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By Mikari

Romance / Adventure

Chapter 1

This takes place a little over fifteen years after Don't Give Me Diamonds and focuses on the journey of Ash and Misty's daughter through Kanto. Jessie and James' son will be traveling too, along with a cast of peculiar characters. It's a whole new adventure about friends, life, Team Rocket, and learning to face the complexity of reality. Other characters include Domino's daughter, Surge's son and an unusual virtual android.


Prologue: A New Hope

The announcement came suddenly and without warning. One second Jonathan was watching TV with his loyal Eevee curled on his lap and his uncle Meowth beside him, and the next his mother was scooping him into her arms muttering excitedly about something or other and carrying him to his room. She went through the closet in a rush while calling out to his father to remember to bring the gifts. "Mommy?" The four year old looked at his mother with inquisitive eyes while she insisted in rushing him to wear a little suit that he did not remember wearing before.

"We need to hurry, honey," Jessie prompted, straitening her young son's tie. "The princess is on her way and we can't miss this event!" She took a step back and looked at her son, nodding in approval. "Go tell your dad not to forget to bring the gifts," she sent him on his way and went to change herself.

Jonathan took a moment to watch his uncle Meowth fussing for a while, then went to find his father. James was packing several gift wrapped boxes into the car, while Meowth fussed some more. "Mommy said not to forget the presents..."

"Don't worry, I already put them all in the car," James assured.

"You haven't changed yet?" Jessie came out of the house, looking as if she was attending a grand gala. She finished putting on a new pair of earrings and pulled out a lipstick from the small purse on her arm. "James, we're going to be late!"

"I was loading the presents into the car." He motioned to the trunk and back seat full of pink wrapped boxes.

"That's no excuse, go change, hurry!" Jessie pushed her husband towards the house hastily. "Meowth, did you set up the closed sign? Did you transfer all the Pokemon to Gary's lab temporarily? It won't do that the pokemon we're taking care of go hungry because we're not here to tend to them. The day care center would be ruined, we'll lose our cover here at Saffron, and the boss will fire us!"

"I already did all that." Between fussing and fussing some more, Meowth had accomplished his duties as planned.

"I'm ready," James hurried out of the house, still in the process of properly putting on his tie. It was Jessie's idea that they should dress up.

"Not yet," Jessie pulled his tie into place, almost choking him with the motion. "There, now let's go, I'm a faster driver, so I'm driving. We don't have much time to get to Viridian!"

James paled and, with a stream of incoherent babbles that could have been prayers of mercy, he deposited his sun into the backseat of the car and made sure to tightly fasten the seatbelt.

xoxox xox xoxox

During the course of the speedy drive, where in Jessie drove like a maniac, ignoring the Jennies that tried to make her stop, Jonathan had remembered when they got the pink boxes. They were girly gifts, all of them, nothing that particularly interested him, thus he was not tempted to try to unwrap any of them. They had dolls, bows, dresses and such things and there was a lot of pink.

The little boy also remembered something else. His parents had mentioned that the gifts were for a princess. At first Jonathan imagined a lady with a dress and tiara like the princesses in the story books. Then he learned that the princess was younger, and though he wasn't sure how young, he imagined a girl, in the same dress and tiara that characterized Clefairy tale princesses. "Daddy..."

"Yes," James was gripping the sides of his seat for dear life as he saw the scenery rapidly fly by and tried to ignore the police sirens.

"Are we really going to meet a princess?" Jonathan asked with curiosity. Normally, girls had cooties, but this girl was a princess. Surely her royalty would render her immune and make her pleasant company.

"Oh yes we are, she's your princess too, our families have always been close, for generations." It was only one generation in James' case and Johnny would be the second one, but in Jessie's case, her mother had been a Rocket before her, since the early years of the organization.

"Like knights?" Jonathan asked curiously. If his parents were knights, then did that make him one too? That sounded fun.

"Yeah, just like royal knights," James smiled despite the fear that crept over every inch of his body because of his wife's reckless driving.

Satisfied with his father's reply, Jonathan was quiet for a while, occupying himself in petting Eevee. The pokemon had been meant for him even before the boy was born, as the egg had hatched when Jessie was still expecting. The Eevee was the child of a Flareon that was initially trained by Ash, then given to Jessie after she had fallen in love with James' Growlithe.

"Uncle Meowth?" Jonathan finally spoke again.

Meowth ceased his mutterings of hope and nervousness and looked at the little boy. The child had his father's hair and his mother's eyes. "Yes, Johnny?"

"Do you think the princess will play with me?"

"Of course she will, later," Meowth replied with a smile.

'Later?' Jonathan mused. Did she have royal duties to tend to or something? Well of course, she was young, but she was still a princess.

xoxox xox xoxox

After the wild drive was over, Jessie finally parked at the Viridian City hospital. She had a parade of officer Jennies after her, but she didn't care. "I'm on official business for the Viridian City gym!" The redhead announced before one of the Jennies could even begin to express her disapproving accusations.

The officer glared. The Rocket mafia had grown stronger in the past few years and there was little the police could do without risking a terrible retaliation, especially in the heart of their territory.

Ignoring the Jennies, Jessie and James grabbed the multitude of boxes and, with Meowth and Johnny following, they headed inside the hospital. After showing some ID they were allowed into the top floor where right there in the hall way a Rocket executive meeting was taking place. They had to pause and stare.

"And that's why we should sell these fine products!" Petrel finished, holding up a t-shirt with a picture of the Viridian Gym's badge.

"I'll consider it," Giovanni voiced. Delia, who was next to him, had a death grip on his arm, as if he would run off the second she let go of him. He paused to look at her, "you're cutting my circulation."

Delia only held on tighter in response, "deal with it," she smiled sweetly. "I want to be here and I want you to be here with me. The baby could be born any second!"

"That's what you've been saying for the past hour," Giovanni reminded.

Yet Delia didn't want him to leave, she wouldn't let go of him. "Well it's still true."

"What's our next topic?" Giovanni prompted, giving up on reasoning with Delia when she was in such a state.

"The new pokeballs under development," Ariana flipped through her agenda, while Archer looked at something on his laptop and Proton took a moment to stretch and yawn.

Before the conversation could continue, Ash, who had been staring at the sound proof door behind which Misty was, gasped as if the mere action of yelping in pain was too much to manage. With his face contorted in pure agony, he promptly fainted. Delia finally released her grip on Giovanni's arm to catch Ash's head before it hit the floor. "Ash!"

Giovanni flexed his arm in relief, good to see that it still worked despite the numbness. "I may not be an expert in aura, but I told him it was a bad idea to focus his senses so much on the energy of a woman in labor."

"Oh, he was just worried and wanted to check on Misty's life force," Delia insisted. "Ash, honey? He's out cold."

"Pikapi!" Pikachu volunteered to remedy the situation with a jolt of electricity to his trainer, the sparks of which reached all those present, though none nearly as harshly as Ash.

"Is it over?" Ash asked in a daze when he awoke.

"Not yet..." Delia smiled gently.

"But it's been hours..." Ash frowned.

"Some births take more time than others, I'm sure everything is fine," Delia assured. It wasn't long after that when the news came that the little girl had been born.

xoxox xox xoxox

Naturally, Misty was exhausted, but very relieved as she held the little pink bundle in her arms. She had red hair like her mother and eyes that were a mirror image of her father's with a fiery determination on them already visible from the start. People crowded around the baby, talking to the parents, cooing at the child and giving out their congratulations. There were many pokemon there as well, including a baby Meowth, the child of Giovanni's Persian, who was, as always, by his side, and a newborn Pichu, the child of Ash's Pikachu.

Through the array of people and pokemon, that continued to arrive, Jonathan curiously peeked up to see what the fuss was about. That was the princess? She was still a baby! No wonder Meowth said she would play with him later, she couldn't really walk, or even talk at the moment, very much less have a pokemon battle. But she still had her own pokemon, just as he remembered having Eevee for his whole life.

Misty extended one hand to the little boy beckoning him to sit on the bed next to her, cradling the child on her other arm and simultaneously holding a conversation with all of her sisters at the same time, while miraculously not being rendered terribly dizzy by the multitude of voices around her. The bed was a little crowded now with children and pokemon and there were people all around her, squealing with joy and congratulating the new parents, but Misty seemed to be protected by a force field of joy that made it so that not even the continuous high pitched squeals of her sisters could bother her at the moment.

Jonathan stared at the baby's face with curiosity and a barely audible, "princess?"

She giggled and reached out to him.

Though his hand was small, the tiny newborn could barely grasp his finger on her little hand. "Nice to meet you, princess. I'll be your knight, so just tell me if you need anything, okay?"

Though she probably had no idea what he was talking about, she smiled and held his hand a little tighter.

To be Continued


Chapter 01: A Good Start?

"You know, if you had just waited, maybe professor Oak would have given you a pokemon." The innocent suggestion was met with a glare, to which the fifteen year old boy at the wheel replied with a quick defense of: "just saying." He referred to the younger Oak, who had taken over his retired grandfather's job several years ago.

The passenger next to him let out a breath. "Like my father, I was born in May, and pokemon journeys officially start in April first. I was born on the first of May rather than the tenth, so my frustration was nine days greater. I had to wait a whole year to play by the rules and now that I'm a month away from eleven I'm finally on my journey. After all that, do you want me to wait more? Of all the days to oversleep, uncle Gary had to pick today, well he can keep his pokemon, I already have one!" She pointed at the Pichu resting on her lap. Though Gary wasn't her biological uncle, he was her father's childhood friend, which made him kind of like an uncle.

After the girl finished her rant, silence reigned over the blue convertible. The boy considered saying that if she had to wait almost a year, waiting a few hours shouldn't matter, but instead he pointed out something else. "Since when do you care about the rules? What about Rocket pride?"

"I'm a Rocket," the girl assured. She ran her fingers through her red hair, brown eyes focused ahead. They were almost to Viridian City. "But just this once I want to do this alone."

Alone meant without help rather than completely alone, the boy assumed. He grinned, the wind going through his blue-purple hair. He knew she was about to continue.

"As the daughter of a champion pokemon master," Ash, "and a respected gym leader," Misty, "granddaughter of another respected gym leader, who is not so secretly the leader of Team Rocket," Giovanni, "there are many expectations from me. Not only that, but also advantages, if I allow it, but this is different. I know dad and grandpa have their differences about Team Rocket, their disagreements, but what I do is something I'll have to decide for myself. Besides, I think I can be both a Rocket and a pokemon master, I'll figure out the balance as I go along. For now I'll take the test and I'll become a pokemon master fair and square! I am a Rocket, but I won't have any advantages because of that while on this journey!"

"It won't be that hard," Jonathan grinned. His blue eyes focused on her for a second, taking in her expression before looking back at the road. "Everyone in the upper ranks of Team Rocket knows you, but the grunts and the general public not so much. They're not going to pull any punches if you become their target. And I don't think they'll give me any special consideration either, even if they recognize me."

"But Johnny, you're not just a grunt," Ashimi reminded.

"That's the point, Ashy," Jonathan pointed out. "I'm a rival." Ashy was something that only he called her.

Her real name was Ashley, her father had not been happy with it. Unknown to the young aspiring pokemon master, it was the alias Ash took when various circumstances forced him to cross-dress, it didn't bring good memories. Yet Misty had become inexplicably fond of the name during a visit to Jessie and James during her pregnancy. It all started with some innocent joking about the anecdotes of their past, and before Ash knew what was happening, Misty was rubbing her belly and calling the baby Ashley. Misty had guessed from the start that it was a girl. Ash didn't mind either way, but at that moment he started wishing for a boy. Then he realized that Ashley was seen as a unisex name in some regions and his hopes of his child escaping it faded away. Because of her red hair and big brown eyes, her resemblance to her parents was obvious, along with her love for pokemon. Misty's sisters nicknamed her Ashimi, a combination of her parents' names. The name stuck to the point where few people even remembered that her official name was Ashley.

"We're here..." Jonathan announced as they drove closer to Viridian City.

The officer on duty, whose name, like her mother's and grandmother's, was Jenny, stopped them at the main street's entrance. Surely she knew Team Rocket controlled the city, the rumors had, over the years, evolved from hidden whispers to silent common knowledge. Nonetheless, she could at least try to do her job. She eyed the driver's youthful face suspiciously. "License," she spat sharply.

With a confident grin, Jonathan handed over his fake ID. It wasn't much of a significant difference, but it did make him a year older, sixteen, old enough to drive, though the car was suspiciously expensive looking. It was from Giovanni, when he found out Jonathan was to be Ashimi's driver. Maybe it was his way to say 'get the journey over with and join the family business,' though Ash never truly had. Of course, Jonathan still had his duties as a Rocket, but Ashimi had not really factored that in. She had simply accepted his offer to drive her because she'd probably have a hard time pretending to be sixteen, and she was anxious to quickly get to wherever her pokemon battles would be.

Finding no excuse to detain them any longer, Jenny allowed the young trainers passage. "Shall we head to the gym?" Jonathan inquired unsure.

"No way!" Ashimi immediately refused. "I can't face grandpa until I'm strong enough to face him in battle!" She drew in a breath after the outburst and continued, "just drive through to Pewter."

Jonathan considered questioning what was the point of starting at Pallet if she was too impatient to wait for Gary to hand out the starter pokemon and rode in a car the whole way instead of catching pokemon at the Viridian Forest and the surrounding areas. Yet he wisely decided not to ask and instead continued driving quietly.

"Stop!" If the driver had been anyone other than someone who knew Ashimi very well, he might have slammed on the breaks in a startle, but he didn't. It was a good thing too, because otherwise the car behind them would have left a screeching line of tire tracks that ended on the convertible's bumper, marring the perfect shiny indigo blue beauty.

Jonathan would have been angry, not that it was his car, it was technically Ashimi's but Giovanni didn't want her to drive it, not yet anyway. By the time she was sixteen, he hoped that she could somewhat control her need for speed, enough not to kill herself at least. "Restaurant?"

"Yes!" Ashimi exclaimed. "Sitting in a car makes me hungrier than I thought."

xoxox xox xoxox

Meanwhile, Giovanni was busily conducting secret Rocket business at his office in the Viridian City gym, until his focus was interrupted by a tail tickling his nose. He removed the daring Meowth that climbed on his head and set him on the floor. "Ashimi can't get here soon enough..." He grumbled. He had no intentions of letting her win, of course. He wanted her to get that journey done quickly, but even if she was his own granddaughter, his pride prevented him from doing anything other than winning. She would have to earn her earth badge.

Giovanni's long time companion, his loyal Persian, yawned and shifted on the couch. He looked at the female of his kind who was pacing the office. Her time as a Meowth had left her with many battle scars, but they disappeared after her evolution, all except for the oddity of the ruby on her forehead. The red gem protruded like a horn, a hideous deformity by the standards of most Persian, but a beautiful wonder in the eyes of a human. Giovanni's Persian had been with him long enough to acquire his taste for jewels, lucky for her. She was a rarity, like him. knowing about her crush on the boss's pokemon, her previous trainer, a Rocket hacker known as Pixel, gave her to him.

Purry, whom Giovanni lazily, yet with an almost fatherly affection simply referred to as 'girl' thus shared a life with the pokemon of her dreams. It wasn't long before Giovanni found an egg one morning nestled between his priced felines. The child didn't have the peculiar rare coloration of the father, but he certainly had the mischief of his younger days and he probably had it from both sides. Giovanni wasn't in the mood to put up with training the little pokemon and resolved to give him to Ashimi. With such strong parents, he had to become a very useful addition to her team.

xoxox xox xoxox

After a good meal, Ashimi and Jonathan continued out of Viridian City and towards Pewter City. With a sudden revelation, Ashimi looked at the Pichu on her lap. The pokemon was softly squeezing a bottle of ketchup and licking the red drops as they came out. "You're my only pokemon... I can't take on a gym with just one pokemon, what if they say two on two? I'm sure my Pichu can take them both on, but still. That's it, we're going to Mount Moon, step on it!"

"Gotcha," Jonathan smirked and sped up.

xoxox xox xoxox

After another stop at Pewter City they later arrived at Mount Moon. Jonathan parked the car near the entrance and brought up the roof. Ashimi's Pichu hopped on her head as usual. "Johnny..." She made an overly dramatic pause of determination. "I have to do this on my own."

"I understand, I have some stuff to do too. Maybe I can track down some moon stones to send to the boss," Jonathan mused. He knew he couldn't lower his guard with his Rocket duties or Giovanni would have something to say about it.

"Alright! I'll give you a call when I'm ready to head back to Pewter City." Thus the pair went their separate ways, taking opposite directions at a fork in the cave.

Soon, Ashimi could no longer hear Jonathan's fading footsteps. A soft screeching reached her ears and a Zubat perched on her shoulder.  "Shoo!" She waved it away. "I want a Clefairy!" She didn't like Zubat, the creatures weren't exactly nice to her when she explored Mount Moon with her father a couple of years ago. She used her cellphone to light her way until the dim brightness of another source came into view. The light became brighter as she approached it, until she no longer needed her cellphone to see where she was going. Up ahead she spotted three Clefairy sitting around a fire. "I got you now... Ready Pichu? Lets get the jump on them, Thunderbolt!"

Pichu jumped off Ashimi's head and attacked the three Clefairy. The pink pokemon scrambled, tripping over each other and making matters worse for them. Pichu didn't even pause, he shot another burst of electric energy at the Clefairy, rendering the three young pokemon unconscious.

"Alright, well done, Pichu!" Ashimi paused in the motion of throwing a pokeball and gave it another thought. "They're too weak..."

"Clefable!" An angry voice called out. "Clefable!" another voice joined in. Those two where notably older than the three Clefairy and they looked a lot stronger, probably the parents. Soon, more voices joined in a chorus of "Clefairy!" and "Clefable!"

"Oh-oh..." Ashimi looked around with concern, but she refused to back down. "Thunderbolt!"

"Pi... chuuuuu!" Pichu attacked once more, again and again none stop. A flurry of echoed voices, double slaps and even hyper beams rained upon them. Pichu struggled to keep up, but he was severely outnumbered. A large Clefable jumped at Ashimi on the attack. Pichu jumped in front of her in a wild charge and took down the Clefable that tried to attack her.

The sound of an incoming text message on her cell phone woke Ashimi from her surprise at having become a target. She reacted by throwing a pokeball at the Clefable before it could fully recover. The ball absorbed the pink pokemon, shook, and with a red bean of light released the Clefable. Wasting no time, Ashimi delivered a swift kick to the pokemon as payback for the earlier attack, "you wanted a fight? You got it!" As the already weakened Clefable was knocked down again, she tried the pokeball once more. The ball shook, but successfully sealed the pokemon inside that time. Ashimi picked up the red and white capsule and turned her attention towards the Pichu. Despite his strength, he was far too outnumbered and couldn't go on any longer. "Pichu!" She dove into the fight to recover her companion and considered retreating, but the Clefairy and Clefable had her surrounded.

The same Zubat from earlier flew overhead, screeching loudly. He let out a series of super sonic waves, causing the Clefairy and Clefable to become confused. Several of the pink pokemon attacked each other in their confusion, creating an opening for Ashimi to escape with Pichu in her arms and Clefable in a pokeball. She ran through the dark tunnels of Mount Moon, instinctually following a light in the distance.

As Ashimi approached the light, she realized that its brightness didn't signify the exit of the cave, it was a blazing fire! In the middle of it she spotted a boy and a Flareon, both recognizable to her. "Johnny! What happened?"

"Ashy!" Jonathan looked at the fire around them and sheepishly place his hand behind his head. "I was collecting moon stones for the boss when a bunch of Clefairy and Clefable attacked. I know it's pillage, then burn, and I wasn't done pillaging, but I had to defend my moon stones, I mean the boss' moon stones. Although I think I might have overdone it with the fire."

"Nah, you think?" Ashimi replied sarcastically. Fortunately, there wasn't a whole lot of flammable material there and the Clefairy and Clefable managed to put the fire out with blizzard and ice beam attacks. Naturally, the pink pokemon were not happy with the human invaders and their pokemon companions. As soon as the fire was out, their attention turned towards them. To make matters worse, the group that had attacked Ashimi before caught up to her as well.

"Maybe we should call a retreat?" Jonathan suggested.

Though usually stubborn, Ashimi had already obtained what she came for and had no problems with the plan. She noticed the same Zubat had followed her and called out to him. "Zubat, use super sonic again!" As the Clefairy and Clafable were overtaken with confusion, Ashimi and Jonathan escaped along with their pokemon.

Once they were outside of Mount Moon, they noticed the sun had set. "I didn't get all the moon stones I wanted, but I did manage to get a few I can send to the boss. Overall, I think that went pretty well."

"Yeah, I did get a new pokemon. I caught a Clafable." Zubat landed on her shoulder wanting to follow her. "And a Zubat," she added. She held up a pokeball, easily catching the pokemon officially. "It's a bit late and I could use a meal. I'll head over to the Pewter City gym tomorrow. I'm sure you and Fluffy are tired too."

"Foxtrot!" He corrected. "You know it's Foxtrot!" Jonathan had heard the name being used as a call sign in a space ship battle movie years ago. He imagined it was based on some sort of super cool space ship battle move and decided to use it as a nickname for his pokemon. It had been a necessity at the time, when Foxtrot was still an Eevee with two other Eevee siblings. The oldest of Flare and Growly's children had been the one to officially become Jonathan's pokemon since the first day of his life, having been hatched months prior to his birth.

"Right, right," Ashimi laughed, as the pair got into the car.

"Should we check into a hotel?" Jonathan inquired, changing the subject.

"No, this will be a proper pokemon journey, so we'll stay at pokemon centers instead," Ashimi decided.

xoxox xox xoxox

Jonathan and Ashimi arrived at Pewter City. Johnny dropped off the moon stones at the local Rocket base and sent in a report about it by email. Then they headed to the pokemon center. They handed their pokemon over to nurse Joy, daughter of the previous nurse Joy who worked there, and settled into a guest room. Soon, their pokemon were returned refreshed and the group was ready to eat.

"Okay, time to have our first meal together with our new friends!" Ashimi released Zubat and Clefable from their pokeballs. Pichu was usually out and Jonathan had called out his Flareon as well. Zubat was well behaved and already making friends with the other pokemon, but Clefable was looking grumpy. This particular Clefable was rather young, probably recently evolved. "C'mon Clefable, don't be such a grouch!"

Clefable fixed her trainer with a deadly glared and quickly slapped her. "Fable..." She growled.

That was it, Ashimi's temper was officially overloaded, "how dare you! You ungrateful little..." A fight broke loose between the pokemon and the trainer. Pichu tried to intervene with a burst of electricity that filled the entire room with a thunderbolt attack. This caused the combatants and spectators to fall to the floor twitching. Pichu wasn't spared, as Zubat fell on his head when he was knocked out of the air. They got little rest that night.

To be Continued

Johnny's pillage then burn quote is... do I even have to say it? It's a standard procedure for all criminal organizations that originated in the era of pirates, as established by the famed Jack Sparrow from Pirates of the Caribbean


Chapter 02: Strength vs. Speed

The next day, Ashimi and Jonathan headed to the Pewter City gym so she could battle for a boulder badge. "I could really use a water type right now, but that's okay, I'm sure I can still win." She confidently strode in.

The Pewter City gym was filled with unusual sounds that were rather chaotic in nature. Ashimi was greeted by her aunt Lilly, who rushed towards her in a panic. "Ashimi, you like have to help us!" She exclaimed, hyperventilation settling in. "Please, like talk to your grandfather, whatever we did to like make him this mad, we're totally sorry! Just please get him to call back that beast like before the entire gym is destroyed!"

Brock arrived at the arena area as well, looking scratched all over. "I'm sorry, I couldn't catch it!"

Ashimi stared at her aunt and uncle in confusion. She looked at Jonathan in question, but he could only shake his head to indicate he didn't know what was going on. "Now that I think about it, I kind of remember getting a text message, but I was busy at the time and didn't see what it was. Maybe it's from grandpa."

She checked her cellphone and did indeed find a text from Giovanni. 'I heard you were seen heading towards Pewter City. Leaving the Viridian gym for last? A wise choice. I sent the early birthday gift I was going to give you to the Pewter gym, you can pick it up there.'

"Grandpa had a birthday present for me early? Now I wish I had stopped at the Viridian gym, even if it wasn't to battle. I wonder what the present is!" Ashimi exclaimed in excitement.

"Present?" Lilly blinked in confusion.

"The only thing we received from Giovanni was..." Brock's explanation  was cut off by a Meowth rushing over.

"Furball!" Ashimi extended her arms and the Meowth jumped into them. His nickname had come from Giovanni, who referred to his Persian's child as 'that annoying little furball.' "You're my present? This is awesome!"

"You'll like take that beast away?" Lilly hoped, "that would be like a big relief!"

"Where did he go? I almost had him!" A boy with squinty eyes like Brock and pink hair like Lilly, ran over to them. "Ashimi? That pokemon is yours?"

"That's right, and I'm here to battle for a badge," she replied proudly.

"As long as the beast is like gone, you can have the badge," Lilly decided. "That creature tried to like eat the rare Goldeen Brock bred for me! It's a really cute Goldeen too, like white and yellow instead of white and orange."

Brand's eyes went wide and he protested. "But mom, we should battle trainers!"

"Right... Battle..." Brock was visibly dizzy with exhaustion and his scratches looked like they stung.

"Your father can like barely stand and it wouldn't like fit to give away a boulder badge in a water pokemon battle," Lilly explained.

Brand frowned, then got an idea that made his face light up. "I can battle!" He volunteered.

"Alright, you're on!" Ashimi agreed. "This will be easy," she didn't even try to hide her overflowing confidence. They had battled before and Pichu had won with ease.

"I'll give you a real challenge, you won't beat me this time, Ashimi!" Brand assured. "Two on two, you must have already caught another pokemon, right?"

"Of course I caught another pokemon and not just one!" Ashimi proudly declared.

'Two is more than one, but didn't Zubat follow her willingly and let himself be caught? Plus Clefable is more likely to attack her trainer than her opponent...' Albeit such thoughts crossed Jonathan's mind, he wisely kept them to himself.

The two trainers took their positions on opposite sides of the rocky gym arena. "This is an official pokemon battle for a boulder badge," Brock tiredly refereed. "Each trainer can use two pokemon, no time limit!"

"I think I'll get things started with Furball, that should give him a good welcome to the team." The Meowth jumped into the arena, ready for battle.

"Go Geodude!" A small Geodude emerged from Brand's pokeball.

Ashimi had a pokedex app on her phone, but she had already scanned that pokemon into her list of seen pokemon before, in fact, she had seen most of Kanto and Johto's pokemon during her travels with her parents. Without giving her cousin time to react, she directed Furball to go on the attack, "water pulse!"

The attack was super effective, knocking out the young Geodude before he could make a single move. "He knows water attacks?" Brand gaped as he recalled his knocked out Geodude.

"I happen to know his mom's a bit battle obsessed, I figured she would know a variety of attacks from her days as a rowdy street pokemon and she would probably teach her son." Ashimi grinned proudly. With Furball and Pichu by her side, she felt unstoppable. "Tell you what, I'll call Furball back for now, c'mon little friend, hop into your new pokeball."

Brock seemed to wake from his sore drowsiness long enough to declare that the round went to Ashimi, not that they couldn't tell.

"Meowth!" The energetic feline jumped into the pokeball Ashimi held out.

"You hadn't even officially caught him, does that count?" Brand wondered aloud, a questioning look in his eyes that was almost hopeful.

"Of course it counts, he's my pokemon!" Ashimi defended. "Now stop being a sore loser and call out your next pokemon."

"Fine... Next I'll choose..." While the pink haired boy considered the matter, his opponent became even more confident.

'The last time we battled Brand only had a Geodude and a Goldeen. If this is supposed to be a rock type battle, I wonder what pokemon he'll use,' Ashimi curiously thought. "Get ready Pichu," she whispered to the yellow pokemon that was still on her head like a living cap.

"I choose Steelix!" Brand called out triumphantly.

"Steelix? That's uncle Brock's Steelix!" Ashimi explained in surprise.

Brock's jaw dropped at the sidelines. He let his son borrow the pokemon for training, but he wasn't expecting for the metal giant to actually be called out to battle. He wasn't even sure how to call this.

Stubborn as she was, Ashimi wasn't going to back down. "Fine, I accept your challenge. This is a gym battle, so I should be going up against a gym leader's pokemon!"

"Wow..." Lilly let out a breath. She gave her husband a pointed look and cleared her throat. "I wonder if it's like okay for young children to battle with pokemon that are like so fierce," she pouted.

"It's okay, honey," Brock assured. "Steelix is gentler than your Gyarados and you let Brand play with her all the time."

Lilly placed her hands on her hips in indignation. "No comparison," she exclaimed. With a starry eyed expression she continued. "My sweet  Andraia is like such a gentle creature, the darling is just a big baby." Lilly had raised the pokemon since she was a Magikarp and never really stopped viewing her as such.

While the couple's exchange went on, so did the battle. Ashimi had tried to call Pichu to the fight, but the summoning didn't go as expected. "I choose..." Zubat popped out of his pokeball uncalled. "Zubat?"

"Do you really expect to beat Steelix with a Zubat? No way!" Brand exclaimed.

"I wasn't... I didn't..." Ashimi stumbled over her words, unsure of how to fix this mess.

"C'mon princess, you can do it!" Jonathan cheered.

"That's right, I'm a Rocket princess and I can win any battle!" Ashimi roared. 'I may be taking on this journey without assistance from Team Rocket, I'll just think of Furball as a gift from grandpa rather than the Rocket boss. But I'm still both a Rocket and a future pokemon master, I can do this...'

"Steelix, tackle!" Brand commanded. The massive metal serpent started smashing everything, trying to hit the swift Zubat.

"Keep dodging, Zubat!" Ashimi looked at the battle intensely, trying to come up with a strategy. 'I can't sent Zubat out in a physical attack on that armored giant, he'll probably end up getting hurt instead of Steelix.' "Use super sonic and don't stop moving!"

"Your Zubat can't beat Steelix!" Brand was feeling confident about winning the battle to defend his family's gym. Yet that Zubat was so slippery. "Keep going, Steelix, I'm sure he'll be knocked out right away if you just hit him once!"

Ashimi grinned as she guided her Zubat to dodge the incoming attacks. "Left, right, up, dive! That's it, you're doing great Zubat! Keep using super sonic!" Steelix was confused and trashing all over the place.

"Oh no! The gym!" Lilly shrieked, clinging to Brock as the building shook and choking him in the process.

Jonathan perceived what was going on and smiled, "you got this..."

Ashimi saw a good opportunity for a grand finale and took it. "Now Zubat, fly straight up!"

Zubat swiftly obeyed as Steelix stretched out to follow. The metal serpent crashed into the ceiling hard enough to make a hole in it, Zubat dodging out of the way at the last minute. With a dizzy twitch, Steelix hung from the ceiling, his head outside and the rest of his long body at the arena. He got loose and fell down to the rocky terrain of the Pewter City gym arena, portions of the damage ceiling falling on his head for good measure.

"It's over..." Lilly nearly sobbed, releasing the frightened chokehold she had on Brock.

Brock took in a big breath and grimaced at the state of his gym. "Zubat wins this round," he sighed. "The winner is Ashimi..."

"I won!" Ashimi cheered. Her exhausted Zubat flew down into her arms to be squeezed in a bone crushing hug. "Well done Zubat, take a rest in your pokeball." She headed to the sidelines where she was congratulated and received her boulder badge.

"That was a pretty amazing battle," Brand admitted. "I really thought I was going to win, but you know what? When I beat you, I think I want it to be with my own pokemon."

Ashimi laughed in good humor. "Keep dreaming, kid." She ruffled her cousin's hair.

"You better watch out! In three years I'll go on my own journey, win lots of badges and give you a real fight at the Indigo Plateau!" Brand declared.

"You better be ready, because in three years I will have won the championship three times!" The cousins shared a laugh, promising to battle again sometime soon.

"How about you, Johnny? Want to give it a shot? My Goldeen versus your Flareon." Brand challenged the older boy. He had the type advantage, though Jonathan obviously had more experience.

Before the blue-violet haired teen could reply, Lilly interrupted. "Oh no! There will be like no battling around here until this gym is like fully presentable. Look at this mess, it's like terrible! What will the challengers think when they like see this? The Pewter City gym is officially like closed for repairs and you two are like on clean up duty!"

The father and son stood up straight with a start and saluted. "Yes ma'am!"

"Having some extra help like wouldn't hurt..." Lilly eyed Ashimi and Jonathan purposefully.

The traveling pair backed away. "It was nice seeing you all, I'll email from time to time, but I really got to go now. You know what they say, rare pokemon wait for no one!"

"See you later everyone, if Ashimi's leaving, I need to go too, since I'm her driver and all," Jonathan added.

With a chorus of "bye!" Ashimi and Jonathan made their escape and left Pewter City.

To be Continued

Following the pattern from Don't Give Me Diamonds, I borrowed some character names from Star Wars. Brand is one such case, yes, Brand, not Brad, that's the character's name and also I thought it was funny, because Lilly and her older sisters are probably the kind of girls who love brand name items. You can check out a list of Star Wars characters at Wikipedia, though I only borrowed the names, the characters themselves are definitely not the same. I also use Bulbapedia as a reference for pokemon attacks and other details. Lilly's Gyarados is named after AndrAIa from Reboot. Though most of my name references are still going to be Star Wars based, there are a few occasional exceptions.


Chapter 03: Rocket Rival

Driving past Mount Moon, Ashimi and Jonathan made it to Cerulean City. Ashimi knew she would be facing her mother at the gym for a cascade badge eventually. They had battled for training before, but she knew this battle would be different and she really wanted her mother to give it her all. "The cascade badge will be the second to last before the earth badge."

"To Saffron City then, or do you want to stop at Cerulean even if you don't battle yet?" Jonathan asked.

"There was that upcoming cake shop, maybe it's open by now. Dad and I found it, but it wasn't ready for the public yet. I want to try the cakes are if it's open," Ashimi decided.

Jonathan liked the idea and it was clear to see on his face. "Which way is it?"

"A little out of the way," Ashimi admitted. "Take the backstreets behind the gym and make a... right, I think." They drove past the gym and towards the more solitary streets behind it. "Let's see... I think I recognize this, turn right again in the next one..." They drove a bit further until Ashimi pointed, "over there, make a left!"

The warning came late and Jonathan nearly missed the turn, but managed to make it at the last minute. "Where is it?"

"There!" Ashimi pointed at a tiny shop tugged away in an alley between two apartment buildings. It wasn't the fanciest part of town, but despite its shadowy surroundings, the shop had an inviting look to it.

"I wonder if they get any customers, you can barely see that little shop in the alley." Jonathan observed as they got out of the car and headed into the shop.

An old lady came from the back of the shop and stood behind the counter. Her white hair framed her face, covering a portion of it and her large round glasses obscured another portion. The woman stood silent, staring at the pair as if she'd seen a ghost.

Ashimi was already focused on the treats displayed behind glass, but Jonathan noticed something peculiar about the woman. The way her green eyes sparkled and how what little of her face wasn't covered looked surprisingly smooth, made him wonder if the woman was truly as old as her hair and attire portrayed her to be.

"That one!" Ashimi's sudden voice got them both out of their daze as she pointed at a chocolate cake with rainbow sprinkles.

The lady from the shop placed the cake in a box swiped Ashimi's card through the register and handed it back along with the box. "C'mon, let's go bug mom about making us burgers. I'm not going to battle her officially yet, but this cake deserves a good picnic to go with it!" She gave the quiet teenage next to her a nudge with her elbow. "Hey Johnny, what's gotten into you all of a sudden? We have an awesome cake and you're not even excited!"

"Oh, right, the cake!" Johnny threw the uncertainty to the back of his mind and smiled.

As they were getting back into the car, a girl came down the street waiving. "Johnny!" The girl caught up to the car and leaned over the driver's window, her nose almost touching Johnny's face.

"Dorme?" He wasn't sure what she was doing in the backstreets of Cerulean City.

The fourteen year old girl grinned. Her violet eyes sparkled with a challenge as she twirled a strand of her wavy pale blond hair on her finger. Unlike Johnny, who was in civilian clothes to blend in, she was still in her black Team Rocket uniform. "I'm so glad I ran into you. I was thinking I should try on a new bikini I just bought at the Cerulean City public pool. Why don't you come with me?" She batted her eye lashes in a flirty fashion.

Before Johnny could make himself reply, Ashimi pointedly interrupted. "We were going to get burgers from my mom."

"Oh right, the burgers," Jonathan recalled. "I'm sure the pool at the Cerulean gym is better anyway, and less crowded, maybe we can go for a swim there," he grinned somewhat sheepishly.

Dorme would prefer if they could go for a swim wherever Ashimi wasn't going to be, but she smiled and nodded anyway. "That's a great idea."

"I don't feel like swimming," Ashimi growled. She hated how Dorme was constantly trying to get rid of her.

"You don't?" Jonathan gave Ashimi an incredulous look and touched her forehead. "You don't have a fever, are you feeling sick?"

"I'm not sick, I just don't feel like being in a pool right now!" That was a lie, she loved swimming. "Never mind," Ashimi pouted, "lets just go to Saffron City."

"But what about the burgers?" Jonathan complained.

"They're not for her," Ashimi growled.

"Aw c'mon, I'm not going to steal your food. In fact, I'm sure I eat a lot less than you, Ashimi. I'm a lady, not a glutton." Dorme laughed obnoxiously.

"Are you calling me a glutton?" Ashimi yelled, exiting the car and walking over to stand in front of Dorme.

"Oh goodness no," Dorme feigned innocence. "I'm just pointing out that I'm not."

"Um, girls..." Jonathan tried to stop the upcoming war, but he was completely ignored.

"That's it!" Ashimi pointed at Dorme with an accusing and challenging tone. "I challenge you to a pokemon battle!"

"You're on!" Dorme accepted without hesitation. "Go Oddish!"

"Oddish! Oddish!" The little pokemon seemed rather energetic. She wore a golden circlet around her leaves, making the combination look like a crown. Yet oddly, the centerpiece of the circlet looked like a poor imitation rhinestone, which contrasted with the pretty circlet.

"This will be easy," Ashimi was itching to use a pokemon she had not battled with before and that affected her choice for the worse. "Clefable, I choose you!" Calling out the pink pokemon turned out to be a big mistake, as it only earned Ashimi a slap on the face.

"Ah! Ha ha ho ha ha!" Dorme laughed loudly while Johnny quietly cringed. "Looks like your pokemon doesn't like you very much!"

"Shut up!" Ashimi quickly recalled Clefable into her pokeball. "I'll deal with you later," she grumbled at the red and white capsule. Dorme wasn't done laughing and the sound was getting on Ashimi's nerves. "Pichu... Annihilate them! Thunder!"

Pichu jumped off Ashimi's head and went on the attack. "Chu!" The rush of electricity was massive!

"Watch it, Ashy, you're battling too close to the car!" Jonathan urged, but his pleas fell upon deaf ears. Without another second to waste, he quickly moved the car to the opposite side of the street and thought it best to witness the battle from there.

"Dodge it, Oddish, and use giga drain!" Dorme was unfazed by the electric attack and had a strategy of her own.

Pichu continued to attack while the slippery Oddish danced around him. Out of breath, the electric pokemon had to stop, swaying from side to side in a dizzy daze. "Pichu!"

The Oddish on the other hand was full of energy, still speedily jumping around with confidence. "You might as well give up now," Dorme gloated. "My pokemon is clearly stronger than yours!"

Ashimi glared in frustration. That Oddish was fast and the potency of her giga drain was something else. Though the electricity that did manage to reach Oddish wasn't enough to cause her any real pain, it did scratch the rhinestone on her circlet to reveal that it was a gray stone underneath. Why would anyone use that as the center piece of an otherwise well made circlet? Unless... "That's an everstone!"

"It is," Dorme grinned, "not that you figuring that out makes a difference for the battle!"

Dorme was clearly about to go on the attack, but Ashimi quickly interrupted before the blond could issue a command. "That circlet looks really tacky!"

"What?" Dorme growled. "It's useful! Besides, I plan to repaint the everstone with glitters and glue new rhinestones to it. When I'm done it will be beautiful!"

"Yeah well, you didn't do a very good job the first time!" Ashimi retorted. 'That's right, Dorme, get angry and keep arguing, that should give Pichu some time to catch his breath.'

"I don't see you trying to make any jewelry! Oh, that's right," Dorme mocked, "grandpa gives you all the jewelry you want. In fact, your family does everything for you because you're a sheltered spoiled brat who can't do anything for herself!"

"That's not true!" Ashimi felt her blood boil. She took a step forward and Dorme defiantly mirrored the action. The angry remarks and venomous retorts continued to be exchanged until the two girls were a mere foot away from each other.

"Girls! Girls!" Johnny rushed over across the street and tried to defuse the situation. "This is a pokemon battle, not a boxing match!" He tried to remind them.

"Mind your own business!" The two girls shouted in unison as they shoved him aside, causing him to fall down on the street.

"I'll show you!" Ashimi growled threateningly, "but first, I'll finish off your pokemon! You think you can trick people into lowering their guard with that everstone trick? It doesn't matter how much you've secretly trained that Oddish, my Pichu is special and has skills few pokemon have!"

"It certainly doesn't look it!" Dorme exclaimed.

"You'll see... Pichu, time to use your secret move!" Ashimi commanded. Pichu visibly stiffened and let out a whimper. "It's okay, you can do it. At this stage it should be just enough to knock him out." The electric pokemon nodded and got ready, focusing as much as he could.

"Whatever it is your going to do, it won't work. My Oddish will drain away all your Pichu's energy!" It looked like Dorme's confidence was unshakable. "Giga drain!"

"Hold back your energy, Pichu, don't let her take it, concentrate!" Ashimi guided. "Try to feel it, sense the flow of energy and let that be the path you follow, build up your power, make it as strong as you can!"

Dorme frowned as Pichu began to glow bright yellow. "Try harder, Oddish!" Judging by the sparks around Pichu, a physical attack would only result in electrocution, and projectiles could be deflected with that same electricity. Dorme concluded that her only choice was to drain away that little lightbulb of a Pichu and have all that power strengthen her Oddish. "Finish this, Oddish, giga drain with everything you have!"

The Oddish focused hard and Ashimi saw an opportunity. The pathway of energy, like a signal flowing through a wire, was clear to Pichu. "Now!" At his trainer's command, Pichu released all his energy at once.

 It was too much for Oddish and she was badly electrocuted. The ends of her leaves dried up and broke off, leaving the remaining part burnt and shriveled, her whole body singed and twitching painfully. "Oddish!" Dorme's eyes went wide in disbelief. "No way... I had this battle, from the start, I had it!"

Pichu was breathing heavily but looking accomplished. "You did it, Pichu, I knew you could!" Ashimi cheered.

Dorme clenched her teeth and recalled Oddish into her pokeball. "I'll beat you next time, Ashimi!" Embarrassed by her loss, she gave up on any plans of showing off for Johnny in her bikini, and simply ran away.

"I can beat you any day!" Ashimi called after her retreating rival. She held Pichu in her arms and smiled.

"Good strategy, using Oddish's giga drain against her," Jonathan congratulated. "It's too bad Dorme had to leave though..."

"Forget about her," Ashimi was in too much of a good mood with her victory to complain about Johnny actually wanting Dorme to stay. "Let's just head to the Cerulean gym and get some burgers, then we can eat the chocolate cake for dessert!"

xoxox xox xoxox

After a quick stop at the pokemon center, Ashimi and Jonathan arrived at the Cerulean City gym, where they found Misty. "Hi mom, can you make us some burgers to eat and some for the road?" Ashimi immediately inquired.

Misty shook her head hopelessly and laughed. "What, no how have you been, I've missed you so much?"

"Aw, but it's only been a few days and I have been emailing... But I did miss you, now about those burgers..." Ashimi smiled sweetly.

"I think you've missed my food more than me," Misty laughed. "C'mon you two, lets get cooking and you can tell me all about your journey so far since your last email. I hope you've been keeping her out of trouble, Johnny."

"As best as I can," Jonathan laughed. He was a Rocket, as were his parents, but Jessie and James had become long time good friends of Ash and Misty and they had seen their little boy grow up, so they trusted him.

"Is dad home?" Ashimi asked.

"No, he went to take care of some business with the Pokemon League." Misty didn't specify what the business was, but having become focused on the food she was making, Ashimi and Johnny didn't ask. "You wanted him to watch your cascade badge battle, didn't you?" The Cerulean City gym leader smiled.

"Actually, I'm not here to battle, we only came to eat," Ashimi admitted before amending. "And to see you! Anyway, I want a battle that pushes us both to the limit, not like the training battles you do for other people who want badges. I've already have plenty of training battles and I want to win my cascade badge in a special way. I'll be back for it, then the earth badge will be my final stop. I already have a boulder badge, like I said in my email. I plan to go to Saffron City next."

"I see," Misty always knew her daughter had Ash's competitive spirit. "In that case, I better not neglect my training. I wouldn't want to disappoint you as a gym leader."

xoxox xox xoxox

Ashimi and Jonathan ended up spending the night at Cerulean City. She noticed her room was tidier than she remembered and her collection of gijinka dolls had been neatly arranged. Ash had not returned from his business with the Pokemon League, but the young trainers had a good time swimming at the Cerulean gym's pool.

After packing a picnic basket brimming with food for the road, they were on their way once again. They stopped at the bakery, but it was closed, much to their disappointment. They wondered if it was going out of business already, which would have been a pity because the cake was really good, though not as good as Delia's. Thus without further ado, Ashimi and Jonathan made their way to Saffron City.

To be Continued

Dorme is also another name from Star Wars. Her annoying laugh is based on Naga from Slayers. Gijinka is a name commonly given by fans to human pokemon. As you can imagine, Ashimi's gijinka doll collection is super cute!


Chapter 04: The Shadows In Your Eyes (Part 1)

Sabrina was still the official Saffron City gym leader, though usually one of her psychic apprentices took over. She hardly ever battled the trainers who came looking for badges anymore, it simply wasn't challenging at all. Yet Ashimi had the intention of battling Sabrina herself. When she couldn't find her, Ashimi decided to take some time to train her pokemon while she waited for Sabrina to return to the gym.

Albeit Ashimi and Jonathan did make a stop at the pokemon day care center run by Jessie and James at Saffron, which was in reality a secret Rocket trading spot, Ashimi was determined not to get distracted playing with the pokemon. After having something to eat, she decided to go to the outskirts of the city to train.

Jonathan busied himself with Rocket business, leaving Ashimi alone to her training. She let Furball and Zubat out of their pokeballs, choosing not to deal with the difficult Clefable right away. She practiced a few attacks for a while, but she wasn't alone with her pokemon for long.

"Ah! Ha ha ho ha ha! If it isn't little Ashimi!" Dorme made her arrival known with her laugh.

Ashimi pouted and glared. "Go away Dorme, Johnny isn't here." She shooed her off as if she was a matter of little importance, albeit of great annoyance.

"Got tired of babysitting you, did he?" Dorme mocked.

Ashimi huffed, "I'm not a kid, I don't need a babysitter, I'm a pokemon trainer!"

"Right..." The sarcasm was dripping off Dorme's voice. "I'm sure Johnny only gives you a second glance because you're the boss's granddaughter. Yet deep down, you're just an annoying kid!"

"That's not true!" Ashimi shouted.

"Oh, you know it is," Dorme insisted with a tone of self assurance. "Now if you'll excuse me, little girl, I must find Johnny so we can discuss grown up Rocket stuff. Maybe he'll even get me a present from that cute gijinka shop!" Dorme walked away, laughing obnoxiously the whole way.

"She just has to knock the good mood right out of me," Ashimi grumbled. "C'mon guys," she signaled for her pokemon to follow her out of the wooded area and into the main road. "I could use some dessert right about now. Let's check out that ice-cream shop over at the main street."

xoxox xox xoxox

After having some ice-cream with Pichu, Furball and Zubat, Ashimi felt better. She would have called Clefable out, but she would have probably thrown the ice-cream on her face, so she decided not to. "That feels good!" Ashimi's declaration was met with full agreements from her pokemon. "Okay, time to get back to training!" As they left the ice-cream shop and once again headed to the outskirts of Saffron City, Ashimi spotted Jonathan coming out of a cutesy gijinka themed shop. He couldn't possibly be shopping for himself. Ashimi couldn't imagine him, or any other boy for that matter, using any of the things sold at that shop. "Johnny?"

Caught off guard, Jonathan hid something behind his back and smiled stiffly. "Hi..."

"Hi..." A heavy silence followed. Ashimi shifted slightly to try to see what Jonathan was hiding, but he moved along with her to keep the object behind his back. The thing was small, but that was just about all Ashimi could tell about it. "What did you buy?"

"Um... I'm just... Running an errand for my mom! See you later, good luck with your training!" Making sure to keep the mysterious object concealed, Jonathan made his escape, running down the street.

'Did he really get a gift for Dorme?' Ashimi wondered. It's not like Jonathan had ever outright rejected Dorme, did he like her or something? What would it be like to have a best friend dating an annoying rival? Ashimi didn't even want to imagine that. "This sucks..." She concluded. "I really need to blow off some steam! We'll train and train, and we'll even camp out and keep on training and we won't set foot in the city again until it's time to face Sabrina!" Thus it was done.

xoxox xox xoxox

By the time Sabrina returned to the gym, Ashimi was ready for an intense battle. She marched to the arena full of determination and challenged Sabrina.

The psychic laughed, unsurprised. "I was told you were waiting to challenge me, though I rarely participate in gym battles in person anymore. One of my apprentices should have been enough of a challenge for you." Sabrina's air of mystery had multiplied over the years. Her psychic powers were at a whole new level and her voice seemed to echo. Anyone who had seen her years before wouldn't have imagined her in that dark cloak, but Ashimi didn't know her as anything other than the mysterious shadowy figure that floated before her.

Sabrina was the leader of her own organization of psychics, one that was allied to Team Rocket and would be instrumental when the time came to go public with their takeover and it had already been extremely helpful so far. Though Team Rocket already controlled the world from behind the scenes, they couldn't just come out and say it, the panic that would ensue  would shake the very foundations of humanity.

"You'll be a much better challenge!" Ashimi replied as soon as she was able to find her voice.

"Very well, if you truly want a challenge, how about a battle of mental endurance?" Sabrina smirked and her eyes glowed ominously.

"That sounds interesting, I accept!" Ashimi pushed her voice to come out as strong as possible, though it was no easy task. There was something about the psychic gym leader that was just creepy, yet at the same time, very cool.

"You should not accept the unknown so easily." Sabrina's eerily echoing voice warned. A strange mist flooded the arena with black shadows and silver sparks.

Ashimi felt as if she was floating in space. She could no longer feel the floor beneath her feet and the air became thin and hard to breathe. 'Maybe I should have just battled mom first,' Ashimi swallowed the lump in her throat and took a deep breath.

"One on one," Sabrina's voice echoed from everywhere and nowhere.

Ashimi squinted into the darkness, but she couldn't see the Saffron gym leader at all. "Okay... Pichu, I choose you!" Pichu let out a scared squeak and peered down from the top of Ashimi's head. He couldn't see the floor at all and whimpered unsure. Ashimi picked up the little yellow pokemon and tried to set him at her feet, but rather than floating like she was, the Pichu plummeted into the darkness below. "Pichu!" She felt a fear and a pain, her worry increased and so did her pain, as if fear had become a physical ailment, her head was pounding.

"See through the eyes of your pokemon and become as one!" Sabrina's voice echoed.

Ashimi closed her eyes in a trance and when she opened them, she was getting on her feet at a shadowy arena, surrounded by the same space-like mist. This time she could feel the floor beneath her, but just barely, as her senses were numb. Her body moved on its own, taking a step back as a tall Alakazam approached. Then she realized it wasn't her body at all. She wasn't really seeing this, Pichu was seeing it and the images were somehow in her mind.

"Pichu," no words came from her mouth but her own voice echoed in her mind.

"Ashy, what do I do?" A small child-like voice called out to her.

"Pichu?" Then Johnny wasn't the only one who called her Ashy after all, Pichu did too. She was actually mentally talking to her pokemon, this was awesome! She suddenly wondered what Jonathan was doing. If he went out with Dorme, would she tag along with her on her pokemon quest, or would Johnny stop traveling with her?

Pichu was suddenly lifted off the floor by Alakazam's psychic powers. Ashimi was so distracted that she didn't even hear when Sabrina gave the command. "Clear your mind or your thoughts will be as a maze for your pokemon," Sabrina warned.

"Pichu!" Getting her head back in the battle, Ashimi tried to communicate with her pokemon partner. "Thunderbolt!" Ashimi could feel Pichu tensing up, but no electricity came. "I think we need to do this together, but I don't know what shooting electricity is supposed to feel like. Let's try to focus here, electricity, strength, energy, power, go!" Sparks ignited around Pichu, and he electrocuted himself.

Ashimi felt the shock as if all her nerves were burning, then Pichu's body went limp. Ashimi was surrounded by darkness and heaviness, her pokemon had closed his eyes. She felt like she was falling and hit the floor with a thud. Then she opened her eyes, awakening from her trance and she was falling again. She hit the floor once more, this time for real rather than through Pichu's sensations. The dark mist cleared out and Ashimi was once again on the arena, her Pichu lay unconscious just a few feet away. "I... I lost..."

Offering no condolences, Sabrina simply breathed, "miserably..."

Disappointed, Ashimi picked up her Pichu, cradling him in her arms, "I'm sorry..."

"Will you challenge one of my apprentices in a regular pokemon battle for a marsh badge?" Sabrina inquired as she recalled her Alakazam and floated across the arena. Her feet never touched the floor, causing her to tower over anyone.

Ashimi paused, she had clearly gotten herself into more than she could handle, but to obtain a marsh badge from anyone other than the true gym leader felt like an empty victory. "No..." Her voice was a barely audible whisper at first, then she forced herself to speak clearly. "No I won't, the only marsh badge I'll accept has to be from you! I want a rematch!"

"Good, if you had run like a coward after challenging me, I would have made sure you were denied the marsh badge," Sabrina spoke harshly. "However, I will not waste my precious time with you. You'll get one more chance, and if you fail, you can forget about ever having a marsh badge."

Sabrina's warning was scary, but Ashimi called upon her most stubborn determination and forced herself to answer. "I won't fail!"

xoxox xox xoxox

After her experience at the Saffron gym, Ashimi went to the pokemon center. After a while, the local Joy returned her healed Pichu. "Sorry about today. I forgot that Pichu tend to shock themselves, it's an accomplishment in itself that you can usually control your electricity well enough not to. That was completely my mistake, I tried to force the power out and threw it out of control. But how can we win? Sabrina is a psychic, so she knows what it's like to use psychic powers. How can I synchronize myself with you if I only just now learned a little of what it's like to control electricity?"

Ashimi was still lost in thought at the lobby of the pokemon center when Jonathan arrived looking for her. "Hey princess, where have you been?"

Ashimi tried to put on a brave front and smiled, "around. What about you? Hanging out with Dorme?"

"Dorme came to Saffron?" Jonathan sounded like he genuinely had not known. "I guess I must have missed her, I have been helping my parents with their Rocket duties and other stuff lately."

"Really?" Ashimi felt somewhat relieved. 'He was telling the truth earlier, but then why did he hide what he bought?'

"Let's go to my parents' place, there's food." Jonathan was pretty sure that would easily convince Ashimi to come along, and he was right. The girl had her father's appetite.

xoxox xox xoxox

Upon arriving at Jessie and James' pokemon day care center, Ashimi was greeted with a chorus of "happy birthday!" She had been so caught up in her traveling and training she had not realized it was her birthday. Jessie, James, Meowth and their pokemon were present of course, and also Ash, Misty and Delia were there.

"This is awesome! I can't believe I forgot it was my birthday!" Ashimi laughed, her mood had taken a complete turn for the better. She still had Sabrina's challenge to think about, but for the time being she would focus on the present, after all, it was hard to think about anything else when there was a delicious cake in sight.

Ashimi eyed the cake with sparkles in her eyes and looked at Delia. "Yes, I did make it," she confirmed. "It's a chocolate cake with peanut butter chips, layered with cookies and cream icecream." Delia knew it was Ashimi's favorite. As for the outside of the cake, it was framed with oreos charlotte style with rainbow sprinkles and raspberries on top.

"Awesome!" Ashimi cheered. Though there were some pretty good bakeries around Kanto, no one could cook and bake like her grandmother.

The Starlight Delight hadn't become a famous franchise of secret recipes in  Kalos for nothing. Though it started as a cover up for Giovanni to begin his take-over of the region, soon everyone was lining up to get a taste of Delia's cakes. She even had to train a few Rockets to make them, as she couldn't supply enough for their cover-up by herself. The cakes were of high quality, made separately in small mixing bowls to ensure that each individual cake's consistency was just right. As the process was so carefully monitored, they were sold as pricey gourmet cakes, which Delia thought didn't fit with the image of the homey little restaurant she once owned, the Pallet House, she never would have guessed her cooking would end up having such an effect. It was only a matter of time before the franchise was expanded to other regions, though it would never become a shop of mass produced cakes, as such, the expansion would be slow but convenient, opening the doors of the homes of many wealthy and influential cake fans.

Overall, Ashimi had a very good birthday. She got plenty of supplies for her journey, snacks to take along and even some gijinka collectibles, though she had to leave them at home so as to not carry too much of a heavy load during her journey. She did eventually solve the mystery of what Johnny had gotten from the gijinka themed shop. It was a cute cellphone case with a picture of a chibi pikachu gijinka floating on a lifesaver, which now adorned her phone.

xoxox xox xoxox

After the birthday, Delia returned to Viridian City where Giovanni was. Misty had to return to Cerulean City to take care of the gym, and Ash was called away on business by the Pokemon League again, that was happening more often than usual lately, but Ashimi didn't give it too much thought. Ash knew why they were doing it and knew that if he was to get his request he'd have to do a few jobs for the League. He didn't exactly dedicate himself to his duties after he won the championship, instead choosing to continue traveling until Ashimi was born.

Even then, he would take her and Misty on the road whenever Misty could get one of her sisters to take care of the gym for her. That had become a little easier in the most recent years when one of her older nephews offered to take her place every now and then, while Misty fell into her old habits of traveling to the ends of the earth and back on Ash's whims. Perhaps that was the reason why Ashimi was content going from one place to another in a car now. She had started to hike through every corner of Kanto as soon as she could walk. She would encounter wild pokemon, chase after them and play with them, but they weren't hers to catch at the time. She grew up surrounded by pokemon, they were her friends and she didn't really feel like catching more than she could truly pay attention to.

"Are you going to the gym today?" Jonathan inquired after Ash, Misty and Delia had left.

"Not yet," Ashimi decided. "I'm going back into the woods in the outskirts of the city and training. There's something I need to do before I can face Sabrina... again," she confessed.

"Again?" Jonathan questioned.

"You didn't miss much," Ashimi insisted. "I lost, but I think I know what to do to win, I just have to train. I also need some equipment, I'm sure your parents won't mind letting me borrow a little something."

Jessie and James seemed to pop out of nowhere in the front lobby, despite having been tending to the pokemon in the back seconds prior. "What do you need, Princess Rocket?" Jessie asked with a big smile.

"We'll do anything we can to assist you in your quest, your highness," James added.

Ashimi giggled, it all started when Ash had jokingly complained about his daughter being treated like a princess while he was still referred to as twerp, despite being a grown man. That only caused Jessie and James to poke fun at him by making their royal treatment silly and over the top.

"I was wondering if you have any equipment that can redirect electricity," Ashimi asked.

"As a matter of fact we do," Jessie recalled. "I think we have a few things that fit the description stashed off in the basement."

"We used to get gadgets like that all the time years ago to try to steal your dad's pikachu," James fondly recalled. "Afterwards we kept on collecting little things like that, I guess old habits die hard. But whose pikachu are you planning to steal?" James joked.

"Who knows..." Ashimi replied with an air of playful mystery.

"Maybe I should be the one getting all the equipment and stealing your Pichu," Jonathan joked.

"Ha, just try it, if you steal him you'll have to feed him and you'll be begging me to take him back before you know it!" Ashimi teased. Pichu gave her a playful electric shock in response and feigned indignation. "Ow, ow, save it for the training."

xoxox xox xoxox

A short while later, Ashimi left the pokemon day care center with a peculiar metal stick on hand. It was a type of lightning rod that could catch and return electric attacks. Its rubber covering on the handle protected the one holding it while it was charged. As they walked towards the edge of the city, Meowth exited the pokemon day care and caught up to them. His daughter, Nya, was happily running next to him and jumped towards Jonathan.

"Do you want to come see Ashy train?" The teen scratched the feline behind the ears and she purred contently. Purrloin were not very common in Kanto, so the people who came and went from the pokemon day care center often stopped to observe the kitten. She was very young and still quite small. She liked playing with balls of yarn and often got tangled up on them.

Her mother was a Purrloin cared for by Delia after the passing of her previous owner. She was a gift from Giovanni after they got into an argument about something or other concerning his expansion to Kalos. He intended to get her a pokemon from that region, as baby pokemon were more effective in subduing her anger then big expensive jewelry, as he had learned over time. Yet urgent business called him away to Unova to meet with a colleague who turned out not to have called him in the first place. Instead he was given the news of his mother's passing, gathered what little resources she hadn't splurged, as her lifestyle became more expensive than usual since her move to Unova, and got her newest house pet. He gave the Purrloin to Delia, who immediately loved her, which eventually led to her meeting Meowth. The talking pokemon was determined to pay her no mind, since he had his heart broken too many times, but in the end one thing led to another and they fell in love. She moved in with Jessie and James soon after.

Walking at a less rushed pace, the Purrloin mother made her way to the  distraught Meowth and nudged him, pronouncing a few airheaded yet encouraging words that only pokemon could understand. With tears in his eyes, Meowth looked up at Jonathan, who was clearly perplexed by his behavior. "Please... Please take good care of her!" Unable to utter any more coherent words, Meowth burst into a big waterworks show, a waterfall of tears coming from each eye.

Jonathan and Ashimi blinked in perplexity until Meowth's words sunk in. "You want to come with me?" Jonathan asked. Nya nodded energetically and rubbed her head against his hand. She was so small that his palm could cover her entire head. He looked at the crying Meowth, "relax, Nya will be fine." Yet there was simply no consolation for the emotional father. Purrloin patted him on the shoulder and smiled, at least she was okay with their daughter wanting to travel with Jonathan instead of staying at Saffron all the time.

To be Continued

I always thought Sabrina as a powerful and mysterious psychic would be so cool. She was already powerful in the anime, I just had to add more of an air of dark mystery. Let's not forget, this Sabrina is a lot older than the one in the anime, so her powers have grown a lot since then. Nyarth is Meowth's Japanese name. The idea of Purrloin was inspired by a fanart made by Nafa-tali that featured Delia holding a shiny Purrloin. The one is this story is a different one though and has a different background (and fur color).


Chapter 05: The Shadows In Your Eyes (Part 2)

After they more or less got Meowth to calm down, Ashimi and Jonathan continued on their way just outside of Saffron City where she would continue her training. Jonathan put Nya down and she became fascinated with a stray leaf, swiping at it to toss it in the air. She rolled, ending up on her back below the falling leaf which landed on her nose, she looked cross-eyed for a moment trying to look at it, before blowing and causing the leaf to jump up from her nose and fall slowly once again. She swiped at it with her paws as the leaf fell, until a breeze blew it off course. Rolling right side up she jumped, trying to catch it, but the wind blew it away. Nya landed with her paws cupped over nothing. She lifted one paw and the then the other, marveling at the lack of leaf. She spun around looking for her lost plaything and caught sight of her tail instead, occupying herself in chasing it until she was dizzy.

During her stay with Delia, Giovanni had observed that the Purrloin he obtained from his deceased mother was not the sharpest knife in the drawer and wondered aloud if she ingested the pink dye used on her fur. Delia was about to scold him for being mean, but stopped when she saw the Purrloin rubbing against his leg affectionately. He had not spoken harshly, his voice taking on an almost joking tone and she took it to mean a good thing. As long as she wasn't yelled at, she would take everything as well meant. Delia wasn't sure if the Purrloin was fully aware that pokemon that spoke the human language were particularly rare, or if she even noticed that Meowth was unusual. She was used to wearing extravagant hats and accessories at her previous trainer's whims and nothing seemed odd to her.

Purrloin's fur stayed pink, making Delia later conclude that Giovanni's mother must have injected her with something that mutated her that way. Her child was expected to be the  normal violet color of a Purrloin, though she ended up being lavender, her paler fur attributed to some pigmentation mutation from her mother. Meowth had suggested the name Nyarth, but her mother had taken to calling her Nya, so he settled for that. She was a curious kitten, displaying the need to know of her father, comically paired with the scattered brained distraction of her mother, which made most of her investigative endeavors utterly unsuccessful, but still cute.

Nya finally got dizzy from chasing her tail and plopped down on the grass, her limbs stretched in every direction and her head moving from side to side.  Jonathan let Foxtrot out of his pokeball, instructing him to keep an eye on Nya, then turned his attention to Ashimi. "What did you have in mind for training?"

"I need to get a feel for electricity," Ashimi removed the rubber cover on the rod's handle and tossed it in her bag.

"You're going to really feel it if you use it like that..." Jonathan observed.

"Yup," Ashimi agreed, as if getting electrocuted on purpose was a perfectly normal thing to do. She explained how her battle with Sabrina went and her training made a little more sense, but still looked a tad extreme, yet fitting for Ashimi's impulsive tendencies. "Okay Pichu, give me a little shock." The Pichu shook his head, refusing at first, but Ashimi managed to coax him into attacking her. She cringed at the feeling of electricity coursing through her but forced herself to be strong. "More..."

Little by little, the electric charge increased until Jonathan began to worry. He tried to share his concerns, but Ashimi wouldn't hear it. Nya looked at the light show, smiled and ran towards it because it was pretty and shiny. Foxtrot snatched her back before she got hurt, but they were close enough to the flow of electricity for their fur to become comically fluffy and charged with static.

Ashimi used the rod to redirect the electricity, getting a feel for what it was like for electricity to gather at a specific point. It was the end of the rod attracting it, but at least she could feel the flow of its movements, even if it was rather painful. Exhausted and sore, Ashimi collapsed in a mess of static and twitching, her hair just as fluffed up as the pokemon's fur. As Jonathan tried to help her up, he ended up getting a jolt of leftover electricity too. Ashimi laughed despite her pain, "you should see your hair."

"It can't be any worse than yours, puffball." Jonathan was relieved to hear her joke. If she could still poke fun at him, then she couldn't be that bad off.

"Okay, I think I have a feel for the flow of electricity, now I just need to work on not getting shocked. That should be less painful," Ashimi stumbled, her head spinning from all the shocks.

"Maybe you should take a break first," Jonathan suggested.

Ashimi let out a breath and tried to steady herself. "Okay, but only for a little while." Something bumped into her leg softly and she looked down to see a lavender ball of fluff, any shape beyond the roundness being imperceptible; she couldn't help it but to laugh.

After a short break, Ashimi went on to the next part of her training. This was significantly less painful for her but challenging for Pichu. She had the pokemon use electricity around her, but not on her. At first Pichu slipped often and shocked her, though she encouraged him and claimed she was slowly getting a feel for what it was like to be surrounded by electricity without actually being shocked. Pichu also gained more control because of the exercise, which would certainly come in handy. There was a secret move that could be done with electricity, yet few pokemon could perform it. It required very precise control that Pichu was trained for by his mother, but ultimately was too young to master. Ashimi knew of this and tried to continue the training though she didn't push Pichu too hard, being aware that even if he came close, a perfect move was simply not something a Pichu could do.

The ability was not designed for battle, but as support for the Rockets of the tech department, hackers and machine experts. The goal was to output a very precise stream of energy in a near perfect straight line, rather than the zigzag pattern electric attacks usually took. This would allow small components to be powered without affecting the machinery around them. In infiltration situations, it could mean avoiding detection by short-circuiting key elements and leaving the rest functional to prevent alarms. Yet even if it wasn't originally made for that purpose, it could also be used in battle and it was powerful. The superficial damage would be hard to perceive,  but the way the nervous system would react would be extremely painful. The target would experience pain well beyond the truth of the damage, allowing opponents to be defeated without serious injury. It was also quite convenient for interrogations, but Ashimi wasn't really aware of that part. As an extreme, the ability code-named lightning laser could be used as a way to attack the heart, causing irregularities in its beating, which could potentially provoke a heart attack, but Ashimi wasn't aware of that part either.

xoxox xox xoxox

After taking some more time to train, Ashimi felt that she had done all she could do. She could practice more and Pichu could get stronger, but that wasn't the problem anyway. Sabrina was testing her endurance and mental capability to see if she could feel what a pokemon felt and deal with it. This was a test of mental strength rather than physical strength. When Pichu was fed and well rested, it was again time to try to win a marsh badge.

Once again, Ashimi marched towards the main street, this time with Jonathan at her side. As they left the wooded area in the city outskirts and entered the main street, the person following them looked around for a hiding spot. "What? Aren't you going to follow all the way?"

Realizing that she had been discovered, Dorme stepped out of hiding. "I'm not following you, I'm just passing by!"

"And you happened to be going to the gym?" Ashimi suspiciously asked.

"As a matter of fact, I am," Dorme crossed her arms over her chest and firmly planted her feet on the ground, her nose up in the air.

"I won't stop you," Ashimi voiced. "If you want to see my battle that's fine by me."

"C'mon Dorme, let's cheer her on together," Jonathan gave Dorme a friendly pat on the back to encourage her to join them in a way that would hopefully make the two girls learn to get along.

Feeling his hand on her shoulder, Dorme smiled, her cheeks taking on a slightly pink hue. "Okay..." Then she realized what she had agreed to and jumped back as if she had been burned. "No way! I don't want to cheer her on!"

"Not that I need it," Ashimi continued her determined march to the Saffron gym. She knew the battle that awaited would be difficult, but she had a feeling that if she put it off any longer Sabrina would make it even harder. The psychic didn't like cowards and Ashimi certainly wasn't one. " This is it, It's time for me to battle Sabrina!"

Dorme's eyes went wide. "You mean you're not battling her lackeys? Sabrina may be an ally to Team Rocket, but judging from what I heard, she won't go easy on you just because you're Giovanni's granddaughter. "

"I know, but I have to do this, I already challenged her," as for having already lost to her once before, Ashimi felt that Dorme didn't need to know that.

"I'm not going to play cheerleader for you, but I want to see this," Dorme was visibly excited to see the famous Sabrina in action. "You're going to lose so badly! Ah! Ha ha ho ha ha!"

"We'll see about that!" Ashimi could feel her determination growing along with her annoyance.

"Ashy..." Jonathan spoke in a distinctly non-confrontational tone. "Don't get mad at me for saying this, but if you need a high level of focus, then this isn't the time to lose your temper."

"I haven't lost my temper!" Ashimi shouted, proving that she had indeed done the opposite of what she claimed. She took a deep breath and cleared her throat. "Focus... focus... concentrate... deep breaths... calming breaths..."

Dorme grinned quietly as she watched Ashimi try hard to calm herself, she could be pretty loud and distracting when she wanted to be. The blond noticed Jonathan giving her a suspicious look and smiled innocently, as if she hadn't been plotting anything at all.

xoxox xox xoxox

At the Saffron City gym, Ashimi stepped forward towards the arena. She figured Sabrina would notice she was back and arrive soon enough. This was true, though her arrival was not what Ashimi and her companions expected, as the psychic teleported into the opposite side of the arena. "Let us begin..." Sabrina's voice echoed.

The same dark mist from before invaded the arena. Jonathan and Dorme could no longer see Ashimi or each other. The blond stepped closer to where she thought he was and reached for his hand in the darkness. She thought she felt something and grabbed at it, in her haste not paying attention to the fact that it wasn't hand-shaped. She suddenly jumped forward and both her hands flew to cover her behind. "Johnny, did you just grab my tail?" She shouted in shock. After the surprise faded, she wasn't sure if she should be angry or happy. "Johnny? You can stop hiding in the creepy mist, I won't slap you, I promise." No reply came and she reached into the darkness again, stretching her right arm forward. She felt the hand on her backside again and grabbed at the wrist with her left. She felt someone grab her right wrist at the same time and screamed.

Dorme pulled her hand back and felt who she had assumed to be Johnny trying to free himself from her grip. She refused to let go and as she held on, she felt the grip on her other hand become tighter. She looked back and noticed something strange, the hand she held had a glove like hers. Now that she thought about it, the wrist was also kind of thin and... feminine? She tugged at it and felt a tug on her other hand. She let go and moved her fingers. "What?" As her right hand was now free, she pulled it back and looked at it. She turned her head to look behind her and reached out, seeing her own hand emerge from the mist. "Now that's just creepy." Dorme pulled both arms close to her body and hugged herself. "Wait, that means it was just me all along, it was never Johnny at all..." She wasn't sure if she should be relieved or disappointed.

Jonathan was lost in the dark mist also. The silvery points of light looked like little distant stars, but far from being a means of orientation, they were rather disconcerting. He saw the tiny silver specs, but they provided no illumination, the dark fog was as thick as ever. "Ashy! Dorme!" Even if he called out as loud as he could, he could hardly even hear his own voice. The lavender Purrloin in his arms whimpered in fright and covered her eyes with her front paws, hiding her face. "It's okay, Nya, it's not as scary inside your pokeball." Jonathan secured the little pokemon into a capsule and continued his investigation of the surrounding area. He started walking but felt like he wasn't getting anywhere. Suddenly, the fog stretched into tentacles that wrapped around him. He struggled to get free, but couldn't move a muscle.

"Johnny?" Dorme's figure slowly emerged from the darkness and spotted Jonathan. "Johnny!" She ran to him and tried to free him from the odd dark material that held him in place.

"Be careful, don't get caught too," Jonathan warned.

"This place is creepy..." Dorme took a deep breath and tried to be brave. "Go Oddish!" The pokeball didn't respond. "Oddish?" She opened up the pokeball, pulling the two halves apart, and a bright red light came from within, but just as quickly it retreated and the pokeball closed itself. "It's stuck..." She reached for another pokeball from her belt.

"It won't work..." Johnny concluded. "If Sabrina doesn't want you to call out your pokemon you won't be able to." He paused, looking at the darkness beyond, he thought he saw Pichu.

"What can we do?" Before Dorme received any answers, the fog around her stretched and grabbed her, wrapping around her body and holding her in place. "Ah! It's not fair! I wasn't even going to cheer for Ashimi! Sabrina, I'm on your side!"

xoxox xox xoxox

Ashimi remained calm while her body went into a trance and her mind connected with Pichu. She couldn't hear Johnny cheering her on or Dorme tossing out annoying remarks, but she assumed they were somewhere in the darkness. Yet this was no time to think about her cheering squad, or lack thereof, she had to concentrate on Pichu and the battle. "Just like we practiced..."

Pichu's electricity began to build up slowly. Ashimi didn't rush it, remembering what it was like to feel the electricity flow. "Ashy, we're doing it!" Pichu's young voice echoed in Ashimi's mind.

"That's right, we're going to win! Thunderbolt!" Pichu dashed forward on the offensive and attacked Alakazam, who quickly teleported out of the way.

"Behind us!"Ashimi called out, taking a guess. Where else would Alakazam want to appear? Appearing behind an opponent was a classic trick and the guess was correct. "Thunderbolt!" This time the attack flowed out faster, with more confidence, but Alakazam disappeared and dodged it again.

Pichu turned around, but didn't find anyone behind him. "Where did he go?"

"Above?" Ashimi guessed. She wouldn't put it past this particular Alakazam to be able to freely levitate with ease, his trainer could do it after all. Sure enough there was Alakazam, floating above Pichu. "Thunderbolt!" Just as they were going to attack again, the image of Alakazam became an entrapped Johnny, and Ashimi tried to pull back the power on instinct while Pichu attempted to diminish it to the point of harmlessness. The difference in their  tactics caused the electricity to shock Pichu, but fortunately, it wasn't intense enough to knock him out. "Sorry Pichu, let's stay synchronized from now on." Trying to call back the electricity was a big mistake, but Ashimi didn't think diminishing it would work ideally either, she could feel Pichu's fatigue as he had tried to cancel out the attack, causing the sparks to become wider, but in a much shorter range. "Next time, lets try to redirect the attack altogether."

"Got it!" Pichu looked around, Ashimi's vision following the movements of his head, seeing through his eyes. Alakazam was nowhere to be seen. Suddenly, Pichu was lifted off the floor.

"Don't panic," Ashimi advised, both to Pichu and herself. "We can still win this. Feel the flow of psychic power just like you can sense the flow of electricity and follow it to the target... Thunder!" The psychic grip tightened and lifted Pichu higher, then began to descend with amazing speed. The thunder attack reached Alakazam in a direct hit and the psychic force pushing him to the ground was gone, but gravity was still in place; unlike Ashimi's sleeping body, Pichu wasn't floating. "Thunderbolt the ground!"

Pichu reacted fast and aimed his electricity for the mist covered floor below. He looked like a rocket, he wasn't flying, but he was at least falling slower. The yellow pokemon still hit the floor with a thud, but it could have been a lot worse. Sore and tired, Pichu struggled to get on his feet. "Ow... Are we still winning?"

"We're getting there..." Ashimi tried to stay positive.

Out of the darkness, Alakazam appeared, he was looking kind of singed, especially the ends of his mustache, and he seemed to be suffering from a headache. "Following the flow of Alakazam's psychic power to attack him, a clever trick," Sabrina's voice echoed. "To sense the flow of energy and ride their current is a precious art, did you know it was I who initially mentioned it to the Rocket tech department while they were working on machines that amplified and utilized my power? They made good use of the concept."

"I thought you didn't want to be hooked up to any machines," Ashimi voiced in surprise. That was what she had heard, Team Rocket trying to convince Sabrina to participate in some project the details of which Ashimi was uncertain of, and Sabrina refusing.

"It is not that I distrust technology, but those who control it," Sabrina answered simply. "You remain unaware of the true power of precise targeting. Even with light attacks in the right spot, the result can be significant, what would happen with strong attacks if they can be made just as precise?" Sabrina didn't wait for an answer to her rhetorical question before making Dorme appear in front of Alakazam. "You don't like this one much, do you? Will you go through her to attack?"

"Pichu?" Dorme looked confused at the image that was suddenly in front of her.

"I don't have to..." Ashimi was determined. "Just like we practiced, Pichu! Surround Dorme with electricity but don't hit her, hit Alakazam."

When Dorme saw Pichu getting ready to attack in her direction, she was alarmed and struggled to get free to no avail. Yet the electricity passed next to her in a zigzagging semi circle and hit Alakazam behind her.

Dorme disappeared into the darkness again. A chuckle was heard in an echo and the warning in Sabrina's voice of, "don't let it go to your head..." Then quickly a command, "psycho cut!"

Unlike in previous occasions, Ashimi and Pichu actually heard Sabrina's order that time, which gave Pichu a warning to react to and dodge. He was able to avoid most of the damage, but got caught on the tip of the tail. The psycho cut was sharper than usual, enough to create a cut and draw blood. Pichu cried out in pain while Ashimi tried to calm him. "It's almost over, Pichu, just hold on a little longer, we'll win this soon. I'll focus on the pain and maybe that will pass it onto me and make it less for you, just focus on our final move. They're not expecting us to recover quickly, now's our chance to end this!"

Pichu got ready for another electric attack, but strangely, Alakazam didn't move. There was an odd glow around him and once again they had not heard what Sabrina's command had been, she had probably sent her pokemon a private psychic message. "Pichu, pretend to attack with thunderbolt, get close and miss." Ashimi wasn't sure what the glow was, but it was probably a light screen or some kind of counter attack  technique. If it had been a direct psychic attack, they would have already felt it. Pichu did as instructed, pretending not to notice Alakazam's strategy. Just as the thunderbolt missed the target and served as a distraction, it was the opportunity they needed. "Bite!"

Taken off guard and not being used to direct physical attacks, Alakazam dropped one of his spoons as Pichu lashed on to his wrist harshly. The pained psychic pokemon lost his concentration and the glow of his defenses faded, leaving him exposed to an attack. He lifted his other hand with the intention of smacking the electric pokemon away with his remaining spoon, but it was too late.

"Thunder!" With the last of his energy,  Pichu released the final attack. Alakazam twitched wildly as he was electrocuted, then became still, fainted. The defeated psychic pokemon fell backwards and Pichu finally released his wrist, rolling onto his back and breathing heavily, he could no longer stand and soon darkness overcame his senses.

As Pichu closed his eyes, Ashimi's vision turned dark, but she couldn't allow it, she gave the pokemon her energy, calling his exhaustion to her, until he opened his eyes again, long enough to utter the words, "we won..." The quiet whisper came out as a simple "pi chu..." outside of their minds, but it was enough to make it clear which pokemon had stayed awake the longest, enough to prove that Pichu was still conscious when Alakazam wasn't.

To be Continued

Sabrina hasn't entirely lost the sense of humor she developed after meeting Ash in the first season of the anime. I wanted to show that even with all the mystery and power, she still has a fun side to her and was probably getting a good laugh out of picking on Dorme.

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The Cyneweard

Sara Joy Bailey: "Full of depth and life. The plot was thrilling. The author's style flows naturally and the reader can easily slip into the pages of the story. Very well done."

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Ro-Ange Olson: "Loved it and couldn't put it down. I really hope there is a sequel. Well written and the plot really moves forward."