A/N: When we last left our heroes, they had succeeded in retrieving the fire crystal from both the Shadow Triads and from Trip who were working for Team Plasma and Team Electric. Now our heroes must go to Sootopolis City, in order to retrieve the Ice crystal in their second step to save the Pokémon world. What will happen on their journey to find the ice crystal? Read to find out!

Very early the next morning, Dawn headed down the stairs as quietly as she possibly could, hoping not to wake anyone up. However, once she reached the kitchen, she realized she wasn't the only one that was awake. Paul, Irene and Gary were in the kitchen, each of them drinking a cup of coffee. Dawn stared at Irene who stood up from the chair, pouring Dawn a cup and motioning her to sit down.

"Good morning Dawn!" Irene exclaimed with a smile. Dawn sat in the chair grabbing the cup of coffee with a grin.

"Thank you, Irene." Dawn beamed, taking the cup of coffee in her hand and adding milk and cream.

"So Dawn, someone seems in a good mood this morning." Gary spoke up, however he did a double take when he realized Dawn's hair wasn't down as usual—it was stuck up in a ponytail. An unkempt ponytail but a ponytail nonetheless.

"Yep, I just feel so lucky, you don't even know." Dawn smiled. "I feel as if I'm in bliss. Do you know what it's like when you believe that you finally found the one?"

"Please don't tell me you're getting married." Paul shuddered.

"I'm not getting married Paul, don't worry." Dawn assured him. "But if I was crazy enough to get married now, which I'm not—what would be the reason to say no?"

"For one thing, you're sixteen. For another thing, you're sixteen. And finally, you're sixteen!" Paul stressed.

"I just love seeing you get worked up." Dawn chuckled, leaning back in her chair slightly.

"Well, it's working." Paul sighed, looking down at his cup. "But like Gary said, you are in a good mood. What's up?"

"Oh nothing…" Dawn put the cup down on the table playing coy.

"Something happened, spill!" Irene looked at Dawn, noticing that she was giving her friend a goofy grin.

"Let me see if I can put this together." Paul raised an eyebrow, giving Dawn a smirk. "You weren't too happy last night, then Ash went to talk to you. He must have said something that made you super happy. This again brings me back to my thought that he proposed to you since he would be stupid enough to do so at his age."

"And you are so wrong Paul, but I have to admit that I love playing the guessing game with you." Dawn giggled. The guessing game came into a halt when Ash entered Irene's kitchen, staring over at his friends and giving Dawn a bright smile.

"Good morning." Ash said, leaning in to give Dawn a kiss. Dawn wrapped her arms around her boyfriend's neck, turning what was supposed to be a simple good morning kiss into something passionate. Dawn removed her lips from Ash's after a moment, nuzzling her nose against his before moving her hands to his cheeks.

"Good morning." Dawn smiled, staring into Ash's chocolate eyes. Gary's eyes widened while Paul elevated his eyebrow.

"So that's what went on last night. A lot of kissing I see." Paul sounded almost revolted.

"Oh please, you're being hypocritical." Dawn scoffed.

"And how am I being a hypocrite?" Paul questioned.

"How many times have you possibly kissed Misty, Paul?" Dawn became nosy. Paul rolled his eyes, turning back to his coffee.

"Well, I think I have a good idea on what went on last night, but since that's your business, I'll stay out of it." Gary shrugged his shoulders, looking through the paper.

"Thank you." Dawn got up from the chair, planting a kiss on Ash's cheek before leaving the room to get ready for the day. As soon as Dawn left, Paul and Gary gave Ash a smirk, letting him know that they knew everything, Ash decided to play coy, pretending he had no idea what Gary and Paul were insinuating.

"What? Why are you staring at me like that?" Ash raised an eyebrow.

"Because we know what happened between you and Dawn last night." Paul chuckled.

"Well, at least you made Dawn smile. She looked a little down yesterday." Gary added.

"All right, can we please stop talking about it?" Ash sat at the table staring over at the boys.

"All right, all right. We'll leave you alone." Gary chuckled, shaking his head in amusement. "For now."

"Now, let's get back to the mission at hand and think about how we're going to get to Sootopolis to get the Ice Crystal." Ash changed the subject. "We should probably get the others up."

"Oh, Ash." Irene piped up, causing the boys to turn their heads towards the young trainer. "I was wondering if it would be okay if my dad came along. I think he could be a good help in finding the crystals." Irene didn't notice but at the mention of Colress, the boys tensed up, giving one another wary glances.

"Um, well…" Ash looked down at the table, trying to find a way to say that Colress wasn't wanted

"Gary? Ash? Can I speak with you outside the kitchen for a moment?" Paul put his cup down on the counter, leading the other two boys out of the room. "Irene, you stay here." The boys scurried out of the kitchen, but Irene noticed that something was amiss.

"So what are we supposed to do now?" Gary sounded almost worried. "She wants Colress to come with us."

"It's simple, we just say no." Paul raised an eyebrow towards the researcher. "I'm pretty sure that Irene would understand."

"There's only one problem." Ash pointed out. "Irene's father is the one that's working with Team Plasma. If we tell her that, she won't believe us and she'll think that we just don't like him."

"Well we have to do something." Paul sounded a bit frustrated. "I don't like the idea of a guy who almost killed you coming along with us. He almost killed you once, what's going to stop him from doing it again?"

"Well, if we keep an eye on him…" Gary started to say.

"No." Paul firmly answered. "He is not coming with us and that is final. Now I have to head back into the kitchen before Irene thinks that we're talking about her again."

"But we are talking about her." Ash stated. Paul rolled his eyes and turned away, going towards the kitchen to see Irene.

"That's not the point." Paul entered the kitchen, surprised to find Irene still sitting there while petting Eevee on her head. Paul had to admit that it was almost cute that Irene was bonding with a Pokémon that wasn't hers—almost. "What are you doing?" Paul wondered.

"I was just playing with Eevee." Irene said in almost a reminiscent tone. "I wish that I had an Eevee too. They look like so much fun."

"Yeah, well there's one problem with that." Paul said. "Not all Eevee are the same. This one is super friendly but you might meet one that's disobedient to everyone around it. I would just say to keep dreaming."

"You know, your advice never helps. Instead it upsets me all the time." Irene pointed out.

"That's my job Irene, to put a damper on your dreams." Paul sarcastically quipped, sitting down in one of the chairs that was farthest from Irene.

"So can my dad come and help us find the ice crystal?" Irene asked. Paul turned towards Irene, his face expression softening.

"Irene, I don't know if that's a good idea." Paul said in a soft tone.

"And why is that?" Irene wondered. "He's a scientist and I'm sure he'd be interested in trying to figure out the key to the Electric Project."

"We have Daisy and Gary for that." Paul simply answered. "Anyway, you don't want your father getting hurt now, do you? He could get killed since this is a dangerous mission." Irene looked to Paul, feeling as if there was something he wasn't telling her, but decided to shrug it off. She had been feeling a little sensitive lately since Cress broke their friendship, so maybe what she was worrying about wasn't really anything. "So do you understand why he can't come?"

"But I promise I'll look after him Paul, I really promise." Irene sounded more determined. Paul let out a groan, seeing that Irene wasn't getting the picture.

"Irene." Paul simply said.

"But I'll look after him, please?" Irene almost begged. Paul felt a little stuck here. Irene wouldn't leave him alone unless he said yes, on the other hand he knew that Colress was working for Team Plasma and if he said yes everyone would think that he was crazy.

"Can I think about it?" Paul simply asked after a moment of contemplating.

"Fine, you can think about." Irene got up from the table, heading to leave the kitchen. "But I hope you know that this would mean a lot to me. I know we're not friends like that, but I'd be grateful if you did this one thing for me." Irene headed off and left the room, while Paul let out a sigh of defeat. He didn't want Irene to think that he was a bad guy for not letting Colress come along, but he didn't want to betray his other friends either. What was he to do?

"She asked you if he could what?" Misty exclaimed. After spending some time on trying to figure out what to do, Paul figured that Misty was the best person that he could talk to about this problem, so he asked Misty to meet him outside near the woods so they could discuss. It was only a matter of time before Misty would overreact about the whole conversation he had with Irene.

"She asked if Colress can come along." Paul repeated. "If I say no to Irene then she'll think something's up, but if I say yes to her, that's basically stabbing Ash in the back after Colress purposely tried to kill him with Magnezone."

"Well, he can't come." Misty shook her head, trying to get Paul to see it her way. "If he does come then Ash will hate you and he'll never feel safe. It's bad enough we have Dawn's dad traveling with us. Do we really want to make it more awkward and have Colress there as well?"

"Lucius isn't a threat." Paul simply stated, however Misty didn't seem to sure.

"Ash still thinks that Lucius is a threat." Misty said. "And frankly, I think he is a threat as well. I doubt anyone could turn over a new leaf like that. Not even Team Rocket could do it and they're a bunch of bumbling idiots."

"Yeah, I guess." Paul thought about it for a moment, then remembering the conversation topic. "But we have to do something about Colress. What if he does want to come to only keep an eye on Ash? Ash is the Unova Champion so he's a threat to him. I just don't want to see something bad happen to Ash because of a decision I made."

"And nothing bad is going to happen to Ash, and do you know why?" Misty questioned. Paul raised his eyebrow while Misty's face became serious. "Because Colress isn't coming. That's what you're going to do. Simple enough?" Paul nodded his head in agreement, then gave Misty a small smile.

"You're just as hard headed as I am. I like that." Paul felt his cheeks redden at his revelation.

"And I like that you like that." Misty's face turned into a smile, her cheeks reddening. Paul continued to stare at Misty, his heart beating faster and his eyes fixated on her. After a moment of silence, Paul cleared his throat and started to walk back towards the house, looking back to Misty with a grateful grin.

"Thanks for hearing me out." Paul thanked her.

"Anytime." Misty felt her cheeks turning into a darker shade of red as Paul went back into the house. As Paul walked away, he realized that he knew he liked Misty more than a friend. But after that conversation and realizing how beautiful she was inside and out, that was when he knew that he didn't just like her—he was in love with her. But as strongly as he felt for Misty, he couldn't bring himself to say those three words, in fear that she wouldn't say those words in return.

"All right, we need to be able to find Wallace once we get to Sootopolis." Alder instructed as everyone looked over to him. "So we might want to get going before it gets dark."

"And we'll get there soon enough, don't worry." Cynthia gave her friend a smirk while turning back to the teenagers. "We should get going, so let's gather everyone up and start heading out."

"Sounds like a plan to me." Alder agreed. The teenagers started heading towards the house in order to thank Karissa for her hospitality but Dawn had another plan in mind. She had to find Lucius in order to tell him that they were heading off to Hoenn at that moment. Dawn started to look around for her father, something that Ash and Pikachu noticed. Pikachu jumped off Ash's shoulder and walked over to Dawn, raising one of his ears in interest.

"Pikachu?" Pikachu looked up to Dawn, seeing that she was still looking around in confusion.

"Oh, I'm fine Pikachu." Dawn assured the electric Pokémon. "I'm just looking for my dad is all." Dawn continued to look around but when Ash realized what Dawn was looking out for, his mind began to race. He remembered that back Mt. Coronet Trip was there to attempt to take the fire crystal, but the only issue was how Trip found out about where Ash was at that moment. It didn't take long for Ash to piece everything together.

"Dawn, I figured out how Trip knew where we were!" Ash blurted out, causing Dawn to turn around with an interested look.

"How did he find out where we were?" Dawn asked, walking over to her boyfriend with interest.

"I remember Trip saying something about how he had eyes watching us in order to give him the location of the fire crystal. Dawn, your father is still working for Team Electric. He's been pretending to work for us the whole time." Dawn continued to look at Ash who seemed convinced about the whole ordeal.

"Are you sure?" Dawn didn't sound entirely convinced.

"I'm positive." Ash nodded his head, staring at his girlfriend. "How else would Trip know about where we were?" Dawn continued to process what Ash was telling her, and after a moment her eyebrows furrowed in anger. What if Ash was right? What if Lucius only joined them in order to get information on the crystals so Team Electric could swoop in and take over the world before Team Plasma had a chance? Dawn looked down and felt her fists clench up in anger, while Ash stared helplessly at her. "Are you okay?"

"Does it look like I'm okay?!" Dawn snapped, before softening her face towards him. She didn't mean to snap at him, but she was just so upset. Ash gave her a face expression that let her know an apology wasn't needed. Dawn wrapped her arms around Ash, engulfing him a hug while thinking about how her father had betrayed them. She should have known that he was never going to change. He was going to still be the same old Lucius that she met when he kidnapped her to take her to Team Electric's headquarters. Ash tightened the hug, trying to be as comforting as he possibly could while Dawn let her mind race. She now knew what she had to do. "Come on, we should probably go find the others and leave as quickly as possible." Dawn broke the hug, while still keeping her hands on his shoulders.

"I think that's a good idea." Ash agreed. Dawn walked ahead of him while Ash gave a look to Pikachu. The only thing they could do at this point was follow Dawn back over to the others and begin their trek to Hoenn.

Once Ash reached back to the house, he spotted the other teenagers waiting for him, almost looking impatient. But once they saw his face expression, their annoyance vanished and they soon became concerned.

"Is everything okay?" May wondered, seeing that Ash was a little out of it.

"Everything's fine." Ash lied, walking past them to avoid their gazes. "We should probably go to Hoenn and find the ice crystal."

"Don't you want to go and find Lucius?" Gary asked, still unsure why Ash was a little frazzled.

"No, I don't want to find Lucius. What's the point anyway?" Ash shrugged his shoulders while Gary followed Ash.

"Because don't we need to keep an eye on him to make sure that he's not doing something stupid?" Gary wondered.

"No, because of him, Trip knew where we were." Ash revealed. Gary took a step back, shaking his head in confusion.

"Trip knew where we were because of Lucius?" Everyone looked a bit surprised—except Paul and Misty.

"I knew it. I knew that Lucius couldn't change." Paul stared over at Misty who nodded her head in agreement.

"So what do we do now?" May asked.

"We leave, immediately." Everyone heard Dawn speak. Dawn looked unsure of herself, but then regained her confidence when she looked Ash in the eye. "We can't have anyone causing trouble while finding the ice crystal. Not even Lucius."

"But Dawn, are you sure?" Gary wondered, seeing that she was a little torn on leaving the man that was revealed to be her father behind. Dawn took a deep breath, nodding her head.

"I'm sure." Dawn started to walk ahead of everyone, turning her head when she noticed that no one was following her. "Well, don't just stand there! Come on!" Ash and Pikachu couldn't help but keep a concerned glance at Dawn. She was bothered by everything that happened, and she was pretending that she was fine—Ash could see right through her.

"So Paul?" Irene came up to him as the others started to make their way in front of him. Paul looked over to Misty who simply gave Paul a 'tell her no' look before walking ahead of him.

"What?" Paul pretended that he didn't know where this was going.

"So did you think about whether or not my father could come and help us find the ice crystal?" Irene wondered. Paul continued to stare at Irene, thinking on whether or not he should tell her the truth about Colress. After a moment of staring at Irene, he realized that the best way to possibly keep an eye on Colress was if Colress came along with them. Paul knew that everyone else was going to become tense around him, but in that moment Paul knew what he was doing.

"Uh…f…fine." Paul stuttered for a moment. Paul then put his hand up to prevent Irene to get closer to him. "Remember what we spoke about? No hugging." Irene backed away, nodding her head, but then entered the house in order to tell her father the good news. Paul continued to stare over at Irene, unsure if he made the right decision.

"That doesn't look like you told her 'no' to me." Misty spoke from behind Paul. Paul turned around, seeing that Misty was a little disappointed in the fact that he had actually gave in to Irene's request.

"Well, what did you want me to do Misty?" Paul sighed. "If I tell her that Colress can't come, then she's going to get suspicious. She'll know something's up."

"But I don't think anyone would be comfortable with letting Colress just show up and come along with us." Misty furrowed her eyebrows. "You usually have a stronger backbone than that. What happened?" Paul considered Misty's question for a moment, mulling over what could have possibly made him such a softie. After a moment, he realized that the girl standing in front of him was the one that had changed him—and in this situation, it may not have been a good thing.

"Um, I'm not sure." Paul hid his true feelings as Irene came out of the house with Colress.

"Thank you so much for letting my father come, Paul. It was really nice of you."

"Yeah…don't mention it." Paul muttered, walking away. Misty continued to stare at Paul before her gaze shifted over to Colress.

"Well then, we should get going." Colress exclaimed. Irene clapped her hands but Misty couldn't help but raise an eyebrow towards Colress. She didn't trust the scientist for one minute…and she wondered how long she would have to keep the little secret before having to spill to Irene that her father was actually working for Team Plasma.

Telling the other members of the team that Colress had joined them was the hardest job Paul had ever done. After explaining to them that he had allowed Colress to tag along, everyone became a little furious at the trainer, but after explaining his reasoning to do so, they realized that Paul may have had a plan in order to keep Colress in check. With Irene keeping her father busy, it gave the other members of the group a chance to talk.

"I don't know, Paul." Brock still seemed a little hesitant. "Bringing Colress along with us seems a little risky."

"I know it seems risky." Paul sighed, rubbing his temples. "But if we can show Irene in person what kind of a person Colress is, then she'll realize that we were right and she was wrong."

"But what would that exactly prove?" Zoey piped up. "All you'd do in the end is hurt the poor girl." Paul stuffed his hands in his pockets, contemplating the situation.

"But she needs to know the truth." Paul firmly stated. "If she doesn't find out, then she'll think that we all betrayed her because we knew and she didn't."

"But we might as well tell her now." Gary crossed his arms as Eevee nodded her head, agreeing with her trainer. Paul sighed, seeing that Irene was coming towards them, then ushered the others to keep their cool.

"So, are we going to find the new crystal or what?" Irene wondered, staring at Paul. Paul looked to Irene then turned to Ash who simply shrugged his shoulders.

"Um…I guess we are." Paul looked back to Irene, noticing she was clapping her hands with joy. Irene ran ahead of the others, as Misty pulled Paul back for a moment while the others eyed Irene and Colress.

"This plan of yours better work, or else…" Misty gave Paul a steely glare and Paul became gruff.

"It will work, don't worry about it." Paul walked ahead of Misty, not noticing that she was giving Paul a concerned look. She knew that Paul put up a tough exterior but she could sense that there was something wrong with Paul…it was almost as if she could feel it.

Lucius looked in the bushes as the others began to leave the camp site. He wasn't sure what emotions he was going through. Possibly anger? Sadness? Betrayal that he hurt his only daughter? Lucius continued to stare as Dawn was further out of his view. That was when his eyebrows furrowed, anger piercing through his body. His daughter wanted to leave him behind? Fine, that was fine with him. He had a job that he had to do. Lucius heard someone come behind him as he turned around, staring over at Trip in interest. Trip leaned against a tree, walking towards Lucius.

"I can't believe that I betrayed her…" Lucius softly muttered. Trip rolled his eyes, keeping his eyes out into the distance.

"Get over it. Dawn will." Trip noticed that he sounded more harsh than usual. "Look, you have a mission and that's to find all of the crystals so that Team Electric can rule the world. We can't do that if you're sitting over there, worrying about your estranged daughter. She's one of the guys that's going to get in our way, so right now she's the enemy."

"I'm aware my daughter is the enemy…but she doesn't know that she's hanging out with the enemy either." Lucius snapped. "She's hanging out with Colress and he works for Team Plasma."

"And? That way they destroy Cynthia and Alder." Trip didn't see the issue. "And when Team Plasma destroys the Champions and those children, that's when you come in and you defeat Team Plasma. That way, you get what you want and everyone's happy." Lucius stroked his chin thoughtfully, staring at Trip with interest.

"And do you want to know something? You just might be right." Lucius saw Trip grin as he got up from his position. "Come on Trip."

"Where are we going?" Trip asked, noticing that Lucius was heading down the path that the others left by.

"We're going to follow then. We have to keep tabs on them, no matter what." Lucius said. Trip shrugged his shoulders, following Lucius as they decided with their newfound confidence to get the Electric Project once and for all.

As the others walked along the path to the ferry, Dawn looked around, releasing a trivial sigh. She was slightly depressed after finding out that her father had betrayed her. As a matter of fact, she was surprised that her father would claim he wanted to get to know her, then would double cross her. She supposed that's why her mother never told her about her father. Because he was a scheming, conniving human being. Dawn continued to walk along the path in anger, not noticing that some of her friends were staring over at her.

"Do you think we should talk to her?" May asked. "She does seem a little down."

"Well, she knew what she was signing herself up for." Misty reasoned. "Lucius is evil and Dawn didn't want to believe it. I think deep down inside, she thought she could change him for the better, but that wasn't the case." Misty couldn't help but feel bad for Dawn. All Dawn wanted to do was at least attempt to form some sort of relationship with her father. In the end—there was nothing. Dawn peered over at the others, noticing that the girls were staring back at her, then started to walk ahead of them.

"Dawn? Are you okay?" Daisy spoke up, seeing that Dawn had turned her back on them.

"Go ahead, talk and say how crazy I was that I could ever think that Lucius could change for me." Dawn's voice oozed with sadness.

"Dawn, we know that you wanted your father to change for the better…but there is no way that is happening." Zoey put a hand on Dawn's shoulder, speaking softly so the boys wouldn't hear. "Dawn…I know your hurt but maybe there was a reason Ash and your mother didn't want to tell you about Lucius. Maybe it was because they wanted to prevent you from getting hurt." Dawn thought about Zoey's words for a minute, then huffed as they continued walking.

"I just thought that he could change…" Dawn muttered.

"And maybe he can change..." Zoey softly said. "But we have to face facts. He's not willing to change for you right now." Dawn nodded her head at Zoey's words as Zoey grinned.

"Well, the past is the past. And that is the last time that I get involved with my father." Dawn declared. She then looked over to see Irene staring at Colress, turning back to the girls with interest. "We all know Colress is behind the whole Team Electric and Team Plasma meeting at Mt. Coronet, right?" Dawn saw the other girls, staring back at Dawn.

"Yeah, we do know. But what can we tell Irene?" Misty questioned. "It's not like she's going to listen to any of us. She might think we're all so jealous that she gets to spend time with her dad and we don't."

"I sensed slight bitterness on your part." Daisy chuckled.

"Well, it's true." Misty defended herself. She then turned back to Colress before her eyes shifted over to Paul. He was walking along by himself, keeping his distance as far from the boys as possible. She continued to stare at him, wondering if his plan to keep Colress close by having him join them was a good idea. She was certain that Colress would find some way to betray them, then be on his merry way. She didn't want to think like that—but it was a possibility.

"Misty, why are you staring at Paul?" May asked, noticing that Misty's cheeks were turning a bright red.

"Maybe because she has a crush on him, that's why." Daisy teased, causing Dawn to slightly giggle.

"Okay, I do not have a crush on Paul." Misty lied, and judging by the looks on the girls faces, they knew that Misty was a terrible liar.

"Sure you don't…"Zoey pretended to buy it as they walked along the path towards the ferry Misty continued to look at Paul, and the more that she stared at him, the more she knew that she was falling for him. But she couldn't bring herself to admit it. At least, not yet anyway…

Paul continued to stare to the side, looking at the view of the forest and trees, wondering when they would get to Hoenn in order to find the second crystal. As he turned his face to Colress talking to Irene, he tensed up. Maybe he didn't come up with the best plan after all. Maybe it would have been better if he had told Irene no. Paul noticed Irene staring at him and he simply scowled, looking away from her and staring at the forest view.

"Pika, Pika?" Paul turned to find Pikachu staring over at him from Ash's shoulder, wondering if Paul was okay.

"Why is your Pokémon talking to me?" Paul asked, sounding a bit annoyed.

"Because Pikachu wants to make sure you're okay?" Ash stated the obvious.

"Why does he care? It's not like he knows the seriousness of this mission." Paul scoffed, turning to stare back at Colress.

"Pikachu understands the seriousness of this. Do you? Bringing Colress here was a bad idea." Ash slightly scolded.

"I'm beginning to wonder if you're right." Paul admitted, noticing that Irene's face seemed so innocent, so pure. She had no idea that her father was the one that was behind the attacks that happened to them. Paul then gave Ash a confident stare as he turned back to him. "But we have to keep an eye on him. If Irene found out about Colress the wrong way, then she'll be hurt."

"So what exactly is the right way for her to figure it out?" Ash questioned. Paul seemed stumped by Ash's question, not knowing how to answer it.

"She'll find out eventually, and then she'll see what a fraud he is." Paul didn't feel like elaborating as he and Ash were quiet for the rest of the walk. Ash noticed Paul studying Colress, his face filled with uncertainty. Ash really hoped Paul knew what he was doing. Letting Colress too close was one mistake that no one around them could ever make—or else it could mean disaster for the mission.