Well, here it is. The beginning of what I've been working on for an immensely long time. This is the first chapter of the reboot of my very first fic, The Infinity League. If you've read TIL, this is really for you, as you deserve way better than that nightmare of cringe worthy tropes from years ago. As promised I'll keep it up, but basically pretend like it never happened, which I suppose it didn't, as this story has no five year time skip. Do not expect things to be the same. Some characters will be different (one in particular) but understand that there will be a long way before we even get back to when the original TIL even took place. A book's worth for sure.

To the newcomers, I hope you enjoy this, as I really do think this is one of my better ideas. Well, I hope so at least. The story starts directly after the Sinnoh League Conference, Ash being approximately 15, with said event not going as in canon. That's really all you need, so have fun.

I take no claim of ownership over Pokémon and all the stuff it's connected to.

Chapter 0: Where it all began

"I'm transferring them over now, Professor."

It only took a few seconds before the hemispherical grooves in the device to his right filled with light, being replaced by five red and white balls of metal.

"...I have them." Oak said, eyes moving back to the screen where the boy who he considered his second grandson stood. "Who did you want me to send back? I can have them rounded up in a few minutes if it's urgent."

"Sorry, Professor, I'm just keeping Pikachu for now," Ash interrupted.

Oak was unable to keep the concern from showing on his face.

"None? Not heading to a new region so soon are you? Your mother-"

"Don't worry, I'm not going to do that yet," Ash said quickly. "I've got some things to do before I decide where to head next, though I'll still be . Think you could get Mom to come to the lab for a few though? If she's not working I mean." He paused, scratching his cheek. "I'd like to see her."

At this Oak smiled.

"Of course, I'll have her over in a jiffy."


Wind whipped at his jacket, causing it to flap loudly in his ears. The teen it belonged to, a youthful looking boy with unruly black hair and signature cap reversed on his head, simply gripped the Pokémon beneath him tighter. He knew there was little risk of him falling. The Garchomp was one of the largest ones he'd ever encountered to be sure, and he had clearly taken his trainer on many flights before this. She herself was positioned directly in front of him, eyes ahead to make minor adjustments to their course as they got ever closer to their destination. Her long blonde hair was secured so that he wouldn't be getting whipped by it constantly on the flight.

Another gust, this time from the side, pushed at the group, causing the Garchomp to adjust appropriately. Again, the boy tightened his grip momentarily until they were level once more. Even if he did fall, the Pokémon would catch him long before he got near the tops of the trees rushing beneath them.


"Hang in there, buddy," he said over the wind, taking a look over his shoulder at the Pokémon riding in his backpack. The very top had been secured so he could get some air and light, but wasn't in danger of falling no matter what happened. Turning back to his companion he called, "Cynthia! Are we close?"

"Nearly there, Ash!" she shouted back, flashing him a grin over her shoulder. "I just- there it is! Up ahead!"

Among the sea of forestry they flew over, a stone monastery could be seen poking out from the green on the rise of one of the flatter mountains.

"Hang on, we're going to touch down soon!"

"About time!" Ash cheered. He wasn't making a fuss but man did his butt hurt. "Pikachu! We made it!"


"We didn't make it…"

Ash sagged as they walked, missing the incredible speed they'd covered the ground with on Garchomp. Cynthia had set them down, not at the front doors like he'd expected, but at the bottom of a loooong winding path of stone steps that meandered through the woods. The slope was certainly forgiving, but an unwelcome extension nonetheless.

"Apparently it's supposed to help you find your center," the blonde explained with a small shrug. "Lark said they take matters of the spirit very seriously there."

Well, at least Pikachu was walking on his own now.

"Hey, is that thing still pointing at me?" Ash suddenly asked, speeding up slightly to bring himself level with the girl. For someone only a few years older than himself she certainly had a longer stride.


Cynthia rummaged around in a pocket for a second before pulling out an unassuming compass. Upon closer inspection it was clear this compass wasn't exactly useful the way one would think; specifically the markings for north, south, east, and west were all missing. It simply had an arrow. An arrow that for some strange reason always pointed at Ash.

He'd tested it.

Now though the arrow seemed to be unable to decide between Ash and a seemingly random direction.

"She did say when we got even somewhat close it would point somewhere else," Cynthia offered in interest.

"So is it really about me then? Or…" Ash took the compass from the girl, at which the arrow seemed to make up its mind and point directly at Ash once more. "No, still me. Wonder what makes it do that?" he mused.

"We can ask Lark when we get there," Cynthia.

"If we get there," Ash complained, eyes following the winding stairs out of sight.

Cynthia just chuckled, saying, "Maybe you shouldn't have sent all of your Pokémon back to Professor Oak's lab the day after you lost your match."


"Apart from you, Pikachu," she corrected absently. "Anyway, I'm sure you have a Pokémon that'd be able to-"

Cynthia cut off as she looked over at the boy. The fact they'd just been flying in perfectly clear skies minutes ago told her the small rain cloud over Ash's head was unlikely to be an acute weather phenomenon.

"Still bothering you?"

"Of course," Ash said roughly, good mood gone. "I got crushed. By Paul." The look on his face was one of extreme distaste, like he'd been fed something rancid. "He's so…"

"Grumpy?" Cynthia suggested, hiding her amusement. "Cynical?"

"Strong!" Ash burst out, angry at the fact that he was even acknowledging it. "He promised me that at the Conference he'd show everyone that his way of training Pokémon was better than mine. That I wouldn't even be able to compete. And we were wiped out. Six to zero."

"Technically Pikachu drew with his opponent," Cynthia noted.

Ash just scowled. "That doesn't make it any better."

"So in that case keep training," Cynthia said simply. "Look for new ways to improve your methods without sacrificing the most important pieces. There is no one true way to train Pokémon in the end. Paul simply has had a great deal of time training by what he understands best. So have I for that matter. You'll figure out yours eventually."

"You think he could really get to your level?" Was she really saying that Paul could get that strong?

"Of course if we were to ever battle again the result would be the same."

"Well obviously," Ash scoffed, cheered somewhat at the idea of Paul getting stomped. "You're-"

He cut off as Cynthia caught his eyes over her shoulder.


"...special," Ash finished lamely, looking away. Unfortunately he missed the smile that flitted across her expression before she returned her attention to the steps ahead.

"I'm certainly not the only one," she mused to herself.


"Woah, this door is huge!" Ash regarded the entrance to the monastery with wide eyes. Two immense wooden doors barred their path, set inwards from the top of the steps so there was no danger of anyone falling back down. The steps had gotten a bit steep at the end after all. Of course, the view over the forest was simply spectacular. Green as far as the eye could see, the Tree of Beginning far off to the southeast, just poking out from behind another tree covered mountain.

They'd certainly come a long way from Lily of the Valley Island.

"Shall we knock?"

The words had barely left Cynthia's mouth when a regular sized door opened out of one of the large doors. She had to stifle a laugh at the look of pure shock and disappointment on Ash's face.

"Cynthia, you made it!"

Ash brought himself back to reality in time to see a white-robed woman embracing the Champion. Blonde hair done in two low tails framed a round face with pale skin and brown eyes, clearly happy to see the younger girl.

"I only got your message a couple days ago, I didn't think you'd get here so quickly!" the woman was saying.

"Garchomp is very fast," Cynthia grinned. "Besides, you said it was important."

"I did. I don't even have proper time to visit with you now. Next time, I promise." At last the woman looked at Ash, an unreadable expression on her face. "So this is him? He looks pretty young."

"Only a few years younger than I am," Cynthia said with a smile. "Lark, this is Ash Ketchum, Pokémon trainer from Pallet Town. Ash, this is my friend Lark. She's the one I told you about on the way over."


"And of course, this is Pikachu," Cynthia continued, motioning to the waving Pokémon on Ash's shoulder.

"Nice to meet you," Ash said politely, meeting her eyes with his own. While he was unsure exactly how to respond to Lark, she was Cynthia's good friend after all.

It was also the only thing he could do to avoid staring at the most ludicrously large bust he'd ever noticed on a woman before. Ever.

Lark however had already turned back to Cynthia.

"In that case, we will leave you here. Thank you again, truly," Lark said sincerely. Another hug and she was already heading back to the small door.


"Follow me," Lark said from the door. She was clearly waiting for him to join her. "We really don't have time to waste."

"Wait, she can't go in?"

Cynthia turned back to Ash who was looking between her and Lark in confusion.

"Why not?"

It was probably for this reason that Cynthia was so fond of Ash, for all the fact that she'd only encountered him a handful of times. Here he was, dropped off in the middle of nowhere, dedicating himself to an unknown cause for an unknown time, all on a favor from her when they were barely friends to begin with, and he was more concerned with her apparent bad treatment.

"Against the rules," Cynthia said simply. "It's alright, I'm sure I'll be able to go inside one day."

"But you just got here, what about resting?" he said immediately. "I know you weren't complaining, but you've got to be a little sore."

"I'm going to stop in Rota, it's close by flight."

Ash just frowned at her but relented all the same.

"I'll see you later, Ash. Lark can get in touch with me when you're done if you want me to come pick you back up. I really appreciate you helping me out like this," she finished, pulling a pokeball from her sleeve. "Garchomp!"

A few seconds and a hop later had Cynthia mounted once more, leaving a rush of displaced air behind as they shot off.

Ash spared them one last look before following behind Lark, the wood door snapping shut behind him and leaving him a stranger in a new place.

Directly through the door was a square courtyard with pathways at the perimeter and a zen garden in the middle. Stone buildings rose up to surround the entire area, darkened corridors leading to places unknown. While a foreign place entirely, he still felt rather at peace being there.

Movement caught his eye as a two people in robes similar to Lark's came into view on their left, talking to one another quietly. Upon noticing Lark, they bowed briefly before continuing on, eventually walking out of sight into the building on the right.

Seeing she had his attention once more, Lark led him around the zen garden and into the rear building, turning almost immediately and taking him down a winding staircase. The way was very well lit with what appeared to be a line of fire on either side of the hall, close to the ceiling. Another three turns later and they were in a sparsely furnished room, candles and cushions being the main two features. There were also interesting pictures hanging at different spaces on the wall, though what they could possibly be about...

"So, Ash Ketchum from Pallet Town…"

Ash's eyes were immediately drawn back to Lark, who now sat leaning forwards on a large cushion at the back of the room. Her voice had taken on a quality that almost made him shiver.

"What do you know about Aura?"

"When every life meets another life, something will be born."

TIL Origins

Chapter 1: When the Rain Falls

Ash Ketchum was, all things considered, not in the greatest of moods.

He'd accomplished a lot in the past six years. Completing the Kanto, Johto, Hoenn, and Sinnoh League. Placing in the top eight each time spoke to his undeniable talents as a trainer. His complete victories in the Orange Islands and the Battle Frontier were a testament to his skill and drive. He'd gone on so many unforgettable adventures with his friends, seeing things that no one would believe for a second if he told them. Ancient Pokémon, myths and legends, forces of nature battling for dominance with the fate of the world in the balance!

And now... here he sat under a tall tree, two pokeballs at his waist and a whole lot of nothing in his rather worn out bag.

Lightning flashed, almost immediately followed by an avalanche of thunder.


All in all, the forests northwest of Rota had not been kind to him recently.


"You said it, Pikachu, this weather really is terrible."

The miserable electric Pokemon was doing his best to keep dry huddled under Ash's outer layers, but considering they were as wet as the water that made it through their unfortunately ineffective shelter, it wasn't doing him much good.

It was actually rather incredible how much rain they'd been walking through recently. Even with all the trees, enough rain made it through that it frequently felt like they weren't there at all. Then there was the fact that many parts of the forest were flooded, forcing him to often find an alternative route forward. Perhaps it had been unwise to strike out from the monastery into what had looked like the end of the world, but considering the alternative he'd been more than willing to leave.

"We should hurry to the village," Ash continued after a few more seconds. "We're pretty close now, and it's not like the rain is going to just stop."

After all, they'd been traveling in it non stop for the past three days. If anything it had just gotten worse.

Pikachu voiced his agreement, coming out from under the shirt and jumping down to the wet ground. Ash pushed himself back to his feet as well. The sooner they left, the sooner they would be dry.



"Aura," Lark repeated. "Have you encountered the word before?"

"A couple times, yeah," Ash said with a nod. More than that, really, but each time was an experience in mystery rather than understanding. It was, undeniably, pretty cool by his standards, though he felt like the woman would bite his head off if he admitted it. "It's like energy, right?"

Lark looked, if anything, surprised at his response. Maybe? It was difficult to guess what she was thinking from her mostly blank expression.

"In a manner of speaking," she replied, allowing a slight nod. "It is, as many of us believe, what we call the ripples in space caused by all existence. There are arguments for and against that view, but it is enough for us."

"And that's why you need me?" Ash asked. He was genuinely curious after all. It wasn't often something like this happened.

"Cynthia showed you the compass, yes?"

To this Ash just produced the thing from a pocket, not having returned it to Cynthia earlier. As he handed it over, neither noticed how the arrow abruptly changed directions the moment he let it go.

"The compass is attuned to an artifact of great importance to the Guardians as a whole. People who have an affinity for the artifact will have the compass point to them. Now that you are closer to the artifact, it points to it instead."

Unfortunately, this only created more questions than it answered.

"Um, artifact? Wait, what are the Guardians?" Ash asked, sinking onto a cushion absently.

"Guardians are who we are," Lark explained. "Guardians of Aura, Aura Guardians, it doesn't matter. More importantly is what we stand for, and what we do to uphold it. We protect the balance of nature and those who dwell within it," she added when Ash immediately opened his mouth. "At least, that is our goal. I will not pretend as if we've been assigned this role by anyone but ourselves, however long ago that initially was."

"And this place is…?" he asked instead.

"A sanctuary of sorts."

"Okay, so what's the artifact?" Ash continued.

"Later." Lark's neutral expression was tinged with impatience. "Our problem is that the artifact needs a certain Aura to restore itself, something that can only happen if you are taught to harness it yourself. That is why we have called those who, like you, have been found to possess the Aura we need."

"You found other people like me?"

Now this was a surprise. True he hadn't seen anyone else who looked like they weren't from here in the first place, but that didn't really mean anything. Could there already be others here?

"Less like you, and more like it," Lark elaborated with a minor hand movement. "But yes, you are the fourth. I've no doubt you won't be the last either."

"Can I meet them?"

Lark just gave him a withering look of annoyance, causing Ash to chuckle awkwardly as he scratched the back of his head.

"Right... so, you'll teach me to use Aura?"

Lark simply nodded.

"Will you help us?"

Exchanging a quick look with Pikachu, Ash shrugged.



It was the second house he noticed, as opposed to the first. A flash of lightning illuminated a deserted and waterlogged home, not a light to be seen inside. He paused, surprised at the appearance of the home and looked around once more only to be rewarded with a view of the first building, bisected by a topple tree. He'd initially dismissed it as a number of very large bushes.

"We're here?"

His words were washed away under the constant downpour, but Pikachu heard him all the same.


Of course, Pikachu was even more blind than he was in this mess. At least he had something to guide him, vague as it was.

"Stay close, buddy," Ash said absently, reaching inside once more for the odd feeling he'd come to associate with his Aura. It didn't work all the time, but for the moments it did it was like the rush of drinking something pleasantly warm when his body was very cold.

There, they were close now. He couldn't tell how many or exactly where they were, but the vague sense of other living Auras was certainly closer than it had been. At this rate he'd find them in no more than an hour. Yes he was close, but the darkness and flooded terrain had him moving extremely slowly all the same.

Abruptly the sixth sense cut off, bringing back the momentarily dimmed cold wetness that permitted his clothing. No second way about it, he was tired for it to just end like that. Usually it just faded as he lost it.

"Nearly there. Just a little bit more," he said wearily, trudging ahead. Without any doubt, he needed a reprieve. The storm, the distance he'd travelled, he hadn't truly been able to rest with the risk of drowning or a piece of a tree falling on him so prevalent. Not to mention the notable absence of any wild Pokémon lingering about once he'd entered the storm's reach… even the ones which would thrive in this kind of weather. Years on the road told him something wasn't right, and he trusted his instincts.

Eventually the number of homes became more consistent than sporadic, indicating he was no longer on the edge of the village. Most of the buildings had little to no damage, but occasionally a toppled tree claimed one. Small and large, the only thing every home had in common was that they were completely void of people. They clearly weren't empty, and the handful he'd looked in a window of could have easily had people there hours before. If the villagers were the source of the Auras ahead, then why did they all leave their homes?

He needed to know, and that was why he continued to walk, despite the shelter from the rain and cold passing him every few minutes.

Eventually his patience paid off.

"You there!"

Ash turned quickly at the voice, thankful to have found at least one person. There, on the raised porch of by far the largest building he'd seen in the village yet, was a lone man standing next to a chair he'd likely just vacated. Even through the rain it was easy to make out the cloud of smoke he exhaled after bringing his hand to his mouth for a moment.

"Quickly, there's shelter here!"

Ash and Pikachu exchanged a glance before jogging over to the building. Now much closer he felt he could make out the barest of glows behind where the windows were, as if they'd all been covered. But why would that be?

"Finally," Ash sighed, shivering slightly as the lack of movement allowed the feeling of wetness to come back. "That was awful."

"You must have been either crazy or desperate to walk out into this storm," the man said, offering him a small towel he'd had draped over his chair. "It's a miracle you made it here!"

Ash quickly dried his face and hair a bit, offering it back with a sincere thanks. Despite being a complete stranger, his kindness coupled with the fact that he had a silly looking scrunched up face helped Ash's guard drop some.

"Something like that I guess," Ash said with a dry chuckle. "I'm-"

"From the Monastery, I can tell. It's the clothes," he added helpfully, motioning to the soaked garments. Indeed Ash had long since lost the clothes he'd shown up to the Monastery wearing, including his beloved hat, now equipped with their standard garb. He'd shortened the robes considerably before leaving.

"Yeah- where is everyone?" Ash asked, wanting to get right to it.

"In here," the man said. "Moved in here to keep safe from the weather. It's been like this for a while now. Hang on-" The man hit his forehead lightly. "Come on let's get inside so you can dry off. Won't do to let a Guardian get sick on my watch."


But his confusion went unnoticed as he was led inside to the warm and, thankfully, dry building. It was there that he was greeted with an even stranger sight. The big front room was a lot more like an immense lounge, as opposed to the entrance of what likely was the village's town hall. People and Pokémon, young and old, were scattered about the room, doing various things among equally as random and mismatched furniture that was all over the place. Further back, more people moved in and out of sight into other sections of the building. There was even a wonderful hint of food on the air. Question after question moved through his head, but not a single one escaped as the entirety of the room turned to face his entrance.

In fact, for a good thirty minutes it was a whirlwind of being led about, drying himself and Pikachu off, changing into something clean while his clothing was dried, getting food, and finally sitting among a massive amount of villagers who were all so pleased to have an apparent Guardian in their midst, regardless of his young age.

"Now, let's give the young man some space, shall we."

Ash was finally able to catch his breath as a voice helped to mostly disperse the crowd, though it was more like they all took a good five steps back as opposed to going about their business. An older man with greying hair and a cane joined the group with a smile. He gently prodded a couple of young children along with it before taking a seat across from where Ash was sitting.

"Welcome to Wood's Heart," he greeted. "I'm Jory, the elder of the village. It's been some time since we last had a Guardian here."

"I- never mind… thanks," Ash said finally, abandoning the whole 'I'm not a Guardian' thing he'd been saying since he arrived. "Ash Ketchum. It's nice to be dry."

"Pi-pikachu!" the electric Pokémon emphatically agreed from his right, though still laying down.

"You're lucky you found us," Jory said seriously. "Visibility is terrible out there and unless you're a local it's easy to get lost. We haven't had any travelers since the storm started two months ago."

"Is the whole village here? In this building? Ash asked. He was still a bit amazed at how big the place was, considering how small the village was.

"There aren't too many people who live here," the man said, motioning around the milling crowd. "Still, we are far and away from any kind of help in the worst situations. It's absolutely necessary to have some kind of a shelter."

"Have you…" Ash's question trailed off but the look on his face was enough for Jory to answer.

"No, beyond a number of injuries we haven't lost anyone," he said. "We periodically send out groups to different homes for food and supplies but they are always sure to be careful."

"That's- that's good." Ash's statement was interrupted by an uncontrollable yawn. "Sorry about that, it's been a really long day. Days, to be honest."

At once Jory stood up, shaking his head.

"How careless of me, we can talk more tomorrow. For now please rest. Margarett!" A middle aged woman stepped forwards from the crowd. "Please take the Guardian to the space we set aside for him. It isn't much," he added as Margarett beckoned to the travelers, "but it will give you some privacy."

"Tomorrow then," Ash said thankfully, already feeling the heaviness in his body at the prospect of a bed.

"Shoo, shoo," Margarett was saying to the crowd lightly, dispersing them as they moved at various speeds. "Come with me Guardian. You'll be in a bed before you know it."


It was with a great feeling of relief that Ash finally found the way to the building cafeteria. He took a moment to lean on the entrance way as he took the space in.

"Good morning, Guardian," a man at a nearby table said with a smile. The line was repeated many times as notice of his arrival spread throughout the room. A large man in an apron from the back of the room waved to get his attention.

"Come over here and we'll fix you up!"

"Thanks," Ash said shortly when he walked over, allowing himself a quick look back at the entrance. The cook followed his gaze only to let out a chuckle as he saw a number of young children poking their heads around the door.

"Forgive the kids, they get told stories of Guardians far more than they ever get the chance to meet them," he explained as he brought Ash over to the kitchen window. "It's rare to see one, especially so young. Marcy give me a big plate for our guest!"

"How have things been here?" Ash asked, unable to resist a look into the kitchens. There were a number of people working, continuing to make food for their friends and neighbors. "You all must use a lot of food…"

"Of course, but as a village we have more than you'd think," the cook said. "We take teams to gather stored food and supplies pretty often too, so we're doing okay. Can't live like this forever though," he added with a grimace.

Ash couldn't help but agree.

"It's more than that." The man was frowning now. "We've been lucky at how well we get along together. It's a small village after all. People stick together when they're scared. But too many people on top of one another for too long and things fray."

"Here, Zell, big plate?" came a female voice from the kitchen. Ash turned and found himself at eye level with a surprised look. Apparently the cook Marcy was quite a bit younger than he'd expected. "Oh it's the Guardian! I mean, good morning, um, Sir."

"Ash, please," said the boy, gratefully taking the plate. It was loaded with delicious looking food.

"O-of course," she said quickly. Looking around she added, "Didn't you have a Pikachu?"

"He's still asleep," Ash explained. "I could have slept longer too, but after being at the Monastery I got into the habit of getting up early."

"What's it like there?" Zell asked in curiosity.

"Really peaceful and really boring," Ash drawled. "I like traveling more."

The man just nodded in thought. "Well I suppose that does make sense. Anyway, we'll leave you to your food."

As Zell shooed Marcy back to her work, Ash took a nearby seat, digging into the food immediately. It seemed like the people here were holding up alright. Still, his worry for them was as strong as the rain that pounded on the roof of the building. He needed more information if he wanted to help these people, and he already knew the best place to learn it.

Of course that was after he ate and brought something back for his Pokémon. You couldn't do anything right on an empty stomach.



"But Elder Lark-"

"Don't complain. Again."

"I'm literally dying here, you know that?" Ash was unable to resist a small glare.

"A Guardian must be able to touch Aura through all obstacles, even one so trivial as hunger," Lark returned unconcernedly. "Try again. Reach."

Ash gave an annoyed grunt but complied, closing his eyes and doom his best to 'feel' for his Aura. Lark had described it to him as a source of unique warmth; a sound that you could touch. Hence her words. Reach.

Suffice it to say he had no idea what he was doing.

A low growl filled the room, making Ash groan pitiably and Lark roll her eyes.

"Let's find you something to eat then," she finally relented, much to his surprise. "If only to spare me from your moaning. You will work twice as hard when we return. For twice as long."

"You got it!" Ash promised with a cheer.


"We truly appreciate you helping us with this," Jory said, regarding Ash with a grateful smile as they took a seat in the office that had clearly doubled as his bedroom with space at such a premium. Pikachu hopped off of his shoulder for a better seat on the table. "As you've likely gathered by now, it's not often a Guardian comes to our neck of the woods. Even less that they stay."

"I already told you I'm not a Guardian," Ash returned patiently, knowing it wouldn't change anything. "I was only at the temple for six months and I didn't really learn that much."

"You might say that, but the monastery is known for being barred to all but the Guardians themselves. Having those clothes says everything we need. Also, that's six months more than any of us can claim," Jory said with a good natured shrug. "Ash, you offered to help, young as you are. Considering the situation, we'll take all the help we can get. Just be careful out there and don't take any unnecessary risks."

At this Ash couldn't help but smile himself.

"I will."

"Good. We've had two months of constant storms. It's never more than a day or two that goes by before it becomes intense like this, sometimes no more than hours at a time. Then it fades back to a heavy rain. Whenever it seems like the rain is about to stop it suddenly returns fiercer. The weather has been fierce like this-"

He cut off as there was a crash of thunder that shook the building, rattling much of what was in it.

"-for three straight days now, more than it ever has in a row. Even some of our Pokémon have been affected quite severely. Many in the village feel it is an angry god," Jory added grimly, "and at this point it's difficult not to think the same. What else could it be?"

Ash frowned in thought. An angry god. In other words a legendary Pokémon.

"It's not a crazy idea," he conceded, although he couldn't help but add, "but there shouldn't be any around here. None that I've ever heard of. This doesn't really fit any of their usual behaviors either. Even if it was one of them, why would it stay for this long? Has anything bad or strange happened here recently?"

"Nothing near the village, I wish I knew otherwise," the man said tiredly. "In all my many years living here this has never happened to us. There's little more we can do but stay together and wait for it to stop. To anyone on the outside it just looks like a particularly unfortunate place to be without shelter. No one would willingly approach given the option, and no one has."

"Except for me, I guess," Ash pointed out with a grin.

Jory chuckled, letting his eyes shift to the electric Pokemon that was contentedly ignoring their conversation in favor of eating an apple from the small bowl on the table.



"Wow, they've been around for that long?" Ash asked in interest. For whatever reason, Lark was being unusually forthcoming today, not that anyone would hear him complain about it. Apparently, trying to get any of the Elders to talk about something specific for more than a second was like trying to catch a Gastly bare handed.

"Of course." The woman shifted on her favorite pillow before settling once more. "Aaron was known as a Guardian of The Aura over a thousand years ago after all."

"I knew about him, I just didn't think that also meant the organization," Ash said quickly. "Were there Elders back then as well?"

"Not really…" She took a moment for a pull on her long, thin pipe, blowing a small amount of smoke high in the room. "Everything was, and still is, run by the royalty of Cameran. The Elders developed after some time from a different set of needs."

"Which were?" Ash egged eagerly.

"Who knows?" Lark finished unconcernedly. "And honestly, who cares? All you should care about is finding your Aura. I've never seen someone who needed so much help in my entire life."

"Yeah, and we know that means ages…" Ash grumbled under his breath, automatically annoyed. "Ow!"

The pipe clattered to the floor while Ash rubbed his head.

"I heard that, brat! Sit properly, we're going to meditate until the sun goes down."

Ash just groaned, wondering why he'd ever agreed to this torture in the first place.


Ash awoke to the tearing sound of nearby lightning, causing him to sit up quickly. Pikachu simply rolled over, blankets preventing him from moving too far. The nearby clock showed it was still early morning, muted light filtering in through the sole window. A figure shifted in the room, causing Ash to look over, though he relaxed almost immediately.

"Any change in the weather?" he asked, swinging his legs over the side of the bed. It was now the third day of his wait, in hope that the cycle of intensity the villagers spoke about would turn in his favor. There was no denying the safety in waiting. Unfortunately…


'It's gotten worse.'

The gruff voice of his Pokemon filled his head. Lucario narrowed his eyes before shaking his head, turning to his trainer.

'It is difficult to see through the storm.'

"That's a lot of rain, I'm surprised the village hasn't washed away yet."

'It is not natural.'

Ash frowned at that, but said nothing further on the subject. He pushed himself to his feet and grabbed a nearby shirt. "Come on, let's go check on things."

Lucario hesitated for a moment before nodding, leading the way out of the room.

Ash sighed lightly, making sure that Pikachu was still asleep before following. Unlike his long time electric friend, Lucario and he hadn't bonded over adventure or much battling. Simply the small interactions they'd had before leaving. A sense of not wanting to be there. Unfortunately for Lucario it was much worse, as the monastery had been all he'd ever known until leaving with Ash. Still…

"Good morning, Guardian!"

"It's his Lucario. He looks so cool!"

"Thank Arceus someone's looking out for us."

"How is everyone doing this morning?" Putting up a hand in acknowledgement, Ash asked this to a nearby woman who was looking over a handful of still sleeping children.

"Well enough, Guardian," she replied softly, pulling a blanket a bit higher over a young girl. "We're all making due with what we have."

Those nearby who had been listening exchanged subdued expressions. As a small village with little, now likely drowned farmland, they relied greatly on external sources of food. As Zell had said when he'd first arrived, stored food could only last them so long.

"We should try to clear the road," a man said, though there wasn't much strength behind it. "It's only a few days to Foren. Jansen and I can get out there with Machoke and-"

"And end up like Ben?" the woman returned instantly. "He nearly didn't make it back after being lost for hours. We haven't even seen his Pokémon. Probably dead."

"We can't keep going like this!" he argued back. "Are we really going to put the fate of the whole village on the shoulders of one person? Guardian or not we should help. We don't even know if this is something a person can fix!"

'He is not alone.'

There was a collective flinch as everyone but Ash turned to Lucario. As far as he knew, it was the first time he'd ever talked to any of the villagers.

'As I am also not alone.'

Ash grinned, patting the nearby man on the shoulder.

"We'll look out for each other. You're right there's a lot we don't know, but things will only get worse if we don't try. Lucario and I can't get lost out there. We need you guys here in case something happens while we're away."

At this the man sighed, looking down at the young trainer.

"I won't lie, you being as young as you are doesn't sit well with me. Just be careful out there when you go."


"Lark, what's back here?"

It wasn't for the first time that Ash wondered what was behind the Monastery. He knew from when he'd flown in with Cynthia a week earlier that the area was forested over like everywhere else, but there was no missing the way the Monastery walls that expanded outwards, eventually disappearing into the green of the mountain. It wasn't like the entrance to the area was gated off either. There was a small fountain and everything.

"Maybe if you manage to touch your Aura I'll tell you," she replied with a shrug, continuing past the wide archway. "Though at this rate I doubt you'll ever find out."

Ash paused as he was about to follow, head turning back to the tree line. He could have sworn someone was watching him a moment ago. Weird.

"You know, I could just ask another Elder," Ash said bluntly to the woman, catching up quickly.

"You could," Lark said with a chuckle.

Ash just scowled. Sure enough, no one else talked to him at the Monastery but Lark. Apparently it was an Elder/pupil thing. Thank goodness Pikachu was there to keep him company, else he'd be going spare.

Back in the forest, the figure shadowed by the trees considered what he'd just seen, flickering back to the depths of the wood.


'When do we leave?'

"What?" Ash looked at the jackal Pokémon in surprise, caught off guard.

'It's clear you are no longer interested in waiting for the rain to lessen.'

"I- yeah…"

Ash's expression fell as he glanced back at his room's door. A door through which an entire village of people resided. A small tug at his shirt brought his attention back to his small electric friend. Absently Ash scratched his head in reassurance.


"They've been holding on so far, but how much longer until something happens they can't handle? The storm's center is right where the road goes. You know how long we were traveling before we came to this village too, so there's no help in the other direction."

'You are truly willing to risk yourself for them?'

"You're strong," Ash said, his voice absolutely certain. "And I've been in way worse than some bad weather. If it really is a legendary- If we can really help someone, then why shouldn't we? Besides..."

He paused for a second, meeting the jackal Pokémon's eyes.

"Don't you want to do something exciting?"

Lucario regarded him silently before letting out a gruff breath of amusement.

'So, when do we leave?'

Ash just pulled his borrowed jacket around his body, making sure it was secure. His bag was sitting in a chair by the door, and his pokeballs were at his waist.

"Right now."


It wasn't very long before Ash began to regret his decision to leave (being thoroughly wet was a real downer for anyone) but the thought of the village kept him moving without hesitation. Though it was barely past noon, it still felt like he was moving at dusk with so little light making at way through the storm clouds and trees.

The road was, more or less, not really a road anymore. Barely an inch of it wasn't covered by fallen branches, rocks, or other debris from who knows where. The wind and water had reshaped much of the area in the past weeks.

Fortunately, Ash wasn't using the road to help him get to the center of the storm. Earlier it had been fatigue that caused him to be unable to use his sixth sense so much. Now with a good rest and meal, he was refueled physically and mentally. His success rate may have still been well below passing for Lark's standards, but "sometimes" was a far cry better than "never" in his book.

It also helped that he had willing help this time.

"There's someone there, still pretty far off. Do you feel it?" Ash asked.

'Yes. Not human, either,' Lucario responded.

"Alright, let's pick up the pace," Ash said with a nod. "We don't need to be perfect. As long as we get close they'll probably come right at us anyway."


"You know it, buddy! Let's get to the bottom of this."

The three sped off, maintaining a fast jogging speed for Ash's sake. He never faltered though, the villagers still at the fore of his thoughts. They would help them no matter what.


Ash looked over at Lucario as his voice faded for a moment before he continued.

'When we find whatever is causing this weather. What do you plan on doing?'

"Try and get it to stop," Ash said at once, jumping over a felled branch.

'And if it won't?'

Ash gave Lucario, who was watching him over his shoulder, a hard look.

"Then we make it stop."

Lucario returned his attention to the forest ahead, now grinning, a distinct contrast to the expression on Ash's face.



"Don't go back on your word, you promised!" Ash said accusingly, frowning at the Elder. They were once again passing by the entrance to the region behind the monastery, and as he had done every other time before this, Ash had asked his question.

However, unlike all the other times, there was one marked difference about this one.

Lark just turned away from the boy and rolled her eyes. Well, he had touched his Aura at long last. Not quite enough for their purposes, but a deal was a deal, even three months later.

Three whole months where she had gotten to know the boy far more than she'd ever initially wanted to. Even now.

"The grove behind the monastery is where we protect the largest natural population of Riolu and Lucario in the world. As Pokémon which are extremely sensitive to Aura, as well as their own ability to manipulate it, they are the natural companions of Guardians and have been so for centuries. Recognized Guardians almost exclusively find their partners here in this place."

It took everything she had not to sigh at the stars that had entered the boy's eyes.

"That's awesome!" he exclaimed. "But why haven't I seen any? I haven't seen other Guardians come to the monastery either," he added. "What do they even look like?"

"We do try to keep organized," Lark returned dryly. "These things happen at different times during the year. You just happened to have missed them. Also I doubt any of them would be interested in a runt like you."

"Darn," Ash snapped his fingers in disappointment, ignoring the bait for what it was. "Well then, how do the Guardians and Lucario know who's the right partner to pick?"

"That," Lark said with a satisfied smile, "is something you'll have to find out on your own."

"You are seriously the most annoying adult I've ever met."


"This is… this has to be it."

Ash's words were soft, but they were heard by all regardless. Pikachu darted up Ash's body to his usual shoulder spot, ready to leap in any direction.

"I can't tell where they are, but we're close! Look sharp guys!"

Even if he hadn't said those words, all three knew that something had changed from the other parts of the forest. After over an hour of hard trekking, the darkness was thicker, the rain seemed colder, the wind harsher. Without even meaning to they were stepping lighter, ready to go at a moment's notice. Pikachu gripped Ash's shoulder tighter.

A sudden movement in beyond the trees. A figure and a spark of light!?


The jackal Pokemon dashed forwards, grabbing Ash who had a tight hold on Pikachu, and moved away in a burst of speed just as a horizontal bolt of lightning struck the spot he'd been standing on moments before. Within seconds a natural bolt of lightning fell from the sky in the same place striking two trees and causing them to explode ferociously, dangerously sharp shards of wood joining the rain in the immediate area.

'Hold on!'

Lightning struck again, destroying tree after tree as Lucario sped them through the forest. They changed direction frequently, but it did little to throw off their enemy. Ash simply held onto his Pokémon tightly, trusting him with his safety. Yet even through the flashes of light, the torrential rain, the disorienting nature of the speed they were moving at, Ash still caught glimpses of their assailant, aided in part by his budding sixth sense.

A humanoid shadow, always gone in the blink of an eye, always reappearing just as fast somewhere else.

Suddenly Ash felt himself dropped to the ground as Lucario turned around, a fiercely spinning ball of deepest blue and black between his paws.


The attack collided with the incoming lightning, causing a loud boom and rush of wet air. For a moment it seemed as if the rain had stopped, far off lightning illuminating the sky and bringing the many shadows into relief.

In that heartbeat there was stillness.

For the first time Ash was finally able to see what had been causing this entire mess, his expression morphing to pure shock as the Pokemon across the newly created clearing expressed itself.


The Gardevoir wailed her rage to the world around her, waves of psychic energy further destroying the woods around her like a hurricane had come to call.


The word just slipped from him. And that sound…! Something pulled in his chest, making it ache fiercely. Had he ever heard such a thing in his life?

'Stay back!'

Lucario rushed forwards at speed, materializing a bone shaped staff which he snapped out at Gardevoir's head. The rampaging psychic Pokemon blinked out of existence before the swing had gotten within a foot of its mark, appearing directly behind Lucario with a mass of pure darkness held between her hands.

The warning had barely formed in Ash's throat when Lucario spun on the spot, staff spinning rapidly to knock Gardevoir's outstretched hands aside. The darkness spilled forwards in a black cone, decimating the forestry beyond. Lucario wasn't done, though, a bright Aura Sphere over his left paw now being pushed directly into Gardevoir's chest. She screeched with pain as she was launched bodily from the clearing with a boom, crashing through multiple trees in the distance and vanishing from sight.

'Keep back!'

Ash hesitated as the gruff voice snapped through his mind. Lucario spared him a glance before vanishing in an Extreme Speed, the trunk he'd been standing on cracking under the force.

"Dammit!" Ash cursed, looking around for Pikachu. He was, as always, right by his side. Unwilling to back down in the face of such force. "Come on, we can't let him-"

He cut off as another wail of rage and pain filled the air, far heavier than the rain that pounded the earth, the sound making him shudder. Again his chest ached fiercely at the sound. As though he truly felt like the world were ending.


"I don't know, buddy." Ash put an arm up as the rain increased, lightning flashing. "But we've got to try something."


Back at the village, parents held their children close as the far off inhuman wail cut through the air, building walls be damned. Many muttered prayers and some covered their ears, trying to block the horrible sound. Only the man on the porch seemed unaffected, taking a long pull on his cigarette as he looked out in the direction of the cry. Lightning briefly illuminated the grim expression on his face.

"Don't die out there, Guardian."


"You are very strong, to be able to keep up with me."


Lucario had long since abandoned his bone staff, his opponent's ability to warp around the battlefield instantaneously was far too versatile for him to exploit the way he had earlier. He had not been lying in any way a moment ago. He had always been seen as an outlier among the other Lucario the temple raised. Powerful but irresponsible, skilled yet untamable. It was, perhaps, one of the only reasons he'd considered allying himself with a human at all. Ash's Aura sang to him in a way no other human's had, and he understood that amongst his own kind the boy would be different like he was. It was an odd sort of bond they shared.

And here he faced another who was possibly his equal in power?

"I like it."

A fanged grin lit the Pokemon's face as he dashed in once more, hands glowing white with restrained energy. It was clear that his opponent preferred ranged combat, but he was unwilling to give her more than a moment at distance before closing once again, no matter how many times she blinked away. His Force Palms blasted parts of trees and stone aside like they were twigs and pebbles.

Psychic energy slammed into his side, throwing him through the air where he was barely able to orient himself before skidding through the muddy earth. Growling he launched forward again, determined to return the blow evenly. His speed was so fast that any watching would have lost track of him for a moment as he reappeared directly next to his adversary.

They exchanged a number of strikes as Lucario's paws shed psychic energy, pushing through the deflections in an effort to score a hit. He in turn frequently had to reposition in order to avoid being mauled by flying objects seeking his life. A quick step on an incoming branch the size of his head allowed him to somersault in the air, delivering a vicious axe kick to the top of Gardevoir's head, slamming her into the ground. His victory was short lived as a second, equally large branch slammed his now airborn body across the clearing into a large stone, cracking it.

They both took a second to get to their feet, but once again their gazes met and they rushed forward, her hands bathed in purple, his in blue.

Feinting through the attack, Gardevoir blinked away, this time her hands glowing with unrestrained electricity. She pressed forwards, blasting Lucario with enormous bolts that tore the ground asunder. He was only partially lucky, taking a single direct hit to the shoulder instead of multiple, however that was all she needed. The fact that he was thoroughly soaked worked deeply against him, zapping his body as effectively as if he'd been struck by a natural lightning bolt. Still he remained standing, body lightly smoking.

"It'll take more than that to down me," he said with a grin. The darkened sky flashed and thunder boomed over them. "Come!"

And she did, but not in the way he'd expected. Instead of blinking or charging, she seemed to multiply, filling their battlefield with identical clones of the original, every single one charging an even larger force of electricity.

Ready to spring away, Lucario's eyes widened as his body gave an involuntary twitch.



The whisper was barely heard as lightning blasted forth, filling the air with blinding light, and the smell of ozone. Lucario blinked rapidly as his vision cleared. Wait, wasn't that-?

Pikachu was in front of him, breathing heavily from having taken the electric attack and redirecting it to the sky. The ground around him was blackened from the sheer amount of electricity the small Pokemon had just channeled. Yet the annoyance at having his battle interfered with was soundly trumped by something far more unexpecting.

Gardevoir's clones had vanished, leaving the original at a position to his direct right. She was on her back, inexplicably pinned there by none other than his boneheaded partner Ash Ketchum.


When Ash had seen that Lucario was about to get blasted he'd once again been struck with a sense of powerlessness. He was barely able to keep up with where they were through the immense storm they were battling in and the constantly changing landscape was more than enough of a challenge to navigate. But it would be a cold day in hell before he ever abandoned his Pokemon. In spite of the many bumps and scrapes he'd accumulated, tired limbs straining beyond anything they usually endured, he'd found them. And with no idea what to do, he did what Ash Ketchum did best.

Dive in head first.

"Gardevoir you have to stop!"


The look of utter fury she was giving him was more than terrifying. Her eyes blazed with barely retained madness. It was nothing though to the saddened agony that tore at his chest. It pulled at him in a way he simply couldn't describe. And without really thinking he was pushing back at that same feeling, desperate that it might lessen even a little.

'Fool! She'll kill you!'

Lucario and Pikachu had dashed over to them in a heartbeat, ready to save their partner from the doom he'd so casually invited upon himself. Yet…

'She'll… why can't she move?'

"I don't know," Ash gasped tiredly, still struggling to keep Gardevoir against the ground. She was putting up a tremendous effort, but… it was honestly like he'd pinned a small child and not an insanely powerful Pokemon who was more on the level of being a force of nature, something that was still a complete mystery itself.


The rain only got worse, now feeling much more like hail than anything. The craters created by the battle had already partially filled with water. If they weren't careful they could actually drown.

"Gardevoir, please stop!" Ash paused to push her arms back to the ground, forcing the psychic energy she'd been building up in them to the sides. Nearby water sprayed outwards in a burst. "Let me help you!"

'Aura? That is the only thing I can think of.'

Lucario's voice made Ash blink in surprise, letting up the pressure a bit as he turned to the jackal. Gardevoir surged forwards, landing a fierce hit on the side of the distracted trainer's head which knocked him onto his back.

Lucario wasted no time in slamming the psychic Pokemon with a harsh Force Palm, crashing her into a nearby tree where she came to a stop, only to be hammered by a fierce electrical attack from Pikachu. Gardevoir let out a garbled scream, pinned to the tree by the surge.

"Pikachu, stop!"

Pikachu finally relented, dropping Gardevoir to the muddy ground like a puppet with its strings cut. She shakily stood only to immediately collapse with a cry of pain, barely maintaining her weight by grabbing onto the tree.

Ash struggled to his feet, still feeling dizzy from the hit. Pikachu was glaring at Gardevoir with sparking cheeks, ready to continue his electric hell.

"You too Lucario, she's done."

He pulled a small red and silver ball from his bag before returning it to regular size.

"She's in so much pain- I just don't understand it. We've got to end this. However we can!"

Let it never be said that above all else, Ash Ketchum was anything less than a Pokemon trainer.

He hurled the pokeball at Gardevoir, his aim true. Gardevoir's arms snapped up at once, halting the ball in the air a few feet in front of her before psychically tearing it in two, the individual pieces vanishing into muddy puddles. Incredible, both considering how insanely durable the metal balls were and how worn out she was from the fighting.

"Bet you can't do that again!" Ash shouted, letting his second pokeball fly. She caught the ball once more, freezing it in place feet from her face. The ball slowly deformed in a long wail of warping metal, finally breaking like the other. The psychic Pokémon collapsed forwards onto her hands immediately after the thing dropped to the ground. Gardevoir was clearly running on fumes.

Knowing this would be it, Ash reached for another pokeball only to find in alarm that he had just one left. Had it really been that long since he last traveled around as a competing League trainer? He didn't remember ever running out of pokeballs. On top of it all, the pokeball he pulled out was a premier ball, something he'd gotten at a mart for buying a number of the regular ones ages ago. They weren't really meant to catch Pokemon with, more for transferring already caught ones. Taking a deep breath, Ash slowly walked over to Gardevoir until he was directly in front of her. She made no move to flee or teleport away, though perhaps she wasn't even able to do that. Her eyes though…

They had lost none of their strength.

What a mess they all were. Soaked to the bone, beaten into the ground, covered in mud, exhausted in every way, emotionally ground down... He was overcome with the desire to sit, but he locked his knees, knowing that if he went down he wouldn't be able to get up for a while.

"This is my last one," Ash started bluntly, holding the premier ball for her to see. "The all white ones are weak for catching Pokemon with. Even how you are now, you could still escape it. Maybe even tear it in half like the other two."

The look she gave him was one promising that very thing. Ash wasn't deterred.

"But you shouldn't," he continued. Gardevoir met his determined gaze with her own piercing one. "I really want to help you."


Perhaps it was due to the almost contemptuous way she spoke, her meaning clear that there was no way he could ever hold to such a thing, that Ash took a step forwards, slamming his foot down with a splosh. Her challenge was met with the iron will of a boy who'd grown up dreaming of becoming a Pokemon Master.

"I will help you!" he shouted fiercely, his voice cutting easily through the rush of rain around them. Gardevoir almost seemed taken aback, eyes wide and unblinking. "No matter what it is! No matter how long it takes! I won't let you suffer like this anymore!"

The two stared at each other, one filled with intensity, the other filled with a mix of emotions too coiled for any to understand, least of all herself. Ash stood tall, and held the white pokeball out.

"So I'm going to capture you. And whatever is making you feel the way you are… I'll fix it."

With that he reached out and touched the pokeball to her head.

She barely seemed to notice, still giving him the most perplexed look he'd ever gotten from a Pokemon in his life as she turned to red light. The pokeball twitched ever so slightly in his palm before clicking and going still.

Gardevoir was captured.

Ash immediately fell back on his behind, groaning at the impact. The pokeball hit the mud with a soft splat. Pikachu and Lucario were at his side in an instant.

'You… are a really odd human.'

"Normal is boring," Ash said slowly, head in his hands. "Ow, she punched me hard."

"Pika pika… pi-pikachu."

'Six years? That sounds rough.'

'You two are a riot," Ash groaned, though not without smirking. His eyes fell on the white ball, polished clean by the lessening rain. It felt much more gentle now. Almost soothing. Slowly he took it back into his hands, satisfied with the weight it had. "What a battle."

"Pika pika-chu."

'I am also very wet but I do not believe he can currently move.'

"No, let's get going," Ash said quickly, shaking his head and pushing himself to his feet. He wavered for a moment before steadying himself on Lucario's shoulder. "I'm hungry and I've got mud in places I don't even want to think about."


AN: There we go. The beginning of Ash's grand adventure. Hit it with a follow if you find it interesting, cuz who knows when the next chapter will come out. If you know anything about me you'll agree when I say I'm a slave to my work, and it takes me a while to put anything out. To my Merging fans, no pitchforks, this has been on my computer for a while =P

If you have any questions, hit me up. As always, let me know what you think in the comments below. Or don't. You do you.