I guess the first thing I have to do is apologise regarding this project. Firstly when I wrote this, I did it with the previous part but chose to split it up because of the fact that it was just too long as it was. But as course, Murphy's Law, my USB decided to delete all of my data on it.

As a result, it meant that the chapter that I am writing right now had to be rewritten. This of course severely dampened on my motivation to continue this project however looking at things that have been happening with me recently, I suppose I really had to get off my ass and do this.

So this is off my ass.

There's not really much to say regarding this. After all, this is the end of the Virizion arc so I merely hope that you guys enjoyed it for what it was worth and once again, I apologise for the long wait that it was.

Also here, a lot more plot points and the challenges that can await Ash in the future are hinted towards. Let's see if you can find them! But once again, one has to note that other's reliance on aura and the possibilities that it can be used here are important. But I suppose for Ash Unova really showed him the darkness. Kanto was him learning about the world, Johto was him refining his skills, Hoenn was about sharing those and learning more about applications of Pokémon with Sinnoh allowing him to branch out and see the effects of other trainers and their difference in training methods, Paul especially.

In this Pokémon world then, I feel as though Unova allowed him to see the extent and branch of the numerous villainous organisations the best. This is probably why I chose to start here in terms of story.

As for the state of the anime, I've given up the illusion of catching up….Still this project will be something that I'll update every now and then. Still the XY anime is getting quite good for me so I'll keep on watching out for updates on it every now and then. And I hope you do the same for this project.

And as for the question posed by:

PocketMonstersDaisuki: When will Ash reveal he is an Aura Zero? I have an idea of when and what will happen however that is FAR away unfortunately. I hope that you enjoy what is to come though.

So I hope that you look forward to this finale! I hope that for those that were waiting, it was worth it! For any notes on the entire thing, I suppose that they will have to wait until the end. After all, it seems as though Nintendo upon releasing Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, has decided to move faster than me…..

But at the same time, I want to thank those that read this, those that stuck with me for this long time and those that simply tried to pick up the project after everything that happened with me. I'll try and meet expectations here but we'll see how we go.

And from me: enjoy.

Mr Question Mark.


"Boy. "

"Hunter J."

Both sets of eyes looked at each other across from the lake located in the Pinwheel Forest. Fire danced all around the area in places that could not be seen as J's airship had caused the trees surrounding the lake to fall violently. They burnt to a crisp however among that inferno and the chaos surrounding the area, only two figures focused completely on each other.

Hunter J's blue eyes met with Ash Ketchum's brown, the former's sharp and piercing while the latter's being hard and angry towards the person in front of him.

He wanted to turn around and look for those that were behind him, the group consisting of his travelling companions, Iris, her Axew, Cilan and his Pansage as well as those that had fought with him as well, the Castelia City Gym Leader Burgh and the Aura Justice Department's Agent Aura Jetstream with her Lucario.

They had been blown back when J had landed in her airship however how far they had been blown back was unknown to him. Her target was of course back there as well, the Guardian of the Pinwheel Forest: The Legendary Pokémon Virizion.

It was weak given its current state, having had its Aura fired back onto it with the machine that Ash and Pikachu had destroyed however they had a plan; to return Virizion back towards the lake which had absorbed all of the aura that had been taken by the Forest.

All they had to do was put Virizion inside the lake and then everything would be solved.

But they were all blasted back due to J's appearance, meaning that the only person that was standing right now that Ash knew, was Ash himself.

"I did not think that I would see your pitiful face here." spat out J. "But I cannot have you interfering any longer."

"I won't let you take Virizion. It's done nothing wrong, merely lived in this Forest! This is its home! And after everything that you've done to it, do you think that you can just get away?!" yelled Ash towards her.

J frowned, the only fragment of emotion that she let cover her face, even if it was only for an instant.

"Do not think that I associate myself with these other amateur poachers. If need be, I could burn this Forest to the ground where I stand now. There is no need for me to overwork myself when it comes towards capturing a target." she bluntly stated.

"You-!"

Groans filled Ash's ears from behind as he turned his head, seeing that the forms of those people that had been blown back were slowly recovering. He had been carrying Virizion but the Pokémon did not stir where it lay on the ground, only the people and Pokémon that had been with him doing so as they came to.

"A….xew?" Iris's voice came out soft as she slowly rose and held a hand towards her head, steadying herself as she slowly looked around for her partner Pokémon.

Cilan had risen as well, although had recovered a bit faster, his eyes looking around at the scene in front of him as he took in everything.

"Great Reshiram….." His voice was a whisper as he took in everything before remembering his own Pokémon that had been blasted back, turning his head in all directions to look for Pansage.

Ash's other Pokémon, those of Oshawott, Pidove, Tepig, Snivy and Scraggy all came towards their feet as they recovered and the sound of a man groaning filled the air, Burgh slowly coming to his feet with the help of his Pokémon, Leavanny.

"You…." Another voice filled the air, that being of the AJD member Agent Jetstream as she rose, a cut on her forehead that she held while the red of her blood seeped onto her white shirt. She looked straight towards J who did not seem occupied with her, only staring straight at Ash who stood in her way.

"Besides. Not only can I deal with one target but also two pests that have always chosen to interfere when they thought it reasonable. I think that this is nothing more than some higher power giving me an opportunity that needs to be taken."

"Lucario!" shouted Jetstream as she rose to her feet. "Subdue her with Aura Close Combat!"

Jetstream's Lucario came out of nowhere, bridging the gap between her and the Hunter, her paws shining with a bright blow glow as she came closer towards J.

Ash didn't even need to use his Aura Perception to realise the amount of aura that was needed to create that sort of glow. Just like her trainer, it seemed as though Jetstream's Lucario had an aura that was bordering at least on the level of Extremely High however was more leaned towards the level of Very High.

Lucario bridged the gap instantly, swinging a clenched paw towards J's face, something that she merely countered by holding up one hand that was glowing blue. The beginning attack of the Aura Close Combat made its mark, cracking sounds erupting from the collision between the Aura Shield that J was making and the attack that Lucario had sent her way.

"That's…..!"

"Telepathy? Another fine specimen. Unfortunately, I have no orders to acquire a telepathic Lucario so the only thing to do it to. Put. You. Down." J spat out those words as she used her other hand and grabbed Lucario's other paw, gripping it tightly as she spun, sending Lucario around in one circle before throwing her towards the group.

Ash shouted out as the Pokémon sailed above his head, ducking at the last minute as Lucario straightened and landed on its feet, sliding back slightly in the dirt under its feet as J clenched a fist and cracked her neck.

"Do not underestimate me. My experience in Sinnoh has taught me that the world cannot accept those that rely only on others and their expertise. I am not the person you met in Sinnoh boy. I shall eliminate any and all threats towards me and my clients. If you do not believe me, then all I need to do is show you a proper example."

J gave a click of her fingers as the door in the airship behind her opened. As she was standing on the ramp of her airship, it was easy to see the figure that was brought out by a number of her henchmen, bloodied and bruised as they dropped the figure in front of J for those standing to see.

Many faces went pale, Jetstream's anger manifesting itself in the faint line of aura that circled her body, something that was matched by Lucario as Ash stuttered the name of the figure that was thrown to the ground before J.

"L-Liberty…."

Liberty Knox twitched slightly, moving a hand at the sound of his name however it was something that J stepped on and grinded underneath her foot as Liberty tried to move.

"Yes, this one has been extremely resilient in the past few encounters we have had. So resilient in fact that I know that unless I see his body, he probably isn't dead!" J shouted as stomped onto Liberty's hand however the boy did not even make a sound but the sight of clenching of his bloody teeth by the group made it clear just how painful it was.

"B-But when did you-?" asked Ash however it was clear to him the moment that he asked the question.

While he, Pikachu and Lucario had left the vehicle that Liberty was traveling in, something that had exploded when the napalm trail that it had left had been ignited, he was sure that Liberty had left this world. However he vaguely remembered feeling a massive burst of wind that came out of nowhere to the left.

He had not thought anything of it but if that was J's airship making a landing in order to retrieve the wounded Liberty then taking off again before intercepting them here then it was clear how Liberty had ended up in the condition that he was in.

After surviving an exploding vehicle, only to be captured by J and her men… Ash wasn't glad if it was a good thing whether he had survived or not given his current state.

"I've had enough of the two of you interfering with my work. You, boy in Sinnoh and this one thinking that he can play the hero. Well welcome to the world of the villains. I'll show you what you amateurs get for choosing to fight me. Maybe this will set an example of what is to await you boy." Hunter J said those words as she leaned down, grabbing Liberty's left arm with one of her own and twisting it.

Slowly she did so until it became clear that it could not be twisted in any further direction, something that she merely looked towards Ash in the moment that they both knew it would not twist any further.

Ash let out a choking sound in that moment merely because he knew what was to come as he used his Aura Perception, seeing the faint trail of aura moving up J's arm and towards her hand that she was gripping Liberty's arm with.

His current state of being was something that could not solely be explained by surviving an exploding vehicle. J and her men had clearly added towards the injuries that he had right now meaning that any blood that was lost should have been focused on the areas where he was wounded.

However the current spot that J was touching was not covered with the blood of an Aura Zero; the blood that could negate the effects of aura instantly. Which meant that the chill that went up Ash's spine was entirely justified as J used the aura in her arms to twist Liberty's arm in an impossible direction.

The crack that filled the air was only accompanied by the scream of pure pain from Liberty as J broke his arm, throwing it carelessly to the ground as she spat on his form. He had finally moved, gripping his left arm with his right as the screams died, Liberty biting into his necktie in order to let the cloth muffle his cries.

"LIBERTY!" Ash shouted at the top of his voice however J merely watched Ash as if he were nothing more than a speck of dust on a windowsill. He watched her looking at him before she bent her knees upon facing Ash right now.

And as Ash saw aura gather in her feet, he immediately understood what it was that J was trying to do.

Wordlessly, she leaped forward, holding out her hand that had broken Liberty's arm as she raced towards Ash using aura in order to speed herself towards him as she made the jump, Ash backing away in pure shock and surprise at the action as J bridged the gap within an instant.

Ash opened his mouth to let out a scream-

"Pika-chu!"

The cry of a Pokémon came from the side as Pikachu leaped in from the side, slamming his Iron Tail in to J's forearm, something that she failed to notice given that all her attention was focused on Ash.

She watched the Pokémon approach with wide eyes, raising her arm cannon in order to freeze the Pokémon however Pikachu had the upper hand, striking said cannon with its tail, ripping through the metal and revealing the electronics underneath which sparked.

"You little-!" cried J as she changed her target from right in front of Ash, switching her hand from Ash's face towards Pikachu's. Pikachu looked stunned that J was choosing it over Ash however that sight was something that fuelled Ash from beneath.

He let out a roar as he threw himself into J's body, smashing the both of them onto the ground as he was pushed off the woman as she quickly turned herself on the ground so that instead of Ash on top of her, she was looking down at him with an outstretched hand filled with aura.

"Now it's ti-"

"THUNDERBOLT!" Ash didn't even give her the chance to finish as he cried out a command towards Pikachu, something which was complied.

"Pika-chuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu!" A stream of electricity sailed through the air, colliding with the arm cannon that had its electronics exposed.

The pure electricity struck the electronic, overloading the circuits as it exploded, throwing J right off Ash where he scrambled to get on his feet as he turned and faced J that had fallen face down onto the ground, gritting her teeth as she looked at the ruined cannon that had once been hers.

"Do you never learn? You may think that you have the upper hand however I would like to see you take on a force ten times your size! Men! Arm yourselves with your Pokémon and-!" She turned towards the sight of the entrance towards her airship, the others doing so as events escalated so out of control so fast that it was hard to keep up.

J's henchmen were starting to come out of the doorway however had yet to descend the ramp, something that the limp body of Liberty Knox was located at as both Ash and J paled at the sight of the boy grinning despite the pain that he must have been feeling with a broken arm.

"You….aren't going anywhere." He hissed those words out as he reached with his good right arm and brought out his gun, angling his head where it was laid down on the cold floor of the airship ramp, letting off a shot towards the ramp connectors itself.

The bullet connected with the connector, gas hissing out of the mechanism as it was released all in one go, the alarm of the ramp going off in an ear-piercing whine. J's men had jumped back at the sight of the gun however watched in horror as the ramp began to retract, obviously a safety mechanism put into place now that the gas connector had been damaged.

"That pest!" yelled J, her anger revealing itself in a fine line of aura that circled around her as she saw that Liberty was already moving. There was no way that he could stand given his condition, evident in the fact that he groaned as he was forced to roll to the side, off the ramp and onto the ground right beneath the airship itself as the ramp retracted.

He let out a gasp of pain as he hit the ground, the sight of the henchmen trying to get outside (although fruitless) filling the eyes of those that were watching as the ramp fully retracted into the airship, sealing off all back up that J was ever going to get.

She grit her teeth, turning towards the form of Liberty that was on the ground however it was the voice of the other person that she had deemed her nemesis, the only one that could likely fight back, that spoke out towards her.

"Enough J. I'm not going to let this continue. You think you can take Virizion's home away from it!? Well I'm not going to let you do that! And neither is anyone else here! I'm going to stop you, no matter what happens J!" Ash shouted as Pikachu came right by his side, cheeks sparking as it growled towards the Hunter.

"Is that so boy?! Well I think that your overconfidence there is unfounded and that it's time to show you that once and for all!" J reached for her belt and threw open a Pokéball, something that burst out with a flash of light as the Pokémon inside appeared.

J's Salamence let out a roar upon being released as it descended from the air before touching down on the ground and snorting as it saw the trainer and Pokémon that it was to be facing, before turning towards its trainer. J said nothing as she stood by Salamence's side, Pikachu not budging an inch upon realising its opponent.

"A-A Dragon Type!?" shouted Iris from the side, having found Axew in the claws of Krokorok and Sewaddle who had managed to recover from being blasted to the side as well. She looked towards the small Pokémon, Axew looking back at her. They met eyes for only an instant, Iris feeling the trembling form of the Pokémon within her arms now that she had taken it back.

No. Who was truly trembling? Was it her? Or Axew? There was no way that she could say that she wasn't scared in this situation, doing so was a denial of what was happening around her and an insult to those that had been hurt from such.

And Ash was one of those that was trying to make sure that the one Pokémon that could solve all of this could be saved from those that were trying to make this terrible incident continue and end tragically.

Was she going to allow that as well? Especially when facing a Dragon Type that she knew so well as a Pokémon?

It was clear what her answer was as she slowly let Axew drop towards the ground and raced towards the side of Ash, gripping the Pokéball of the only other Pokémon that she had in her party right now, despite the fact that there were a number of problems with said Pokémon; her Excadrill.

I…..

Iris grit her teeth as she felt her fingers touch the Pokéball ever so slightly, hesitation filling her as she gulped slightly. The problems that she had with Excadrill were not solved as of yet. What did that mean for her right now? Was she nothing more than a deadweight, doomed to be useless in the face of protecting this place that was the home to not only Virizion but other Pokémon as well.

I…..

She looked up, seeing the back of the boy that had entered this merely because he could not leave one Pokémon alone. The boy that cared for a Pokémon not simply because it was a Legendary but because it was nothing more than a Pokémon.

She always called him a little kid however right now, it was clear that he was anything but such.

He had grown, shedding that skin to become nothing more than a hero, a Guardian to fight those that wanted to strike against those that were helpless and in pain.

And right now, was there anything that Iris could do in order to alleviate that from the boy right now?

She clenched Excadrill's Pokéball on her side and grit her teeth as she forced herself forward, one thought in her mind.

Even if there is nothing I can do, I want to be there! I want to be by Ash's side as he fights to protect us all!

Iris reached that spot that seemed so far away, standing right next to the boy that was Ash Ketchum, Ash looking at her with surprise.

"Iris?! What are you doing here?" he seemed surprised, something that hurt Iris more than it should of. Why was he assuming that she was not going to help whatsoever? After showing them his Scar, was he really still keeping things to himself? Why was it that she could not help him in this time of need?

It annoyed her that that was still the case however she merely held out the Pokéball as she stood next to Ash.

"I'm going to help you Ash. There is no way that you can take on J by yourself. You'll need all the help you can help in this." she said in seriousness as Ash and Pikachu looked towards the Pokéball that she was holding out, the both of them turning back and seeing Axew behind her.

They faced forward, looking towards J as Ash weighed his options however shook his head.

"No. Iris, I need you to do something to help that is beyond this."

"What?! How can you-?"

"Iris! I need you to get Virizion towards the lake. No matter what happens, we need to make sure that this happens. I don't know if I can defeat J. Although I have no intention to lose, that doesn't mean anything. Me fighting J doesn't solve this. We need to get Virizion towards the lake. Otherwise, preventing all that back up was for nothing."

Ash gave a small smile towards Iris that she wanted to rip off his face in order to make it clear to him where she was standing right now. Next to him. By his side in order to make sure that he did not have to fight alone at all. That they could be a team.

"But then you'll be all al-"

"Is that what you're worried about?" Ash asked with that same surprised tone. "I'm not alone Iris. I have my Pokémon with me. And it is them that is all that I'll need to fight this battle. Yours too. We can't do this alone at all Iris." he said with that same soft smile.

"Hear that guys?!" Ash shouted back towards his Pokémon. "I need you accompany the others and make sure that we get Virizion back towards the lake! It's all up to you now so make sure that you make it worth it!"

Ash's voice resounded through the air towards his Pokémon as they all let out cries of agreement, before heading immediately towards where the fallen Virizion was.

"Osha!"

"Te-tepig!"

"Sni Vy!"

"Dove dove!"

"Scra!"

Their small forms tried to lift up the larger one of Virizion although with little success as Ash looked back and saw his other companion that had made it this far into the Forest with him.

"Cilan!" Ash yelled towards the Striation City Gym Leader and the boy seemed to straighten up and be knocked out of the position of awe that he was holding towards the situation at hand. "I need you to do the same! We need to get Virizion towards the lake! Can you do that?!"

"R-Right!" Cilan yelled back as he raced towards Virizion's side with Pansage accompanying him, doing exactly as he was asked. No, it was more like he acknowledged what Ash was saying as an order, acknowledging who it was that had led him here in the first place and inspired him to act towards what he was doing.

There was only one person that had done that and above all, there was no way that Cilan was going to let him down in that regard.

"Come on Pansage! Help me out using your Aura!" said Cilan.

"Pansage!" Pansage replied as Cilan reached using Aura Hands in order to get the ground underneath Virizion and lift up the Pokémon with the help of the other Pokémon around him.

"We're counting on you Ash! Make sure that you hold back J for as long as you can!" shouted Burgh towards Ash as he made his way over with Leavanny as he did the same.

"Mistress. Master Ash is right. We cannot simply stand around when the task at hand needs to be conducted." said Lucario towards its trainer as Jetstream seemed lost, looking at the broken form of Liberty that was trying his best towards leaning against the metal of the airship with his broken arm and gun in the other hand.

"But-" she said however as she turned towards the boy who had managed to get up towards a leaning position, his heterochromia eyes looking towards the sight of the boy that was facing J before turning towards the sight of Virizion and looking towards the people that were helping, a pained expression coming over his face upon realising that he could do nothing.

Jetstream stood silent as she watched the boy before nodding and facing her Lucario.

"Got it. Sorry that you have to lead me around like this Lucario."

"Not at all Mistress."

Lucario replied as the both of them worked their way towards Virizion and helped out as well, the group effort meaning that it was incredibly easy to actually lift the Pokémon off the ground unlike before.

"The others are helping so I have to do my bit as well. J is only after me so there is no reason that you have to stay here OK?" asked Ash towards Iris as she opened her mouth to speak however did not find the words before slowly nodding.

"I'm counting on you Iris. You better make sure that you do your best." he said with a fierce grin despite the situation. Iris looked towards the boy, slight colour rising towards her cheeks however she turned and raced back towards the others, using Aura Hands as well as they lifted Virizion off the ground and headed towards the airship that was blocking the entrance to the lake as they searched with their eyes for another way to get there.

The collection of people and Pokémon, including Sewaddle and Krokorok were clearly an easy target to which the only thing that was standing between them and surely being attacked by Salamence was the one boy with a Pikachu.

"Pikachu."

"Pikapi." said Pikachu in response as Ash reached for the tip of his cap, gripping it slightly before turning towards his partner, his best friend.

Their eyes met as water started to fall from the sky, the raindrops filling the area and the surrounding Forest as the pitter-patter of them against the metal of the fallen Jeeps and J's airship gave the only sound, as the two of them looked at each other.

There was a bond there that could not be explained by science or logic. It was a bond fuelled by trust, respect and a loyalty that went beyond what most trainers had with their Pokémon. And it was that bond that filled the both of them right now when it came towards facing the opponent that was in front of them right now.

"We never had an actual battle in Sinnoh did we boy? Well, now is the time for you to understand the gap between the both of us. You shall be dealt with swiftly and my target shall be acquired." spat out J, as Salamence lifted itself off the ground and beat its wings, water that was striking it flying in all directions.

"I think not J." said Ash as he was broken from eye contact with Pikachu, gripping tightly onto his cap.

He spun it around and he felt a grin come onto his face, something that was matched by Pikachu as they faced their opponent.

This was not a battle that was going to be termed 'fun'. It was likely that both Pokémon were going to be pit against each other in ways that Ash did not like doing towards his partner. However they were fighting for something that was larger than the both of them.

They both understood that and they both realised something that they had as an invaluable weapon against the Hunter J.

That bond that they shared was enough, after all, to give them that massive advantage over the villain that stood before them.

Which meant that this was not the time to be lamenting on the possibility of losing or the consequences of such. Ash did not have to win; after all it was Virizion that was going to protect everyone in the end.

But even so, this was his one chance.

His own chance to guard that Guardian with everything that he got.

"Pikachu!"

"Salamence!"

Both trainers cried out as their Pokémon leaped onto the battlefield, ready to strike and fight for that which their trainers fought for.

The final battle between those two opposing forces…

Began.


"Aura Rain Dance?"

Cilan let out that comment as he squinted slightly as the rain came down from above, hitting the ground and letting out a small, faint flash of blue before disappearing completely into the ground itself.

"The Pokémon must be using their abilities in order to out the fires in the Forest." stated Burgh with a grunt as he looked around as they walked towards the right of the airship in order to try and find anything that might serve towards allowing them to climb over the sides however nothing presented itself as such at the moment.

"Will it work?" asked Iris to no one in particular as she diverted her focus between making sure that Virizion was safe in her arms and the battle that was currently taking place between Ash and J. Pikachu had used a Thunderbolt in order to match Salamence's Aura Flamethrower the negation causing the usual burst of air to occur as a result.

The Pokémon was well trained for a Dragon Type, especially so and Iris could tell from a glance, water and sweat coming down her cheek as she watched the boy engage in the target head on as Ash shouted commands and J did the same. All the while, the limp form of Liberty Knox lay against the side of the airship, clearly unable to interfere due to the injuries that he had sustained.

"I don't know." It was Jetstream that answered, clearly someone that was more versed in the use of napalm as a method of burning things. "Although the napalm should be extinguished, there is perhaps more damage to the Forest than we know. All we can do now is make sure that Virizion, as the Guardian of the Forest is delivered safely towards the lake where it can regain its aura."

She was clearly stressed about the situation and like the others, the Aura Rain Dance had caused part of her hair and clothes to stick to her skin as she watched in the corner of her eye the boy in the suit that was helpless.

She grit her teeth only for an instant before turning her gaze towards the airship that was blocking the path of both sides, finding nothing that could serve as a way to get above or around the airship.

"Mistress? Can we not use the banks on the side?" asked Lucario as she indicated with her head towards the location that she meant however it was Cilan that shook his head regarding that statement.

"No we can't. The Aura Rain Dance has probably caused the banks to become muddy. Disturbing the banks as they are now could mean that we would fall towards the airship, being crushed by the mudslides and the airship itself. Although it leaves a bad taste in my mouth, there is no way of getting around, even with our aura." Cilan said grimly as the group seemed to rack their brains for some kind of solution to the problem.

"Axew, axew ew!" The small Pokémon at the foot of the group raised its voice towards the others as Iris turned towards the Pokémon, frowning slightly.

"What is it?" she asked, her voice tense as she tried to understand what it was that Axew was saying.

"Axew ew ew!" The Pokémon pointed between Leavanny, Sewaddle (who was currently underneath Virizion's body as with Krokorok in order to avoid the rain) and Snivy as they Pokémon pointed towards the side of the airship as well.

"That idea definitely has merit young one." replied Lucario as she seemed to understand what it was that Axew was saying.

"Please. Don't leave us in the dark regarding what it is that you have formulated as a plan!" said Burgh with interest as Lucario turned towards the others.

"Axew has suggested that we use the Pokémon that can lift using their natural abilities. It suggests that we use Leavanny's and Sewaddle's Aura String Shot towards the side of the airship in order to climb up. Snivy can then use her Aura Vine Whip towards bringing Virizion up towards the side with the rest of us using our Aura as well to lift." said Lucario as Cilan's eyes seemed to light up with fascination.

"That…..That's the best thing that we have come up with so far, actually the only thing, so what are we waiting for? We have the ingredients needed to put it into place, as suggested by Axew here, so there is no time to waste!" Cilan cried as the others nodded their heads towards each other as Iris turned towards her Pokémon beneath her and gave a small smile.

"Good job Axew." she said as she used an Aura Hand to rub the head of the small Pokémon as the small Dragon Type seemed to blush slightly.

"Axew."

"Alright then Leavanny, Sewaddle. Use Aura String Shot on the side of the airship!" cried Burgh as he pointed directly towards the side, the Pokémon letting out a fine thread that glowed blue from their mouths where it stuck towards the side of the airship.

"Dove dove!" Pidove let out a cry as it grabbed used its talons to grab Snivy by the arms and lift it up into the air where the two of them flew towards the top of the airship, Snivy placing itself onto said roof and looking down at the others.

"Osha osha!" cried Oshawott as it clearly wanted to get up onto the roof as well using Pidove's tactic however it was stuck on the ground with the others.

"Everyone, I need you to wrap the String Shot around the sides of Virizion. We're basically treating this like a lift so we need to be careful and wrap them around tightly in order to make sure that Virizion has no chance of falling." ordered Jetstream as the others did as asked, moving and grabbing the sticky thread of the String Shot and moving it around Virizion's body in order to allow it the best chance of lifting.

"Has everyone got it?" asked Iris as the others nodded and the Pokémon around her seemed to agree and look on at their work with pride.

"Scraggy!" Scraggy grinned while looking towards the sight of the wrapped Virizion before turning and looking upwards towards Snivy.

"Pig, tepig!" Tepig was doing the same thing and shouted out towards the Pokémon, Snivy letting out a cry towards Leavanny and Sewaddle as they shot more Aura String Shots towards the side of the airship. They stuck to it, Snivy following up with an Aura Vine Whip, in order to make certain that nothing was negated, as she wrapped all off the threads together.

The end result was something of a facsimile of cable car wires that ran upwards, Snivy using her Vines towards detaching the String Shots from the side of the airship and placing them onto the top of the airship itself, onto its roof.

"Vy Snivy!" Snivy cried down towards the others as Pansage gave a call in response.

"Sage!" The Pokémon moved towards the side of Virizion, something that all the Pokémon did as they grabbed onto the sides of the body.

"Mistress. We need you and the others to get onto the roof and lift Virizion towards yourselves while we do the same here except away. That way, we can get the Pokémon onto the roof." stated Lucario as Agent Jetstream nodded, forming an Aura Platform underneath her that everyone stood on as she lifted it into the air and placed it onto the roof of the airship.

"Is everyone alright?!" asked Iris as she yelled towards the others, grabbing onto the Aura String Shot despite its stickiness and the fact that she wanted to complain out loud regarding it.

Cries of the Pokémon beneath her, as well as a meek "Kroko" from the Ground Type Krokorok who was going to be exposed to the rain whether it liked it or not came from below as the others came towards the side of the Aura String Shots.

"Alright then?!" asked Burgh.

"Ready? Three…." started Cilan.

"Two…." Jetstream tightened her grip around the Aura String Shots.

"One….." Iris did the same, using her arm to wipe some of the Aura Rain Dance out of her eyes, something that was being blown towards her constantly as Ash and J continued battling.

"LIFT!"

Cries of people and Pokémon alike filled the air as the 440.9 pounds or 200 kilogram weight of Virizion was pushed towards and upwards respectively, held by the Aura String Shot. Everyone used their aura, bringing Virizion towards the side of the airship where it hung in a practically lifeless form as they brought it up higher and higher.

It hit the edge of the airship, something that meant that it was only one last push that required the Pokémon underneath to shift Virizion towards the side and onto the roof itself, the others grabbing Virizion's body and pulling it towards them, the Pokémon slumping slightly as it came onto the body of the airship itself.

"This is bad…" whispered Jetstream as the others noticed the limp form of the Legendary as well. "I don't know if Virizion has the ability to keep on going like this."

"We don't know unless we do what we need to Agent Jetstream." stated Iris simply as she looked towards her, the girl returning the gaze, her eyes turning towards the shaking hands of Iris that were in front of her.

No matter what anyone said, it seemed as though that reality that was in front of them was something that they had to deal with no matter the cost. There was no rule saying that they would definitely win and they had to face facts given what was in front of them.

And one of those was the possibility that they would not make it in time merely because of the state that Virizion was in right now.

But still, accepting that possibility and refusing to move simply because it was such would only lead to failure. Yet by accepting it and moving forward in order to avoid it was something that needed to be done, not only for those that were surely going to suffer in the face of the reality that it was but also for the Pokémon that was experiencing that pain right now.

While they might be weighing the options and considering whether or not they would fail, there was a Pokémon out there that was surely trying to survive because of the fact that it did not want to leave its home unprotected. It did not want to leave the Pokémon that lived there to judgment by the forces of nature that had seemed so harsh.

It merely wanted to survive.

And right now there were people working towards that.

So placing the thought of failure upon themselves was, in its purest form, an insult towards the Pokémon that was in a greater pain that they were right now.

The only thing that they had to think of was victory and the requirements to move forward despite that. That was all they needed to do and to deal with any obstacles in their way that prevented them from saving that one wounded Pokémon.

"You're right." nodded Jetstream as she looked towards Iris, seeing that the Pokémon were slowly coming up using Lucario's Aura Platform as a way to do that. "This is not time to-"

"Aura Hyper Beam!"

A shout came from behind the group as heads turned, only to see the sight of a sole Golbat, its mouth open wide, fire a stream of pure energy, something that was glowing blue towards the group that was currently standing in front of Virizion.

Iris, Cilan and Jetstream reacted instantly, throwing their hands forward in order to create an Aura Shield however the sight of a stream of water and flames went right past them, heading and intercepting with the Aura Hyper Beam.

The attacks collided in mid-air however it was not that they were of equal strength that caused them to cancel out.

It was because of the collision of aura and non-aura attacks.

The burst of air that was created from their interception threw the Golbat backwards as it was clear that it had not expected the retaliation in its form, the others crying out as they raised their hands to cover their heads and maintain their ground against the wind that rushed at them.

It cleared almost as suddenly as it had appeared, the group opening their eyes to see the sight of more Golbat coming out of a hole in the body of the airship, allowing them to hover above the roof of the airship itself. Bodies accompanied the Pokémon that were coming out of the hole, men and women that stood in anger against those that had fought them against their objective and target.

J's henchmen had found a way out of the airship, standing in front of the group as the Pokémon that had launched the attack, Oshawott and Tepig, jumped from the Aura Platform that Lucario had created and watched those that were their enemies, gazes intent in ensuring that the challenge that they had set forward was going to be met.

"You won't make it. You understand? You won't make it so give us Virizion!" One of the henchmen shouted towards the group of humans as the Pokémon made their way to the roof of the airship, standing in front of their trainers and Virizion with the answer to the henchmen's question clear in their gazes.

"Well…" said Iris as she gripped her own fist seeing that Axew was among those that were standing to protect Virizion.

If that was the response that her own Pokémon was giving towards the situation then there was only one thing that had to be done, something that was mirrored not only by her but also by the own trainers that were there.

"I can't…We can't allow you to do that. We're going to save Virizion and there is nothing that you can do to stop us." declared Iris towards the henchmen as they all grit their teeth in anger, their anger forming a small most of aura to flow around them.

"Well then girly, I suppose you're going to have to put your money where your cheap mouth is." the henchman spat out and Iris lowered her body, ready to command and fight at the same time when facing those henchmen in front of her.

Cilan mirrored her actions, something that she had seen him do when they were at the Hale mansion. Burgh followed suit, angling his body almost professionally, something that was reflective of his position as a Gym Leader while Aura Jetstream did the same, doing so with a greater professionalism that reflected her position as an Agent of the AJD.

They were ready and although they were not fighting one-on-one, that did not mean that they had as hard as a time fighting as Ash Ketchum was having right now. If anything, the fact that they were willing to fight on solidified something within their own hearts, something that was clear the moment that they chose to act against J and her men.

They were no longer termed as a role of a 'civilian' or 'bystander'.

The more accurate term to describe what they were right now was…

'Hero'.


"Aura Flamethrower!"

"Meet it with Thunderbolt!" Both of the cries ff the trainers facing each other ripping through the air as Salamence let loose another attack, flames that danced with shines of orange, red and blue as it shot towards Pikachu.

Pikachu, on the ground, naturally met the attack with its own, letting loose a Thunderbolt which collided head on, the collision causing a burst of air to explode out, throwing Salamence off its balance ever so slightly.

"Electro Ball!" Ash cried as Pikachu leaped into the air, forming the ball of electricity at its tail that it fired towards the Dragon Pokémon.

The ball sailed through the air however J had already made her own reaction against such an attack.

"Dodge! Get in close for an Aura Dragon Pulse!"

Salamence dodged in mid-air ducking underneath the Electro Ball before angling its body so fast that it came close towards Pikachu on the ground, opening its mouth ever so slightly as energy gathered there.

Ash grit his teeth. Although they always managed to get Salamence to stumble in the air, it was always the follow up attack that meant nothing, something that Salamence was always able to avoid and come in for another attack.

Although it had always either used Aura Hyper Beam or Aura Flamethrower to do so, this was the first time that it had actually come in close. While that meant that the battle itself had changed, that in turn meant that there was a chance for Ash to turn this around using the fact that it had changed from a Special attack battle that fired from a distance to a Special one that led to Salamence being close.

"Pikachu! Combination, Quick Attack and Iron Tail!" shouted Ash as Pikachu leaped towards Salamence that was gathering the energy, a green ball with a mixture of blue inside it as it readied the Aura Dragon Pulse to be fired towards its opponent. Pikachu crossed the gap between the two Pokémon, leaping into the air with its tail glowing with a metallic shine.

"Salamence! Fire!" commanded J.

"Pikachu! Strike!" called Ash.

Pikachu let loose the Iron Tail as Salamence unleashed the Aura Dragon Pulse, Pikachu's Quick Attack meaning that they had already managed to get close enough to strike. However what Pikachu hit was not the Pokémon itself but rather the attack that was centred in the middle of its mouth.

Aura attack collided with non-aura attack as the Iron Tail negated the Aura Dragon Pulse from within the mouth of Salamence, the Pokémon letting out a roar of pain as both of the Pokémon were thrown back due to the close proximity of them to the centre of the explosion of air.

Salamence hit the ground and Ash shouted out towards his Pokémon.

"Pikachu! Thunderbolt!"

"Chuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu!"

The stream of electricity shot through the air, sending out small explosions of air as it did so, something that had happened throughout the battle although now that Ash had the chance, used his Aura Perception in order to determine what the reason for it was.

The electricity hit Salamence and the Pokémon roared with pain as Ash focused his eyes, seeing that the entire battlefield had come from its gloomy layout towards a picture painted with blue, the blue focused on the ground that grew and grew as the rain from the sky added towards it.

Don't tell me….Aura Rain Dance?

Ash wondered at the nature of the attack however shook his head. While he knew that Aura Rain Dance was an attack that was mainly used towards improving the attack of Water type attacks the focused aura that Aura Rain Dance itself held meant that any Water type attack was supplemented with that aura.

However at its base, it was nothing but that. Aura Rain Dance was nothing but aura, focused into water form, raining down from the sky where it collected into puddles on the ground.

Which meant that given that fact, it was entirely possible for the boy trainer to turn this around in his favour.

"Salamence! Head towards Pikachu using your body as a ram!" shouted J with within the rain, both of the trainers watching the Pokémon as Salamence rose from the ground and used its aura to focus it into its wings as it literally sped towards the small Mouse Pokémon.

"Pikachu, Iron Tail on the ground!" shouted Ash.

Pikachu frowned for only a moment however did not reject the order as the Pokémon slammed its metallic like tail into the ground, the tail touching it.

And just as Ash had suspected, the Aura Rain Dance had formed small puddles of aura due to the rain collecting into the puddles themselves. And that in turn meant that the ground was literally covered with aura that could be deemed as 'an attack'.

Iron Tail met Aura Rain Dance, the attacks negating and causing Pikachu to be literally blasted into the sky from the explosion of air that resulted, Salamence completely underestimating what would happen as it slammed into the ground with no target to hit.

Pikachu spun in the air, facing the ground where it looked towards its opponent as Salamence slowly rose its head and looked towards Pikachu.

"Salamence. Aura Flamethrower." stated J in a calm voice as Salamence opened its mouth, ready to fire however J added something else towards the command, her tone cold as she spoke however the malice inside it threatened her image of a cold, indifferent professional.

"On the trainer."

Ash went wide eyed as he heard the command, seeing the Pokémon turn its gaze towards him with flames gathering there that had the faint traces of aura behind them. Pikachu in the air shouted Ash's name however he had already reacted.

He threw himself towards the side, the Aura Flamethrower grazing his skin as Salamence watched with cold eyes as it slowly turned its head towards the trainer, following Ash with its eyes. There was only one thing that was to follow and Ash knew it as all Salamence had to do was move its mouth and then it would be over.

"Pikachu!" Ash shouted as he tried to think of something, anything that would allow him to avoid what was to come. It came quickly of course given what he had learned about the nature of the battle that he was facing.

It was not only a battle between aura and non-aura attacks. There was a third factor that could be utilised to his advantage fully.

The battlefield.

"Thunderbolt! Use the Aura Rain Dance!" Ash shouted out and Pikachu responded at the same time that Ash had shouted out the first word, their hearts and minds so connected in their desire to protect each other, Virizion and the Pinwheel Forest that an overstated command was not needed.

Ash provided it anyway and Pikachu complied.

"Chuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu!"

The Thunderbolt sailed through the air, connecting and negating the falling aura rain drops with bursts of air as the Thunderbolt continued its track down. J looked at it momentarily however paid it no mind as the speed that it was travelling meant that there was no way that it would reach the ground before Salamence turned its head towards the trainer.

Salamence began to do so however the both of them forgot the important third factor. The battlefield was currently covered with water, the same water that rained down from the heavens and conveniently provided the Thunderbolt with a sort of 'path' to travel down.

Electricity passed through and jumped from raindrops to raindrops with a faster speed that J had not calculated before it struck the ground, the non-aura attack colliding with the aura attack that was on the ground before Salamence could even turn its head.

The explosion of air that happened threw everyone off their feet, throwing water and mud in all directions. Salamence received the worst of it, being tossed into the air as if it was a toy. Since it had almost been directly in front of Ash when the collision of attacks had happened, he was glad to not receive most of the shockwave however the force of it struck him in the chest.

He was thrown backwards as well, tumbling in the mud and water as J reacted too late to form an Aura Shield as she was blown back from the mere force of the blow, attempting to steady herself as she skid back against the muddy ground. As for Liberty, the blow forced his back against the airship he was leaning on and he bit back a cry as the pressure from the shockwave dug into his broken arm.

J coughed, something that all humans present did as well as Ash slowly picked himself up as he managed to choke out a command.

"Thunderbolt! Split the beams! Use Aura if you have to!" It was merely an idea that had come into his head as he spoke and he hoped that Pikachu understood what it was that he was aiming for.

Pikachu nodded in mid-air, although Ash did not see, as the Pokémon let loose another Thunderbolt through the air. However the singular stream of electricity was not present as it usually was. Thinking with all of its might, and trusting that the situation had called for Ash to ask Pikachu to use aura if need be (something that he disliked doing unless he was forced to do so or it was to his advantage), Pikachu complied with the request.

Its Extremely High level of aura meant that the tell-tale blue sign of aura was not present, instead being a bright yellow that matched its Type of Electric, that same yellow light shining through the electricity that shot out of Pikachu.

Yet even though it usually fired in one stream, the bright yellow stream of electricity split the Thunderbolt in two, firing two separate streams through the air, in different directions. One of course was to Salamence that was slowly recovering.

And the second was naturally to the third factor of the battlefield.

Ash had already got up and moved, racing as far as he could in order to try and find some cover, however found none as he was forced to thrown himself to the ground and grab onto his cap for what it was worth in order to make sure that it did not fly off.

J saw his action, as she watched as the two streams of the Thunderbolt, which was not an aura attack as Aura had only been used to split it, head towards their respective targets.

The stream that hit Salamence was first and the Pokémon opened its mouth to cry out in pain however in that same moment, a surge of electricity passed through the water that had collected in the soil of the lake in the Pinwheel Forest.

Once again, the negation that happened exploded outwards, throwing Salamence through the air as it was also being subject to a Thunderbolt, causing the Pokémon to tumble through the air before landing roughly on the ground where it slammed into a Jeep, causing the both of them to tumble over.

J this time was more prepared as she formed an Aura Shield, gritting her teeth as she saw mud and dirt fly towards her from where the crater had formed, where the Thunderbolt had collided with the accumulated Aura Rain Dance on the ground.

"SALAMENCE! GET UP OFF THE GROUND AND STOP MESSING AROUND!" J's primal shout was of anger and complete anxiety as she found herself being pushed back by some 10 year old boy with nothing but a Pikachu.

Her.

The Hunter J that had been feared by many and successful in the black market.

And here she was being pushed back by someone that that she had met in the previous region. Granted, the other pain in her side, the boy in the suit, was incapacitated at the moment, she was focusing all of her attention on the greater of the two threats. And right now that meant that her anger was fully directed towards him.

A faint trail of aura formed around her as her aura responded to her negative emotions, the sight of the faint mist trailing around her making her even angrier due to the fact that she was a professional. She was not supposed to be feeling these thoughts yet here they were and it was all because of him.

"Salamence! Hyper Beam! Strike Pikachu in the air!" shouted J as Ash on the ground grit his teeth at the command that J had used.

The key problem with his battling strategy, the use of the aura against non-aura attacks was that once it was shown, there was little that could be done in order to allow someone to take it and use it as their own.

Ritchie during the Indigo Plateau Conference had used it.

Gary Oak had used it during the Silver Conference and it was through his acceptance of the battling style that he and Ash had reconciled their differences and gotten closer as friends and rivals.

Tyson had used it during the Ever Grande Conference which through its use had led towards his complete victory of the Conference.

And finally Paul had done so as well, during the Lily of the Valley Conference, again allowing Paul to accept Ash's battling style for what it was and allowing the two of them to get closer.

While those were the major instances that came to mind, once someone decided to take control of the aura against non-aura techniques, there was nothing Ash could do to stop them. It was then something along the lines of him choosing to fight his against own strategy that he had formed.

Of course, that was something that was not necessarily a disadvantage as he felt a smile form on his lips, something that was surely matched by Pikachu up in the air.

Adaptation was something that was slowly formed and there was no way that one could completely get used to a technique when battling using it for the first time. Given J's, no actually everyone's reliance on aura, there was practically no chance of someone choosing to keep the technique that Ash had formed.

Ritchie had not done so when they had met in Johto. Gary had defeated Pikachu before Ash had gone to Sinnoh without the technique. From what Ash could tell from Tyson's battles on the TV, he had also abandoned the technique.

When someone was not used to something and tried it, it took a lot of time to adjust. And given the high stakes battle that J was playing with Ash now, where there was more on the line despite winning, it was perhaps the biggest mistake she could make.

Because Ash always had a counter strategy for things such as this.

"Pikachu! Dive and spin using Thunderbolt!" cried Ash as he slowly got up and looked towards the sky as Salamence fired the Hyper Beam towards the Pokémon that was in the air.

Pikachu turned its body down and put all of its weight into its front, the act of doing so allowing the Pokémon to descend with a greater speed that usual as it spun, using the technique that it had grown accustomed to in Sinnoh. However at the same time, it let lose a Thunderbolt, not firing it downwards but rather firing it so that the electricity surged through Pikachu's body given its descent.

The Thunderbolt trailed behind the Pokémon like a drill, covering Pikachu with electricity that made it seem like it had once more learned Volt Tackle even though Electro Ball had replaced it. The Thunder Drill that Pokémon had become descended through the air as the Hyper Bram came closer and closer-

Only to miss completely as the spinning body of Pikachu and the 'thunder drill body' that it had formed caused the Hyper Beam to ricochet off the side of Pikachu, changing its trajectory ever so slightly so that it still fell towards Salamence.

Salamence looked on in surprise as Ash looked in hope towards the Pokémon that was his partner however any thoughts of actually dealing some major damage to Salamence were thrown into the wind as he heard a choking sound from the side.

"A….sh! Dodge!"

Liberty's voice was hardly loud however Ash had already moved upon his request, throwing himself backwards, which direction he didn't care, as he hit the ground.

In the next instant, he saw the sight of J swing the Aura Sword in her grip above his head and strike the place where he had just been moments ago. She clicked her tongue upon realising that she had missed as Ash on instinct lashed out a foot that collided with her shin.

She grunted and reacted by swinging the Aura Sword towards the location where Ash's leg had kicked, ready to slice it off at the ankle as Ash's eyes went wide, retracting his leg fast however the Hunter still caught the boy's shoe, slicing the very tip of the sole with her Sword.

Ash scrambled backwards, only to see in the corner of his eye the impact made when Pikachu struck down towards Salamence.

Dust and smoke blew everywhere as a result of the attack that Pikachu had used, fuelling not only by the speed of the descent but also the Thunderbolt that had coursed around its body. Salamence yelled in pain once again but it seemed as though the faint trail of bright yellow aura that was surrounding Pikachu signified just how angry it was towards the Hunter that had once again threatened its trainer's life.

Pikachu in response to the action did not sever the Thunderbolt as its attack as it continued, sending a stray spark not towards J but rather the ground underneath her feet.

J had no counterattack as the Thunderbolt collided with the Aura Rain Dance there, sending an explosion of air to erupt from where the contact was made, throwing J into the air where she let out a roar of pain as she spun through the air, straightening herself as she made an Aura Platform that she used to descend towards the ground.

Pikachu raced towards its trainer's side as Ash slowly got up, wiping the rain out of his face and sweat off his brow as he too stood up and turned towards his partner.

"Thanks buddy. Sorry that you have to keep on changing your target like this." Ash remarked as Pikachu shook its head in response.

"Pika Pikachu pika-pi." came the reply as Ash simply acknowledged the response as he turned his head and focus entirely towards the person that was slowly descending towards the ground.

J touched on the ground as Ash watched in the corner of his eye, using his Aura Perception to try and see if Salamence was going to conduct a sneak attack towards the two of them. While J did not know about his Aura Perception, the fact that he had kept it hidden meant that if J had the chance for a surprise attack, she would surely take it using an aura attack that maximised the power of Salamence.

Off in the distance, Ash could hear the distinct sounds of a battle raging on the roof of the airship that J indicated towards with her arm that had the broken cannon on it.

"You hear that boy? That is the sound of your pitiful comrades attempting to escape with Virizion. To where, I have no idea however surely you must have realised that you are trapped right about now. There is no avenue for escape for you and your friends. Be wise and surrender." Although she said those words, her anger was evident in the way that she spat them out.

It seemed as though given that there was no one around to judge the cracks that were forming in the image of the 'professional J', she had no qualms in showing her hatred towards those that stood in her way.

Personally, this malice that she was showing only made Ash the more nervous when it came towards versing her but he stood his ground as he kept in mind what it was that she was fighting for.

"I won't. After all, why would you ask me to surrender if you thought you were winning? I've got you in the best spot Hunter J; and that is you focusing entirely on me. I trust in my comrades and friends. We'll manage to save Virizion and the entire Pinwheel Forest. And you will be caught as the villain that you are." said Ash smoothly as he kept his eye on where Salamence was.

"How arrogant, boy. You think that you, and only you are the one that can stop me? There have been hundreds of people that have thought to capture me and stop what I do. Business is what I live for and it is business that drives me. And so, I merely wipe away the competition. There is nothing more to it than that. But it seems as though some contestants are more resilient than others." Hunter J matched the smooth tone that Ash was using, her mist of aura slowly receding as she managed to compose herself.

Ash of course needed no explanation towards who these 'resilient' figures were. After all they were the ones that she had focused all of her attention on since she had spotted them.

And right now, the one in her vision was himself.

But in the eyes of Ash there was perhaps something that he needed to know. Even though he was sure that he had asked many times, this was something that he absolutely had to understand even though he did not want to accept it at all.

"Business? How can you think of Pokémon like that?! They are our partners, friends and beings that share this world with us! How can you think that they are nothing more than items!?" yelled Ash towards J as she narrowed her eyes.

He was surely angry however if that was the case then where was the faint line of aura around him that responded to negative emotions? Was it possible that the boy had an aura level that was that Low? If that was the case, it only fuelled her desire to rid him from her vision but as a businesswomen, she felt the need to answer; to justify herself.

"Of course they are items! Although they might live freely, in the end, they can be used as tools. Pokémon only exist then for someone to pick them up, use them and then toss them away. There is nothing more to it than that. People want tools. I supply them boy. You can think of things in terms of equality but even I can tell you that humans are always going to favour their own lives than that of a Pokémon. And what we want is to make sure that we can have the very best tools at our disposal for that." remarked J.

"Pokémon don't exist to be used like that! They deserve to be treated with kindness and live in harmony with us! Look at this Forest! The destruction! Can you look at this and say that this is nothing more than business?!" yelled Ash.

"Of course."

Her instant answer caused Ash to literally step back in shock as some part of him wished to disassociate with the Hunter. He felt his heart rate increase as he grit his teeth at those words.

What had he expected? There were people like this wherever he went and it seemed as though there was always someone that was going to harm people and Pokémon merely because of something that they believed in.

And in turn that meant that it was up to people like him, ordinary trainers, to stand up and fight against those in the name of those that they had tarnished.

"You-!"

"Ash…" A weak voice came from the side as Ash turned his head to see Liberty watching him, his head drooped to the side as if giving it a shove would cause the entire thing to fall off.

"Don't try…The respect that J has for Pokémon…..It's only on the level of a tyrant king looking with pride towards the work of slaves." Liberty slowly said those words as J scoffed at them before narrowing her eyes while looking at Liberty.

"Your words are sufficient enough to describe me. It is true. I respect Pokémon for their ability. Their ability to make money, create and be used as something more than this naïve ideal of 'friends'. People desire power and it is through Pokémon that they can achieve it the fastest. And as such, this market that has been created for rare Pokémon such as Virizion is something that will always call me. I will do anything to provide and ensure that the best weapons are delivered."

Ash felt sick in his throat as he was once more shown what lay at the heart of J; a woman whose respect for the beings that lived alongside humans was only due to the fact that they would do anything she asked of them and could be used for anything she wanted.

They were nothing more than tools to her and Ash Ketchum hated that to his very core.

"You're wrong J. And I will be the one to show you that. It's only through the connection and bond that we share with Pokémon that we can achieve the truly great things with them! Once we put in the time and effort to forge that then nothing can stop us from beating those that think that Pokémon are something that can be used! I won't an idea like that to exist so that it can hurt Pokémon like Virizion and the Pokémon of the Pinwheel Forest!" Ash spoke from his heart as Pikachu next to him crouched lower as if ready to pounce once more.

J on the other hand did not respond, at least not immediately as she seemed to touch her cannon on her arm almost subconsciously.

'I think not." she said when she chose to speak in the Aura Rain Dance, seeming to deny its very existence. Wasn't that Aura Rain Dance the very thing that suggested that Pokémon had their own lives that they wanted to protect, that they had homes and places where they could live without being used as tools? The want to protect something like that was only something that was shared with humans, meaning that that Aura Rain Dance in itself was proof that Pokémon had the ability to think and behave like humans.

That in itself as proof that they existed within the world as equals rather than tools.

However that in itself was completely ignored by the Hunter that had chosen her path.

That was something that was further corroborated with her words and actions.

"Pokémon exist as tools. And as such tools can be enhanced. But it seems as though the insistent denial of this fact by naïve idiot idealists such as yourself and some Pokémon themselves hinder the progression of the realisation of the nature of Pokémon as tools. And there is only one thing that perhaps hinders this more than anything else."

Ash narrowed his eyes as J seemed to form a conclusion of what was going to come next within her mind. She had decided what her next move was to be, meaning that Ash had to be prepared for whatever came next.

"And that is emotion. So what happens when that is taken away? When tools can be used freely without that emotion?"

"You've…got to be kidding!"

Liberty spat out those words towards J who seemed to look towards him with expectation in her eyes.

"You didn't think that Cipher was merely going to stop because of you and the Snag Machine hero did you?"

"You…know about that!? Wait, then that means…" Liberty seemed to grow shocked at something as he tried to stand up however the movement forward was pitiful as he fell forward upon trying to stand, landing face first in the mud as he grit his teeth and looked up towards J.

"Ci….pher?" Ash asked in a quiet voice. He remembered the conversation that Liberty had taken them through only days before.

It told of a process that removed the emotions of a Pokémon in order to turn them into machines, machines that were purely for the purpose of fighting that twisted their aura in a strange way. Ash had no idea what that was currently however he remembered the conversation simply because of the fact of how Cipher had tested this theory on those Pokémon.

Experimentation.

His thoughts went into overdrive but were cut off by J who spoke.

"There's more to the darkness of the world than both of you realise. And even if you fools think you can stop it once, the wheel keeps on turning. Like a fallen business, someone will always pick up the pieces."

"J!" Liberty yelled at the top of his voice despite being covered with mud, unable to do anything with a broken arm. "What did you do to your Salamence?! Do you have any idea of the repercussions on your Pokémon that there will be!? Do-"

"Salamence." J spoke once, not caring at all the words that were coming from Liberty. "Or rather should I say….Shadow Salamence?"

Ash seemed to tense at the words that she spoke. Ash had never seen a Shadow Pokémon in action nor did he want to. However here he was, placed in such a situation without regards of his own will.

His eyes slowly turned towards the sight of the Salamence that was Pikachu's opponent, his skin crawling as it considered the new enemy that he was now facing. A Pokémon that had its emotions removed. A Pokémon with a distorted aura.

And from what Liberty had said….

A Pokémon that went through psychological and physical torture in order to remove them from their emotions.

"Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!" Ash let out a scream from his mouth, however not because he was afraid. His imagination proved to be his worst weapon as he imagined the type of things that Salamence would have had to be put through in order to shut the door to its heart and turn it into a Shadow Pokémon.

He screamed for his opponent, something that made J smile at the sight of the boy trainer put through the anguish of having to face a Pokémon that had already been through so much. And in order to finally allow the chains to be freed and allow Salamence to fight as it truly was, a Shadow Salamence, J asked for one thing, something that only a Shadow Pokémon could provide.

"Shadow Salamence. Use Aura Shadow Rush."

The explosion of pure energy that was tinted with purple and a sick blue colour that looked as though it had been watered down erupted into the air.


"What IS that!?"

Iris turned her head towards the sight of the pillar of purple energy that was shooting into the sky only metres away however that moment of distraction served to be her undoing as Axew let out a cry from on top of the airship that they were fighting on.

"AXEW!" Iris cried out on complete instinct as she cursed herself for losing focus, seeing the small Pokémon being thrown back against the metal of the roof of the airship, the Golbat that had used its Aura Air Cutter against the Pokémon hovering in the air.

Iris's form started to develop a faint line of aura in response to her negative emotions however a shout from the side brought her back to reality.

"Pansage! Aura Bullet Seed!" Cilan's Pansage complied with a "Pan Pansage!" as it fired the stream of Aura Bullet Seeds towards the flying Golbat, something that collided and sent the Golbat falling to the roof of the airship.

Pansage though failed to notice the Golbat towards the side that struck the Pokémon with an Aura Air Slash, the super effective move causing the Pokémon to cry out in pain as Cilan grit his teeth upon looking at the scene.

His tension was short lived as Leavanny and Sewaddle came from the side, wrapping the Golbat around with Aura String Shots that prevented its movement as the cocoon that it was fall towards the ground, trying to struggle.

It was hopeless though as the Sunglasses Krokorok still trying to avoid the Aura Rain Dance however to no avail, let out a shout of "Kroko!" as small stones that shone with a blue colour formed around it, the Aura Stone Edge being poised, ready to strike.

It fired the stones in all directions, using and focusing its aura in order to turn the Aura Stone Edge into pseudo homing missiles, the concentration that was needed in such being immense as the rocks flew around in all directions, each striking their targets and causing the Golbat to stumble.

Yet the collective nature of an Aura Stone Edge was where its power lay, not in the singular stones that were fired upon the opponent. The Golbat quickly recovered and turned their gazes towards the Pokémon that had attacked them, Krokorok recoiling on mere instinct.

"Lucario! Use Aura Sphere! Split with Aura Bone Rush!" Aura Jetstream let out that shout towards her Pokémon.

"Absolutely Mistress." said Lucario as it responded by forming and immediately firing an Aura Sphere towards one Golbat that clearly was going to ensure a KO. Yet with an Aura Extreme Speed fuelling its movement, Lucario crossed the gap and reached the Aura Sphere, forming a large blue bone in its hands that it used the slice the Aura Sphere into tiny pieces with immense precision.

The Aura Sphere divided itself with Lucario using the Aura Bone Rush as a bat and it struck and sent the smaller Aura Spheres flying towards their opponents. Again, like with the Aura Stone Edge, it was rather the larger Aura Sphere that was going to cause damage, the smaller ones doing less however the large amount of aura that was being fuelled in the attack only served to increase the damage.

Smoke blew apart as soon as the smaller Aura Spheres hit, the Golbat once again stumbling in the air as they tried to balance themselves upright yet more attacks flew from all directions towards them.

A Gust, Leaf Storm, Razor Shell and Ember all flew towards the Golbat, sending tiny explosions of air where the attacks struck against the Aura Rain Dance, striking and sending the Golbat that had been struck towards the ground, all of them knocked out from the onslaught of attacks from the powerful Pokémon.

Of course, while all of this was going on, the sight of the baby Scraggy standing in front of Axew with its eyes focused into a Leer towards the nearest Golbat as the Pokémon merely looked back with bored eyes, ready to strike upon orders from its master.

"Golbat!" the henchmen all yelled out simultaneously, having received some sort of signal from the beam of purple energy that had shot into the air earlier, something that had disappeared. "The gloves are off! Use Aura Shadow Rush!" cried out the henchmen, more of them climbing out of the roof and onto the battlefield.

The Golbat responded, their bodies letting loose a visible aura that one did not need to use an Aura Perception for; a purple light that seemed to have parts of blue mixed in within it. The Golbat though did not respond with words as they merely threw themselves towards the Pokémon that had gathered on the roof.

It was a terrible matchup to say the least because of the fact that for the 11 Pokémon that they had on their side (Axew, Scraggy, Snivy, Oshawott, Tepig, Pidove, Sewaddle, Leavanny, Krokorok, Pansage and Lucario), there were at least 3 times that many Golbat heading towards them with the mysterious attack with the purple aura.

"Shadow-!?" The people that were most likely to know the most about the dealings of other regions due to their involvement with the Pokémon League and the AJD respectively, Burgh and Jetstream, went wide eyed as the attacks that had been commanded.

The Golbat, or rather the Shadow Golbat flew through the air and struck the Pokémon, the power from such throwing the Pokémon back upon the impact of the Shadow Rushes. All of the Pokémon cried out however that was not even the last of the problems heading towards them.

Such was evident in the fact that some Golbat had passed the Pokémon and headed straight for the trainers.

"WHAT!?" Iris cried out in mere shock as she saw Jetstream form Aura Shield around herself, something that was matched by Cilan as he formed one to cover himself and Burgh who had reached his Limit.

Iris though froze as she looked behind herself towards the Pokémon that had been wounded in the fight that they had gone through so far; Virizion that was barely breathing given the state that it was in. Iris turned her eyes towards the approaching Golbat and did the math in her head however from the numbers it was obvious.

There were surely going to be some Golbat ready to attack the wounded Virizion given the state that it was in.

The choice that Iris made was a no brainer as she formed an Aura Shield over the Pokémon instead of covering herself, gritting her teeth as she focused and tensed her body in order to try and receive the attack that was to come as she focused on protecting the Legendary.

"Iris!" cried Cilan as he saw the action that she was taking, Axew looking up from the ground where it was, looking in shock at the sight of what its trainer was doing.

"Axew ew!" it cried however Iris only grit her teeth as she was focusing all of her attention onto protecting the Legendary as two Golbat continued to beat into her body while others directed their attention towards the Aura Shield that she had formed around Virizion.

"IRIS!" called Jetstream as she immediately dropped her Aura Shield, succumbing towards the onslaught of Shadow Rushes from numerous Golbat around her and falling towards the ground on one knee, the two girls gritting their teeth as Iris was struck on the face and fell towards the floor of the airship.

Axew continued to look in horror as it saw the sight of its precious trainer being beaten as it grit its teeth, focusing all of its energy upon storing as much energy as it could into its belly in order to try and do what it was always having on its mind; protecting its very trainer.

"Axew! Protect yourself!" cried Iris despite the pain that she was feeling, however the Pokémon did not care as it rose, Scraggy next to it looking on in surprise as it saw the Pokémon's belly glow with a blue light, Scraggy getting drawn into the light that was coming from Axew's belly.

"Axeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee…" Axew said that slowly as it stored the energy inside its belly as Burgh looked in shock at what was going on around them.

"They restarted the Shadow Pokémon project!? Agent Jetstream, try and get your Lucario to form an Aura Shield around yourself and do it NOW!" shouted Burgh however Jetstream completely ignored him, focusing entirely on the girl that was being beaten by the Golbat in front of her.

The henchmen wanted in amusement at the sight of the girls being beaten by their Pokémon however their attention was drawn towards the small Pokémon that had been gathering energy in its belly. Some might think it was something along the lines of an Aura Dragon Rage however the Pokémon had yet to master such an attack.

But that was not the attack that Axew was going for as the energy inside its belly seemed to eject itself however not out of its mouth but instead from its claws, blue light shining magnificently from where the aura inside of it was coming out of its claws. They shone with a dangerous light as Axew leaped from within the confines of Cilan's Aura Shield, heading out towards the Pokémon that were attacking its trainer.

"That's….Aura Slash!?" cried Iris from the corner of her mouth as she saw the Pokémon rush towards it, swinging its hand with so much force towards the nearest Pokémon. But as it did so, the blue glow immediately died down as the Aura Slash was changed towards an ordinary Slash.

Non-aura attack collided with the Aura Shadow Rush as the two attacks negating sent an explosion of air flying in all directions from the pure willpower that the small Pokémon had used in its desire to protect its master.

The explosion threw Iris and Axew backwards who were at its epicentre, sending them sprawling along the roof of the airship as Virizion was shifted ever so slightly having being protected by Iris's Aura Shield.

Iris tumbled on the floor as Axew sailed into the air, turning its body and with pure determination struck in a manic fashion, striking each and everything that was an enemy that was near it, the Golbat being struck backwards from the collision of aura and non-aura attacks.

Axew was blown from Golbat to Golbat in the air as the Pokémon that were attacking the others focused all their attention on the Pokémon in the air, the Golbat flying towards their enemy from all directions.

Iris's body burned with pain as she tried to stand up on the ground but instead looked up and saw the onslaught of the Pokémon flying towards hers. The gears in her mind turned at a frantic pace as an idea came into her mind.

"Snivy! Grab Axew, please!"

The shout of the desperate trainer switched Snivy's mind from watching in awe as it launched a Vine Whip through the gap in the Golbat, grabbing Axew and bringing it down towards them. The moment that it passed by a Golbat through, Axew struck simply because it was the only thing that it felt it could do, the attacks negating at close range.

"Vy!" Snivy winced at the pain of having the attack negating at such close range towards its vines as it brought Axew down towards where it was, Axew touching the ground, still swinging its Slash like an automaton that had only the function to destroy now that it had seen its trainer beaten so.

"Axew!" cried Iris as she moved, forced, her body upwards and headed towards the Pokémon, embracing it as it felt the warmth of its trainer's body against its own, stopping momentarily. Axew's eyes seemed to gain some focus, as if it had been in nothing but a trance it looked towards its trainer with those eyes.

"Ax…ew?" it said in a soft voice.

"Everything is OK now Axew. We're here. I'm here. You did great. But take a rest now. You've done enough for all of us when it comes towards this battle." Iris's voice was soothing as she bit back the pain filling her as a sniffle from in front of her made her turn and look towards the Pokémon that was in her embrace, the small tears that were forming on the eyes of Axew being covered up by the rain that was falling from the heavens.

"Axeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!" cried the Pokémon as Iris merely smiled and closed her eyes, feeling full of life as the Pokémon let out its raw feelings towards its trainer however the darkness that they were facing was not convenient enough to let them relax when there were enemies in front of them.

"Golbat! Strike with Aura Air Cutter/Shadow Rush!" An onslaught of voices came from the henchmen that still had Pokémon even after the Axew had managed to take out many of the Golbat through the use of the technique that they did not understand.

"Iris, we'll take it from here! We'll leave protecting Virizion to you!" called Cilan. "Pansage! Use SolarBeam but launch it prematurely with your aura!"

Pansage responded, holding its paws upwards towards the sky that lacked a sun as energy gathered there however not from the sun. Aura focused there within its paws as Pansage did not let there be time for the Golbat to manage to attack given its momentary opening, firing the Aura Beam shot towards the henchmen and their Golbat with a magnificent blue glow.

The henchmen formed Aura Shields of their own however the other trainers that were there and the Pokémon had already managed to take charge of the opening that had formed now that Pansage's Aura Beam was slamming against the Aura Shields of the henchmen.

"Lucario! Strike down the Golbat! Use Aura Extreme Speed and simultaneously strike!" cried Jetstream.

"Sewaddle! Leavanny! Use Aura Razor Leaf and Aura Leaf Storm!" Burgh yelled at the top of his voice as the Pokémon complied shooting out leaves that headed straight towards the Pokémon that were their enemy, the Aura Extreme Speed as Lucario jumped from Golbat to Golbat and striking them down causing the leaves to circle around and around in the rain as they formed a pseudo-tornado.

The Pokémon that had not participated seem to understand what they had to do next.

Krokorok used Aura Stone Edge as the tornado that was formed filled with stones as Oshawott and Tepig, understanding that their trainer would likely approve given the stress of the situation of their individual choices to use aura attacks, used Aura Ember and Aura Water Gun into the tornado.

It spun around and around with water, fire and stone flying in all directions, something that was added towards with Snivy using Aura Leaf Storm as well, the energy accumulating and continuing to circle around and around.

"Dove dove!" Pidove, the only Flying Type that was there, used the attack that it had that was similar towards the tornado that was forming as Jetstream seemed to understand what was to come next.

"Lucario! Break free!" She called as the sight of something leaping from the eye of the tornado filled the air above them as Pidove let out its attack, a Gust. Yet this attack circled in the opposite direction to the one that was being used by Lucario and the others.

"Pansage! Cease fire!" said Cilan as the Pokémon dropped the Aura Beam and jumped back, Cilan and Jetstream forming Aura Shields in front of them to protect everyone as Iris watched as the tornado that had formed collided with the Gust that Pidove had sent its way.

The aura attacks and the non-aura attacks collided, causing a massive explosion of air that sent the leaves, flames, water, stones and the unconscious Golbat in all directions as they slammed into the Shields and the vulnerable from all directions.

Cilan grit his teeth as cracks formed in the Shield that he was using however he merely concentrated completely, the attack shooting shrapnel in all directions as the remaining Golbat cried out and the henchmen screamed in pain as they were forced to drop their Aura Shields given that they likely assumed that there was nothing wrong with putting them down.

The henchmen were blown back, as were the remaining Golbat as the explosion of air died down; sending the Aura Rain Dance to fall straight downwards once again now that the massive wind formed had died down.

The Pokémon that were still standing collapsed and breathed heavily now that they were out of energy, the silence that filled the air on the roof of the airship only being filled with the shouts of Ash, J and their Pokémon.

"We….did it…." said Iris with awe as she looked at the empty airship and the fact that there were no enemies in sight as the airship's roof proved to be clear of threats.

She held Axew tighter towards her chest as she slowly stood up however stumbled slightly as a result of her wounds, Cilan immediately heading over towards her as she fell onto the roof and tried to get up once again.

"Iris!" he cried as he reached out and touched her shoulder. "Goodness, you're a mess. What were you thinking forming an Aura Shield over Virizion instead of the both of you?" he asked.

"I…had to focus all of my energy completely on Virizion. There was no other way to keep it safe against those attacks from those Pokémon." She said slowly. "What were they?" she asked as she faced Jetstream and Burgh however merely shook their head.

"We cannot delve too much into Shadow Pokémon here Iris." said Jetstream as she too massaged her wounded shoulder, Lucario coming over towards her and looking at it however she swatted the Pokémon away. "There are things that we need to do." she said.

Iris wanted to protest however nodded. Although she had heard that term Shadow Pokémon from Liberty a few days ago, she felt as though Jetstream was right. She had protected Virizion and Axew had learned a new move because of what they had to do.

They had to get Virizion towards the lake and the battle that they had done in order to do so meant that she knew exactly how important their objective was towards her especially.

"Yeah. And Axew…" She said towards the Pokémon in her grasp.

The Pokémon looked up towards its trainer, clenching tightly towards the clothes that she was wearing as if never wanting to let go for fear of the pain that Iris was to face in the future.

"Thank you. And you learned a new move too! I can only see great things from you from now on." Iris smiled weakly given her aching body however meant it from the bottom of her heart as the Pokémon in her grasp smiled in response and nodded.

"Axew." it replied as it broke free from Iris's grasp as she slowly stood up, swaying slightly as she turned and looked at the breathing Legendary that she had tried to protect with her life. But more importantly, she watched the sight of the purple energy that was coming from the others side of the airship although he could not see the sight of the Pokémon or trainers there.

They were almost there and nothing stood in their way.

Ash did not have to win however the effort that he was putting up meant that it was an insult to him to suggest that he was trying his hardest in order to allow them to achieve their objective.

And that was something within their sights.

"Don't worry Ash. We'll do this and make sure to protect Virizion and the Pinwheel Forest." said Iris as she made her way towards the Legendary Virizion, rubbing her hands together as she readied herself to use her aura.

"Ready guys?" she asked and the others nodded the phrase that they said together only showing their want to truly put an end to this all.

"Let's finally heal Virizion."


Ash Ketchum had never seen it before. A Shadow Pokémon however the movements of Salamence as it attacked seemed to almost mirror fighting a machine.

Of course he had experience doing that however the sight of such a position being placed upon a Pokémon twisted his gut in ways that only made him course with anger.

The pillar of purple energy that had shot into the sky before had then launched into a complete assault of the Pokémon Salamence upon both him and Pikachu meaning that there was little that they could do except treat the battle as they had before; a battle with a Legendary on the line.

But the raw power that was behind the Shadow Rushes that were being sent towards them only made Ash tremble.

"Pikachu! Counter with Iron Tail!" called Ash as Salamence dove towards the Pokémon from the sky with the same purple aura that covered it as it did so. Pikachu leaped into the air and collided with Salamence's Aura Shadow Rush, the negation throwing them both back with the explosion of air.

"Salamence. Aura Hyper Beam." J commanded.

"Counter! Thunderbolt!" cried Ash as the Pokémon let loose their attacks which collided in mid-air sending dirt and water flying in all directions because of the nature of the attacks that had collided.

"Follow up with Quick Attack! Thunder Drill!" Ash wiped his brow in order to make all concentration was focused onto the battlefield, sweat being wiped off as well. Pikachu complied, leaping off the ground using its increased speed however the connection of the non-aura attack against the battlefield meant that Pikachu shot forward like an arrow towards Salamence.

It put its body into a stream line shape that allowed it to head towards the recovering Salamence from its Aura Hyper Beam, spinning as it did so, using the same 'Thunder Drill' attack that it had before as it spun, using Thunderbolt at the same time so that its body was covered with a 'Thunder armour' as it headed towards Salamence.

"Block with your wings." spat out J towards Salamence as Ash went wide eyed as he saw Salamence comply. Even though that would give J the perfect opportunity to counter attack, doing so when Pikachu had the launch of a Quick attack and using its Thunder Drill technique (Ash felt as though he definitely needed a different name for that), would definitely cause Salamence some damage.

It could perhaps even drive Salamence to the very edge and cause it to fall unconscious however Salamence did not even hesitate towards conducting the action. It had been the same when it had been commanded to attack him, the complete obedience to its master regardless of the command.

This is…..a Shadow Pokémon!?

Ash's thought filled his mind as he felt his entire body tremble given the fact that the Pokémon was completely emotionless, like the tool that J had always thought of Pokémon as.

Salamence moved its wings to cover its body as Pikachu smashed into the Pokémon, Salamence roaring in pain as it was driven back from the blow yet kept its ground as the obviously larger Pokémon.

"Counter! Aura Dragon Pulse!" called J immediately as Pikachu looked on in shock as Salamence opened a gap in its wings and opened its mouth in order to send a direct shot towards Pikachu at point blank.

Ash grit his teeth, thinking so hard that he felt as though his brain would explode from the inside. What in the world was he going to do? At that range and stance, there was no way that Pikachu could counter with Iron Tail or Electro Ball! The Thunderbolt was out of the question because of the lack of time and Pikachu wasn't standing on anything meaning that Quick attack was out of the question too.

Ash felt himself panic however watched as the Thunderbolt that had surrounded Pikachu using its Thunder Drill technique had dissipated, sparking in all directions.

Ash came to the realisation what he could do and shouted at the top of his lungs, hoping that Pikachu could understand what he meant as he was rushed for time.

"Spark! Ground!" Ash said as Pikachu frowned, thinking what in the world its trainer was talking about however paused, watching as the Thunderbolt around it sparked off as the rotation of Pikachu meant that there was probably some Thunderbolt left over, having being stuck to its fur.

And as a non-aura attack, given the state of the ground, which was covered with Aura Rain Dance, there was no need for a great deduction.

Pikachu's fur had acted as a conductor of sorts, trapping the electricity so there was only one thing that it needed to do as it sent its tail into the dirt and mud, especially the water of the Aura Rain Dance.

The Thunderbolt that had clung towards the Electric Mouse was immediately negated, Pikachu crying out in pain due to the close quarters nature of the negation, the explosion of air causing Pikachu to shoot up like a rocket into the sky.

It sailed past the open mouth of Salamence just as the monster fired, sending the Aura Dragon Pulse, a ball of green and blue energy into the ground where dirt sprayed up into the Dragon Type's eyes.

Salamence yelled in surprise at the fact of being temporarily blinded as Pikachu looked down at the height that it was, ready to fall down and strike the Pokémon there once again using a technique that its trainer commanded.

However once again, there was the second threat that both the trainer and Pokémon seemed to forget. However right now, it seemed as though the repeat performance of J had meant that Ash had gotten accustomed towards the dirty fighting that she was using.

J leaped forward now that Pikachu was high in the air, forming an Aura Sword within her grip as Ash readied himself for the attack to come, backing away and feeling the cold metal of the Jeep that had overturned itself, trapping him and preventing him from moving backwards.

Ash looked it surprise towards the Jeep that had blocked his way, J sending a rare and malicious smile to dance across her lips due to the fact that the boy could not move because of the barrier towards his movement.

She thrust the Sword towards the boy's belly, the same place where she herself had been pierced with shrapnel given the failure in Sinnoh, however Ash in his mind's eye had already suspected such an action. Given the fact that he had nowhere to go, the best way that J would be able to maximise damage would be through a thrust.

Of course, Ash threw himself to the side as J continued the thrust, piercing the metal of the Jeep as she formed another Aura Sword in her hand and looked towards where Ash was. Ash responded however not by dodging but rather throwing dirt into J's face, the dirt striking her in the eyes given that she was wearing her goggles on her head, causing the woman to stumble back as she wiped the dirt out of her eyes.

"Pikachu! Electro Ball!" shouted Ash at the top of his lungs, J stopping momentarily as she tried to focus where the voice was coming from however discovered that it was a fruitless effort when there were other powers on her side in the first place.

"Salamence! Aura Shadow Rush on the trainer!"

"J!" Ash cried out towards the trainer as Salamence let out a roar and used its wings to hover above the ground and fly towards where Ash was, not even noticing or batting an eye as Ash stood up and rammed himself into J in the hopes that J would call off the attack upon realisation that Salamence would attack her as well.

She did not, as she only grunted upon being hit by Ash, something that Ash realised was perhaps his worst mistake. He had hit J with dirt and mud in order to ensure that she did not know where he was however right now he had just given her the greatest indication of such a location.

He turned his head towards her, only to see that J had started to rise her Aura Sword in her other hand as Salamence raced towards Ash with the same purple-blue aura that surrounded it as it raced towards him.

Ash closed his eyes entirely on instinct in order to wait for the pain that was to come-

However it never arrived as the Electro Ball sailed into the ground, causing another gigantic explosion of air to form that rocked everyone backwards. It caused Liberty to once again be thrown against the side of the airship with a groan of pain but more importantly, threw J's aim off as she swung the Aura Sword towards Ash.

He felt it graze his arm inside his jacket however that was all it did thankfully as the both of them were thrown against the overturned Jeep, Ash hitting the side of his head against the exposed underside as J did the same as well. Ash saw stars however realised that there was something else coming towards him that meant that he had no time to waste.

Without really knowing which direction was left or right, he threw himself downwards, into the mud before him as he covered his head while at the same time, J formed an Aura Shield around her despite the fact that she too had received a slight wound to the head that had smashed her goggles.

They both reacted just in time as Salamence ploughed into J's Aura Shield, passing dangerously close above Ash as it sent both her and the Pokémon into the Jeep, bending the metal in such a way that the entire underside turned into an upside down 'V', with Salamence causing the bend in the metal.

Ash immediately scrambled up in order to get up and backed away quickly, turning towards the sky as he saw Pikachu descend all the same towards the ground. Salamence and J were surely going to be preoccupied for the moment, meaning that there was nothing stopping Ash.

"PIKACHU!" he cried as he broke into a run, pounding his legs as fast as he could despite his ringing head towards where Pikachu was falling. Pikachu saw the action and looked towards the ground, trying to find some way to hit the ground without injury however given its speed, there was nothing that it could do.

Ash leaped through the air as he ran across the space in the Pinwheel Forest, opening his arms and catching Pikachu in them before bringing the Pokémon close to his chest as he collided with the ground, wincing as his arm shot with pain before looking down towards Pikachu.

"You alright there buddy?" he asked weakly.

"Pikachu pikapi pika!" came the reply as Ash let a rare smile for the situation to form on his lips as he slowly rose his head and stood up, looking towards the sight of the fallen J and Salamence as Pikachu stood next to its trainer.

The rain continued its downpour as the sight of the two of their enemies filled their sights however it was something that changed that caused the both of them to hit the deck upon realising the next action that J was going to take.

The Jeep sailed through the air, having being hit by the tail of Salamence as it flew towards them, the trainer and his Pokémon managing to hit the ground at the same time as the Jeep slammed behind them, throwing dirt everywhere.

Ash looked back in shock however turned his head, only to hear one command in the air.

"Aura Shadow Rush."

Ash began to stand up as Salamence lifted itself off the ground once again with its wings and angled towards the trainer and Pokémon. However there was a new factor within such as J hung with one arm hanging on the side of her Pokémon with an Aura Sword in one hand.

Like such kind of movie where the protagonist hung out an open car door while shooting magazines at the villains, J hung from the side of Salamence as a purple-blue surrounded it as it began to use Aura Shadow Rush towards Ash.

However perhaps the scariest thing about that was the fact that the aura being used covered the sight of the Aura Sword.

Ash felt as though using his Aura Perception would not help here because there was aura everywhere however the problem was that J was lost in his vision as well meaning that he could not determine where she was going to strike if indeed she was going to do so with the Aura Sword or if it was just there for show.

His thoughts though needed to be quick as Salamence closed the gap between them, Ash throwing himself to the side once again in order to avoid the strike as he commanded Pikachu, hating himself that he felt so useless given the nature of the battle.

"Pikachu! Intercept with Quick Attack! Use Electro Ball and drag it behind you!" said the boy as Pikachu nodded, closing its eyes as the electricity of an Electro Ball filled its tail from behind, the Pokémon looking up with determination in its eyes as it kept the Electro Ball hovering on the tip of its tail like a Velcro-ball.

And without even speaking, it launched off the ground with an Quick Attack that allowed it to bridge the gap between it and Salamence and the two Pokémon headed towards each other with their respective attacks.

Pikachu responded first, swinging its body with the Electro Ball towards Salamence at close range, releasing it as it flew towards the Pokémon yet Salamence reacted accordingly, flying above the Electro Ball as it dodged.

"Thunderbolt!" cried Ash now that Salamence was directly above the Pokémon, something that Pikachu complied with as it sent a stream of electricity towards Salamence striking it and causing the Pokémon to roar with pain as it descended and hit the ground in front of Ash, kicking up dirt in all directions.

Ash cried out and covered his face, trying to see through the chaos however was unsuccessful however the sound of something else filled the air and terrified him beyond belief.

"Aura Flamethrower."

J's words cut through the air like butter as Salamence lifted its head and turned directly towards Ash, the emotionless eyes of the Salamence looking at the brown of Ash's.

J purposefully allowed the attack to hit…to make sure that we were this close?! Me seeing her on Salamence's back was nothing more than a distraction to get Pikachu away from me!

Ash tried to back away, his hand touching nothing but dirt and sticks beneath him as Salamence turned and opened its mouth, flames that were red with a hint of blue forming there.

"PIKAPI!"

Ash turned his gaze towards his hand and what was underneath, realising what it was that was going to happen if he did nothing.

"ASH!"

The only other Aura Zero in the world yelled out as well towards Ash however the boy had already moved, grabbing a fallen stick in his hand and, trying to hold back whatever primal urge to avoid pain and violence, wasted no time in his action.

He yelled out in advance as he plunged the stick into his palm, the force that he did so with meaning that it split the skin and the cloth of the glove, causing blood to seep out as he held it in front of him, holding it with his other hand at the palm in order to try and receive the attack as much as he could.

Salamence launched the Aura Flamethrower as the flames flew through the air and collided with Ash's hand first, burning the cloth and the skin instantly as the boy cried out in pain.

However, since coming to Unova, Ash Ketchum had realised one thing when his own blood, that of an Aura Zero touched an aura attack, either fuelled by human aura or that of a Pokémon.

And it was something that followed the rules that he always knew.

Negation.

The Sound something akin to a blaster from a sci-fi movie erupted out as the Aura Flamethrower was negated upon touching Ash's hand as he was thrown back, the explosion of air that was centred where blood was coming from his very own hand bursting and ripping open more skin however that hardly mattered.

The explosion of air threw the surprised Salamence and Ash backwards, the both of them tumbling in the dirt and spraying water everywhere as Ash felt pain assault his body from every direction.

He grit his teeth and groaned as he tried to stand up, clenching his fist and steeling his body for the pain as he did so, seeing the sight of something yellow enter his vision.

"Pikapi! Pikapi!" called the small Pokémon as it clung towards Ash's side, Ash smiling despite the pain as he patted Pikachu on the head with his good hand.

"I-I'm fine buddy. I'm going to be O-gyah!?" He let out a wince as he felt the skin open more, looking towards his open hand and the growing wound that was there, noting that the pain there was increasing as he clenched his hand into a fist and wondered why it was that the wound was growing in size, the Sound coming from such repeatedly.

The answer came almost immediately as he looked up into the sky and noticed the falling raindrops of the Aura Rain Dance. While he had used it to his advantage, right now it was serving to open the wound a bit more because of the fact that aura was colliding with his blood, causing the Sound to resound in his eardrums.

He kept his hand closer towards his chest and heard the cracking sound of someone cracking their neck upon facing a challenge. Given who was the only one there, there could only be one person present.

"What are these bag of tricks you seem insistent on showing me boy? Do you plan on amusing me in some way? Because then I can tell you that I am not impressed at all. In fact, I see no point in hiding this trump card of mine any longer. This is over."

J's words were cold and had a tone of finality towards them as she reached into her cannon on her arm and brought out a small stone that Ash could not identify on sight although the sight of it made his entire body tense, mainly because of what J had said.

That this was her 'trump card'.

But what else did she have up her sleeve right now? No, that wasn't the question.

How could it possibly get any worse than this?

What she had was aura, a Shadow Salamence and there was no doubt in Ash's mind that she was definitely going to kill him when she had the chance. So what else was there that she could use?

The stone in her hand seemed to be the answer however he could not tell what it was on sight.

It was like a largish marble something that managed to fit inside her cannon although it seemed as though it was a rather large fit for such. J however paid no mind to the shocked expression on Ash's face upon seeing the item in her hands.

"Do you know what this is to you boy?"

Ash gulped however felt no need to answer merely because he knew that J was going to do it for him.

"Death."

She touched the stone and it seemed to glow with a strange light that made Ash want to cover his eyes however to his surprise, the same light came from the belly of Salamence, as if reacting to something that was carved and inserted directly under the skin of the Pokémon.

The Pokémon's face contorted as if feeling some kind of change and it let out a roar, something that was followed by a strange light to come from the stomach of the Pokémon, a light that was a mix of a clear colour, red and blue.

J spoke once, words that were soft however Ash picked up on them entirely given the tension of the situation, something that was matched by Pikachu that stood next to him, unsure of how to approach what it was seeing.

"And here I thought hiding the Salamencite inside Salamence's stomach was only going to hinder the process of Mega Evolution."

"Mega E-" started Ash remembering something that Jetstream had said about a 'Mega Stone' however the sight of the light seemed to drive itself into his retinas as he covered his eyes, doing the same with Pikachu as he felt his skin crawl at the fact that he was completely open to attack.

However J did not attack.

But that in itself frightening him the most.

Because it meant that whatever was coming next was going to be something that meant that she did not have to take action.

Ash knew in his mind then that the only thing that he could do was try and stop whatever it was that that was happening right now, a thought that started his very first step towards the duo of J and Salamence.

However stopped.

The gunshot that filled the air was followed by J's scream, something that caused the light to immediately fade as the shining stone in J's hands was dropped onto the ground covered with the puddles of the Aura Rain Dance.

J towards the source of the sound, Ash noting that the stone was still intact given the fall before noting the small hole that was in J's thigh, something that seeped blood through her leg as he too turned towards the source of sound.

Liberty Knox held the smoking gun in his good arm, eyes drifting in and out of something that seemed like conscious but the expression on his face seemed as though he had missed what he was aiming for. Judging by the new element that had been introduced there was only one thing that it could have been; that strange stone that was related to 'Mega Evolution', whatever that was.

J's face contorted with rage as the fine line of aura circled around her upon seeing that there was an element in the battle that she had not predicted beforehand, bending her good leg as she formed a position like a leaping Persian.

"You missed the Mega Stone but I'm happy giving you death first."

J shot off towards Liberty using her aura, something that Liberty could have easily intercepted by shooting her however never let off a shot, Ash recalling something he had said.

He had said, in essence, that he would never shoot to kill another person.

"Liber-!" Ash started to say however froze as J reached him, driving her good leg into Liberty's broken arm, Liberty screaming as she did so. Hunter J then did something simple; grabbing the gun out of Liberty's good arm now that he was focused on the pain of what she had done before turning it and releasing her leg.

Liberty instinctively moved his good arm to the broken one, both Ash and Liberty freezing at the sight of J pressing the gun against Liberty's temple.

There was a pause before J pulled the trigger without even batting an eye as Liberty's head recoiled, blood splattering against the surface of the airship, something which negated with the Sound upon contact with the Aura Rain Dance.

Liberty Knox slumped and Ash Ketchum roared with pain and sorrow.

"LIBERTYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!"

The boy was clearly dead, no more colour in his eyes as Ash raced towards him without any thought for his own life given what he had just seen, something that made J turn towards him with something of an expression on her face that seemed to be questioning something.

"I should have done this from the beginning instead of dragging things out."

"PIKAPI!"

J pulled the trigger once more as the bullet sailed in the air and entered Ash's stomach before existing out the other side.

Whether it be because of the adrenaline that was coursing through his system or simply because he could not accept that he was shot, Ash did not realise what had happened until the very core of his body gave out and caused him to collapse onto the ground.

His entire body slammed into the ground, the contact of the dripping blood from his stomach to the wet ground of the Aura Rain Dance causing a negation, the Sound erupting out as it ripped open a greater wound in Ash's stomach.

The crater that was formed from the negation thankfully caused a place where there was no more rain filled with the Aura Rain Dance as Ash's body sagged, his eyesight wavering between light and darkness as he heard something in one of his remaining senses. Pain erupted through his body however it was too much to even scream.

"I see no need for this anymore." J remarked off hand and the sound of metal clanking filled the air, the sound of J throwing the gun against the side of the airship where it fell and hit the dead Liberty's body.

"Salamence. Come, we have enough time t…."

Ash never heard anymore as J's voice seemed too far away however felt the sensation of small paws rocking his side as Pikachu came towards its trainer's side and rocked it slightly.

"Pikapi! Pikapi! PIKAPI!"

Ash opened his mouth to speak however could not as only one thing had entered his mind.

The battle was over.

However that did not mean that he had lost.

That was perhaps the only thing that caused his mind to think as he heard the cry of his partner Pokémon once more among the battlefield that he had once owned.

"PIKAPIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII!"


The scream from the Pokémon ripped through the air and caused everyone that had managed to reach the very edge of the airship to freeze, slowly turning their heads towards the source of the sound.

"A….sh?" asked Iris in a small voice however it was clear that she was not going to get an answer given how far she was away from him. Something was wrong, that much she could tell. There had been three gunshots and then the scream that had pierced the air.

Of the group there, the combinations and possible events that filled their minds went at an amazing speed.

Liberty who had the gun fired three times, one of them hitting Ash. He fired twice, hitting J before J stole the gun and fired on Ash. Liberty fired no times, J having wrestled the gun from his grip, firing him twice and Ash once. Or was it Ash twice and Liberty once?

No matter then situation though, the only thing that was a certainty in the minds of those there was that Ash Ketchum had been shot.

"Ash!" Iris called however she found it hard to move backwards where she had just come from given the wounds that she had been inflicted made it a struggle to move.

"Iris!" called Cilan as he grabbed her by the shoulders, causing her to turn around, ready to lash out at the Gym Leader for the action he was taking in trying to stop her. Didn't he care that Ash was the one that was hurt? The one that had chosen to stay behind in order to make sure that they had made it safely towards their goal?

Iris faced Cilan and stopped, only to see among the rain that was plastered among his face and the green hair that was striking to his skin, that his face was deathly pale and it was clear in his shaking hands that whatever he had thought about what had happened to Ash was something that was worse that whatever Iris had come to mind.

Given his age, Cilan was perhaps the adult of the group of three however among all of that; he was the one that was responsible for the safety and wellbeing of those in his care. If anything happened to either of them, it was surely him that was going to be hurting the most as they were in his care.

Iris felt the guilt of her selfish thoughts weigh on her however in the back of her mind she knew that Cilan probably felt they were justified.

Whatever happened to Ash, it was something that they would have to face whether they liked it or not.

But for now, in respect to Ash, they had to do something that they had been tasked to do from the very beginning.

"We have to get Virizion into the lake to restore its aura. We have to do so. No matter what, we need to keep that in mind." Cilan said as Iris felt herself go speechless however grit her teeth and nodded, using Cilan as a support as she stood and pushed with all of her might towards the lake.

She found, along with the others that the amount of strength in doing so had lessened considerably. She turned her head and saw the blank figures of all of Ash's Pokémon and Agent Jetstream starting past the space that they had crossed, on the other side of the airship where the Aura Zeroes lay.

Ash's Pokémon Iris understood however Agent Jetstream? There was something going on between her and Liberty however it was unknown to her what it was.

But at the same time, she felt as though they needed to be given that push forward just as she had.

"Y-You guys!" she said towards them, something that made them all snap out of whatever trance they were in, just as she once was, turning towards the girl with a strange look in their eyes, almost as if they were waiting for someone to tell them what to do in order to escape from the possible reality that they were imagining.

"We need to finish this! Whatever happens….happens. But we need to finish this and face whatever has happened. But we can't do that if we fail in this." Cilan was the one who speak, followed by the Gym Leader Burgh who also seemed to be feeling pressured given what he had heard from the gunshots.

"Cilan is right. We can't face what has happened when we haven't even done what we have been tasked to do. And it will take all of us for this final push in order to truly bring this all to an end."

"Mistress. Master Burgh is right. And you know it." said Lucario from Virizion's side as the Agent of the AJD seemed to tense up at the fact that she likely had understood what was at stake however chose to prioritise her own feelings above that of the mission.

"…Then we have no time to waste." said Jetstream as she bit on her lip so hard that blood was drawn from it however it was washed away by the rain as she covered her body with aura, standing back from Virizion as she built the aura around her as she faced her target.

Everyone knew that there was only going to be one more push that they had to take in order to ensure that they finally had the chance to face the horror beyond the airship with no regrets.

It was just this one push that they needed.

Ash's Pokémon all seemed to be driven by that fact as they all tensed up, racing towards the fallen form of Virizion as they slammed against the limp body of the Pokémon, edging it closer towards the end as the others did the same. Virizion edged closer and closer towards the edge of the airship as Aura Jetstream bent down, fuelling as much aura as she could into her legs.

And then she launched.

She shot through the air, yelling one thing at the top of her lungs likely in a battle cry as the others all did the same as they put as much aura as they could manage into their hands or shoulders in order to increase their strength and push themselves even closer towards the victory that they had wanted the entire time as Jetstream managed to reach her target and slammed against Virizion.

And there was only one Pokémon that could provide them with victory as they all shouted the name of the Pokémon that could give them such.

"VIRIZIOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN!"

It was the name of the Guardian of the Pinwheel Forest.

It was the name of one of the Legendary Pokémon of Unova.

It was the name of the Pokémon that they placed all their hopes on in order to truly allow this hell to be brought to an end.

Virizion was pushed slightly towards the edge however that was enough.

And Virizion slipped.

And Virizion fell.

And Virizion hit the lake in the Pinwheel Forest with a splash, the one place where it could recover its aura in order to fight back.

And Virizion


had melted into the shadows where she had come.

However there had been one last calling. Towards the Pinwheel Forest where there was war. War was everywhere however the Pokémon had been drawn towards the location by its aura, something it always felt put it in the right place in the right time.

But in the Battle of the Field of Rumination, Virizion had surely ben proven wrong given the fact that it was laying on the ground, completely weakened.

There was no question about what was going to happen towards it now.

However Virizion was content. As a Sword of Justice, she felt as though the path she had taken was surely not wrong. In fact it was something that she was proud to have embraced and followed to the end, despite the suffering that she had seen.

But at the same time, she had brought an end to a lot of that suffering and the Pinwheel Forest was surely something of the same now that the war had ended.

The sunshine from years ago placed warmed her face and Virizion truly felt at home.

It was a rare feeling. Given the nature as one of the Swords of Justice, she was always on the move however the gentle feeling of the heat on her skin was soothing, in such a way that it made Virizion only want to embrace and accept more of the feeling.

She had never felt like this before and Virizion accepted the warmth that it gave her.

She knew though that it was likely such acceptance that meant that it was truly over.

Within her fading consciousness, she was aware of Pokémon, her fellow warriors that had come to her side. The humans that had fought in the war had likely retreated; meaning the Forest only had its original habitants, the Pokémon that Virizion had protected itself.

They spoke, asking Virizion to stay alive, to continue protecting the Forest and to live because of the heroics that it had performed and Pokémon that it had saved.

Yet Virizion could not do anything of that. It had reached its Limit, taken too much damage and the combination of the two meant that Virizion's fate was sealed in that one instant. She had no regrets, only sorrow for those that had to witness the sight of the Hero that she was passing away in the Forest.

"Do not cry." She remembered having said.

"This is merely life. I shall return to the earth however my Life Force will remain here always. I shall always be watching over you and there will be nothing stopping you from reaching out to me. I have protected you. And all I ask for now is for you to protect this place with your own hands as well."

Virizion spoke those words to her comrades, feeling that this was the place that she had been destined to die in.

Her comfort and feeling of relief in such was the indication that she knew that perhaps it was destiny that had given her this place to die in.

This was for her and her alone and there was nothing more that Virizion could ask for.

"For this place is your home. And it is surely worth protecting."

"Just as you have."

Another voice entered the fray, something that sounded old, ravaged by time and the sensation of the war that had passed. It was soft, or was that Virizion's consciousness, as Virizion felt herself drawn towards the voice that had spoken towards her.

"Identify yourself."

"I am someone, something, that you have protected Virizion. The Forest itself does not abandon those that have fought for it. Especially when things have been given that only belong to one. Virizion, your life is your own, not something that shall be taken. Not here. Not ever."

"I have made my choice. I am content."

"Do you love this Forest?"

Virizion paused at the Voice that was speaking towards her, its tiredness almost matching its own. For one, it was filled with relief however the question that it had asked was only something that gave her an indication that the answer that she was to give would surely provide her with something beyond what it was that she was currently facing.

But death was a certainty.

So what was beyond such? Immortality? Remembrance?

However in response towards the tired Voice, she only gave one answer.

"Yes."

"The Forest….I have been touched by your kindness. This Forest cannot survive on its own. Humans and even Pokémon will return once again and cause pain and suffering. The Pokémon and lives that reside here cannot protect themselves alone Virizion."

"I cannot….do anything regarding that."

"The Forest can. The Forest, I, will not look down on those that have protected it by this much. I ask for nothing in return for what is to come. What happens in my own choice. However the Forest itself will be subject to threats once again. I shall ask you Virizion then."

There was a pause as the Voice of the Forest lay down its pride, perhaps the very essence of the Forest itself, and spoke.

"Shall you be the Guardian of the Pinwheel Forest, O Great Virizion? Linked towards this body, sharing aura in order to allow life to flourish? You shall give towards the Forest and it will give towards you. Too much has been lost today. And the Forest shall not allow such a thing to happen again."

"The Guardian? Of this…place?"

"Yes."

Virizion did not even need to remember what had happened after that.

She had been baptised in the waters of the Forest, the waters of life filling her as she was given aura and Life Force through the Forest itself, where she remained. She could have left. She could have departed and continued her role as a Sword of Justice elsewhere.

However she chose to stay. She chose to protect.

Because as much as the Forest loved her by allowing her to stay and healing her, she loved the Forest.

Destiny had brought them together to this place and she was sure that destiny had called that Voice towards her.

The Forest was silent for the rest of the days that she stayed there however its presence and warmth towards her never faded.

And the same was for Virizion in her gratitude to the Forest.

And for Virizion right now, those same baptising waters that surrounded her once again had the same effect, bringing life towards her empty body, filling it to the brim with power and one will and objective.

To protect.

To save the Pinwheel Forest and those that had fallen saving it.

And so, with new power, she rose.

Virizion rose from the waters of the lake in the Pinwheel Forest, radiating a light that clearly and brilliantly showed that even in the darkness, the light that Heroes possessed had the ability to break through even the greatest pain.


"Gh!"

J on instinct covered her eyes at the presence of the light that was coming from the lake. It burned into her eyes as she stood over the body over the boy with the Pikachu however the Pokémon was not even taking notice of the Hunter.

The Pokémon too though covered its eyes as it was also blinded by the light however by this time, J already knew the outcome of what it was that was to come for her now that her job had ended in this conclusion.

She grit her teeth as she recounted how, even in death, those two still managed to cause her to suffer a defeat at the hands of those that thought that they could oppose her.

"Salamence! Return!" shouted J as she held up a Pokéball and returned the Dragon to its confinement, J not even looking back as she turned and used her aura to jump high into the air.

Virizion watched her do so, the light that covered her seeming to shine its brilliance as something appeared on its forehead, a large green blade that was clearly filled with the Extremely High aura of a Legendary Pokémon.

The blade extended higher and higher, breaking through the tree line and heading towards J as it increased its length at a speed that was fearsome, even in the eyes of the Pokémon Hunter.

However the Pokémon Hunter still managed to retaliate in response.

Reaching into her cloak, she pulled out a small device, hitting the button that it contained as the airship behind Virizion literally broke in two, both sides hitting the left and right of the lake in response to the lack of connection that allowed the two halves to stay upright.

The Sword that had extended from Virizion's forehead ceased to grow as it appeared distracted by the sudden change in the battlefield that it was facing however in those small seconds, J had already managed to put into place her plan of escape.

Something ejected out of the centre of the airship like a Torchic breaking from an egg, shooting into the sky with the power of technology, heading straight towards J.

She formed an Aura Platform underneath her feet as the machine rose towards her, slotting perfectly underneath the Aura Platform as shackles clasped around her legs. Two shafts rose from the sides of the thick metal sheet that had come from the inside of the airship, rising so that they met with her open hands.

J gripped them and pushed them forwards, a slot appearing in the back of the thick sheet as she pushed all of her aura into the machine, a blue light appearing in the back of the slot as the energy that J provided was turned into her heat and momentum.

Said heat was fired out of the back of the metal sheet that had clasped around her legs in response to the movement of the joysticks that had risen to J's grip, moving her forward as she sailed over the treetops of the Pinwheel Forest and into the horizon, far from the gaze and reach of Virizion and those that had survived.

Virizion however was not troubled as it retracted the Sacred Sword that it had been using, eyeing the two forms that were in front of them, limp and lifeless as they both seemed to be devoid of life. The younger one though seemed to be hanging on ever so fiercely however as soon as Virizion stepped towards it that spark was gone and the flame of life flickered out.

"A….sh?" A whisper, it could have been anyone, came from behind Virizion as it turned and tried to find its speaker but finding such was not necessary as a figure raced past Virizion and headed towards the fallen boy, the pool of red liquid that had formed at the centre of the crater the boy was lying in only served to provide the indication of what had transpired.

Another boy lay of the ground, his different coloured eyes lifeless as a gun lay on his lap. A hole in her head also provided the indication towards the events that had transpired as Virizion looked towards the souls that had passed in the effort towards its rescue.

There were sounds of crying, people collapsing from the shock of what they were looking at and gasps of shock, followed by the ever so soft sobs of failure. Those noises filled the air as a brown coloured girl lifted up the body of the younger boy in her arms, shaking him slightly in her arms as tears formed in her eyes.

The small Electric Mouse Pokémon beside her seemed in the same situation however even more heartbroken as the brown coloured girl let out words that were incoherent due to her tears and fragile voice that seemed to try and link them together, although unsuccessfully.

A blue haired girl approached the body of older boy, falling to her knees as she seemed to brush his black hair out of his face, clenching his fist so hard that her nails dug into the skin but she did not utter a sound. Her grief was the same however reserved only for her in this moment as her Lucario stood by her side, clenching its paws all the same.

Their Life Force had disappeared and the scene of the tragedy was evident.

Virizion stood tall and only thought one thing towards itself as that same green light, its aura, surrounded itself and extended towards the two fallen forms, the girls and the Pokémon that were caught in the radius of the extension of Virizion's aura jumping in fright at the Pokémon's power that filled them with warmth.

"Time to do for them…what the Forest has done for me."


ash felt that his breathing had stopped

that was definitely a bad thing right

he didnt remember anything that had happened after having being shot

the last thing that he recalled was having being shot in the stomach the pain that had followed and the feeling of his stomachs wounds having being ripped open because of the contact of his blood towards the aura rain dances aura that was on the ground

there had been pain so much of it that it was hardly bearable

however that had stopped now

ash was glad of that however the space that he was in was completely dark

he knew what that meant as well

he should have been scared however to be honest there was nothing that he felt scared about for some reason he was feeling nothing but content like a weight had been lifted off his shoulders and he felt that he could breathe easy

if he could that was

cold filled the blackness and no matter how much he looked around there was nothing more than darkness and coldness and more darkness and more coldness

it stretched on forever however for ash the fear that was slowly filling him was not sourced in that fact of an endless space of nothingness in fact that was rooted in something that he held in his very heart that had continued to linger even after the darkness had completely taken over

"Pikachu"

His words were echoed back to him however as he voiced them he felt as though something was returning to him something that should not have been given back to him no matter what had happened

It was unnatural however the fear within him increased as he recognised the one thing that this space was missing

It was nothingness so what it was missing was everything as Ash gave names towards what it was that was lacking inside that space he was in

"Pidove? Oshawott? Tepig? Snivy? Scraggy? Iris? Cilan!?"

His voice entered and echoed throughout the area and at once, Ash felt a cold sweat come over him as if he had been dunked a bucket filled with ice cold water. It didn't feel good at all however the sensation that was there gave him the feeling that something was definitely off about where he was in the darkness.

Where was he standing? There was something underneath his hand however he felt like he was standing vertically. But no matter where he moved his foot forward, it was like he was hitting a wall. His balance was clearly distorted and there was something in front of him that he could not see in the darkness.

The change that was slowly coming over Ash was evident as feelings, thoughts, sensations and his presence of mind came back towards him.

"Everyone?! Where am I?! Take me back! I want to go back! I want to return! TAKE ME BACK!" Ash's voice resounded through the area and he covered his eyes as an intense but warm light entered; a brilliant green that he felt drawn to.

The light….felt as if it was correct. Like walking towards it would make everything alright however Ash's lack of knowledge regarding of protocol of dying meant that he instinctively backed away from the light as he recalled people saying how one should not "walk towards the light."

"No, I don't want to go! Take me back! I still want to travel! I want to learn! I want to-" Ash's words though were lost as the light approached him, Ash trying to back away however it was within seconds that the light engulfed him, Ash shaking his head at the unknown as a female voice filled his mind, instantly stopping his movements.

"It is alright little one. You shall not perish here. This…is your reward."

"My…reward? What do you mean? What's going on!? What-"

The light engulfed him.


And Ash Ketchum woke up.

It had all been a dream.

At least, that was what he had thought however the sight of a hole in his clothing around the stomach and the ruined airship of J only made it evident what had truly happened in the scenes that had followed and that occurred.

Ash immediately went pale in the face as he put his hand on his stomach, not caring about the presence of others around him as his mouth opened and closed in order to try and find out where the hole in his stomach had gone.

Because, no matter what was said and done, Ash Ketchum had died. His aura (or rather lack of such) had physically left his body and he had been turned into nothing but a shell. Yet something had interfered in that process and had brought him back.

He had died and been returned to life.

The warm light that had surrounded him was still there, Ash looking towards the source of the green light and gaping, pointing and spluttering words towards the Pokémon that stood before him as Virizion smiled towards the boy that was lying on the ground.

Virizion smiled and said only one thing.

"Welcome back."

"PIKAPI!"

"ASH!"

Two voices filled the air as Ash grunted as he was tackled on both sides by Iris and Pikachu, the two of them balling their eyes out at the presence of the boy that had done the impossible. Ash blinked once before putting his arms around the backs of the both of them, looking up and seeing past Virizion towards Cilan and Burgh who had expressions of pure astonishment.

"Yeah."

His eyes turned towards the rest of his Pokémon that leaped through the air and added towards weight on top of the boy as he chuckled and tried to give everyone proper space however it seemed as though every Pokémon was eager to make sure that they embraced their trainer.

In the corner of his eye he saw Liberty Knox sit up as he paused for a moment before feeling an area around his head for the hole that was supposed to be in it however finding none before noticing that the arm he used for such was the one that J had broken, now completely healed. He turned his head and saw the sight of Aura Jetstream and her Lucario standing over him and no words had to be said as Pokémon and the Agent of the AJD embraced him, Liberty unsure of how to react.

He looked towards Ash and saw what he was doing before doing the same, pulling the two of them closer towards him as well.

The Guardian of the Forest had broken through the darkness with the power of aura and had done the impossible.

Even though there was likely an explanation for such, none was needed right now as Ash felt a gigantic smile crawl onto his lips as the clouds overhead parted, revealing the sunshine that brought warm light towards the area, shining up Virizion and the Pinwheel Forest magnificently.

And in that moment, Ash Ketchum from Pallet Town said one thing.

"I'm back."


"H-Honestly, you can't even die properly! Why can't you be like Ash here and do it like the hero that he is huh?"

"Excuse me Virizion? Can you reverse that revival? If I have to put up with this, I'd rather stay dead."

Aura Jetstream punched Liberty Knox in the head as he fell over, something that she added to as she struck him in the belly with numerous kicks as he grunted and groaned as Ash laughed while watching the two of them.

While it seemed as though Jetstream wanted to avoid contact with Liberty during their mission now that it was over, she felt no need to keep up appearances. After all, everyone had learned of each other's experiences leading and up to what had occurred so it seemed as though expanding on the stories that were to be told was the only thing left, something that Ash felt would take up most of the evening for him and his friends.

Ash Ketchum though turned away and looked, with sparkling eyes towards the Pokémon that was in front of him.

"Amazing….! Look at this Pikachu! It's really Virizion! Say, say since you are the Guardian of the Pinwheel Forest, are you going to help everyone out in the Forest like you did with me? After all, there are a bunch of poachers lying around and even Hunter J managed to escape!" said Ash with some eagerness as Virizion seemed to be flustered at the barrage of questions that were coming from the newly revived boy.

"Unfortunately, the Forest is the one that protects everyone. I merely serve as a vessel in that regard. While I determine who to save, it is up to the Forest whether or not to supply the aura in order to do so. And luckily in your case, it seemed as though the Forest approved of your revival." said Virizion simply, Iris and Cilan still trying to get over the fact that Virizion was speaking telepathically.

"Really!? Thank you so much!" Ash thanked the ground underneath his feet and he fell to his knees and bowed his head down towards as Cilan and Burgh let out a laugh while Iris merely chuckled, trying to hide her red face.

Although she had gotten caught up in the moment for her worry for Ash, she still felt as though what she had done to him through her embrace was something that was still embarrassing for her. Naturally, in the corner of his eye this was not unnoticed by Cilan as he smiled to himself while Burgh merely shook his head whilst looking at the destruction around him.

"But what of the Forest? I would think that amongst everything, there is going to be a lot of work and use of aura in the reconstruction of such." he said however Virizion merely shook her head.

"I believe in the Forest. It and the Pokémon will surely regrow and preserve. It is something that will take time however it will surely manage to do so. Have faith." said Virizion simply as Burgh put a finger to his chin before shrugging.

"If that is what the Guardian of the Pinwheel Forest asks for then me and my pure heart can only agree on that point."

"But speaking of which, the Forest is surely going to be taking a lot of publicity for the next few days. Although I extremely dislike the ingredient of napalm in the threatening and burning of the Forest, it is with distaste that I have to state the obvious. That the Forest, at least from what I can see has been burnt to a crispy remnant of its former self." remarked Cilan while looking around with a solemn expression.

"What is going to happen with you then Virizion?" asked Iris as a follow up towards Cilan's question. "Are you going to stay? Or with all the trouble with the humans that came here…."

She trailed off however it was clear to those around to who she was referring to. What with the poachers that had made their presence known, the clean-up, physically and criminally was going to leave a mark of the Forest. More people would come and there would surely be those that sought to take things further in order to capture Virizion.

Still the Pokémon responded with grace and without a change in tone as she spoke with respect to those that had protected her and the Forest.

"I cannot prevent one from entering. I am just a Guardian. However the best that I can do is continue to do what has been tasked to me. And I shall continue to do so until the end of my days."

"I would imagine the AJD would help with that." said Ash with a grin as he turned towards Jetstream however it was her Lucario that answered, the Pokémon that had been righting a number of the fallen Jeeps around the lakebed.

"Yes. After this, it is the intention of my Mistress and I to call Officer Jenny and the necessary back-up and inform them of the situation." reported Lucario as Jetstream seemed to understand that she too had to have some input as she left Liberty alone , who was clutching his stomach in pain as she spoke.

"Yes. We intend to bring as much back-up as we can. Those guys at the top prevented such from first however now that the situation has come to this, they really can't hold back on it. Besides, a number of these poachers are wanted criminals, not to mention that we have a somewhat intact version of J's airship. The technology what we can gleam from such will be enlightening and perhaps allow us to get the supplier of her equipment. If not, it will be learning experience." she said as she walked towards Burgh and spoke towards him.

"If anything Burgh of the Castelia City Gym, I would like your assistance in such a manner. Hearing your testimony on such would surely be helpful when it comes towards clearing up any issues." Jetstream said towards Burgh as he nodded.

"Yes. My Leavanny is currently resting, as are the other Pokémon as well save for Lucario, Pikachu and Axew, so I would be happy to help. I believe that some of my aura has been restored however do not expect much." reported Burgh back towards Jetstream however she merely shook her head.

"Lucario and I will handle the aura aspect of things. But thank you for your assistance in the matter." she said before turning towards Ash and the others, bowing in front of them.

"And for you Ash, I want to thank you for your services. Without them, I doubt we would have gotten to this conclusion. You literally sacrificed your life to get us this far and I am in your debt. Is there anything that I can do for you? Naturally, the same extends to Iris and Cilan as well. Not to mention Pikachu and Axew if need be." said Jetstream as Pikachu on Ash's shoulder and Axew in Iris's hair seemed to perk up at the mention of their names however the trainers seemed extremely flustered at the bowing nature of Jetstream.

"N-No, no there's no way that we ask that from a member of the AJD!"

"Y-Yeah! I mean you were the one that allowed us to take part so there's no way that we can do that!"

"Although I'm sure that we respect you for giving us such a thing, the three of us cannot accept such a graciously given ingredient."

The three trainers refused as the three of them looked in the corner of their eyes towards the figure of Liberty who had not said a thing in regards to being ignored however he looked lost in thought, feeling the spot where he had been shot, tracing over where the hole had once been with his newly fixed arm. Jetstream looked towards him an annoyed expression and spoke with a frown on her face.

"As for you, why in the world did you take so long?! I seriously thought that you weren't coming! When I told you about Virizion, I thought that you would race at the chance!" she complained as Liberty merely looked towards her while still tracing the hole in his head that was no longer there.

"I came didn't I?"

"Ahhhhhhhhhhhh! You mean Agent Jetstream was the one that you said called you about the Legendary?!" said Iris and Cilan with a shout as Ash had already figured such out given their previous meeting, something that Jetstream replied to with a sigh.

"Yes. Although I get the feeling I know the answer when I ask you to stay."

"Someone has to get these guys out of here. Besides, aren't you also staying for the Blooming as well?" asked Liberty as Jetstream nodded, Liberty standing up in response.

"Right. Well then I better pick out the best vehicle to get out of here with." he said as he indicated towards Lucario as the Pokémon directed him towards the location of the Jeeps as the two of them tested and tried them out in order to find one that was working.

"Well then, I suppose that that is our ride out of here!" said Ash as he looked towards the broken airship before turning towards Burgh with a grin on his face.

"So Burgh, when do you think you'll get back? I mean, you and I have a Gym Battle to do!" cried Ash enthusiastically as Burgh let out a laugh.

"Give me a few days Ash and try to keep out of trouble as a result." he said with a grin, holding out a hand. "When I get back, I expect the same intensity that you gave today in our Gym Battle Ash! Don't expect anything else from me and my pure heart!"

Ash took the hand and gripped it hard, grinning as well. "You've got yourself a challenge there! I won't lose!"

"Neither will I."

Both trainers stood their ground as Iris shook her head and Cilan smiled, something that was broken only by the sound of a turning engine in the distance as Liberty finally got a Jeep working with Lucario's assistance.

"What now for you though Virizion?" asked Iris as the Pokémon looked off towards the distance and to the large tree where it had once been housed in before being thrown in to the world of violence and chaos that it had seen only briefly.

"I shall return and attempt to give as much as I can towards the Forest. Although the process will take a while, I still trust humans and will do my best to ensure that I give each a fair go. After all I have a prime example of the rewards of such faith in front of me. If you shall leave here now, then so shall I."

"R-Really?" said Cilan with a raised eyebrow as Liberty pulled into the entrance of the exit of the lakebed, the path that they had originally travelled down.

"Not to mention that there is still a path to be cleared from all of the fallen trees." put in Virizion with a smile as Cilan let out a blush of embarrassment as he had not considered such as the trio of trainers made their way towards the Jeep, climbing in as Jetstream approached the driver's seat as Lucario climbed out.

"You guys keep safe. With this guy's driving, it'll be a task."

"Oh, I know." said Ash with a grin and a laugh as he climbed into the back as Lucario climbed down, Liberty turning towards Jetstream as she reached out to help Lucario out, grabbing her hand and pulling her close so that his mouth was close towards her ear given that the rest of the trainers were looking at Burgh or conversing with their Pokémon or Virizion.

"Thanks. I owe you one for saving Ash when he was about to fall."

Jetstream's eyes went wide as she looked back towards the boy who had an extremely serious expression on his face.

When the group had originally been travelling, a poacher had attacked them with an RPG and Aura Hyper Beam. All parties had managed to survive except Ash had been the one who had almost fallen into a raging river when he had thrown himself out of the Jeep that had been destroyed.

He had been saved by an Aura Platform however had not seen the person who had placed it there.

Given the accountancy of all parties during the time of the instance, in truth there was only one person that could have played a part in the survival of Ash in that instance.

"Just doing my job." whispered Jetstream back, remembering how she had formed the Platform that Ash had landed on. "Besides…he's the same as you right? No aura?"

Liberty nodded however did not ask how Jetstream knew although he had an idea. Given the nature of how he battled, using the negation tactics of aura and non-aura attacks, it seemed as though only he and Ash were the ones that used the technique in practice.

He wordlessly let go of Jetstream's hand and retreated back into the driver's seat with a nod of thanks towards the Agent and Lucario, something that was returned by both of them as he turned his gaze back towards the group that were ready to leave.

"All done?" he asked as everyone faced forward and nodded.

"Virizion, lead the way!" said Ash towards the Legendary as the Pokémon strode forward, its body glowing with a green light as it strode through the Forest, the Jeep in hot pursuit as the figures of Burgh, Aura Jetstream and Lucario waved towards the trio of trainers.

The battlefield was far behind them now as they lives moved forward. It would serve as a reminder of what had been lost, gained and even recovered.

But right now, the fact that they could walk away with it with smiles on their faces was in truth the only mark of victory that was needed for anyone right now.


"And here we are."

The Jeep was stopped and the trainers had stepped out at the crossroads that led either out of the Forest or further into it.

The decision that had be made at these very crossroads had determined their fate as of them and it had been that decision and what had followed that allowed those people to stand where they were right now.

Virizion stood at one road of the crossroads, the one that went further into the Forest while the Jeep was angled towards the other, the road out of the Forest.

"This is where we must part."

"Is…it really over?" asked Ash towards the Pokémon as he slumped his head towards the ground.

"I mean, I know that you have to recover your aura and power….but is this it? I mean look at what happened to us! I don't think that this is something that I will forget anytime soon!" he said with a cry.

"Pika pikachu!" exclaimed Pikachu as well as Virizion merely smiled towards the two of them while standing, basking in the sunlight that covered it.

"All things must end Ash."

"Honestly Ash what did you think would happen? That Virizion would come with us? The Forest is its home and the home of numerous other Pokémon as well. It has to take priority towards those that it needs to protect the most." lectured Iris as Ash hung his head and looked towards the ground.

"I know that but-"

"Ash." said Cilan as he put a hand on his friend's shoulder. "I think that Virizion will always be here. There is nothing stopping you from visiting either you know." he said as Virizion spoke.

"I agree. For you four, I think that whenever you enter this Forest, think of it as your own home. I can grant you that much. And call upon me and I shall appear. It will be my pleasure to assist or aid you good people." said Virizion calmly as Ash sniffled slightly before nodding.

"Yeah. But can we really come at any time!?"

"Of course."

"You hear that guys?! If you want to come and visit Virizion, we can just go and do so! How awesome is that?!" he cried as the others chuckled towards the boy that seemed to be excited about everything today.

"But this is where we must part ways. The way for you and me are different, you all of us. But know this. Our hearts and experiences today will always live inside my mind fort all time. I will never forget you. Ash, Iris, Cilan, Pikachu, Axew and Liberty. Nor those that we have left behind. I shall always keep you in my mind and thank you for your role today."

The others nodded as Virizion started to turn around however stopped as it looked towards the boy with the Pikachu, smiling slightly towards him.

"Although I do think that I can give you something in return for your service right now."

Virizion's cryptic words were met with a surprise as Ash yelled out, having being hit on the back of the head, falling forward as he landed in the dirt, looking back only to see Sewaddle sitting on the edge of the Jeep with a chuckle on its face.

"Pikaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa?!" asked Pikachu towards the Pokémon as it stuck out its tongue in response to Pikachu before climbing down and jumping into Ash's chest, rubbing its face into his shirt, which had been mended by Cilan previously.

"S-Sewaddle!?" asked Ash with surprise as he looked towards Virizion for an explanation yet it was Iris that gave it towards him.

"Ash. I think that Sewaddle wants to go with you. And given what has happened in here over the past few hours, it shouldn't be that surprising." she said with a smile.

Ash blinked once before realisation climbed onto his face as he turned towards the small Pokémon.

"Is that true Sewaddle?!" asked Ash with an eager gaze as the Pokémon looked up towards the trainer with the expression in its eyes giving everything away that needed to be said in an instant.

Ash cleared his throat, stood up however did not reach fast for the Pokéball and throw it. Instead, he reached carefully, detaching a Pokéball and placing it on the floor as Sewaddle looked up towards its trainer as he winked.

"Then I'll leave it up to you." he said as Sewaddle beamed, heading straight for the Pokéball and clicking it open with its head.

It opened, sucking in Sewaddle with light, something that caused the small Ball to rock to the side once. Twice. Thrice before it clicked once and closed. However unnaturally, the Pokéball seemed to not have the red light in its centre disappear but rather it maintained itself, glowing strangely towards the trainer. Still he realised its cause as given the new capture, Sewaddle bought his team to seven. As a result, it was likely that the Pokémon was transferred towards Professor Juniper's laboratory.

However Ash cared for none of that as Ash, trying to hold in his excitement grinned as he proceeded to pick up the Pokéball.

"Alright! I just caught a Sewaddle!"

"Pi-pikachu!" called Pikachu as Ash laughed, something that was matched by the smile on Virizion's face.

"I imagine Ash that you and Sewaddle will make quite the team. As a result, I hope that your partnership will always remind you of the day you became Guardian of the Pinwheel Forest. You and your friends." said Virizion as it turned, leaping into the Pinwheel Forest once last time for the heroes that stood by the Jeep, the foursome watching with quiet faces at the retreating Pokémon.

"Well how about that buddy!? Not only did we save the entire Pinwheel Forest and a Legendary but we got a new partner as well! Who knew that today would turn out like this?!" called Ash towards Pikachu as he climbed into the backseat of the Jeep.

"Well, we'll have to get it from where it was transferred to right?" asked Iris as she did the same.

"Yep! From Professor Juniper's lab!" said Ash in response. "We just got a new partner for our journey!"

"Don't forget that everyone has to meet this new partner alright? Axew, you need to play fair!" said Iris towards the Pokémon inside her hair, something that caused the Pokémon to poke its head out with enthusiasm as it cried out with eagerness.

"Huh, you too? Ever since you learned Aura Slash, you've been a bundle of energy!" Iris said with a chuckle.

"A-Axew learned a new move?!" yelled Ash in surprise. "Since when!? I missed that?" he complained with a whine as Iris frowned and brought Axew closer towards herself.

"Well of course you kid. After everything that has happened, what else did you expect?" she asked as Cilan frowned, putting a hand towards his chin as he turned towards the other older person in the Jeep.

"Liberty, I'm just confirming however Axew's aura level was Low beforehand. With this new move that it has mastered, doesn't that mean that Axew's aura level has also increased to-"

"MEDIUM?!" shouted Iris, unconsciously using her aura to fuel her shout that caused the males to all fall out of the Jeep. "Axew you've reached the Medium level!?"

"W-Well if it has mastered Aura Slash, then I would say so." said Liberty as he picked himself up from the side, Iris letting out a girlish squeal that was unlike her as she picked up Axew from her hair and circled around in joy.

"Axew, you're really on the road of growth! If we keep this up, we can finally get towards you evolving!" She cried at the top of her lungs.

"Axew ew!" cried the Pokémon in joy as Ash and Cilan looked at Iris before staring at each other with grins on their faces.

"This is great! Great! I can – Whoa! What are you doing!?" shouted Iris towards Liberty who had changed the gears of the Jeep from Park to Drive.

"I'm starting to head off." he said in a bored tone however as Iris felt the need to strap herself in, Cilan spoke up.

"What about you though Liberty? Don't you have any Pokémon? I mean, if you did then I'm sure that you and Ash would not have…" He trailed off however Liberty sighed, leaning him head back and looking up through the tree line of the Pinwheel Forest.

"That was a long time ago. I'm no longer a trainer." he said as he turned back towards the group upon checking if they were all belted up as he pressed his foot on the accelerator, leaving the Forest in silence as the trainers all looked back upon where they had just been.

The moment that the left the Forest and the sun setting in the distance filled their vision, they all breathed at the exact same time, almost as if they had been holding it in because of the fact that they did not know what to expect to happen to them.

However they relaxed and all of them smiled, letting the fatigue of their bodies wash over them.

And with that, the trials that they had been made to endure during their time in the Pinwheel forest came to an end.

Yet unbeknownst to all of them, they all failed to notice the shine of a pair of sunglasses situated on the head of a Krokorok shining behind them, watching with ever interested eyes on the trio that made their way towards their next destination.


"Welcome to the team Sewaddle!"

Ash let out that happy cry as he lifted up Sewaddle to his own eye line, spinning with a grin on his face as he looked towards the Pokémon that cried out its name happily upon the attention that it was receiving from its trainer.

Iris and Cilan looked on with amusement as the trainer played with his new Pokémon, hearing the screeching of tyres in the distance, only to turn and see a number of different vehicles turn and head down the road. Their driving was reckless yet the cars that passed were close enough that the trio managed to get a glimpse of numerous TV station logos racing past.

The media vans screeched and stopped in front of the Pokémon Centre that the group had reached, reporters leaking out of the vans and attempting to find the best view of the Pinwheel Forest with their cameramen as fellow Pokémon trainers gathered in front of the Pokémon Centre to see what was going on.

Ash let Sewaddle down, not before snuggling the Pokémon close towards this chest, as he looked towards the Forest itself, letting out a sigh of relief.

"It's all over huh…." he said silently. Although he had overcome obstacles such as this before (although none where he had actually died as far as he remembered), his hands were still trembling, much like they always did when he had yet to overcome the surge of adrenaline in his system.

Personally, he planned on releasing all of his Pokémon outside of their Pokéballs when they were going to bed, just to make sure that each and every Pokémon could rest easy knowing that they were not confined to a Pokéball but rather in the presence of their trainer and each other.

He rubbed Pikachu's fur as the Pokémon let out a "Chaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa" in response as Ash did something that he had seen Liberty do, circling the hole that was over his stomach where the bullet that had shot him had passed through.

There was no scar unlike the one that Gary had given him however the sensation of the bullet passing through was still there.

Feeling the area though only made him think as he watched the Pinwheel Forest and the helicopters that were circling it, something that were housing TV station logos and that of the AJD. A police car raced past the Pokémon Centre however Ash kept his entire focus on the Forest as Cilan came up to him.

"Thinking about what happened?" asked Cilan to which Ash nodded, not wanting to hide anything from his friend that had overcome this incident with him.

"I'm just thinking that maybe there was some way that things could have been different. I mean, I'm happy the way things turned out however what was the cost? Virizion lost most of its power, the Forest was burnt and even though Virizion has recovered, even she said that there would be time for the Forest to recover." he said. He sat down on the ground, something that was matched by the two Pokémon he had out and Iris and Cilan.

Axew itself hopped put of Iris's hair and landed on the ground where it sat in Iris's lap as she too looked at the Forest.

"Maybe. But in the end, everything is fine right? Is…there something you want to talk about?" she asked nervously towards the boy as Ash paused momentarily before clearing his throat.

"I died Iris. I literally died and I felt my entire body just…float. There was nothing where I was and I didn't mind. It was only after Virizion started to…heal me? That was when I noticed that something was wrong and I started to fight it. But if that never happened, would that be the only thing I would know? That place? I still haven't achieved my dream yet there are thing in this world that even I haven't seen! Even J had this weird kind of stone and mentioned Mega Evolution! I don't even know anything about that! So, to have that feeling of completely being OK with not knowing that…." He trailed off, uncomfortable with what he was saying as both Iris and Cilan felt unsure what to say as Ash continued.

"Not to mention, there was definitely something wrong with those Shadow Pokémon. I know that you Iris were hurt and that rest is what all of us need in order to make sure that the wounds disappear. But some of them will remain. Especially here." Ash pointed towards his temple however flinched and turned around, only to see that Liberty was standing behind him, listening.

"Ah, no sorry Liberty, I didn't mean-"

"It's fine Ash." He said as he traced over the place where he had been shot. "But I understand what you mean. Some things don't fade and we never forget them. But that isn't a bad thing."

Ash frowned however nodded. "I know. Learning about the world is all about taking that which we learn and forging it within ourselves. I learn that way. But if something had been different, if something had changed, could J's Salamence not been a Shadow Pokémon? Could they never have existed? If things were a little different, is there a chance that they could have changed for the better?" he asked.

"Shadow Pokémon." said Iris as she leaned forward, touching her cheek where she had been struck before. "The darkness of the world is something that we saw today and it reaches farther than I even thought. But even so…I still think as though knowing it is there and fighting it is the best we can do."

"I agree." said Cilan. "Things might have been different yes. But if that was the case, would there be the same recipe? You can't form a dish using different ingredients. A change causes everything around it to change as well. I understand what you mean Ash but if things had been different….maybe you would have truly stayed dead. I'm sorry to say that but it is a reality you have to face." said the boy with a serious expression as he looked forward.

All eyes turned towards him as he spoke.

"We need to focus on this victory now Ash. Because if we don't and get caught up in the world of 'maybe', then things might cause us to change for the worse. And as someone who stood in that battle, I can tell you that among everything I faced, I would not want that battle to change in any way." replied Cilan deeply as Iris put a hand on Ash's shoulder.

"We won Ash. And that is everything that you, I, and Cilan need. If something was different then maybe…." she trailed off however Ash understood as he nodded slowly.

He closed his eyes before letting out a shout and falling backwards, sprawling out on the hill where he was sitting on, looking up at the darkening sky.

"Man! I seriously needed to get that out of my system! Right! Now that it's out, I can focus on training! Sewaddle, you and I are seriously going to get done to some special training for our fight with Burgh! Pikachu, you too! We need to win that battle no matter what in order to get closer towards the Unova League!" shouted Ash attracting some attention.

"Se wa wa!"

"Pika-pikachu!" cried the two Pokémon as both Iris and Cilan looked towards the trainer in surprise.

"And as for you Iris and Cilan, I really want to thank you for that. I needed someone to tell me that thinking about how things could be different is something that I don't need to do. We won, everyone is safe and we're all alive. In that sense, I wouldn't ask for anything else. So thanks." He said grinning towards the two of them.

Cilan blinked once however chuckled sheepishly and rubbed the back of his head in a modest manner as Iris merely hung her head, her cheeks flushed slightly at the pure smile on the boy's face despite what they had cleared up within him.

"And as for Liberty-"

Ash turned however saw that the boy had a finger up, watching the Forest and pointing towards it.

"It will start soon. The Blooming."

"Blooming?" asked the trainers as they turned towards the Pinwheel Forest, only to recoil in surprise at the sight of a large pillar of pure blue light shot into the sky, slowly disappearing completely as it faded into the light of the sunset.

"Wh-What was that!?" asked Iris.

"A Blooming." said Liberty. "The birth of a Time Flower. Ash," Liberty started as he looked towards the boy. "If you want to know the actions that you took, and how they influenced things, you need to look no further than that Time Flower that was created. That in itself will tell you how things progressed….and how things ended. Thinking about how things will change or stay the same is backwards thinking. Didn't you after all aim towards trying to bring a result around without thinking about how things would change if they had been a little different?" asked the boy with a grin, something that Ash understood as Iris and Cilan seemed to lack understanding about what it was that Liberty had referenced.

"Hey! What's a Time Flower?" asked Iris.

"Oh come on Iris!" said Ash with a teasing glance as he processed what Liberty had said. "You don't even know that?! That how a Time Flower is created when a large amount of aura is poured into an area and returned back towards the earth? Good Mew! I'd say that the returning of Virizion's aura to the earth of the Pinwheel Forest given everything that has happened was then cause of that, right Liberty?"

The suited boy gave a sigh as Iris stood up and shoved a finger into Ash's chest.

"Don't try and play smart with me Ash Ketchum! I have no idea if you are telling me the truth but it's a thousand years too early for you to be telling me things with a hot head!"

"Oh yeah!?"

"Yeah!"

"Oh yeah!?"

"I already answered that!" said Iris however she couldn't keep the smile off her face as she responded, something that was matched by Ash as Cilan let out a laugh. Liberty smiled softly as he watched the two of them before turning and walking back towards the Jeep that he had driven here, Iris looking at him go as Ash noticed that he was leaving.

He turned and shouted out Liberty's name, causing the boy to turn back as Ash raced towards him, following by Pikachu and Sewaddle as well.

"L-Liberty. There's something I want to ask you." asked Ash.

"Huh? Well if you want to know, I'm heading towards Castelia soon. However I have some things to clear up. So chances are we'll meet up there at some point."

"Really?" asked Ash with eager eyes however shook his head. "No, that wasn't what I wanted to ask. It's…about us."

Liberty paused, noting that he was tracing over the place where the bullet that passed through his head would have created a hole as he dropped his hand.

"About how we were brought back even though we were Aura Zeroes?" he asked as Ash nodded.

"We died Ash. Both you and I. Any traces of any remaining aura in our bodies we might have had were lost and passed into the earth meaning that our blood lost all of its negation effects. That darkness that you told me about? That was your soul passing into the earth I'd say. However Virizion interrupted before we could be fully absorbed as a personality. We survived and were brought back, our bodies healed. But…."

"But?" asked Ash as he felt as though he had an inkling towards knowing what Liberty was going to say.

"Any chance of you restoring your aura, any chance of you overcoming this title of Aura Zero, has been lost. It's a permanent title now Ash. There's no changing things now. You need to move forward with that in mind."

Ash was silent before sighing, rubbing his head in a relieved fashion.

"Well that's a relief." he said as Liberty raised an eyebrow.

"A relief?"

"Yeah. After all…I am Ash Ketchum, the Aura Zero. I've made my way this far being such and any chance to regaining aura? I don't think I'd take it in the first place!" said the trainer in a voice so only the two could hear with a grin as Liberty stood stunned at the boy's remark however smiled and held out a hand.

"Until we meet again."

"Until we meet again."

Ash Ketchum replied and grabbed the hand of Liberty Knox, the two of them parting as the boy jumped onto the Jeep and turned on the engine.

"Oh, hey Liberty!"

He turned and looked at Ash as the boy grinned in response.

"Learn to drive!"

Liberty's expression grew extremely pissed however he let out a laugh as he drove off, almost crashing into a media van, as the trio of trainers waved their hands towards the van as Iris looked towards Ash with an interested gaze.

"So Ash."

"Yeah?"

"How exactly do you know about Time Flowers?"

Both Pikachu and Ash let out a laugh, something that caused the trainers to look on in surprise as well as their respective Pokémon as both boy and Pikachu look at each other with that same grin.

"Now THAT is a long story."

Yet like anything, it was one that had passed as Ash started to break out into introductions despite the crowd around them, the others listening intently to the story being played out in narrative form.

And surely this story was going to be one that was going to be nothing more than a memory and something to look forward to in the future.

Because that was Ash Ketchum's path and journey.

Taking things one step at a time in order to achieve a certain goal that he kept in mind all the time. And it was surviving all of those things that caused experiences to grow, to create learning and the forging of the path to progress down.

And this incident was merely something that allowed for that growth.

One tale ended and another began.

Only the one that Ash, Pikachu, Iris, Axew and Cilan were taking was one that they would share together in order to allow themselves the greatest time of their lives.

In the world of Pokémon.


Fini!

But before the after notes, I suppose we can have the updates of the notes.

Iris's Axew
Aura level: Low - Medium (current)
Aura abilities: Aura Scratch
Aura Dragon Rage (incomplete)
Aura Slash

Cilan's Pansage
Aura level: High
Aura abilities: Aura Bite
Aura Bullet Seed
Aura SolarBeam (pseudo Aura Beam with the early release of energy without sunlight)
Aura Dig

Ash's Sewaddle
Aura level: Medium
Aura abilities (rarely in use): Aura String Shot
Aura Razor Leaf

Firstly, what did you think about this arc that took roughly 2 years to do 5 chapters? I am, first and foremost a terrible person in those regards. But given everything that happened, I hope that you are pleased regarding the nature of the story and were it headed eventually.

Of course there were some important concepts here to introduce, namely of course the endless nature of Ash as an Aura Zero. While there were a number of methods that could have existed to restore Ash's aura, I deleted them all with this. Mainly because, as Ash himself noted, doing so would probably change his style.

Of course, if the situation calls for it he will use aura in battling however any chance of Ash using aura itself to overcome an obstacle has gone out the window. I suppose what I aimed for here was to allow Ash the position of someone that can do something that everyone else cannot. Fighting J here was the example. While EVERYONE has aura, it was Ash with NO aura that actually did it. I suppose using this will mean that Ash is perhaps rising in his position as a hero given that he has no power yet still saves.

Also, there was the concept of the lasting darkness. References to Shadow Pokémon represent this and how long projects despite the dissolution of the teams that used them mean that old projects can be used if need be. In a way, it might be interesting for the use of the Galactic Bomb or such a device in order for something other than bringing out the Lake trio huh?

I touched upon the idea of a Mega Shadow Pokémon….I have no idea what I am going to do with that personally. I have no idea.

As for any questions that might arise would be about the revival of the Aura Zeroes. I suppose the only thing to say would be that neither Ash not Liberty are suddenly going to have those wounds that they suffered 'open' as that kill the both of them.

And as for whether Ash would have won against J if she hadn't shot him, I believe that he would have given what was on the line and the fact that J saw the need to do shoot him to end the battle. If she was winning, she would claim victory however as a villain, she would want to destroy any chances of her losing, meaning that she shot both of those that stood in her way.

But apart from that, this arc was something that needed to be finished and I hope to do another chapter, although in a shorter time frame, now that I have finally managed to finish this arc.

If I get around to it, I hope that you look forward to the next chapter and what awaits Ash Ketchum, Iris and Cilan. Such a thing might include a certain Connaisseuse and the use of Pokémon as the focus of crime. It sounds as though it is something I've done throughout this series however I think I might switch things up a bit given the nature and numerous abilities of Pokémon at hand.

But that is seriously jumping the gun.

The only thing that I really hope for was the enjoyment of this for what it was worth. And I just had to put in that 'it was all a dream' thing in just to troll someone. To clarify, it was not all a dream.

Thank you to those that made it this far and waited (patiently?) for the chapter that this was. I hope that it pleased.

And as always,
Review if you please

And I'll see you when I see you and I won't if I don't.

I hope that this yearly updates won't become a thing. Not especially when we have Team Rocket's arc conclusion sort of coming up….