Ash and his friends walked through the cave alongside their new acquaintances. While the humans of the group had interested him to a degree, he was most interested in the Pokemon they had broken out of the cages. In particular, Riolu seemed to like him the most, as she was currently following him and Meowth closely.

Of course, he was hardly the only one who seemed to have made friends with the Pokemon they had found. Rowlet had flown up onto Sam's head, where he was now turning his head around in every direction, scanning for possible threats from his new vantage point. Meanwhile, Shinx had quickly made friends with Eevee, and the two were now traveling together on Mikaela's shoulders. Finally, Cyndaquil had been somewhat curious about Maria, who had been eager to allow her to make friends with Ratty.

The only one who hadn't made friends with anyone yet was Oshawott. While hardly asocial by any means, the little water type didn't seem to be attracted to anyone quite yet. Though Gary and Mikaela had agreed that he most likely would open up once he had found the right trainer.

As the group made their way towards the source of the disturbances, Ash was eager to get to know his new friend better.

"So," Ash said as he looked down at the blue canine, "you're from Sinnoh?"

"Rio!" Riolu barked to confirm.

"What's it like?" Ash asked.

"Riolu! Rio, Riolu, Olu!"

"She says that it's really great," said Meowth. "Though it's kinda cold compared to Kanto."

"Cool," said Ash. "I wonder if I should go someday."

"I would certainly recommend it," said Cynthia. "I traveled through Sinnoh when I started my journey, and I took part in the league too."

"Really?" said Mikaela. "That sounds awesome!"

"Interesting," said Gary. "How well did you do?"

"I managed to place in the top 8," said Cynthia.

"Are you serious?" Ash said in awe. "That's incredible!"

"Thanks," said Cynthia. "I actually want to go back and challenge the league again in the future, but I want to gain more experience in other regions first."

"Gar, gar!"

"Is that why you came here?" asked Meowth.

"Yeah," said Cynthia. "I've been doing my best to improve my skills and become strong enough to win once I go back to Sinnoh."

"Wow," said Maria. "That means you must have made friends with lots of different Pokemon, right?"



"I suppose you could say that," said Cynthia.

The group fell silent as they continued to make their way through the cave. The path would usually be dark and difficult to navigate, but the lights that Team Rocket had installed made it much easier to get through. Of course, this meant that the Pokemon who called the cave their home were being adversely affected.

"Those Rocket Grunts have no idea what damage they're doing," said Seymour. "The Pokemon in this cave aren't adapted to large amounts of light. Who knows what effect this will have!"

"Yeah," said Mikaela. "But don't worry! I'm sure we'll find them and stop whatever they have planned!"

"Sure we will!" said Meowth. "Nothing's gonna stop us from beating them up and saving all the-"


Ash and his friends jumped in shock at the sound, much to the surprise of the others.


The confused fairy type stared at them.


"Oh my!" Seymour said as he crouched down to look at it. "A Clefairy! I have heard so much about them!"

"Like what?" said Gary.

"Well," said Seymour, "there are theories that Clefairy came from another world, and that it traveled to Earth on a giant Moon Stone. The Moon Stone carries a mysterious energy from their home, and so it can boost their power enough to enable their evolution."

"You know, I've heard rumors of a giant Moon Stone hidden inside Mount Moon," said Cynthia. "Do you think that Team Rocket wants it?"

"I hope not," said Seymour. "If they got their hands on it, it could be disastrous!"

"Yeah," said Meowth as he stared at Clefairy, "disastrous."

The others looked at Ash and his friends, who were still eyeing Clefairy warily.

"Okay, what's wrong?" said Cynthia.

"We've had bad experiences with Clefairy," Sam explained.


"Row Row?"

"Oh," said Cynthia. "I guess that makes sense."

"It's a shame, though," said Seymour. "Clefairy is such a fascinating Pokemon!"

"Yeah," said Gary. "Shame that Ashy-boy is scared of a little Clefairy!"

"I'm not scared!" said Ash. "Just because the last Clefairy we met was with Team Rocket doesn't mean I'm scared!"

"Oh, that would explain it," said Cynthia.

"That is such a shame," said Seymour. "To have such a wonderful Pokemon join such a notorious criminal organization. Especially given what they are doing to this cave at this very moment."

"Whatever," Gary said dismissively. "You're never going to catch any Pokemon if you're scared of them like that."

"Hey!" said Ash. "I have three Pokemon already!"

"Yeah?" said Gary. "Well, I already have at least a dozen!"

Ash was about to retort, but before he could, Cynthia interjected.

"You know, I have nine."

The two rivals stopped bickering and turned to look at her.

"Nine?" Gary said. "You mean since you came to Kanto, right?"

"No," said Cynthia, "SInce I began my journey."

Ash and Gary stared at her incredulously.

"Just… nine?" said Ash.

"Yep," said Cynthia. "In fact, in all my time in Sinnoh, I only caught six."

"But why?" said Gary. "Doesn't that mean that you might not have the right Pokemon to beat your opponent?"

"That is true," said Cynthia. "But it means that you can spend more time training each individual Pokemon, thus enabling them to reach their full potential. And it means that you can forge much stronger bonds with each of your teammates, which will enable you to make it much farther than you may have been able to otherwise. True, more variety could enable you to have the advantage in a greater range of situations, but I find that the most well-trained Pokemon are able to overcome any disadvantage."

"Gar!" Garchomp said proudly.

Ash and Gary looked at each other, now much less certain than they had been before.

"So… it's not bad that I have fewer Pokemon?" said Ash.

"And it's not a good idea to catch too many Pokemon?" said Gary.

"Not necessarily," said Cynthia. "But that doesn't mean that you can't be successful with a large number of Pokemon for different situations. It all depends on how you train them."

"Oh, I get it," said Mikaela. "Depending on your training style, you may be able to train a whole lot of Pokemon really well, or you might have it go better if you focus on just a few Pokemon."

"That's right," said Cynthia. "Personally, I'm more fond of the latter approach, but I don't think it's wrong to choose the former. Again, it depends on the trainer."

Ash looked downwards, deep in thought. While he had initially been intent on catching as many Pokemon as he could, Cynthia's words had given him a lot to consider. After all, he also wanted his Pokemon to be his teammates, partners, friends. And if he had too many Pokemon, then how could he make friends with all of them?

Really, he had to think hard about that if he wanted to be a Pokemon Master.

His musings were then interrupted by Gary's smug voice.

"Well, at least I still have more Pokemon than Ashy-boy."

"Nobody cares, cabrόn!" said Maria.

As they walked through the caves, they noticed that even though the lights were not increasing in number, there were more and more cables strung along the ceiling. Cynthia narrowed her eyes as she noticed this.

"We're getting close to the source," she said. "Be on your guard."

"Chomp!" Garchomp said.

"Okay then," said Gary. "What will we do if we find Team Rocket?"

"Well, we'll need to avoid detection," said Sam. "The longer before they figure out we're here, the more time we'll have to plan. Depending on how many there are and what Pokemon they have, we may have to team up to take them down, or try to catch them by surprise."

"Huh," said Cynthia. "That's not bad."

"I mean, I want to join the G-Men one day," said Sam. "I kind of have to know how to do this sort of thing."

"Ah, the G-Men?" said Seymour. "That is quite a noble goal. It's not easy to want to jump into dangerous situations such as these, and you seem to-"

At that moment, a sound was heard just up ahead. The group tensed as they looked up, and the Pokemon of the group rushed forwards, ready to defend their trainers. Their eyes quickly fell upon a large rock that was lying just in front of them.

"Who goes there?" said Meowth. "Show yourself!"

There was no response, so Garchomp roared and struck the ground with such force that a large crack formed in the rock. This elicited a yelp from behind the rock.

"Please don't hurt us!"

The group stopped. Even if they couldn't see the speaker, the voice had clearly been that of a young girl. Not something that they would have expected from Team Rocket.

"Who's there?" said Cynthia. "Are you with Team Rocket?"

For a moment, there was silence. Then, the same voice spoke up.


Cynthia blinked as her guard came down.


Slowly, a brown-haired girl emerged from behind the rock. She was clearly nervous, but as soon as she lay eyes on Cynthia, a huge smile formed on her face.

"Tita!" she said as she rushed forwards.

"Riri!" Cynthia said as she opened her arms and caught the younger girl as she rushed into her. The rest of the group watched in surprise as the two girls embraced.

"I can't believe it!" the brown-haired girl said. "What are you doing here?"

"I came to Kanto looking for you, silly!" said Cynthia. "You think I was going to miss you starting your journey?"

As the two girls embraced, Ash noticed something familiar about the girl.

"Hey guys?" he whispered to his friends. "Isn't that the girl who was battling The Brock when we first came to the Pewter City Gym?"

"Yeah," Maria whispered back. "Verity, I think her name was."

"I wonder if she ever got that badge," said Mikaela.

Unaware of their conversation, Gary spoke up.

"So, are you going to introduce us?"

Cynthia broke off from Verity and turned back to the others.

"Oh yeah," she said. "This is my little sister, Verity."

"Hi!" the younger girl said.

"You little sister, huh?" said Ash. "Well, it's nice to meet you. My name is Ash! And those are my friends, Sam, Mikaela, and Yellow!"

"My name's Maria!"

"But you said-"

Maria slapped her hands against her face and groaned. Sam and Meowth sighed in amusement as Ash and Mikaela shrugged, while the others watched in confusion.

"What's going on?" said Verity.

"No idea," said Cynthia. "We just joined up a few minutes ago."

The older girl frowned as she looked down at her sister.

"Are you okay, Riri? We found Team Rocket a while back. They tried to capture me, but I managed to deal with them. They didn't do anything to you… did they?"

At this, Verity's smile faded.

"I was training my Pokemon when we were attacked by them," she said, her eyes welling up. "I thought my Piplup and Buizel could fight them, but there were way too many of them. I just barely managed to get away!"

Cynthia's eyes narrowed.

"I see."

She then reached into her bag and pulled out a pair of Sitrus Berries.

"Here, let me help them."

Verity looked down at the berries and nodded. She then took out two pokeballs and opened them, revealing two badly beaten water types. Cynthia kneeled down next to them as they slowly lifted their heads to look at her.

"Here you go," she said as she held the berries next to them. "These will make you feel better."

Verity's Pokemon looked up at Cynthia, then cautiously took a bite out of the berries. As the healing effects took hold, they quickly perked up and began to eat much more voraciously.

"Well, looks like you guys are doing a lot better now," she said as the two Pokemon managed to get back up.



Verity grinned and bent down to hug both her Pokemon.

"Oh my gosh! I'm so glad you guys are okay!"

The two water types chirped happily as they hugged their trainer back. Cynthia smiled at the display, then frowned.

"So Team Rocket thinks they can mess with my little sister?" she said, her voice much calmer than it felt that it should be. "We might have to do something about that."

She then looked at the rest of the gang.

"Well, I'm not going to lie. This could be very dangerous. If you don't want to take part in this, you don't have to follow us."

"Clefairy! Clef!" Clefairy said. It then turned around and rushed off.

"Clefairy!" Seymour said in shock. "Come back! It's not that bad! I promise!"

Cynthia sighed as she watched the two rush off.

"Anyone else?"

Ash and his friends looked at each other, a sense of trepidation heavy in the air. However, it quickly turned into determination.

"We're not giving up," said Ash. "We're going to do whatever we can!"

"Yeah!" said Meowth. "We can't just let Team Rocket do whatever they want in here!"




"And I'm not backing out either," said Gary. "I can't let Ashy-boy get ahead of me, after all."


Cynthia rolled her eyes, but couldn't help but chuckle. She then turned to Verity.

"You don't have to come with us if you don't want to, little sis. We can take it from here."

Verity looked downwards, clearly nervous. Then, to her surprise, Oshawott walked up to her holding his scalchop up high.

"Osh, Oshawott!"

Verity's Pokemon looked at the newcomer in surprise, then looked up at their trainer and cried out with determination. Seeing her Pokemon and their willingness to fight on, the brown haired girl steeled herself and looked at her sister.

"I'm still going with you!" she declared. "What if you need help? Who's gonna be there for you then?"

Cynthia chuckled and nodded. The two sisters then hugged each other for a moment, though they quickly broke off.

"Alright everyone!" she announced. "Let's go beat Team Rocket!"

The rest of the group cheered as they set off.

It was not long before they reached a large chamber within the cave. Carefully, they moved in, being careful not to make any sound as they observed the large number of grunts. As they did, they looked around the room, taking in as many details as they could.

The rockets were all standing around a huge gray rock. Some of them seemed to be measuring something, while others were strapping ropes around the rock. A few had Pokemon on guard, watching for any possible intruders. They also had a large number of electric generators, which were connected to the wires on the ceiling, as well as to the various devices around the chamber.

None of these were what drew the most attention from the group, however. What did draw their attention was the purple-haired man who seemed to be in charge of the group.

"How much longer will it take to secure the Moon Stone?" he asked.

"It's almost ready, Commander Petrel," said one of the grunts, a man with green hair. "Pretty soon we'll be able to get this hunk of rock back to base."

"Good," Petrel replied. "The boss is very interested in this thing, so you'd better get it done as soon as possible, Burt."

"Actually, my name is Butch, sir."

Cynthia frowned as she watched the rockets.

"So they attacked my little sister just because she was in their way when they tried to steal some dumb rock," she said, a degree of anger in her voice. "Well, there's no way we're letting them have it!"

She looked up at Garchomp, who was clearly getting impatient. The blonde girl nodded, and her partner jumped forwards, slamming into the ground in front of the Rocket guards, sending them and their Pokemon flying.

"What was that?!" Petrel yelled. He then spotted the newly arrived trainers.

"Intruders!" one of the grunts yelled.

"Well that's funny," said Sam. "I could have sworn you guys were the ones invading the Pokemon's habitat and causing problems.

"Pikachu, Pi."

Team Rocket stared at him angrily. Then, two of the grunts stepped up with smirks.

"Well, it looks like they don't like us getting these dumb Pokemon out of the way of our work," the first one, a blonde woman, said.

"Well, perhaps we need to tell them what we're all about!" the second, the green haired man, said.

Then, to the surprise of the group, the two rockets struck a pose.

"Prepare for trouble!" the woman said.

"And make it double!" the man continued.

"Here's our mission, so you better listen!" they said in unison.

"To infect the world with devastation!"

"To blight all people in every nation!"

"To denounce the goodness of truth and love!"

"To extend our wrath to the stars above!"


"And Butch, of course!"

"We're Team Rocket, circling Earth all day and night!"

"Surrender to us now or you will surely lose the fight!"

To the group's surprise, a Raticate then emerged to complete the motto.


The group watched the duo, rather bemused by the sudden display.

"And I though those other guys were weird," said Ash. "Does everyone in Team Rocket do that?"

"I sure hope not," said Meowth. "I'd hate to have to sit through that every time."

The duo, as well as the rest of Team Rocket, stared in shock.

"That… that Meowth just talked!" said Cassidy.

"You mean those idiots weren't making it up?!" said Butch. "Dammit, I owe James ten bucks!"

"Well, I sure am glad I pitied Jessie too much to make that bet," said Cassidy.


Cynthia stared blankly at the two. She then sighed and looked at Garchomp.

"Dragon Rush."

The mach Pokemon roared and charged at Team Rocket. Butch's face went pale, and he immediately sent out a Pokeball, which revealed a Primeape. The Pig Monkey Pokemon had just enough time to realize it was out before Garchomp slammed into it and Raticate.

"Damn it," Petrel said as he pulled out his own Pokeball. "Everyone attack!"

Immediately, the rest of the grunts let their Pokemon, which were mostly Rattata and various poison type pokemon, loose. In turn, Ash and his friends had their Pokemon charge forwards as well.

"Meowth!" Ash called. "Use Fury Swipes!"

Meowth drew his claws as a Zubat flew towards him. He dodged a Bite attack and slashed furiously at his opponent. The poison type cried out as a Rattata rushed in to Tackle Meowth, only to be knocked away by Riolu. The two Rocket Pokemon launched forwards to attack again, but were blocked by their opponents.

"Try and confuse them with Supersonic!" the grunt said. In response, Zubat released an earsplitting shriek which caused Meowth and Riolu to nearly fall over.

"Meowth! Riolu!" Ash called out. "Don't let it confuse you!"

The two gritted their teeth, doing their best to not lose their focus. Fortunately for them, a pair of figures suddenly appeared in front of Zubat.

"Is that Ratty?"

Zubat was so surprised by the sudden appearance of the strange Rattata that it cancelled its attack.

It was even more surprised when an Ekans slammed into it.

"What just happened?" said Ash.

"That was us!"

He turned around to see Maria, who was currently watching Cyndaquil jumping around to evade a male Nidoran.

"I don't like to see Pokemon get hurt," she said. "But if they don't get hit they can't get hurt. So I'm doing my best to battle in a way that my Pokemon don't have to hurt anyone, and they also can't get hurt."

"Huh," said Ash. "That… is actually pretty cool."

"Thanks," said Maria. "Now let me show Team Rocket what I can do!"

"Go ahead," Ash said with a grin. "Let's win!"

Around the chamber, similar battles were taking place everywhere. Each of Ash's friends were commanding their Pokemon against Team Rocket, doing what they could to stop them from carrying out their plans. Most notable, however, was Cynthia, who was now fighting three Pokemon at once; both Raticate and Primeape were still active, and Petrel had sent out a Weezing to join them.

"Blow that shark back with Smog!" Petrel commanded.

"Make it suffer with Hyper Fang!" said Cassidy.

"And you smack it away with Karate Chop!" said Butch.

The three Pokemon lunged forwards, their attacks ready. Before they could reach Garchomp, however, the mighty dragon type dove into the ground. Weezing was able to stop moving in time, but Raticate and Primeape slammed into the ground.

"She used Dig!" said Petrel. "Watch out!"

The three Pokemon had just enough warning to jump out of the way as Garchomp resurfaced. However, they were not quite fast enough to dodge the barrage of sharpened rocks at them, causing them to cry out in pain.

"Not bad," said Petrel. "Cassidy! Bob! Time for plan B!"

"That's not my name," Butch muttered, before turning to his Primeape. "Primeape! Get in close and use Close Combat!"

"And you use Hyper Fang, Raticate!" Cassidy called out.

The two Pokemon seemed apprehensive, but they still followed their trainers' orders. They rushed in towards the mach Pokemon, readying their attacks as they approached. Before they could reach her, she grabbed them both and slammed them into the ground.

"Don't let it beat you, Raticate!" yelled Cassidy. "You can do it!"

"You too Primeape!" said Butch. "You can do it!"

The two Pokemon struggled as they tried to attack their opponent as she held them down. As if that wasn't enough, Garchomp fired another Stone Edge attack, causing the two Rocket Pokemon to cry out in pain as they were pelted by jagged rocks.

"Now Weezing! Toxic!"

Cynthia's eyes widened as she realized what was happening.

"Garchomp!" she called out, but it was too late. The mach Pokemon was barely able to react before she was hit by a blob of purple sludge. In her shock, she let go of her two opponents, who took advantage of her distraction to knock her backwards.


"Ha!" said Petrel. "You can't beat us now! Attack with everything you have!"

The three Pokemon charged at the shark-like dragon, who raised her fine to defend herself. She then struck back with a Dragon Rush. However, even though she still had plenty of power, the move seemed to be slower and less potent than it had been before.

"Hang in there, Garchomp!" Cynthia said, her voice slightly shakier than before. "We can still win!"

"We'll see about that," said Petrel. "Sludge Bomb!"

"Karate Chop!"


Garchomp tried to dodge, but she was hit by a shiver of pain which left her unable to avoid being hit by the ball of sludge. She staggered as she tried to recover, only to be rushed by the other two opponents.

"Gaaa!" she said as the attacks connected. She then coughed as the poison continued to sap her health.

"Well," Petrel said as he watched. "It certainly seems like your partner won't be lasting much longer. Now why don't you just surrender now and save it the pain of losing?"

Cynthia gritted her teeth. However, she quickly caught something out of the corner of her eye, and smirked.

"I mean, that hardly seems fair. I mean, you've been fighting me three on one, so don't I at least get some backup?"

Before the rockets could respond, their Pokemon were hit by a blast of Fairy type energy. The rockets were shocked by the sudden appearance of a very angry Clefairy.

"Clef! Clefairy!" it said.

"What's this?" said Cassidy. "I thought we got rid of all the Pokemon in this cave!"

"Well you didn't!"

Cynthia grinned as she turned backwards to see Seymour approaching. More importantly, he had brought a whole horde of Clefairy.

"Sorry for the wait," he said as they approached. "We managed to find the rest of the Clefairy though, so it all worked out!"


Team Rocket suddenly seemed much less confident.

"Uh, sorry about the lights?" said Cassidy.

"We can fix that," said Butch.

In response, the Clefairy began to charge a huge number of Dazzling Gleam attacks. Ash and his friends had to shield their eyes as the collective power of the moves became too bright to look at. Meanwhile, the rockets watched in horror as the horde prepared to defeat them.

"Well, that's not how this was supposed to go," said Petrel.

The Clefairy cried out as they finished charging. In an instant, several dozen pink flashes were fired simultaneously, blasting Team Rocket with a massive burst of fairy energy. The blast shattered the ceiling of the cave, sending the invaders flying into the air.

"We'll get back for this!" Petrel screamed as they vanished in the distance.

The group watched them fly off, then took in the sight of the cave. Much of the cave's interior had sustained some damage, though there didn't seem to be any risk of a cave in. In addition, most of the equipment that Team Rocket had been using had been destroyed, causing the lights that Team Rocket had installed to lose power. Notably, the Moon Stone had been damaged as well, with several shards having been broken off from the main body.

"Well, at least it wasn't stolen," Seymour said in a relieved voice.

"And it's still here," said Sam. "Team Rocket could have gotten it."

"True," said Seymour.

The Clefairy approached the Moon Stone, staring at the pieces that had fallen off. Soon, there were several Clefairy surrounding the stone, looking down at the fallen shards.

Then, they began to pick them up and lift them into the air.

"Clefairy!" said the one that had found the group first. It's body then began to glow as the shard was absorbed into its body. It grew larger and pointier, and the wings on its back became more pronounced. Finally, the glow dissipated, revealing Clefairy's evolution.


The group watched in awe as several more Clefairy grabbed shards of the Moon Stone and evolved as well. Soon, the room was full of newly evolved Clefable.

"Wow!" said Mikaela. "They're so cute!"

"They evolved with the Moon Stone!" said Ash. "That's so cool!"

"Yeah," said Gary. "A lot of Pokemon evolve using stones. You really should know these things, Ashy-boy."

"Hey! I already knew that Pokemon evolve with stones!"

"But why?" said Mikaela. "Are they magic or something?"

The two rivals turned to look at her in bemusement.

"Well, this was fun," said Cynthia as they ate dinner while watching the Clefairy and Clefable dancing around the Moon Stone. "What are you guys planning on doing next?"

"Well," said Ash, "I'm trying to get to Cerulean city to get my second badge."

"Riolu!" Riolu said, eager to take part in her first Gym Battle.

"That's good," said Cynthia. "I guess that means we're going to face each other in the Indigo Conference, huh?"

"Nah," said Gary. "If you're facing off against anyone in the Conference, it's going to be me!"

"Oh yeah?!" said Ash. "Well, I'll show you!"

Cynthia chuckled and turned to her sister.

"What about you, Riri? Have you gotten any badges yet?"

"Not really," Verity said, frowning as she looked down at her Pokemon. "I tried to challenge The Brock, but he's way too strong. I came here to train so I could be strong enough to beat him, but then Team Rocket showed up."

"Oshawott?" Oshawott said, wondering who The Brock was and how he could be so strong.

"I see," said Cynthia. "Well, why don't I help you train? With my help you'll be so strong that The Brock won't stand a chance!"

Verity's face lit up as she looked at her sister.

"You mean it?"


"Anything for my little sister."

"Oh, thank you, thank you, thank you, Tita!"


The blonde girl smiled, excited at the prospect of training her sister. She then took another bite of her meal.

"This is really good," she said with a smile. "Way better than the stuff you get pre-packaged."

"Gar, Gar!"

"I'm glad you like it," said Maria. "It's not easy to cook for so many hungry people and Pokemon! Of course, it's a lot easier now that I have Cyndy to help with the fire."

"Cyndaquil!" the newly nicknamed Cyndy said, happy to be able to help her new trainer.

"Well, you should be proud," said Seymour. "I would love to have a cook as talented as you while I'm living in Mount Moon."

The rest of the group looked at him in surprise.

"You want to stay here?" said Sam.

"Of course!" said Seymour. "There is so much I could learn about Clefairy and Clefable if I stay with them! Who knows, maybe I'll even get to go with them to their home!"

"You still think they're from outer space?" said Meowth.


"They could be," said Seymour. "But I'll never know if I don't stay and learn from them!"

"I guess that's fair," said Gary. "I mean, my gramps has had some odd ideas, but they've always worked out in the end."

He then chuckled as he ate another bite.

"So, what's for dessert?" he asked. "I really want to see what you have in store."

"Well, I'm not sure, actually," said Maria. "I had Mikaela do the dessert."

Ash, Sam, and Meowth could feel their faces going pale.

"You… had her do dessert?" said Sam.

"Sure," said Maria. "I mean, she wanted to help, so I thought she could give it a try!"

"Are you sure that's a good idea?" Meowth asked nervously.

"Of course! What's the worst that can happen?"

As if to answer her question, Mikaela chose that moment to show up.

"The Baklava is ready!"

She then set a tray next to the group. They were shocked to see a bubbling mass of black sludge that smelled like coal.

"Well?" Mikaela said proudly. "Who wants a scoop?"

"Eevee!" Eevee said as he hid behind Ash, while Shinx hid behind Sam. The rest of the group looked at each other, hoping desperately for someone else to taste first.

"No one?" said Mikaela. "More for me, then!"

She pulled out a spoon and began to shove the "dessert" into her mouth. Her friends watched her in shock, then turned to look at each other.

"Maybe I should take a raincheck on that dessert," said Gary.

A/N: And here I thought the previous part was getting long. Ah well, at least I managed to get it done!

Anyway, we have a couple of new Pokemon for each of our heroes, plus one for Verity.

Also, a bit about Cynthia and Verity: so, when I Choose You first came out, most people thought that Verity's mother was Cynthia. But then the writers claimed that it wasn't actually Cynthia, but some other very powerful trainer who just happens to look a lot like her. Which sounded extremely stupid. And while I still think this is extremely stupid, I think it might be somewhat less stupid if they meant to say that Verity is actually Cynthia's little sister.

Granted, I decided to lower Cynthia's age to make it work better. But then again, we have no idea what Cynthia's canonical age is. And that's not even taking into account immortal Pikachu trainers who never reach puberty.

Oh yeah, more Team Rocket goodness (or badness, as the case may be). Including Cassidy and Whatshisface. And more of Mikaela knowing nothing about cooking.