15 Captured - Part 1
'Pokémon Master 'Champion' has completed his review of the Gym Leaders in each region. Eleven Gym Leaders have been replaced, along with one regional Professor. Below is a list of the replaced Leaders.
Erika – Celadon City
Blaine – Cinnabar Island
Whitney – Goldenrod City
Pryce – Mahogany Town
Brawly – Dewford Town
Norman – Petalburg City
Flannery – Lavaridge Town
Roxanne – Rustboro City
Maylene – Veilstone City
Byron – Canalave City
Roark – Oreburgh City
The replaced Professor was Professor Elm of the Johto Region. Whilst the Pokémon Master has not commented on a single of the replaced Gym leaders, some of the ex-leaders have stated the reason that they were replaced. Norman and Blaine both said that they were removed after failing to fulfil the requirement of teaching other trainers.
Roark admitted that he was replaced after failing to win enough battles, whilst Brawly, Maylene, Flannery and Whitney all claimed that there were differences between their chosen style and the type of leader demanded by 'Champion'.
Now that the review is complete, it is unclear what 'Champion' will do next. Will he settle back, and become a distant figure at the top of the Pokémon League? His remote attitude so far suggests that this is a definite possibility. However, an analyst pointed out that whilst he has maintained a cold attitude, his actions have strengthened the Pokémon League, and so predicts that the next step will be one to further strengthen the League.
This view is one that has been reflected by many of the Gym Leaders who kept their places. The Viridian Gym Leader, Jonathan, felt that the review and restructuring was hugely beneficial, and that he expects 'Champion' to further his restructuring. Jonathan who has been Gym Leader for four years after the mysterious disappearance of his predecessor Giovanni, is famous for his training school attached to his gym, and announced that he would be recommending his top students to 'Champion' for training when he felt they were good enough.
The Violet City Gym Leader, Falkner, also suggested that the next step for 'Champion' would be to further strengthen the Pokémon League, as he feels it is "stronger now than ever before." Whilst he couldn't suggest what this particular action might be, he did suggest that it might be more subtle than the review. Whilst the review was effective, it also shook the League. Everything that 'Champion' has done so far suggests that he is not stupid, so more major upheaval is unlikely for the moment.
Cynthia put the paper down and shut her eyes to think. She was confused by the enigma that was the Pokémon Master. The man acted emotionless a lot of the time, and yet he seemed to understand others emotions perfectly. It was hard to understand. And then there were his eyes. She had spent a lot of the last few days trying to research what might have caused it. The only example she had found after a fairly exhaustive search was a case of an ancient aura user whose heart had been broken by his partner. However in that case both the man's eyes were reported as being as dead as one of 'Champions' was.
And Cynthia knew that there hadn't been a true aura user for a millennium. She knew it was possible that he was an aura user, but that would just throw up more questions than ever. Furthermore, she hadn't found any record of anybody who had an eye like the energetic one 'Champion' had. Lost in thought, she didn't notice the door to her office opening.
"Cynthia" At the sound of her name, Cynthia's eyes snapped open, focusing on the man in front of her. The man who she was trying to figure out.
"Champion, What can I do for you?"
"I have tracked down a Team Rocket training base. I will be launching an assault on it soon, most likely in the night. I thought you might be interested in knowing."
"Team Rocket? You've found one?" Cynthia struggled to keep the disbelief out of her voice. She had done some quiet searching, but knew that Team Rocket had apparently learned how to stay hidden. The members that they had captured refused to talk, and even then 'Champion' had assured her that they knew nothing. "How did you find it?"
"Celadon City. In the run-down districts, I found a recruitment station. I was in the process of joining when I arrested the men around me. I found information on a base, and a Pokémon of mine confirmed it was for training."
"Who are you taking to attack it?"
"Nobody. It's a relatively minor base, my Pokémon and I can handle it. I won't even need the whole group, but I'll take them regardless."
Cynthia was aghast. "You can't go against a training base alone. Do you know how many Rockets could be in there?"
"My scouts informed me that it was a few hundred."
"And you're going in alone? You're insane! You'll be ripped to pieces!"
For the first time since she had met him, Cynthia detected emotion on 'Champion's' face. It was there for a fleeting moment before vanishing once again making her think she might have imagined it. However, she was not wrong. 'Champions' face had registered amusement for a moment. However, his mask restored, he started to speak once again.
"Any Pokémon that they have are no worry to me. They won't have any strength. If they have any other weapons, I can protect myself from them. I will organise some transports near the base, and I'll bring the Rockets back here."
"At least take some back-up, if only to help you arrest them all at the end. If there are hundreds, how will you be able to bring them all?"
"The same way that you brought in those Rockets from Violet. They'll be weakened. Cynthia, I am going, I don't need back-up. I just wanted to inform you of what was going to happen. When I'm gone perhaps you'll want to start the first of your camps"
And with that he left her office. Cynthia let out a deep breath. He had just revealed a great deal to her, unfortunately it asked far more questions than it revealed. Remembering that she did still have a different job that she was meant to be doing, Cynthia sent out a series of invitations for her first training camp at Indigo Plateau.
Two days previously:
Ash strode through his house into the garden. His scout team was back, and he wanted answers. Alakazam was waiting for him, exhaustion clear in the Psychic-type. One long distance teleport was hard enough, but Alakazam had taken two Pokémon with him and done it repeatedly over the course of the last few days. As Ash reached him, the Pokémon simply nodded. Ash smiled, and hugged Alakazam, before kneeling to pet Ninetales and tickle Beautifly as the butterfly fluttered to his shoulder. Turning back to Alakazam he started to question the Psychic-type.
"How many of them?"
"Some hundreds. Many recruits. Easy to take."
"Nothing electronic. It'll be easy"
"Alright. Rest Alakazam. We'll strike in two days." Ash then turned back to the rest of his Pokémon. "In two days we'll attack that base. Four years ago those of you who were with me agreed to hit Team Rocket with all that we had. We nearly finished off that organisation for good, but Giovanni escaped us. This time, we are stronger, and more numerous. We will not let him get away twice. Over the years you have stood with me and we reached our goal of being the best. Now we need to do this, complete the task we set ourselves. When we have totally eliminated Team Rocket, we will be able to relax. Until then, no Pokémon anywhere they have influence can be truly safe, simply because Team Rocket abuse them. So, my friends. Rest up. In two days we will be at our strongest, and we will fall on that base like a flood."
Ash then toured his Pokémon, giving a word to some, petting others. He made it around his entire group of fourteen before he headed back into his house, leaving his Pokémon to their rest.
After his meeting with Cynthia, Charizard had flown Ash to the edge of the Kanto region, where he met a group of buses. Ash got in the first one, and they started to move. He had managed to get twelve of them, all following the one that he was in. He was leading them towards where his Pokémon had hidden themselves in preparation for the assault.
As the buses reached the last open area before the base, they drove into a canyon and turned off. Ash stepped out, and was instantly met by his Pokémon. Stepping back from them, he looked over the Pokémon he had assembled, inspecting each one individually.
Ash started with the four of his original Pokémon that had stayed with him on the Day of Departure. Charizard was looking as ferocious as usual. In fact, Ash had noticed that he had been a little more aggressive ever since he saw Pikachu, something mirrored among the rest of the Pokémon when Charizard had told them. It touched Ash to know that his Pokémon cared that much even if he did worry what might happen if their anger spilled over.
Moving on, he saw Sceptile, the grass-type standing proud, its twig still in its mouth. Over the years Sceptile had become a very powerful Pokémon, but he still couldn't compete with some of the others in terms of raw power. However, his strength was in his speed and agility, something which few of Ash's Pokémon could match.
Next up was Meganium. The Pokémon couldn't bear to be separated with him, particularly after Pikachu had gone. Meganium had seen how much his oldest friend leaving had hurt Ash, and this, coupled with her love for her trainer and her desire to keep watching the Eevee that had evolved into Espeon had caused her to stay. She still didn't understand how Pikachu could have left, but unlike the others, she didn't blame him. She was just sad.
The last of the four that had stayed had shocked all of them. Snorlax had impressed Ash with his desire to get stronger in the first few months training, but even so Ash had expected the Sleeping Pokémon to leave with the rest. However, he hadn't. Some years later Ash had questioned his Pokémon about the decision, and was given two reasons. Firstly, the exercise was giving Snorlax a bigger appetite and so let him eat more. Equally, Snorlax had to stay awake for longer hours, which gave him more time to eat, when he wasn't training. The other reason Snorlax stayed with Ash was simple. Ash had food, Snorlax liked food. Therefore, he had no reason to go. Regardless of the self-centered reasons, Ash was grateful for Pokémon staying and the Pokémon had become a true powerhouse of Ash's, as well as completely loyal.
Ash then moved onto the rest of the team that he had registered for the World League. He had taken Charizard, Sceptile and Snorlax, although he had chosen not to use Meganium. Sharpedo had been registered, the Brutal Pokémon having joined Ash after he had found it beached in the Orange Islands. Ash had helped it to recover, and eventually Sharpedo had come with Ash. After some months Ash had trained it to be able to run on land, and so never be stranded again. As a result, Sharpedo was now able to fight anywhere, something which gave Ash great satisfaction, overcoming his Pokémon's weakness. Sharpedos loyalty had been cemented by the effort Ash went to in making sure that he was never stuck on land again; in the aftermath of his rescue the Pokémon had been terrified of land.
Next up was Altaria. The Humming Pokémon had not been part of the team when Ash first faced Team Rocket, but had become staggeringly powerful since joining a few months after. He had met Altaria near Mount Silver. Ash had been there to train in one of the toughest places in the world, but a few weeks in had found Altaria injured. Ash discovered that his training had caused some Fearow to move, and they had attacked Altaria after they wanted to live in the same area as her. Ash treated Altaria's wounds, and then returned her to the wild, but when he came to leave Mount Silver a couple of weeks later, Altaria had returned to him, and asked to come with him.
The final member of Ash's frontline team had been met only a few weeks after the Day of Departure. Ash had woken one night to find an Aron trying to steal food. Not angry, he had confronted the Pokémon and offered it as much food as it wanted, as well as to make it stronger. Seven years on, Aron had evolved twice into Aggron and in terms of raw power could match Charizard. The two of them had frequent battles to test their strength against each other
Next Ash reached the scouts on his team. He had put together the idea of a scout team when he was tracking Team Rocket down the first time. He had met Alakazam five years earlier, with the Pokémon intrigued by Espeon's mental strength and wanting to come to learn to focus his mind to the same extent. Despite intense training over the years, the Psi Pokémon had never managed to become as powerful as Espeon, but his teleport ability had become far stronger. As a result, he was the obvious choice to head up the scouts, giving them a mobility that couldn't be matched.
Ninetales had been captured when Ash had been training at a volcano near to Cinnabar Island. Her sense of smell was what had attracted her to Ash, recognising the nutritious value of the food he prepared for his Pokémon. She had spent two days hiding near his camp trying to find a way to reach the food when Ash fought and captured her.
Beautifly had been captured in the depths of a forest in Hoenn, another place where not many trainers went. The butterfly's value to the scouts was her ability to move unseen. Her size, coupled with her ability to move silently through the air meant that she was virtually undetectable when infiltrating. She also had the ability to hit large areas with single attacks if the scouts ever got into a fight, and her Stun Spore had saved the rest of the team more than once when tracking down Team Rocket the first time.
None of the next three had been with him the last time he fought Team Rocket, but he had picked them all up through the years. He had found a Onix deep inside Mount Moon, capturing it after a lengthy battle. Ash had gotten out of the habit of catching wild Pokémon that he found, feeling that he had a large enough team, but Onix had challenged him to a battle, and its endurance had impressed Ash. Onix had managed to match Ash's Snorlax for a long time, before the Sleeping Pokémon finally got a final Ice Punch in to end the battle. Given that it had matched one of his Pokémon for almost an hour, Ash decided that Onix was worth capturing and did so.
Rapidash was another Pokémon that he had caught at Mount Silver, with the Fire Horse Pokémon wanting to join the trainer who's Pokémon were so powerful. For Rapidash it had also been a case of pride as she had been beaten in a race by Ninetales and Sceptile, although the two of them had used Quick Attack to increase their speed. After some time sulking she had asked to come with Ash to become stronger and faster. She was now the fastest Pokémon Ash had.
Finally, Machamp had joined Ash as a Machop, and then evolved twice. Machop had never given a reason for joining Ash, merely marching into his camp and staying. Whenever Ash asked, he was never given a response. Over some time, Espeon had figured it out for him; Machop had been abandoned, and wanted to become stronger to show his previous trainer that it was a mistake to abandon him. After working this out, Ash managed to track down the trainer and the now Machamp had defeated all of his Pokémon single handed.
The last Pokémon that Ash reached was his Espeon. Since the Day of Departure, Espeon had become closer and closer to Ash, never imposing but always being there. The Psychic-Type had taught herself to communicate with humans telepathically in order to aid her trainer. She could now tell what Ash was thinking without even reading his mind. She was also his most powerful Pokémon, with her psychic strength enabling her to defeat any of the others. It was an accolade to be the strongest in a team with such power, but Espeon was proud to lead them. Her closeness to Ash coupled with her strength meant that she was undoubtedly the leader of Ash's Pokémon, as close a replacement to Pikachu as anybody could ever get. Without her, Ash doubted that he would have gotten through all the years. And now she was still willing and able to fight for him.
As Ash went through all his Pokémon he gave each a thorough inspection to make sure that there were no injuries. Happy with the state of his team, he gestured for them to move forward. Starting with a light jog, his Pokémon easily matching his stride, Ash began to move back out the canyon, before accelerating to a pace that all his Pokémon could sustain for the three miles to the Team Rocket base. As he ran he checked the sun. It was early afternoon, Ash trusting that he could break the base in the middle of the day without a message getting out.
The boy turned over in his sleep, ignoring the voice.
"Go away" he mumbled, irritated at being woken up. After a few seconds he assumed that the owner of the voice had done as bid, and left. Suddenly he heard the voice once more.
"Totodile, Water Gun!"
Sam instinctively moved, throwing himself away from his bed. He almost made it. A jet of water slammed into him, sending him skidding across the floor, before coming to a stop. Groaning and sitting up, Sam Fernandez saw a small blue Pokémon grinning at him. Looking up he saw Mellanie standing behind her starter, also grinning wildly. The two of them had made good progress on their journeys over the last week, taking another two gyms and capturing more Pokémon. Both of them now had complete teams of six Pokémon and they had more back with Professor Rose in New Bark Town.
After their Gym Battle against Whitney's replacement, Olive, in which Mellanie had taken two attempts to win, they had decided to train more and travel slower. Well, Mellanie had. Sam was more inclined to sleep in, hence his somewhat rude awakening.
"Did you really have to do that, Mel?" the wet boy asked, getting to his feet. "I mean, what's the hurry? We have ages to train."
"I don't want to be beaten by another Gym Leader" she growled at him, annoyance etched across her face. "It was embarrassing!"
"Well maybe if you were a better trainer like me..." Sam started, but didn't get any further. Angry at having to wait for him, and annoyed by Sam insulting his mistress, even in jest, Totodile had decided to take matters into his own hands. A huge torrent of water erupted from the Big Jaw Pokémon, smashing Sam off his feet once again. Thankfully this time he had the bed behind him, and so the landing wasn't too bad, but it still was painful. Mellanie was looking at her Pokémon in shock, and even Totodile looked surprised by what had just happened
"Mel, can't you get him to stop that?" Sam asked, now completely drenched, his clothes in dire need of being wrung out. His friend didn't answer. "Mel?"
"I think Totodile just learned Hydro Pump" the girl replied, still staring at her starter with an expression of awe. "That was certainly bigger than usual, and we have been working on that move."
Sam looked down at Totodile, the Pokémon looking pleased with himself, whilst still managing to smirk at Sam. Sam decided to be the bigger man and congratulate the Pokémon. "Well done Totodile" he said. "Really impressive. Keep it up and maybe you'll beat Quilava again soon."
This time when the torrent of water came, Sam was already moving, laughing as he dived out of the room past Mellanie who got caught by Totodile's attempt to blast water at Sam.
After the two young trainers had dried themselves off, with Mellanie being far less impressed with Totodile's soaking tactics once she was on the receiving end of them, they headed out to a field on the outskirts of Goldenrod City. Releasing their Pokémon, they gave them instructions about how to train. Sam and Mellanie then walked around the two teams together, giving each of the Pokémon advice. They had found that this benefited their Pokémon as what one of them missed, the other usually spotted.
They had been going for some time when they heard a voice from across the field calling out a greeting. Gesturing to the Pokémon to carry on, Sam and Mellanie turned to see a red-headed women vaulting over a fence and striding towards them.
She had six Pokéballs at her waist, and possessed a confidence that could only come from a time spent in authority. As she reached them she stood tall in front of the two trainers.
"You two both trainers, or are you coordinators?"
"We're trainers" Mellanie said. "I'm Mellanie and this is Sam. What about you?"
The women grimaced. "Am I that quickly forgotten? I would've thought you would at least know who I am."
Sam stepped forward at this point. "Whitney, Ex-Goldenrod City Gym Leader, removed by 'Champion'. You gave the reason for your dismissal as differences between you and the Pokémon Master."