After Ash's loss, against Bianca's father, the young trainer returns to Pallet town. Afterwards he disappeared for three years without a trace, yet a mysterious Aura-Guardian appears and takes down Team Rocket by himself. After this, he comes to Unova, trying to enter the league. What adventures will Kanto's Guardian face until he can take on the league-battles.
Pokémon doesn't belong to me.
"Ambiga Town", said Cilan while the group walked along a canal. He looked around. "It looks quite nice, not really how one would imagine a town where a contest like the Clubsplosion is held." "You sure got that right", agreed Iris, even Paul nodded. Ash didn't listen though. Ever since they'd set off in Mistralton City he'd been running through a list of his Fighting-Types, wondering who to use.
Infernape had come to him first, mostly because he's one of the Fighting-Types he'd used the most and was from another region, which could give him advantage. He'd dismissed the idea fast though, Infernape wanted, when they faced Paul again, to battle Electivire and Ash wasn't about to take that from his friend. The chance that they'd battle Paul in the tournament was there after all. He'd dismissed Gallade and Heracross too. Both had just recently had battles in gyms and while recovered, there were many other Fighting-Types he had that hadn't fought for anything big yet. Scrafty and Emboar fell out too, both had expressed the desire to rather battle in gyms more than enough.
That left Ash with the choice between his two remaining Fighting-Types.
"What's wrong Ash?", asked Iris suddenly. The teen looked up, to find his three companions looking at him worriedly. "It's nothing", answered the teen and waved him off. "I just still don't know who to use in the tournament."
"Still?", asked Iris surprised.
Paul raised an eyebrow and Ash explained: "I did narrow it down to two, I just don't know."
"Well, what are your two choices?", asked Cilan.
"Cilan?! Iris?! Is that really you?" Ash glanced back to see who'd interrupted him, to gasp. A teen around Ash's age with auburn hair ran up to them. "Pika?", asked Pikachu. "Stephen how great to see you", called Iris. The teen faltered and sighed: "And still they don't get my name right." Then he perked up. "Still! Great to see you two. But Cilan, a year ago you said you wouldn't start travelling again anytime soon."
Cilan chuckled and answered: "Someone changed my mind."
"Oh really, who?"
"That would be me", called Ash, gaining the attention of one of his old rivals.
The teen turned around and his eyes widened. "Ash?!"
"Nice seeing you again Stephan", greeted Ash with a grin. "Pika Pikachu!"
"And still you…wait a second! You got my name right!", exclaimed Stephan wide-eyed. Though knowing what the other teen meant, Ash had too much fun teasing him, so he asked: "What do you mean, got it right? I always called you that." Stephan gaped at him, then shook his head and boasted: "No matter! You guys are here for the Clubsplosion too?"
"We sure are", answered Iris with a grin.
Behind Ash, Paul cleared his throat and the teen turned back to Stephan. "Hey Stephan. There's someone I want you to meet." He stepped to the side and introduced: "Stephan this is Paul, I know him from Sinnoh. Paul, Stephan, he's a trainer like us." Paul nodded his greeting while Stephan grinned: "The more the merrier uh?"
"You got that right", laughed Ash when suddenly…
"Look Out! Look Out! Look Out! Look Out!"
Ash only had time to groan, then someone already rammed into him. The tackle had enough force to push him into the canal, drenching him with water…again.
"You okay Ash?", called Iris down to him. "Fine, fine", sighed Ash, got up, sat a dripping Pikachu back onto his shoulder and climbed back onto the street. Bianca, as red as the last time this had happened, didn't apologize profusely, luckily, but did inform them that she was also here because of the Clubsplosion. And so the group of, now, six humans and two Pokémon set off to Don George's battle-stadium.
They reached the line and Ash couldn't help but growl. A certain dirty-blond-haired trainer stood there. And yet Ash took a deep breath, reminded himself of what he'd learned about remaining clam while training to be an aura guardian and said: "Hey Trip!"
The trainer turned around and smirked. "Why hello. You're here to enter too?"
"We sure are", answered Iris, and although she sounded cheerful Ash could detect a hint of anger in her voice .Fact was, every one of his friends but Stephan, who hadn't been present in Nimbasa City, seemed angry. Ash himself hadn't forgotten the damage Trip's Serperior had inflicted on his own, but he was willing to keep a neutral relationship, if Trip would allow that too.
"With which Pokémon are you going to enter Trip?", asked Bianca. Trip smirked and threw a Pokéball. "This one." His Pokémon appeared and Ash frowned. It sure had a strong aura. He pulled out his Pokédex. "Conkeldurr, the Muscular Pokémon and the evolved form of Gurdurr. Conkeldurr uses concrete pillars like canes, tossing them with ease." Ash narrowed his eyes in thought. It sure was strong, but he was certain both of his possible fighters could take it, which didn't help him at all.
"What are you guys going to use?"
"Excadrill", answered Iris.
"Simisage", answered Cilan.
"Emboar", answered Bianca.
"Sawk", answered Stephan.
Paul shook his head, he wouldn't tell, although Ash had the sneaking suspicion that the Sinnoh-Native planned on using his Hariyama. Ash remained silent as well, then he heard it. He doubted anyone but him and Pikachu heard it, but it made his decision.
"Whatever Ash uses, it's from the boonies or trained there, so it won't be hard."
Oh Ash would enjoy wiping this annoying smirk of his face. With a grim grin he picked up the pen and wrote down the Pokémon he'd use. Maybe it was a little mean to use his third-strongest Pokémon, but it had been either him or Primeape, who had won the P1 Grand Prix, so the Kanto-Pokémon had at least a bit experience with such tournaments.
"So Ash, who did you chose?", asked Cilan.
"If I don't battle Trip in the first round", answered Ash while they walked into the stadium, "I'll tell you."
He glanced at his friends. Bianca and Stephan looked confused, Iris and Cilan seemed to contemplate who he could've entered, while Paul had a small smirk on his face. Ash looked at him with a look that said 'You figured it out'. Paul merely smirked back at him and shrugged his shoulders, which Ash interpreted as 'I'm pretty sure'.
"Well, well, well, if it isn't our wannabe Dragon-Master."
Ash heard Iris groan and turned around. And true to his believes, there in the Arena stood Georgia. "Georgia?!", exclaimed Iris.
"So you're in this tournament too", stated Georgia.
"So what if I am?!", shot Iris back.
"You'll be bowing your head in defeat before you know it. After all I am a Dragon Buster."
Iris growled angrily and Paul asked: "Ash?" The Kanto-Native was about to explain when a new voice came up. "Ah, you're entering the tournament too Cilan?" The group looked back once more and Ash found a small smile on Cilan's face while the Gym-Leader shook his head.
"Good day to you too Burgundy, and yes, what about you", greeted Cilan.
Burgundy gave a pompous nod and answered: "And this time I'll defeat you. So don't you dare lose till you battle me."
Cilan ignored the jab completely, something Ash had always admired him for, and asked: "By the way. Has your rank gone up since we last saw each other." Ash wasn't certain, but he believed to see a small evil glint in Cilan's eyes.
"I'm still a C-Class", admitted Burgundy, then shot up and screamed: "Look I've been too busy battling to find the time to attend courses."
"Cilan never accused her of anything, or am I mistaken?", asked Paul silently.
Ash shook his head and answered: "I'll fill you in on what happened between him and Burgundy and Iris and Georgia later, alright?"
Paul nodded, accepting that answer. Suddenly the crowd in the arena started cheering and, with a lot of words from the announcer, Don George appeared. He did little more than introducing the tournament and telling everyone what the price was. Ash knew most of it, so he turned the man out and conversed with Paul about battle-strategies for the other competitors. They both did know they'd face each other eventually, but still had no idea which Pokémon the other had chosen right now.
"And now for our Match-Ups!", shouted the announcer. "And the first Match-Up is…Stephan VS Edmund! Second Match-Up we have…Flora VS Cilan! Third Match-Up…Angus VS Bianca! Fourth Match-Up…Burgundy VS Iris! Fifth Match-Up…Betty VS Getty! Sixth Match-Up…Gail VS Georgia! Seventh Match-Up…Montgomery VS Paul! And our eighth Match-Up is…Trip VS Ash!"
Ash shared a smirk with Paul. Exactly what they'd hoped for. They knew of Trip's Conkeldurr and Montgomery's Throh, but those two had no idea what awaited them. Ash had been a trainer more than two years longer than Trip, although it had taken him a few weeks after his return to Pallet to realise his mistakes, and Paul…well, Paul was Paul. He only lost to those that were really good.
Ash was pretty proud to be in that group.
"Trip's gonna regret everything he ever said about Kanto", promised Ash and Paul added: "And it is about time for someone to throw Montgomery off his high horse."
"LET THE BATTLES BEGIN!", shouted Don George suddenly.
Both trainers fell silent and watched the battles. Stephan had a few problems in the beginning, but finally did overpower Edmund's Seismitoad. How in the world Edmund managed to call for rain when he battled, Ash would probably never now, but sending out a Seismitoad with the ability Swift Swim into a battle in the rain was smart.
Cilan's Simisage practically wiped the floor with Flora's Gothorita and Bianca triumphed over Angus' Simisage with her Emboar.
The battle between Burgundy and Iris was interesting to say the least. Burgundy's Dewott certainly had a lot of power, but her evaluating skills hadn't gotten better at all. In the end, unsurprising for Ash and Paul, Iris and Excadrill had pulled through, despite having a disadvantage in the typing.
Betty won against Getty, during the whole match Ash and Pikachu had discussed if those two were related or not, and Georgia had pulled a win with her Bisharp against a Druddigon. And now, it was Paul's turn.
"Now it's time for our seventh battle! Paul VS our long-time Champion Montgomery!"
Ash saw that those two, due to their constant winning, were a little too full of themselves. A glance at Paul and Hariyama told him the Sinnoh-Native had seen the same and that he'd use it gladly.
"Hey Ash, what kind of Pokémon is Paul using?", asked Iris. "That's a Hariyama", answered Cilan. Ash pulled out his Pokédex and held it to Iris and Georgia. "Hariyama, the Arm Thrust Pokémon. Hariyama is the evolved form of Makuhita. When tensing its body, its muscles become hard as stone."
"We'll see how strong Montgomery is", said Stephan. "This is gonna be fun."
"Oh he is strong alright", answered Ash.
Everyone looked at him surprised, then Bianca asked: "I thought Paul was your friend?"
At this the teen grinned at argued: "I said Montgomery is strong, not that Paul will lose."
"BEGIN!", shouted the referee, but nothing happened. Neither Paul nor Montgomery were making a move yet. Finally Paul moved and ordered: "Hariyama start this off with Arm Thrust!" Hariyama shot forward, surprisingly fast for such a big Pokémon. "Dodge it", called Montgomery smugly.
And dodge Throh did. Not one Arm Thrust hit, yet Paul just started smirking. "Now Throh! Answer with Circle Throw!" Throh rushed forward and Paul seemed to tell Hariyama something, yet no one heard what. Throh closed his arms around Hariyama as much as he could and completed the attack. The impact of Hariyama hitting the floor shook the whole arena, and yet the smirk stayed on Paul's face
"What are you smirking about? I just landed a hit!", exclaimed Montgomery.
Paul's smirk grew more pronounced and he answered: "You did, but it was Fighting-Type hit and Hariyama softened his impact with his hands. Also, take a good look at Throh, he doesn't look so well." At this everyone looked at Throh, who was on one knee, grimacing.
Ash's eyes widened when he got it and he burst out in laughter. "Genius!", shouted the Aura Guardian. "WHAT DID YOU DO?!", cried Montgomery. "Ash if you would?", asked Paul loudly, then shouted: "Arm Thrust again Hariyama, but power it up with Thunder Punch and Poison Jab!" Gasps sounded from all around and Ash glanced back, to see realisation on the faces of Cilan and Georgia.
"Genius", called Don George from his position, repeating Ash and relieving him of the duty to explain what happened. "Paul allowed Throh to complete the circle throw so Hariyama could use Poison Jab on close. Throh is poisoned."
All the while Hariyama continued to hammer away at Throh with his combination, not even bothered by the bruises on his right shoulder. They most likely came from his impact on the floor.
"Throh use Superpower!" Throh leaped away from Hariyama's attack and glowed an eerie blue, before he rushed forward, his fist meeting Hariyama's stomach. The bigger Fighting-Type grimaced and lost a few feet ground, but other than that stood as unmovable as Ash's Snorlax would have. Mind you, Snorlax was a Normal-Type, but definitely heavier than Hariyama.
"Seismic Toss", ordered Montgomery when Throh staggered from the poisoning. The Champion had grown desperate. "Let it come, then Force Palm, give it all you got", ordered Paul.
Hariyama looked at the charging Throh and drew an arm back, white glowing covering it. The second Throh made a grab for Hariyama, it thrust its arm forward and directly in Throh's face. The attack had so much force behind it that Throh was thrown off his feet and against the wall behind Montgomery, who stared in utter shock.
"Throh is unable to battle! Hariyama wins!", shouted the referee after a few seconds of staring. It was silent for a few more seconds, shock still lingering within most, before everyone burst out in cheers. Paul simply walked up to his Fighting-Type, petted his arm and gave a nod. Hariyama nodded back, then was recalled. "Wow! Paul that was amazing", exclaimed Iris one he'd rejoined the group.
Paul shrugged and answered: "This guy was bound to lose. Being Champion for this long made him careless and full of himself, it was an easy win."
"But…Ash didn't you say he was strong?", asked Bianca confused.
Ash looked over to where Montgomery slumped out of the arena and answered: "He is, they both are, but like Paul said, they lost because they've been at the top too long, they lost because they were careless, because they started to believe no one could beat them."
"In raw strength, Throh could've certainly matched Hariyama", admitted Paul. "This battle was more about the attitude of trainer and Pokémon than their raw strength."
"I understand", murmured Cilan. "Paul experimented with the usual recipe of this tournament and turned it into something new, something that was certainly not Montgomery's taste." Ash nodded, though he saw Iris roll her eyes, and made his own way to the battle field. He was up against Trip now.
"And now we have our last battle of this round! It's battle number eight! Trip VS Ash!"
"Ready to lose?", asked Trip and held Conkeldurr's Pokéball up.
Ash unclipped his own from his belt and answered: "You wish!" And in unison, they threw their Pokéballs.
"Time to shine my friend!"
The Pokéballs snapped open and many people gasped at the sight of Ash's fighter. Trip himself had taken a step back in surprise. Because kneeling in front of Ash, glaring at Conkeldurr, was a certain Jackal who expressed such an Aura of raw Power that even Conkeldurr looked unsure for a second. "Meet one of my strongest Fighter's Trip", introduced Ash with a grin. "Lucario use Aura Sphere!"
Ash gave the command without giving Trip a chance to recover his cool. Lucario shot up from his position and blasted the azure sphere at Conkeldurr. Conkeldurr pulled his concrete pillars together to block the attack. It worked. "Not well enough", commented Lucario to only Ash.
Ash sent his question with his Aura and Lucario responded: "You may not see it Master, I do. There are cracks on the pillars now." The Aura Guardian nodded in understanding, then shouted: "Lucario spin away!" Lucario's attention returned to his opponent just in time. He spun away, narrowly avoiding the pillars Conkeldurr had swung at him while using Strength.
"Lucario Aura Sphere once more!", ordered Ash. Not even his friends knew all of Lucario's moves and Ash intended to keep it like that a little longer. Only when Aura Sphere wasn't an option anymore, he would switch. Lucario thrust his arm out and a small Aura Sphere hit Conkeldurr's unprotected side. Before Trip or Conkeldurr had time to react, Lucario had sprinted away already.
He and Ash both knew staying near this opponent was no good idea. "Look at the speed of this Lucario!", commented the announcer. Ash glanced at him, to frown. The calculating look Don George had on Lucario was unnerving. As if the man was searching for something. A large crash snapped Ash back to focus and he looked to the field, to breathe out. Lucario had managed to avoid another Strength, this one stronger.
"Master?", questioned Lucario. All of Ash's Pokémon had learned to act on their own accord when Ash wasn't fast enough, but this time it was different. Lucario could sense something unnerved his trainer. "Sorry Lucario", answered the teen, silent enough for only the Jackal to hear. "But I don't like the way Don George looks at you."
Lucario himself glanced to the man shortly, then shuddered and answered: "Me neither Master, let us end this battle soon."
Ash nodded and ordered: "Aura Sphere again and again Lucario. Break those pillars." Lucario nodded, clasped his paws together in front of his body and every two second an Aura Sphere shot forth, hitting the pillars Conkeldurr hid behind. After the fifth hit, the Cracks were strong enough for even the audience to see.
Ash couldn't hide a smirk. Lucario wasn't his third-strongest Pokémon for nothing. He came right after Pikachu and Charizard. Suddenly it happened. With a loud bag and much dust the pillars burst apart and Ash ordered: "Slide through and end this with Sky Uppercut!"
Lucario rushed forward and into the smoke. The second it disappeared, he'd arrived in his position directly in front of Conkeldurr. The Pokémon wend wide-eyed at the sight of Lucario so close to him, but before it could react in any other way, Lucario had rammed a bluish-white-glowing fist right into its chest and sent it flying. The Pokémon crashed down, but wasn't out yet. Impressive considering how strong Lucario was.
"Conkeldurr use Stone Edge!", ordered Trip. He sounded panicked now. He knew that Ash was winning this battle. Conkeldurr groaned, but attacked with Stone Edge.
"Lucario Aura Sight! Evade them, then Aura Sphere!" Lucario nodded at him, then closed his eyes. The crowd gasped at that, and gasped again when they watched him moving through the small spaces between the stones fluidly. Ash smirked. They hadn't trained with the methods Sir Aaron and his Lucario had used for nothing. Once Lucario was through, his eyes snapped open and he clasped his paws together, before drawing them apart. Between them appeared an Aura Sphere, bigger than usually and far stronger.
And yet while Lucario looked calm on the outside, it was different on the inside. With each move the Jackal made Don George's gaze intensified, which unnerved the Pokémon greatly. He wanted this battle to end.
The Aura Sphere shot forward and hit Conkeldurr straight. The Pokémon cried out, then fell limp. "Conkeldurr is unable to continue. The winner is Lucario." Lucario relaxed and breathed out, before he grimaced and grabbed his right upper arm.
"You okay?", asked Ash. Lucario nodded and answered: "Just a scrape." Ash, accepting the answer, grinned suddenly and pulled his friend into a hug. "Great work Lucario. You showed them what you got." Lucario smiled at him, then frowned and glanced at Trip. He just recalled Conkeldurr and left. "It's going to take a lot of losses for him to understand what training Pokémon is really about", stated the Pokémon. Ash shook his head and argued: "Let's worry about Trip later and get you patched up."
At this Lucario nodded thankfully and they and the rest of their group set off for the Pokémon Centre. Stephan asked Ash eagerly about how he trained Lucario for the Jackal to be so fast and Powerful while Bianca annoyed the Jackal like she'd annoyed all the other Fighting-Types. My feeling their muscles. Ash really didn't understand what it was with her and her quirks, but told Lucario to just ignore her.
It took a while to get all the Pokémon patched up, but once that was done Ash and Lucario left the Pokémon Centre. Pikachu had stayed to spend Axew some company, to get some training done.
That the sun had already set didn't matter.
The two started to spar, when after a while…
"I thought you would be here."
Pokémon and Trainer froze in their positions, Lucario's knee was only an inch from Ash's stomach, to stare at Don George surprised. How had they not sensed him coming. Ash narrowed his eyes and asked: "What exactly is it with you and Lucario. We both saw you staring at him during the battle." Don George smirked slightly and answered: "I just wanted to welcome his majesty into our town by myself."
His smirk broadened when Ash and Lucario gaped at him, one thought running through their heads. How with Arceus does he know that?!
I get that some of you probably wonder now...HOW CAN LUCARIO BE SO STRONG?
Yeah, i know Trip had Conkeldurr before Ash even caught Riolu, but you also have to remember that 1st: Riolu was already a super-powerful Riolu with Aura-Sphere while Ash travelled in Sinnoh and 2nd: He and Ash trained many months together to Master their Aura.