The next day the gang set off towards Cerulean city. Ash in particular was excited to try to obtain his second badge. And while his friends weren't attempting to get a badge, they were still determined to support him any way they could.
"So, we're going to have to go through Mount Moon to get to Cerulean," said Sam. "It's usually full of Zubat and Geodude, so we're going to have to watch out for that."
"Pika pika," Pikachu said, seemingly worried even if his expression hadn't changed a bit.
"You think they're going to be a problem?" said Ash.
"Zubat are poison type Pokemon, and they tend to know Supersonic and Confuse Ray," said Sam, "so it can be a pain to deal with them. As for Geodude, they're not as bad, but they can learn things like Rock Slide and Magnitude, which can hurt a lot of Pokemon at the same time. And if we're really unlucky, they'll use Selfdestruct."
"Ouch," said Meowth. "So, avoid Zubat and Geodude."
"Sounds simple enough," said Maria.
"Well, they're everywhere in that cave," said Sam, "So it might be harder than you think."
"We can deal with them!" said Mikaela. "We have a guy with a gym badge on our team!"
"Yeah, you do!" Ash said with a grin. "I'm sure we can take care of anything that place can throw at us!"
As he said this, they finally reached the entrance to the cave. The mountain rose above them, towering into the sky. It was an impressive sight, one that they would have to cross to get to their destination.
"Whoa!" said Mikaela. "That's a big mountain!"
"It sure is," said Sam. "And we need to go through it in order to get to Cerulean city.
"Well, we're not going to let that stop us!" Ash declared. "We're going to make it though!"
He then lifted his hands to his mouth.
"DO YOU HEAR ME?!" he yelled. "I'M GOING TO MAKE IT THROUGH YOU, MOUNTAIN! SO DO YOUR WORST!"
The rest of the gang stared at Ash incredulously.
"...What was that?" said Maria.
"I just wanted to let Mount Moon know that we're not scared of it," said Ash.
"You sure that was a good idea, though?" said Mikaela. "What if the mountain gets mad at you, and decides to throw a swarm of Zubat at you or something?"
"Uh, Mikaela?" said Sam. "I don't think the mountain itself can get mad."
It was at that moment that they heard a rushing sound coming from within the cave.
"What was that?" said Ash.
The gang looked towards the cave's opening. Their eyes were quickly drawn towards a blue and purple mass heading right towards them.
"Guys?" said Meowth. "I don't think that's good."
"See, Ash?!" said Mikaela. "The mountain is mad at us!"
The group didn't bother to dispute this. Instead, they ducked as a huge swarm of Zubat flew over them, screeching as they exited the cave.
"Stay down!" Sam yelled. "Don't let them notice you!"
Taking Sam's advice, they stood as close to the ground as they could, only briefly looking up to see the flying type swarm above them. Fortunately, it was not long before the whole swarm had passed over them.
After a moment, they looked up. Seeing that there were no longer any Zubat around them, they finally got back to their feet.
"See, Ash?" said Mikaela as they watched the swarm fly off into the distance. "This is why you don't make the mountain mad."
"I'll try to avoid doing so," said Ash.
Sam and Maria looked at them, then turned to each other.
"Those Zubat didn't look too happy," said Maria. "Do you think something bad happened in there?"
"Hard to say," said Sam. "But we really shouldn't let our guard down."
They turned to their friends, only to see them rushing in.
"Last one in is a rotten egg!" said Mikaela
"Not me!" said Ash.
"Or me!" said Meowth.
As they watched the others rush in, Sam and Maria groaned, and chased after them.
As they walked through the cave, the gang was not attacked by any wild Pokemon at all. While some would find this to be a relief, it somehow did not reassure them at all.
"So, not to sound ungrateful, but shouldn't we have been attacked by a wild Pokemon at some point?" said Ash. "I mean, there were a whole bunch of Zubat at the beginning, but they're all gone now."
"Yeah," said Sam. "We really should have seen more Pokemon."
After a while, they noticed that the cave wasn't getting any darker than it had been outside. As they looked up, they were shocked to see glowing lights attached everywhere.
"Who put those up?" said Meowth.
"That's awful!" said Mikaela. "Cave Pokemon are extremely sensitive to light! Too much can be disorienting to them, and they'll be unable to rest unless they find a darker area! Not to mention the risk that they will become aggressive if they continue to spend time under these weird lights!"
The rest of the group stared at her.
"What?" she said as she looked back at them. "I need to know this stuff if I want to be a great Pokemon breeder."
The rest of the gang looked at each other and shrugged.
"So…" said Ash. "Do we take out the lights or something?"
"Yeah," said Mikaela, "that would be the best thing!"
"But there are a lot of them," Maria pointed out. "How are we going to get rid of them all?"
Sam looked up at the lights. He noticed that there were wires attached to each of the lights, which seemed to run across the cave's roof.
"I think we can find the source if we follow those wires," he said. "Then we can figure out what's going on and stop the lights at their source."
"Then let's go!" said Mikaela. "We have to save those poor Pokemon!"
She rushed forwards, leaving the others far behind.
"Mikaela, wait!" said Sam as he rushed to catch her. "We don't know who could have set this up!"
"Hey, wait for us!" Meowth yelled as he and Ash ran behind them as well.
Maria watched in bemusement as her friends ran off. She then looked down at Ratty and sighed.
"We should probably go make sure they don't get hurt."
The group stopped after a while, exhausted from running through the cave. Ash, Meowth, Eevee, and Mikaela in particular collapsed to the floor, gasping for breath as they lay on the floor.
"Man," said Ash. "Maybe we should have waited a while… before we started looking."
"Definitely," Meowth groaned. "I ain't so good at running long distance."
"Yeah," said Mikaela. "But we still have… Pokemon to save."
"Vee!" Eevee said, still smiling happily despite being tired from running alongside his trainer.
Sam and Maria, as well as their Pokemon, stared at the two as they also tried to recover.
"Can we please avoid rushing in without a plan next time?" said Sam. "I really don't want to have to run like that again."
"Yeah," Maria panted. "I know that we need to help the Pokemon, but… let's not do it like this anymore."
For a moment, the group did not move. They simply stood where they were, panting in exhaustion as they recovered from their sprint through the cave.
They then heard voices coming from deep within the cave.
"Can you believe the boss told us to pass the merchandise through here?" said one voice.
"Well, the police and the G-Men won't be looking in random caves," said another. "Besides, we have to look for the Moon Stone anyway, so we might as well take advantage of that."
The group looked at each other, then slowly began to crawl in the direction of the voices. They managed to reach a large rock, which they huddled behind as they tried to figure out what was going on.
"I man, that makes sense, I guess," a third voice said. "But it's still kind of annoying to deal with cave pokemon, though."
"Which is why we have the lights," the second voice said. "Cave Pokemon hate bright lights, so they'll get out of our business."
The gang slowly peered over the rock to see a trio of men dressed in black uniforms. As they looked at them, they noticed a familiar symbol on their shirts.
"Guys!" Meowth whispered. "I think that's Team Rocket!"
"I know!" said Ash.
As they looked around, they were shocked to see a number of cages full of various Pokemon.
"Those poor Pokemon!" said Maria. "We have to do something!"
"Yeah, but not yet," said Sam. "We need to wait."
They watched as one of the men, the second one to speak, got to his feet.
"I'm going to see if the commander has any more information. You watch our guests and make sure they're comfortable. Well, maybe not comfortable, but you know."
The man then left, leaving the other two behind. The gang quickly ducked under the rock to avoid being spotted. As his steps began to fade, however, they carefully lifted their heads once more.
"Okay," said Sam. "While the other guy is gone, we need to take out those other two and rescue the Pokemon."
They then noticed a number of figures that were lying on the floor next to the two Rocket Grunts. They seemed to be struggling to move, as if they had been restrained somehow. The Grunts were currently taunting them, seemingly taking a sick sort of pleasure in tormenting their captives.
"Look at you," said one of them. "How does it feel being trapped by a bunch of big, scary men, little girlie?"
"I'd be enjoying it a lot more if you didn't stink," said the speaker, a girl with blonde hair. "Seriously, have you never heard of a shower?"
Ash and his friends looked at each other nervously.
"We need to save her!" said Mikaela.
"I know," said Sam. "We'll get to her and her friends too!"
They then turned to look at the girl. She had dark gray eyes and blonde hair that was tied into a ponytail, though she had a long bang of hair that partly covered her left eye. She was wearing a black vest over a light blue shirt, as well as gray shorts that were covered by a black skirt. She also had a pair of black accessories on the sides of her head that almost looked like black teardrops. And while it was hard to tell from a distance, she seemed to be two or three years older than Ash, which made the fact that she seemed completely unfazed by the grunts who were taunting her all the more impressive.
"Oh, you think you're tough?" the second man said. "Well, we'll see how tough you are after we're done with you."
"Yes, can you please be done with me soon?" the girl said. "I have things to do, and it's hard with you guys keeping me here like this."
"Watch your tongue, little girlie," the first grunt snapped. "It's only 'cause we're nice that you're not somewhere much worse."
"How is this nice?" the girl replied. "You guys are holding me hostage in a dark cave with a bunch of other people, not to mention a bunch of really scared Pokemom who you're probably going to sell on the black market. And you think you're being nice?"
She then lifted a pair of handcuffs.
"If you're so nice, could you at least hold these for me?"
The two grunts laughed at this.
"Man, you hear this girlie?" one of them said. "She wants us to be nicer!"
"Yeah," the other one laughed. "Like we're even going to hold those handcuffs for-"
It was at that moment that they realized what had happened.
Ash and his friends watched in awe as the girl jumped up and kicked both older men as she pulled out a Pokeball.
"We won't be nice either."
With a flash of light, the ball burst open. The two grunts had to shield their eyes from the flash as the girl's Pokemon emerged. As they opened their eyes, they were stunned by the beast that was now standing before them.
"Mommy?" one of them said before both of them were sent flying across the room. The girl scoffed as she walked up to her partner and patted her on the back.
Ash and his friends peered up from behind their rock and looked at the girl in awe. They then looked at her partner, a tall blue shark-like Pokemon with vicious-looking teeth.
"Whoa," said Meowth. "That Pokemon is amazing!"
"I know," Ash said as he pulled out his Pokedex.
"Data not found. Pokemon may not be native to Kanto. Consult your local professor for more information."
"I really need an upgrade," Ash grumbled as he stuffed the Pokedex back into his Pokedex. He then slowly emerged from behind the rock and began to make his way towards her, with his friends following him closely. As they approached her, they were caught by surprise when she turned to look at them.
"You know, it might have been helpful if you gave me a hand."
Ash and his friends stopped. Before they could answer, however, she spoke again.
"It's okay, though," she said with a smirk. "Team Rocket isn't something you should take lightly."
"I… guess not," said Ash. "I mean, we were going to help, but-"
"Hey don't sweat it," the girl said. "Garchomp and I had it handled."
"Chomp!" the girl's partner said.
Ash was about to comment on Garchomp, but before he could, a familiar voice rang out.
"Ashy-boy?! What are you doing here?!"
Ash groaned at the sound of the voice. He looked over at the area where the girl had been held and saw the face of his eternal rival.
"Friend of yours?" the girl asked.
"For lack of a better term, yes," Ash replied. He then made his way towards the bound boy.
"If you think I need to be rescued, you've got another thing coming!" said Gary. "I'll have you know that I was just about to get us out of Team Rocket's clutches!"
"Hello, Gary," said Ash. "I guess your journey has been going pretty well, hasn't it?"
"Better than yours, Ashy-boy. I already have ten Pokemon! How many do you have?"
"Well…" Ash said as he gritted his teeth, "I have three."
"Ha!" said Gary with a smirk. "Told you my journey is better than yours!"
"Shut up! I'll get more Pokemon eventually!"
Meowth walked up to Gary and looked at him. He then looked back at Ash.
"Is he always like this?" he asked.
"Pretty much," said Ash. "He's got a big head 'cause he's Professor Oak's grandson."
"The old man?" said Meowth. "I guess that makes sense."
Gary stared blankly at Meowth.
"Did… that Pokemon just talk?!"
"Hello!" said Meowth.
"Where the hell did you get a talking Pokemon?!" said Gary.
"Your grandfather gave him to me," Ash said simply.
"Why didn't he give it to me?!" Gary demanded.
"You weren't late," Ash said, a smirk forming on his face.
"Amazing!" another voice said, interrupting Gary. "I never imagined that a Pokemon could learn how to speak a human language!"
Ash and Meowth turned to look at the third hostage, a brown haired man with round glasses and a lab coat.
"Uh, hi?" said Ash. "Who are you?"
"I'm Seymour," the man replied. "I've been studying the Pokemon in this cave for years. Unfortunately, the lights that Team Rocket has set up are disrupting the cave's ecosystem, and it's causing problems for the local Pokemon."
"Yeah, we figured," said Mikaela as she and the others walked up to them. "We're trying to help the Pokemon!"
Gary looked up at Ash's friends in curiosity.
"So, who are these guys?" he asked.
"Oh yeah," said Ash. "They're my friends. We're traveling together."
"Yeah," said Mikaela. "I'm Mikaela! And this is my buddy Eevee!"
"I'm Sam, and this is Pikachu."
"My name's Maria," said Maria. "And this is Ratty."
"Well, it's nice to meet you all," the new girl said as she walked up to them. "My name is Cynthia, and this is my partner, Garchomp."
"Garr!" the large dragon type said.
"Nice to meet you too," Ash said as he turned to her. "I'm Ash Ketchum, and this is Meowth."
"Hey there!" said Meowth.
"Neat," said Cynthia. "I've never met a talking Pokemon before."
"Well, this is all well and good," said Gary, "but can you please free me?!"
"Yes, please!" said Seymour. "We need to save the Pokemon!"
"Oh, yeah," said Cynthia as she walked up to them. "Let me give you a hand."
"Me too," said Sam. "Here, give me a second."
As Sam and Cynthia worked to release the two prisoners, Ash and the others walked up to the cages that the grunts had been guarding. There were a variety of Pokemon trapped inside that they couldn't recognize, all of whom looked rather miserable. However, they seemed to become somewhat more hopeful upon seeing the group approach.
"Who are these Pokemon?" asked Mikaela.
"I dunno," said Ash. "They must be foreign, though, because my Pokedex doesn't recognize them."
"Your Pokedex kind of sucks," said Mikaela.
"I know," Ash said as he frowned. "I'll have to talk to Professor Oak about that."
Meowth walked up to the cages, where the Pokemon in the cages cried out to him. He scratched his chin as he listened to them, then turned upwards to look at the locks.
"Okay, so we need to get you guys out," he said as he pulled his claws out. "Stand back!"
He then unleashed a flurry of Fury Swipes on the locks, slashing at them with as much force as he could muster. While he did manage to do some damage, the locks remained in place.
"Okay, it doesn't look like that will work," said Mikaela.
"Yeah," said Ash. "We're going to need some more power to break through them."
At this, they heard a fierce growl behind them. They turned to look at Garchomp, who had a snarl on his face as he approached. The gang quickly dispersed as the mach Pokemon lunged forwards and slashed at the cages, ripping them apart with little effort.
"Whoa," Meowth said, impressed by Garchomp's power. He then watched as the trapped Pokemon jumped forwards. He did a quick count and saw that there were a total of five individuals.
The first one was a small brown avian Pokemon with a round body and a bowtie made of green leaves. The second was a shrew-like creature with short arms and legs and a dark blue body with a cream underside. The third had a blue body and a white head and arms, dark blue legs and tail, and a strange cream colored shell on its belly. The fourth was a blue bipedal canine with black legs, as well as a black coloring on its face that resembled a mask. Finally, there was a black and blue feline with a star shape on its tail.
"What kind of Pokemon are they?" said Ash.
"Those are Riolu and Shinx," said Cynthia as she pointed at the canid and felid, respectively. "They are from Sinnoh, just like Garchomp."
"Sinnoh?" said Sam. "Is that where you're from?"
"Yeah," said Cynthia. "The other three are from other regions, though. I believe they're called Rowlet, Cyndaquil, and Oshawott."
"Wow," said Ash, "they're so cool!"
"They sure are," said Meowth. "But if they're from other regions, what are they doing in Kanto?"
"If I had to guess," said Seymour, "they were brought to Kanto by smugglers to be sold on the black market."
"That's awful!" said Maria. "We can't let them get away with this!"
"Well, we won't," said Cynthia. "We're going to find the rest of the Rockets, kick them out of this cave, and rescue anyone else who they might have trapped."
"Do you think they have any more Pokemon?" said Mikaela.
"And what about people?" said Ash. "You think they have anyone else to rescue?"
"Hey, you had your turn, Ashy-boy," Gary interrupted. "Now you should stand back and let the experts take care of this."
"Oh yeah?!" Ash snapped. "Well if you're an expert, why didn't you just free yourself instead of waiting for Cynthia to save you?!"
The two rivals stopped talking and turned to Cynthia.
"In case you two have forgotten, we are dealing with Team Rocket. They are extremely dangerous, and they will not hesitate to use deadly force on you. So you had better start working together, because I am not going to let you two waste time squabbling while the Pokemon and trainers in this cave are in danger!"
With that, Cynthia and Garchomp walked off, followed closely by Seymour. Ash and Gary looked at each other, then sighed.
"We should get going too," said Ash.
"Yeah," said Gary, "We should."
The two then made their way to catch up with Cynthia, followed closely by the rest of the gang, as well as the Pokemon they had rescued.
A/N: I was going to put the entire Mount Moon adventure into one chapter, but it was getting too long, so I've decided to post just this part now and the rest later.