. "This isn't over yet, Mienshao! When you're all better we're going to have a rematch! Count on it!"

That pledge made the Pokémon stop, only to look back half way at the human before it went off once more without a another glance made.

The three Trainers met up with Cilan and Eric, gave each other the story of what happened with Mienshao while their Pokémon were being tended to by the older males and Georgia ends up laughing after Iris gave hers last.

The Dragon Buster only manages to stop so she could speak her mind. "You fought a Fighting type like Mienshao with your Excadrill, who is supposed to be weak against that sort of Pokémon! You were better off using that disobedient pet of yours!"

Iris did not put up any form of response to argue back with, instead she leant her back against a tree, arms wrapped round her legs that were close to her chest so she could bury her head in them.

Ash glares at Georgia, who did not pay attention to him because of her find in making fun of Iris due to her battle against Mienshao and choice in Pokémon. Though it was what she pointed out that got Ash to say in defence of his friend. "If Excadrill was weak, then how did he manage to get in a hit when Sneasel didn't?"

It got through to Georgia to a point where she stops laughing and soon stares at the Trainer, who had the turn to not pay attention and just goes over to Iris to make her feel better.

Axew just came down from a tree and presented the girl an apple, in hopes of her to feel better, with the knowledge of her loss in mind and nothing else that he knows of. The sound of footsteps got him to look and see Ash coming towards them with Pikachu on his shoulder.

The two smiled at the sight of the young Dragon type's attempts, giving them a sign of help before the Pokémon tries to get Iris' attention again by a shake of her leg. Only it didn't seem to be working, so it might be time to have a switch.

Ash looks to Pikachu and asks kindly. "Pikachu, can you take Axew and play for a bit? I want to talk to Iris alone."

His best Pokémon friend nods with a thumbs up, then jumps off to shortly talk with Axew in their language before the two chase one other away from their Trainers. It now left the duo alone to talk, although it maybe Ash doing most of it.

Not even when he sat down beside her did she budge, so he hoped his words would get through with whatever came to mind that didn't sound negative. "Excadrill is going to be fine… Eric said the damage wasn't a cause for alarm, but he did say that he, Snivy and Sneasel should be better some time tomorrow. Though we would have to see after they rest…"

Ash wasn't sure if a word got through due to her lack of response, but he tried his best to continue. "… You did your best, and you did get Excadrill to lay in a good hit."

What he heard was muffled, so Ash asked her nicely to repeat what she said and it came out quiet yet clear. "But it was just one hit before Excadrill was taken out at the end…"

Her ears picked up the sound of his chuckle, and it didn't seem the type to make fun of her. "It was still one hit. Georgia didn't land a single attack and her Sneasel sounded to be a tough Pokémon from what she told us."

Iris finally makes a move via turn of her head to reveal her sadden eyes, the side of her head cushioned on her legs. A small smile shortly came at the recollection of the results between her and her rival had against Mienshao. "You're right…"

Ash had his moments when being right that he sometimes rubs the back of his hair that his hat didn't cover, like he did now. "Aren't I always?" He didn't get a response from the question, which he didn't bother to react… this time perhaps.

It didn't take long for the raven haired Trainer to become a bit serious with what came to mind that had to be said next. "I'm not taking Georgia's side for this, but why didn't you use Dragonite? It is a strong Pokémon and would possibly beat Mienshao without trouble."

For this, Iris just moves her eyes away instead of her head, unsure whether or not to tell him her reason. But fortunately for her Cilan took that time to call Ash over to talk to him about something, which she inwardly thanked the connoisseur for doing as the Trainer obeyed.

He did not seem to want to leave her when he wasn't finished with their talk, so she faintly waves him off. "Go on, we'll get back to this sometime later." To which he nods in agreement and goes over to his green haired friend, who was with Georgia that gave the duo a small glare for some reason.

It turned out that if they wanted to keep to the task of catching Mienshao then they would need aerial support to find it, to where Ash comes in with Unfezant. He released the Flying type and told her to seek out the Pokémon and return with its location while they wait. It was a big forest so it would take a while for her to return. In the mean time, the trainers set up a tent, thanks to Eric, to give the injured Pokémon a comfortable place to be in so it would save the time to let them out of their Poké Ball's to check on them.

Eventually Unfezant returned while they were eating and was successful in finding her target, now using this as a plan to help start off from where Mienshao was if gone and follow on from there. But they were going to wait till tomorrow, that way the three each would have a strategy to use in their next battles.

When night came, and all was peaceful enough to sleep outside, though Georgia slept in her tent, Ash was the only one awake in his sleeping bag. Hands behind his head, Pikachu nestled on his stomach, hat, shoes and gloves off and eyes half open so they could stare up at the star lit sky.

'Maybe I should use another Pokémon against Mienshao, seeing as Snivy might still need to recover more… But who, that's the question.' He thought. Each Pokémon on him that came to mind had their strengths, but Mienshao would probably find a means to fight back and end it quick and hard from what Ash witnessed today.

His thoughts were shattered at the sound of what could only be Iris landing on the ground from the tree she slept in. He looks to the side, not being noticed on his part as the purple haired girl walks up to the Pokémon's tent and stops just outside.

Ash couldn't see that well in the dark, but he could somehow tell Iris seemed to be in thought herself, being perhaps a different reason than his own.

Iris wanted to look in on Excadrill, only she couldn't because of the negative thoughts in her mind on how it was her poor battle skills that got her Pokémon in the condition he was in now.

Ash noticed her raised hand about to make a move to unzip the flap to look in, but for some reason she stops for a bit. It seems she came to reconsider her options and returned the raised limb to her side, now walking away with her head down. Seeing this peaked Ash's curiosity to go see what was wrong.

Iris made sure Axew was safely on the ground before she went off to be alone with her thoughts to try and sort them out. Unbeknownst to her though, Ash manages to leave his bag without Pikachu being woken up and follows her.

It didn't take long to find her, back against a tree, eyes up to the stars, able to find herself calm by the sight of them. That is until his concerned voice reached her ears. "Iris?"

Her eyes blink at first, now back to her senses to look in the voices direction, able to see it belonged to her friend Ash. She was confused to see him, normally around this time he sleeps like a log. "Ash? What are you doing up?" Deciding to ask to get her answer rather continue to think on the question with zero results.

Ash just shrugs his shoulders, made his way towards her whilst he explained his reason. "I couldn't sleep, and I saw you go to and from the tent and wanted to know if there was something wrong." He now stood with his back to the same tree on Iris' right. His eyes did what hers previously had done, finding the sky to be almost filled with stars, including the moon partly showing.

Iris looks to him then up in the same direction, both now being silent until she was ready to talk. Which didn't take long after she closed her eyes and taken a short breath. "I guess I still feel bad for what happened to Excadrill."

It got the raven haired Trainer to look at his friend and ask. "Iris, did you forget that Georgia and I lost our battle too against the same Mienshao?" An attempt it would seem to make her feel a little better.

But it didn't work from the way she bows her head, eyes still closed and sounds to be getting a little upset from what she says next. "Yeah, but you two used your heads. Mine on the other hand should have gotten me to use Emolga because of her advantage in the air, instead of Excadrill who is weak against Fighting type's like that."

What she said made Ash chuckle. Not from just her words but how she acted on them also. "Now I know you're not the confident Iris I know. So what if he was weak because of a type disadvantage? As long as you pulled off a well enough strategy at least you did your best... You got Excadrill to lay in a hit, and I think it was the same one that affected it during my battle with the way it fought."

His comforted words seem to be getting through that he kept it up, this time using an example he could think of after some time thinking on it. He reveals it after a snap of his fingers that got her attention.

"I know! Did I tell you about my battle in the Johto League against a friend of mine, who was my rival to start off with from when he and I started our journeys?"

The memory of the tale didn't come to mind, so Iris shook her head in a no, letting Ash go on. He told the story with a smile, unable to help himself with what was revealed.

"It was one of the toughest battles I ever fought. He and I were down to our last Pokémon, me and my Charizard and him and his Blastoise… Two fully evolved forms of a Fire and a Water type. To be honest, I didn't think it was going to be possible to win, but I didn't show it and Charizard pulled through for me till the end. After the right moves were made we won the match and moved on."

Knowing Ash wouldn't lie about something like that, it made Iris rather surprised at the picture of the two Pokémon going head to head, to have a Fire Pokémon coming out the victor against what was to be against a disadvantage.

Despite her state she said, Ash still with his smile and head up to the sky again. "You must have raised your Charizard really hard to have beaten a Blastoise."

For this, Ash rubs the back of his head, not wanting to take the full credit. "Actually, I have the Charcific Valley to thank for that. A woman named Liza helps train Charizard's and she took mine in after he proved himself. Last I checked he was still there and is working hard probably. He had to have if it helped me in a battle against a… On second thought I think I'll leave that one out."

Iris wasn't sure whether to be confused, suspicious or a bit of both at something being hidden from her. But since he came out here to check on her and talk she'll let it slide for now. "I bet you got along well with your Charizard than I'm doing with Dragonite, huh?"

Ash expression came to be an awkward one, not sure how to word this out without it sounding to be embarrassing. "To tell you truth, he didn't always listen to me. As a Charmander his Trainer abandoned him because of him being weak. Brock, a friend of mine, he helped Charmander during a storm so the flame on his tail wouldn't go out. After beating Team Rocket and sent his old Trainer running with a Flamethrower, Brock allowed me to catch Charmander because I helped make sure his tail wouldn't go out."

The story made the purple haired girl glare hard at a tree across from them at the mention of the Trainer, though grateful to hear he got what he deserved. She stayed like that for a bit while Ash continues.

"Charmander became one of my good friends before he evolved into Charmeleon and stopped listening to me, even used Flamethrower on me too, right up to when he evolved into Charizard to battle an Aerodactyl."

Iris found it a little funny about Ash's Pokémon using its own attack on him, but she was mostly sorry for that sort of thing to happen from a friend.

"Charizard may have been tough, but he helped out when it came to winning against a Magmar to gain my eighth Indigo League Badge. Though it would have been nice if he'd listen to me in my last match in the Pokémon League against a friend of mine, instead of sleeping to get the ref to call the match because of it…"

The purple haired girl could only sympathize on what Ash went though with his disobedient Pokémon. But the question that made it self known out in the open was. "If Charizard showed that much to ignore you, then how did it eventually come to trust and listen to you?"

Ash was a little sad to how the event turned out in his head when he was in the Orange Islands with Misty and Tracey. "We were up against a Trainer with a tough Poliwrath. The match ended after it used Ice Beam to freeze Charizard almost completely in ice… Me and my friends spent the rest of the day and through the night to help warm him back up. Going against Team Rocket helped before our rematch that Charizard finally came to listen to me from then on."

Iris was lost for words, surprised that Team Rocket's appearance actually helped in some way to show what Ash gained after getting his Charizard better. Almost able to ponder what this story meant for her predicament. "So what you're saying is, is that Dragonite will come to listen to me like you and your Charizard some day, and be my friend?"

Ash gives a happy nod, not really aimed for things to go this way from his story, but it was a reasonable explanation from how it sounds. "Yeah! I'm sure you and Dragonite will turn out like how Charizard and I did in the end, it just might take a while."

At the sight of the look on his face, it made Iris feel a little odd, able to look away when she felt her face go a little warm. She attempts to hide it by the joke she unleashed. "At least I don't have to worry about Hyper Beam being used on me, unlike your misfortune with your Pokémon's Flamethrower." It was enough to make the duo laugh, grateful that Iris wasn't depressed anymore from the sounds of it on Ash's part.

Grateful for his help, the two at some point during the story sat on the grass, still leaned against the tree, their eyes aimed to the sky. A short time pass' and Iris gives a yawn, being a sign she was perhaps ready for a proper sleep right about now.

She stood to her feet, followed by Ash, both good to go to return. When a few steps were taken Iris stops to say to her friend, the warm feel returning to her. "Thanks for the talk, Ash. Also sharing some of your stories, it helped… Keep it up this way and I might not have to call you kid all the time."

Said Trainer did not expect this sort of thanks, yet accepts it with a smile. "No problem, Iris… How about a race half way back to camp? Loser has to clean the dishes after breakfast!"

Before she could stop him, Ash already passed her in a run. Her eyes followed, a few blinks made at the change in his personality that made her shake her head along with a shrug. "I stand corrected. He'll probably never change and always be a kid." She then runs after him, an obvious attempt to not lose their race.

The two didn't argue for once on whom won, and Ash kind of forgot who actually did, so Iris would probably remind him when the time comes. For now he had something on his mind, being on a certain Pokémon by the serious expression he had on, both hands behind his head at the time.

(Ash…?)

Pikachu's tired voice got him to look to his left at his once slumbered friend, although looked to be ready to nod off at some point. Ash smiles at the Electric type and quietly said. "Hey there, buddy. Did I wake you?"

Pikachu remained as he was and just raised his head, able to shake what sleep he had to stay awake for now. (Not really, you pretty much did that while you were gone. I thought I could get back to sleep on my own, but I think something is on my mind.)

It made Ash chuckle at how him and his starter Pokémon would have the same reason, though it had to have been different thoughts to make them both stay awake. "You're not the only one on that, Pikachu. Looks like our heads won't let us sleep until they're sorted, so how about we try to help each other out? You tell me yours and I'll tell you mine."

Not finding any harm in it, Pikachu shrugs in a why not way. (Who are you going to pick to fight Mienshao?)

The brown eyed young man's blinks at the question, not guessed that it was the same Pokémon on his mind, but for a different reason. "I'm not sure… I could go with Emboar, being a Fire and Fighting type he would have a good advantage with the attacks he knows. Although, Unfezant is a good choice because of her advantage in the air, and I'm not sure how Scrafty or Dewott would fair against it. Also there is you of course."

He was thankful to not been left out, though what he wanted to say next was unsure for how it was going to go after. (Would it be okay… if I battled it?)

The question caught the Trainer off guard. Normally it was left to him to make the choice on who was to battle, unless it was a serious matter like how things went when Ash faced Elesa. Right now he and Pikachu stare at each other, one waiting for an answer to the question.

Ash thought to himself on why Pikachu wanted to battle, but not a lot came and just leaves it to his Pokémon friend to answer for him. "Why the sudden decision make? Normally that's my job." Able to sound a little funny at the matter from the way the Electric type held in his laugh.

(I don't know to tell you the truth. I just have this urge to battle Mienshao and see how tough in battle it can be.) It felt like there was another reason, but Pikachu dismiss' it as perhaps nothing.

Ash thought it through for bit, knowing how Pikachu would react when his mind was made up on something. The human exhales through his nose before the Trainer gave his answer with his eyes to the sky. "Okay, pal, you got your battle… but I want to try fresh and early tomorrow."

Now it was Pikachu's turn to become confused on what he meant, being the possible mean to it is that Ash plans to wake up early to get a good head start before the others. This prompts the Pokémon to tilts his head to one side before he asks. (How fresh and early are we talking about?)

Only the reply received was a light snore from him. In other words he fell asleep before a proper answer was given. He could wake him with an electric attack, but then it would also wake the others due to the human's painful yelling, so Pikachu had no choice but to leave it to do the same. If he wishes to be fully ready for what's to come he was going to need it.

The Morning

After he manages to awaken and quietly exits the camp, Ash looks at his faithful friend on his shoulder with a smile. "You ready to do this, Pikachu?" He spoke quietly in case his voice was still in earshot to wake anyone from their peaceful slumber.

(Always.) Was all he needed to say, a fist made and a readied expression, which Ash took as what he needed to hear. Ash quietly releases Unfezant to gain the location of where she spotted their target, and she directs them in the air to the destination.

Mienshao sat on a stump as the sun continues to rise, not having anyone or anything disturb the meditation position it was in. The sound of the leaves in the trees moving by the breeze of the wind made it feel more at peace because of how calm and relaxing nature can be to it. That is until it opened its eyes at the sense of someone approaching, finding it to be the human boy from yesterday with the Pikachu.

Ash looked serious as he could with whom he planned to go up against, Pikachu being the same as he already jumps off Ash's shoulder to be ready. Unfezant wasn't to be seen, so she must be in her Poké Ball.

Mienshao remains where it was, unmoved by what this insinuated until it hears a word from either two, even a call of an attack if there was no talking.

"A one on one battle, Mienshao… My friends aren't with me and I only brought Pikachu to make it even more of a fair battle." Ash even emptied his pockets to show he had no other Poké Balls on him, except for Pikachu's own that had a lightning bolt on it, and an empty one.

First he held up one ball. "This one's Pikachu's. He doesn't use it, but it's on me for emergencies to when I need to put him somewhere for safety, which rarely happens for that case…" Next he held out the empty one.

"And this one will be yours for when I beat you. You're a strong Pokémon, Mienshao, and I don't mind having someone like you on my team. But I rather battle you first to make the decision. If I win then you come with me, and if you win then I'll leave you alone and try to convince the others to do the same."

Mienshao ponders the choices it has to take. Either accept and gamble its freedom in a match and become captured if lost. Or decline and never be rid of the humans that have been mostly a bother to it since yesterday.

Being no other choice besides that, Mienshao nods to the terms and stands, ready in a stance for what is to probably be the last battle it will have with this human. The very human that intrigued this Pokémon during its battle against his Snivy, and then afterwards after her defeat.

Ash smiles at the response he received, his eyes now on his electric friend with a pumped fist. "Looks like we have a battle, buddy. You sure you're ready for this?"

To answer, Pikachu did not need to look him in the eye, he just lets off some sparks from his cheeks and give an un-seen smirk. A smirk more on who is to be his opponent rather anything else around him.

With the others

Iris was the first to awaken, her back still against the tree with Axew beside her, and a blanket that did not seem familiar that she had draped over the two. Did it happen during the night?

'Did Ash do this after we went to sleep last night?' She thought in her head, a hand to the fabric as if to test if it were real. The idea of Ash doing this sweet gesture for some reason made her go a little red.

As she continues to think, Iris did not notice Eric being awake. Giving a stretch after he got to his feet from his sleeping bag, he mumbles mostly to himself. "May have been the hard ground but that was still a good sleep none the less." Not wanting to wake anyone and had not noticed that Iris was already up.

Eric walks to the tent where the injured Pokémon were placed to make sure they were okay, a rub of his eyes first before he opens it to stick his head in. He found that they were peacefully asleep, some of them having their injuries partially gone after the work he and Cilan did on them.

He gave a thankful smile to the results and was about to leave them be, when he notices a note next to Ash's Snivy along with four Poké Balls. Out of curiosity, he takes the note and exits without any form of bother to the patients.

As he reads the note, Cilan was seen to give a yawn to the new day that has come and hoped it to be a pleasant one…

"I don't believe it!"

But he spoke too soon after the sound of Eric's loud voice was heard, immediately forgotten of the Pokémon inside the tent. Though it was Georgia that came out from the second tent, without her hat and still half asleep, wanting to find out what the noise is about.

Iris walks up to him, an unhappy look and a sleepy Axew in her arms. "Don't you know Galvantula, Excadrill, Sneasel and Snivy are still probably asleep in there?"

A yawn escapes the Dragon Busters mouth as she adds her own words into the question. "Same goes for some of us, too. Now what's got you going at this time in the morning…?" Rubbing her eyes in the process before another yawn took over.

To answer he holds a note out for one of them to take, being Cilan the one to do it and read it over. Once done his eyes widen and speaks up after it sunk into his head. "Ash has gone off to battle Mienshao and only intends to battle with Pikachu. It even says that he left his other Pokémon here so he could stick to his word."

That got Georgia to fully awaken and give the same look as Iris at what they now found out, being the reason why they pretty much yell out at the same time. "What!"

With Ash

The battle goes on, and Pikachu was sent flying into a tree by Brick Break, his opponent not holding back a thing for this battle. Same with the Aura Sphere that followed after and struck with an explosion.

"Pikachu!" Ash cries out after the impact caused by the move to his friend. Though it didn't make him lose faith in him.

"I know you can do it, Pikachu. Quick Attack!"

Per orders, Pikachu shot out of the smoke right for the defence turned Mienshao, a white trail followed right behind. Instead of a move to defend against it, the fighter gave a jump to avoid the attack.

"Use the tree to follow Mienshao!"

The Electric mouse kept up the speed and climbs a tree that was close enough to his opponent, who grabbed onto a tree trunk from a separate one. Soon the two were met eye to eye after Mienshao looks back, a glare from it met those of the same from Pikachu.

"Now use Thunder!"

Ash's command reached his ears, allowing the electricity to surround his body before it was launched at the target, who releases its hold and allowed gravity to take its toll to avoid the hit. Next a foot to the tree got the Fighting type to flip and land safely feet first onto the ground.

"Let's not give Mienshao a chance, Pikachu! Iron Tail!"

Pikachu jumps off the tree, his tail out, going white before turning to iron. He went into an aerial summersault before the strike. Mienshao was ready though, by using Brick Break to block the attack both were at a stale mate and Pikachu ends up sent away, landing on all fours.

Mienshao used speed to get up close and uses Brick Break again.

"Pikachu, dodge with Quick Attack!" Ash hurriedly exclaims.

The speed of the move may have helped evade Mienshao's own, only the Pokémon follows the created trail and immediately fires a few Aura Spheres. Two struck almost on impact, the last ahead a little from Pikachu, enough for him to get caught in and tumble into a roll face down.

Afterwards, Mienshao goes into Bounce, aimed for the targets back, making Ash yell out to his friend to at least warn him. "Look out!"

Pikachu looks back and quickly manages to roll out of the way so the outstretched leg could miss its mark, able to get on his feet in the process. Only Mienshao spun round low and struck with a swift Brick Break, which sent Pikachu crashing to the ground in a daze.

"Are you okay, Pikachu?!"

Eric remained behind to look after the Pokémon while Cilan and the girls went off to look for Ash, being fortunate to come across Unfezant before they set off so she could lead them to him. Her Poké Ball being on her, to which Cilan offers to take and be returned once they find their friend.

"That kid sure knows how to pull the right stupid move such as this!" Iris quietly says. Axew held onto her shoulder the best he could as the three humans ran to their destination.

"Gutsy if you ask me. Waking up before us to get an early start in catching that Mienshao? Pretty bold if he knew how mad you were going to be in the end if he manages to catch it! He probably went without breakfast, too!" Georgia loudly said, slightly behind on the right, a grin given to the girl that wasn't seen till Iris looks back with a glare.

"Aren't you mad at this also? We are after the same Pokémon last time I checked!"

The Dragon Buster shrugs, her head moved away to no longer make eye contact. "If he succeeds then I will be… Plus, last I checked you were after Mienshao so I wouldn't be able to get it. My idea for it was use it against weak, inexperienced and certain, Dragon Trainers!"

Iris almost exploded to ask what she meant by that, when Cilan yells back to them. "I think we're getting close! I believe I hear a battle going on!"

Both became unsure on whether it was the truth, or that he needed something to distract them from their argument for a bit. But the sound of a faint explosion and sight of thin rising smoke got their attention. Cilan saw it too and quietly sighs in relief, thankful that he would avoid being yelled at for the lie he had to make. 'Thank you, good timing.' The three picked up the pace and were nearly there now.

Ash stares hard at the tree Pikachu was hit against once again, this time struck with an Aura Sphere that exploded on impact, further damaging the tree, able to block his view on the condition of his friend.

Mienshao was still ready for more, arms still poised for whatever move was to come next. Although after the Electric type hadn't emerged from the made smoke, the wonder of him being knocked out was a possibility in its mind right now, and it slowly began to lower both arms.

His fist clenched, teeth shown tightly gritted and a bead of sweat making itself known, as Ash hoped Pikachu was still okay. "Pikachu!"

(Come here!) Said scratched up Pokémon shot out of the dissipating smoke and was already in a Quick Attack right for the surprised fighter.

'My guard was down!' Mienshao thought, eyes wide before it goes into a jump again to avoid contact. Only Pikachu still follows after a leap onto a tree, a fast climb until he was at the length and a launch off to land an uncalled for Iron Tail to its back.

Ash was even caught off guard himself by what happened, even when Pikachu used a couple attacks without his says so. But then again, this was Pikachu we're talking about, and if it seems the right thing to do then who is he to judge… besides he might ask him later on, on what got him to come up with that tactic.

"Let's do this by the book now, Pikachu. Thunder!" He spoke with encouragement, a big smile for further support and a raised pumped fist.

The attack fired and hit its mark, but Mienshao disappears, suddenly a bunch more took random spots to surround the Electric Pokémon, able to bring confusion on which one was real.

"Oh great, Double Team… Quick Attack won't be able to get them all with the way they're spread, same with Thunder… Only have one shot at this before Mienshao makes the next move." Ash could only ponder his choice for the moment, knowing he may not have long.

Pikachu was the same, head going in separate directions to see where the real one would pop out from. Since it took to long to decide, each one moved their arms into position, a sphere of aura being created, then they all disappear to leave only one behind.

"On your left, buddy! Use your Thunder to block it!"

But all Pikachu had time for was look to find the projectile launched, meeting it point blank with the explosion he got caught in shortly after.

"No!" Ash shouts for what he just saw.

Mienshao gave a final look, assumed it to be over by how close the attack was. It only got a half turn in before an electric attack shoots out from the smoke and shocks it without fail. A slight stumble was given in its step from that, a paw to its head from the unexpected attack. 'That was different.'

The smoke not long clears for Pikachu to be revealed, injured and close to being tired from the breath he was losing, though a bit of a shaky smile. Ash knew he had to end this quick after the relief settled in on his friend being all right, sort of.

"I know you can hang in there, pal, so keep it up! After this, how about we try and get a big breakfast out of Cilan for the hard work made?"

The thought of it sounded good to his ears, able to nod to it, until both Trainer and Pokémon became confused on what happened next with their opponent. It looked to be in the same boat as Pikachu but not by much, both eyes closed for some reason as Mienshao walks away from his opponent for some reason to a safe distance.

When turned back to face him, Mienshao's eyes snap open to reveal that it had actually had enough of this. Aura surrounds the body to concentrate into the slowly cupped paws, creating a sphere that seems a bit brighter than it should, able to give off a little more power, its eyes glowing blue also.

Ash knew what was to happen, but couldn't figure out where all that power came from to generate that much aura, even if Mienshao was that strong. He didn't have time to think it all through since the battle was still in progress and time was of the essence.

"Pikachu, you okay to give Mienshao a taste of your Electro Ball?" Ash might already know the answer to the question by the confident smile he gave, to which was confirmed by the affirmed nod along with a response.

(I think I can get a good one going to match that. Just say the word, Ash.)

Though he was happy to hear it, Ash couldn't help but worry on how his friend would be during or after this. Never the less, he believed in Pikachu to pull through and would probably regret it if Ash called the whole thing off right now.

He clenched his right hand then opens it after his arm was outstretched. "Okay then, if you're sure. Let it rip, Pikachu! Electro Ball!"

Electricity charged his body before the mouse jumps as high as gravity would allow, conjuring up the electrical filled sphere at his tail, putting in as much as he could to match the Aura Sphere now properly aimed for him.

Both launched their attacks when readied with as much force as they could, allowing the two to eventually collide in an explosion, letting out sparks of both bolts and aura all around along with a bit of force.

Ash shields himself from the debris and created light show, same with Mienshao. When it came to be safe to have a look on what was happening, Mienshao could only focus its eyes to try and see what seems to be a black spec, and it was getting a lot closer…

The whole thing came to an end and smoke parted from where the attacks came into contact, some scorch marks were on the ground, although it would've been more if it had happened closer down.

Ash's brown eyes immediately shot to where Pikachu would be, only for him not to be there. He then did the same to Mienshao and came to a surprise, seeing the Pokémon on its back, with Pikachu face down behind it, and both of them seemed to be knocked out.

The Kanto Trainer only stood there frozen, un-believed and yet confused on what happened. 'When did Pikachu get…?'

"Ash, what are you waiting for?!" The sudden yell got the raven haired young man to snap out of it. He looks to where the voice came from behind him to find it belonged to Cilan. Iris and Georgia were there, stunned at what they were witnessing after the recovery from the after effects, and Unfezant stood in front of the girls.

"Guys?"

Cilan wasn't going to let the opportunity slip by no matter who it was to do it. "Ash! Catch Mienshao while you now have the chance!"

Ash realised what he meant and immediately went for the empty ball and enlarged it. "Go, Poké Ball!" The ball was tossed, struck the downed Pokémon and opens up to suck it inside after being covered in red. The ball then hits the ground and vibrates, the red light blinking in and out in the process… until eventually it came to a complete stop, the capture being complete.

Instead of going for the Poké Ball and celebrate, Ash quickly runs to Pikachu to see if he was all right, followed behind by Cilan for help in medical. The battle gave the electric mouse a fair amount of damage, especially from the Aura Sphere's he took, and exhaustion must've taken its toll since he went through all that.

"Pikachu, are you okay? Say something!" Ash says in complete concern at the Pokémon, whose eyes were closed. Cilan was at his side for a closer look to see if there were any serious injuries. Thankfully he didn't see any.

"It's all right, Ash. Looks like the battle took a lot out of him and Pikachu is just exhausted… I have to say, that was one of the riskiest battles I have ever seen."

"How much did you see? You three couldn't have been here for the whole thing since I left way before you did." Ash said, his eyes averted from Pikachu to the thinking expression of his green haired companion.

"Fortunately Unfezant wasn't that far and she guided us here. We might not have caught it all, but we were here for the finale. That Electro Ball and Aura Sphere clash was real something, and Pikachu took advantage of it from the position he was in."

Ash didn't quite get what he meant by that and simply puts it as. "Huh?"

"What I mean is, Pikachu may have put a lot in that Electro Ball, though it seems he kept enough energy to pull off whatever he used to knock Mienshao down." Cilan explains clearly, arms folded and his thought being a reasonable one with the way things turned out.

After it went through his brain Ash gives a nod, now understood to what he meant before he looks to see Pikachu tiredly open his eyes. It made the Trainer smile at sight of him being okay, despite not being a hundred percent. "Hey there, buddy…"

Pikachu returns the smile, being able to keep his eyes open for long now. (Did we get it?)

Ash smile did not give as he answers the question. "We sure did. Inside the Poké Ball even as we speak." Normally in this case Ash would go into what he calls his trademark cheer for catching a new member, but with Pikachu like this in his arms he didn't want to take the risk with the excitement.

Seeing this, Cilan places a hand on Ash's shoulder, able to get his attention for him to say. "Don't worry; once we get back to Eric he can fix Pikachu up. Yesterday he and I got to talking while you, Iris and Georgia were gone, and I found out he has some home made medicine that might help with Pikachu's condition."

Thankful for the info, Ash nods to Cilan before looking back to his friend in his arms. "You'll be better in no time, pal."

The injured Pikachu heard it with his own ears and nods in understanding, his eyes becoming heavy before he went in an unconscious state, being Cilan the one to speak. "Guess Pikachu was more tired than we thought. But he'll be fine once we get him back."

Iris and Georgia were still where they were, Axew being in his Trainers arms, Unfezant just leaving them to join the guys to see if all was okay.

Iris starts off to say, her eyes on them than the redheads. "Looks like we both lost the challenge… Although it was a good battle with what left of it we saw, and I hope Pikachu will be okay."

Georgia remained still, arms folded and seems to be serious about whatever went through her head that her eyes were trained on the boys, mostly on Ash. She didn't even seem to be at attempt to cause trouble for the Dragon Trainer because of it that it even got Iris and Axew to look at her.

"Georgia, are you okay? Are you even listening to a word?"

Iris' words went ignored, especially when Georgia went forward towards them, picking up Mienshao's Poké Ball along the way before she made it behind Ash and Cilan. "Here…"

"Huh?"

Both heads look back to see who it was, Ash's gaze trailed down to the ball in her hand. Giving a smile of gratitude, he reached out to take it, only for the ball to disappear in a white light.

Cilan scratches the top of his head to what just happened. "Looks like you have to call Professor Juniper to see if Mienshao is okay, since it gained its own damage from the battle, too."

Ash agreed with him on that, though looks back to Georgia because of the expression she had, being in deep thought from the looks of her eyes being closed. "Is something wrong, Georgia?"

After being sure that her decision was final to herself, she opens her eyes to stare into Ash's own for what she was about to ask him. "Is it okay if I come to Kanto with you?"

"What!" This took both males by surprise, frozen in place, two pairs of eyes open and mouth's close to being agape. Their reactions did not faze Georgia, merely annoyed her cause Ash wasn't giving her a reply after some seconds pass that she placed a hand on her hip.

"Well? Can I or not? I've pretty much been to where I can think of around Unova, and Kanto might be a good start to go for new scenery. Is that what you were waiting for to hear?"

Her reason made the native of said region slowly shake his head, finally able to snap out of it to be able to speak. "Sorry, it's just you caught me a bit off guard with that… Sure, I don't see why not. Was that the personal decision you told us about yesterday while we were eating?"

Georgia shrugs at the question, being part of it. "One half yes, the other was to do with the whole Mienshao thing. You sure you can put up with me being with Dragon Girl for the time being?"

Seeing a little problem of the matter on being alone on the way to Kanto with two girls who are rivals with one another, Ash couldn't help but still be the nice guy that he was and accept it. "I think me and Pikachu can manage. Isn't that…? Oh, right, I should get Pikachu to Eric. Come on!"

Ash immediately went into a run in the direction to where the camp was, not caring if anyone was behind since his electric friends health was top priority. Although he did stop when he came to Iris, the girl being frozen like a statue for some reason in the state she was in.

After hearing what her rival asked Ash, plus his answer, her brain practically came to a stop, eyes being wide and mouth agape as much as it could go. Axew tried to snap her out of it, only he came to failure and eventually gave up, being different than what happened yesterday.

"Are you okay, Iris?" The Trainer asks, more out of question than concern, seeing as there didn't seem to be any physical harm done to her.

The cogs inside her head seem to have started to move by the way she snaps out of it. Her eyes blink to show for it, except her timing may was off after realization came to her and she spoke one word for them all to hear.

"WHAAAAATTTT!"

Unfortunately for Ash and Axew they almost lost their hearing due to the loudness at being the closest. Georgia, Cilan and Unfezant covered their ears and wince, while Pikachu was slightly disturbed. Even startled and frightened Pokémon in the vicinity either flew from their perches/nests in the trees or scurried away to a safer place, as a young human couldn't believe what she heard was no dream. Because if it were then she wishes to awake from the nightmare she had endured and hopefully laugh about it later on. But it wasn't, therefore no laughter is to come for her, just the probable misfortune for the road ahead.

End of Chapter 2!

Preview for Chapter 3:

Ash's POV: What's to come for our new adventure? Time to find out!

Alright, we made it to Driftveil City! Now all we have to do is… huh? Oh, no, Iris and Georgia are at it again. Maybe some rest at the Pokémon Center might help before we take a look around the city.

Hmm, looks like Driftveil has its own troublemaker, might be a good way to test out my new team member in battle. Also is that…? What's that? Professor Oak wants me to call him? I wonder what for… No way, is that!

Heh, a lot of surprises are in store for us all with what's to come next time. Hope you all stick around till then!

Pokémon: Destiny Relic Hunters- 3: Surprises to come & the Driftveil troublemaker!


As a reminder, I like to work to the plot, so be patient and enjoy what's to come.

Also I'll look over this chapter again some day for any mistakes I missed. Any blanks that you may have noticed in this chapter, like what happens to Eric afterwards, will be revealed in the next chapter. Plus if you think Mienshao is a bit strong than it should, then there is a reason for it other than what it went through in its past, just not going to reveal it until the right chapter comes.

If you're a reader of Empathic Adventures, adopted by eclispe2025, then you should give a read of the last chapter that was made by the assistant author Perfect Oblivion and let him know what you think after the time he spent on it.