Hey guys, I'm back with another chapter for this story! We're officially in the final stretch now! Once the Jhoto portion of this story is finished, there will be a short epilogue and then everything will be over. I've been working on this story for almost seven years now, so I'm both sad and excited that it's nearing the end, especially since this was my first ever fic on this site. I want to thank you all for the incredible and passionate support over the years! So, let's finish strong with this last handful of chapters!
P.S. In case you're interested, I went back and rewrote most of the first chapter for this story. It should be easier to read now and won't be a mess like it was before. I plan to do this with all the previous chapters eventually, but it will take quite a bit of time.
Well, that's all I wanted to say, so let's get to the fic!
Disclaimer: I don't own Pokemon or any of its characters.
(One Week After the Indigo Plateau Conference: Ash's Home)
"Ugh..." Ash groaned, suppressing a yawn as he tried to sit upright. But he was stopped by something pressing against his chest. Looking down, Ash smiled when he saw Cynthia and Dawn lying on either side of him, their arms resting on his chest. The raven-haired trainer was about to lay back down and doze off once again with his beautiful girlfriends, but he was stopped when the delicious smells of breakfast wafted into his room. Knowing there was no way he could sleep now, Ash slowly crawled out of the bed, doing his best not to wake the two girls sleeping with him. Once Ash had successfully slipped out of bed, he felt something land on his shoulder. Looking over, Ash saw that Pikachu was awake as well and had seat in his favorite spot. Reaching up, Ash gently patted Pikachu on the head, earning him a soft purr from the Mouse Pokemon. "Morning buddy, let's go see what mom's making for breakfast."
Rubbing the back of his head and stifling another yawn, Ash made his way downstairs. As he neared the kitchen, the smells of freshly brewed coffee and pancakes hit his nose, causing his mouth to water a bit. Stepping into the kitchen, Ash spotted his mother, Cilan, and Burgundy, chatting as they were busy whipping up breakfast for everyone. Glancing over at the kitchen table, Ash saw that Nessa and May were up as well, both of them looking half-asleep as they nursed their cups of coffee and talked. Nessa's normally flowing hair was tied up into a lazy ponytail in an attempt to make herself look somewhat presentable. May on the other hand looked like she could care less about how she looked, with her disheveled hair and overly large t-shirt she had borrowed from Ash.
"Morning everyone..." Ash said as he walked into the kitchen and poured himself a cup of coffee. "Everything smells amazing guys."
"Oh, there's my little Kanto champion!" Delilah cheered with a large smile, standing on her toes and kissing her son on the cheek. "Go take a seat at the table, everything will be ready soon."
"Do you want anything with your pancakes, Ash?" Cilan asked as he tore his attention away from the batter he was making. "We've got a bunch of fruits and other things we can mix in."
"He's a big boy, he can do it himself..." Burgundy teased, grabbing several things from the fridge. "Do we need to butter his toast too?"
"Haha, glad to see you're cheerful as ever, Burgundy..." Ash fired back with a smirk as he took a sip of his coffee. "And Cilan, I'd love some chocolate chips in my pancakes if you don't mind." Seeing the green-haired Pokemon Coinessuer nod his head, Ash made his way over to the kitchen table. After giving May a brief good morning kiss, Ash took a seat across from her and Nessa. "Morning you two, what were you talking about?"
"Oh, not much..." May replied in a tired tone, brushing a few loose strands of hair out of her eyes. "I was just telling Nessa about the contest circuit and seeing if she was interested in possibly competing."
"It does sound like fun." Nessa said with a smile as she paused for a moment to take a sip of her coffee. "It would be nice to have something to work on when I'm not busy with the gym."
"Still all gung-ho about becoming a gym leader?" Ash asked rhetorically, chuckling a bit as he leaned back in his seat. "It's good that you're so motivated to reach your goal. That will help keep you focused and on the right track."
"Have you ever considered becoming a gym leader, Ash?" Nessa asked as she clasped her hands on top of the table. "I mean after you become a Pokemon Master."
"Huh...you know...I've never thought about what I'd do after I finish my journey..." Ash muttered, his brow furrowing slightly as he pondered Nessa's question. "But being a gym leader sounds kinda fun...maybe even a Frontier Brain. All I know is, that once I become Pokemon Master, I have no plans to stop battling any time soon."
"That's our Ash..." A sweet voice spoke up from behind the raven-haired before he felt a gentle kiss on his cheek. Leaning his head back, Ash smiled when he saw that Hilda was standing behind him. Lovingly caressing Ash's chest, Hilda sat down next to him. "You can never sit still. Pokemon Battling is in your blood."
"Oh good, more people are finally starting to get up." Delilah said with a warm smile as she set a plate piled high with pancakes in the center of the table. "I have coffee, milk, juice, whatever you guys need, just let me know." Walking back into the kitchen, Delilah began to make another batch of pancakes. "Oh Ash, I meant to ask last night. Where'd your little friend Rosa disappear to the other day?"
"She said she wanted to try and catch some Jhoto Pokemon, so she left ahead of us." Ash replied, his mouth-watering when Cilan placed several chocolate chip pancakes onto his plate. Grabbing his fork, Ash inhaled several large mouthfuls of pancakes. After practically choking down his food, Ash took another swig of coffee to wash it down. "We planned to meet back up in Violet City for my first gym battle."
"Ah, I see..." Delilah said as she flipped a few pancakes, a sly smile spreading across her face. "I was just curious because you two seemed kinda close...and I was wondering if you got yourself another girlfriend."
"No, she's not a new girlfriend, mom..." Ash replied, his cheeks tinting a light pink as he took another sip of his coffee. "Although I did feel a connection between us."
"Oh, are you getting the hots for my friend?" Hilda asked in a playful tone as she nudged Ash with her elbow. "To be honest, I think she does have a thing for you, Ash."
"Okay, can we please not talk about this now?" Ash groaned, releasing a light sigh as he rested his head on his palm. After a few moments, Ash took another bite of his pancakes and turned his attention toward Nessa. "So Nessa, do you want to get some last-minute training in before we leave for Jhoto?"
"YES!" Nessa exclaimed as she shot out of her seat, her eyes lighting up. "The training sessions we've had so far have been fantastic! I've learned so much!"
"Good, we'll start as soon as you finish eating..." Ash said, finishing the last of his pancakes and downing the rest of his coffee. Walking into the kitchen, Ash quickly washed off his plate and coffee mug. "Alright, I'm gonna take a shower and get changed. I'll meet you outside, Nessa."
"OH! I'll join you, Ash!" May exclaimed as she quickly finished her breakfast and dashed into the kitchen to clean her dishes. "I want to get some contest training in before we leave!" Rushing over, May grabbed ahold of Ash's arm and led him back upstairs. "Come on, Ash, let's go!"
"What was that all about?" Nessa asked, quirking an eyebrow as she watched May and Ash disappear up the stairs. "I've never seen May like that."
"Oh, how should I put this..." Cilan said as he tapped his chin, thinking of a way to explain the situation to Nessa. "Let's see...May...she..."
"May gets really horny in the morning." Hilda said bluntly, nonchalantly taking a sip of her coffee. Seeing the surprised look on Nessa and Cilan's faces, Hilda set her mug back down. "What? Why bother dancing around the question? Nessa and Mrs. Ketchum know we have sex and we're all adults here."
"Arceus, you're just as crass as Ash sometimes..." Burgundy grumbled as she started cleaning up the cooking utensils. "It's a little thing called subtly."
(20 Minutes Later: Ash's Backyard)
"Okay Nessa, the most important thing when it comes to water-type attacks is power and precision." Ash explained, reaching down and grabbing a Pokeball off his belt. Enlarging the ball, Ash released Greninja, causing Nessa's eyes to light up. "Your Pokemon's attacks need to be focused and unrelenting. Let Greninja demonstrate." Turning around, Ash gestured towards a series of targets he had set up. "Greninja, use Water Gun."
Inhaling deeply, Greninja unleashed a continuous stream of water from its mouth. Water Gun is typically a weaker water-type move, but Nessa was shocked when Greninja's attack punched a hole clear through the target. Then, looking almost effortless, Greninja began to switch from target to target. Then, Nessa noticed that the stream of water Greninja was firing was much smaller and more focused than when it had started.
"Now, watch this..." Ash said with a smirk as he pointed to a specific target. "Do it Greninja!"
Nessa's eyes widened in shock when Greninja's Water Gun stream shrunk even further, becoming even more focused. Then, Nessa gasped in surprise when Greninja's stream of water not only sliced clean through the target, but also the boulder behind it.
"Holy...crap..." Nessa breathed out, watching as the sliced boulder split apart, falling into two separate pieces. "I never knew Water Gun could do something like that."
"Normally it can't, but when you focus a stream of water enough, it can cut through almost anything." Ash said as he walked over and gently patted Greninja on the head, causing the Ninja Pokemon to hum in delight. "With enough training, even the weakest water-type attacks can become powerful like this."
"Oh, I want to try!" Nessa exclaimed in an excited, grabbing and enlarging one of her own Pokeballs. "Inteleon, come on out!"
Ash's eyes widened slightly when Nessa threw out a Pokemon he had never seen before. The Pokemon was bipedal and reptilian in appearance. Its head, slender arms, and tail were all light blue in coloration, with its tail having a thin dark blue streak following the ridge. This dark blue coloration was also seen at the tip of its head crest and on its slender torso, which continued down the backside of its legs until the bottom of the feet. The front side of its legs and feet were black, ending in three-pointed toes. Its hands were also black and had five fingers. Its eyes had yellow irises and white pupils with a black lower lid and a yellow upper lid, and the yellow portion created a semi-circular pattern on its face. This yellow skin was also seen on its crest, which is connected from the top of its head to the back of its neck before falling over its back in a cape-like fashion. This crest was thin and wavy, similar to a fin. Lastly, it had a white diamond-shaped patch of skin on its stomach.
"The Secret Agent Pokemon..." Ash muttered as he scanned Inteleon with his Pokedex, quirking an eyebrow as he read through the very limited entry. "There's not much info on Inteleon...so it must be a Pokemon from the Galar region."
"Inteleon was my starter!" Nessa proclaimed with a smile, reaching over and patting the lanky Pokemon's shoulder. "We've been together a really long time!"
"This gives me a great idea..." Ash said as he stroked his chin, furrowing his brow slightly. "Hey Nessa, how about a battle between Greninja and Inteleon?"
"Oh, that sounds amazing!" Nessa exclaimed, clapping her hands together as her eyes lit up. "I've been dying for a chance to battle against you!"
"You won't be battling against me." Ash corrected with a devious smirk as he crossed his arms over his chest. "You'll just be battling against Greninja."
"Huh?" Nessa sputtered out in a surprised tone, her eyes widening in surprise. "What are you talking about, Ash?"
"Exactly what I just said." Ash said as he walked over to a nearby rock and took a seat on it. "Greninja is more than capable of battling without my commands. So, you'll be battling against him, while I watch."
"I can't help but feel like you're looking down on me." Nessa said with a frown, resting her hands on her hips. "You don't have to hold back against me, Ash."
"I wouldn't dream of it." Ash said in a reassuring tone as he reached up and adjusted his cap. "And trust me, Greninja is going to go all out."
"Fine, but I still want to battle against you one day..." Nessa said, releasing a light sigh as she ran a hand through her flowing hair. "You ready to do this, Inteleon?" The Secret Agent Pokemon nodded its head and confidently strode toward a nearby clearing. Seeing Inteleon's cocky demeanor, Greninja rolled his eyes and headed toward the clearing as well. Feeling her excitement return, Nessa quickly followed after both Pokemon. "We're ready whenever you are, Greninja!" Locking eyes with Inteleon for a few moments, Greninja soon took a deep breath and slid into a fighting stance. "Inteleon, start with Hydro Pump!"
Raising its arm, Inteleon made a finger gun and aimed Greninja. A moment later, a massive stream of water fired from Inteleon's finger, hurling towards Greninja. However, Inteleon's eyes suddenly widened in shock when it noticed that Greninja had seemingly disappeared. Then, a split second later, all the air was knocked from Inteleon's lungs. Time seemed to slow down as Inteleon lowered its gaze, seeing Greninja digging his glowing fist into its stomach. The Ninja Pokemon had landed a powerful Ice Punch at a blistering speed, causing frost to spread across Inteleon's stomach. The force of Greninja's attack sent Inteleon stumbling backward.
"Inteleon! Are you-" Nessa never got to finish her sentence, because Greninja was on top of Inteleon again in an instant. Crouching down, Greninja hit the Secret Agent Pokemon with a devastating Low Kick. Inteleon howled in pain as it roughly collapsed to the ground. Greninja instantly sprang forward, a sphere of water rapidly rotating in one of his hands. Before Inteleon could get back onto its feet, Greninja slammed a powerful Water Pulse into its chest. A small crater formed as Inteleon was slammed into the ground with incredible force. When the water cascading over Inteleon stopped, it was clear that the Secret Agent Pokemon was knocked out cold. Releasing a soft sigh, Greninja stepped away from Inteleon. In an instant, Nessa had rushed over and was crouching down next to her Pokemon. "Inteleon! Are you okay?!"
"I told you Greninja wouldn't hold back." Ash said as he walked over, watching as Inteleon laid on the ground and groaned in pain. "Sorry, if Greninja went a little overboard."
"No, no, I wanted to battle..." Nessa said, gently stroking Inteleon's head before returning it to its Pokeball. "If anything, this just showed me that I have a long way to go before I'm ready to run my own gym...I mean, I only managed to get one attack off."
"Don't beat yourself up, Nessa. This was just meant to be a training exercise and I'm sure you'll improve in no time." Ash said as he placed a comforting hand on Nessa's shoulder. "Now why don't you let Cilan take a look at Inteleon, then we can continue our training."
"That sounds good, thanks Ash..." Nessa said, shrinking Inteleon's Pokeball and clipping it onto her belt. Standing back up, Nessa flashed Ash a small smile. "I'm gonna go find Cilan, I'll be back in a minute."
"Alright, don't take too long, we've got a lot of work to do." Ash called out as he watched Nessa dart back into his house. Once Nessa was out of sight, Ash turned his attention toward Greninja, an annoyed look on his face. "Did you really have to go all out like that?" Greninja said nothing in response, simply shrugging his shoulders. Releasing a light sigh, Ash pinched the bridge of his nose. "Just please take it easy from now on, this is supposed to be training."
(Two Hours Later)
"Ugh, I'm exhausted..." Nessa said, panting lightly as she splayed out on the grass and stared up at the clear, blue sky overhead. "I haven't worked out like that in a while."
"You have to do more than train your Pokemon." Ash said as he sat down next to Nessa, pulling off his cap and wiping some sweat from his brow. "You need to train with them as well, it'll help deepen your bond. A strong bond with your Pokemon is essential to bringing out their full potential."
"I see...that makes sense..." Nessa muttered, sitting back up and staring down at her lap. After a few moments, Nessa's brow began to furrow as she began to stroke her chin. "That must be how some of your Pokemon can battle without your commands. You have built up such a strong bond with them, that you can trust them to battle on their own."
"Exactly..." Ash said with a toothy grin as he reached over and patted Nessa's head, causing a faint blush to spread across her face. "I knew you'd get it. But building strong bonds like that will take a long time and won't come easily, but with enough effort, you can do it with any Pokemon."
"Well, I'm ready to work hard!" Nessa exclaimed, turning her head to lock eyes with Ash. The raven-haired trainer's grin widened when he saw the determination burning in Nessa's eyes. "I want to be an amazing trainer like you! No, I will be an amazing trainer like you! I'll be the greatest water-type trainer, not just Galar, but the whole world."
"Now that's a goal to strive for." Ash said with a chuckle as he stood back up, putting his hat back on. "Come on, we should head back inside and start packing. We're heading to the airport in a couple of hours."
"You're right, I should start getting my things together." Nessa said, getting back onto her feet and dusting herself off. "I should also call my parents too and let them know where I'm going."
"That would probably be a good idea." Ash teased which earned him a playful punch in the arm from Nessa. "You don't want your parents worrying about you."
"There's that..." Nessa thought, clasping her hands behind her back as she followed Ash back toward the house. "And I haven't told them that I'm going to be traveling with a guy...and his harem...Arceus, dad is going to be so pissed."
(Three Hours Later)
"WAH! Do you really have to leave?!" Delia cried hysterically as tears streamed down her cheeks, tightly hugging her son. "You could take a little break before you head to Johto! Stay home just a little while longer!"
"I'm sorry mom, but we really do have to get going." Ash said in a comforting tone, gently pushing his mother away and wiping a tear from her eye. "And don't worry mom, this is the last leg of my journey. Once I become the champion of Johto and defeat Tobias, I'll come back home and take a well-deserved rest."
"Alright...alright...that does sound nice..." Delia said, releasing a light sigh as she began to wipe away her tears. After taking a deep breath to recompose herself, a sly smile soon spread across Delia's face. "And hopefully I'll get to meet my grandchildren soon."
"One thing at a time mom..." Ash said as a faint blush spread across his face, along with all of his girls. "For now, I need to focus on becoming a Pokemon Master."
"I know, I know...you'll definitely accomplish your dream sweetie." Delia said, standing on her toes and kissing her son on the cheek. "Good luck Ash, go out there and kick some ass."
"Don't worry Mrs. Ketchum, we'll keep an eye on Ash." Hilda said with a grin as she wrapped an arm around the raven-haired trainer's neck, pulling him in close. "We'll make sure he doesn't get into any trouble."
"Oh, I know you girls will take good care of Ash." Delia said, resting a palm on her cheek. "Just stay safe everyone. We'll throw a big party when you all get back."
"Well, that gives us all something to look forward to." Dawn said with a bright smile as she clapped her hands together. "Your cooking is the best Delia!"
"We should get going guys, our flight leaves in less than two hours." Cynthia said, raising her arm and checking her watch. "I really don't want to get stuck going through security."
"Cynthia's right, let's head out everyone." Ash said as he grabbed his bags and slung them over his shoulder. "We're taking off mom."
"Goodbye, sweetie..." Delia said, clasping her hands together as she felt tears sting her eyes once again. "I love you so much."
"Love you too mom." Ash said as he opened the front door, the rest of his group following after him. "We'll be back soon!"
"So, are we heading straight to the airport, Ash?" May asked, adjusting the straps of her backpack as she walked next to her raven-haired lover. "Or do we need to make any extra stops?"
"I want to stop by Professor Oak's lab real quick..." Ash replied as he pointed toward the nearby building. Turning his head, Ash noticed the worried look on Cynthia's face. "Don't worry, we won't be there long. I just want to pop in for a minute and let him know we're leaving."
"You're so punctual all the time Cynthia." Flannery said with a chuckle, crossing her arms underneath her chest. "You're always worried about being on time."
"Well excuse me for not wanting to miss our flight." Cynthia said with a huff as she brushed some loose hair out of her visible eye. "Ever since I was little, I was always taught that it's better to be early than it is to be late."
"I agree with Cynthia, but there is no need to worry." Anabel chimed in, hoping to ease Cynthia's worries a bit. "The airport isn't far away and it shouldn't be too busy at this time of day."
"Only little kids worry about such trivial things..." Iris said as she shrugged her shoulders, slowly shaking her head. "There's no need to get worked up."
"We're here guys!" Ash called out from the front of the group, before jogging up the front steps and knocking on the door to Oak's lab. "Professor! You home!?"
"Just a second!" A familiar voice yelled from inside the lab, followed by the sounds of someone approaching. After a few moments, Ash stepped away from the door when he saw the knob turning. When the door finally opened, the group was met with Tracey's smiling face. "Oh, hey everyone! What's up?"
"We're about to head to Johto and I wanted to say goodbye before we left...and check in on Mew." Ash said as he looked over Tracey's shoulder, gazing deeper into the lab. "Is the professor busy?"
"No, no, come on in." Tracey said, stepping aside and gesturing for Ash and his group to enter the lab. "He's in the back going over some data."
"Tracey, who's at the door?" Professor Oak asked as he suddenly appeared, staring down at a tablet and sipping a cup of coffee. Mew floated closely behind Oak, lazily spinning through the air. After scrolling through some data, Oak eventually looked up, his eyes widening when he saw Ash and his group. "Ash my boy! And all of your friends too! What can I do for you?"
"Oh, I just wanted to stop by and say goodbye." Ash said with a smile, holding out his arms and cradling an excited Mew. The New Species Pokemon hummed as it nuzzled its head against Ash's cheek. "Yeah, I missed you too Mew. I hope Professor Oak has been treating you well."
"It's been a joy having Mew in the lab, it's certainly livened things up a bit. Although this little one does have quite the mischievous streak, loves to hide my equipment." Professor Oak said with a chuckle as he walked over and gently patted Mew's head. "Now, what was all this about saying goodbye? Are you and your group leaving?"
"Yeah, we're heading to the airport right after this." Ash replied, briefly stroking Mew's chin before letting the pink Pokemon float around the lab once again. "I just wanted to stop by the lab and say goodbye to you and Tracey...and to check in on Mew of course."
"Well thank you Ash, that was sweet of you to think of us...you didn't have to do that..." Professor Oak said with a small smile before he released a light sigh, knowing he still had a long way to go before he fully repaired his relationship with Ash. "Oh, and I watched your battles during the Indigo League, it was a truly stellar performance."
"Thank you Professor, that means a lot." Ash said in a slightly embarrassed tone, rubbing the back of his head. "I've been meaning to ask...have you talked with Professor Juniper at all?"
"I have...and let's just say that she was less than happy to hear from me." Professor Oak said with a nervous chuckle as he set down his tablet, running a hand through his gray hair. "But after some talking...and a lot of apologizing...we managed to iron some things out. She refuses to let your Pokemon stay at my lab...but she's allowed me to visit her lab so that I can study the new Pokemon you've acquired. Tracey and I plan to take a trip to Unova soon."
"Well, I'm sure Professor Juniper will be more than happy to help you with your research." Ash said, walking toward the Professor and extending his hand. "And try not to be too surprised when you see my Pokemon."
"After looking through the data in your Pokedex, I don't think there's any chance I won't be..." Professor Oak said with a chuckle as he reached out and shook Ash's hand. "And Ash, good luck in Johto."
"Thanks Professor, we should get going now." Ash said, releasing Professor Oak's hand and making his way toward the front door. However, the raven-haired trainer paused for a moment in the doorway. Turning around with a massive smile, Ash gave Tracey and Professor Oak a thumbs up. "Hopefully, the next time you two see me, I'll be a Pokemon Master!"
(One Hour Later: Kanto International Airport Main Terminal)
"Ugh, it took forever for all of us to get through security..." Roxie groaned as she slumped into a seat outside their gate, pulling out a pair of earbuds. "I could tell that the people behind us were getting seriously pissed off."
"That's why I wanted to leave early." Cynthia said in a slightly miffed tone, taking a seat next to Roxie and crossing her arms underneath her chest. "We did manage to get here 30 minutes before we're supposed to board, so I guess it's not a big deal."
"I'm just glad we don't have to fly on Pokemon or take a ferry this time." May added as she unslung her bag and set it down on one of the seats. "Flying on Pokemon is only nice for short trips and I'm sick of riding boats everywhere."
"Where are we seated?" Dawn asked, pulling out the boarding pass she had been given. Her eyes widened when she saw their seating assignments. "Ash...did you get us all first-class tickets?"
"Yeah, I figured that I'd splurge a bit." Ash said with a smile as sat down next to Cynthia, with Pikachu hopping off his shoulder and onto his blonde-haired lover's. "I've got all this prize money for winning the leagues, it's doing no good just sitting my bank account."
"You didn't have to do that Ash." Flannery said, resting her hands on her hips. "We would have been just fine in coach."
"Sure, I didn't 'have' to do it." Ash said as he shrugged his shoulders, a small smirk spreading across his face. "But I wanted to. You all have been supporting me ever since I started this journey, I just wanted to treat my friends."
"Well, aren't you sweet!" Iris exclaimed, plopping down next to Ash and playfully pinching his cheek. "But that's one thing we all love about you."
"Alright, alright, that's enough!" Ash said with a chuckle as he pushed Iris's arm away, grabbing her shoulder and pulling her close. "Let's just relax for a bit before our flight."
"I'm going to get a magazine and some munchies..." Cilan said, setting down his bag and stretching a bit. "Do you guys want anything?"
"I'll take a coffee and a candy bar." Burgundy replied as she let out a light sigh and sat down across from the rest of the group. "You know what I like."
"Got it." Cilan said with a smile, nodding his head before turning to face the rest of the group. "What about you guys?"
"I'm fine..." Ash said as he took off his cap and rubbed the back of his head. "I can wait until we get on the plane."
"I'll actually go with you, Cilan." Hilda said, handing Ash her bag and walking toward the green-haired Pokemon connoisseur. "I'm so thirsty, I need a water bottle or something."
"I'll go as well." Anabel added as she walked past Ash, placing a brief kiss on his cheek. "I could go for a bag of chips."
"Oh, I already picked up a few things while I was traveling around, but I want to see if I can find some last-minute souvenirs." Nessa cheered with a smile, clapping her hands together. "I promised my parents that I'd get a lot of gifts."
"Don't take too long guys, we board in 25 minutes!" Cynthia called out as she tapped the face of her watch. "We will leave you guys behind!"
"Don't worry Cynthia, I'll have them back on time." Cilan said with a chuckle, walking toward the nearest store. "Come on guys, let's get going."
"Soon, I'll be back in Johto..." Ash thought as he leaned back in his seat, putting his cap back on and narrowing his eyes. "I'm coming for you Tobias."
(Five Hours Later: Airport Just Outside Violet City)
"Man, I can never fly coach again after that!" May gushed with a massive smile, stretching her arms a bit as she stepped out into the terminal. "You've officially spoiled me, Ash!"
"It was great." Dawn added as she followed right behind May, clasping her hands behind her back. "I did feel kinda bad for the people stuck in coach."
"Eh, it was alright I guess...all that pampering made me feel a little uncomfortable." Hilda said, shrugging her shoulders as she adjusted the straps of her backpack. "I prefer traveling by foot."
"Girl, you're nuts." Iris said with a chuckle as she shook her head. "I like hoofing it in the great outdoors as much as the next person, but I'd never turn down a first-class experience."
"I flew almost twelve hours in coach when I first came to Kanto." Nessa said, a shiver running down her spine as she hugged herself. "Trust me Hilda, you never want to experience that."
"So, we're supposed to meet Rosa in Violet City, right?" Cilan asked as he pulled out a map, taking a moment to examine it. "If we walk, it shouldn't take us more than thirty minutes to get there."
"Oh, I can't wait to explore!" Flannery exclaimed, excitedly pumping a fist into the air. "I've never been to Johto before!"
"This is my first time in this region as well." Anabel chimed in as she walked next to the fiery redhead. "I'm interested in seeing the type of Pokemon that live here and how they interact."
"I studied Johto quite a bit a few years ago." Cynthia explained with a small smile, crossing her arms underneath her chest. "Johto has a rich and exciting history. I can't wait to experience everything this region has to offer."
"I'm just excited to start battling again." Ash said with a toothy grin as he reached up and gently stroked Pikachu's chin. "Johto's not gonna know what hit it!"
"My, you all sure are energetic." A familiar voice spoke up from behind the large group. Turning around, everyone was surprised to see Rosa smiling at them. "Hey guys! I was so excited that I came to see you all!"
"Rosa! This is a nice surprise!" Ash exclaimed, walking up and hugging the brunette. A fierce blush spread across Rosa's face before she smiled and hugged Ash back. A few moments, Ash released Rosa and gently gripped her shoulders. "So, did you catch any Pokemon!?"
"Oh yeah! A bunch!" Rosa said in an excited tone as she dug into her backpack. Eventually, she held out her hand, revealing 5 shrunken Pokeballs. "I caught a Hoothoot, Heracross, Aipom, Misdreavous, and best of all, a Cyndaquil!"
"Damn, that's quite an impressive haul..." Ash said, nodding his head and letting a low whistle. "And I'm sure you'll catch plenty more while we're here."
"I plan too!" Rosa said with a chuckle as she slipped the Pokeballs back into her bag. "Speaking of catching Pokemon, there's something I have to show you, Ash!" Reaching out, Rosa grabbed Ash's hand began to pull Ash toward the terminal's exit. "You all come too!"
"Whoa! Whoa!" Ash said, tripping up a bit as he allowed Rosa to practically drag him through the airport. The rest of the group was closely following behind, confused by Rosa's sudden exclamation. "Where are we going, Rosa?!"
"I ran into this awesome Pokemon on my way here!" Rosa replied as she turned her head to look back at Ash, a grin on her face. "But when I tried to catch it, it smacked my Pokeball away! Then the craziest thing happened! It started to talk to me! And it said that it was looking for you!"
(Five Minutes Later: Outside the Airport)
"Are we almost there, Rosa?" Ash asked, entering a small wooded area next to the airport's parking lot. "And do you know what Pokemon was looking for me?"
"Yeah, it's just up ahead! And I have no clue! I've never seen this Pokemon before!" Rosa replied as her eyes suddenly lit up, pointing toward a clearing up ahead. "It's right here!"
"Wow...it's getting hotter..." Ash muttered, pulling on his shirt to fan himself a bit. Suddenly, the forest around them filled with steam, slightly obscuring their vision. "Heat...and steam..." The gears in Ash's head began to turn as he began to deduce who the mystery Pokemon was. Looking past Rosa into the clearing, Ash could make out a very distinct silhouette. The raven-haired trainer's eyes lit up when he realized what Pokemon was waiting for them. "Volcanion, is that you!?"
And done! Ash has officially begun the Johto stretch of his journey and he's reuniting with Volcanion as well! I hope you enjoyed this chapter! I apologize for the long wait, but this chapter was just very hard for me to write. I struggled to find the motivation to work on it, but I eventually managed to power through and finish it. If you enjoyed remember to follow/favorite, PLEASE REVIEW (I NEED YOUR FEEDBACK), check out my profile and other stories if you haven't already, and PM me any ideas you might have for my existing stories. So, until next time, I'm outta here!