Introduction: Well, here we are at last. This is a story that I've been planing to do for months now. I started working on the outline I think back when I was doing the Noir Mask Trilogy. So you can probably imagine how much I've been looking forward to getting it started. Back in Scourge of Galactic I only focused on the Team Galactic encounters and skipped over the gyms all together. This story is different, this time I'll be doing it all. All the gym battles, all the villain encounters, and some other stuff. Just think of this as a new version of the anime (which is what this series has been from the beginning, really). Now because of the sheer length of this story, I'll probably only update it once a week and use the rest of the time for other stories, some Pokemon related, others not. But then there'll probably be weeks where I do more than one chapter a week, and others where I don't touch the story at all. So for now just sit back and enjoy the ride.

Disclaimer: I do not own Pokemon.


Prologue

Misty awoke to the light of the sun shinning through the window of her room. She slowly sat up and looked at the clock on the clock on the nightstand next to the right side of her bed, it read 7:00 AM. Misty then yawned and stretched before getting out of bed to start another day. As she began to walk towards the bathroom attached to her room and remove the blue loose-fitting t-shirt that she had been using for a pajama top, Misty glanced into the full-length mirror on the inside of her open closet door and noticed the fairly large burn scar in the middle of her upper back. For a moment the scar brought back the memories of when she was shot in the back by the energy weapon of Cyrus, the leader of Team Galactic.

Two years had passed since that horrible incident that almost resulted in Misty's death, and in that time the young man who had since become her boyfriend, Ash Ketchum, had put his journey as a Pokemon Trainer on hold to focus more on honing his skills as an Aura Guardian. It was Ash's way of dealing with the horrible events that had taken place two years before. Misty stayed by Ash of course, and as a result they had been staying on the second floor of the Ecruteak City Gym so Ash could do some of his training at the Tin Tower. And Ash and Misty's relationship had grown since the incident from two years before. When Ash wasn't training he and Misty would usually be seen spending a good deal of time together, and it even seemed lately as though Ash was slowly getting over his trauma.

A few minutes later, Misty had finished getting dressed in a blue and white-striped t-shirt, denim shorts, and pink jacket. She checked herself in the mirror one last time to make sure her long orange hair was in place before heading out the door downstairs. Before long Misty had reached the gym's kitchen, and sitting at the counter in the middle of the room was a man with slightly long blond hair wearing a blue headband, a light-blue long sleeved shirt, and black pants. This was the Ecruteak City Gym leader, Morty.

"Good Morning Morty." Misty greeted as she entered the room.

"Good morning." Morty greeted back. "If you're looking for Ash, he's already gone to the tower."

"Did he skip breakfast again?" Misty asked.

"I believe so, yes." Morty said as he casually took a sip from his cup of tea.

"That figures." Misty sighed. "Well, I guess I'll have to bring it to him again."

"As long as you're taking Ash his breakfast, there's someone here who I'd like you to escort to the tower." Morty revealed. "He's says he's an old friend of yours."

On cue, a young man with slightly long brown hair stepped into the room. He was wearing a white lab coat over a black shirt and black pants. And right away Misty recognized just who the young man was.

"Gary Oak?" Misty said with a look of surprise.

"Yo." Gary greeted with a two-fingered salute. "Long time, no see, huh?"

"Yeah, it's good to see you again." Misty replied. "So what brings you here?"

"I came to see Ash, of course." Gary said, as if the answer was obvious. "There's something I want to talk to him about."

"I'll take you to him then." Misty said gladly.


A few minutes later, Misty was leading Gary to the tallest building in Ecruteak City, the sacred Tin Tower. In her right hand, Misty carried a large wicker basket containing food.

"You know you would've had to wait for a bit if you came a day later." Misty spoke as they walked. "Friday mornings Ash usually goes to Blackthorn City to train for a few hours."

"You know I was really surprised when my grandpa told me that Ash stopped his journey to become a Pokemon Master." Gary revealed. "I never imagined he'd do something like that. What kinda training has he been doing?"

"He's been practicing the Aura Guardian skills that he learned from Riley." Misty explained.

"And who is this Riley guy?" Gary asked. Gary's question made Misty stop in her tracks.

"Riley was a man Ash and I met when we first came to Sinnoh two years ago." Misty explained with a look of sadness on her face, though she did not turn once to face Gary. "He died saving Ash's life when he was captured by Team Galactic. Ash really looked up to Riley, and he took his death pretty hard."

"Oh… sorry I asked." Gary replied.

"It's okay, you didn't know." Misty said as she turned to face Gary with a reassuring smile. "Now c'mon, let's get going."

A few more minutes passed, and soon Misty led Gary into the Tin Tower. After climbing up several floors of the ancient structure the two finally reached the roof. Sitting on the roof in a cross-legged position with his eyes closed was a young man with long black hair tied back into a ponytail wearing a black t-shirt, blue vest, denim jeans, and red and white tennis shoes. This young man of course was Ash. Sitting at Ash's right, also with its eyes closed, was a yellow rodent-like creature with long pointed black-tipped ears, large red cheeks, and a lightning bolt shaped tail. This was Ash's first Pokemon, Pikachu.

Sitting at Ash's left, also with eyes closed in a cross-legged position, was another Pokemon that resembled a bipedal jackal. It was mainly blue with black paws and a black band of fur around its eyes that resembled a mask. The fur covering its torso was cream-colored, and sticking out from the center of its chest and the back of its forepaws were metal spikes. Dangling from the sides of its head were black almost water drop shaped ornaments. This was another one of Ash's loyal Pokemon, Lucario, who he had received from his mentor Riley when it was but an egg.

Sitting behind Ash and his two Pokemon with its wings folded was a very large red bird with a long yellow beak and a white underside. It had black rings around its eyes and a green band around its neck. Its tail was made of long shimmering golden feathers, and on the top of its head was a gold comb. This was the Legendary Pokemon that Ash had captured on the roof of the Tin Tower about three years before, the fabled Ho-Oh. Gary stood in awe upon seeing the great bird.

"Hey Misty." Ash greeted, not once opening his eyes. "Hi there Gary. I thought I sensed you coming into town."

"How did he…?" a surprised Gary began to ask. Misty ignored Gary and walked over to Ash. She then bent down and gave him a peck on the cheek, causing him to open his eyes.

"You skipped breakfast again you know." Misty reminded him.

"Yeah, sorry. I couldn't sleep again last night so I decided to come up here." Ash explained.

"Was it that dream again?" Misty asked with a slightly worried expression.

"Yeah, but it's nothing to worry about." Ash assured her as he got to his feet. He then turned his attention to Gary. "So Gary, I guess you're surprised to see I caught Ho-Oh, huh?"

"To be honest, I thought gramps was pulling my leg when he told me." Gary admitted as he stepped forward a bit.

"Yeah, both my mom and Professor Oak were pretty shocked the first time Misty and I flew into Pallet Town on Ho-Oh." Ash said with a small laugh. "So what brings you here Gary?"

"Well, I was kinda in the neighborhood and was wondering if you were planning on going back on your journey anytime soon." Gary explained.

"Why do you ask?" Ash inquired.

"My grandpa told me about an old collogue of his in the Unova Region and suggested I go there to work with her as an assistant for awhile." Gary explained. "He thought he could learn a lot by working with her. And I was kinda thinking it'd be a good place for you to travel."

"I've never heard of the Unova Region before." Misty interrupted.

"Yeah, I didn't hear about it until a few days ago." Gary revealed. "I'm sure it has a lot of Pokemon that none of us had ever seen before. And I'm sure it has a lot of strong trainers too. Don't you think it'd be a good challenge for you Ash?"

"You know Ash, it has been two years since what happened in Sinnoh." Misty pointed out. "It might be good for you to go on another journey."

Ash said nothing and walked to the edge of the Tin Tower roof. He then looked out over the vast landscape of Johto.

"You know, I really like coming to the roof of this tower." Ash said after a moment. "You can see almost all of Johto from up here. That's one of the reasons why I wanted to do a lot of my training here in Ecruteak. But sometimes I wonder about just what's beyond this view. There's still a lot of this world that I haven't seen yet." He then turned back to face Misty and the others. "Hey Pikachu, Lucario, Ho-Oh, what do you guys think about taking a trip to Unova?"

"Pika!" Pikachu said enthusiastically as he jumped to his feet. Lucario also got up and gave an enthusiastic sort of barking noise. Ho-Oh squawked and unfolded its wings to reveal that they were rimmed with shining green wings.

"Okay, how 'bout you Misty?" Ash asked as he turned to look at his girlfriend. "You wanna come with me?"

"You bet." Misty answered with a smile.

"Alright then," Ash said as he turned back to look out across the landscape, "let's head for the Unova Region!"


Author's Note: And, cue theme music. Okay, so a lot of this story will be about Ash trying to get over the trauma he experienced while facing Team Galactic in the last story. I'll also try and develop Ash and Misty's relationship in a few places. Now, the first chapter is already up, so feel free to move on.

Or, you can take a minute to review now and let me know what you think.