A/N: First of all I would like to thank Tigertyler7 for giving me ideas to help me move forward as a contributor. Not to mention being a co-writer in various future fights and appeal scenes in the story. Thank you very much!


I was panting… I have never been so tired in my life and my pokemon were the ones who fought! But I had done it, I won against the last Brain Frontier. Sceptile, Charizard, and Pikachu had been exhausted by the end, but we persevered and were able to defeat the Regi Trio. Making us the first ones to have ever defeated the Battle Frontier.

But I somehow felt empty with my victory. Maybe it was that I had grown up a lot in the last two years, having taken May and Max under my wing had made me mature a bit. So, I could be the best example for them to follow. Or maybe it was the fact that since I lost in the Ever Grande Conference, I had started to second guess myself on everything. I knew I could have won and passed to the semi-finals, so, why didn't I? Why do I always make the wrong choice in pokemon and let them down over and over again?

I know now that my first ever league was pure luck, my second less so but I still could have done better, but by my third, I've already gathered a nice pool of pokemon and a lot of experience. So, why was that league one mistake after the other? Not to mention this year! The Battle Frontier…

I was better, much better… but I know I only won because of my pokemon. Not because I was a good trainer. Don't get me wrong, I am a nicetrainer… but being nice doesn't mean I am good. It's not like I'll start being a bad trainer to be strong, but I have been neglecting my pokemon too much. I love the adventure of getting new pokemon and start their training from zero, it's always nice to expand my family and it's a new experience every time. But I shouldn't neglect my past pokemon for the new ones, most of my pokemon are only in shape because they keep training themselves while in the Ranch.

How foolish I was to recall pokemon during conferences and expect them to fight as if they had never left my side? I should have noticed that! Poor Kingler and Muk, they had never been on the road with me and they had always been so affectionate with me!

Touch starved for sure… Not to mention, Totodile and Cyndaquil, should have evolved by now! Primeape and Pidgeot had been forgotten as well… I am truly a horrible trainer…

Obliviousness is not bliss. My stupidity and naivety have been hurting my pokemon long enough!

"Pika pi?" I was snapped out of my gloomy thoughts by my best friend, my brother in all but blood and species.

"It's ok Pikachu," I smiled at my worried pokemon. "It will all be ok," I sighed. The weight that I had been feeling all year long was finally being lifted. "I'll make sure of it!"

"Pika pi!" Pikachu exclaimed, his eyes burning with determination.

He also looked relieved. No wonder he has surely noticed my weird behavior and has been concerned. I felt bad about worrying him, but this was the wakeup call I had been needing.

I stood up and left my room in the Pokemon Center. I was alone with May having already left for Johto, Max for Hoenn and Brock having gone back home. I knew it was late but I also knew that Professor Oak was awake. He always works late during this season, with the Indigo League being so close, a lot of trainers were training hard and needed his help at all sorts of times.

"Ash, my boy, what has you up so late?" Professor Oak asked me with a concerned frown.

"You see Professor, I have just realized what a conceited fool I have been," I chuckled humorlessly.

"Ash!/Pikapi!" Both Professor Oak and Pikachu exclaimed, casting worried looks towards me.

"It's ok. I needed that wake-up call and I want to be better… I need to be better. My pokemon deserve that." I don't know what it was. If it was my declaration, my tone of voice, or my determined expression but the surprised expression on Professor Oak's face turned into one of pride. "I will take a detour and get back a couple of friends but when I return it will be an intense three months of training before the Sinnoh League starts. Can you teach me how to be a better trainer Professor?"

"I would love to, my boy," he replied with warmth, making my heart burst in happiness. "I would also recommend getting some cooking lessons from your mom. You might not become the best cook out there but you need to know how to feed yourself without Brock. Also, how your pokemon food differs from their type. Or how to groom them."

"I already know how to groom them," I cut him off, getting a surprising look. One I should have expected. "Brock has been teaching me since the first year. I love playing and taking care of my pokemon, so grooming came naturally to me. I also have a decent experience in first aid, but for something more demanding I need to go to a Pokemon Center."

"That's what nurses and doctors are for," he comforted me. "You also need to learn how to manage your bank account. Your mom has been doing so since the start, even paying Brock for all the food and grooming materials you have been using."

"I have a bank account?!" I asked surprised.

"Pi-Kapi?!" Said Pikachu also in shock.

"Well, what did you expect boy? You have won 24 gym badges, 28 if you count the Orange Islands, competed in three Leagues, won the Orange Islands' Championship, entered countless events in every region, even Pokemon Contests, not to mention you have all seven symbols and had become the first one to have ever won the Battle Frontier Challenge. All of those achievements come with a good paycheck. Why else do you think the Pokemon League is so popular and so many want to join it? Or why did you think they would ask you to swipe your ID before and after the competitions?" He scolded, making me sigh.

But he was right, I realized that I still have a lot to learn. "I will have mom teach me alongside her cooking lessons," I promised him. "Don't worry, I can't have gained that much… OH MY ARCEUS!" I shouted, not that I could hold it in. There were too many ZEROS!

"Now, you get my exasperation," he sighed. "But it was a good call from Delia, otherwise you would have spent it all without care." I wanted to protest but I was still in shock. I had too much money! Also, he was kind of right, scratch that he was totally right. "My first advice would be to buy an Xtransceiver, a great communication device with which you can have conference calls, and I recommend you get PokeNav Plus. It has an AreaNav application that shows you the region's map and where you can find the different types of pokemon or registered trainers. With your sense of direction, you surely need it. It also has a DexNav that shows you how many pokemon have collected in your area and a BuzzNav that gives you the most recent news."

"Wow!" I whispered amazed. "And I can afford them without blowing my account?"

"Ah," he sighed tiredly. "Yes, you can. I'll talk with Delia and have them here by the time you return home."

"Professor," I called out. I second-guessed myself then. I hated what I was going to say but this was the hardest decision I have made yet and one that broke my heart. But they deserve to be happy and be taken care of, something I can't do when there are so many of them. "I need you to set trading deals for 29 of my Tauros, all but the head of the herd."

Both Pikachu and the Professor looked at me as if I had grown a second head. I love all my pokemon and even if I hadn't been given all of them the attention they needed, I would never part ways with them unless they wanted to or had met their family elsewhere. So, me saying that I was going to trade 29 of my pokemon, even if they were all Tauros, was as if I had told them I met Arceus… which given my luck, one of these days will happen.

"Are you sure, my boy?" Professor Oak asked me carefully.

"Yes, they deserve to be happy and to be treated the right way," I answered. "I don't have the time or resources to do that. I know that many of them are itching for a fight and I can't be changing them all the time, otherwise, I would only battle with Tauros, and others prefer a calmer life on a farm or something like that. But just promise me that you will be extra careful with who you trade them with, they need to be good people. No matter how strong the pokemon is. Don't do it and set the trading day for after I return. They deserve to hear it from me and see me one last time." I could feel the tears waiting to roll down my cheeks but I kept them in.

"I will be careful, my boy," he assured me and I could see in his eyes that he had never been prouder of me than at this moment. "What pokemon would you like to trade them for?"

"You know me, Professor. Any pokemon for me is a great pokemon," I chuckled. "I'll leave that to you. I trust you." He looked somehow humbled, maybe because he knows how much my pokemon means to me and how much trust that I am putting in his hands. "But try to find some of the pokemon types that I don't have or don't have many of."

"That 'll do," he replied. "Have a good night my boy, Pikachu."

"Good night Professor/Pi-Pikachu," we said back.

"I hope that I've done the right choice, Pikachu." I sighed tiredly, scratching my friend's cheek.

"Pika," he sighed back, rubbing our cheeks together in comfort.

"Let's go to sleep... We have a long couple of days ahead of us." I told him, walking back to our room.

Primeape, Squirtle, Pidgeot, wait for me. I am coming for you next!