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A Journey of Souls-Pokeshipping, PG-13


New Member
Is chapter 16 the last chapter??

Hey so I know I'm a bit late in the game, but I just discovered this fanfic (which is AWESOME, by the way), and I'm kinda dying to know what happens - does it go past chapter 16??

Also, anyone have good recommendations/links for other pokeshipping stories for me?? I just love Ash and Misty!! Thanks!



First off, it's been exactly five years since I started this fic, I'm kind of blown away by that!

Anyway, if you did read that post, then you might be wondering where the new stuff is. I've got three new chapters written up already (imo some of the best I've written so far) and I'm eager to start again. But first, I want to fix up the old ones since most of them were written five years ago and me rereading them has caused me some internal pain. :p Also I want to give the new readers some time to catch up before I start throwing new chapters at them.

But regardless, I'll be uploading the full Chapter 17 sometime next week to break the drought.

I gotta say I'm pretty excited to start this up again! :D

See you next week


Well then, I guess I should start reading this from the start again...

Also, there's a certain chapter which I could look back on and smile now ;)

See you soon~


Call me "John".
I have to admit, good job. I liked the first few more than the later... But it's fine.

Hopefully Ash is not dense as an burrito in this story. In the later chapters...


Sorry about the delay, I've been distracted lately (namely Skyward Sword :D) but here's the chapter, and as for the new pokemon, I'll put up the images once I sketch them. For now, please enjoy and leave a review!

Chapter 17-Love is a Hazard!​

She walked, tired and rejected, alone to the Pokemon Center where she would comply with the favor Ash had left her…before he left her.

The sky above seemed so far away, white clouds illuminated by the waxing moon hid an otherwise starry night, and the deep darkness reflected in Misty’s eyes as she wiped away stray tears. Never would there be such a pitiful and sorrowful sight as her as she walked, dragging her tattered heart behind her by the chain of hope.

She felt deceived, angered, heartbroken but most of all, stupid! She thought she could trust his feelings especially after all they’ve been through, but apparently that wasn’t the case with him. Her eyes traced the ground below her as she shuffled her feet against it, leaning towards it as if she was going to fall forward.

Tears escaped from the side of her eyes and she wiped them away as quickly as they fell knowing Pikachu would be suspicious if he saw her in this state. And she’d rather avoid explaining how she was ditched for some lady who footed their bill…

Her arms were wrapped around herself as she continued to walk, trying to escape the chill of Solitude as it stared back at her in the face. She rubbed her arms as she neared the Center, trying to get a hold of all of her chaotic emotions as they buzzed around inside her body.

The bright red roof of the Center mixed with white walls against the dark blue sky mixed with white clouds. She clutched her Mystic Water necklace and took a deep breath. Her eyes stung and were still sore and puffy, all evidence that she had been crying tears of envy for the red haired woman. She grabbed the brooch from her hair and let it fall down in a mess of unkempt hair. She shook it until it straightened itself and she checked herself in the glassy surface of the Center door one more time before walking in.

Walking past the others around her as quickly as she could, she reached the desk undetected by any onlookers. The Nurse Joy at the front desk had her back facing Misty, fussing over paperwork and medicine distribution that she had to sort out. In a small squeak of a voice she called her, hoping with all her might that she would’ve heard her.

Nurse Joy looked puzzled as she pulled away from her work and looked behind her, wondering if she had heard a voice. Sure enough there was someone waiting there for her, a pair of timid turquoise eyes looking up at her underneath a mess of wild orange red hair.

“Hi, how are you doing? Can I help you with anything this evening?” Nurse Joy said with a wide grin that radiated from her face. Misty smirked and flipped her hair behind her ears so Nurse Joy could get a better look at her face.

“Um, I’d like to pick up the Pokemon a friend of mine left over here a couple of hours ago,” she whispered and Nurse Joy attempted to recollect this memory.

“Ah, now I remember! You came in earlier with a young man in a red cap, right?” Nurse Joy asked, her beaming grin never leaving her face. Misty smiled halfheartedly and nodded,

“Yep that’s the one…He dropped off a Pikachu that was in a pretty bad condition when we came in.” Nurse Joy began to fumble around with the papers again.

“Okay, I know which one you mean. Uh, Chansey do you think you can get the Pikachu in Room…7, please?” Nurse Joy inspected the paper she was holding in her hand, looking over the details of Pikachu’s treatment and any medicines he’d need to take. When she saw everything was fine, she presented Misty with a wordy paper and a pen and pointed to a blank line at the bottom of the paper.

“Ok, I just need you to sign down here as well as print your name here. This will hold you liable if anyone else comes in to claim that Pikachu.” Misty gave her a strange look as she took the pen in her hand.

“It’s happened before, especially with the new tourists coming in from the outside. Pokenappings, they’re called,” the Nurse Joy said with a tired look. Misty signed the paper, though she was still puzzled as to why she hadn’t been asked to sign papers in any of the other Centers before.

She gave the paper back to Nurse Joy who thanked her and went off to file the paperwork. Meanwhile, Chansey came out with Pikachu in her short stubby arms. Upon seeing Misty, he smiled and leapt into her arms.

“Well I can see someone’s feeling a lot better!” Misty smiled as she rubbed Pikachu’s head. She turned around, thanked the Nurse and walked through and out of the Center. Pikachu was cradled in her arms as the Center’s light grew faint. The white clouds that were present in the sky before had disappeared in an instant, overtaken by dark black clouds that shut out the young night.

She sighed and looked down at Pikachu. He smiled at her and she smiled back then pressed him closer against her chest.

“Looks like it’s just going to be you and me today Pikachu,” she said with a hint of sadness. Looking up at her, the yellow rodent realized that Ash hadn’t appeared yet. He looked around in fright, but she calmed him down.

“Don’t worry he hasn’t left us, Pikachu. He’s just…busy at the moment.” She frowned and gripped his body harder, feeling pain and humiliation burn at the same time. She shook the feeling off though and looked at the pokemon resting within her arms.

“That doesn’t mean we still can’t have fun, though does it? C’mon, I’m sure we can find a good salon that’s still open around here, I’ve been dying for a haircut!” The warmth returned to her smile as Pikachu yelled in agreement and she walked off towards the swamp, hoping the time would pass by quickly, seeing as how she felt a cold raindrop on her face, still warm from the previous tears.
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“Hello there Ash, good to see you again so soon.” Her red hair blazed in the orange flames of the lanterns as her green eyes were emblazoned upon the young man before her.

He laughed, searching somewhere in the back of his head for a worthy response to her statement:

“…Yeah.” He laughed again and felt his insides squirming. Narcissa smiled, almost in a malicious way at how Ash was acting.

“Well are you ready? C’mon, let me show you around.” She beckoned with her head and held her hand out, waiting for him to receive it. He jumped to the occasion and grasped her hand.

Setting foot onto the wooden boards of the arching bridge connecting the two tiny islands, one of many scattered across the Swamp, she began to point out various projects of construction, some happening presently, some happening in the future. She pointed out a blank area closest to them in particular:

“By that location, there is going to be a 20-store mall, all linked together along with a food court, parking garage, and a vista at the top which will overlook the swamp.” She paused for a moment gazing at the cranes lifting up heavy metal beams under a blinding electric light while construction men shouted towards each other.

“It’s going to be the town’s biggest project,” she said, almost with a sense of awe. “There have even been several attempts to stop the project from ever starting in the first place.” She turned to look at Ash and their eyes met. She smiled devilishly,

“But I make sure to always get my way.” Her voice was sensual, the kind that had sent the hearts of men fluttering towards her like the florescent light of the electric lamp trap. His heart beat in heavy thumps, drumming against his chest in a barbaric rhythm as her eyes continued to pierce through him, rendering him to a jelly.

“Let’s continue, shall we?” Demanding his obedience, he trailed by her side as they passed the site of the future mall, “VENOX VISTA,” and its laboring workers.

They crossed intersecting bridges, passing over the people that were traveling beneath them in rowboats. The city lights pulsed now in the cool darkness of the night as they arrived at the “developed” part of town, neglecting the parks that surrounded the swamp soon to be demolished in the upcoming weeks.

Passing by the busy center of town, few people brushed by them, most of them arching their neck to look at who the newest contender for the Gym leader was this week. Ash looked left and right in total surprise and shock; the center was lively and active, even towards this hour of the day.

Short stubby white marble buildings were layered around the whole place with visitors and local residents alike buzzing around to some of the local haunts. Retail stores that were still open had buyers scurrying to and fro, not mindful of the other people around them as they bumped into each other. Narcissa pulled Ash to one side and before he was even aware of it, they had arrived at the Gym which also neighbored her home, a lush ranch house.

She smirked and glanced over at him, awaiting his reaction. Sure enough, just as she had planned out, his mind was rolling into full gear as to what they would be doing here. He grew nervous and insecure, darting from the house to Narcissa to the surroundings around him. He looked at her pleading for an explanation with his eyes.

With a cool glance she slipped her hand away from his as she walked towards the front door of her home. Once she arrived at the door, she cracked it open then threw a mesmerizing glance over at him as she faded away into her home.

His breaths came in quick short gasps for air, his heart beating so fast that it made his head spin. His body perspired and he felt light, not feeling the impact that gravity was having on his body. She left the door open. Surely if he had left right now, it would be bad manners on his part right? He was just going to go in and remind her to shut her door then leave. Yeah, that’s what he would do…

Unconvincingly, he set foot through the door, the heaviness of his thoughts closing it behind him.
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Setting foot outside of the Pokemon Center for the second time, this time sporting a new look and a new mood, Misty sighed. She just got off of the phone with her sister to tell her how she was doing and she called Mike to tell him about the wallet too. He said he would arrive tomorrow to drop it off so she had to make sure to tell Ash.

Her hair salon visit also went well; she was pretty content with the way her hair turned out. She opted for leaving it down instead of up and keeping her bangs out of her eyes by holding it with a light blue hairpin. She still kept her signature side ponytail but it was about half as big as before. And now that she had finished all of her errands, she had nothing left to do. The faint moon was behind her, peeking over the border of the intrusive dark clouds that had settled in. And still no Ash…

I wonder what he could be doing?” she thought with envy of both him and the scarlet haired lady. She let out another loud sigh and looked down at Pikachu, now walking besides her. She smiled and picked him up again, and began to play with his nose.

“Well who needs that guy? I still have you!” She tickled him as Pikachu laughed along, squirming in her arms. She stopped and looked the rodent in his eyes.

“But what are we going to do? We still have a lot of time before it gets too late, and I’d rather not wait in the hotel all night doing nothing.” She looked around, hoping something would magically appear before her.

Then suddenly a thought flashed across her mind like a spark of electricity.

“Hey I wonder if that man is still there at the restaurant…” She turned around and looked towards the direction of the restaurant.

“I must be pretty desperate…” she muttered aloud as she walked down the dirt road, Pikachu jumping down to stretch his legs.

In less than five minutes, she had already arrived at the restaurant, strolling past the diners as they ate, ignoring her rude intrusion. Barging through the plastic doors with a heavy slam of her arms, she walked to the deck hoping to find him there.

By where she had found him, there was no man; only a fishing pole that quivered as a fish caught on the other side of the line struggled to be set free…
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The house was dark and enchanting. The heavy aroma of the woman’s perfume carried him to her. He felt against the walls making sure not to stumble over anything as he walked down the hallway. At the end of it, a door was ajar and candles flickered as the shadow of the temptress stretched against the wall.

His breathing was irregular now and he took a gulp as his hand pushed the door open. Sitting on top of a large bed, the now jacketless Narcissa turned her head and looked at Ash, pale faced and tense though he wasn’t aware of it.

“Nice to see you found your way to me.” Her low whisper echoed in his ears and he found himself ten times more nervous. She patted an open spot beside her on the bed with a wink. He took the spot and wetted his lips as she remained silent, simply staring at him with her emerald eyes.

“Are you thirsty?” She held out a cup and a bottle of wine but he shook his head. She poured a cup of her own and took a long sip. The room was quiet from the moment he walked in, the only sound came from Narcissa as she finished with a contented sigh.

His eyes shifted left to right and he began to look for something else that could garner their attention. Out of the corner of his eye, he spotted something strange on Narcissa’s neck,

“Hey Narcissa, what’s that on your chest- above your chest- do you have a tattoo on your shoulder?!” He spurted the last part out and shut his mouth, trying desperately hard to forget the embarrassment he should be feeling now. She smiled and pushed the strap off her neck, baring just enough to show what she was hiding.

A tattoo of a black scorpion stinger lay across her shoulder and ended just above her tanktop. It also seemed to continue to her back. She spotted him following it and turned around to show him the rest of the tattoo. The tail ended close to the top left of her back, where her heart was, giving the illusion that a tail was coming out from her back.

“On the day that I got the tattoo, the same day that I had lost my heart to someone else…I vowed that no man who touched my lips would ever need to love another woman again."

She started across the bed and came very close to Ash’s face, adding,

“No one, but me that is.” She smiled and pursed her wet lips, closing her eyes as she neared closer to Ash’s. His face was contorted in horror and confusion. What was he going to do? No man would ever love another woman?

Upon remembering this, a picture of Misty appeared in his head, just before he had left her to go on this date with Narcissa. He remembered now how her face looked: conflicted and hurt yet at the same time supportive; though he didn’t realize it until now like a fool.

A feeling of unease ran through him and he found himself paralyzed to the touch as Narcissa waited for him to close her proposition, her perfume all the more intoxicating as before.

She grew impatient and neared closer and closer, and closer and closer, and closer…
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The sky was still heavily black with clouds yet the shining moon was all but gone. Walking out of the restaurant Misty sighed again; her options had disappeared once more.

“What are we going to do Pikachu?” She looked at the rodent in her arms again and he gazed up at her. He climbed on her shoulder and began to glance around. He spotted something and began to yell.

“What is it Pikachu-ah wait!” He leapt off her shoulder and was on a mad dash towards the swamp, Misty trailing behind and yelling at him to stop.

He stood underneath an old wooden sign and pointed to it once Misty caught up exhausted and out of breath. When she finally got a look at the sign, her face lit up with excitement.

“Oh Pikachu, you’re a genius! I don’t know how I didn’t see this sooner!” She beamed at the rodent as he agreed, standing underneath the sign that read, “TOUR BUS, EXPLORE VENOX VILLAGE! NIGHT TOURS NOW RUNNING!”

She passed the ticket booth and boarded the bus just as it was approaching. The bus was small, white and green and had a silver overhang that provided shade from the forces of nature above. She took her place amongst a few benches; finding a seat didn’t prove to be challenging seeing as how it was empty bar a couple of people sitting in the front row and a hooded figure in the back.

As she walked down the aisle, something drew her closer to the back of the tour bus. Perhaps it was the feeling she didn’t really feel like taking a tour of this frankly plain town; she merely needed some time to cool her head…Or maybe it was the mystique of the mysterious man who had made no sudden movements until she glanced in his direction.

She took the seat two rows up from the man and rested her head against the window as Pikachu shuffled around in her book bag. As the bus disembarked from the stop, the tour guide began his spiel about the history of the town and such and such. She stared from the side of the window, wondering with a sideways grin maybe she would capture a glance of Ash…and that woman, alone on a bench somewhere, underneath a tree, their faces hidden by her long flowing hair…

Just as she was regretting for taking her thoughts to other levels, a light tap on her shoulder made her nearly jump off the running bus. She screamed and turned to look at the culpable.

It was the hooded man only he brought the hood back and was staring at her with friendly light yellow eyes, a faded version of the past. His face was rugged as well his five o’clock shadow and his dirty blonde hair was musty and uncared for. It was the man from the restaurant! Only this time he kept himself completely hidden underneath a very tattered brown cloak. He took the seat next to her and smiled.

“Nicolas.” He extended a gloved hand, “I forgot to introduce myself back at the restaurant.”

“Misty,” she said taking his hand and shaking it, adding her signature smile that always seems to bring out the best in a person. “I’m surprised you came up to me, I was pretty sure I left you in a terrible mood.”

“No, it was nothing like that, what you said actually got me thinking…” He rubbed his chin as he grinned. “There really is no point in waiting when all I need is already around me. Living in this town has made me more desireful I guess." Noticing he was trailing off he snapped back,

“Though that wasn’t the real reason I came to talk to you. No, the real reason is I saw that little exchange between you and your friend earlier.” Instantly the smile on her face dropped off and she looked away in returning pain.

“Ohh…yeah…” was all she could mutter.

“Well I’m just letting you know that if your friend doesn’t watch himself, he’ll find himself in a lot of trouble.” Hearing this, her trademark temper flared up and she said with a great huff,

“I’m sure he can handle it all by himself, he is after all a big shot trainer from Kanto!” He glanced at her, surprised when he heard that her friend was a trainer from afar but he shifted his attention back to what he was saying.

“That’s not what I was referring to…” He was stone serious and her curiosity peaked.

“What do you mean?”

“I mean that woman is a dangerous person and she could potentially take away something very important to the both of you,” he added with an all-knowing glance that embarrassed her even further.

Who is this guy?!
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The room was quiet, all except for the light crackling of the candles on the bedside table. A scarlet haired woman was leaning forward, her lips puckered out awaiting a response to their call…

A young man scratched the back of his head as he looked away, a look of confusion drawn on his face. She opened her eyes and it soon met with his uncertain ones. He opened his mouth to explain, but the look was crystal clear to Narcissa Valentina.

Though it was only the second time a man had ever rejected her.

Trying to force out an apology he was cut short by a low whisper of a voice.

“Get out…get OUT!!!” She screamed with livid eyes stinging him with unseen force. He shielded his face as she launched a scratch storm upon his body, yelling like a banshee as she forced him out of the bedroom. Her screams still reached him as he crashed through the front door, stumbling his way out into the cool open air.

No scented candles, no shadowed rooms to hide in. He felt exhilarated albeit a bit terrified soundless as well. Convinced he had done the right thing, he sprinted back to the likeliest place she was to be…
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“Narcissa Valentina…She’s not, how can I say this? A pleasant woman…” Nicolas rubbed his dark forehead with his hand as Misty looked back at him. “See some would call that kind of woman a succubus, while me…let’s just say my choice of words isn’t appropriate for a lady like yourself.” She chuckled to herself as Nicolas grinned.

“But really she is a terrible person…The most desireful person in this whole town of gluttons."

“But how can you talk about her like that? I mean, no offense, but to me I don’t think a woman like her would know a guy such as yourself.” She paused then shook her head and was about to apologize when he turned to her with the most pitiful look she had seen.

“I was going to marry that woman.” Misty gasped and Pikachu, safely tucked away in her bag looked up at the two. Nicolas nodded as the weight of his words sunk in him once again, like a dull knife.

“Yes, that woman and I were engaged before we split up a couple of years back, when this village was still considered a village by every definition of the word.” She shook her head in disbelief, still at a loss for words.

“We were happy together during our engagement, but our best times were when we first had met. A few years ago, I had recently met an unknown girl in the village by the name of Narcissa. She was aware of who I was-”

“What does that mean?” Misty interjected, a little lost. His expression was serious and his voice was remorseful.

“I used to be the leader of this village.” Misty was going to faint; this man who was the owner of this bustling village was living on the streets and eating scraps from restaurants? Ridiculous. She stood up to tell him so but he spoke first,

“Let me continue first." She sat back down and nodded so he spoke once more,

“She presented to me an idea, one to commercialize. I was dead set against her, I couldn’t bring myself to change this village especially since so many generations had come and passed in this pure and natural scenery.” He gazed at the park gates that were closed off to the public, set to be demolished by next week. He looked down at his feet in shame,

“But I was stunned by her beauty; I was ready to do anything for her. My opinions no longer mattered to me as long as I could make her happy somehow.” He paused and added,

“See how dangerous love can be?”

I couldn’t agree more…she thought to herself with a shake of her head.

“Gradually we began developing tourist friendly attractions like this bus ride. We never would’ve expected the amount of traffic we would get though. It certainly did well for us economically, but for the people who yearned for a quiet life it was getting to be too much for them at this point. As older citizens went, newer ones entered. We stayed firmly together never leaving the other’s side. I kept her in check and she always strived to push me farther as a leader. Our relationship turned serious until finally culminating in her acceptance of my proposal.” He felt his ring finger where the ring was sure to have been.

“And we were happy as long as we had each other…That is, until the Pokemon League showed up on our doorstep.” His disgust was apparent and he fumed with every thought of them.

“Big tall men in black suits, arms full of papers of certificates and such for the construction of a new building. See, they wanted to build a Pokemon Gym in this village, in this village! The traffic was getting very big and we were also located in a strategic place, according to their analytics…”

“I was always opposed to Pokemon battling; I preferred a coexistence with them, but Narcissa…she displayed a natural talent for it, trying it out one day just for kicks with the local species found here.” He nodded towards the swamp and she turned. Whatever had been there left in a quick hurry as it left behind a trail of ripples on the surface.

“Now we were in love and we supported each other no matter what..." Then he paused and hesitated.

“Well, I kind of spoiled her, but that’s because I always figured her intentions were good. But my suspicions surfaced when she volunteered herself as the Gym leader for the town. I hadn’t even agreed to them building this so called Gym and here I was, watching her test herself against the bigwigs and trouncing them. I remember the huge smile on her face, holding her Gym trainer card like a badge of honor as she threw herself onto me. And all I could manage was a grin…”

“The next day, we broke out in a huge fight, the biggest I’m sure we’d had. I was tired of feeling like she was controlling me for her goals and she was tired of living the quiet life. We came to a head when she remarked that I was jealous from the attention she was receiving from other men and that’s when I did the dumbest mistake of my life…I told her to decide: either quit as a Gym leader or I wasn’t going to marry her anymore.” Her eyes almost shot out of their sockets. “I honestly don’t know why a sane person would give her those options but it was the first thing that came out..."

“Wait, so it was your fault that the relationship ended?” An irritated look came across his face.

“If you want to play the blame game, then yes I guess it was. It doesn’t matter whose fault it was though, it was petty on my behalf either way. She didn’t listen to a word I said; she didn’t look at me for a week and then once she did, it was the iciest look anyone had ever given me. A mixture of suffering and loathing... She was
torn between her two loves and her indecision was driving me to the edge."

“When a company, the one that had poisoned our swamp, arrived several days after I gave her my ultimatum she went behind my back and filled out the paperwork as Gym leader. I took that as her answer and then that was it…We broke it off.” He was silent at last and she tried to absorb it all in though the sheer confusion and shock value made her head ache.

"But doesn't that mean she never gave you an answer? I mean she never told you up front, so how could you possibly dislike her so much?"

“I don’t,” he admitted. “In fact, I still love her…but after hearing all these stories of her activities as ‘Gym Leader’ I can’t say I’m so quick to forgive even though it was my fault she became that way. After losing me, the hole in her heart grew bigger and the only way to fill it was to fulfill her crazy ambitions. She used to always tell me if she were to become Gym leader of the town then she would strive for an undefeated title. From what I’ve seen though she’s been doing everything in her power in order to get her title and the closer she gets the more desperate and willing she is to achieve that goal.”

“So pretty much, what you’re suggesting is all that she’s doing with Ash is trying to fill the hole you left in her heart.” He hung his head in silent agreement.

Misty was feeling uplifted though, as she gleaned about Ash…until she remembered why she was on this bus in the first place. She gazed at the wooden seat in front of her, and Nicolas caught on,

“I’m sorry Misty, I shouldn’t be so uncaring and selfish. Yet…you should do these things!” She looked up at him as he looked back at her straight in the eyes with a burning aura.

“You can’t be so passive! If you know he’s going to leave you alone for another woman, then let him know what the consequences are! Fight for what you believe in Misty, fight for what I avoided these past years. There will be times when you feel like you can’t carry on anymore and you give in, but then something picks you up…and it’s the part that you didn’t know belonged in you the whole time, the other half of your heart.”

"I wish I could be so optimistic Nicolas, but it's hard to be in love when it's rarely returned..." He looked her dead in the eyes with direct confidence.

“You must remember Misty; you shouldn’t be looking for love. On a journey of souls, we search for the ones that we will share a special bond with, one that no one can break, one that grows stronger with every second. If we don't have that bond then of course it would be hard to stand up every time we fell. Go chase that support Misty, you won't ever feel alone once you catch it!"

He placed a comforting hand on her shoulder and she felt her chest swelling up from the inside. Her eyes blazed with renewed vigor and, after replaying his last words in her head she stood up and dove off the bus and into the swamp as it drove over a bridge. Nicolas was bewildered as she swam through the swamp, with Pikachu and her bag in hand and only one thing on her mind. The yells of him or the others on the bus wouldn’t dissuade her. Ash was hers and she was going to keep it that way.

Part 2 down below
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Ash was growing desperate; she wasn’t at the restaurant or here at the Pokemon Center (nor Pikachu and the fact that the Nurse Joy there kept mentioning Pokenappings didn’t help calm him either) He couldn’t think of anywhere else she could be; didn’t he tell her to wait for him here? Why wouldn’t she wait? Endless questions buzzed around his head as he paced across the earth, the sky already dark above his head.

Just as he was about to decide to wing it and look for her throughout town, Misty appeared from out of the blue and nearly bumped him into the swamp. Pikachu leapt out from her bag and into the arms of his trainer as she reclined to catch her breath.

“Misty what happened to you?! I asked you to wait for me at the Center when I came back!”

“Ash don’t be ridiculous, you never mentioned anything about waiting for you while you were gone. All you said was to meet you here tomorrow morning if you didn’t come back, but obviously it looks like you did.” None of her aggressive undertones were lost on him; he could easily tell she was annoyed at what he just said. Still he wasn’t going to take this fight standing down.

“I was pretty worried, you took Pikachu pretty early and the Nurse kept mentioning something about Pokenappings…”

“I picked him up early?! What is your problem Ash Ketchum? I did you the favor I should be getting thanks-”

“Well thank you,” he said. Her mouth was half open as she couldn’t even think from all the rage that was going through her brain. She even forgot why she had rushed to find him in the first place…

“And why are you wet anyway Misty? I didn’t see any pools when I was walking through this town earlier-”

“You know what Ash? Forget it. It doesn’t matter. You’re really testing my patience now and I’ve done nothing to deserve this little attitude of yours. According to you, I was supposed to wait here doing nothing while you get to go out and enjoy yourself, and not only that, but you expected me to leave Pikachu all by himself in the Center as well because I should’ve picked him up later, which I don’t know, what that even, means!” She was getting hysterical and she panted, still out of breath. But it did the trick; he sighed and rubbed his forehead.

“I’m sorry Misty I’m acting like a jerk. I’m just so lost right now I don’t know what to think.” With just one look, he melted her burning emotions and she sighed as well. Honestly she wasn’t really as mad as she was letting on, just releasing.

“It’s fine Ash; are you going to challenge the Gym leader tomorrow morning? Yeah? Alright well I’ll meet you there then, I’m going to find someplace to sleep.”

“But aren’t you going to sleep with me tonight?” She blushed and looked away: not exactly how she would’ve worded it…

“I think it’s better if I sleep by myself tonight. I’ll probably take a room in the Pokemon Center if you really want to know, but other than that, I want you to leave me alone tonight.” Her words stung him and it must have shown because Misty regretted how it sounded.

But she didn’t want to cave in; heeding Nicolas’ advice, she felt he needed to learn a lesson and this was the best way. So without another word, she turned and walked into the Center, leaving the boy clutching his Pikachu in his arms, wearing an expression that can only be described as heartbroken.
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He stretched his stiff arms as he waited for the large metal door of the Venox Gym to open. He had anything but a good sleep last night considering it was in a quiet, empty hotel room with nothing but cloudy thoughts of doubt plaguing his dreams. But seeing as how he was up and ready to tackle this Gym, it was already in the past. He knew this match was going to take a lot more concentration than the previous ones since Narcissa was the leader and all…

At last, the door parted open and it led into a white marble room decorated with red velvet curtains that lined the arched windows. Unlit torches lined the walls and a huge painting of Narcissa was displayed in all its glory in the middle of the room with two doors on each side.

“Take the door to your left please,” boomed a voice from nowhere. Seeing no other options, he did just as was asked of him. As his hand pushed open the door, that same voice came back again.

“Take the door to your right, please.” He turned back and instantly his mind jumped from the approaching battle.

It was Misty, looking groggy yet peaceful, dressed casually and wearing her hair down in the same manner. She threw a slow faint look at him as she walked to the other side. He flashed a quick grin and raised his hand to greet her when she turned away, leaving him feeling like an idiot.

Passing into the next room, his face was stoic again, dead set on winning this battle, ignoring the fact who he was facing and how she had turned his insides out. The very thought of her was making him nervous as he approached the empty match room. Another marble room with red velvet curtains only this time there was the real Narcissa on the other side. She was looking at something else on the ceiling, completely and deliberately ignoring him.

He sighed and chose to study the match floor. There were three tiny islands in the middle of the ring and they were each surrounded by the same purple colored swamp as outside though this one had a distinct odor to it, even from afar he could smell it. Just as he tried to figure a strategy in his head, the voice from before, all though much softer, spoke out again.

“Welcome Trainer to the Venox Village Pokemon Gym. I am the Leader, Narcissa Valentina.” He kept his mouth shut so she continued.

“It will be a three-on-three match so choose your Pokemon wisely. Have you selected your team Trainer?” Her manner was as if she had never met him, but he could tell she was trying to psyche him out. He nodded with a serious confidence which shifted her interest slightly.

“Good…” Her expression changed into a devilish smirk as she placed her hand onto her belt and let her first Pokemon out:

A dark violet Pokemon snarled back at him, his hard skin reflecting off of the lights in the ceiling. Its small body seemed oddly disproportionate to its enormous head which held its massive jaws. Quick to draw, Ash pulled out his Pokedex and it read back to him:

“Kreukevile, the Snout Pokemon. 4’11” Poison/Steel. Spending most of their time under dark waters, they snap at their prey with vicious jaws. Their tail is held up in an awkward angle so they direct their swimming by using it like a rudder, subconsciously doing the same on land. These Pokemon are also widely renowned for having beautiful skin making them very much sought after though they do not shed their scales. Forcibly removing them is in direct prohibition to Pokemon law. The poison sacs on this Pokemon are surprisingly held in its snout, often attacking through its nostrils.”

“Hmm a Steel type underwater eh? This’ll be too easy…Go Pikachu!” He leapt off his trainer’s shoulder and landed on the match floor, waiting for his next command.

“Pah how predictable, though understandable,” Narcissa said with a wave of her hand. “Sending out an Electric type that is.” He ignored her and she was starting to lose her cool but continued to speak in her monotone,

“I’ve explained the rules to you already and it looks as though your audience has arrived too.” He turned behind him and above his head was Misty sitting on a balcony, studying the Gym Leader very closely. The referee who now joined the two trainers on the match floor raised his flags and proclaimed,

“This match between Narcissa Valentina and Ash Ketchum will now begin!”

He turned and looked at both sides then, dropped the flags.


Without warning, Kreukevile slipped into the swamp before Ash could even think.

“Good, make sure you don’t give away your position now!”

“That’s not gonna help you at all! Pikachu use Thunderbolt on the swamp!” But before he could even charge up, the island began to shake, shifting him dangerously to the edge.

“There’s no way he could’ve reached this side that quickly!” Ash complained.

“Oh no don’t worry, he hasn’t gotten there yet. Still, that doesn’t mean his attacks are as slow…” And sure enough, another wave of trembles came, throwing Pikachu onto the floor. They were getting steadily stronger…

“C’mon Pikachu, you can do it! Jump in the air and use Thunderbolt!”

“Not so fast! Use Sludge!” From the right side of the island, the attack came from underwater and nearly hit Pikachu forcing him to dodge midair and throwing off his aim. The bolt hit the ground and he landed, searching the swamp for any sign of his opponent.

“Now use Magnitude Kreukevile!” He thrashed around underwater and the island shook again, this time with even greater force launching Pikachu into the swamp opposite of where his attacker was, much to Ash’s relief.

“Little boy you shouldn’t look so relaxed.” Ash growled in rage, no one calls him a little boy. Narcissa’s voice was laced with malevolence as she spoke.

“This swamp is composed of a chemical, home only to this Gym now that they’ve cleaned up the waters outside. After many years of exposure prior to the cleanup, our local species had built a unique immunity to it.”

“Wait, you mean to tell me this swamp is really poisoned?!” He watched in horror as Pikachu sunk into the murky waters, sputtering and kicking as the thick water made it hard to swim. A slow ripple neared closer to Pikachu and Ash all but knew what this spelt for him.

“Crush him with Body Slam Kreukevile!” The Pokemon leapt out of the water, catching Pikachu between its huge jaws. He carried him in midair and then plummeted towards the island. Pikachu screamed out and jolted the attacker just before they landed but it was too late; he was crushed under the weight of the crocodile’s massive jaws. And with a quick snap Pikachu was thrown high into the air and landed squarely on his back on the neighboring island.

He didn’t respond.

“Pikachu is unable to battle!” Ash jumped forward and retrieved his partner.

“Hey you did good buddy, make sure you rest up and save your energy alright?” Pikachu smiled weakly back in agreement and fell asleep. Ash sighed as he laid him down. He needed a defense against those earthquakes so there was only one logical choice.

“Go Virgel!” The angelic pokemon came out of his pokeball and swooped into the air. Misty nodded in silent agreement from the selection; she maintained her silence the whole time, not like how she would normally cheer in his other Gym matches.

“Hmph hopefully this will be more interesting,” she scoffed aloud as Ash glared back at her. The referee looked at the opponents, raised his flags and brought them down.


“Back into the water, love!” Her pokemon inched towards the edge until he submerged himself.

“That’s not gonna work again! Virgel, skim the waters until you find him!” The pokemon floated just above the swamp, submerging his fists and searching as Narcissa kept quiet, almost bursting with excitement since she had him where she wanted him.

“Leap out and clamp onto him.” He emerged right from underneath Virgel and caught his right arm, yanking him down towards the swamp.

“Don’t let go!” Narcissa yelled. But as the pokemon closed his jaws around Virgel’s tiny fist, Ash yelled,

“Mach Punch now!” His teeth scraped Virgel’s wrist, but he caught Kreukevile square between the eyes with a lightning quick punch from his other arm that threw him back into the water.

“Don’t let up, force him back on land!” With quick movements, he dove to where Kreukevile fell and lifted him out of the swamp and slammed him, back first, onto dry land again. Narcissa gritted her teeth at the disastrous turn of events and screamed,

“Hurry and use Sludge again!” He rolled and, rearing his nostrils back, he shot out two globs of black liquid which caught both of Virgel’s wings. He had trouble keeping afloat and landed on his feet, looking dead at the opposition in the eyes now.

“We can drag this one out if you’d like…Use Poison Gas Kreukevile!” Black smoke began to emit from the Pokemon’s long nose until he expelled it all with a great breath. Virgel covered his mouth with his arm and took a step back.

“Don’t worry, clear the smoke with Wing Attack and follow up with Mega Punch!” He flapped his grime covered wings and the smoke shot back into Kreukevile’s face. Virgel reared back his glowing fist and aimed into the black shroud of smoke. Kreukevile dodged it with ease by shifting his light body with a shake of his head, driving Virgel’s fist into the tender ground. His pokemon struggled to get his fist out of the soft ground, so he had to yank it out with his other arm and this gave Ash an idea.

“Pound on his head Virgel!” Without hesitation, the pokemon clamped his hands together and flattened them on top of the Snout pokemon, burying his nose into the dirt. The pokemon and his trainer were caught off guard and he tried to release himself from the ground, but with no momentum, he was literally stuck there. Virgel cracked his knuckles with a sinister look on his face as Kreukevile closed his eyes in fear.

After a few blows, Kreukevile stayed buried in the ground without any movements.

“Kreukevile is unable to battle, the winner is Virgel!”

“Alright, good job buddy!” Ash yelled in elation as his Pokemon returned it with a thumbs up.

Narcissa was impressed with his clever strategy but that was just a taste of what she could offer.

“Don’t celebrate now, we’re just getting started; come out, Drine!” A round and spiny pokemon appeared in front of them, with two skinny tails each ending on an oval and a shrewd look in her eyes:

“Drine, the Chilling Pokemon. 2’7” Ice/Poison. These Pokemon usually hide underneath tall patches of grass due to them being very shy creatures. Their poison is generated in its two tails and carried over into its body. The unique aspect of its poison lowers the temperature of anything it comes into contact with. Because of this, its poison laced spines can be described as cold as icicles. A telltale fact if there are Drine in the area is by seeing your breath on an otherwise warm day. Their main offense is using the spines they carry on their body which grow back as fast as they are ejected.”

As the Pokedex slid back into place, he began to brainstorm,

“If I keep Virgel out, he’ll be too tired from the last match to hold up against this guy, but Poison/Ice is a terrible match up for a Grass type like Dogra…” He bit his lower lip in thought as he tried to rack his brains on what to do…


“Quickly use Poison Sting Drine!” Jumping on Ash’s hesitation, a flurry of tiny needles shot forward at a grounded Virgel and he lunged himself to the side, nearly taking the attack. But a second wave came and these caught him off balance. He yelled in agony as the poison seeped into him then he used his sticky wing to shield himself from the continuing onslaught.

Having no other choice, Ash gritted his teeth and called back his pokemon.

“You earned your rest Virgel…Go Dogra!” The grassy hamster leapt out and cut the air with his twig. Misty continued to observe in silence albeit she was feeling a bit apprehensive seeing as how Ash was virtually down two pokemon and Narcissa had two healthy ones ready to go. Things were looking pretty bad for Dogra too; this wasn’t exactly the ideal battle for any kind of Grass type…

“Drine, use Tackle!” Dogra sidestepped the simple attack and was irritated by his slow witted trainer. From behind him though, Drine sneered as Narcissa smirked, this was an old strategy that had always worked for them.

“Drine use Icicle Spear!” He was wide open from the back and didn’t have time to block as Drine unleashed a barrage of ice from her back. The attack hit him and he squeaked in pain as he rolled in place to face her.

“Keep them coming love!” As the old ones flew away, new spikes grew back and she shot them off again following Dogra as he ran in a circle around her. She continued to launch wave after wave until finally Ash spoke up,

“Turn around and Cut through the attack Dogra!” Pivoting on the spot, he slashed with the twig in his hand and smashed the pieces flying towards him.

“Great now use Razor Leaf into Cut!” He threw a set of pointed leaves at her then charged forward as Drine recovered from her energy consuming volleys.

“Don’t stop now Drine! Keep firing until he’s finished!” She growled as she was still trying to rest up but she obliged and fired a second bombardment, shredding the leaves aimed at her.

“Don’t let down Dogra, use Cut and fight your way through!” Still running at full speed Dogra readied himself and let out a high pitched war cry. Brandishing the green twig in hand, he slashed and cut through the fast onslaught, charging closer and closer to the now bare pokemon, recovering after having released so many spines.

“Icy Wind, Drine!” Drine panted and grunted in annoyance; she had to catch her breath first. Narcissa didn’t seem to notice though, she was too annoyed at herself. She didn’t think Ash was going to give her such a hard time. Her pokemon let out a pale white breath of frost from her mouth as Dogra neared to within feet of her.

Ash pointed his finger at Drine with a grin and yelled,

“Dodge and attack Dogra, like we practiced!” He leapt over the attack and waited until he was directly above Drine. He swung the twig and using the momentum, spun and slashed across her bald back. He turned and landed on his two feet, clutching the dirt with his open hand as he slid while the other held his weapon high.

Drine shouted in pain and scurried as far she could from her opponent, ignoring Narcissa’s orders for a counterattack until after she gained some significant distance from her opponent. He looked into her eyes and she growled back still smarting from that back slice.

”So her back is her weakest point huh… Ash mused and then smirked after having hatched an idea. Before she could give him the opportunity though, Narcissa yelled,

“Drine, use Toxic Spikes! Protect yourself!” She reared her back up and shot another flurry of pins, this time they stuck in the ground and the field was dotted with traps.

“Razor Leaf Dogra, keep pressuring and evading!” Left with no choice as the field was too dangerous for Dogra to charge in directly he fired his first volley and began to leap from spike to spike, inching closer to Drine.

“Defend yourself Drine!” She shot out frozen spines once again and they ripped through the leaves, but missed Dogra as he cut the spears and carefully evaded the Toxic Spikes. Another volley of Razor Leaf and another and another, Dogra was intensifying the number until it was getting tasking for Drine to shoot them all down.

“Just use Icy Wind Drine! Then combine with Icicle Spear!” The flying leaves froze in place and fell and the spears shattered them before they touched the ground. The field was covered by the obscuring frost and Dogra disappeared from sight. Drine grew worried and searched for him, regrowing her spines just in case.

“Behind you!” Narcissa screamed and Ash smiled and yelled,

“Poke her Dogra!” By the time Drine could react, Dogra jutted her in the behind between her spikes. She sprang up into the air squealing then landed on her back, stuck to the ground. She wiggled as hard as she could to free herself but to no avail.

“Finish it Dogra!” He picked up speed and somersaulted over Drine. With nimble speed he cut her three times in midair and then kicked her free once he landed just for good measure. After she landed it was pretty evident what the result was and the referee held up Ash’s flag.

“Drine is unable to battle, the winner is Dogra!” After returning Drine to her pokeball, Narcissa got very terse and kept quiet. Her lip trembled as she sent out her final pokemon.

The bright white pokemon cooed and spun in the air with a mischievous grin on her face. Ash took out his Pokedex once more,

"Quofu, the Calling Pokemon. 2’ 5” Psychic/Poison. Commonly purported as the evidence for Pokemon’s origins in space, these creatures come out every night and look up at the sky. Raising their heads they hum and a sequential array of bright lights flash from their forehead as if they were calling out to someone far above. They carry their poison in their tail and inject it directly into their opponents."

Floating just above the floor, the pokemon spun in midair laughing and goofing off as Dogra observed her from the other side.


And as if the starting gun had been shot, Quofu launched towards Dogra, grinning as she neared.

“Dodge Dogra!” Leaping out of the way, he prepped himself for the next attack but Quofu held him with her psychic attack.

“That’s good Quofu, now Psybeam!” Sticking her tongue out at Dogra as she looked back at him while upside down, she shot a wave of energy as he was let go from her hold. With no chance to move, he braced himself and the attack connected with his body, knocking him off his feet.

“Poison Jab now Quofu!” In a burst of speed, Quofu stuck her tail out and aimed straight at Dogra’s chest. He rolled out of the way but the attack had just grazed his arm. Quofu pulled out her stinger from the ground with a malicious grin as she watched her opponent. Dogra’s breathing was erratic and he could barely stand on his two feet as the poison worked its way into his body. He wobbled and struggled until gravity had overcome his spirit. He fell face forward onto the ground.

“Dogra is unable to battle, the winner is Quofu!” Ash's stomach turned as he called back his pokemon.

“Dogra you did your best, now it’s all up to you Virgel, to help us out.” With a newly resolved will, Ash sent out his last pokemon and he looked ready to fight even though his wings were still full of sludge from earlier.

Narcissa was now looking pleased with herself and her tense posture relaxed as she could breathe a sigh of relief. She flicked her hair at Ash and raised her eyebrow, looking all too smug now that it was Ash's turn in the hot seat. He maintained his cool though as the referee lifted his flags for one final time.

“BEGIN!” And at once, Virgel took off this time, rearing up a Mach Punch hoping to catch Quofu off guard.

“Sludge Bomb, baby!” Grin still on her face, Quofu lifted her arms up and sent the swamp crashing in waves around them. Virgel leapt onto her and didn’t let go as she continued to flood the arena with the poisonous liquid.

“Nice going Virgel, now hit her with a Wing Attack!” A dirty wing slapped Quofu across the face and Virgel let go once the swamp subsided. The grin disappeared off her face and now she was angry. She raised her hands again and this time the lights on her head began to blink furiously. Two pillars of grime rose up from the swamp and Quofu growled as she lowered her hands down. Virgel leapt to the next island as the water came crashing down on the other.

Quofu followed up again and chased Virgel as he leapt from island to island, until he was within striking range again. Quofu prepared her stinger as well and she summoned the poisonous fluid from the swamp.

“Mach Punch Virgel!” He launched off the ground and sped towards Quofu as she shot out the Sludge Bomb attack once more. It skimmed past his chest and he was closing in fast.

“Go Ash! Go get her!” Misty broke her silence and waved her arms in the air spurning him to win it all. He smiled and burned with new confidence. He was going to try something he had done only in practice.

Virgel came within range and Quofu awaited her next attack from her trainer. But Narcissa was silent, in fact not even paying attention to the match at all. There, behind a cheering Misty, was an aged and rugged but instantly recognizable face, one that she hadn’t seen since that distant hurtful memory.

With Narcissa distracted and Quofu left open, Virgel knew that this was it. He slammed his fist against the top of her head, knocking her into the ground. As Virgel landed back on the floor, Quofu was struggling to stand on her feet. Ash shouted out,

“Sky Uppercut Virgel!” He followed suit as his hand turned blue and before Quofu could blink, rocked her squarely on the jaw sending her soaring towards the swamp. Narcissa cried out and placed her hands on her head, falling to her knees as she watched her pokemon and her title fall through the air. She landed with a huge splash and resurfaced shortly after, floating and unmoving with swirls in her eyes.

“Quofu cannot continue, the winner of the match is Virgel and Ash!” Ash pumped his arms up, screaming and shouting and jumping in place as Virgel ran towards him copying him move for move. Misty smiled but stopped when a chill ran down her spine.

She turned around but there was nothing there in the empty archway, just darkness and the open door, though she was sure she had left it closed... Even though the sensation that someone had been there didn’t leave her, she ignored it and went down to meet Ash and a devastated and beaten Narcissa.
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They gathered together outside of the Gym as Ash was in high spirits and Pikachu was starting to feel better after a quick rest, already poking his head outside of his trainer’s bag. Misty had rejoined Ash, equally high spirited so now all they had left to do was to receive the badge.

Narcissa finally looked Ash in the eyes; a faint humility in her pupils was all Ash could identify from her stare. She seemed very foreign and in a distant land, clearly something else greater was occupying her thoughts. She spoke clearly but with unease in her voice.

“I guess while trying to attain an undefeated title through other means, I discovered today that the one thing I should have been focusing on was my training. Though I won’t thank you I at least acknowledge that you did help me.”

“What kind of garba-”

“Okay Misty, it’s okay!” Ash laughed as he held her back from rearranging Narcissa’s face. All he wanted was his badge he had enough battles for today.

“As a reward for your efforts in defeating me Ash, you have earned the Hazard badge.” She presented the badge to him, a yellow triangle with a spout at the tip, resembling a chemistry flask. He held it up high and laughed as Misty joined him. And while she was there to smile and congratulate Ash, mostly she wanted to gloat in Narcissa’s face one last time. When she turned to look though, she was gone, apparently slipping out as soon as their attention shifted to the badge.
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Just outside the back of Narcissa’s home, the afternoon sun was high in the air and shone on the rest of the Village below, but the shadow of the house fell over the two figures, covering them from the rest of the world. She looked at the man in front of her who was uneasy each time their eyes met. He held his head high though and stared back in silence. And without saying a word, he walked towards her until he was a few feet away from her face. With a steady lift of his arm, he placed his hand gently on her shoulder, covering the tattoo of the scorpion stinger on her neck.

“Narcissa…all this time that we were separated, I thought it was you that had kept us apart…but I realized that you were the one who kept me from falling apart.” His grip tightened as he smiled in a whisper of a voice,

“I’ve missed you Narcissa…” She smiled back and embraced him, her scarlet red hair warming his body. They clung to each other as the shadow of the house veiled them from the heart of the sun, illuminating instead his village and her home.
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Now heading back to the Center to heal his team, Ash walked in silence with Misty. Even though he was proud of winning his third badge of the region, there was still a lingering unease in his stomach. He looked at Misty out of the corner of his eye and saw her face, worn and tired from the heavy night before. And normally bright and cheery Misty was quiet today, smiling and happy but at the same time hoisting her legs up one by one as if they ended in weights.

Smiling at her, he lifted the Hazard badge out of his case and blocked out the tiny sun with the metal pin.

“Getting these badges sure is hard work…there’s a lot of time and of course, training that I have to dedicate to getting these badges.” And he shifted his tone to a more sincere one.

“But the one thing I need the most if I want to get all of these badges…is you Misty. You’re the one who helped me win today." He looked her dead in the eyes as they stopped in the middle of the road. He smiled as she caught his eyes, peering straight into her. She was shocked and looked away but she blushed as she smiled and said,

“You sure got that right Ash…” She began towards the Center again, hands resting freely behind her back.

“Now maybe it’s time you started saying it more often,” she said with a wink and a backwards glance. He smiled even harder this time, the feeling in his face getting warmer and his breathing shallow. Pikachu leapt out of his bag and Ash followed laughing behind him, both of them running after Misty as she gave chase to the Pokemon Center. Invisible to the eye, the ties between the three of them were getting stronger each day as love would have it; yet unknown to them, this was still just the beginning and their bonds and limits would be tried in ways previously inexperienced.

Author's Notes​
It was kind of weird to have to return to this chapter after not writing for so long, it took me a while to get back into the flow of things. I had to change a couple of things once I started again, such as Shogra who is now Dogra, a little green hamster like pokemon. I haven't had the opportunity to update the older chapters but I'm working on them. It's taking a lot longer than I expected, maybe it would help if I wasn't so picky :rolleyes:

Any questions or comments feel free to post them, I'll post Ch. 18 once I'm finished writing the new chapter. Thanks for reading!


Call me "John".
Good job. It's weird after 3 years that you posted the rest of Chapter 17. Haha. Anyways, excellent job. I can't wait until if this is finished.....if it is.


Thanks Ketachu for the review, I'm going to try as hard as I can to finish this story as well as keeping a steady update schedule. On that note here it is, a brand spanking new chapter! Preceding this, Ash just won his third badge and now they're on their way for the next town. Before they can leave though, a couple of old faces from earlier in the story meet up with them. Enjoy!

Chapter 18-The Venox Vanishings​

Back at the Venox Pokemon Center, Ash was dropping off his pokemon with Nurse Joy. She bowed her head and ran off to attend to them immediately. She suspected the treatment wouldn’t take long, but it usually took a while for the poison to leave the system so they were to come back in at least an hour or so. They exited through the doors, warm rays of the sun shining down on them. Once outside, they stopped by the shore of the purple colored swamp. The water was tranquil and bubbled in the occasional place as they lazed about. Ash stretched his tired arms as well as Pikachu who stayed with them, feeling much better despite having been thrown into the poisonous swamp. He insisted for an Antidote instead of staying with Nurse Joy which Ash felt was kind of strange, but he figured Pikachu was tired of being left behind. Misty walked up next to him and spoke,

“Well Ash since we have the time off, why don’t we go and have some fun for once?” He frowned,

“What, you don’t think watching me battle and train is fun?” She rolled her eyes,

“Only in your head Ash, where it seems that the one thing that happens in there is a battle.” She giggled while he pouted though he knew she was only teasing him.

“If you’re so smart Misty why don’t you find us something better to do then?” he said with a hint of sarcasm but with a smile. She brightened up as soon as he said so though.

“Well…there was this one thing I saw yesterday…” He changed expressions because he knew where this was heading.

“Aw come on Misty, this isn’t going to be another one of those lovey-dovey places you drag me to all the time is it?” This time it was her turn to pout and she grabbed him by the ear.

“Well whether you like it or not Ash we’re going!” She grumbled in a restrained tone as she literally dragged Ash across the ground by his ear as he yelled and fidgeted in protest. Pikachu merely shrugged his arms, sighed and ran off after the two of them.
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They finally arrived at the bus port where Misty had been just last night. Beside the bus stop was a harbor, though the area was empty and without a soul in sight, neither walking nearby nor waiting in line.

“It doesn’t seem like we can do much around here,” Ash quipped while looking around. Misty sighed.

“Yeah maybe we can still find something else to do in town.” Ash agreed and just as they were about to head back, a man’s voice called out to them.

“Hey! You guys looking for a ride around the swamp?” There was some familiarity in the voice to Misty and she immediately turned around. Holding a wooden pole by his side, the yellow-eyed blonde man waved at them, arriving on top of a small brown boat.

“Hey it’s Nicolas!” Misty waved back with a smile and ran towards him, beckoning for Ash to follow. The rugged man tied a rope to the pier and stepped off his boat. This time around he had a full black apparel inatead of the tattered brown cloak she met him in.

“Well this doesn’t look like fishing now does it?” Misty replied with a smile. The man returned it and shook his head.

“That’s just for those bad days, I’m really terrible at it to be honest,” Nicolas' laugh was brusque, apparently in a much better mood since she last saw him. It was like the difference between the two was night and day. Ash was a bit lost as he looked at the pair and Misty stepped aside to introduce him.

“Ash this is Nicolas, we met yesterday on the bus. Nicolas this is Ash, he’s traveling around Muntein to collect all the badges.”

“Oh a Pokemon Trainer?” Nicolas smiled at him but only through burning contempt; he crushed Ash’s hand in his grip and he felt the bones go pop underneath his bruising hold. Ash winced in pain but spoke through gritted teeth,

“And a pretty good one too!” Ash eyed Nicolas as he glared back at him. But then he broke out into a wide smile and slammed his hand onto Ash’s shoulder.

“You’ve got guts kid!” and Ash grinned back even as Nicolas continued to hold Ash’s shoulder in a vice grip. Pikachu shouted from the ground drawing their attention.

“Ah yes this is Pikachu, I almost forgot,” Misty said with a smile. Nicolas hunched down with a smile and gave Pikachu’s tiny hand a shake too.

“So what are you doing with that boat Nicolas if you’re not out fishing?” asked Misty.

“Well I’m a ferryman! I give people rides around the swamp, for a small living. It’s kind of my way to show the ungrateful people here,” he looked directly at Ash as he said this.

“That there is a lot of natural beauty in this village that shouldn’t go overlooked.” His eyes were fixed on Misty when he said that last part and Ash was about to open his mouth when Misty quickly stopped him.

“Eh- That sounds great! Do you think we could take a trip?” she said with a hint of a blush on her cheeks.

“Sure! Hop on you two, I’ll be more than to happy to!” Misty pulled out her purse since Ash was still missing his wallet, but Nicolas waved her down.

“No charge, especially since you’ve done plenty for me Misty.” Now Ash had enough, but Misty once more cut him off.

“Wait does that mean-”

“Yes Narcissa and I are engaged once more!” Misty laughed and gave Nicolas a quick hug…but now Ash was way in the dark and his expression must have given himself away because Misty spoke up when she saw him.

“You see Ash, Nicolas was Narcissa’s fiancé before she became a Gym leader…” Nicolas nodded and continued from where Misty left off,

“But after some…trouble, we called it off and she went on to become the Gym leader as I...well, I was left to sink into the shadows…” There was something intangible in his voice as he trailed off but he shook it away.

“Anyway that’s all in the past, why don’t you guys hop on and we start this tour?” They happily obliged and the three of them boarded the boat carefully, its tiny frame sinking as each person stepped on.

“Don’t worry, this baby is sturdy,” he said to Pikachu as he looked unsure. He smiled and hopped on and Nicolas pushed off into the deeper waters.

Long blades of grass jutted from the liquid accompanied by floating lily pads which each held bright colored flowers. The swamp was tranquil on the surface but there was plenty of activity underneath as bubbles popped with a gurgling sound. A group of Kreukevile poked their flat heads out of the water and looked at them lazily as they floated by. Ash and Misty smiled as the bright sun continued to beam down on them without a cloud in the sky.

They lied back against each side of the boat as Nicolas continued to push against the bed of the swamp, approaching the bustling center of town now. The high arching bridges of the town gave enough room for these kinds of tours so they passed right underneath one as friendly passers-by waved at them atop the bridge. As they entered the shadows of the bridge they looked up and gasped in wonder at what they saw. Collected underneath the planks of the bridge were bright colored patches of moss, ranging from purple to blue to maroon.

“The unique properties of this swamp have the greatest effect on the moss here as you can tell. This is something that people pass by everyday and they would never even suspect such a thing was literally beneath their feet. At night, it’s even more beautiful; we hang papered candles just beneath the bridge and they give off a pleasant soothing scent. The warm light of the flame bounces off this moss and produces a glittering effect, like jewels do. It’s become a very popular attraction with the local couples here,” he added with a slight wink to Ash. He smiled and looked at Misty who was caught up in the sensations of Nicolas’ description.

“That sounds so romantic…” she fawned as she played out the scene in her head: Ash pushed the small boat as she sat across from him, his figure lit up by the moonlight as he grinned back at her. The dark water softly receded against the boat as they passed underneath a bridge, the red flame clearing out the darkness of the night and shedding light on the glistening moss…

She had drifted far off into thought as they continued the rest of their idle boat ride through the swamp. They finally came to a full stop moments later, arriving at a pier on the other side of town.

“Earth to Misty,” Ash said rapping on her forehead. She snapped back after spending a few minutes alone in her imagination and looked up at Ash as he stood in front of her, hand outstretched. She pouted at him for disrupting her idyllic daydream, but took his hand as he helped her up. Nicolas remained on his boat as they climbed onto the pier.

“This is where we split up folks, I’ve still got time on hand to make a couple more rounds so I wish you guys the best!” He waved his black gloved hand in the air as Misty shouted back to him,

“I wish you the best of luck with Narcissa Nicolas!” The trio waved back as Nicolas smiled, the kind that had two different appearances.
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“We should start heading back to the Center Misty, it’s almost time to leave.” Ash looked at his watch seeing enough time should have elapsed by now for his Pokemon to be ready. She agreed with reluctance, only since they had just finished walking through town. She could see why it was so popular: all the hottest clothes were on sale for dirt cheap and although Ash had more bags than he could handle already, she still wanted more.

“This place sure is addicting though,” she laughed as Ash hoisted up all of her shopping bags, handling them by the dozens.

“I couldn’t agree more!” A voice from behind drew their attention; a girl with long wild green hair, styled up in a loose ponytail, held tight by yellow bands. Her deep blue eyes were as brilliant as sapphires. She had a very country face and yet her wardrobe was anything but campy; skinny washed black jeans torn at the ankles, long sleeve blue striped gray skinny shirt underneath a tiny brown leather vest. The off white sneakers and the black bandana on top of her head served as the final touches to the look. Misty knew they had met her before and her gut was giving her bad readings.

“Mia!” Yep, now Misty remembered why. Ash spoke up behind the bags and dropped them to the ground.

“Hey! Be careful with that!” Misty fumed, ready to attack. But Mia had already caught up to them at this point and so Misty couldn’t chew him out, at least not yet.

“Hey guys, did you miss me?” Mia said.

“Yeah right, it’s only been a week…” Misty uttered under her breath.

“It’s great to see you too Mia.” Ash nudged Misty in the side because he heard her. She replied with a backhand to the nose.

“Umm…so what are you guys doing out here anyway?” said Mia, taking a step back from Misty. Ash picked himself off the ground and squeezed the bridge of his nose so the blood wouldn’t come out.

“Ah juz gah my derd badge,” mumbled Ash as best as he could underneath his hand.

“Yes and we were just getting ready to leave too,” interjected Misty.

“Waid Mizdy, maybe ah zhould thee a docdah firs,” Ash taunted before she pinched his ear between her fingers again.

“Now’s not the time for jokes Ash, remember we’re in a hurry,” Misty lied and started to pull away with an objecting Ash and the multitude of bags.

“Now hold on just a second Misty, because if Ash there has three badges…” Mia gripped her pokeball with a fiery smile, “then I want to see his stuff,” and let out Insubit in front of them, trapping Misty and Ash in between. Misty took her pokeball out too with an aggravated expression, but Ash stopped her, taking his hand off his face.

“Okay Mia, if a battle is what you want then I’ll be more than happy to…” he trailed off as red blood oozed from his nose.

“…Gross,” Mia said, abandoning her battle ready pose as she looked away with a contorted look. Misty took out two tissues and plugged them into his nose.

“I think the blood loss made you forget Ash, you left all of your pokemon at the Pokemon Center.”

“Nuh uh, I’ve still got Pikachu!” pointing out the yellow rodent who casually looked at them both from Ash’s leg.

“Ash he just had a battle this morning! He needs his rest,” picking him up as she rested him against her arms.

“He’s my Pokemon so I decide what to do with him!” He yanked Pikachu from her arms, but then she yanked him back, so then he took him back and so on and so on. Pikachu was fed up with the back and forth so he grabbed each of their cheeks and he pulled hard.


“Hey that hurts!” Now the two of them joined in, grabbing each other’s available cheek as well as Pikachu’s. The three were entangled with one another pulling and growling until Mia stepped in.

“Hey, don’t know if I’m interrupting something,” she shifted her eyes over each of them as they froze in place,

“…important…but if you’ve got more Pokemon on your team then I guess I’ll just have to tag along until we get them back. I hope you don’t mind Misty,” she added with a smile and cocky twirl of her hair. Mia began heading to the Center, leaving them behind.

We?!” Misty responded as she crossed her arms. “Who invited her? And she better wait because I need to mail these bags back home!”

“Oh come on Misty would you stop being jealous for a minute and just follow her?” replied Ash as he stuck his tongue out at her. He then spent the rest of the walk being dragged face down against the road by a still burning and blushing Misty.
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Nurse Joy wiped the sweat from her forehead as she sighed.

“What another long day…” She paused to drink her tea when a pair of familiar faces walked up to the counter.

“Hello again Nurse Joy! I’m here to pick up the Pokemon I left earlier,” Ash said, itching for another battle against Mia who waited outside. Nurse Joy was confused, but she went along with it hoping not to alarm him.

“Ok, let me just go look for them. Do you remember what tray you left them on?” Ash gave her a weird look. “Ah, never mind,” replied Nurse Joy with a bow of her head then she disappeared into one of the open rooms behind her. She returned moments later with a tray holding two pokeballs and handed them to Ash.

“I’m sorry for being a bit disorganized at the moment I just finished with a difficult operation not too long ago. Kept me occupied the entire morning I’m afraid,” she smiled back at them. Misty was curious by what she meant, but kept quiet.

“Busy as usual eh?” Ash replied as he clipped the pokeballs back to his belt.

“Thanks for taking care of my rude friend’s pokemon, Nurse Joy,” interjected Misty with a quick bow of her head. Ash scowled and Nurse Joy giggled at the sight of them both.

“It’s no problem, best of luck to you two!” She waved at them as they thanked her then bickered all the way back to the front door.

Outside again, Mia was playing with her Insubit’s long ears with her foot against the Pokemon Center’s wall. Once she saw Ash and Misty walk through the door she perked up immediately.

“So Ash, are you going to keep me waiting or are we going to battle?!” She sent Insubit out in front of her and looked determined. He grinned back and placed his hand over Virgel’s pokeball.

“We’re doing this here? Five feet from the Pokemon Center?!” Ash picked the ball off his belt and held it up as Misty sighed knowing once Ash was ready to battle nothing would drive his attention away.

“No need to worry Misty, I’ll finish this quickly. Go Virg-!” The pokeball suddenly sprang open in Ash’s hand and a towering white light appeared in front of him, knocking him off his feet.

A tall white bird with a wild floppy Mohawk and long skinny legs looked down at the bewildered trainer in front of him then at the shiny case next to his feet. He squawked happily as he picked it up with his long beak then balanced it on top of his head. He swung his arms up and down as he hopped from left to right, doing a strange type of jig. Ash snapped back to his senses as the bird began to distance himself farther.

“Hey get back here with my badges!” He charged at the bird who was still dancing but with his back to Ash. He leapt forward to grab the pokemon’s legs, but the bird pokemon lifted his thin black leg up as he spun in place on one foot, sending Ash tumbling forward. Misty couldn’t help but laugh which only annoyed Ash further but a faint voice caught his attention,

“Zambarane, the Airwalker Pokemon. 7’ 4” Flying/Fight. These festive long legged pokemon enjoy dancing, spontaneously breaking out in step even in battles. Zambarane are able of copying the hardest dances known to humans, surpassing most professional dancers in terms of skill. This is partly due to the fact that these Pokemon are unable to fly; their feathers are too short and provide little wind resistance. Instead they rely on their broad feathered hands and large webbed feet to ascend, using great strides and quick leg movement to trap the air beneath them. Well trained Zambarane are more than capable of staying airborne for hours at a time.”

Mia’s Pokedex came to a close and she glanced up at the group. They all heard the description except of course for the Zambarane who was now whooping loudly as he kicked his legs and flailed his wide feathery arms, the case remaining in place. Slowly they began to wonder out loud and Ash was the first to speak,

“Flying/Fight type too…you don’t think maybe Virgel could’ve evolved into this guy Misty?” She paused and imagined in her head how an evolution like that could be feasible. An image slowly materialized in her mind, of her Gyarados standing side by side next to a Magikarp in a blank room.

That’s right, there have been pretty weird evolutions before…

Then it shifted into a room with Virgel and Zambarane together and she tried to process that evolution in her head. The tiny human-like pokemon suddenly sprouted a beak, feathers and bird claws.

“That’s a little strange even to me Ash,” she said with a laugh.

“Well whatever it may be, he’s not going to use my badges as a toy!” He unclipped the other pokeball from his belt and threw it towards the furiously boogying Pokemon.

“Teach him some manners Dogra!” But the pokeball kept going and smacked Zambarane on the head. The pokeball fell flat on the ground, opened and empty. The bird was irritated for a measly second, then changed his mind and dropped the case as he picked up the ball and balanced it on the tip of his beak.

Ash was gaping at the ball though, its empty husk opening and closing as Zambarane bounced it on his legs and head then passed it to Pikachu who played along and joined in. Now Insubit also tagged along and they had a three way soccer match going on, until Ash finally burst,

“Everybody, to the Pokemon Center, NOW!” Everyone in earshot stared back at him, Misty, Mia, as well as strangers walking past them; even the fidgety Zambarane froze in place, the ball lightly hitting him on the head again. He was returned to his pokeball by a dire looking Ash and Pikachu picked up his trainer’s case and jumped onto Ash’s shoulder. He turned in place and walked through the Center doors speaking not a word. Mia quickly snuck past Misty,

“Way to rub off on him Misty,” and copied her famous scowl looking eerily similar to Ash’s expression not a moment ago. Then she snickered and shuffled past the sliding doors as Misty scowled, showing her how it was really done.
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There was a noticeable difference between now and just a few minutes ago; the Center was packed as poor Nurse Joy seemed as busy as ever. Yet once they got closer, they heard the crowd complaining, ready to damn Nurse Joy to the cross. Ash cut through the mob regardless and reached the front desk to get within sight of Nurse Joy.

“Oh it’s you again!” said Nurse Joy somewhat relieved.

“Don’t look too happy, you gave me the wrong pokemon and I’m missing one!” Her face sank,

“Ohh…you’re not the only one…Everyone here is missing theirs too, saying they received empty pokeballs instead. And unfortunately I can’t get into the other room where we store all of the pokemon we treat, my assistant Chansey has the key and I can’t find her anywhere…” But then she recalled his words,

“You said you got the wrong pokemon right? Nobody else received any pokemon, would you mind showing me?” Ash was a bit surprised but complied and let him out. The Zambarane shot his hands in the air and began to glide on his heels back and forth on the countertop, quieting everyone as they stared back. The glass doors opened and the police stormed in.

“Alright everyone settle down!” But the crowd gazed back already quiet and the officer felt stupid for yelling so loud. The bird was now doing the wave between his arms and a heavy hand fell on the young officer’s shoulder.

“Better leave this one for the vets, kid.” Donning black on black shades, the grizzled man stepped forward and spoke to the crowd,

“Everyone please remain calm, the police are here to resolve this problem with your cooperation. Now we will have all our officers detail reports so we need single file lines. Let’s stay as organized as best as we can, we want this to run smoothly.” The gang of trainers muttered as Mike lowered his hands and looked at his subordinate.

“See? Wasn’t so hard now was it?” He paused; from the corner of his eye, he saw them. Next to the dancing Zambarane and Nurse Joy he saw the red hatted boy and the red haired girl.

“Check it out, it’s Mike!” exclaimed Misty her eyes brightening when they fell upon him.

“My, my, you two just can’t seem to keep your nose out of trouble,” smirked Mike as he approached them. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a small folded object.

“My wallet! Thanks for holding onto it for me Captain.” Mike shook his head as he handed it over to Ash,

“No problem, just make sure you hold onto that a little more closely next time.” Misty icily glared at Ash reminding him of the restaurant incident.

“I will, I will,” laughed Ash as the hairs on his neck stood up with Misty looming beside him.

“So what’s the situation with all these people Mike?” Ash said quickly changing the subject.

“Well it looks like we may have something serious on our hands, this could potentially be a Pokenapping…”

“WHAT?!?!” He spoke louder than he anticipated and now the crowd was turned on Mike.

“Er, what I meant to say was I was going to speak with Nurse Joy to get her story…” But he trailed away when he looked behind the empty counter. She slipped away when she heard him utter Pokenapping, the very thing she had mentioned so often in warning. A loud shriek parted the air and the buzzing crowd once more halted. A soft crying could be heard underneath the dying din, and it came from the backrooms where Nurse Joy had wandered off to.

Mike leapt over the counter and into the darkened area where the cries were coming from. There collapsed on her knees with her hands covering her face was Nurse Joy. In the doorway Mike lifted her to her feet and consoled her as he sat her down on an errant chair. The lights flicked on and Ash, Misty, Mia, Pikachu, and Zambarane all stood in the doorway, observing. Mike ushered them in and they all stood around Nurse Joy as she began to quiet down.

“Th-th-they took her, they Pokenapped Chansey!” She started to bawl again as Mia laid her hand on her shoulder. She settled down once more as Mike took his shades off and rested on one knee.

“I know this is difficult for you ma’am, but I need you to recollect for me what you did this morning.” She nodded and began to speak,

“Well…this morning a trainer came in with an injured pokemon, they were in a really bad shape so I was going to be in the intensive recovery room for a few hours. And so I decided that I would leave Chansey in charge while I was away from the counter-”

“But when I dropped my pokemon off earlier, I gave them to you!” interrupted Ash. They all fell silent in thought, the details clearly weren’t adding up.

“Nurse, we’re going to have to see the recorded footage of the past five hours, just to give us an idea how this could have possibly been pulled off.” Mike was stern but he was still sympathetic. She nodded once more, but then remembered,

“Chansey still has the keys, I can’t go into rooms that aren’t already unlocked.”

“It’s okay miss, just point me in the direction of the surveillance room.” She led the group outside and pointed at the door adjacent to them: it was closed and behind the door the lights were off. Mike readied himself and charged at full force, but bounced off the door and landed heavily on the floor. As Ash and Misty helped Mike back on his feet, Mia walked up to the door and spun the knob.

“It’s unlocked,” she panned as the door swung upon. Mike put his shades back on and cleared his throat as he walked past her. Mia grinned and the rest of the group followed behind him.

They each sat down as Nurse Joy loaded up the tape in the console. The image displayed on the big screen TV and she rewound it back a few hours. She paused as on the screen, Nurse Joy was handing Chansey a ring of keys and parlaying instructions to her though there was no sound.

“With your permission ma’am,” Mike gestured towards the console and Nurse Joy obliged. He fast forwarded past the scene until he stopped and played the video at normal speed:

Chansey was attending to some pokeballs from behind the counter. She abruptly stopped and looked back; a figure in white stockings stood obscured in the hallway and called Chansey back to her. Chansey in her usual cheery mood walked up to the shadow then stopped. She began to yell angrily and wave her arms as the shape stood forward from the hallway to quiet her. Chansey turned in spot and wobbled to the counter when Nurse Joy jumped on top of her, tackling her to the ground.

They gasped as the Nurse Joy on the screen tied Chansey up and dragged her back into the dark hallway. Mike stopped watching the video and looked at Nurse Joy; she was visibly shaken and sobbed in her clasped hands.

“Don’t worry Nurse Joy I’m sure you had nothing to do with it. Let’s continue though.” She was relieved but tears still escaped from her eyes as the image on the screen continued.

Chansey had disappeared from the image. The fake Nurse Joy appeared once more from the hall and stood in front of the counter and began attending to Pokemon trainers in routine fashion.

Mike paused the video and addressed the group,

“Well this at least confirms that we have a suspect, the one dressed up as Nurse Joy in the video. We can see that Chansey was trying to call for help,” a sob escaped from the real Nurse Joy,

“But this still doesn’t give us a clue to the identity of the suspect…” Suddenly, the young officer Mike had spoken to earlier came into the room.

“Shade, we just got a call about some strange eggs on the edge of town.” Mike nodded his head and motioned to the group,

“Come on, we should go check this out. Nurse Joy you don’t mind staying in the Center while we clear this up do you?” She understood and nodded as the others stood from their chairs and exited the room.
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On the outskirts of Venox Village, the day was still bright and vivid as a group of men in blue uniforms sealed off the area from any spectators. Mike approached one of the men in charge of the scene and presented his badge.

“The others are with me too.” Mike nodded to the three behind him and the officer let them pass.

“Here he is…Hey Shade, better late than never, huh?” One of the officers ran up to them, carrying a white egg in his arms.

“And yet you guys still leave me with all the work.” He shook his head as the other smirked.

“Any connections between this and the Pokenapping?” The man shrugged as he held out the egg.

“All we found was a couple of these eggs lying around; they’re not Pokemon Eggs though, they’re soft to the touch.” Mike held the egg in his hand and pressed against the egg which depressed flexibly under his fingertips.

“Soft eggs? Those have to belong to Chansey!” Misty exclaimed as she looked at the two men. Mike nodded slowly,

“Yes of course, that makes perfect sense...Take us to the other eggs, maybe she left us a trail that will lead us to her,” Mike addressed to the officer. He nodded and pointed them in the direction. The group continued on and the young officer lagged behind a bit until he was walking beside Misty.

“That’s quite a deducing technique you got there miss, why don’t you consider joining the force? We sure could use some pretty faces around here.” He motioned to Mike and she giggled. She was quickly hauled away by Ash though, who cut between the two of them and grabbed her by the arm. Misty rebuked him for his rudeness, though she didn’t exactly mind his reaction. They reached the end of a steep cliff where another egg stood alone against the edge.

“Here we are folks; I’ll leave the rest to you, Shade.” And with that the young policeman saluted and walked back to the other police officers behind them.

“So this is where our trail ends…” Mike mused as he peered past the cliff.

“Well we don’t know that for sure,” Mia said as she hung over the cliff. Her Insubit held onto Mia’s hair for dear life as it dangled over the edge. The drop was a long one and at the base of the cliff was a giant forest, covered by the lush green leaves of the trees below. They looked at each other with hopeless faces.

Part 2 below


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Hours earlier a small truck drove through the Venox Village, inconspicuous to those around who watched it pass. The secret contents in the back began to shift as the cab began to tremble.

“Stupid cheap piece of junk…” The hooded driver stomped on the floor and the car exhaust sputtered, covering the noise of the boxes collapsing onto one another. The stomping continued until the ruckus subsided and the driver continued to curse out loud.

Pokeballs were scattered all over the floor of the dim trailer, still spilling out from the boxes with loud thuds. Recognizing this opportunity Chansey hopped out from the corner where she had been cowering all along. Her arms were bound together but she managed to shake her legs and gag free. She tried picking up the errant pokeballs on the floor, but it proved too difficult for her short stubby arms. She spotted a lone pokeball sitting on top of a stack of boxes just within her reach. The car came to an abrupt halt and Chansey tumbled forward and began to panic when she heard the driver step out of the car. Two small windows were open at the top of the trailer and with all her might Chansey threw the pokeball into the window and outside. The doors shot open and the hooded driver peered back at the terrified Chansey standing amidst a collection of pokeballs. An evil smile crept onto the face of the unknown conductor.

“Not trying to escape so soon are you?” Chansey shook as the driver climbed onto the trailer, her hands reaching out for her. She screamed as the hooded figure once more bound and gagged her and tightened her ropes.

“I’m afraid you can’t be trusted back here…” Chansey was dragged out of the dark and into the blinding light of the day. As she squinted her eyes, she was able to recognize they were on the outskirts of town. The driver forced Chansey onto the passenger’s seat then walked around the front of the car. Seizing this chance, Chansey waited for the moment the driver wasn’t looking and shot an egg from her pouch through the passenger window. The egg landed outside and she sighed in relief.

Now her resolve was absolute, she had to stay with the pokeballs to make sure that they were returned to the Center. She remembered Nurse Joy leaving her in charge, something she almost never did, and she was not one to fail her trainer. The truck started up again and they drove away, leaving behind a stray pokeball as Chansey rode off with the driver, shooting eggs from the window whenever the opportunity arose.

The pokeball Chansey had thrown began to shake and rolled in place until the clasp met with a rock and opened. With a swipe of his twig, Dogra sprang out of the ball, ready for battle. He looked around and realized there was nothing around him but an open field of patchy grass and dirt as a truck sped off in the distance. The truck caught his attention as a white egg shot out from the window and landed on the dirt. He ran off in pursuit, keeping his eyes on the truck so as not to lose it.

Dogra finally caught up and looked at the driver and the passenger through their rearview mirrors: he couldn’t make out who the driver was, but he instantly recognized Chansey, tied to her chair with rope around her arms and mouth. He sprinted faster to reach her. Just as he came within inches of the door, the truck drove over the edge of the cliff and plummeted down. He skidded and stopped before the end of the ground, looking over the edge as another soft egg dropped beside him.

The tires below the truck receded and a strong gust of wind blew in their place, as the truck’s fast descent came to a slow crawl until a full stop, floating just above the trees. The leaves rustled as the truck descended into the forest, going farther and farther until it disappeared from view.

Dogra let out a sigh of relief, but he knew he wasn't finished. He knew he had to find some way to reach the forest if he was going to save Chansey. He lowered himself against the cliff, taking care to secure his footing before making another move. As he was descending a rock underneath his hand came loose and threw off his balance. He endeavored to keep his grip on the other hand, but the momentum took him and he fell and bounced off the face of the cliff. The wind whipped around him as he dropped and he shielded himself for impact. A hand reached out and grabbed him by the tail, abruptly stopping his fall. He looked down at the far off trees in astonishment as he was lifted back onto solid ground.

He let out another sigh and looked back at his savior, only to be surprised. A group of Dogra was staring back at him behind a larger pokemon, one who looked very similar to them yet he wore small plates of stone armor on his chest and shoulders as well as a small helmet made of rock.

Each member of the pack held a makeshift hammer constructed of a twig handle and a smooth pebble, with the exception of the leader whose stone was the size of a baseball. The leader of the pack extended his hand and Dogra grabbed it before the larger pokemon slapped it away. He pointed at the twig in Dogra’s other hand and outstretched his palm once more. This time Dogra slapped the hand away and stood on two feet, taking a stance against the shocked green gopher. He scoffed at the smaller threat. In two quick moves, he disarmed Dogra and flipped him over his shoulder so that he landed flat on his back against the protruding platform they were all standing on.

The group laughed at Dogra as he winced in pain. The leader called to him and smashed Dogra's twig in pieces right before his eyes. Enraged Dogra charged unarmed at his adversary who had his back turned to the edge. The group immediately jumped in between them, and they brandished their own small clubs at him. He stopped his charge and gritted his teeth. The leader looked smug and waved his hand to dismiss them. They had turned in place when Dogra remembered his mission. He pleaded with the others to help him into the forest. When he was done speaking, the group waited for their boss’ command. He eyed Dogra carefully then closed his fist. Their expressions turned sinister as they picked up rocks from the floor. Dogra ducked in horror as they began to pelt him with the stones. They forced him up the tree that hung from the wall nearby.

The entire group broke into laughter as Dogra panted while he hid behind the long leaves. His blurring eyes never left the leader who motioned for the group to follow, leaping off the platform to the next neighboring overhang. Dogra rested his head against the leaves and burned in shame still gasping for air as the pain from the stoning ingrained into his nerves. He closed his eyes and dozed off, his pain fading away.

An hour had passed when he finally came to. A faint muttering reached his ears and Dogra perked up. He searched all around him; the noise he heard belonged to familar voices. He looked up and saw a green haired girl far above looking down at him. Her head disappeared from view but just before she did, Insubit managed to match eyes with Dogra.
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Mike had just left to report his findings to the investigators, leaving the three Pokemon trainers alone as they looked at the vast scenery. Mia wasn’t aware of her pokemon trying to get her attention until Insubit began to hop on her shoulder and point over the cliff.

“Huh? You’re saying there’s a pokemon trapped on the cliff?” Mia looked over once again along with Ash and Misty.

“I found him!” Misty pointed at the tree jutting from the stone face and a pair of beady black eyes looked back. “Hey, isn’t that Dogra Ash?” His eyes passed to where she was pointing and he exclaimed,

“You’re right!” His pokemon waved at his trainer and Ash waved back. “Are you alright Dogra, how did you even end up there?” The pokemon nodded and pointed at the trees below them, and Ash was puzzled,

“You were trying to get to the forest too?” A light bulb went off in Misty’s head.

“Ash, maybe when your pokemon were stolen, he escaped somehow and is trying to tail the thieves!” Ash looked back at his pokemon.

“Is that true buddy?” He nodded and Mia was impressed.

“Wow, Misty that officer was right, you are pretty good at these mysteries.” Misty was a little surprised at the compliment then she smiled warmly.

“Now the only question is, how are we going to get down there?” They held their chins deep in thought: Mia, Misty, Ash, and Zambarane who had let himself out again. Then Zambarane crowed happily and the three of them turned around to face him. Without any notice he picked them up, one after another and leapt off the cliff. They screamed as he held them close in his left arm, picking Dogra up as they dropped past him.

“You crazy bird, you better get us down safely!” Mia was in hysterics as she covered her eyes, Insubit mimicking her with her ears. Misty gripped Ash’s arm as the tops of the trees neared. Then with one leg swoop, Zambarane reversed their descent and they floated up gently for a brief second. Then with a quick walking stride, Zambarane slowly descended past the canopy of the trees and onto the soft forest soil.

Mia collapsed onto the ground and she panted as Ash and Misty stood up, shaken but not to her extent.

“How can you two be so calm?” Mia said regaining her composure once more. She smacked Zambarane on the arm as she uttered the word “birdbrain.”

“Oh, trust me we’ve been through a lot worse,” Ash laughed, his hands shaking. Pikachu, who sheltered himself within Ash’s jacket the whole time, was gasping for fresh air as he poked his head out. He pinched his nose as he leapt out from his hiding spot and reunited with Dogra who brushed his grass fur off.

The forest was dank and dark, rays of light just barely passing through the thick ceiling of the leaves. All was quiet, only the subtle sounds of nature could be heard echoing against the tree trunks. Mia was observing a sign next to the cliff where they were previously standing and she froze in fear. Ash saw her expression.

“Mia, what’s wrong?” But she didn’t respond, she took two steps back from the sign and then dizzily spun around, her vision darting from left to right.

“Mia, are you sure you’re o-” She placed her finger on his lips and whispered,

“Ash, we have to keep our voices down , it’s dangerous here…” She trailed off as Misty glared over their shoulders.

“Misty, we can’t make any loud noi-” Before Ash could finish he was already on the ground holding his head tenderly in his hands. She brushed her hands off and then turned to Mia. She held up her hands in surrender and laughed nervously,

“Misty I was just trying to explain something to Ash; we have to be careful about our noise level.” Misty heaved her chest, but as she heard the last part of Mia’s sentence, she deflated,

“What do you mean?”

“I mean that there are monsters in this forest that could destroy this whole place in one day.” The air fell silent and thick with tension. Mia gestured towards the sign once she had both of their attentions. The sign read: “BEWARE OF FALLING ROCKS” next to a small diagram of falling boulders. They both looked at her perplexed and she rolled her eyes and pointed to the rest of the tiny letters underneath the general warning:

“A message brought to you by the rangers of the Torpine Forest.” They were still lost so Mia sighed and began to explain,

“Torpine Forest lies deep in a canyon that was once considered a haven for people and pokemon alike many years ago. It’s an old story that’s been passed down to all Muntein Pokemon trainers which is why I guess you guys haven’t heard about it yet. But to everyone who lives here, we know that this forest is off-limits. Centuries ago, there was a great catastrophe in this very forest, one that wiped out entire sections of trees in mere hours. The people and pokemon living here all lost their homes and were forced to flee from the monsters that were causing the devastation. A group of skilled Pokemon trainers managed to calm the beasts, but to this day, they still remain in this forest, sleeping and blending in with the very trees. Sequasmid, the walking trees…” She paused and looked around once more, thinking that merely uttering their name would bring down destruction on them.

“If I knew that we would be going here today, I would have gone to the next town instead, as much as I adore seeing you two. In fact can we go back now?” She quaked and pleaded with Ash who smiled and shook his head.

“We came here to rescue the pokemon that were stolen and we’re not going back until we do!” Mia’s head sunk and she clung to Insubit. Misty put her hand on Mia’s shoulder.

“We’ll be fine Mia, I know we may not look like much, but we always look out for each other even in desperate times, and we’ve managed to make it this far just fine.” Mia returned the smile and stood up on her feet, this time wearing a brave expression as she puffed out her chest.

“Alright, but like I said, we can’t be loud and we can’t. Touch. The trees!” She stomped her foot at Zambarane who was square dancing with a nearby tree and he hung his head low.

“Okay, well now that we’re all on track, let’s find those stolen pokemon! Dogra, we need you to find the rest of those eggs, think you can do that for me?” He nodded and immediately darted into the dark forest, as the group stayed close behind.
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After minutes of heart stopping suspense trekking through the forest as quietly as they could, they finally came to a stop. The trail of eggs ended in front of a large bush and Dogra indicated there was something behind it. The trio looked at each other then nodded and began to push apart the branches of the bush. They poked their heads out the other side and stared at the large encampment before them. A white trailer loaded with boxes upon boxes piled on top of each other was the most significant thing to be found here. There were two small tents obscured by more cardboard stacks and a small pile of kindling wood that was still smoldering.

Ash took the first step forward and tiptoed across the opening. He checked the tents and found no one so he gave the all clear and the whole group began scouring the clearing.

“Ash, these boxes are full to the brim with pokeballs!” Misty was uncovering them one by one, taking the boxes down with care. “There’s at least fifty just from this stack.” Mia, Insubit, and Pikachu busily checked the trailer as Ash helped Misty with the boxes outside.

Dogra walked up to his trainer and presented him with a pokeball. Ash took it, a bit confused and called out the pokemon from within. A familiar blue eyed angel emerged and Ash laughed as he embraced Virgel, who returned the hug, reunited once again.

They had quickly cleared all the boxes of their contents and amassed a huge pile of pokeballs, reaching almost as high as Zambarane. Ash spoke with the two flying pokemon and gave them their orders: they were to carry the pokeballs using the tent canvases to haul them back up the cliff. Meanwhile Dogra would go along and get help from the police as the other two would unload the pokeballs at the Pokemon Center. With the pokeballs held safely in place, Ash watched them fly away past the trees and into the sky, slowly fading away. Misty began to rummage around the camp to look for any loose articles they could use when she suddenly yelled. She immediately covered her mouth then apologized to the other two who breathed sighs of relief after they realized they were still alive.

“Misty, are you trying to get us killed?!”

“Of course not! I yelled because I’m stuck!” She yanked her leg to show Ash who peered over at her curiously; her ankle was caught in some kind of rope trap attached to a nearby branch. He laughed as he bent down to free her,

“I can’t believe you fell for this simple trap Misty, maybe I should just leave you here as bait for the…Sequasmids.” He eerily moaned as he held a flashlight underneath his face and laughed before taking a double beating from Misty and Mia.

“You wouldn’t be able to even get out of this forest without me Ash Ketchum and you know it!” Misty crossed her arms indignantly as he finally freed her.

“Oh but you forget Misty, he has me now too…” Mia puckered her lips as she seductively rubbed his chest. His eyebrows practically flew off his face as his eyes widened to the size of pokeballs and his face was completely flushed.

Misty’s eyes turned blood red and she clenched her fists in a death grip; but as she stomped towards Mia, the ground beneath the three of them shook. They each looked around; nothing had changed and the clearing was still once again. Pikachu and Insubit ran back to their trainers to make sure they were alright, but as soon as they got closer, metal bars plummeted from the sky and trapped them underneath. The ground beneath them shook with even greater force and soon they were lifted into the air as they dangled by a rope from a branch. The cage bounced in the air and the three of them clasped each other’s mouths shut so they wouldn’t yell as the movement finally began to calm down. They sighed in relief before noticing they were trapped.

“We’ll just have to wait until Virgel and Zambarane get back from Venox,” said Ash. A low groaning sound cut through the silence, shutting out any other noise they could’ve possibly heard.

“Ash now’s not the time to be thinking about food…”

“It wasn’t me Misty!” They both looked at each other nervously then glanced at Mia. She was facing the direction of the sound as it growled once more, this time much louder and drawn out. The whole forest shook and leaves fell from the trees above and around them. Branches could be heard breaking far off in the distance, accompanied by dull thuds that shook the earth with every sound. Mia’s face was pale and she began to shiver,

“Guys…I think we’re in trouble…”

Author's Notes​
Ooh suspenseful huh? :D In general, I've been pretty satisfied with how these new chapters have been coming out. The overall plot is going to start to come together. Also, keep an eye out for some of the characters mentioned in this chapter, they'll be important in the future. And I've decided to scrap the whole drawing thing, I thought it would be better I just focus on the whole writing aspect and leave the images of the pokemon up to you. ;)
Leave a review and I'll see you next time!
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