Pokemon Fan Fiction ❯ Loyalty ❯ Chapter 4

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]

Chapter 13: Associations

It was a few days before Misty could leave the hospital. The being that took residence in her body made her heal very fast, but it also had consequences. She could feel her consciousness slipping. Daisy, Violet and Lily had been over to visit with a special permission that Ash managed to get after much insistence. Perhaps Giovanni only agree to make him be quiet. Misty handed all her pokemon to her sisters at the time. She was afraid to lose control of her actions and command her dear pokemon to do something she would regret if she was in her full senses.

Before leaving the hospital, after her sisters where let out and went on their way back to Cerulean City, unaware of the entirety of Misty's perils in hopes of not worrying them and getting them unnecessarily involved, Misty went to see the baby for the last time in she didn't know how long. Jessie was sitting by the window as a pleasant breeze blew; James and Delia were there with her. Misty's eyes met Delia's for a moment. She was informed of the recent happenings, Misty noticed that right away. Ash must have told her. There was an apology in Delia's eyes, but before she could speak, Misty shook her head and made herself smile. She wanted peace and Delia was pushed out of the wish to protect Ash. Protecting a loved one could make people do things that were extreme.

Misty held the baby for a while before Ash arrived to get her so they could be on their way. They gave their goodbyes and went on their way. Team Rocket was keeping an eye on the situation, but Giovanni's expectations were not too ambitious. This wasn't about legendary pokemon; it was about a human grudge. None the less, to prevent a repeat of the past, to rid himself of another enemy of Team Rocket, this had to be dealt with once and for all. The Rocket boss knew that Ash intended to seek Agatha's advice and perhaps in this situation that was what was best.

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Out of the hospital and into the Viridian City streets, there was a hint of a bright shade of red-orange hidden under a black hat, as someone wearing black approached, though the jacket covered the red R on his chest. "Hi," the greeting was simple, casual and to the point.

"Uncle Luke!" Misty suddenly exclaimed.

"Like how have you like been?" Luke asked calmly, with a kind smile.

Misty's jaw dropped. She struggled with her words until she finally stomped her feet and placed her hands on her hips. "You disappear for all these years leaving my sisters and I to think you're dead and that's all you can say? Do you know how much we missed you? You were all we had left after our parents..."

Ash looked around nervously, he was for once the one who was most aware of the situation they were in, they were in public and people's heads were turning towards them at the sound of Misty's outburst. He placed her hand on her shoulder in both comfort and warning. Misty took a deep breath and lowered the tone of her voice, going over her words in her head an extra time before speaking. "I know you had to, I know you had your duties... your loyalties... but still."

"I'm like sorry, you know?" Luke was, as always, casual and relaxed, but he was sincere. "But you like don't need to like worry now, you know?"

It was the same speech pattern that made abundant use of the word like that Misty's sisters often fell into. This was where they got it and it made her think about how much of an influence he was to them all those years ago. "How so?"

"Because you're like on Ash's side now, you know?" Luke grinned. "If you like join-"

"I haven't," Misty argued with an edge in her voice. "I haven't joined," she cautiously looked around not mentioning the name of the organization, "them," Team Rocket. "I'm just... we're only... We've teamed up to take care of something and Ash is helping out."

"Oh..." There was a hint of disappointment and perhaps more so concern, yet Luke's seemingly eternal smile returned as it always did. "You should like think about it, you know? Things are like not exactly like they appear, you know? Sorry I can't like stay and like catch up more. I like have some things I like need to do like now, you know?"

Misty nodded knowing not to inquire about what things because she knew he couldn't tell her. He was surely talking about his Team Rocket duties. "See you later?" She asked unsure.

"Like totally!" Luke cheered as he ran off in the direction of the Viridian City gym.

Misty sighed, "what an unusual family I have..." she mused with a hint of bitterness.

"You and I both," Ash's voice made her eyes travel to his face. He was grinning as if thinking that it was troublesome, but he was still thankful for them.

Misty decided to focus on what currently needed to be done as she followed Ash to his car. "Where is Agatha right now?" She got into the passenger seat of the bright orange car next to Ash, who was driving.

Pikachu hopped on to the middle of the dashboard where he liked to sit to get a good view of everything. "Not far," Ash replied. "She has a house here in Viridian and she's there right now. We'll be there in a few minutes."

Misty leaned back on the plush seat. She could barely remember him, though it didn't look as if Luke had changed much over time. Then again, it wasn't like he switched sides and joined Team Rocket, but rather he had been in Team Rocket since before she was born. "Have you known Luke for long?" She asked out of the blue.

"Yes," Ash truthfully replied. "Although, when I was younger he was always away on some mission. I barely said hi every now and then, but I knew who he was. I knew Comet too, but we didn't become close friends until later. When we were younger it felt as if we lived in different worlds. He was always with Team Rocket and I spent a lot of time away from it in my own journey. At the same time I was always with Team Rocket since I ran into them so often, especially Jessie and James. But I wasn't going on mission for them and Comet was. We trained differently, lived differently... Then there was that mission..."

"Mission?" Misty inquired curiously. She didn't expect any details about the mission itself, but rather wanted to hear about what made Ash and Comet become close friends.

"Comet and I always got along and respected each other as pokemon trainers, but that time, after I backed him up in a mission that he was ambushed on... That's when he started giving me hints about what he was sent to do for Team Rocket when he thought it affected me," Ash recalled. "He would still go on his missions and we even battle if we had to, but we could trust each other to still be friends afterwards. We even got into a fist fight once. One moment we looked like we were trying to kill each other and the next we were laughing it off. Mom saw it and later scolded us for giving her such a scare... right after she helped us up from the cliff we almost fell off from."

Misty laughed. The situation was still critical and she could feel the power inside her draining her will, but she couldn't help it but to smile at Ash's story. "I can imagine that."

Ash grinned back at her as his car approached a mansion. The place looked ghostly even in the middle of the day, as if it was haunted and in a sense it was, although the ghosts were pokemon. The gates parted by themselves, allowing Ash to drive in and park in front of the mansion.

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At the Viridian Rocket base, Laiki stretched out in her chair in front of her desk at the infirmary. "It looks like things are at a lull." She yawned glancing at the two human companions, Comet and Pixel and their pokemon. There were also two others who were not really their pokemon, but Giovanni's. The boss' spoiled Persian was there, along with a female Persian whose red forehead gem was like a horn. "What are you guys planning to do now?"

"Investigate when the time comes," Comet replied calmly, "then do what we must."

Laiki raised a curious eyebrow, "meaning?"

"This time as far as we know, there are no legendary pokemon involved in the mix," Comet reminded. "But there is an ancient hidden power and that, plus Ash is enough to make an action filled adventure. Something is going to happen and I don't want to miss it."

"Of course something is going to happen," Laiki chuckled. "With princey involved, something always happens. He's like a magnet for the powerful and supernatural."

"I don't want to miss it either," Pixel voiced.

"There you are, so eager to jump into an adventure," Laiki spoke in an exaggeratedly nostalgic voice. "It feels like only yesterday that you got lost in the vast maze of hallways in our underground city of a sweet home."

"That was yesterday," Comet pointed out teasingly.

Pixel pouted, "I found my way out, didn't I? I'm just so used to being able to see everything in electronic maps. It's so easy to navigate that way, although I'm not really navigating myself, more so directing the field agents I'm giving tech support to, just like characters in a videogame."

Laiki giggled, "I'm sure you have a blast... but really this does remind me of when we first met. When you two met, it wasn't such a great day for you, was it, Comet?"

"That's what I thought at the time," Comet admitted. "But even if I felt like I failed because I couldn't have finished that mission without Ash's help, I guess in the end it was all for the best. If not for his little interference, I would be short one pokemon or worse."

Laiki smiled with more amusement than her peculiar statement should merit. "Make sure you tell me all about it after the latest adventure is over while I make you cringe as I so kindly disinfect your scratches laughing the whole time."

"And who says I'll get a scratch on me?" Comet challenged.

"It's been a while since princey got a few bruises," Laiki mused. "That means that his next adventure will be intense and if the prince gets scratched so will the subjects."

"Then maybe we should join the fun early, to make sure the prince doesn't get bruised too badly," Pixel suggested.

"I second that," Comet agreed as he and Pixel started to leave.

"Alas, I'm stuck guarding the wounded in the castle," Laiki grimaced dramatically, then she waved goodbye with a grin. "See you later!"

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At Agatha's mansion, Ash and Misty exited the car and walked up a few steps to the ominous structure. The double doors of dark wood that marked the entrance to the luxurious residence opened up, apparently by themselves, and the pair went inside. There was no sign of human life, though Ash was sure that Agatha was somewhere in the residence, probably watching them. Not surprisingly, the faint presence of ghost pokemon was felt all around.

"Agatha?" Ash called out as he ventured a few steps further in, looking in every direction. He was determined not to jump in a startle if Agatha randomly popped out of a dark corner. "Agatha?" He called out again and once more received no reply.

"Does she know we're coming?" Misty asked; the silence of the mansion was eerie.

"I talked to her on the phone before I went to find you," Ash replied. "I'm sure she knows we're here..." He approached the stairs as Pikachu jumped off his shoulder and wandered over to the coffee table where there was a bowl of candy. The small yellow pokemon helped himself to some candy. Ash went up a few more steps until unexpectedly, a trap door opened and he dropped.

"Ash!" "Pikapi!" Misty and Pikachu called out to him. They ran towards the stairs past the grandfather clock where ghostly purple hands grabbed Pikachu and pulled him in. The trap door on the stairs had closed and Misty found herself alone in the room... Alone with the ghosts that refused to fully show their presence out of hiding. What was this about? What was Agatha trying to do?

To be Continued

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Chapter 14: Links

At the Viridian Rocket base infirmary, Laiki's cell phone rang and she picked it up curiously. She didn't know this number. "Hello? Are you a secret admirer? Of course, you must be!"

"I'm not," the voice on the other line sounded very much like an old lady.

"Oh... wrong number..." Laiki frowned in disappointment.

She was about to hang up, but the voice stopped her. "Don't be so hasty, I have a message for your friends, but it seems their phones are off. Does that mean they will be joining us? If not, then please extend my invitation." The voice was very ghostly.

"Listen lady, I don't know who you are, but cut the mystery act," Laiki felt a cold chill run down her spine. "I mean it! You have no idea who you're calling here!" How was it even possible to feel someone's presence so strongly over a simple phone call?

"I do know who I'm calling, Laiki," the elderly woman replied. "Ash will need help; send him friends who can keep secrets... do not come yourself." The call disconnected.

"Friends who can keep secrets..." Laiki repeated in puzzlement, then suddenly the answer came to her. "Agatha, you're Agatha!" The call had already ended. "I can keep a secret!" Laiki huffed. Comet and Pixel were already on their way, so that left Gary...

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The door to Agatha's mansion opened by itself with Gary and Laiki stepping in, though she was not invited. "So much for staying in the castle." Comet grinned from his place sitting on the couch next to Pixel, who was tinkering with an odd machine.

Gary stepped past the door and towards them. "Care to explain what's going on?"

"I'm not exactly fully informed," Comet admitted.

"And neither am I," Pixel added. She took off her headphones and set them down on the coffee table next to the machine of many dials and lights. "There are too many ghosts in here; I can't track a specific flow of energy with so much interference." She looked towards the stairs, then the doors on top of the inner balcony, then the doors on that room. "We might just have to-"

An interruption appeared in the form of a Haunter holding a scroll. The pokemon dropped the scroll in front of Gary with the young researcher catching it instinctually. Just as suddenly as he came, the Haunter was gone. Gary unrolled the scroll and read it. "As I said, there are no shortcuts; you will have to go through the maze... Do not be stubborn, but be persistent, for the energy you spend will help further his purpose." That was the end of the scroll. "This means Ash, doesn't it?"

"I don't know why Agatha can't be clearer about what she wants us to do," Laiki pouted. Never mind that she had not been asked to do anything.

"There was a similar message before," Pixel pointed out. "It told us to find Ash. I guess that means looking for him by actually looking, rather than tracking him down."

"We'd best be on our way," Comet started towards the stairs. "If we split up we should find him faster, but there's so much ghostly interference here, we'll be out of communication."

"We'll just have to deal with it," Gary decided. "I'm not sure what's going on, but it sounds like Ash needs our help."

Thus the four of them split up, after Gary insisted to Laiki that she should not follow him. Gary and Comet went through different hallways upstairs, while Pixel and Laiki went their separate ways downstairs. By the time Comet and Pixel had first arrived at the mansion, there was no one there to be seen, Misty had already wondered in deep into the haunted structure before they arrived.

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Two opposite doors opened in a room with many ghost pokemon statues. Some appeared to shift slightly when no one was looking. The room was dim and eerily quiet, making footsteps sound off louder than they normally would. "Gary?" Laiki called out hopefully, searching for the source of the hint of non-ghostly movement in the dim large room.

"No, just me," Pixel came into view. "I haven't found a single trace of Ash or Misty anywhere."

"Me either," Laiki let out a bored breath. "I don't get what Agatha is trying to do."

"All these hallways are confusing," Pixel frowned. "I miss my digital maps."

"I really wish we had those." Laiki agreed. "Hey Pix, remember when you lost your way at HQ back when you were a rookie?"

"Yeah," Pixel laughed lightly at the memory. "That was when we first met."

"And when I saved you," Laiki chuckled.

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A few years prior... Pixel walked down the long confusing hallways of her new home. She was officially dead to the world at her own request. She never liked her old life, the existence of a boring civilian who never did anything worth remembering. She craved for adventure and was more than willing to throw herself into it. However, her first attempts ended in failure and she left the newly expanded tech department, with no choice but to give up her first pokemon, a Porygon she had named Prism. She ended up running around making deliveries for a while until her place in Team Rocket could be more accurately determined.

Turning a corner, she almost bumped into another Rocket, this one with the face of a true criminal. His deep green hair reminded Pixel of the color of moss and his dark violet eyes had a certain sinister look to them. She stepped aside and walked past the unknown man, not paying him any mind. This was Team Rocket, a criminal organization, it came as no surprise that there would be people who actually looked like criminals.

Further down the hall, she came to a room that resembled a lobby and was equipped with several vending machines. A few people in Rocket uniforms were hanging around chatting idly. She approached one of the vending machines where a red haired man had just retrieved a drink from. Unlike the man from before, this one didn't quite look like a criminal, instead having the typical face of a good boy, though there seemed to be a hint of hidden mischief in his blue eyes. She didn't know if he was a rookie or not, she didn't really know anyone all that well yet.

Retrieving her drink from the vending machine, she left off in the direction from where she came. Within the Rocket base deep under the Viridian Forest, day and night made no difference, though Pixel had the vague notion that it was night time outside, not that it mattered, as Team Rocket operated twenty-four seven. Taking a wrong turn, she went down a hall of rooms with unfamiliar numbers in a hallway belonging to the accommodations of new recruits, the place where she would take residence for some time until she was later promoted, though such hopes were still far away at the time.

The man with green hair emerged from one of the doors, spotting the blue haired girl, an obvious rookie, apparently lost. Seeing as she had taken a wrong turn, she went back to find the proper room number, though this time she was followed. "Hey, rookie."
"Me? What?" She sipped her drink with indifference; she was now a criminal too, so she saw no need to make a fuss out of a criminal talking to her. "By the way, my name isn't rookie, it's Pixel," it was a codename as part of leaving her old identity behind to exist only as one of Team Rocket's secret agents.

"You need to know who's in charge here, rookie," he snarled. "Now listen up..." He paused seeing as the girl was walking away ignoring him. "Hey!" He grabbed her by the shoulders making her turn around to face him. With little more than an angry growl she kicked him as hard as she could in the most painful place possible, taking him completely off guard. This allowed her to escape his grip and move behind him, kicking the back of his legs to make him fall. "You'll pay for this!"

He was about to get up and Pixel knew that if he did that would be bad news. She did the only thing she could do; she jumped on his back, repeatedly. Laughter invaded the atmosphere as a blond woman with two green locks framing her face arrived on the scene. "I thought I heard yelling and what an amusing scene I've found! Although, you should break it up before the squad leader sees this, the grumpy old fool will probably put you both through a lot of extra training." Pixel jumped off the green haired man's back, wondering if he would listen to the seemingly higher ranking agent. He got to his feet quickly, obviously with no intentions of listening, his anger clear on his face. "I don't think that's such a good idea," the blond warned.

"Don't meddle!" The man glanced at the blond just long enough to see the reason for her confidence. She held a gun aimed right at him, point blank.

A loud bang was heard, which effectively alerted the squad leader in charge of all the agents in that hallway. The older Rocket hurried to the scene of the commotion to find an excited looking blue haired girl with the expression of a kid in a candy shop, a satisfied blond he recognized as the resident pokemon nurse, and a green haired man, one of the recruits he was in charge of, trying to stop the bleeding from his arm. "You again? That's it!" He pointed his own gun at the moss haired man for emphasis. "I'm shipping you to Hoenn for some intensive training. When I say stop picking fights with your teammates I mean it; you too young lady."

"But I'm..." Pixel began to say, wondering if she should continue or just shut up.

"She's not part of your squad you old coot. Ever heard of retirement? Give someone hot a chance!" Laiki stepped in.

The squad leader grumbled, loosing a few more of his graying violet hairs in stress. "You know no discipline!"

"Whatever, let's go, the rookies should be just about done with a training session and I planted a hidden camera in the guys locker room!" Laiki announced happily, then hurried off with Pixel following her. Away from the moss haired man and the squad leader, Pixel thanked the blond for her help. "It was nothing, but let me tell you rookie, you need to be more careful, don't make threats you can't keep, but you have the right idea with the hit them before they hit you strategy. A surprise attack might not always work though. In cases like that, you need to look real cute and say 'hey there handsome, want to have some fun?' Then when he thinks he has you right where he wants you, slip something into his drink, knock him out and steal everything but the clothes on his back, and if he's hot, steal that too."

"Um... I'll remember that..." Pixel quietly replied.

Laiki giggled, "the name's Laiki, by the way. What do you call yourself, rookie?"

"Pixel," she replied a little shyly.

"Pixel... you look like a rookie, a defenseless girl... but you have quite the mean streak in you. I bet you're a total sadist at heart! So, want to join me in some man watching?" Laiki offered.

"I... I think I better get ready for my next assignment," Pixel ran off, this time going down the correct hallway.

Laiki giggled, "I have a feeling this isn't the last I've seen of her."

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Laiki's guess turned out to be correct, as a few days later Pixel made her way to the infirmary even if she had no necessity to be there. "Sunglasses indoors, that's the in thing, huh? Well, have a seat my peculiar friend, I thought you'd come by."

"I'm just being careful," Pixel replied as she sat down on one of the unoccupied beds of the infirmary, then resolved to lie down and rest, removing her sunglasses and folding her arm over her eyes to shield out the brightness of the white room. "How did you know I would come? I have no pokemon that need treatment."

"You're an outsider, someone with no previous criminal experience," Laiki explained, she had her ways to obtain such information. "As such, it's easy to guess that you would be drawn to try to find an ally in Team Rocket. Given what happened the other day, I guess that ally is me. Don't get me wrong, I only stepped in because I saw you have guts, normally, I show no mercy to sheltered rookies, I guess you're not that way after all. A bit naive to how a criminal lifestyle works maybe, but I think you can get the hang of it. I'm not one to help the helpless, so make sure you become a worthy ally. Speaking of which, if you tell me you're scared of Salacious, who by the way is many miles away in Hoenn by now, and are actually trying to hide your identity with sunglasses, I'm going to be very disappointed."

"Salacious? Who's that?" Pixel inquired.

"The guy whose hair looks like moss," Laiki informed.

"Oh him, I had forgotten all about that jerk," Pixel laughed. "I wasn't wearing sunglasses to hide from anyone, the doctor told me not to stare at anything bright for the next few days. This means I'm banned from video games and the internet so I'm dying of boredom, but I really don't want my laser surgery to get messed up or I might end up with even thicker glasses than before."

A moment of silence followed, until it was shattered by Laiki's giggles. "So that's it, you know, I can actually picture you with geeky glasses, but somehow you'd probably look cute in them. Ah well, I guess that's a thing of the past if you got your eyes fixed."

"Yeah, I like this new high definition world," Pixel laughed. "I might have been demoted to the bottom, but I'll just take it easy and not worry. I'll do what I can and things will turn out well, I just need a change of strategy I guess."

"You're sure confident for a rookie dealing with demotions right from the start. Just as I said, that's having guts. So... are you ready to put your recently healed eyes to good use? I'm sure you'll very much enjoy some high definition man watching!" Laiki cheered.

Before Pixel could reply, someone from behind the white curtains that separated the infirmary into sections got up and headed for the door. Pixel sat up to curiously look at the source of the footsteps. It was that red haired young man she saw near the vending machine before, but he look like he went through quite a beating. He had several visible bruises in shades of black and purple and a black eye along with a few cuts here and there.

"Aw, did we wake you from your nap, Comet?" Laiki teased.

"I'm probably better off not hearing your conversation. There are things I don't want to know," Comet approached the door.

"Wait," he stopped at Laiki's voice and turned around.

With a grin that didn't match his current state, but was still real, he assured. "I just got a promotion, I should be happy, I mean I am happy. I'm just busy; I need to train my pokemon and myself to make sure I'm ready for my next mission." Then he left.
"Was he another rookie?" Pixel curiously asked.

"Comet?" Laiki laughed, "Yeah right, he's more like the opposite of a rookie. He was born and raised in Team Rocket, I joined when I was really young, but Comet has never lived outside of Team Rocket. He just got promoted and if you've seen the ranking charts, that's really something. Things just got a little rough for him on his last mission, but he managed to get it done. He's been upset over the setbacks, even if the boss still recognized his against-all-odds victory. Although, Giovanni doesn't know he had help... Somehow, I think he cheered up just now... Ah, but don't go getting all shy around him. Let's see some of that predatory spirit!"

Pixel shook her head with a slight pink tint on her face. "I'm not... um... maybe I should go rest in my room. See you later, Laiki." She hurried away.

"Wait a minute, what about man watching?" Laiki called after her to no avail. "I guess she won't be joining me this time..."

To be Continued

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Chapter 15: Exorcism

One of the doors that led to the room of many statues was opened, granting passage to an old lady that looked far more harmless than she was. The ghost master slowly made her way towards the two young women who occupied the room other than herself and the hidden ghosts. "Laiki, come, child, if you insist in being here, you shall witness the trials along with me."

"Trials?" Laiki inquired with the raise of an eyebrow.

"What trials?" Pixel further questioned.

"I must test you," Agatha explained, leaving the statement purposely ambiguous.

Pixel huffed, "like I care. I know you're high ranked and all, but I couldn't care less about your approval unless it's an order from the boss. I'm sure Comet won't participate either."

"Indeed," surprisingly, Agatha smiled. "It is that resolve of loyalty that made me choose you for this, because I know there's one exception, yet at the same time there are none. You are like the knights of a kingdom loyal to the king... and to the prince as well."

"What about me?" Laiki protested. "I'm loyal to Team Rocket too!"

"I know," Agatha acknowledged, before her face turned serious and she shook her head slightly as she let out a breath. "But you're too easily distracted and trigger happy. This is an operation that most not be burdened with extreme emotions, it must be full of the purity of amused loyalty. Besides, there are only four cardinal points, to add a fifth would render the spell useless."

"So we're elements of a spell," Pixel concluded. "Care to elaborate?"

"It is an exorcism..." Agatha began to explain how the spell she had in mind would work, albeit she was only scratching in surface of its complexity.

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Just as Pixel and Laiki had run into each other while exploring Agatha's haunted mansion, Comet, Gary and Ash had inexplicably crossed paths as well. "Gary, Comet!" Ash rushed towards the center of the circular chamber with a dome-like roof of black stone, much like its walls and floor. "What are you guys doing in Agatha's basement?"

Before they could ask Ash if he knew about Agatha's true intentions, they were presented with the enigma of Ash's question. "Basement?" Gary echoed. "Weren't we upstairs?"

"We were," Comet confirmed. Running into Gary, who was also exploring the upper floors was not such a big surprise after the many twists and turns of the hallways, but he didn't remember heading down at any time.

"This is deep underground," Ash pointed out. It was a fact that he was certain of and neither Gary nor Comet was about to question his keen aura empowered senses. "I've been trying to find Misty, but I haven't been able to get to her. She's here, I just don't know where exactly. Aside from knowing that we're deep beneath the earth, I can sense little else and all these ghosts fogging my senses are giving me a headache. I was separated from Pikachu too, but somehow, I know he's alright, I think he's with Agatha."

Footsteps were heard as Pixel joined the others in the chamber. "Hey..."

A chorus of automatic, puzzled sounding "hey?" replied to her.

"What's with those looks of confusion, I'm not that late, am I?" Pixel observed their faces for a moment longer. "I take it this means Agatha didn't explain herself?"

"Did she tell you something?" Ash inquired with urgency.

"Yes and no, she wasn't exactly specific, but I got the basic idea," Pixel revealed. "We're performing an exorcism. Agatha has been researching the supernatural for many years. She tried to do this when it happened last time, but it didn't work. Tidus was consumed by the hatred of his ancestry and completely taken over. Agatha said the chances of success are much better now because the north can use aura."

"The north?" Ash questioned.

"I'm not sure about what she means, but it looks like we'll have to take our places soon." Not a second passed after Pixel spoke when various ghost pokemon faded into existence.

A Chandelure floated above and from the ghostly light it projected, Misty faded into existence as if the ghostly forces all around were strong enough to teleport her there. The Chandelure continued to float above, spinning in pace as Misty floated motionless in the center of the chamber as if in a trance. There was something malicious in the air... something malicious and tragic.

A Shuppet approved Comet, becoming a Banette as it got closer. Yet it was not evolving, it had been a Banette all along, the Shuppet was an image of the past that resonated in the haunted chamber. For a split second, a man who looked very much like Comet was seen standing on the western side of the chamber, which was somehow mysteriously devoid of doors or passages, completely sealed off as if it had been that way all along. Comet stepped forward; his father couldn't be there, could he?

The image faded into nothingness, leaving Comet to stand in the same place where his father stood years prior. Comet realized that he too was an image of the past. Luke had participated in the attempted exorcism that failed to free Tidus years ago. There was something in that spot where he stood, the feeling of a link of loyalty, it flowed from his father to the leader of Team Rocket, somehow, Comet knew. Then the flow of energy dissolved into nothingness and a new flow began. Perhaps he was beginning to understand.

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A few years prior... in one of the many training rooms of the Viridian Rocket base, Comet was training with his Gyarados and Scyther. "Alright you two, we have one less ally for now and the missions will only get harder from this point on, so let's get ready." There was no use in regretting the past, he just had to improve. Like his father had said, he had to make the best of what he still had.

The mission that almost ended Zangoose's life and left the pokemon in a long recovery was supposed to be a simple one that took an unexpected turn for the worse. Comet wasn't supposed to be expected, there wasn't supposed to be an ambush waiting for him. It was a simple one person job that a trained Rocket agent should be able to handle. A certain enemy of Giovanni who had been hindering his business, owned a villa in the middle of a valley. The picturesque little valley was at a low clearing between several mountains, next to which there was a large lake. The lake had grown with the passing of time, making it vital for the preservation of the villa that a dam was built to stop the water from flowing into the low plains of the valley.

Comet's mission was simple, he was to sneak in, plant a time bomb on the dam and sneak out, leaving it to blow up. The damage done to the dam's weakest point would be enough to summon a chain reaction causing it to give up under the pressure of the contained water and it would flow the villa next to it. The surrounding mountains would obstruct the flow of water, causing the valley to become a sort of extension to the lake and thus making all hopes of restoring the villa to its previous luxurious and dry state to be extremely difficult at best.

Things seemed to be going well in the beginning. Finding the place in the middle of the night and getting close to it was an easy task, almost too easy. At the time, agents didn't always have additional tech support when sneaking around, so they lacked that extra pair of eyes and ears that could see and hear things that those directly involved on the scene would not perceive in the same way. It was a time when the Rocket tech department was still growing and the importance of hackers and technological support was beginning to be truly recognized. For that mission, Comet was alone with his pokemon as his only available allies.

Since no one was supposed to be expecting his arrival, Comet didn't think there would be all that many guards; however, the lack of any guards at all made the situation seem very suspicious. Even if an attack wasn't expected, a place as important and valuable as this should at least have some vigilance. To make matters more suspicious, he didn't notice any lights from the villa when he saw it from afar. It was almost as if it had been deserted in advance as a safety measure for his arrival. That made no sense; there should be no suspicions and the information given to him by the executives had never been wrong before. Perhaps the villa's master was called out on urgent business and had to leave. None the less, his precious villa would be ruined all the same as a warning from Team Rocket that no one should ever anger the boss.

The cliffs next to the dam were extremely steep and the dam was quite strong around the edges. The weak spot was in the middle in the shape of a gigantic glass window. Of course the glass was specially reinforced to be very resistant, but the bomb was powerful enough to shatter it. The window view was actually composed of two windows parallel to each other with a narrow hallway in between, the view of the lake aquarium on one side and the villa on the other.

With no one to stop him, Comet headed for that hallway, ignoring the alarm of his instant telling him to turn back. It was a bad time to get too confident as he was ambushed before he could plant the bomb. Gyarados was too large to fight comfortably in the enclosed space between the two glass panels, leaving Comet to rely on Scyther and Zangoose, his only pokemon aside from Gyarados at the time. Very outnumbered and thus overpowered, the mission turned into a retreat that led him to the top of the dam.

He had lost the bomb in the fight and it was in enemy hands. Comet and his pokemon were both injured as a result of being so outnumbered. Yet he wouldn't give up. He wasn't going to fail his mission, he couldn't. "Gyarados!" Comet released the large pokemon into the side of the dam where the lake was. "Destroy the glass with hyper beams; keep hitting it until it shatters!" Gyarados obeyed, immediately going on a relentless attack. "Scyther, go on the other side and attack the other glass wall!" Scyther flew towards the dry side that was parallel to the villa, continuously attacking the glass on that side.

The situation left Comet with only Zangoose to aid him against the enemies. The lake's water splashed onto the narrow surface of the dam's top bridge, drenching him and his numerous opponents in cold water mixed with their own blood. Suddenly, a loud bang pierced the air. Comet wanted to look, but he was occupied with the thugs that were trying to restrain him, yet he knew that sound to be a gunshot and he knew it had to have been meant for him. He tried to put some distance between himself and his attackers. Then he saw Zangoose bleeding with a bullet wound.

"Zangoose!" Comet tried to recall the pokemon, but the pokeball was knocked out of his hand, rolling across the floor of the dam's bridge as it shook. What now? He could jump and have Scyther catch him, making a speedy get away through the air. Then he could recall Gyarados from there, make a temporary retreat and come back better prepared to finish his mission. But what about Zangoose?

"Thunderbolt!" The world was consumed by a yellow flash. Lightning was all around Comet and Zangoose, he could feel it stinging, but only lightly as the atmosphere was electrified. It wasn't a direct hit; somehow, everyone around him was being electrocuted but not him. The light cleared and a several pokemon stepped forward to fight under the command of Giovanni's son, Ash.

xoxox xox xoxox

In the present time, Comet closed his eyes and focused.

"That was a lot to take on alone." Ash's voice ran through his memories.

Then his own past reply followed. "I failed... For the first time I failed."

"The dam was destroyed, just like my father wanted," Ash had pointed out after the mission was over.

"With your help... But you're the boss' son; I'm supposed to fight for you, not you for me. What would Giovanni say?" Comet insisted in disappointment.

"He doesn't need to know," Ash assured. "In fact, I would prefer that he doesn't know I was there. Besides, you have something else to worry about, Zangoose needs medical attention. You should have retreated sooner, he could have been killed."

"If not for you, he would have been..." Comet frowned.

"Don't be so hard on yourself, just be careful next time." Ash tried to smile reassuringly, in a friendly way. "One more thing," he pointed out with importance. "It's true that I'm not supposed to fight for you... but you're not supposed to fight for me either, because we should fight together."

Comet mirrored Ash's grin, the faces were different but the expression was identical. He had a lot to think about, a lot to discover about working with his pokemon... and he would do it...

A Misdreavus floated towards Pixel, guiding her to the eastern side of the chamber where the image of Coral faintly flickered before disappearing. At the same time the Misdreavus became a Mismagius. It floated next to Pixel as she too closed her eyes and focused.

A Duskull approached Gary, guiding him to the southern area of the chamber, where he stood facing Ash. The image of Delia was there for a split second before it disappeared. Simultaneously, the Duskull became a Dusclops.

Ash watched as Gary took his position next to the Dusclops. His mother had been there years ago. She had participated in trying to free Tidus before his will was consumed and he was pushed towards betrayal. Finally, Ash looked towards the spot where he was to stand a little further towards the northern side of the chamber. The image that appeared like a forgotten specter for a split second was of his own father. "Dad... like always you know more than you let on. You wanted me to find an alternative because this method failed last time. But you realized that there was no time left... and no other choice..."

Ash stood on the northern side of the chamber where the image of Giovanni had been. Finally, his ghostly partner for the spell appeared, fading into existence with eerie silence. A vortex of shades of violet and purple levitated a stone as it floated next to Ash. The Spiritomb's green eyes and mouth became visible in the middle of the vortex, there was nothing more there aside from that. The green spheres that Ash expected to see spinning in the vortex were completely absent. Trusting in the exorcist, Agatha, Ash closed his eyes and focused. A compartment opened in the center of the dome's ceiling with a line of light appearing from it.

To be Continued

xoxox xox xoxox


Chapter 16: Souls

Agatha's mansion had a prominent tower in its center. The tower was directly above the chamber were the exorcism was being conducted, with an opening on its floor that served as a tunnel of light going all the way down to the chamber. Agatha looked at the tunnel, seeing the glow of Chandelure below, dimming and brightening at a steady rhythm, everything was finally in place. It was time to try again and this time, it had to be enough. Even if all others failed before her, and her as well, this had to be brought to an end. "It's time for me to fulfill my promise... Agatha whispered. "This time it will either work, or end in an absolute tragedy, their freedom or their death... because of who they are..."

Laiki shuddered visibly as she and the other three inhabitants of the top room of the tower gave her wide eyed expressions. The tower was gray on the outside, decorated with shades of purple and violet. On the inside it was a majestic ivory with lavender swirls. The vertical tunnel that led to the chamber below faded from white to gray to black. "You're really creeping me out..." Laiki commented. "Oh if only I had a hot man to hold me in his arms! I'm sure that would distract me."

"Indeed," Agatha gave Laiki a warning look. "But this is not the right time to complain about such things. Please maintain your quietude."

Laiki nodded her head; she didn't want to mess anything up. "Got it, I'll be as quiet as a tomb!" Another shudder ran down her spine. "Let me rephrase that, I'll be as quiet as a very quiet living human."

"Good enough," Agatha agreed, then she sat next to the tunnel in the northern area. "Are you ready?"

"Pika! Chu!" Pikachu was facing Agatha from the southern area. He nodded vigorously; ready to do whatever it took.

Agatha then looked at the other two. He was at the west and she at the east. "Are you sure you want to do this?"

"Yes," Jessie replied with unbreakable determination. "My body still needs to recover, but exorcisms are about the mind, right? I'll be fine."

"Same here," James asserted. "We're Rockets too and Ash risked his life for us. We need to help him in any way we can. Delia and Meowth can take care of Johnny for a while, then we'll return to them with good news!"

"Very well, if you're certain," Agatha agreed. "However, you must not underestimate this task. Even if your bodies are perfectly still, the mental strain will be great. This may be far more difficult than the past attempt, which failed... but it is our last chance... because of who they are..." Agatha made a pause and everyone waited for her to elaborate. "But even so, Ash wields the power of aura, that is a sign of the possibility of success, so let us strongly believe!" Agatha began to chant a spell with ancient words that only she could understand. All of the participants of the exorcism began to glow along with their ghostly companions. "Everyone... Focus on your wish to help Ash and give that power to me, so that I may pass it on to him..."

xoxox xox xoxox

At first there was only silence for Ash, then he heard the soft waves of the sea and felt a gentle breeze. He curiously opened his eyes and found that he was no longer in the dim black chamber, but instead he was at a beach in a stretch of land that looked like the tip of a peninsula. He looked towards the ocean, then back towards the land. There was a tall volcano further to the north with smoke reaching to the sky.

Someone approached walking along the beach quietly. "I see you cannot get your mind off it. I am the same way, Blaze."

Ash looked at the woman who had spoken; her eyes were a pure blue and her hair a long brilliant red. She was dressed in elaborate tribal garments in shades of blue with golden jewelry that held many pearls and small seashells. "Aquamarine," the name escaped him before he could stop himself. This was Misty, he knew it, but he had called her Aquamarine. She had called him Blaze and somehow he knew the name belonged to him. He was there, but at the same time he was someone else, someone from a distant past. That's when he realized that he too was somehow dressed for the era in a tribal style, with predominant shades of red.

It looked like Misty had been completely overtaken by this other persona, a persona of the past. For a split second an echo of the past attempt at an exorcism could be seen by Ash. He saw a man much like himself, Blaze, and a woman much like Misty, Aquamarine. Beside Blaze stood Giovanni, his advisor and beside Aquamarine was her advisor Tidus. Then he knew, his aura could perceive it. The shaman of the past was not a man at all; it was a woman by the name of Aquamarine. The chosen one for vengeance and the enemy seeking reconciliation were the advisors that had to make the two leaders reconcile, the princess of the Azure tribe and the prince of the Crimson tribe.

This time however, Ash and Misty had not appeared as advisors next to the spirits of the past. They had taken the forms of Aquamarine and Blaze because of who they were... Words rung out clearly in Ash's head. 'For centuries to come, the grudge shall remain, as strong as the sun, with unforgiving blame. It is not of anger, of fear or despair; it is because of...' The voice was ominous and echoing, the sounds distorted yet clear. Then the voice faded away into silence.

"Blaze," Aquamarine called once more. "This is no time to be distracted. Our tribes are at an unrest," she approached him nestling in his arms. This was Misty, but she had the mind of Aquamarine.

Blaze's mind wanted to surface, yet Ash's aura permitted him to stay in control. "Allow him a moment..." Agatha's voice rung out in Ash's head.

Ash closed his eyes for a moment an allowed Blaze's consciousness to resurface as if it was another facet of himself.... and it was, because he was Blaze's reincarnation. Blaze wrapped his arms around Aquamarine. "The Volcano Master demands a sacrifice. My tribe left Mount Cinnabar to chase after the Ice Spirit and sacrifice it to the volcano. I do not agree with this, but if it's not done, the Volcano Master will drown this land with lava."

Aquamarine looked distressed. "The Ice Spirit is friends with the legendary Ocean Master, who will be terribly angered if the Ice Spirit is sacrificed. Please, even if I am an outsider, guide me to the Volcano Master, perhaps I can negotiate..."

"It's too dangerous!" Blaze protested. "Only high ranking members of the Crimson tribe are allowed there. The volcano master won't tolerate someone from the Azure tribe trespassing."

"I have to try!" Aquamarine insisted. "Please, Blaze, do you not trust me? I know we were both distrusting of each other when your tribe first left the mountain and came to the shore. But has that not changed during these past few months? Have I not earned your trust?"

"Yes," Blaze replied, "that is why I worry for your safety, because you've earned my trust and my love..." The secret lovers shared an affectionate kiss.

Agatha, who was watching the scene unfold, felt Ash's energy ripple through the psychic link. She chuckled in good humor, though only Ash could hear her. "Be still, grandnephew, allow your past self to show us what truly happened." Ash's energy settled and he didn't steal control back from his past self.

xoxox xox xoxox

That night, the members of the Azure tribe and the Crimson tribe called for a meeting. The Crimson tribe wanted to sacrifice the Ice Spirit, while the Azure tribe feared the vengeance of the legendary Ocean Master should the dear friend perish. Agatha's voice reached Ash again and only he could hear her. "Last time, I could barely see what was happening. It is because of your aura that I can see clearly now. It makes me wonder about what really happened back then. It seems Aquamarine and Blaze were lovers, but I could not perceive that before. They're love is forbidden by their tribes and thus they did not show it with their advisors near by. This time instead of playing the parts of the advisors, you play the parts of the tribe leaders, because you are their reincarnations."

Agatha's psychic voice continued. "I was counting on your aura to make this easier. I was also fearing that Misty's consciousness would be consumed by Aquamarine's rage. Now I must confess I am confused. How could such affection turn to anger? How did Aquamarine end up hating Blaze? Or was it something else that happened. This legend that birthed so many other legends is unclear, but we must solve it. The fact that you two have reincarnated and found each other is no coincidence. It is a sign that this must be settled once and for all!"

xoxox xox xoxox

The debate between the Azure tribe and the Crimson tribe continued late into the night and a consensus was not reached. In the past, the advisors had also failed to appease the animosity of the two tribes. Unknown to Giovanni and Tidus, the advisors of the previous exorcism attempt, late into the night after the debate had ended, Aquamarine and Blaze journeyed to Mount Cinnabar, where the volcano was the highest peak. This was something that had remained unseen by Agatha last time, as the disaster of the sinking peninsula at dawn had taken them by surprise and the exorcism failed. As a result, Tidus was completely overtaken by the past's need for vengeance.

Blaze and Aquamarine stood atop the volcano, the burning hot lava boiling below. "Oh great Volcano Master, hear my call and appear before us!"

The ground shook and a thick cloud of black smoke rose from the volcano as a flaming being emerged from the lava with a menacing roar. The creature known as the Volcano Master would later be called Magmortar by the pokemon research community. "Crimson Prince, where is the Ice Spirit?" The powerful being spoke.

Blaze seemed surprised that the pokemon could speak his language, but reacted quickly and apologized. "Please forgive me, Volcano Master," Blaze bowed, with Aquamarine following the motion. "I have not been able to locate the Ice Spirit."

"Bring me the Ice Spirit!" The angry Volcano Master demanded.

"Please, oh great Volcano Master, I beg you to tell me what drives you to seek vengeance upon the Ice Spirit? What can we do to quell your anger?" Aquamarine offered.

"Foolish humans! You understand nothing!" The Volcano Master growled. "I remained here so that my flames would not consume your village. I remained here so that the volcano would not erupt. Yet you make such foolish assumptions and are unable to grant me this one wish? I care not for your tribes; I will abandon my task here and find the spirit of ice myself!"

"This is it!" Agatha called out to Ash through their psychic link. "This is what truly happened; this is what initiated the disaster. The legend we knew, it was not completely accurate, this is the truth. Magmortar left the volcano, the volcano erupted and the flames consumed the land. The Ice Spirit must have died because of his heartbroken haste or maybe for a different reason... The legendary ocean master blamed the Volcano Master and the humans and in his grief for the loss of his dear friend, thus he destroyed the peninsula, yet the tribes blamed each other. Now is the time, you must appease the Volcano Master!"

Blaze's body began to glow as Ash pushed forward his current consciousness. Aquamarine gasped in surprise as he witnessed the scene. "Volcano Master!" Ash called out. "Please explain everything to me, you and I are similar... we both have the aura!"

The Volcano Master glowed in return. "Because the request is from a fellow wielder of aura, I shall tell you," he agreed. "It is the Ice Spirit, my dear Froslass that I seek. But it is not because of vengeance, for she is my beloved. Ever since my appearance changed," when he mysteriously evolved from Magmar to Magmortar. "My flames have driven us apart for I would harm her without wanting to do so. Yet I have managed to obtain a measure of control, I wish for my love to return to me, but if I leave the volcano to search for her, it will erupt."

"So that's the reason..." Ash realized. "Please be patient for a little longer, I will find Froslass and tell her what you've said. I'm sure she will return then. Please stay here, don't allow the volcano to erupt!"

A terrible wail of agony pierced the air as a group of people from the Crimson tribe arrive with an injured and dying Froslass. "Blaze!" They cried out in anger. "You have defiled our tribe's sacred ground by bringing the enemy here!" They fiercely accused. "It is us who have saved this land with this sacrifice!" They threw the injured Froslass to the volcano.

"No!" Magmortar shouted in agony, but it was too late. Froslass was already dead when he caught her. "My beloved!"

"The Volcano Master, he speaks!" The Crimson tribesmen exclaimed.

That's when Ash realized that Blaze had no way of understanding the words spoken by Magmortar. Aquamarine had never seen the Volcano Master before, so she was not shocked by his ability to speak, as she was expecting anything from the volcano deity. Ash concluded that the reason why Magmortar could be heard in the human language now, was because the pokemon's aura resonated with his. The Volcano Master was aware that there was someone else there along with Blaze; he could somehow identify who was in control. Yet at the same time, they were the same. In the past, Magmortar's wish had been terribly misunderstood and in the reenacting of the exorcism it was happening again.

"No!" Agatha exclaimed through her psychic link with Ash. "It's happening again, we are failing!"

"Misty!" Ash couldn't allow her to be consumed; he couldn't allow her spirit to be killed like this. In a surprising twist, Blaze's consciousness resurfaced, pushing Ash's mind back and taking control once again to protect Aquamarine from the angry mob.

Magmortar abandoned the volcano, rushing down beside Blaze and Aquamarine without touching them and setting the tribesmen in flames that rapidly consumed them. The angry Volcano Master rush to the base of Mount Cinnabar and burned everything in sight as the ground shook and the volcano began to erupt. There was lava, molten stones, ashes and smoke everywhere. Aquamarine and Blaze took on a ghostly appearance as they floated above the disaster, unable to stop it. The truth was so much more violent and cruel to witness than what they had previously thought had happened.

The legend had been lost in time and the truth was a shocking twist. The land was being destroyed and its burning inhabitants cried out in pain and agony. Lugia, the Legendary Ocean Master answered their call, blaming Magmortar and the humans for the death of his dear friend Froslass. Unleashing his great power, Lugia created massive tidal waves that sunk the peninsula, which had already been destroyed by fire. When it was all over, only the peaks of the highest mountains remained above the sea.

The restless spirits of the people of the Azure and Crimson tribes had a terrible vast anger against each other. They blamed each other, they blamed their leaders and they would become terrible vengeful spirits. "They are our responsibility," Aquamarine sadly voiced.

"Yes," Blaze agreed.

The powerful Lugia appeared before them. "You claim to take responsibility for the foolishness of your fellow humans that you failed to lead? If that is so, then what will you do? My anger has been appeased by vengeance; I have no further business here."

"They're darkness..." Blaze spoke seriously, "clean their spirits and give their darkness to me."

"No, give it to me," Aquamarine argued.

"Cleaning their spirits so that they may pass on will take many years. From time to time their anger will surface. I shall give their darkness to both of you in a way..." Lugia decided and in a brilliant flash of light everything faded into an endless white nothingness leaving only Lugia's voice to echo. "For centuries to come, the grudge shall remain, as strong as the sun, with unforgiving blame. It is not of anger, of fear or despair; it is because of the love that they share." Blaze and Aquamarine had taken the burden of the violent souls of their tribe into themselves because they loved their people and each other. "When fire becomes ash and water becomes mist, only then shall they be freed..." Lugia's final words to the tragic lovers were a prophecy and a promise.

xoxox xox xoxox


When Ash woke up he was at one of his father's mansions between Kanto and Johto. His parents were there and he understood why they couldn't tell him about the exorcism earlier. They needed to get things ready with Agatha and analyze the dangers with the little information they truly had. They knew he would have rushed things if he found out and they were trying to protect him. "Where are Misty and everyone?" He sat up, noticing Pikachu on the bed, sleeping next to him.

"Misty's okay," Delia assured. "She's resting in her home at Cerulean City. It is the end of the Azure Alliance and everything was resolved in relative peace. As long as they don't anger Team Rocket again, everything will be okay. Jessie and James are taking a vacation and focusing on caring for their son for the time being. Gary went back to Pallet Town to rest and Comet and Pixel are resting at Viridian. Agatha is at her house, they're all alright, just tired."

"Tidus died during the failed exorcism," Ash realized. "Coral couldn't accept that, the traitor wasn't even the real Tidus..." He paused looking at his father. "You knew that... and I think Misty understands it too. Then Coral was consumed with anger and grief, she wasn't possessed, but she wasn't herself. I don't think the Waterflowers will pursue vengeance anymore."

"You better be right," Giovanni replied somewhat sternly, but Ash could see in his eyes that he was relieved that his son had come out of all the dangers alright.

"I know it..." Ash assured. "What about the angry souls that Misty carried?"

"They have been absorbed by Spiritomb," Giovanni revealed. The pokemon's purple vortex had become blue and instead of green spheres it held pink spheres in its swirling energy. "Most of them have already passed on, the rest will remain in Spiritomb until they are ready to let go."

"Then it's finally over..." Ash breathed. 'Just like Lugia said...' he thought.

xoxox xox xoxox

A few days later, Misty and Ash met at a private cafe in Pewter City, left undisturbed in the most secluded corner of the VIP section. "Does your father know you're here?" Misty took a sip of her strawberry shake.

"Probably," Ash moved the straw around his chocolate shake before taking a long drink. "He has a knack for knowing things no matter how much people try to keep them a secret. Besides, I'm sure he expected us to meet up at some point. As long as you're not picking a fight with Team Rocket, I don't think he minds that much."

"I don't agree with everything they do, but I think I can learn to be tolerant... So please, when you do take over, make it better." Misty smiled.

"You know that's what I intend to do," Ash grinned back. He wasn't sure how he would accomplish it, but for once he wouldn't rush things. This time he would take things one step at a time.

"I'll help, if that's okay..." Misty offered.

"If it's okay with you..." Ash left the statement hanging.

A short moment of calm and pleasant silence passed until Misty inquired. "Do you remember anything from the exorcism?" There was a slightly pink tint on her face that for once, didn't escape Ash's notice.

"Um..." Ash remembered the kiss, he remembered Blaze's feelings for Aquamarine and he remembered his own feelings when he worried that Misty's soul would be lost. He laughed casually and finally replied, "total blank!"

Misty chuckled, "figures," she teased playfully, as if she knew that he did remember. She was only a spectator unable to control Aquamarine's actions, but she saw everything and felt everything. "Maybe you'll remember someday."

"Maybe you'll remind me," Ash whispered playfully, albeit quietly enough so that Misty didn't quite catch what he said.

Misty glanced at Ash curiously, but he only smiled back. She looked at her watch where a Seel's fins, one longer than the other, bent at an odd angle to indicate that it was one forty five in the afternoon. "Brock's sculpture exhibition will be starting soon; we should be on our way to the gym."

Ash speedily finished his chocolate shake and stood along with Misty. "How many sculptures of Lily do you think he made this time?" The two walked side by side with smiles on their faces as they exited the cafe.


Pokemon belongs to Nintendo. Only my original characters are mine, Comet, Pixel and Laiki, plus the plot concepts, minus the Pokemon concepts.