20 Improvement - Part 2
"What you just say was a simple healing of a Pokémon. Do not discuss that with anybody else. Understood?" When Sam and Mellanie nodded, 'Champion' started talking again.
"Good. Mellanie, what were you doing when you had Totodile charge in there?"
"When you attacked, you were charging at a Pokémon which clearly has a great deal of firepower. Why?"
Mellanie was lost for words. Throughout the battle she had struggled to get a clear hit on Quilava, so when she was trying to carve out an opportunity. Before she could stammer anything else, Sam stepped in.
"Sir, knowing her style as I do, I think she was trying to force Quilava to attack and leave an opening for Totodile. The way that he dodged when Quilava attacked nearly worked, but Quilava and I have trained for him to be able to sustain his most powerful attacks for a little bit longer in case opponents try to dodge them."
Sam fell silent as 'Champion' focused on him. Stepping past Sam he stood in front of Quilava who rubbed his head against 'Champions' leg, remembering the man that had been kind to him before he joined Sam. As he petted the Volcano Pokémon, 'Champion' sent his aura into the Pokémon to see if what Sam said was true.
What he found was an unusually large ability to hold quantities of energy, which did indeed mean that Quilava would be able to sustain his attacks for longer. Turning back to the two trainers, 'Champion' started to talk once again.
"From what I saw, you've been working on dodging. May I ask why?"
"From what you showed us today, it seemed to fit Totodile the best" Mellanie said. "He has always enjoyed dodging, he treats it like a game."
"I see." 'Champion' said. "And Sam?"
"I thought the way your Charizard was able to dodge was awesome. Quilava thought the same, so we agreed to work with Mel on it."
"So you both do it because your Pokémon enjoy it?"
"Well... yes" Sam said. "Isn't that the point? You said it yourself, respect the Pokémon."
'Champion' tilted his head slightly, to look at Sam. He then turned and strode across the room, to stand in the trainer's box facing the two young trainers. Realising what he wanted, the Sam and Mellanie looked at each other in fear. Quilava and Totodile glanced at their trainers, and then at each other before taking a stance facing 'Champion'.
"Totodile, are you sure about this?" Mellanie asked, only for the Big Jaw Pokémon to nod at her.
Watching from across the battlefield, 'Champion' looked over his shoulder.
"Espeon, this one is yours" he said, before raising his voice to talk to the two trainers on the other side as the cat padded out into the field. "This isn't a battle, don't worry. I'm testing to see how good you are at dodging, and even fighting back if you get the chance. Espeon won't fight at full strength, and her attacks will be held back. See how well you do."
As his opponents registered what he was actually doing, the gem on Espeon's head glowed, and a small beam fired out of it. Totodile instinctively dived out of the way, but the beam followed him, catching him and sending the Water type sprawling across the floor.
"Quilava, Flamethrower" Sam ordered. As the Pokémon fired a fire attack at Espeon, the Sun Pokémon just lazily looked at him, before firing her own attack that collided, stopping the stream of flames in its tracks. As Sam reacted to this attack, another weak Psybeam fired at Totodile who had regained his feet.
"Totodile, dodge left" Mellanie commanded.
"Quilava, help Totodile by attacking Espeon." Sam ordered.
As the two Pokémon followed their trainers instructions, the Psybeam flying at Totodile suddenly changed direction to target Quilava, as two more flew from Espeon arcing around to hit Quilava. Sam however, was very quick to react to the incoming strikes.
"Quilava, Flame Wheel backwards" he called, with his Pokémon reacting instantly, and the Psybeams missing the target. As Quilava arced around, Espeon's Psychic threw him across the field. The battle continued in this way for a few more minutes, with neither Totodile nor Quilava able to get a clear shot at Espeon, who was toying with the, as she had been ordered. Mellanie and Sam were able to keep their Pokémon away from most of the attacks, but the occasional one came through.
After a while, 'Champion' called a halt, allowing Sam and Mellanie a break from having to coordinate their Pokémon so closely. Watching them carefully, 'Champion' could see that they were tired, and their Pokémon had begun to struggle at the start. Striding across the field, he put a hand on each of their Pokémon to restore the energy that they had lost, before approaching the trainers.
"Not bad at all. You should be proud, your Pokémon are well trained, and clearly trust you. You have both been trainers for just a few weeks and yet you both have three badges and Pokémon who trust you. I think that these two will help you for today."
As he finished speaking he took out two Pokéballs, handing one to each of the trainers in front of him. He then walked past them, Espeon at his side as he left the room, leaving the two youngsters staring at the Pokéballs in their hands.
With a shrug, Mellanie released the Pokémon in hers, before Sam did the same. They watched with awe as 'Champions' Charizard and Sceptile appeared. Before the trainers could do anything, Sceptile stepped forwards and started to talk quickly to Totodile and Quilava.
"I see you passed. We were left with you to teach you what we can." Sceptile said.
"Passed?" Quilava asked.
"The fighting you were just doing was a test. Between us, Charizard and myself will teach you what you were shown this morning. We are capable of all of the aspects that your trainers were shown"
As the Forest Pokémon stopped talking, Totodile and Quilava turned back to their trainers. Over the time they had been together they had found that the best way to get a message across to their trainers was to talk whilst miming the motions. After a few minutes of this, Mellanie and Sam had gotten the idea, and released the remainder of their Pokémon, who lined up in front of their two instructors.
"Right" said Charizard, speaking for the first time. "Who thinks they can hit as hard as me?"
James arrived late at night with Meowth in tow, after 'Champion' had left for Goldenrod City. They was directed straight up to Cynthia's office, where the ex-Pokémon Master greeted them.
"Thank you for coming James. I appreciate it." Cynthia started.
"It's not every day that somebody like you requests me to visit, and especially not in with the criteria. May I know why I couldn't arrive earlier?" James said.
"If you had, 'Champion' would know. He still might, but he won't be able to do anything about it."
"So what don't you want him to know?"
"He is attacking a Team Rocket base."
James and Meowth shared a stunned glance. As far as they knew, Team Rocket had collapsed years ago; they had been among the few to notice the sharp decline in crime. They had gone with Jessie to the old headquarters and found them deserted. To hear that the organisation had resurfaced was shocking. James face sharpened in realisation as he worked out what Cynthia wanted, something that she didn't miss.
"Yes James." She said. "I know you are an ex-Rocket, and so I need information. What we discuss here is not to be talked about anywhere else, understood? You too Meowth." They both nodded.
"Good. This is all classified, but three weeks ago Gym Leader Falkner in Violet City, Johto, found a cadre of Team Rocket grunts stealing Pokémon. He took them into custody and alerted us that the organization has resurfaced. Since then we have hidden the information from the world as we try to deal with them quietly. Two weeks ago, 'Champion' found a recruitment station in Celadon City, which gave him the information he needed to launch an attack on a base on the edge of Kanto, taken the whole base captive. From that base, he found the location of their main headquarters, and has just left to assault it. What I need to know is simple. Is there any chance that Team Rocket could know he is coming and set a trap?"
James sat quietly for a long moment, before turning to Meowth.
"Meowth, I have an idea, but you were closer to the boss than I ever was. Do you know of anything like this happening before?"
"Nope." The Scratch Cat Pokémon replied. "Nobody attacks Rocket."
"Clearly somebody does" James said drily. "My thoughts would be that if Giovanni knows that the recruitment base was attacked, he would be able to work it out. And if he knows that, he is smart enough to set a trap for any would be attacker"
"So the worst case scenario is that he not only knows that there is an attack coming, he will be able to plan for it, and potentially catch the attacker?" Cynthia persisted.
"Yes. All I can say is that 'Champion' has some good back-up. In fact, I would've thought he would take you. Why hasn't he?"
"He is attacking alone." Cynthia said bluntly.
James visibly paled at this news. He knew just how well guarded the Rocket headquarters was. Whilst an intruder might be able to get inside, they would surely be overrun by the guards.
"If he is attacking by himself, he will most likely be overrun by Rockets." James said.
"No he won't. He took out some six hundred Rockets at the training base without any problems. If all he has to face is Rockets, I think he will win. Do you know if there will be anything else he has to fight against?" Cynthia asked.
"Sorry, nothing we are aware of."
"Very well. If it's not too much trouble, I'd like to ask you to remain nearby until we know for certain."
"Of course. May I know where the headquarters are?"
Standing up, James shook Cynthia's hand, and turned towards the door, beckoning for Meowth to follow him. As they walked out, he started to mentally plan how to get his own source of information from Jessie who was still in Goldenrod. He didn't want to tell Cynthia, but perhaps he could find out some more about the elusive 'Champion' whilst still keeping his ear close to the ground to find out about the demise of Team Rocket.
Ash stood watching the building. This was behaviour that would be odd for anybody at four in the morning, but it was especially strange given his lack of movement. That coupled with the way that the shadows around him meant that he was virtually invisible, just looking around a wall, and the Rockets inside would have been very interested to know that he was there.
Beside him, but around the corner, there was a flash Alakazam, Beautifly and Ninetales appeared. Turning to look at his Pokémon, Ash raised an eyebrow at Alakazam.
"Twelve floors above ground, sixteen below. Minimal guards upstairs, heavy security down" the Psi Pokémon said. Ash nodded calmly. Beautifly then fluttered to his shoulder and started to mutter into his ear. When the Butterfly Pokémon was finished, Ash looked down at Ninetales.
"Smell of Pokémon and human, nothing else" the Fox Pokémon said, whilst stretching.
"No traps?" Ash asked, with all his Pokémon shaking their heads at him.
Ash nodded again before turning on his heel and striding away, the Pokémon following him. He had been watching the building that Team Rocket had hidden their base under, and had sent the scouts in. To his surprise, they hadn't been able to find a trap which he took to mean that it was hidden beyond their capabilities to find.
That alone surprised him; his scouts were among the best in discovering traps, but he couldn't believe that Giovanni hadn't set one. As the group reached a small park, he turned back to his scouts.
"Right. Giovanni, is he there?" Alakazam nodded. "And no sign of a trap?" Another nod. "Only smells of Pokémon and humans?" This time it was Ninetales who nodded. "This is odd. Espeon?"
At his command, the Sun Pokémon slunk out from where she had waited. She moved up alongside him, and fixed her gaze on Alakazam. Thoughts started to flicker between the two of them at lightning speed, with Espeon opening her end to Ash.
"Something feels odd" Espeon started.
"A lot of Pokémon were there." Alakazam said. "They could have hidden something in the crowd, even we can't pick out anything special."
" Pokémon won't be able to stand up against us" Espeon said.
"Enough numbers? Split us up?"
"I don't know. Did you find evidence about them knowing about Kanto?"
"Yes. One of the executives was thinking about a way to replace the losses there. Apparently they needed the recruits we captured."
"Really?" Espeon asked. "Did he say what for?"
"Some plan they had. He didn't know the details."
"Giovanni would, but we can't reach him."
"Tomorrow" Alakazam said.
"Indeed. Anything suspicious? I don't want to have to go in again."
"I'm afraid not" Alakazam said.
Suddenly Ash's cut across the two Psychic types. "Nobody is going back in tonight" he said firmly. "Tomorrow we will spring the trap, and as long as you're ready we will be fine. Alakazam, whatever happens, you must stay with me, that is the only way you will know when to flee."
The Psi Pokémon looked at Ash, not particularly happy with the plan. Ash just chuckled.
"I know you disagree, but this is non-negotiable. You all know that I can break out when I want, and you will the one bringing everybody back in when the time is right. We will succeed this time."
Giovanni was sat in his dark room when the door behind him opened. As his chair swung around, the Agent who was in charge of catching the Pokémon Master stepped in.
"He is in the city Sir" the Agent said.
"No scouts found him?"
"No sir. We only know because of him"
"I see. How did he get in?"
"We don't know Sir."
"On foot? Maybe underground? Honestly sir, if it is the Pokémon Master, it could be any way at all."
"Are you ready for him?"
"Yes. However, I must request you have a way out if he breaks through sir, we can't lose you."
"I do. Dismissed Agent."
Giovanni swung his chair back around to face the screens in front of him. They were showing him the security cameras from the whole building. When 'Champion' broke in, he would know about it instantly.
There was no way that he could be taken by surprise. And the trap was ready. However strong the Pokémon Master was, Giovanni knew he wouldn't be ready for what was prepared for him. Smiling to himself he whispered into the silence.
"I'm ready for you 'Champion' . You will regret ever attacking me."
Ash was back in front of the building. The sky was beginning to brighten, but he didn't take any notice. He turned back around the corner, nodding to the Pokémon who were there. Alakazam's eyes flashed for a moment, and then all the Pokémon vanished, except Alakazam. Ash then strode forwards, reaching the entrance to the door that opened in front of him.
Inside it looked like a standard office. Ash nodded to the receptionist as he strode past, before she suddenly slumped onto her desk. He raised an eyebrow at Alakazam who remained stonily impassive. As they moved through the relatively small ground floor, few men who were around collapsed as Alakazam used a psychic attack to overwhelm them.
As they finished, Espeon the lift doors opened and Espeon stepped out.
"We are bringing down the twelve people upstairs" she said, bringing a nod from Ash. Within ten minutes, all the people captured upstairs were arranged on the ground floor, tied up and knocked out.
Ash strode back towards the lift, seeing that there was one button to level -1. He turned back to his Pokémon.
"Well done so far, but they will know we are here. When we get downstairs, you know what to do. Any Rockets we see knock out and we'll deal with later. Stay close where possible, but listen for orders."
His Pokémon nodding their agreement, Ash recalled all his Pokémon, and then strode into the left. As it descended, he was ready to release his team and have the fun begin.
"He is here."
"Yes sir. I expect him to take the lift down."
"Intercept him as soon as possible. Minimal damage."
"Yes sir. Grunts will deploy whilst I get him ready."
Giovanni nodded, and turned to regard the screens once again. He was impressed at the audacity of the Pokémon Master, to simply stride in, and knock out the few people he had upstairs. As he watched the lift that his opponent was in descend he permitted himself a small smile.
He was right, the man attacking was the Pokémon Master, and his Pokémon were almost the same team that had nearly ruined everything four years back just with a few additions.
His instincts were still good, and this time he had a weapon to make sure that he was victorious in the struggle. On his screens he watched a force of nearly a dozen rockets sprint down the corridor and take up position facing the lift. They all released Pokémon, ready to attack when the doors opened.
As he watched, the lift came to a stop, and the doors slowly slid open. The surrounding Pokémon all fired in attacks, and the room was filled with smoke. Suddenly a series of beams flew out, hitting the Pokémon surrounding the lift. Many of them were sent reeling backwards. The last thing Giovanni saw was the silhouettes of Pokémon materialising in the smoke before the feed from the camera died.
Ash stepped over the prone bodies of the Rockets. His Pokémon were all out and they had easily dealt with the Pokémon who were waiting for them. Glancing down the corridor he saw another group of Rockets start to move towards him.
Nodding to Rapidash, Ash let the Fire Horse Pokémon go racing towards them. The speed of the incoming Pokémon left the Rockets no chance to try to avoid the attack, and sent them flying. Gathering his aura around him, Ash started to run down the corridor, his Pokémon firing attacks into every room they passed before catching up again. They moved through the first floor with incredible speed, Ash not bothering to slow down as his Pokémon systematically knocked out every Rocket that they came across, whilst dealing with all the cameras.
As he reached a set of stairs leading down a level, Ash came to a stop. Within moments his Pokémon had appeared behind him once again. On the floor behind him were the stricken bodies of nearly a hundred Rocket grunts. Ash gestured to Alakazam who tried to teleport to where Giovanni was hidden, but the Psi Pokémon shook his head once again.
Whatever interference Giovanni had, it was too strong for Alakazam to break through without something to focus on. Ash then leaped forwards, dropping down the entire flight of stairs in two bounds, and hitting the floor at the bottom and rolling before coming to his feet. In front of him was a shocked Rocket grunt who had clearly been about to lead the squad behind him up the stairs.
As his jaw dropped at the sight of the figure in front of him, the Pokémon Master's hat still in place, he didn't see the fist flying towards him to send him flying through the air, taking out two of his men in the process. As the remainder desperately fumbled for Pokéball's, Ash stepped forwards, his Pokémon fanning out behind him.
Giovanni watched the invaders progress, no emotion on his face. Inside his head on the other hand, he was terrified. Last time this had happened, he hadn't a chance to watch the progress. This time he had a map of the facility on one of his screens and he was watching sections of it turn red as the cameras were taken out. Whenever 'Champion' appeared on the cameras, the feed appeared on a different screen, but it rarely lasted more than a few moments.
What was evident however, was that 'Champion' was a master of battling, not just with Pokémon but by himself. Giovanni had watched more than a dozen Rockets think that they could take him in a fight, only to be sent flying within moments. The man's movement was inhumanely fast, his strength staggering. Coupled with the sheer power of the Pokémon backing him up, and Giovanni was very grateful that he had been able to set a trap.
Even now he was wondering if it would be enough to stop the onslaught. As he watched 'Champion' charge straight down another flight of stairs, down to the ninth floor of the basement, a voice crackled in the speaker behind him.
"Sir, the trap is ready. He will be taken on the tenth floor."
Giovanni nodded to himself before speaking out loud, letting the speakers built into the room pick up the noise and send it back to the agent. "Very good Agent. Have you been tracking his progress?"
"Yes sir. And I'm glad we have this asset, or we would be in serious trouble."
Giovanni didn't bother answering, as he watched a huge section of the ninth floor turn red on the floor plan. Suddenly he saw the camera's pick up a figure moving straight towards the stairs down another level. Behind him were half a dozen Pokémon.
Giovanni wondered idly why the camera's in this section hadn't been knocked out, as well as wondering why the invader was moving ahead without half of his Pokémon as they were still clearing the eighth and ninth floors. And as the man leaped down the stairs, and came up rolling, all the cameras covering the entirety of the tenth floor and above suddenly cut out, leaving Giovanni in the dark.
Ash came out of the roll, as his Pokémon landed beside him. Espeon and Alakazam both looked at him, they knew that this was it. Espeon's Psychic had just knocked out all the camera's on the floor, and there were nearly twenty terrified looking Rockets in front of them. Aggron and Charizard stepped forwards, both firing off huge attacks.
Had Ash not been prepared, he might very well have been hit when the two attacks suddenly reversed straight back at him, but he dived out-of-the-way just in time. Coming back up, Ash was suddenly jerked forwards by a powerful force.
Espeon growled and he started to slide back towards her. As the conflicting forces pulled him, Ash gritted his teeth against the pain before he looked Espeon in the eye.
"Espeon, get out of here. There is nothing else you can do. Get out of here and come back to save me."
As the words came out of his mouth, Espeon relinquished her hold, despite nearly winning the psychic battle and looked at Alakazam who crossed his spoons before all of Ash's Pokémon in the facility vanished. Know without any support, Ash started to slide towards the Rockets, before he came to a stop at a junction in the corridor. A shadow passed over him, blocking out the lights from the ceiling. As Ash looked up, he saw tall figure towering above him, standing at two meters tall.
The figure was heavily armoured, with only one part of him not covered. It was his tail. Behind the helmet, the figures eyes glowed blue, and Ash was jerked to his feet to look into the armoured face of a Pokémon he thought he had seen the last of four years previously. Mewtwo.