Episode 2: "New Friends, Old Menaces"
In a little two-story house, Hilda and her Tepig were sleeping peacefully in the girl's bedroom. The little pig was resting on a stuffed round basket near the lady's bed, provided to him by Hilda's mother, Harriet. The Pokémon pricked up his ears and slowly opened his eyes, before releasing a lazy yawn and some smoke from his nostrils. He sluggishly stretched out and stood up, then shook his head to throw off the last trace of sleep. He looked around him, analyzing the girl's room: he saw a rather modern computer on the opposite side of the room with a waste bin near it, a purple carpet in the center of the room, a bookshelf and a quite large plasma TV. He then glanced at his Trainer, who was still sleeping serenely, and hopped on her bed. He proceeded in nudging her on the chest, trying to wake her up. Since the method didn't work, he approached her face and started nuzzling her. Soon after, the lady started squinting, perturbed by the pig's snuggles.
"W-what…?" mumbled the brunette, slowly opening her eyes.
"Tep tepig!" replied the Fire-type, waging his tail.
"Teeep!" said the Pokémon happily, rubbing his head against hers.
"H-hey! Ok, ok! I'm awake, I'm awake!" responded the human, giggling at her partner's show of affection.
The Pokémon hopped off the bed and sat down, waiting patiently for his Trainer. The girl stretched her arms and slowly sat on the border of her bed.
"Did you sleep well, Tepig?"
"Tep tep!" replied him, nodding.
"Good. Today our quest begins, in order to gather Emblems and to be allowed to participate to the League! Are you ready for that?" enquired Hilda, pumping her fists.
"Tepig!" answered the Pokémon with determination. Of course he was ready.
"Perfect! That's what I wanted to hear!"
"Honey, are you awake?"
Tepig glanced back, distracted by the voice, while Hilda raised her head.
"Yes, mom! I'm awake!" shouted Hilda back, standing up.
"Good. Now put on some clothes. I have made some breakfast for you and your Tepig."
"Ok, coming!" replied the lady, before moving toward her clothes. She dressed up quickly, readjusted her hair, put on her cap, inserted some spare clothes and her Poké Balls inside her bag and descended the stairs. Tepig followed her closely.
"Good morning, mom!" greeted the young girl, looking at her mother.
"Good morning, honey!" responded the woman, smiling warmly at the other. She had blue eyes and brown wavy hair like her daughter, but the latter were gathered up by a blue hairband. She was wearing a light green shirt and skirt, tied by a red ribbon. "How was your sleep?"
"Oh, it was fantastic! I wonder if during my travel I will sleep as good as last night…"
"Oh, relax. It isn't as bad as it sounds. You'll get used to that."
"Um… are you really sure?"
"Of course, trust me. I thought more or less the same when I started my journey and I guarantee you that travelling isn't only about discomforts and inconveniences. It's mostly about exploring and growing up. Oh, and fun too."
"Yeah, I guess," responded the younger female.
"Anyway, here's your breakfast," said the woman, placing some honey-flavored biscuits and a mug of warm Moomoo Milk on the table.
"Thank you, mom!" replied the youngster, before taking a biscuit and dipping it in her cup.
"And here's your breakfast, Tepig," stated Harriet, putting a bowl of Pokéchew at the Pokémon. The pig thanked the woman in his Pokéspeech and immediately sank his muzzle in his meal and started eating voraciously.
"Wow, surely your little friend is really hungry!" commented the woman, glancing at the little creature in amusement.
The Trainer looked at her partner, who looked back at her and smiled happily. "Yep, he is quite the gluttonous type. I noticed that yesterday, while we were dining."
"At least you'll be sure that he's fully charged to head out on your journey."
"Ah, that's true."
"Um, now that I think about that… I have something for you, Hilda."
"Really? What is it?"
"You'll see…" said the mother, moving toward a shelf and grabbing a little box. Hilda was quite intrigued by the little package and kept staring at it. Tepig was looking at it too.
"There. A little gift for you," said the mother, placing the box in front of the young lady. The Trainer finished her biscuit and proceeded in unboxing whatever thing was inside the box. She removed the cover and her eyes widened. It was a pink and gray watch-like device, provided with a color screen and two buttons. One button was on the left side of the item and unlocked another screen, while the other was used to navigate on the various options of the object and, if pulled, unlocked a little keyboard. The main display showed the time and the signal.
"Hey, but this is…"
"Yes. That's your very personal Xtransceiver."
"Wow! Thank you, mom!" exclaimed the girl, taking the little device from the package. She analyzed the little phone and put it on around her left wrist. "It's so beautiful!"
"You're welcome. I'm glad that you like it."
"But wait… are you giving it to me so that you can always monitor me?" asked Hilda, raising an eyebrow.
"Of course not, honey. I think it will be useful during your travel, in case you need to call someone. I already registered my and Professor Juniper's numbers, so that if you need something you can simply communicate with us. That's all."
"Ah, ok mom. I was just joking about the monitoring part," said the youngster, moving her hands rapidly in front of her, as if she was trying to defend herself from her mom's eventual fury.
"Well, don't forget to call me, once in a while. I know that travels can be quite absorbing, but let me know if you're alright."
"Don't worry, mom. I will call you often, I promise," replied the Trainer, before drinking the last sips of milk. Tepig had already finished his meal and went by his Trainer's side, waiting for her.
When she had finished her breakfast, she stood up and grabbed her bag.
"Thanks for the breakfast, mom. I… I guess it's time for me to leave and explore the world."
"Are you headed to the nearest Emblem Facility, near the Wellspring Cave?"
"Yes, but I'm going to catch and train some Pokémon first. I don't want to go unprepared."
"Very well. Remember that advice: Pokémon are friends and not simple means to win a fight. Never stress them out and make sure that they are always in good shape."
"I will, mom."
The woman kneeled down in front of Tepig and patted his head. "Keep my precious daughter safe, Tepig. I'm counting on you."
"Tep tepig!" responded the Pokémon, nodding and promising solemny.
When the woman stood up, both humans proceeded in a hug. They knew that they probably wouldn't be able to physically meet for some time.
"Goodbye, mom. I will call you when I'll reach Accumula Town."
"Ok. I'll be waiting for your call. Goodbye, honey."
They then detached themselves and looked in each other's eyes for some time. Both females smiled at each other and Hilda headed toward the door, with Tepig following her. She opened the door and looked outside, before stepping out her house. She sighed and looked at her partner, who nodded at her, and the Trainer and her Pokémon ran toward the forest.
"Goodbye, Hilda! Good luck in your journey!" shouted the woman, waving her hand.
"Bye, mom! See you soon!" shouted back Hilda, she too waving her hand. Her mother kept looking at her until she disappeared on the horizon.
Meanwhile, our hero from Kanto was walking around the forest, looking around him quizzically. He has been attracted by one of those fawn-like Pokémon and followed it in order to catch it, but by doing so he distanced himself from the main road. To add insult to the injury, he lost track of the Pokémon and couldn't find a way to return to the main road.
"Um, guys? Do you know if we've already passed from here?" asked the raven-haired boy to his Pokémon, stopping and looking around him. Pikachu and Gible looked around for a while and gave him a negative response.
"So… that means that we're lost, right?" enquired Ash, narrowing his eyes and sulking.
"Pika…" replied Pikachu, as to confirm Ash's suspicion.
Everybody lowered their heads and sighed.
"Oh, well… let's keep moving. Sooner or later we'll manage to get out of this forest."
And with that the boy restarted walking.
Not too far from them, Hilda and her Pokémon had stopped running and were calmly walking around the forest. The little pig was happily trotting by her side, releasing some flames once in a while.
"I wonder what will be our first companion. A Deerling? A Lillipup? A Sewaddle? Ah, I can't wait to catch a Pokémon!" said the lady out loud, grinning broadly in excitement.
"Tepig tep!" answered his partner, looking as excited as her.
"But that's strange… why haven't we seen a Pokémon yet?" wondered the girl, placing a hand above her eyes and looking all around her. The starter began glancing around as well.
Suddenly, they heard some strange cries echoing in the area and tried to pinpoint the origin of the sound.
"Uh? Where are these cries coming from?"
"Tepig!" replied Tepig, motioning her to follow him. The girl went after her Pokémon and they both reached a plain. What they saw was a flock of grey little birds, that were pecking at the floor happily.
"Oh, Tepig! Those are Pidoves!" exclaimed Hilda, pointing toward the birds. The Fire-type looked at them carefully.
"A Pidove could be a good member in our team. They're quite easy to catch and to raise."
The Pokémon said nothing. He simply listened to his trainer.
"So that's what we're going to do: we'll sneak up behind them, I'll throw a Poké Ball at one of them, catch it and voila: we'll have a new Pokémon in our team."
"Tep?" asked the orange Pokémon quizzically. He wasn't quite sure about the plan.
"Come on, it will be as easy as a walk in the park. Don't worry, Tepig!"
For some reason, the Pokémon started worrying even more.
"Alright, let's do that," said lastly the brunette, before crawling on the ground like a spy. The Fire-type walked slowly behind her, holding his head and ears low so that the Flying-types wouldn't be able to detect him. When they were just behind the flock, the girl extracted a Poké Ball from her bag and rapidly stood up.
"Go, Poké Ball! Get it!" shouted the girl, throwing the red and white item. The round object bounced on one of the Pokémon's heads, who released a startled shrill, and transformed the winged creature into a red mass of energy before sucking it inside. The other Pokémon looked at the spot where the victim was standing and saw the sphere shaking wildly. The girl was foretasting her first little victory, when the Poké Ball burst open and released the pigeon-like Pokémon. The item immediately returned to Hilda, who caught it mid-air and looked at it in confusion.
"I don't understand. Poké Balls are supposed to catch Pokémon. So why didn't it work?"
"T-te-tepig!" stuttered her partner, shaking her leg with his little hooves.
"Yes, what do you want?"
The starter pointed one of his forefeet at the Pidoves and the girl followed his gaze and gaped. The little birds were looking at the trainer and her Pokémon angrily and slowly rose from the floor flying.
"Uh oh, I guess that wasn't a very smart move to do!" stated the girl, staring at the pigeons with wide eyes and moving back from the flock.
"Teeep!" agreed the pig, trembling in fear.
The Pidoves chirped angrily at the duo and flew toward them, ready to strike.
"RUUUN!" screamed the girl, turning around quickly and running away scared. Tepig ran after her, terrified by the enraged flock.
"Aaah! Help! Somebody helps us!" "Teeepig!"
"Pi?" said Pikachu, looking around him.
"Did you hear something, Pikachu?"
"Pika!" replied the Pokémon with an affirmative tone. The group stopped to hear to whatever thing had attracted Pikachu's attention.
"Aaah! Help! Somebody helps us!" "Teeepig!"
"Somebody is in trouble! Let's go!"
"Pika!" "Gi!" responded his Pokémon, before hopping off their Trainer and running toward the voice, with Ash trailing them.
The beginner Trainer and her starter were in full panic mode. The Pidoves had started using various Gust and Air Cutter attacks, barely missing the girl and the pig. Tepig had tried to stop and shoot some embers at the flock to gain time, but the birds simply blew away his flames by flapping their wings.
"It's useless, they're too many! What are we gonna do?" said the girl to herself, trying to find a solution.
Pikachu, Gible and Ash cropped up of some bushes just a few meters in front of the crowd and recognized Hilda and her Tepig, who were running away from a flock of birds.
"Hilda, duck!" shouted Ash at the other human. The girl obeyed to the voice by kneeling down and covering her head with her hands. Tepig stood by her side, ready to defend her.
The yellow mouse shot a huge lightning at the Flying-types, electrocuting them and making them shriek in pain. After Pikachu was done, the grey Pokémon flew away, unwilling to take another hit. Ash, Pikachu and Gible immediately rushed toward Hilda and Tepig, who were panting heavily.
"Hey, Hilda! Are you ok?" asked the veteran Trainer, looking at the brunette in concern.
"Uh-yeah! We… we are ok!" responded the girl, releasing a sigh in relief. "Thank you so much…" she looked up, locking her gaze on Ash's eyes, and gasped. "Ash! So it was you! Sorry, I didn't recognize you before, eh eh eh!" said the lady, getting up and dusting herself.
"It's ok. So, what happened? Why were those… err…"
"Ok, Pidoves. Why were those Pidoves chasing you?"
The girl scratched her head nervously. "I… uh… wanted to catch one. And… well, I threw a Poké Ball at one of them. It managed to escape from the Poké Ball, and it and the others started attacking us."
"So wait. You simply threw your Poké Ball?"
"…pretty much, yes."
"Hilda, you can't simply catch a Pokémon by throwing a Poké Ball at it. You have to weaken it first, otherwise the Pokémon may be able to break free."
"Really? I didn't know that."
Tepig rolled his eyes and shook his head. He had the feeling that she was doing something wrong.
"Don't worry, I made the same mistake when I first began my adventure. Irony of fate, I have been pursued by flying Pokémon too," said Ash, laughing at the memory. Pikachu nodded, remembering that fateful day.
"Well, that's an interesting coincidence," replied her, before looking behind her. "Aw, they're all gone! I wanted to catch a Pidove so badly! Sigh…"
Ash crossed his arms and gave a look near. Suddenly, he spotted a little grey bird that was pecking at the ground lightheartedly.
"Hilda, look!" whispered Ash, pointing his finger toward the pigeon-like Pokémon.
The girl rapidly turned and gasped. "No way, a lone Pidove! This must be my lucky day!"
Ash took out his Pokédex from his pocket and pointed it at the Flying-type.
"Pidove, the Tiny Pigeon Pokémon. A Pidove flock's cooing can get extremely noisy. Pidove is not attracted to shiny objects."
"Ok, Hilda! Try to catch that Pidove. Remember: the more you manage to weaken it, the easier it will become to catch."
"Alright, I'll do my best!" said the girl, before looking at her partner. "Let's do that, Tepig!"
"Tepig!" responded him, giving her a confident smile. He then stood in front of her and shot some flames from his nostrils.
"Ok, Tepig! Go with Tackle!"
"Tepiii!" shouted the Pokémon, charging the Pidove at high speed. He crashed against it, making it release a cry in surprise.
The orb of Tepig's tail started glowing orange and the pig inhaled some air, before exhaling a spiral of red-orange flames and showering the plumed creature with it. The Pidove shook its head to try to regain awareness of its surroundings, but the girl didn't leave it any chance.
"Go again with Tackle!"
The orange Pokémon obeyed and slammed into his opponent with his whole body, making it crash against a tree.
"Now, Hilda! Try to catch it!"
"Ok!" replied the girl, taking out her Poké Ball. "Go! Get it!" shouted the brunette, throwing the round item. The sphere bounced on the Pokémon and converted it into a blob of energy, before drawing it inside. The Poké Ball shook a couple of times, but it burst open and released the Pokémon.
"Oh, no!" lamented the girl, feeling that she has failed again.
"Don't give up, Hilda! It may take some tries to catch a Pokémon. Try to weaken it a bit more."
"Ok!" replied the girl, nodding.
The Pidove had recovered from its dizziness and chirped angrily at Tepig. It then flew at him, leaving a white and silver streak behind it.
"That's Quick Attack!" thought the lady, and immediately gave her command. "Tepig, dodge!"
The pig only just managed to avoid the move by jumping on the side. He then whirled to the bird, who was charging at him again. This time, its wings were coated by a metal-like surface.
"Look out, that's Steel Wing!" shouted Ash at the girl.
"Quick, use Ember!" commanded Hilda.
The Fire-type breathed some embers from his nose, but the Flying-type swerved with a barrel-roll and struck the orange Pokémon with its hardened wings.
"Teeep!" cried the Pokémon in pain, rolling on the ground.
"Oh, no! Tepig!"
The starter rapidly stood up and shook his head, before locking his eyes on his opponent.
"Try to use Tackle!"
Tepig did as ordered and charged his opponent as fast as he could. Meanwhile, Pidove was charging at him too with a Quick Attack. Just before both Pokémon were about to collide, Hilda shouted a new command. "Now jump, Tepig!"
The Pokémon did so and the momentum of his attack managed to make him jump high, easily avoiding his opponent. The Flying-type had no time to register what happened that it crashed against the same tree as before.
"Ok, we're almost done! Tepig, use Heat Crash!"
"Heat Crash?" asked Ash to himself.
Tepig jumped in the air and spun on himself, creating a red orb of fire with yellow flames circling around it. He then faced downwards and fell on the opponent at great speed, unleashing a loud boom and raising a dust cloud. After that, he jumped backwards and stared at his opponent, who was twitching on its spot.
"This time I won't fail! Go, Poké Ball!" shouted the girl, throwing the item once more. Again the bird was sucked inside it and again the object started jiggling. Everybody stared at the round item, hoping that the sphere would stop moving. Then…
The item released some sparks and lay completely immobile.
"We… did it…" murmured the girl, still incredulous about the fact that she had managed to catch a Pokémon. She then smiled broadly and jumped on her spot. "Ha ah ah, we did it! We did it! Hurray!"
"Tep tep!" shouted Tepig, waging his tail and releasing some embers in sign of victory.
"Congratulations, Hilda!" complimented Ash, looking at the other Trainer in amusement.
Without warning, the girl grabbed his wrists and pulled him in a ring-a-ring-o'roses. Ash was startled by this sudden movement, but after a while he let himself go and they both cheered at her success, while the Pokémon laughed at the scene.
"All this enthusiasm only because you have caught a little Pidove… you're so childish!"
The Trainers immediately stopped circling and everybody looked around them in confusion.
"Who said that?" asked Hilda, trying to locate the person who made such statement.
Suddenly, some leaves from a tree started rustling and a girl jumped off said tree, making everyone start in surprise. They all stared at the lady: she had very long purple hair, tied by a yellow hair clip on the tips and divided in two tufts on her head. She was wearing a beige shirt with long sleeves, adorned with a pink collar and a pink ribbon around her waist; a pair of long, white pants and pink, white and yellow shoes. On her back she was carrying a light pink backpack.
"It was me. Hello there!"
Ash and Hilda said nothing. They simply stared at the girl, a bit shocked by her abrupt appearance.
"Ops! Sorry if I have startled you," added the girl apologetically, scratching her head.
"That's ok, don't worry!" replied Ash, regaining his composure and his usual smile.
"Anyway, as I was saying, you're such a kid if you're exulting for a Pidove," said the purple-haired girl, directed to Hilda.
"Well, that's my first capture ever! Of course I'm happy, even if it's a simple Pidove!" replied the brunette, crossing her arms and pouting at the other girl.
"Um, now that you say that in that way… I guess that your enthusiasm makes somewhat sense."
"I'm glad that we've clarified that," replied Hilda, smiling at the beige-clad lady. She then felt something tapping her leg and turned her gaze toward it. She saw Pikachu, who was holding Pidove's Poké Ball in his paws and was handing it out to her. "Oh, right! Thank you, Pikachu!"
The stranger's eyes widened in surprise and immediately kneeled before Pikachu, who rapidly took a step back.
"I can't believe it, a Pikachu!" said her, before grabbing him and hugging him tightly. "Has anybody told you that you're very cute? And look at those plump cheeks! I've never seen something like that in Unova!" continued the girl, playing with his cheeks and causing him to feel quite uncomfortable. Ash, Hilda and Tepig sweatdropped at her performance, while Gible simply stared at the stranger.
"I'm dying to know what a Pikachu is doing in Unova! Come on, tell me! Tell me! Tell me!"
"Well, Pikachu and I come from Pallet Town, in the Kanto region," answered Ash politely.
"From Pallet Town?" asked the girl, looking at the boy.
"Exactly. My name is Ash and I'd like to participate to the Unova League."
"What? You too?" asked Hilda, looking at the boy in astonishment.
"Yes. Yesterday I have decided to gather Badges in order to partake to the regional League."
"Wow, now that's a surprise!" exclaimed the brunette.
"That's wonderful! And you are…?" asked the other girl, looking at the beginner Trainer.
"Oh, I'm Hilda! I've got my starter yesterday, but I have started my journey today. I want to participate to the League too, but I'm going to gather Emblems instead."
"Tep Tepig!" said the Fire-type, introducing himself.
"And your name is…?" asked Ash.
"I'm Iris, nice to meet you!"
The purple-haired girl was about to shake hands with the Trainers and Pikachu was about to electrocute her, when she spotted Gible. She gaped and immediately dropped Pikachu. Ash caught him mid-air… just when Pikachu unleashed his Thunderbolt.
"Yeow!" yelped Ash, before falling on the floor. Pikachu immediately apologized to him.
"No way! That's a Gible!" exclaimed Iris enthusiastically, looking at the Pokémon with shining eyes.
The little shark simply tilted his head to his side, looking at the girl curiously.
"Aw, you're sooo cute!"
"Eh, at least we agree on something…" murmured Hilda, giving a hand to Ash.
"Gibles are extremely rare in Unova. How did you get him?"
"Well, before coming here in Unova I've travelled around Sinnoh. I caught Gible there," answered Ash while standing up. Pikachu jumped on his shoulder and Hilda stood up too.
"Really? That's interesting!" said Iris, glancing for a moment at the Trainers, before scrutinizing the little Ground-type. "Um… this Gible seems very well trained."
"Yeah! I've worked hard in training him and the rest of my team, back in Sinnoh."
"I see… hey, Axew! Why don't you greet this Dragon-type?"
"Axew?" asked the brown-haired Trainers, wondering with who she was talking to.
All of a sudden, a little greenish-colored Pokémon with a brown tip on its head and long tusks exiting from its mouth popped out of Iris's hair.
"Axew ax!" said him, before walking toward the Land Shark Pokémon and greeting him. Gible greeted him back.
"Oh, so that's where he was!" said Hilda, before pointing her Pokédex at the green dragon.
"Axew, the Tusk Pokémon. Axew marks its territory by making scratch marks on trees with its tusks, which regrow if they fall out."
"Wow! He's so cool!" stated Ash, looking at Hilda's Pokédex. "That reminds me…" said the Trainer, pointing his Pokédex at Tepig.
"Tepig, the Fire Pig Pokémon. Normally, fire shoots out of Tepig's snout, but it shoots out smoke instead when it is feeling ill."
"Oh, that's something that I was unaware of. Well, now I know whenever my Tepig has some problem," remarked Hilda, looking at Ash's Pokédex.
"Say, Ash and Hilda… wasn't there a storm in Nuvema Town? I thought that since you've probably have passed by Juniper's lab you may have seen something."
"Yes, there was. And Professor Juniper said that it was Zekrom who created it," responded Ash.
At that Iris immediately got up and approached the two Trainers. "What?! Are you serious? Zekrom, the Legendary Pokémon?"
"Yes, Zekrom. With the blue lightning and everything else," added Hilda, remembering the experience.
"This is incredible! You two have to tell me everything you know!" exclaimed Iris, leaning a bit too close toward Ash and Hilda. Both the Trainers sweatdropped and looked at each other, before looking again at her.
"O-ok! We'll tell you everything! Relax!" said the brunette, laughing nervously.
In an area full of hills, near Accumula Town, a black car was travelling on a rather deserted area. The vehicle stopped in front of a well-protected building and a guard approached the machine.
"Halt! Who goes there?" asked the grunt in a quite intimidating voice.
A window from the back seat lowered and Archer showed himself to the guard.
"It's Archer, Team Rocket Executive from the Team Rocket's branch in Johto. Let us in," answered the admin in his calm tone.
"Oh, C-Captain Archer! I'll let you pass!" replied the grunt, disabling the barriers that blocked the passage. The car sprinted forward and entered in a gate, that led toward a sort of enormous garage.
"Welcome to our temporary secret base," announced Archer, getting out of the car. Jessie, James and Meowth got out as well and the group took an elevator that took them toward the core of the base.
"I fail to understand why we had to make such a complicated travel to come in this region. Couldn't we just take a plane?" asked Meowth, a bit tired for the long journey. However, he and the others tried their best to hide their tiredness.
"Simple security measures. Remember that we are a secret organization and we must be careful with the law. Especially now, since there are various organizations that keep emerging all around the globe and that have put on the alert the global security force," responded Archer, as calm as usual.
"I see. Well, that makes sense," replied Jessie.
"Lord Giovanni hates hitches, so he always plans out every single detail of every single plan. We cannot afford to fail, otherwise we'll end up overwhelmed by the newer organizations."
"Right. Team Rocket will forever prosper!" exclaimed the Kanto trio.
"Correct. Team Rocket will forever prosper."
After a while, the foursome reached a giant door that conducted to an enormous room filled with machinery and a computer. The Team Rocket Executive pressed some keys on the keyboard and a beeping sound resonated in the room. After a while, Giovanni's face appeared on the screen.
"Lord Giovanni, we've finally reached the Unova region," communicated the teal-haired man to his boss, taking a bow. The Kanto trio bowed as well.
"Have you arrived safe and sound?" enquired him.
"Yes, boss," answered Jessie, James and Meowth at the same time.
"We've successfully infiltrated the Unova region without accidents, exactly like planned," said James, looking at the screen.
"And our next step… is to take over the Unova region," added Meowth.
"We'll catch Pikachu and all the other Pokémon here in this region," said Jessie.
"But more than anything, we'll take possession of the Legendary Pokémon present here," concluded Archer.
"Legendary Pokémon? Do you already know what could be our target?" asked Giovanni to the Team Rocket members.
"According to some information gathered by our agents that work in Unova, there are two very powerful Pokémon that are said to have built the Unova region: Zekrom and Reshiram. And according to said information, it seems that Zekrom has appeared yesterday, above Nuvema Town," informed the admin, looking at a tablet with an R printed in the back side.
"Pokémon that have built the Unova region… they must be incredibly powerful. If we manage to take control of their immense power, the world will be ours," stated Giovanni, looking quite interested.
"But first, we request to receive our Pokémon from the headquarters immediately," demanded James.
"I'm afraid that's not possible," responded Matori, Giovanni's secretary. This statement left everybody quite perplexed. "You would attract attention by using Pokémon that aren't present in Unova. In order to safeguard our organization you must use Pokémon that are native of the region."
"Very well. We'll do as commanded," replied the foursome, bowing at the lady.
"Ok… and what am I going to do?" thought Meowth, looking quite preoccupied. As much as he knew, Meowths can't be found in Unova.
"Perfect. Archer, I'll leave the command to you. I'm sure that you four won't disappoint me."
"We won't, Lord Giovanni," replied Archer, bowing at his boss. Jessie, James and Meowth emulated him. And after that, the communication was interrupted and Archer looked at the trio.
"Alright. It's time to organize everything for our mission. Follow me."
The Executive led the trio toward another room, adjacent to the computer room. There were various metallic boxes of all shapes and sizes and various gears-like Pokémon that were used like real gears.
The admin grabbed three black briefcases and handed them to the trio, before taking one himself.
"I'll show you all the functions of the devices inside your briefcases. Listen carefully."
The two humans and the Pokémon nodded at Archer and paid absolute attention to him.
The commander opened his briefcase on a table and took out a square object with two straps and two controllers.
"This is a jetpack. It can be used whenever you need a quick escape. By pressing this button…"
Archer pressed a round red button and a pair of rockets exited from the box. The trio looked at it in amazement.
"…you draw a pair of jet engines, that can be easily controlled with these controllers."
The admin pressed the button again and the jetpack returned to its original aspect. He put away the object and extracted a tiny box and a remote control with two buttons.
"This is a magnetic barrier. By pressing the buttons on this remote control you can activate or deactivate the shield and activate or deactivate the magnetic propellers, that will allow you to take flight."
The white-clad man pressed the button and a transparent cupola surrounded him.
"Meowth, try to use Fury Swipes on the barrier."
"Alright!" said the Pokémon, nodding and extracting his claws. The claws glowed brightly and grew longer, and with that Meowth leaped on the barrier and started swiping furiously at it. However, the shield blocked the attack effortlessly. The cat jumped back and stared at the cupola in awe. "Wow, I couldn't even scratch it!"
"Yes. This barrier is quite resistant, but you must be careful. It can't take too many hits at once."
Archer disabled the barrier and put away the box and the remote control. He then took out a tablet.
"This is a PTC, also known as Pokémon Tablet Computer. With this you can check the map of the region, communicate with the base and the headquarters or simply between yourselves, hack systems, and much more. You'll find an instruction book with its various functions inside."
The admin stored the tablet.
"And the rest are Poké Balls. There are four in each briefcase. And that's all. You'll start with this equipment."
"Wow," murmured Jessie, quite impressed by all the devices. They usually didn't have access to such sophisticated technology.
"And Meowth…" started the commander, obtaining the Pokémon's attention. "Since your species isn't native of the Unova region we've prepared something for you."
The white-clad man extracted a round device from a drawer and handed it to the Normal-type.
"Uh? What's this?"
"This is an Illusion Bracelet. We've managed to obtain a prototype of the bracelet used by a certain Grings Kodai, who used it to create and break illusions. I guess you already know something about him."
The Team Rocket trio nodded. They remembered quite well all the chaos caused by him and the Time Ripple in Crown City.
"Well, we have reproduced the bracelet and improved it. With that you can hide behind an illusion, disappearing completely or disguising behind another form. But careful: the bracelet is quite fragile and its charge doesn't last long. Use it only when you have to work in a densely crowded place. In all the other cases, use the uniform that we'll provide to you."
"Alright," replied Meowth, putting the item around his paw.
"Very well. Now you're ready for your mission. You have to gather all the information you can get about a mysterious organization that is operating in the Unova region. We'll update you whenever you need to do some other missions for us."
"But… aren't you coming with us?" asked James.
"No. I have other responsibilities here. I have to direct all the activities of the base. But don't worry, you'll receive help from other members and my other colleagues when the time will come. Now go and do your best," said lastly the admin, pointing his finger toward a corridor.
"Yes, Archer," replied the trio, bowing at the Executive. They then left the room and walked through the hallway.
"Wow, guys! The boss and Archer truly believe in us!" exclaimed James, looking at the others.
"Now that we know that, we can't risk to disappoint them!" added Meowth.
"Come on, guys! From this time onward, our main goal is to write our names down in the history of Team Rocket!" concluded Jessie, turning her hand in a fist and looking determined.
The members of the trio looked at each other and nodded. They rapidly reached the end of the corridor, which led to an open spacious area, and activated their jetpacks and flew away, directed toward Accumula Town.
"I understand. So Pikachu had a quite bad day because of Zekrom…" said Iris, while listening to the Trainers' story.
"Yes. He basically had absorbed a lot of electricity and unleashed it all at once, and that's because of the thunderstorm caused by Zekrom. That's what Professor Juniper said," replied Ash.
"Well, after all Zekrom is a Legendary Pokémon. I'd like to meet it someday. I can't wait to know you, Zekrom!" exclaimed Iris, raising her arms at the sky.
"Axew axew!" said Axew, mimicking her.
"Yeah, I'd like to meet it too. But it's not the only one. There are a lot of extraordinary Pokémon here in Unova," replied Ash, looking quite enthusiastic.
"You betcha, Ash! I can't really wait to meet as many Pokémon as possible!" replied Hilda, pumping her fists.
"Yes. And I'd like to know your Gible a bit more, Ash. He has been really brave when he protected Pikachu from Zekrom's electric attacks and his Draco Meteor seemed quite potent!" said Iris, looking at the little shark with sparkling eyes.
"Uh? How do you know about Draco Meteor?" enquired Ash, surprised that Iris knew about Gible's attack.
"Well, yesterday I have been in a forest near Nuvema. I saw the orange comets and, by connecting the dots, I figured out that your Gible could be the one that knew the move. After all, only Dragon-types can learn the attack and Gible is the only Dragon-type you have in your possession."
"Wow, you seem to know a lot of info about Dragons, Iris…" said Hilda, looking at the darker girl.
"Oh! Err… I simply have travelled a lot, that's all. I have been travelling for a few months already."
"I see now," replied the brunette, nodding.
"And do you already know which Gym and Facility you're going to take on first?" asked the purple-haired girl at the duo.
"Well, I want to fight in the Striaton Gym, since it's the nearest Gym," responded Ash.
"And I want to fight in the Wellspring Facility," said Hilda.
"Ok. So you're now headed to the end of the forest, right?"
Ash gulped and scratched his head in discomfort. "I wish I could, but… eh, I think I'm lost!"
The girls stared at the boys with wide eyes, before starting laughing.
"Ha ah ah! Oh, you're such a kid, Ash!" said Iris, shaking her head.
"Definitely. You shouldn't have such problems, since you've already travelled in a region," added Hilda.
"Oh, yeah? And tell me, do you know where to go?" asked the veteran Pokémon Trainer to the brunette.
"Of course I do. To reach the end of the forest you have to go…" started the beginner, pointing her finger in a direction. "Um… that way."
Iris looked at her with a puzzled look, while she sweatdropped and looked at the trees in horror.
"No, no, wait! That way!" said Hilda, pointing in a completely different direction. Ash and Iris already started to suspect something.
"Ungh…" murmured the brunette, lowering her arm.
"It seems I'm not the only one that has lost the orientation, uh?" said Ash, crossing his arms and looking at the brown-haired girl in amusement.
Hilda hung her head in shame and sighed. "Yeah… I admit it. I have no idea where to go."
"Ahhh, what would you do by yourselves? Luckily for you I know this forest like the back of my hand. I will escort you until Accumula Town, ok?" declared Iris, putting her hands on her hips.
"But… I have to reach Striaton, not Accumula!" exclaimed Ash.
"Um, Ash… the nearest city is Accumula Town. To reach Striaton City we have to pass through Accumula first," explained Hilda to the veteran Trainer.
"Ah, really? I didn't know that."
"Aaanyway… do you want my help or not?" asked the purple-haired girl to the duo. The boy and the other lady simply looked at her and nodded. It seemed as they had no other option. "Ok. Let's move, then. Accumula is quite far from here," stated Iris, before walking in a direction with Axew on her hair. Pikachu and Gible jumped on Ash's shoulder and head and Tepig simply walked besides Hilda.
The journey was rather uneventful. Ash had tried several times to catch some Pokémon, but they all managed to flee before he had the chance to get them. While they were travelling, Ash narrated his past adventures to the girls. They were quite impressed by his successes and experiences and were left without words when he talked about his numerous meetings with various Legendaries. Sunset came quite rapidly and the group still hadn't reached the city.
"I think that we'd better stay over for the night. It's quite dangerous to travel during the nighttime," stated Iris, looking at the others.
"What?! You mean… sleep here, in the open air? No way!" said Hilda, horrified by the perspective of sleeping in the wilderness.
"Come on, Hilda! It's not that bad!" remarked Ash, trying to reassure the brunette.
"Agreed. Don't you like the idea of sleeping under the stars? In this period of the year there is a beautiful sky," added Iris.
"I… I don't know. This would be the first time I won't sleep in an enclosed area," declared the other girl, feeling a bit uncomfortable.
"I understand how you feel. I had some problems adapting to the open spaces too, when I started travelling around Kanto. But don't worry, you'll get used to that," replied Ash, smiling at the beginner.
She looked at him incredulously: her mom had said almost the same words. She thought about that for a while, before nodding and saying: "Ok, I guess I can give a try."
"Perfect! Now let's fetch some dinner!" exclaimed Iris, looking around her. Axew hopped off her hair and started sniffing the air, trying to locate something to eat. Pikachu and Tepig started sniffing around as well, while Ash, Hilda and Gible simply looked around them.
"Axew axew!" exclaimed the green dragon happily, running in a direction.
"It seems that Axew found something. Let's go!" ordered Iris to the others. Both the Trainers and the Pokémon nodded and everyone ran after Axew. After a while, they saw a huge apple tree, full of round and gleaming red apples.
"Wow!" exclaimed Ash and Hilda, surprised about the size of the plant. Their Pokémon were amazed as well.
"Ok, guys! We found our dinner for this evening," declared Iris, before going toward the tree.
"Apples? I would have preferred something more… substantial, to be honest," said Hilda, not too happy about the idea of eating only apples.
"Never heard the proverb 'An apple a day keeps the doctor away'? Well, with all those apples you'll surely keep a heap of doctors afar," said Iris to the brunette, before climbing up the tree together with Axew.
"We'll eat something more elaborated when we'll reach the closest Pokémon Center. For now, we'd better be content with those apples, don't you think?" said Ash to the brown-haired girl.
"I suppose. At least they seem quite tasty."
"Oh, they do!" replied the boy, before plucking one apple from a lower branch. Pikachu went besides Ash, while Hilda and Tepig looked for their ration.
Without warning, some leaves above started rustling and Hilda and Tepig rapidly distanced themselves from the boy and his Pokémon. Ash, Pikachu and Gible looked at them quizzically and, before they had the chance to ask something, a mountain of apples fell on the Pokémon Trainer and his Pokémon, completely burying them. Iris and Axew jumped off the tree. The first wiped her head with her hand, while the latter started cutting an apple with his tusks.
"There! It's dinnertime!" said the purple-haired girl, before looking around her and noticing that Ash and his Pokémon were missing. "Err… where did Ash, Pikachu and Gible go?"
"Uh…" started Hilda, before pointing her finger at the pile. "Right there, under the apples."
Iris and Axew looked at the heap and soon after the boy, the mouse and the shark sprouted from the pile.
The darker girl sweatdropped and apologized. "Ops! I'm sorry, guys!"
"That's ok, don't worry!" replied the boy, readjusting his cap.
"Um… don't you think that you have overindulged with the harvest?" asked Hilda to the other girl.
"Err… maybe a little bit! Eheheh!" replied the beige-clad lady, scratching her head.
"Oh well, at least we know that we won't starve today!" responded Hilda jokingly.
"But what are we waiting for? Let's eat!" said Ash, smiling at the others and raising two apples in both hands.
"Pika pika!" "Gible gi!" added his Pokémon, both holding a fruit in their paws.
"Indeed! Let's eat!" responded Iris, before approaching the mountain and grabbing her dinner. Hilda and Tepig did the same. The little pig held his apple with a forefoot and soon after exhaled his fiery breath, roasting the fruit. He sniffed it for a while and bit off a piece of it.
The brunette looked at her partner and pondered about what her Pokémon did. Then she asked: "Tepig, can you warm up my apple, please?"
The orange creature turned his attention to her and nodded. The girl nodded back and threw the apple in the air. Tepig followed the fruit with his gaze and shot some embers at it, grilling it and giving it a golden hue. The fruit fell and Hilda grabbed it with a napkin, promptly extracted from her bag.
"Thank you, Tepig!" said the Trainer, smiling at him.
"Tep tep!" replied him happily, before restarting eating.
Iris looked at her quizzically. "Um, why did you ask for that?"
The beginner Trainer gazed at the other girl and answered: "Oh, I love baked fruit. It tastes better."
"You know… that actually isn't a bad idea! Can Tepig cook our fruit too?" asked Ash.
"Um… Tepig?" uttered the brown-haired girl, directed to the pig.
Tepig shrugged as if saying 'Ok!' and shot some flames at Ash's, Pikachu's and Gible's fruits.
"What about you, Iris? Do you want Tepig's magic touch?" enquired Hilda, looking at the darker girl.
"No, thanks! Axew and I prefer to eat fruit in its natural form. Am I right, Axew?" replied the purple-haired girl, turning toward her partner. However, Axew wasn't in his previous spot. "Axew?"
Iris whirled toward the voice and saw her Pokémon showing his slices to Tepig, him too wanting to eat hot apples. Iris facefaulted.
"Oh, Axew… you too?"
Everybody laughed at that, while Axew scratched his head sheepishly. Everybody was about to start eating, when Hilda exclaimed: "Hold on! There is one member that is missing our little party!" She took out Pidove's Poké Ball and threw it in the air. "Pidove, come out!"
The item burst open and the bird appeared in a blue light and sparkles. The Pokémon looked around it in confusion and then looked at its new Trainer. Tepig became quite wary and prepared himself in case the Flying-type attempted to attack them. However, the grey Pokémon simply landed on the floor and started cleaning its feathers with its beak.
"Hey, Pidove…" started Hilda, obtaining the Pokémon's attention. "Don't you want to eat something? We have a lot of apples," said her, placing a fruit in front of the pigeon-like Pokémon. The Pokémon stared at it for a while before chirping happily and starting pecking on it.
"Well, it's a quite docile Pidove. Surely you'll become a great team," said Iris, looking at the little bird.
"Yep, I hope so. Let me check some info about you, Pidove…" said Hilda, taking out her Pokédex and pressing some buttons.
"Pidove's information. Pidove's gender: female. Pidove's Ability: Super Luck. Pidove's current moves: Quick Attack, Air Cutter, Steel Wing."
"Um… that's a fairly good moveset," said Hilda, before withdrawing her device. "Ok, now we can eat."
"Finally!" said Ash, before biting off a big chunk of his apple. The girls sweatdropped, impressed by his incredible gluttony.
"You truly have no patience! You're such a kid!" said Iris, raising her shoulders. Ash sent her a glare, while Hilda just giggled.
A dinner later…
Night had fallen on Unova and the group was resting on a rather quiet plain. Iris, Axew and Pidove were sitting on a tree's branch, while Ash, Hilda and the other Pokémon were lying on the grassy ground.
"Ahhh, what a nosh-up!" exclaimed Ash, satisfied by his dinner. Pikachu and Gible agreed in their Pokéspeeches.
"Yeah, but next time buy your own grill. Poor Tepig was forced to cook all your apples!" replied Hilda, while patting her starter.
"It's not our fault if he manages to cook food so good."
"Ah, well… my Tepig surely is a great Pokémon!" said the Trainer, proud of her little friend. The Pokémon smiled in response and cuddled his human partner.
"I don't get why you making such a big deal about some roasted fruits," stated Iris with a shrug.
"Err… may I remind you that you too wanted to try a baked apple, at the end? Don't try to hide that," retorted Hilda, smirking at the other girl.
"Details, details. I only made that little effort for you."
"Yeah, right," replied the brunette, rolling her eyes.
"I can't wait to reach Striaton and to get my first Badge! I'm so excited!" exclaimed Ash, raising his fists toward the sky.
"Pika pika!" "Gib gib!" replied his Pokémon in agreement.
"Eheheh! You aren't the only one to be excited. I can't wait to get my first Emblem," said Hilda, smiling at the other Trainer.
"By the way, Iris… do you have a goal you want to accomplish?" asked Ash, looking at the mentioned girl. However, he and Hilda noticed that she was sleeping serenely, holding her Axew in her arms. Pidove was sleeping on the tree too.
"Oh, she has fallen asleep!" whispered Hilda in Ash's ear.
"Yeah! I wonder what kind of activities she has done during the day, before meeting us…"
"Who knows? She has been quite mysterious with us."
"Yes, she has. But she seems a good person."
"I guess so…"
Both the Trainers looked up at the starry sky. They smiled at the sight, mesmerized by the immense firmament. Pikachu, Gible and Tepig gazed at it too.
"The Unova's sky is so full of stars," said the boy.
"Yes, it is. But I guess that you have already witnessed many starry nights, right?"
"Yeah, but every time is like the first."
"Well, I have to agree with you on that."
"And we'll be travelling under this same sky!"
"We?" asked the girl, looking at the Trainer.
"Oh, sorry! I meant Pikachu, Gible and I. We three have a long journey ahead here in Unova."
"Oh… I see…" said the girl, looking down.
"Uh? Did I say something wrong?"
Hilda looked quite alarmed and rapidly shook her head. "No, no, no! Nothing wrong! You didn't say anything wrong!"
"Pika!" exclaimed Pikachu, pointing his paw at the sky.
Ash and Hilda looked up and saw a shooting star crossing the sky.
"A shooting star! That means good luck!"
"Yeah, I have seen that too!"
"Don't you feel luckier, guys?" asked an enthusiastic Ash to his Pokémon.
"Pika pikachu!" "Gib gible!"
"Um… I guess Iris is right. In my opinion, you're a little kid," stated Hilda, smirking at the other Pokémon Trainer.
"Aw, come on Hilda!" said the boy, looking at her with a slightly annoyed look.
Hilda looked at him for a while and started laughing. "Eheheh, I was just kidding, relax! But you had to see your face! So priceless!"
Tepig joined in her laughter, while Ash stared at her in confusion. Soon after, everybody started laughing, with Ash and Hilda jokingly calling each other a little kid. Unbeknownst to them, a known white and blue Pokémon was staring at the scene from behind a bush, eating an apple sliced with his scalchop.
Jessie, James and Meowth were residing in a little cave, away from the residential zone. They had decided to stay the night far from indiscreet eyes. James and Meowth were setting up some improvised beds, while Jessie was watching the city with a pair of infrared binoculars, looking for some strange activity.
"Perfect. This should do the trick," said James, wiping his head with his hand and looking quite satisfied of his and Meowth's job.
"Ya got that right. At least we'll be somewhat comfortable tonight," replied Meowth, him too quite satisfied.
The man nodded and looked at his human colleague. "Is there anything abnormal, Jessie?"
"No, nothing for now," replied the woman, moving her binoculars back and forth. Suddenly her attention was caught by some strange individuals that were moving stealthily around the town. She activated the zoom and saw that those individuals were wearing bizarre medieval clothes, which were similar to the ones used by ancient knights. "What are those?"
"What, Jessie?" asked the lavender-haired man.
"There is a quite unusual activity downtown. There are some very suspicious people that are moving quite sneakily. Probably they constitute a sort of cult or something like that, since they're wearing the same type of clothing."
"Could they be the secret organization mentioned by Archer?" asked Meowth to the others.
"Perhaps. We should investigate more about them," replied Jessie, putting away her binoculars.
Suddenly, the trio heard a strange cry coming from the cave. They whirled toward the voice and saw a sort of azure bat with a giant pink nose and little black wings. Its nostril was shaped like a heart and its mouth showed a sharp white fang.
"What's that?" asked Jessie, looking at the Pokémon in interest.
James extracted some cards from his pocket and started reading: "That's a Woobat, the Bat Pokémon. According to the data it mainly lives in dark forests and caves and emits ultrasonic waves from its nose to learn about its surroundings."
"It must be mine," murmured Jessie, taking out a Poké Ball. She then threw the item at the Flying-type, hoping for a lucky catch.
The next morning, the young humans and Pokémon were walking serenely in the forest, directed toward Accumula. Hilda had recalled Pidove in her Poké Ball, feeling that she would be safer. The bird hadn't fully recovered from the match of the day before and as such flying was quite tiresome for her.
"Hopefully Nurse Joy will know what to do," thought the brunette, looking at the Poké Ball.
"Hey, Hilda! Are you still concerned about your Pidove? Don't worry, once we'll reach the Pokémon Center Joy will take care of her," said Iris to the other girl.
"Axew ax!" added Axew, agreeing with his partner.
"Yeah, I know that," replied Hilda, putting away the round item.
"Anyway… how long is it to the town?" asked Ash to his guide.
"Not too much. We should arrive there in a few minutes."
"When we'll arrive there we must remember to register our Pokédexes for our quests. Otherwise we won't be allowed to get Badges or Emblems," said Hilda.
"Hey, do you think that after visiting four different regions I don't know that?" replied Ash.
"You never know…"
"What was that?" asked the brunette.
Pikachu started sniffing the air. He detected something… eerily familiar. He hopped off of Ash's shoulder and pricked up his ears, trying to understand what was going on.
"Pikachu?" asked Ash to his best friend.
"Pika pika!" shouted the mouse, sparking menacingly. Gible and Tepig joined him, ready for whatever was coming.
Suddenly, three robotic arms grabbed the Pokémon, squeezing them tightly, and lifted them from the floor. The Pokémon squirmed in the grip, but their efforts were in vain. Then, the arms rapidly retracted before stopping a few meters far from the humans.
"Pikachu! Gible!" "Tepig!" shouted Ash and Hilda respectively.
After that, an evil laughter resonated in the air, sending some chills down Axew's back and making him hide inside Iris's hair.
"Who's there?" demanded the boy, quite irritated.
"What a question, twerpish indeed!" said a female voice.
"We'll answer these questions when we feel the need!" added a male voice.
Ash's eyes widened. "These voices…"
"Bringing the blinding white light of evil into the future!" said a magenta-haired woman.
"Thrusting the hammer of justice down onto the black darkness of the universe!" responded a lavender-haired man.
"Carving our names in the Rock of Eternity!" added a cat-like Pokémon.
"The fiery destroyer, Jessie!"
"And with thunderous emotion, I am James!"
"Wisest of the wise, Meowth!"
"And now gather, under the name of Team Rocket!" concluded the trio.
"Team Rocket!" shouted Ash angrily. Pikachu and Gible snarled at the trio of criminals.
"You guessed right, twerp. It's us again," replied James.
"Team Rocket? Who are they?" asked Iris to the boy.
"They're a gang of bad guys that steal Pokémon from other people. They have been pestering me ever since I became a Pokémon Trainer," explained the boy to the girls, still glaring at the trio.
"That's correct. Evil actions like this one are our tools to conquer the world. That's what we do," replied Jessie, smiling evilly at the trio of young humans.
"Give me back my Tepig!" yelled Hilda at the criminals.
"Yeah! Those Pokémon don't belong to you! Free them!" shouted Iris, glowering at the other trio.
James looked at the hostages, who were still trying to free themselves, and smirked at the orange pig. "So that's a Tepig…"
"Tepig now belongs to us, together with Pikachu and Gible. They will be our first possessions here in Unova," said Meowth, looking at the humans.
Tepig snorted and started inhaling some air. He was about to unleash his Ember attack on the criminals… when the arm suddenly moved and made him lose his aim. Pikachu tried to use Iron Tail to break the arms, but he couldn't put enough strength in his attack.
"Ya better cool down, pal. Using your attacks to us won't do any good to ya."
"W-wait a second… did that Pokémon talk?" asked Hilda, surprised by that. She immediately extracted her Pokédex and pointed it at Meowth.
"Meowth, the Scratch Cat Pokémon. It is nocturnal in nature. If it spots something shiny, its eyes glitter brightly."
"That still doesn't explain how he can talk…"
"That's easy. I'm a genius. You should consider yourselves lucky to meet someone like me," responded the cat, waving his whisker.
"Enough talking! Release them!" yelled Ash, having lost his patience.
"Or what?" asked Jessie, mocking them.
"Or this! Pidove, I choose you!" said Hilda, throwing her Poké Ball. The sphere burst open and the Pokémon materialized, chirping angrily at the criminals.
"That must be a Pokémon from the Unova region," said James, looking at the bird.
"Well, we'll counter with our own Unova Pokémon. Come out!" said Jessie, throwing her Poké Ball. And from it, the azure Pokémon appeared in all its glory.
"What's that?" asked Ash.
"That's a Woobat!" responded Iris. "Be careful, Hilda!"
"I will!" replied the brunette.
"Go, Woobat! Use Air Slash!"
The bat obeyed and sent two white disks made of air toward the pigeon, by waving its wings in an X-like movement.
"Quick, Pidove! Dodge!"
The Normal-type moved her wings quickly and avoided the attack.
"Now go with Quick Attack!"
The bird nodded and shot herself at the Psychic-type, leaving a silver streak behind her.
The Pokémon swerved skillfully, mentally laughing at the failed attempt of its opponent.
"Gosh, it's very fast!" thought Hilda, gritting her teeth.
"Woobat, use Air Slash once more!"
The bat looked at its opponent and produced more disks.
"Pidove, cut them with Air Cutter!"
The gray Pokémon whirled around and flapped her wings strongly, generating some azure blades. The blades collided with the disks and both the attacks were neutralized.
"Go again with Quick Attack!"
The bird rushed toward the azure Pokémon, hoping to hit it this time.
"Woobat, use Heart Stamp!"
Woobat's nose started glowing with a soft pink light and flew at Pidove. The bat Pokémon was faster than the bird and struck her on her head, making her shrill in pain.
"Pidove!" shouted Hilda in concern.
Pidove didn't look too injured, but for some reason she started shaking in fear.
"Pidove, what's wrong?"
"She's flinching. Heart Stamp can make the target to flinch, if successful," explained Iris to the beginner Trainer.
"That's bad…" muttered Hilda, biting her lips.
"Thanks for explaining that to us too. Now we know something more about the move," thanked Jessie.
"Ops, I should have said that in a low voice," replied Iris, sweatdropping.
"Come on, Pidove! You can do that!"
The Pokémon shook her head and released a war cry, before glaring at the blue Pokémon.
While the humans were focused on the battle, a known white and blue Pokémon sneaked behind Team Rocket and went toward the prisoners. Pikachu, Gible and Tepig looked at the Pokémon in surprise, but he put a paw in front of his mouth as if to shush them. He grabbed the shell on his stomach and extracted a blue blade from it, before swiping it at the metallic arms.
The blue blade cut through the metal quite easily, making the Pokémon fall with a soft thump. However, the metallic claws were still holding them tightly.
Meowth heard the thumps and looked at the prisoners. "Hey, how dare ya to free the prisoners?"
Jessie, James and Woobat turned around, seeing that the Pokémon were now free. Hilda took this chance to finish the battle.
"Pidove, use Steel Wing!"
The bird's wings became as solid as steel and the Pokémon smacked her opponent with them, making it crash against the two Team Rocket members. The white and blue Pokémon joined the battle and spat a jet of water at all the Team Rocket members, sending them flying a couple of meters. However, the criminals recovered quickly and landed on their feet. Meanwhile, Gible worked in freeing Pikachu and Tepig from the metallic claws and Pikachu released the Dragon-type with an Iron Tail. After that, all the good guys glared at Team Rocket.
"It seems that Lady Luck has changed side, uh?" said Hilda, smirking at the criminals.
The Team Rocket members weren't pleased by this turn of events. They had to go away… now!
"Pikachu, use Volt Tackle!" commanded Ash.
Pikachu nodded and ran toward Team Rocket at high speed with his body coated by electricity. Before he had a chance to hit them, James threw a Smoke Ball and hid the trio inside a dark mist. When Pikachu entered the cloud he felt nothing around him. After the smoke cleared, everybody noticed that the criminals were gone.
"W-where did they go?" asked the brunette, looking around her.
"They escaped… like always. I won't be surprised if we'll see them again," said Ash, releasing a frustrated sigh. Pikachu, Gible, Tepig and Pidove went toward their Trainers and greeted them happily. In the meantime, the white and blue Pokémon danced happily and jumped on his spot, proud of his own strength.
Hilda noticed that Pidove was panting heavily. She had overexerted herself during the fight. "Poor Pidove, you must be really tired. Come on, return to your Poké Ball and rest!" said the girl, pointing the Poké Ball to the Flying-type. A red beam exited from the sphere and sucked the Pokémon inside it. "Thanks for your help. You have been wonderful."
"Yeah, she did great. But she isn't the only one who deserves credit," started Ash, before motioning his hand toward the stranger, who immediately stopped and looked at the humans while smiling broadly.
"Wait, but… aren't you the same Oshawott from the lab?" asked Hilda to the Pokémon. The otter nodded and approached the group. Then, he jumped on Ash's shoulder, before rubbing his head against his.
"Oshawa!" said the Pokémon happily.
"Hey, you're tickling me!" replied Ash, snickering at this show of affection.
"Um… I may be wrong, but I think that Oshawott really likes you," said Iris, looking at the Pokémon in amusement.
"I think that too. But we'd better call Juniper. Surely she is really worried about him," said Hilda.
"Yeah! Let's go! We have to reach the Pokémon Center to heal our Pokémon," replied Ash, looking at the girls. Everybody nodded and restarted walking toward their destination.
The group reached Accumula Town without problems. Iris led the group toward the Pokémon Center and they all left their Pokémon to Nurse Joy for a check-up. Meanwhile, Ash, Hilda and Iris took this chance to call Juniper.
"Ah, so that's where Oshawott was. I was very worried for him. I didn't know where he went," said Aurea, relieved for the fact that the starter was fine.
"Yeah! It seems that he was following us," replied Ash.
"Well, if that's not a problem for you… maybe you could take care of him."
"Really? Are you saying that seriously?"
"Of course I'm saying that seriously. I'll send you his Poké Ball."
After a while, a yellow beam was cast from the Transfer Machine and rapidly took the shape of a Poké Ball. Ash grabbed it and looked at the screen again. "Ok, it arrived. Thank you so much, Professor Juniper."
"You're welcome. But be careful: Oshawott tends to disappear often. Keep an eye on him, ok?"
"I will, Professor. Don't worry."
"Very well. I hope to see you soon."
And with that the communication was interrupted. The boy put away the item and looked at the girls. "Oh, well… now we only have to wait for our Pokémon."
"Yeah!" replied both girls, nodding.
Then Hilda smacked her head. "Oh, almost forgot! I have to call mom! She must be worried for me!" exclaimed her, mashing some buttons on her Xtransceiver.
"Hey, I've never noticed that device. What's that?" asked Ash.
"That's an Xtransceiver. Basically it's a sort of portable videophone," said Iris to the boy.
"Oh. Kinda like the Pokégear?"
"Um… yes, more or less."
The device beeped a couple of times, before showing the face of a brown-haired woman.
"Honey! Finally I can hear you! I deduce that you have reached Accumula."
"Yes, I did. Right now I'm at the Pokémon Center to heal my Pokémon."
"And are you ok? You didn't have problems during your travel, right?"
"Yeah, don't worry mom. I'm fine."
"That's good to hear. Have you met some new friends?"
"Well…" started the girl, glancing at Ash and Iris. "Actually I have. I caught a new Pokémon and met two new friends."
"That's splendid! Are they there?"
"Yes, they are. Guys?"
The mentioned people went beside Hilda.
"Hello there!" greeted the woman.
"Nice to meet you, Mrs. Harriet," said Ash and Iris, bowing their heads.
"I guess we should present ourselves. My name is Iris."
"And I'm Ash."
"Ash? Are you the Trainer from the Kanto region?"
"Yes, I am."
"My daughter told me some things about you. Um, now that I see your face… you seem familiar. Where…?" started the woman, trying to remember where she had seen the young Pokémon Trainer. "Did you participate to some League, by chance?"
"Yes, I did. In fact I have participated to four different regional Leagues already."
"Wow, you have travelled a lot. Well, I wish to all of you good luck in your journeys."
"Thanks, madam," said Ash and Iris.
"Thank you, mom!" added Hilda. "Goodbye. See you soon!"
"Goodbye, honey. Take care!"
The brunette closed the screen in her device and looked at the others. "Do you think that they have finished checking our Pokémon?"
"Well, we should wait for them to cal-" started Iris, before…
DING DING DINDIN DING
"Message for Ash, Hilda and Iris. Your Pokémon have been restored to health. You are free to get them back."
"… ok, now we can go and take our Pokémon."
"Alright," said both Trainers.
The group went to the reception, where their Pokémon were awaiting for them. Once they spotted their Trainers, they shouted happily.
"Hey, guys! How do you feel?" asked Ash to the Pokémon. They replied in their Pokéspeechs, saying that they were ok.
"Thanks for your help, Nurse Joy," said the brunette to the pink-haired lady.
"You're welcome. Come back whenever you want," replied the nurse, before going to assist other Pokémon.
"Oshawott, I'm bringing you good news. From this day, I will be your Trainer. What do you think about that?"
"Osha?" asked the Water-type, quite surprised by this sudden recruitment. Soon after, he waved his paws happily. He was glad to have such a nice guy as his Trainer. "Osha, oshawa!"
"Alright. Now you'd better return to your Poké Balls, so that you will be safer," said Ash, recalling Gible and Oshawott. Pikachu hopped on his shoulder.
"Yeah, you too," said Hilda, recalling Tepig and Pidove.
"Well, I kept my word and I guided you until Accumula. It seems that my services are over," said Iris, placing her arms behind the head. Axew jumped on her shoulder and looked at the other Trainers.
"Um, I have been thinking… what if you accompany us for a little while yet? I'm not very familiar with the roads and I may risk to get lost," replied Hilda, looking at the other girl with pleading eyes.
"Yes. And I don't know anything about Unova, so I may have some troubles orienting myself. So yeah, I'd appreciate your help too," added Ash.
"Since you have asked me that so nicely… ok, I will accompany you for a bit more," responded Iris, smiling at the others.
"Thank you!" responded the duo, smiling back.
"It's a bit late now. Shouldn't we make a reservation to stay the night here?" asked the brunette.
"Sure!" responded Ash.
The group was about to call the nurse, when the door of the Pokémon Center opened up. The trio of humans turned toward the newcomer. They saw a boy with light brown eyes and hair, who was wearing red and white beret with a gray Poké Ball and extremity, a blue long-sleeved hoodie, long gray pants and red and black shoes. He was holding a blue and gray shoulder bag around his chest and a blue Xtransceiver around his left wrist.
"Hello, Nurse Joy? My Pokémon need some fixes. Can you help me?"
Ash and Iris looked at the boy, while Hilda gaped in surprise.
The boy looked at Ash and Iris and smiled. "Greetings, pals!"
"Hey, but you…" started Hilda, staring at the boy.
The blue-clad boy gazed at the brunette and him too looked at the other in surprise. "Yoh, Hilda! It's been a long time!" said him, raising his beret.
"It really has been… Hilbert."
Narrator: After the meeting of some new friends and an old threat, Ash's travel in the Unova region has started to all intents and purposes. However, who really is the new boy? And who are the strange individuals spotted in Accumula Town by Team Rocket? Find out about that in the next episode.