18 Developing - Part 2
Cynthia stepped back from the microphone as the respectful silence that everything had passed in was broken by the trainers discussing this latest piece of news. All the trainers looked excited, as they started to move off, heading into the arrangement of training rooms in the complex. Cynthia heard somebody clear their throat behind her, and turned around.
"So 'Champion' might be training them?" Misty Waterflower said, an eyebrow raised.
"He said he might" Cynthia responded, knowing what the red-head was getting at. "He was interested in the idea of teaching a few whilst he remains here for a few days."
"Have you asked him about training with me?" Misty persisted.
"I spoke to him." Cynthia said, not giving anything away.
"You will spend Thursday with him." Cynthia said, placating the red-head. "But please, this is supposed to be kept quiet, he will be working with everybody then." Misty nodded her agreement.
"Now, go do your job Miss Waterflower." Cynthia said, pushing the red-head towards the door. "There are trainers waiting for your wisdom."
The screen flickered into life, the face of a man who was clearly terrified appearing in it. A chair swiveled to face the TV, the man sat in the chair hidden in shadow. The face in the TV started to speak.
"Sir, I've just reached the Kanto training base. It is completely empty. No sign of struggle, the whole place is spotless, just no people."
"Have you looked into the security records?" a voice growled, emanating from the chair.
"They were wiped Sir. One of the techs with me says it can't be recovered"
"What about the terrain in front of the base?"
"Tire marks Sir, and some deep hoof prints, like a Rapidash charging."
"Very well. Pull your team back out of the base, and come to Goldenrod."
The screen went black, throwing the room back into deep shadow. The man in the chair leant back, speaking into the darkness.
"So, somebody has managed to shut down an entire base. A small team would be essential, but to have no warning at all. Perhaps..."
Behind him a door opened, and a man stepped in, his head hidden under a hood. He wore a Team Rocket uniform, fitting perfectly around his lean figure. He bowed his head as the chair swung around to face him.
"Agent. Report" the man in the chair commanded.
"Sir, our informant at Indigo has gotten in touch. He felt it was too important to wait for his usual reports. A large number of Rockets were brought in on buses yesterday. Guarded by the Pokémon Masters Pokémon."
"So it is him."
"Our Kanto training base has been wiped out. All the recruits have been taken somewhere. That will be where. The simple assumption is that the Pokémon Master is responsible."
"Yes Sir. But if he took the Kanto base, surely he would know where the Goldenrod base is from captured intelligence?"
"Yes Agent. And I suspect he will come alone. A trap will be set for him. You are our best since we rebuilt, you will be responsible for setting it. You may use all our assets, including that one. I want regular reports. You will have at most a few days; he won't wait long before striking."
"With respect sir, he won't be able to attack straight away. To bring buses from the Kanto base would take at least two days, if he was travelling to avoid being seen it would take longer. His Pokémon wouldn't have had a chance to sleep; he will need to let them recover."
The chair swung back away from the door in dismissal, and the Rocket Agent turned to leave. As he reached the door, he heard his boss's voice ring out one last time.
"Never underestimate the Pokémon Master, especially if he is who I think he is."
The Agent stopped in the door, but nothing else was forthcoming, so he stepped out, the door swinging shut behind him. In the darkness, Giovanni the head of Team Rocket smiled into the darkness.
"So, if you are who I think you are you are finishing the job you started four years ago. You nearly reached me then, but this time I'm ready. Come and get me if you dare, 'Champion'."
Misty stood facing the two trainers that had chosen to join her on the second day of the training camp. She had taken over the large water training area inside the training complex, and had spent the first part of the morning swimming with her Pokémon. The first day had been the hardest, since her recent battle against 'Champion' had raised her profile; she had nearly a dozen trainers to work with the previous day.
This, as she had complained to Gary at the end of the day, wasn't fair given that there were only thirty trainers to start with. And Johto didn't even have a Water-Type gym. She had done the best she could, but had been grateful to see that she wouldn't have to produce a repeat performance today.
Unlike teaching back in Cerulean, this was harder work simply because the trainers tended to be more arrogant, but also because they were stronger. Some of them were nearly as strong as her. However, after she had been swimming for about twenty minutes, two trainers had walked in, a boy and a girl. Misty had swum to the edge of the pool, climbed out, petted Gyarados to stop him getting annoyed at the interruption, and beckoned the pair over. Looking them up and down, she realised that they were very young.
"Good morning. Are you two here to work with your Water Pokémon?" she asked them.
The girl stepped forwards. "Gary Oak suggested that we work with you today. We trained with him yesterday, the only two he had, since most people had either gone to you or Cynthia. I'm Mellanie and this is Sam."
"Gary?" Misty asked with an eyebrow raised quizzically. "He didn't mention anything... I'll talk to him later. So why did he think that you should work with me?"
"Because my starter is a Water-type." Mellanie answered. "And recently he has been somewhat stubborn. He still listens to me, but I feel like there is something wrong."
"Fair enough. Water-Types are what I do best." Misty said with a grin. "Another thing, I presume you both are prepared to get wet?"
"Correct. Join me in the pool when you're ready, and we'll see what we can do."
Misty turned and dived back into the pool, Gyarados taking up position on one side of her, whilst her Seaking swam on the other side. As the two youngsters started to strip down to swimsuits, Misty looked around the room she used for the training.
It was completely dominated by the pool, which was at least three times the size of the one in the Cerulean Gym with the pool more than a hundred meters long. There were a few platforms, which could be moved, so she had set it up so that they were along the sides of the pool to be accessible but out of the way. It was perfect for her, and she found herself grateful that she had agreed to help Cynthia.
A pair of splashes told her that Sam and Mellanie had joined her, and Misty rolled onto her front to swim over to them, where they were treading water. As she drew closer, she noted how Mellanie had left three of her Pokéball's on the side of the pool, and Sam had left one of his as well as noting with approval that despite this they were still wearing their Pokéball belts.
"Alright, first, how good are both of you at swimming?" Misty asked as she reached them.
"We're pretty good. We used to have races all the time when we were younger" Mellanie said.
"Good. Then why don't you have a race to the other end and back?" Misty said with a smile.
Before Mellanie could respond, Sam had exploded into motion, a front crawl causing him to move away from his friend at an impressive speed given his age. Mellanie glared at him and was about to set off straight after him when she felt Misty's arm stopping her.
"Remember, you are a Pokémon trainer, in water. Use your Pokémon to help you."
Mellanies face lit up, and she pulled out one of her Pokéball's, releasing her Poliwag. A quick word with her Pokémon caused it to nod, and Mellanie set off in a front crawl, but without using her feet. Poliwag swam behind her and pushed against her feet, causing her to move quicker.
Before she reached the end she had overtaken Sam, who, because Poliwag was hidden under the water, couldn't see what she was doing. Mellanie turned, pushed off the wall at the end and started to race back, leaving Sam comfortably behind.
As she reached Misty, Mellanie started to tread water again, and Poliwag swum in front of her, bobbing around, happy to be in the water as well as beating Sam. As Sam got closer, the Tadpole Pokémon swam into Mellanies arms, and then used its tail and feet to keep both of them afloat.
As Sam reached them, he started to tread water again, as the two girls faced him grinning wildly. He looked at Misty, before his eyes travelled to Mellanie and then to Poliwag who was still happily grinning from her trainers arms.
"You used Poliwag didn't you Mel?" Sam asked. Mellanie nodded. "And let me guess, that isn't cheating is it?" Misty shook her head, with a wide grin still on her face.
"Not bad Sam, you're a good swimmer, but to work well with Water Pokémon you need to get the feel for what it is to be a Water Pokémon. And that means swimming with them as well as training with them. Look at Poliwag, she is clearly happy to be swimming, and she is happy to be with Mellanie. Water Pokémon are one of the types where it is possible to work with them in their natural element without any danger. I mean, you would be foolish to follow a Fire-Type into a volcano, and it is hard to fly with a Flying-type, although not impossible, yet swimming is safe."
The two young trainers looked at each other, a new respect for the specialist that they were working with evident in their expressions. Their attention snapped back to Misty as she started to speak once again.
"I notice that both of you left Pokéball's on the side, I presume those are Pokémon that would struggle in the water?" Sam and Mellanie nodded. "Smart. Why don't you release the Pokémon that you have with you that would enjoy the water? If they aren't Water-types, try releasing them onto platforms first."
Sam started to swim towards the nearest platform, and released his Pokémon as he got closer. All five of the Pokémon he was carrying materialised on the platform, and looked around. They had been warned that there would be water involved today but they hadn't expected to be released into the middle of a pool.
Sam's Ghastly floated over the pool, whilst his Furret sat on the platform looking at the water dubiously. Pidgeotto and Butterfree took off, hovering over the pool whilst Wooper let out a sound of joy and dived into the pool splashing around happily.
Mellanie on the other hand had simply thrown one of her Pokéball's to a different platform, where Machop materialised. He looked down at the water before seeing his reflection and started admiring his muscles. She then released her Totodile into the water next to her where he started to splash about.
Misty suddenly rose out of the water by about a meter, riding on the head of her Gyarados. The head moved close to Totodile, who stopped splashing when confronted with the Atrocious Pokémon. Totodile turned somewhat uncertainly to his trainer who merely gestured for him to listen to the women who sat on the Pokémon that was towering above him.
"Well, you're certainly a strong Pokémon." Misty started, looking down at the Big Jaw Pokémon. "But your trainer says she's been having problems with you. Let's see... What attacks can you do?"
The words had hardly left Misty's mouth when Totodile unleashed a Hydro Pump at Gyarados. The Atrocious Pokémon, caught unawares, reeled back from the blast which was powerful enough to nearly knock him over. Recovering, he glowered down at Totodile, who simply grinned back. Misty, who had survived her Pokémon being knocked back, put a calming hand on Gyarados, before looking over at Mellanie.
"Totodile knows Hydro Pump?" Mellanie nodded. "Interesting. Usually, Totodile evolve well before they learn moves that powerful. Sam?" the boy's head snapped around. "Your starter, is at a Johto Pokémon as well?" Sam nodded. "Can you show me?"
Sam called out a command to Pidgeotto who swooped over the pool, before grabbing Sam's sixth Pokéball, and releasing Quilava on the side of the pool. The Volcano Pokémon appeared, looking out across the pool. Misty looked at him, and then turned back to Sam.
"That is a powerful Pokémon Sam. He looks almost ready to evolve again. How many Gyms have you two taken on?"
"Three." Sam answered, before gesturing to his Pokémon to follow him as he swam over to Quilava, Furret having finally decided to try swimming.
Misty turned back to Totodile. "Assuming that Mellanie got you at the same time as Sam got Quilava; you should also have evolved... So why haven't you?"
Totodile turned his head slightly, staring back at the Water Specialist, as if challenging her to work it out. Mellanie was still treading water, with Poliwag still in her arms. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Machop still showing off to his reflection and she gestured for him to join them in the water. As the Fighting Type dived in and started to swim across, Misty suddenly jumped off Gyarados' head, landing next to Totodile.
"Right. You clearly have a problem, but there doesn't seem to be a reason for one. Unless you are just being difficult..." Misty suddenly stopped talking as a memory suddenly surfaced in her thoughts. Years previously, when she was travelling through Johto, a Totodile, belonging to her friend Ash messing around, clearly enjoying himself. She grinned as the solution struck her. Turning back to Mellanie, Misty started talking again.
"Let me guess, Totodile was difficult after a defeat? You started to focus more on training to make sure it didn't happen again, and Totodile started to be more difficult after that?"
Mellanie was shocked. "How on earth did you know all that?" she asked.
"Because your Totodile wants to have fun. My guess is that he simply hasn't evolved because then he would be bigger and it might restrict him from enjoying himself. Let him have fun as well as training, and you should be alright."
Mellanie turned back to see her Totodile grinning, before kicking away and swimming across the pool. Smiling, she turned back to Misty who had a gleam in her eye. The Water Specialist gestured for them to join Sam on the side of the pool, and struck out, leaving Mellanie to follow her.
Ash stood looking out across the island he lived on. The island was a short distance away from Indigo Plateau, leaving him an easy journey to and from the Pokémon Leagues base whenever he needed to go. Those who had seen it called it Mystery Island simply because none of them had ever managed to get onto it. There was only one way in from land which was along a bridge that had a gate that could only be opened by either Psychic strength or by aura.
However, it was so complicated that only the very strongest of either would be able to open it, Ash and his two Psychic types being the only ones capable. To try to reach the island by water was even more complex as boats found themselves caught in vicious rapids that invariably ended up taking them away from the island.
And the two brave men who had tried to fly onto the island had found themselves hit by huge winds that had forced them to head away, or risk being knocked out of the sky. As such, it was a perfect place for somebody who was as private as Ash to live. His Pokémon and him could live and train in peace, without having to worry about anybody. Crucially in Ash's mind, there was absolutely no way that the media who dogged every Pokémon Master would be able to reach him.
As such, he was perfectly able to relax there. Without turning, Ash felt Espeon stroll up behind him, the Sun Pokémon standing proud next to her trainer. Ash reached down and scratched her behind the ears, causing her to purr. Looking back out across Mystery Island, Ash started to speak.
"On Thursday we will be teaching some trainers." Espeon looked up, her eyes bright with curiosity. "Yes, I thought you would be surprised. There are two trainers there who could be strong. They are young now, but with the right encouragement, they will become very strong. They would be good partners for us. Friday, we will start our strike at the heart of Team Rocket, giving us time to reach Goldenrod overnight. We will hit every floor that is above ground at once, before striking into the underground areas. There can be no place where they can escape, and this time we will get Giovanni."
Espeon mewed quietly, and Ash turned his head to look down at her.
"I know, I suspect the same thing. I thought that he would know that we are coming, but that can't be helped. At best, we will just have to spring the trap, and move through it. If it is what I think it will be, then you will have to trust me."
"Simple. If Giovanni knows that we are coming, he will have a guaranteed escape route. He will also try to trap me, and then let time wear the rest of you down. If you look like breaking through to him, he will simply vanish again, and we are back where we started. Assuming I'm right, you will pull out, and leave me trapped. When I know that Giovanni is present, and with me, I will send out a message that you will be able to detect. Alakazam can then teleport you all in, and we have Giovanni."
Espeon looked up at her trainer, master and friend, worry written over her face. She knew that Ash was powerful, but she still feared leaving him in the hands of Team Rocket. The logic in his plan was sound, as it was the best way to guarantee that they would be able to capture Giovanni, but she still didn't like the idea. Ash, noting the worry in her expression did not need her to talk to know what she was thinking.
"Espeon, this is one where you are going to have to trust me. If you stay nearby, you will be able to sustain a mental link for a short while, so you won't be cut off. However, ultimately, Giovanni will not want to risk his capture, so it could take a while for him to be sufficiently confident that he has actually subdued me. Patience will be key. Now, let us go see the others."
Ash turned back towards his house, Espeon easily keeping pace alongside him. His Pokémon had all slept for most of the day when they returned, utterly exhausted from their work in capturing the Rockets. Ash had been proud of them; they had done everything he could ever ask of them.
However, he knew their loyalty to him. They would not enjoy the plan that he knew he had to use if he was able to capture Giovanni and finally end Team Rocket. Many of them still remembered his fury four years previously when he had fought his way through the Rockets, Espeon at his side, and his other Pokémon fighting throughout the headquarters under Viridian Gym.
When Ash had reached the room where they expected to find Giovanni, only to find it empty. There had been a tunnel, dug out at the back, behind a hidden door. Ash had smashed the door from its hinges, to find railway tracks, which showed him Giovanni's escape route. Knowing that to chase would be fruitless, Ash turned and strode straight back out of the room, to find his Pokémon.
After he had collected them all, he assembled his Pokémon in front of the Rockets that were still on their feet, which was definitely a minority. Looking back over them, he had seen the injuries to the ten Pokémon he had at the time, all for nothing.
His anger had cowed the Rockets, and none of them had dared move until the police showed up to arrest despite the fact that Ash had left nearly fifteen minutes previously. He had however, taken the highest rank Rocket that he had found with him; Domino. The Black Tulip had been unconscious when Ash found her, unable to take the impact of a Pokémon that Aggron had sent flying into her.
By the time Ash had found the Rocket headquarters, she had been the Rockets second in command, and so was the alternative target given Giovanni's escape. Faced with Ash's anger, she had been terrified, but refused to talk about where her boss might be. At first Ash thought she was merely being brave, but after Espeon had searched her mind, he realised that Domino simply didn't know.
Giovanni had vanished into the wilderness. As a result, Ash had taken Domino to a Police station and left her tied up. She was sufficiently well known by the police that she was arrested on the spot, and the Viridian police had remained quietly grateful that their cover-up of the whole affair was continued.
What Ash's Pokémon would remember from the whole episode was the way he very nearly lost control. Espeon had to restrain him because he had looked like he was going to kill Domino. When he forced the Sun Pokémon to her limit to restrain him, Alakazam and Aggron stepped in. Between the three of them they had managed to restrain their enraged trainer, preventing him from taking revenge for their injuries which had been gained for nothing on the women in front of them.
It was this that prevented Domino from even attempting to flee; she had decided that anybody who took three Pokémon to restrain was clearly not somebody that she wanted hunting her. Ash hoped to use this memory to persuade his Pokémon that he needed them to pretend to abandon him.
Reaching the clearing behind the house where his Pokémon were resting, Ash stopped walking, and the Pokémon quickly lined up in front of him. After laying out his plan for the attack in Goldenrod, Ash held up a hand to forestall any complaints.
"Before you all complain, hear me out." Ash said. "Four years ago, we fought our way through hell, to find Giovanni had escaped. If we go about it the same way, he will do the same thing again. This we cannot permit. Those of you who were there will remember the way I reacted when I found that you had all been hurt for no reason. Now, I understand that none of the injuries were life threatening, and that you have picked up worse in training. However, they were by far the worst injuries that you have ever had for no reason at all. As a result, I will not permit it to happen again. So, argue all you want, this is one time where I must ask for your unequivocal trust. And this time we will bring down Giovanni."
Sam: Quilava, Ghastly, Furret, Wooper, Pidgeotto, Butterfree
Mellanie: Totodile, Poliwag, Machop, Mareep, Geodude, Bellsprout