7 Judging - Part 1
At 8am precisely Ash Ketchum, Pokémon Master, stepped into the Pokémon Centre. He found Nurse Joy behind the desk waiting for him. He nodded to her wordlessly, and she gestured to the corridor leading to the examination room. He followed her and stepped into the room. There was a blue Pokémon lying on the table, still out cold. Ash turned to the nurse.
"Did his trainer come by?"
"Yes Sir. I forbade her from entering, as ordered. She eventually left her Pokémon with me to heal, which I have done so."
"Good. Let her know that I am looking after Golduck whilst he heals. He will be returned. There will be a representative here soon to talk to her. Thank you Nurse Joy."
With that, Ash held out a Pokéball, returned Golduck and walked out of the room, heading straight out of the Pokémon Centre. Nurse Joy returned to her desk, and waited for Misty to come and collect her remaining Pokémon.
Cynthia sat in the waiting area, irritated. It wasn't that she didn't realize that she would have to do this sort of thing; in fact it was better for her to do it. It's just she didn't realize she would have to do it on her first day. She cast her mind back to the meeting the previous night, immediately after she had accepted the her new job.
"You saw the battle" The figure on the other side of the desk said. It wasn't a question, but Cynthia nodded regardless. "What did you think about Golduck?"
"She should have recalled it. When it was hit by the Giga Impact she should have. After the Hyper Beam I was shocked that she didn't. However, his endurance was staggering. Why?"
"She wants me to train her. Throughout the fight I considered it. Her Pokémon were strong, and she is young. She has potential. However, she doesn't know when to stop. Part of being a trainer is looking after your Pokémon. I have no problem with her fighting, although outclassed, but she should have stopped her Golduck. As Pokémon Master, I have to mark her trainer's license for review, simply because not recalling her Pokémon counts as abuse when it is in that state. Thoughts?"
Cynthia was silent for a few moments. She knew that he was right, and as Master she would have done the same thing. In fact, she had suspended 4 trainer's licenses in the last year for the same reason. However, she respected Misty, and didn't want it to happen to her. Having agreed to speak her mind, she decided to do so.
"In principle I agree. However, she is an excellent trainer and I do not believe that she has actually abused any of her Pokémon. I might be wrong, but what if I'm right? If this was just a case of getting carried away, a warning will suffice. If you're wrong, you'll set a bad precedent, and ruin the career of a potentially great trainer."
"Agreed. That is why I shall personally review her case. I'm not expecting a particularly busy month, so I should have plenty of time. Tomorrow I shall have prepared a letter for you to give her, and you will meet her to explain the process. If I rule in her favour, she will be an excellent student for you."
This had brought Cynthia to her current position, waiting for Misty to come and collect her Pokémon, so she could be told about the current suspension on her trainer's license. Cynthia knew that she was unlikely to take the information particularly well, but she strongly suspected that the ruling would be in Misty's favor.
'The Champion' would be honest she knew. She heard footsteps coming from the rooms further inside the centre and looked around. Misty had appeared at last, along with a man she recognised as Gary Oak. 'Interesting' she mused. 'Wonder what he is doing with her and none of their other friends.' Cynthia had taken a keen interest in one of their friends when she was Champion of the Sinnoh region, but knew he had vanished 7 years ago.
As time had gone by Ash Ketchum had slipped out of her mind, but he had returned when she saw all his friends once again. He would have been a great pupil for her, perhaps even strong enough to be successor. At least, until 'The Champion' came along. Ash's disappearance had surprised her, but she couldn't spend too long searching. Hearing Misty talking to Nurse Joy, Cynthia composed herself and then stood up, striding across.
"Nurse Joy, is Golduck alright?" Misty had regained her other 5 Pokéball's and was now asking about her sixth Pokémon. However, before the Nurse could answer, Misty heard a cough behind her. She turned to see a tall woman with long blonde hair stood behind her. Even though she was no longer Pokémon Master, Cynthia was instantly recognisable. Before Misty could say anything, Cynthia gestured to the chairs around where she had waited.
"Miss Waterflower, may I talk to you?"
"I need to ask about my Golduck, he was put into isolation yesterday, after I was forbidden from seeing him by 'The Champion'."
"I assure you Miss Waterflower, your Pokémon is absolutely fine. He is however, no longer here. 'Champion' has taken him to continue his recovery, somewhere where he can be watched more easily. Now, there are a few things I need to discuss with you in an official capacity, so if you please?"
Gary jumped in at this point. "No disrespect, but you are no longer the Pokémon Master. Surely you no longer have an official role?"
Cynthia chuckled. "I was made an offer to stay on as a teacher. I shall be assisting the younger generation of Pokémon trainers, essentially what I was doing before. However, that is not why I am here. Miss Waterflower, if you please?"
They made their way over to the chairs, and sat down. Before Misty could ask the questions that were clearly bursting inside her, Cynthia held up a hand.
"Miss Waterflower, I have many things to talk to you about. I suggest that you don't interrupt me till I'm finished; it will make the process a great deal quicker." Misty nodded, so Cynthia continued.
"Firstly, you should be aware of the consequences of your actions in your battle yesterday. As Pokémon Master, 'Champion' is required to keep an eye on any potential Pokémon abuse. Now, since I have tracked your progress for some time, I am aware that this is highly unlikely in your case. However, permitting your Golduck to keep battling after sustaining the injuries that it did is a form of Pokémon abuse. I spoke to Nurse Joy, and she was of the opinion that if 'Champion' hadn't intervened, your Pokémon would have died. I do not know what his intervention was, but if it saved the life of your Golduck, you owe him a great debt. However, as you displayed blatant disregard for your Pokémon's safety in front of 'Champion', he had no choice but to initiate an investigation into your treatment of Pokémon. His intention is to make it a short investigation as he doesn't believe that you abuse your Pokémon. However, as an ex-Gym Leader, I am sure you are aware that standard procedure is to have your training license temporarily suspended for the duration of the investigation. I am here to inform you of this. A notification has been placed on your Pokémon League account, and if there is any record of a battle in this time, there will be grounds for a revocation of your license, regardless of the outcome of the investigation. During this time you are also not allowed to train your Pokémon."
Misty looked down, knowing that everything Cynthia said was not only true, but fair. She had pushed Golduck too far, and as an ex-Gym Leader she knew all the regulations for such an event. She looked back at Cynthia.
"When will a decision be made?"
"I would expect a few days. In that time, there is a strong chance you will be required to attend an interview as well as some of your friends and colleagues from the gym. I suggest you warn them of the possibility."
Misty nodded. Cynthia then handed an envelope over.
"This is from him. He told me to hand it to you. Should you need to contact me, I will be at the Indigo Plateau along with the rest of the Pokémon League. Thank you for your time."
Cynthia stood up and moved away. She felt guilty that she had to be the bearer of such bad news, but that was the way it was. Somebody had to tell Misty, and at least this way the investigation could move quicker. She hoped Misty would be acquitted; she had a good career as a trainer ahead of her.
Misty stood up to say goodbye to Cynthia, but as soon as the older trainer had left the Pokémon Centre, she collapsed back into the chair, tears building in her eyes. Gary came over from where he had waited with Nurse Joy and sat next to her. He had spoken to the nurse and knew that Misty's trainers license was under review. He didn't speak, just drew her into his arms. As Misty cried into his chest he gently rubbed her back, and waited for her to cry out. Once she had he sat back and gently took the letter from her hand.
"Misty, what's this?"
"A letter... from the Pokémon Master..." came the quiet response.
Gary raised his eyebrow, and slid his thumb under the flap, opening it. He took the letter out and held it under Misty's eyes. She pushed at it, but he persisted.
"Misty. You know you have to read this."
"I don't want to."
"Fine. I'll read it then. Somebody has to."
Before Gary could even unfold it, Misty had snatched it from his hands.
"You'll do no such thing Gary Oak. This is mine."
Gary leant back once again, smiling as he knew he had reignited some fire in the once hot-headed woman. Misty, unaware of how she had been manipulated, opened the letter and began to read.
Dear Miss Waterflower
By now you will be aware that your trainer's license has been suspended. This is due to the incident in your match yesterday. For the duration of the suspension, I must inform you that to train your Pokémon is a violation of the suspension and could result in the revocation of your license. Furthermore, an interview with you to discuss the events in the match, as well treatment of Pokémon in general is required. Should you wish to submit any other evidence for your defence, this interview is the time, and it shall be reviewed. If there is anybody who you feel can add to this investigation, ask them to attend. Please present yourself at the Indigo Plateau in 2 days' time at noon.
As to your Golduck, he is staying with my Pokémon and will be returned to you at the conclusion of the license suspension, and if your license is revoked he will be treated the same as the rest of your Pokémon. If you have any further questions please contact the Pokémon League.
Misty re-read the letter. And then again. She couldn't believe it. She had expected the letter to be condemning her behaviour, but she realised that the tone of it was utterly emotionless. She began to think about who she would ask to come with her on the day of the interview. Gary watched her change in attitude and stood up. Misty looked up at him.
"Where are you going?"
"To find the others. You're going to need some help planning a defence."
As Gary walked off, Misty looked back down again. She had planned to ask Gary to appear on her behalf, as his name held reputation as well as asking Brock whom she had known the longest. Something Gary had said then clicked. How did he know she needed a defence? She realized that he had read the letter over her shoulder whilst she was focusing on it. She shoved the letter into her pocket and ran out of the door after the figure that had started running as soon as he was out of sight.
Cynthia walked into 'Champions' office, again noting the door that opened for her of its own accord. Her boss sat behind his desk, typing whilst half a dozen files were open on his desk. Without looking up he gestured for Cynthia to take a seat, and typed furiously for a moment more. He then looked up, turned in his chair and faced her.
"Cynthia. What can I do for you?"
"I wondered if you have any more jobs for me."
'Champion' leaned back in his chair, staring at his subordinate.
"You don't understand what I require from you. I have plans for the League, and I cannot spend my time training anybody who asks nicely. Anybody with real potential I will train when strong enough, but otherwise I will not be public. My lack of a name reinforces this. So when you want to know if I have work for you, the answers no. You are autonomous. Anything I need you to do I'll tell you, but you don't need to be constantly checking in."
He turned back to his desk, and returned to his work, as the door swung open behind Cynthia. She took the hint and stood up to leave, heading out the door and into her own office. She turned to her own work, working out a route to travel through to find strong trainers. When she had worked out her tour she would release it to the press, challenging anybody who had potential. A smile worked its way over her face. She had passed the point of being upset over her defeat, and she was now working on her dream, to teach any upcoming Pokémon trainers.
Gary had managed to escape from Misty's fury and was now sat with her, Brock, Dawn and James to work out how to help her prove her innocence. The others had wanted to help but as Drew had pointed out, the ones there were some of the more influential in their group.
The son of a world-famous Pokémon Professor who had made his own name , the top coordinator, a renowned Doctor and James who had built a great reputation as a skilful battler, and had given the Pokémon League information on Team Rocket after they quit. Suffice it to say, they thought these voices would be enough.
They had returned to Pallet Town and were in Professor Oaks laboratory. The elderly researcher hadn't expressed his feelings on Misty's battle, but Gary had said he probably didn't approve. Regardless, they all knew that Misty wasn't a Pokémon abuser, and they had all planned to quote examples of when she had performed acts of the opposite nature. James even intended to dip back into his time with Team Rocket to find times when Misty had fought to save her Pokémon from being stolen.
They were just finishing their plans when Gary leaned back in his chair and chuckled slightly. They all looked at him questioningly.
"Do you not find it ironic, that the one person we really need is the one person whose fault this is? I mean, face it Misty, it was Ashy-boys disappearance that drove you to be as strong as you are. I suspect you are the strongest Water-trainer around, Pokémon Master excepted. And the person who probably could find some stupid way to get you out of this is Ash."
James chuckled, but Brock and Dawn looked at each other waiting for the explosion. When it didn't come, they warily looked over at Misty who appeared surprisingly sedate.
"Yeah, true. He would be useful here. Pikachu? What would Ash say?"
"pika, pikachu" came the response from the mouse. He then gestured to himself. Misty blinked. Of course, she could use Pikachu as evidence. She had been the one that spent time looking after the Pokémon when he first returned. She knew that the fact she had taken him in was strong evidence in her favour.
"Thank you Pikachu." Misty grinned at the rodent who smiled back. "Of course we'll take you. Now, we'll head up in the morning on the day. I'm going to go and explain to my Pokémon the situation." She stood up and walked out, leaving Brock and Dawn slightly bemused about why she hadn't raged when Gary mentioned Ash.
Ash returned to his house, where his Pokémon were waiting for him. As he did every day he released the Pokémon he had been carrying with him, then went to make food for the rest. Once he had done so, he began to meditate whilst the Pokémon ate. After which they went for their usual run, and then began to train against each other. As Ash finished his meditation, his Pokémon finished their training, and went to rest. However, one Pokémon didn't rest with the other Pokémon.
Espeon had followed him into his house, and curled up next to him, looking into his eyes and mewing softly. Her mind reached out and linked to her masters, releasing a soothing aura into his mind calmed by his meditation. Ash began to stroke her gently, causing her to purr before he started to talk.
"7 years since I left them Espeon. 7 years, and within days of my return I have to face one of my old friends in battle. Worse, I have to investigate her for Pokémon abuse. She will be fine, there is no history in her files. I'll talk to her and then restore her license unless something comes up. You know she's got stronger? Sharpedo was surprised at the strength of her team. If she was anybody else I would accept her as a student. But I can't. Not one of my old friends, I left them behind all those years ago, to reach my dream."
Espeon cut through his rambling by nudging his arm, causing Ash to chuckle. He felt a question form in the mental connection, prodding him.
"A deeper reason? Maybe. The Pokémon that left. If they returned to Pallet, I would struggle to face them, and my friends would have them. Even Pikachu..."
At this the usually unflappable trainer fell silent, his thoughts melancholy with the emotion of the loss. Espeon nudged him again, breaking that train of thought. That day was etched into the Sun Pokémons memory. She had never seen anything as broken as her master was as his companion from the start left. As Ash started meditating once again to calm himself Espeon let her mind wander back to that day.
The day Pikachu left. The day something broke in her master. Even if it hadn't been traumatic, Espeon would have remembered it for the simple reason it was also the day she evolved.
Eevee arched her back as she stretched after the run. It had been the longest one yet, nearly 12 miles long. She had only been with her trainer for a few weeks, with him saving her life and letting her stay with him. When he had offered to train her she had made a promise to herself never to fail him. She owed her master and would repay it. She just hadn't expected it to start so hard. His training was exhausting! She heard Totodile and Bulbasaur complaining as they finished the run, talking about following the others. Torkoal was the first, having left only a few days after Eevee arrived.
She never got to know the Coal Pokémon. Then it was Kingler. Glalie, Donphan, Noctowl and Toreterra followed over the weeks. Now there were more planning on going. Eevee felt sorry for her trainer, his companions slowly abandoning him. She heard him call out, and turned her head to see Pikachu finishing his run with Ash striding towards him. There was a rumour among the Pokémon that Pikachu was considering leaving.
The others had been allowed to go, with Ash not wanting to push any of his friends too hard, and the Mouse Pokémon was supposedly tired of the intense training. As the little electric rodent saw his trainer coming towards him and turned to move away. As Ash got near, Pikachu moved further away, causing Ash to stop and turn away again.
He moved to the next part of the days training, head bowed to hide his face. However, Eevee had seen the hurt written there.
At the end of the days training in the early afternoon (done so that the Pokémon weren't always training and so that Ash could lengthen their training as time went on) Ash was still sat meditating, when Pikachu walked up to him. Ashs eyes snapped open, and he let Pikachu sit next to him. Eevee was sat eating with Bayleef, the grass type having taken a shine to the little Evolution Pokémon. Eevee looked up and saw Pikachu gesturing to Ash.
"Vee." she muttered to Bayleef, causing the latters head to snap up. They watched in silence as the gestures became more exaggerated, and the realization began to dawn on Ash. He held up a hand to silence Pikachu. The two Pokémon could see his lips move, but couldn't hear what he said. Ash then got up and strode away from the group. Pikachu turned back, going to his bowl and picked some food out.
Ash didn't return for nearly an hour. When he did there was something different. Both of his eyes were dark, nothing showing in them at all. He approached his Pokémon and raised his voice so they could all hear, the emotion clearly audible.