A/N at the end of the chapter

On the Road at last: Sunset

"Your Pokémon were stolen~!" Fran gasped, before stuffing his face with another potato chip. The gasp made a bit of blood spill from the ice pack on his nose "That's completely horrible, er…"

"Tess." The girl spoke, making sure not make eye contact with the group. Thanks to Max's expert ear-pulling, Tess had calmed down enough to stop beating the trio to a pulp and find out they had nothing to do with her situation from Vence. After several apologies from the boy Max, the group sat on the now dust covered picnic blanket from earlier, listening to the girl's story.

"How'd it happen?" Vence asked, getting an awkward cough out of Max.

"I was-"Tess blushed and pointed to the river near the group before continuing. "I was a half mile up this river, er, bathing, when I heard a something snap. It wasn't like a leaf though, more of a camera shutter."

"Camera!" Fran and Vence gasped in unison. It was Rai's turn to face away from the group, his face beat red.

"Yea, a camera!" Tess continued as a vain pulsed on her fist "I turned around in the river in time to see the back of some creep running away with a camera AND my backpack!" She slammed her fist on the ground "Its bad enough that he has all my clothing and Pokémon, but he also has a…picture…." Tess trailed off, unable to finish.

Max nodded his head at the story before adding his part "I was passing by the river with my Gallade-"he pulled out a PokéBall and opened it, releasing a chivalrous, humanoid looking Pokémon with a green upper body and strong, white legs. "and heard her cursing out loud while hidden in the water. When I heard her story I volunteered to help her and gave her, er, clothes that I have in my pack for emergencies. We've been trying to find the guy for two hours."

"By beating up every damn trainer you come across? And destroying their trucks?" Rai grunted.

Max scratched the back of his head innocently before rambling "Sorry about that! I just stopped travelling with a friend and I'm use to seeing vehicles turning into robots and being destroyed, so I thought I'd get it over with quick! I'm trying to beak the habit." He and Gallade gave an apologetic bow before Gallade walked off towards the destroyed truck, examining it.

"Well." Fran said, placing Max's ice bag off his nose and tossing the bloody sack to the boy "I guess we're obligated to help you."

Vence could only make out a "Huh?", but Rai was more verbal.

"Are you kidding me?" The coordinator fumed "Why should we help her?"

"Hey!" Tess cut in "I'm not ask-"

"It's the unspoken code of Pokémon Trainers, right?" Fran said "Help those in need, receive good Poké-karma. You know. Not to mention it's just nice~" Rai rolled his eyes when he saw Vence nod his head in silent agreement.

"This is great!" Max hopped up "We can cover more ground easily and find the guy in no time."

"Whatever," Rai added as the rest of the group stood "I'm just not walking with her." He wasn't as forgiving as Vence and Rai.

Tess rolled her eyes at the comment, more interested in getting her Pokémon back than arguing with the kid in front of her."Max and I already checked up river. So we can split up into two groups- one going further down river and one going west, into the forest."

Fran raised his and Rai's hands quickly "Guess we're westbound~. "He smiled, making Vence feel slightly left out. Rai frowned at searching with the lesser of two evils.

"So you'll come with Max and I" Tess shot, causing Vence to flinch. He mistook her eager, angry tone as an indication that she didn't want him around.

"Y-yes Ma'am." Vence spoke lamely, to Tess's annoyance. Why was everyone calling her Ma'am today?

"We'll be off then~" Fran said, rising and heading into the direction of the forest. Rai gave Vence a 'good-luck-surviving' wave before following him.

"Wait" Tess called out, making both boys flinch.

"When I fought you, your balls dropped." She smiled smugly.

Rai turned around slowly, heated at the girl's comment "You bi-" The sight of Gallade holding three poke balls in its hands stopped the boy from cursing further.

"You'll need your Poké Ball, right?" The girl furrowed her brows. Rai and Fran took their Poké Balls out of Gallade's arms and rushed off into the forest before they suffered further embarrassment.

"This won't end well." Vence frowned, taking the Ball that contained his Unown out of Gallade's arm. The Pokémon just nodded its head, picking up on his feelings.

"This sucks." Rai said as he and Fran walked further into the forest. "Why the hell did you have to open your mouth about helping her?" He winced as his elbow scratched against a sharp piece of protruding tree bark.

"Good experience, der~" Fran spoke, calmly navigating through the forest "Vence can't go home till he gets eight badges, and there's no way he's getting them how he is now, yea?"

"So you have us volunteer to help a psycho?"

"Er, yea. The little boy, Max, could be good at teaching, ya know."

"Hm?" Rai stopped and scratched his chin. "What are you talking about? How could a kid like that be good for him to be around?"

Fran grinned "You're telling me you haven't seen the boy before~?"

"No. Should I?"

"He doesn't remind you of someone? Someone you've seen on T.V?"

"Get to the damn point." Rai growled.

"Nope." Fran said, continuing to walk further into the forest "You're a pretty new coordinator if you don't know the connection. Why do you think I didn't mind that girl, Tess, punching me in the face~? The kid was there and he's pretty high on the fame checker~!"

"I…I hate you Fran." Rai mumbled, taking another step into the forest. His companion gave him a thumbs up at the comment.

"These seem to be about fifteen minutes old." Max said, examining a sloppy footprint etched in a pile of mud. He, Vence and Tess had been travelling downstream for twenty minutes in search of the one that robbed Tess, but to no avail. The only slightly suspicious thing they had come across was a single footprint in the mud, slightly crooked as if it was left there from an average jogger.

"This is it." Tess stared hard at the footprint "I just know this belongs to that damn creep! I swear once I get my hands on him-"

"C-Calm down Tess." Max stuttered as Gallade blew its breath on the girl in attempts to cool her down (which was doing the exact opposite.)

"I hope she just doesn't go on a rampage again." Vence thought to himself, smiling nervously. "I don't think I could take a hit from her." He turned towards Gallade to see if the Pokémon looked strong enough to subdue Tess just in case, and found it staring into the sky, focusing hard."Gallade?" He asked as it wiped the blades protruding out of his elbows against each other, catching Tess and Max's attention.

"Gallade!" The creature cried before speeding off down the river

"Follow him!" Max shouted, taking his own advice and running after the Pokémon.

"I knew it!" Tess shouted in an excited tone "This IS IT!" She grabbed Vence's arms and began a mad dash towards Gallade.

"I-I can run on my own!" Vence cried towards the girl as she pulled him, his feet barely touching the ground. Tess chose not to listen. He looked pretty slow.

The group caught up to Gallade as it knelt huddled in a group of bushes that cluttered away from the river's bank. At the Pokémon's signal, the three of them got to their knees and stared at a clearing before their hiding place in anticipation.

"What's this?" Vence asked in a confused tone before being silenced by a 'hush' from Tess.

"My Gallade has a knack for finding people in a certain area." Max explained, pointing to Gallade's glowing blue eyes to emphasize his point. "He can use his Future Sight attack to look into the future and see anyone we'll come across. That's sort of how we bumped into you and your friends."

"Wow…" Vence whispered before raising an eyebrow "B-but If you saw us, why did you attack us?"

The kid nervously scratched the back of his head "Well, Gallade just saw that we were going to end up in a fight with you guys, so we sort of assumed you were the thieves." He let out a pathetic laugh "So this person might be innocent-"

"No!" Tess cut in "I just know we have the right person this time! I can feel it!" She stared at the clearing intently waiting for whatever Gallade saw to happen.

"Lade!" The Pokémon spat after a few minutes, nudging Max and the others. The group watched as a small, blue glow appeared in the middle of the clearing, expanding from a small orb to two distinct body shapes. When the forms appeared to be complete, the glow faded revealing a tall, rough looking teenage boy who held onto a humanoid, yellow and brown Pokémon that had a thick tail and firm grip on a large spoon. There were several backpacks hung over the boy's shoulders and Tess growled at the sight of hers.

"That was great, Kadabra!" The boy laughed, flopping to the ground and opening a back pack. "That chick didn't see it coming at all! I got some sweet shots of her too." He pulled a camera out of the pack and began to look through the pictures, smiling hungrily at what he saw.

"Kadabra!" the Pokémon cheered as it went through another bag and pulled out a large container full of Pokéblocks. It opened the case roughly and downed its contents.

"We've found our thieves." Max spoke as Gallade nodded.

"All I need is my bag and I can kick their asses!" Tess fumed. She turned to Vence "You have a Pokémon in there, right? Go out and battle them already!"

"Y-yes! O-okay!." Vence stuttered, expanding his Poké Ball. He was about to release Unown, but Max stopped him quickly.

"Not a good idea." The boy said "If you release your Pokémon there's no guarantee that he'll be willing to battle. He'll probably just teleport away and we'll really miss out on getting Tess's stuff back. We have to have a strategy…" Vence nodded at the boy's expertise while Tess grunted. He reminded her too much of someone.

"So what do we do?" Vence asked

Max smiled madly before pushing his glasses further up his nose."A special attack of course. Gallade, use disable on Kadabra!"

"Gallade!" The Pokémon whispered as its eyes began to glow blue once more. They watched as Kadabra stopped gorging itself on Pokéblocks and turned towards the bushes.

"What is it, Kadabra?" the rough looking boy asked, taking his attention away from the camera in his hands. The Pokémon got up and went into a battle stance and his trainer followed suit. "Who- Who's there!?" he screamed out. "I'm a pretty strong trainer so don't think you can-"

"Strong my ass!" Tess shouted, jumping into the clearing from the bushes. Vence. Max and Gallade followed suit, a little surprise at the ferocity of the girl "You're nothing but a freaking thief! I hope you're ready for one severe beat down!"

"Yea!" Max added as Gallade took a battle stance. He turned towards Vence who, at his look, pressed the button on his Poké Ball bathing the area in red light. The light subsided revealing a strange, V-shaped Pokémon.

"Unown?" the creature said, looking around at the strange people that surrounded it. The Pokémon looked to Vence for answers.

"W-We're about to battle." Vence said "Are you ready?"

The Pokémon looked at everyone once more before drifting towards Vence and stared at him hard with its one eye. "Unnnnn-NO!" The creature cried before being surrounded by a red glow and returning itself back onto its Poké Ball. Vence stared at the orb in dismay.

"W-What kind of Pokémon do you have!" Tess shouted at Vence, who flinched "Coward!" she added, pointing to the Poké Ball.

The teenage thief, who had been trying to figure who the group was, slammed his head into his fist in a revelation. "You're the river girl from earlier!" He chirped, resulting in a glare from Tess. His expression immediately changed "C-crap! Kadabra, get us out of here!"

"Kadabra!" the Pokémon screeched as it raised its spoon into the air. It looked at its trainer meekly when nothing happened.

"A disable, huh?" the thief said, catching his partner's thoughts. He tossed the group a dirty look "Think we can't handle you guys! I don't even need to use the Pokémon I stole earlier! Kadabra use psychic on these punks!"

"Kadabra!" the creature shouted as its eyes began to glow red. Vence, Max, Tess and Gallade were surrounded by a blue light and felt their bodies become numb. The group rose into the air, much to Vence's dismay, before being flung backwards by Kadabra, sending them all crashing into the shallow part of the river behind them.

"Crap!" Tess shouted as they rose to their feet. The thief and his Kadabra drifted towards them from the air, levitated by Kadabra's Psychic. He held a Poké Ball in his hand and had a smug expression on his face that even aggravated Max.

"This is your Poké Ball, right?" The thief spoke to Tess, half amused "Why are you stressing over it? If it's anything like that chump's Pokémon you're better off without it anyway!" He laughed and pointed to the chump, Vence, as Kadabra placed him lightly on the ground before the soaked group. "I bet your Pokémon's pretty weak anyway." He fiddled with the ball a bit and expanded it. "I mean, you only had what, eight badges in your bag?"

Vence and Max winced at the boy's comments as Tess visibly shook in front of them.

"What's wrong?" the thief continued "Damsel in distress ticked off?" He tossed Tess's PokéBall onto the ground and lifted his foot "I'll do you a favor and just crush the damn thing then you can lay off me."

"No!" Vence shouted as the boy's foot prepared to slam down on the PokéBall. He began a mad dash towards the boy, but couldn't stop his foot from making heavy contact with the Poké Ball. Max let out an anxious gasp when the boy lifted his foot off of the ball.

"Damn." The boy muttered as the orb opened in two and released its own red glow that immediately shot towards the lake and Tess's side.

"H-He opened it?" Vence stared in amazement as the light began to take shape. As the Pokémon formed besides its trainer, Tess couldn't help but shake more, but in anticipation.

"Heh….heheheh….ahahaha!" The girl laughed madly as the red glow grew wider besides her "Out of the water you three- NOW!" she commanded, causing Max, Vence and Gallade to dash towards the safety of dry land, more afraid of Tess than the Kadabra and thief near them. She turned back towards the thief and pointed a threatening finger at him "You honestly think that I'm some poor damsel that needs protection!? You've just sealed your own fate. I hope you like death by drowning! MONTY, Ice Fang!"

The red light forming besides her lunged into the air and faded, revealing a bulky, blue Pokémon with red scales arching down its back and a large, heavy tail.

"Feraligatr!" The creature shouted, still airborne, before opening its mouth wide and making its fangs extend into long, electric blue bolts. The bolts of ice were shot towards the ground with deadly accuracy.

"Damn!" The trainer said, covering his face to shield himself from the attack. The wiser Kadabra instantly used Psychic to lunge it and its trainer forward into the lake. The ice fang nearly hit them, but crashed into the ground instead, completely freezing it. Vence and Max stared on in amazement.

The thief jumped to his feet immediately while his Kadabra struggled to keep its balance "Stupid girl!" he spat as Tess's Feraligatr, Monty, landed roughly onto the lake's surface. "Kadabra- disable should be gone now. Use Tele-"

"No you don't!" Tess screamed, hopping on Monty's back. "Monty, launch an airborne Hydro Pump and Blizzard combo. We'll show these pricks not to mess with us!"

"Gatr!" Monty happily roared before jumping into the air once more with Tess firmly on his back. He quickly fired a heavy blast of water from his mouth, but made sure not to hit the Kadabra and thief with them. The thief and Kadabra covered their faces as the Hydro Pump crashed into the water before them, causing a large wave to form and crash down on them. Before the thrashing waters subsided, Monty opened his jaws wider and fired a blast of icy wind at it, causing the waters to turn into a solid, spiky, mass of ice from the Blizzard attack. The thieving boy and his Kadabra were frozen inside it, completely immobile except for their eyes.

"That's what I'm talking about!" Tess cheered as she and Feraligatr came crashing onto the ground. She hopped off of its back immediately and wrapped her arms around the creature in a tight embrace. "Monty, you're amazing! I'm so happy you're back!"

"Feraligatr!" The creature blushed, unsure why it was being praised in such a way after a short, post nap battle.

"T-Thank you all very much!" Tess nervously bowed to Max, Vence, Fran, Rai and Gallade when the entire group was back at the site where they met. After the earlier battle ended, Tess had Monty chip out the thieving boy with his tail and, after beating the thief to a pulp, was finally reunited with her regular clothing and beloved blue and green knitted beanie. She found herself in the possession of other trainer's bags as well. "If it wasn't for your help, I probably wouldn't have found Monty. So, err, Thanks again and sorry for…" She trailed on at the last bit.

"Happy to help~" Fran smiled, giving her a thumbs up "It's all in a day's work~!"

"You didn't do anything but get us lost in the forest" Rai grunted to himself. He turned his attention back to Tess "So what are you going to do?" he asked her, sincerely interested.

"I'm heading to find the trainers these backpacks belong to." she lifted many bags by their straps. "Then I have to meet with some guys somewhere. Back to the usual."

"I'm heading out with her that way too." Max told the trio "Just a bit of business." Fran and Rai raised their eyebrows at the sentenced, intrigued. "And Vence, this is for you."

Vence looked shocked when the boy dug into his pocket and pulled out aluminum, green card with official looking print on it. He took Vence's hands and placed the card in it.

"What's this?" Vence asked, trying to decipher the technical writing on it.

"It's a Frontier Pass." Max smiled "For the Johto region. There's no way you can use it now, so I wouldn't think too much of it, but I'm in charge of distributing them to worthy trainers for my sis-."

"Worthy?" Vence and Tess said in unison, thinking of how Unown abandoned them earlier.

"Yea!" Max laughed at his own decision "It was pretty noble how you ran vainly to try to stop that guy from crushing Tess's Poké Ball. And my friend says that good trainers are ones that can get through things with Pokémon that don't listen to them in the beginning. You pretty much deserve it and this" He snapped a Poké Ball off the side of his belt "It's my way of apologizing for destroying your car. I caught it yesterday when it was screwing up the fridge in a Pokémon Center."

"T-Thanks!" Vence said, overwhelmed by the flashy card in one hand and Poké Ball in the other "I- I'll make good use of them!"

"Nerd" Tess smiled before walking away from the group with Monty happily following behind her. Max shrugged his shoulders and gave each of the boys a hand shake before rushing off after her, Gallade calmly keeping up by his side.

"Now that's luck~" Fran squealed, admiring the gifts Vence received "You're, well, lucky!"

"Good Poké-karma?" Vence smiled, getting an excited nod from Fran.

"Well?" Rai spoke up, walking near the broken down truck "Are you going to release that thing or what?"

"Y-yea!" Vence said, rushing over to the side of the car. He was actually excited to see the creature that was inside the Poké Ball. He had the strange feeling that it knew it had been handed over to him.

Fran elbowed his side "Now don't keep me in suspense! Let em out!"

Vence nodded and tossed the ball into the air. The trio looked into the light in excitement as it spread further out and then condensed into a small, orange creature.

"Rotom" The creature buzzed, speeding quickly from boy to boy examining them.

"What kind of Pokémon are you?" Vence asked quietly as it zipped in front of him curious at its new partner.

"Oh God." Rai sighed, shaking his head at the familiar looking Pokémon. Vence and Fran looked at him curiously "It's a Rotom." He explained "It's from my home region. Oh God…." He trailed off

"Well then, how do you help us?" Fran looked towards the creature who seemed to be discharging electricity from its body.

"It can…" Rai mumbled "It can..."

"Rot!" The Pokémon squealed at the sight of the broken down truck. Fran and Vence looked in amazement as the Pokémon zipped straight towards it and disappeared to it interior. They let out a gasp when the pick-up truck transformed from a rusty, broken down piece of rubble to a fully functioning truck that was suddenly coated in orange paint. They nearly passed out when the truck hopped to face them and showed Rotom's excited face on its hood.

"Magnifico~!" Fran shouted rushing over to the car "Rusty, er, Rotom lives!"

"So we have wheels now?" Vence smiled as the Pokémon honked an answer "This seems too good to be true!"

"It is" Rai mumbled, walking closer to Rotom, who opened the truck doors happily for him to get in. "Shot gun" he shouted, hoping inside and closing the door behind him.

"Cheat!" Vence grinned before climbing awkwardly onto the docking area of the pickup-truck, or Rotom rather. He couldn't decide what to call it.

"So we're back on track!" Fran said hopping onto the back of Rotom as well "Still think we'll miss your contest Rai?"

Rai's gruff voice echoed from the inside of the car "Shut up, Fran. Could you give the orders, Vence? Don't think this thing will listen to me."

"O-okay." Vence mumbled "Where…do we go though?"

"Point that way" Fran signaled.

"R-right!" Vence stuttered. He outstretched his arms and tried to point in the coolest way possible "Rotom! That direction! To, er, Heliotrope City!"

"Rotom!" the Pokémon shouted before speeding off into the distance at a magnificent pace. All three of the boys screamed in excited terror as the Pokémon zoomed down the road with enough speed to break the sound barrier.

Next Chapter: The midnight stake-out.

A/N: This is the end of this chapter! Please Read and Review! I promise not to make it this long again, guess I got too into saying everything, eh? Hope you enjoyed it!

Easter Eggs(if you didn't catch em):

-When Max mentions he's use to seeing robots blow up, he's referring to team rocket and his adventures with Ash, Brock and May

-The Gallade max has is supposed to be the Ralts he met in episode AG109.

-When Tess grunts at Max's strategizing, she's thinking of Connor, another O.C of Illusion-Factory.

-When Fran and Rai are in the forest, May is the 'person on T.V' he's talking about. He also mentions the 'Fame Checker', a device used in FR and LG that give info about famous people.