"Ash what was that!?" Dawn ducked, feeling like she was about to be squished. Their palace shook as the noise began to echo in the valley. Dawn's face was in shock. It sounded like Pokemon Hunter Jay's ship landing.
Ash chuckled, glancing outside and seeing a familiar beast looking nervously around her. "It's only Cynthia and Garchomp Dawn" Dawn looked up puzzled but relieved. Ash copied her expression "I wonder why they were so loud. Garchomp usually is a careful and quiet lander"
"Ash!" she opened up her arms to give him a greeting, then noticed the Bluette standing beside him DAWN!" Cynthia was shocked. Coming up 9 months pregnant she was huge! She would have never known. Though she did have an idea. She walked across to Dawn, pulling her in for a hug. She turned to Ash, who reached over and kissed her cheek. "Congratulations you two!" she beamed. The couple thanked her with smiles and blushed faces, Ash smiling the most.
"Nice to see you again Cynthia" Ash welcomed "Can I offer you a drink?"
Cynthia giggled and sat on the island in the middle of the kitchen "No thank you, I just came to check up on you BUT" she shouted I'll be staying here for a week"
Ash and Dawn looked at each other before glancing back at the ex - Champ. Their expressions didn't seem all that excited, not for Cynthia but for a different motive.
"Cynthia." Ash asked hesitantly. She nodded in response "Why was Garchomp making so much noise when she landed. She's normally so quiet and relaxed. Has something happened?"
Cynthia's face beamed into a smile and realised it had never fooled Ash. She turned her head towards her Garchomp who was sitting with her wings covering her head.
Cynthia kept her eyes on her Garchomp "Ash she's worried and frightened"
"Worried?" Ash and Dawn asked in sync. Cynthia nodded and began to explain.
2 hours earlier...
"Let's go Garchomp, we're almost there"
Garchomp closed her eyes in flight as the touch of her trainer's soft skin stroked her head. Cynthia was on her way to Champion's Village to check up on the two lovebirds and make sure everything was in order, including the antique trainer statues Charizard almost ended up burning down that had been there for centuries! She'd heard the news from the Nurse Joy that worked in the Village. She looked after many wild Pokemon that passed through the island.
Garchomp was soaring high and smooth until she darted her eyes behind her, hearing something familiar. Cynthia glanced back as she spotted what her loyal partner could sense.
Cynthia bent over towards Garchomp's head, whispering her commands "Garchomp, use Sandstorm Then Dragon Rush"
Garchomp halted in the air and turned towards their 'opponent' Cynthia held on tightly to the fin that stood up on its back as she drew her wings back and attacked with Sandstorm, creating a huge whirlwind of debris and covering up their whereabouts.
From the cloud of dust, two very different screams could be heard. One was definitely a human, a male to be exact and the other, a Pokémon. Cynthia managed to guess it was a Noivern, a Pokemon from a faraway region, Kalos.
"You didn't catch me this time. Don't bother trying again!" Cynthia called. Garchomp turned her back and engulfed herself in a blue aura, disappearing into the sky.
". And that's what happened"
Ash turned to Pikachu and Piplup and gave them a signal to head outside, Dawn look fuming at this point. Ash thought asking Cynthia questions would hopefully get Dawn to calm down or else she'll feel like she's in danger.
"Who was it exactly?"
Cynthia glanced outside, watching her Garchomp play with Pikachu and Piplup. Without turning her head, she responded. "A boy named Ashur Kronenn"
Dawn's eyes widened "Isn't his dad a Kango ranger and spy or something?"
Ash turned to face her, wondering what she was talking about.
"Have you never heard of him?" Ash nodded in disapproval whereas Cynthia stood there silently. "His father is or was a huge poacher back when I travelled with you in Sinnoh. His son started out as a photographer and always wanted to work for the league so he went off on his own and tried taking some pictures that would sell well, especially of rare Pokemon" Dawn grabbed her smartphone off the breakfast bar and typed in a few works into the online search engine. "Ash remember when you told me the story of The Four Seasons of Sawsbuck" Ash nodded "Well he admired Robert's work, especially his grandfathers and wanted to make money and popularity just like them"
"Where does this guy come from exactly?" Ash's questioned got ignored as Dawn turned her phone around to show the two powerhouses an article with a collage split into three separate photos. "He got famous with these" Dawn explained.
The first photo was of Team Aqua and Team Magma standing around with a group Ash didn't quite recognise. They had sky blue outfits with a Roman numeral marked on the back Ash knew stood for the number 1. Their jumpers and trousers were very different from the way his older and past enemies dressed. The letter 'M' was fixed white with a light grey outline and there was a name written on one of the groups jumper at the tip of the hem.
"Who are these freaks?" Dawn shrugged at her lover's question.
"Team Meteor" Cynthia jumped in "They were a team of thieves back when I was a young traveller way before I became Champion of Sinnoh" she paused before continuing "The leader there" she pointed somewhere in the photo "Was the one behind the idea of Team Galactic who we faced off all those years ago, but he mysteriously disappeared when Team Galactic began to out their plans to create a new world"
Ash gaped and couldn't of been more obvious when his mouth hit the floor. Watching her partners mouth continue to hang there, Dawn decided to turn to the next photo. Ash turned his attention to it and he smiled wildly, his eyes began to shine and right there and then he forgot what he had seen in the previous photo for just a moment. The photo was of Lake Valour. It was a beautiful scenic photograph with the sun rising above the water in the background, the glare bouncing of the surface and young Starly flying over the trees that were grown there recently. Dawn joined Ash knowing what he was thinking. It was one of their favourite places on this earth. But both Ash and Cynthia noticed something odd.
Dawn pointed to the water "See that there"
"It's a submarine, or a reflection of one anyway"
Ash's faced scrunched up at the ex- champ "What the hell would a submarine be doing in Lake Valour, or even a reflection of one!" he exclaimed.
"You see, people think these two photos are fake right?" Both Ash and Cynthia nodded as if they agreed with Dawn, until she flipped to the next photo. It was the most recognisable beyond belief. It was nationally known and especially to Ash. It was the same photo Dawn had gifted to him blown up into a huge canvas which hung in his Livingroom back home. It was his and Pikachu's favourite; his Championship match final against the legend standing right next to him. He had Pikachu at his front, he was standing in a sideways stance pointing towards the battlefield, smiling. The angle of the shot was taken on his left so you could see his face and Cynthia standing not far off in the corner. Ash was stunned.
"Is this a photo he took himself or..?" Ash trailed off, unsure of what to think.
Dawn nodded at him "Yeah but, again, everyone has commented on a figure in the crowd. I didn't notice it until I saw this article"
They all stared at the photograph trying to figure out where and what the comments were on about. Cynthia gasped and pointed "That's him! I just know it is!"
Ash took the phone from Dawn and looked much more closely almost eye punching the screen. The picture was slightly small but you could see a hooded figure standing at the front with a moustache, a long dark one.
Ash pointed the phone at Cynthia trying to get some kind of answer "Who is it Cynthia?"
"That's Morphus, that's the guy that went missing. Who started up Galactic"
Dawn looked scared and worried. What did this mean? Was there something that they were missing?
"The comments on this say that there may be a team that's been operating for years and has never stopped. They've been orchestrating teams throughout other regions for years. This forum here says that people reckon Morphus vanished and has been operating being the shadows. What I want to know is what this has to do with Ashur?"
"Well" Dawn answered him "People are reckoning that he knows more than what these photos claim to say. Allot of people think he's been working with this guy. It's impossible how he's captured all of these strange photos and then vanished after publishing them. His father has been looking for him for a couple of years now"
Cynthia nodded in agreement "You've done your research Dawn" Dawn giggled at her comment.
"Yeah, being pregnant really has its advantages. I caught up on this when I lounge around and have nothing to do"
Ash put the phone down on the counter and started to walk away. He turned to look at Cynthia, avoiding any eye contact with Dawn.
"What I'll do is contact Red. He'll make sure there's top security here for my family and then head over to Kanto to see what I can find out. I need to speak to my mother. I have a bad feeling about this"
Both Cynthia and Dawn stood in silence. Cynthia was agreeing with Ash in her head. There was something not right about all of this. Something was going on. Something was going to happen soon, she could feel it. Her Garchomp is a powerhouse but she couldn't let her friends know she'd been followed for a long time, way before today and that's what scared her on their flight. If she was targeted, she didn't want anyone else in danger. She already had problems going on at home and couldn't risk putting anyone in danger. Especially not right now.
The phonecall Ash got a week later startled him. He wasn't ready to come out of hiding with Dawn yet and he didn't expect the League to contact him at all, especially with bad news. He knew at this moment Cynthia was outside on the patio with Dawn. Saying her goodbyes and getting ready to head back towards her home.
"I'm sorry Mr. Ketchum" the brunette spoke "You have no choice. Please leave tonight and I promise you will return home after everything here is settled"
Ash hesitated. His fists clenched and his face tensed up heavily.
"Let him know. I'll be there" His words were low and aggressive. Not usually the way he would speak to another female.
The woman on the screen smiled brightly, her smile brightened the room with just that grin. Ash scowled at her. "Not a problem . We look forward to seeing you again"
The line ended and Ash hung his head in his hands, turning round in the seat so he could get ready to exit the door. He heard familiar heels closing in towards him entering his livingroom.
"I take it you got 'the call'?"
The familiar voice made him smile "What am I going to do Cynthia?" he muffled in his hands.
Cynthia kneeled down where she could face him if he ended up lifting his head. One knee grazed the floor and the other almost reached her chin. Those long legs did get her into some trouble sometimes.
"You know what to do Ash. I went through the same thing. No need to worry"
Ash loved those words, but only if they came from a specific person. It wasn't the same hearing it from someone he trusted and cared for without love there. He smiled against his hands and nodded his head. Cynthia swore she'd heard him giggle.