Chapter 19 - Stalia

The group was having dinner at the Pokemon Center, four or five of them sitting at a table, which was kind of necessary with a group that large. Everyone was there except for Stalia. Somewhat surprisingly, Iris and Dawn were sitting with Team Rocket. Not very surprisingly, none of them felt like talking. They sat in complete silence, contrary to the loud and happy conversation happening around them.

Iris finished off the last of her soup and stood up. "I'm gonna go to bed early." She turned and began walking to her room.

Dawn stood up as well and murmured. "Me too." She followed Iris.

Jessie and James glanced in Iris and Dawn's direction before looking at each other. An unspoken message passed between them. 'We should leave now.' They hurriedly finished off what was left of their food and left the Pokemon Center unnoticed.

On the other side of the cafeteria were Ash, Brock, May, Max, and, weirdly enough, Harley. They sat together at a table, awkwardly looking back and forth from Harley to their food. It was May's rival who broke the strange silence at their table.

"Listen up, you four." He leaned over the table slightly and whispered. "Next to Dawnsie and Iris, you've spent the most time with Stalia, right?"

They nodded.

"Good." Harley continued. "I want to know, is there any chance at all that she's in on this missing pokemon thing."

A chorus of whispered protests rose up.

"Of course not!" May hissed at Harley.

"No way!" Max firmly shook his head.

"Stalia would never do something like that." Brock seemed the most calm out of the four.

"She's our friend, we trust her." Ash said. "There's no way she took Piplup and Axew!"

Harley smirked. "Oh, how adorable!" He whispered with a grin. "You're so naive. Don't you realize she could be playing you? Gaining your trust before stealing away your pokemon?"

The rest of them looked slightly uncertain until Ash spoke up. "No way. We trust Stalia, there's no way she took the pokemon."

Harley sighed shook finger in a tsking motion. "How cute. You trust her. I suppose it's just coincidence that Stalia spent the most time with Dawn and Iris. Now she's avoiding them like the plague and hanging out with you four. Maybe you'll rethink that trust when little Pikachu disappears."

Said Pikachu jumped onto the table, cheeks sparking. The rest of the group glared at Harley.

Harley backed up his chair a little at this. "Now, now. No need to get angry here." He got out of his chair and backed up a bit farther. "I'm just warning you. Toodle-loo!" He turned and left.

There was a brief moment of silence after he left.

May broke it with an unrelated question. "So...What's the story behind this Tobias guy?"

Max spluttered. "What?! How can you not know who he is?!"

May huffed. "I wasn't asking you, Max."

Max replied. "Still! You should know-Wait, who were you asking then?" He was used to always being the one who knew the answer.

May said. "Well, Ash and Brock seemed familiar with the guy."

Earlier that day...


"It's Tobias..." Barry was unusually quiet.

"He's here..." Paul muttered.

Brock said. "And he's up against Candice."

Ash suddenly became energized. "I can't believe it! Tobias is here!"

Brock chuckled. "I bet you can't wait to battle him."

Dawn smiled. "Well, this tournament is going to be even better than I thought."

End flashback...

Max remembered. "Oh yeah!" He turned to Ash and Brock. "I totally forgot! The Sinnoh League! Remember?"

Brock smiled. "You bet. There were some really amazing battles."

Ash responded. "And I doubt any of us'll forget Tobias."

May threw her hands up in the air and exclaimed. "Does everyone know who this guy is except me?!"

Max excitedly raised his hand. "Oh! Oh! Can I explain? Please?" He asked Ash and Brock.

"Sure." the two of them grinned at Max's excitement.

"Okay..." Max ran through what he knew. "How to start?"

"How about his Darkrai?" Ash suggested.

"Good idea!" Max exclaimed. "You see, May. Tobias competed in the Sinnoh League the same time Ash did. And just like in Hoenn, you need eight Gym Badges to compete. He won each Gym batle using only his Darkrai. No other pokemon."

May was listening attentively.

"And when he won the Sinnoh League," Max continued. "He won each of his battles, except for one, using only his Darkrai."

"So he won the Sinnoh League? Using only his Darkrai? " May said. "Wow, that's amazing. Hang on, you said besides one battle, right? Which one?"

Max smirked. "I'll leave Ash to explain that one."

May turned to Ash and Brock and asked. "You guys were there, right? Did you see any of Tobias' battles?"

Max stifled his laughter.

"Did we see any of his battles? Ha!" Ash exclaimed. "I battled him in the semi-finals!"

"Really?" May asked, intrigued. "How did that turn out?"

"Well," Ash began. "He knocked out some of my pokemon pretty easily, but there was still some damage done to his Darkrai. Sceptile managed to knock it out. But then, Tobias brought out his Latios. It knocked out the rest of my team besides Pikachu, Pikachu was my last pokemon."

"Of course, you didn't beat Tobias." Brock interrupted. "Pikachu tied with Latios."

"Yeah, but now I get a rematch!" Ash exclaimed, bouncing out of his chair.

"Geez, Ash. Calm down." Max said. "First, you've got to beat anyone who you're up against before Tobias."

"Oh. Yeah." He sat back down.

Cilan then walked by the table, holding a tray full of food. "Mind if I sit with you guys?" he asked.

"Fine by me." May said.

Cilan sat down and started a conversation. "You know, Harley keeps bringing up Stalia. Do you guys-"

"No way." Ash interrupted him. "There's no way Stalia's part of whatever took the pokemon."

The others nodded their agreement.

Cilan spoke up. "I was just going to ask if you guys think she's been acting strange lately."

Brock was the one who responded first. "Actually... Yeah, I've noticed her just disappearing off to somewhere."

May said. "Sometimes we just can't find her anywhere."

Max replied. "There's something odd about her."

Ash spoke last. "She seems weirdly familiar too."

Brock shook his head no and said.. "Really? I don't recognize her from anywhere."

May and Max didn't either.

"Huh." Ash said to himself. "Guess it's just me."

AN: Here it is, chapter 19! And I'm sorry to say this, but I'm not sure when the next update will be. Unfortunately, my interest in this story just seems to be waning. I'm still hopeful that I can finish this one day. But still, please review!

P.S. There's a poll on my profile. Nothing to do with Pokemon, but I'd appreciate some more votes.

Mew: Boring.

Rio: Hey! I can't have it all action all the time.

Mewtwo: She's right.

Mew: It's still boring.

Rio: Meh.

Mewtwo: Meh.

Mew: Meh. It's a funny word.

Rio: So, Mewtwo. What do you think of this chapter?

Mewtwo: Much better writing at the beginning than the end. The end was terrible. Try harder next chapter.

Rio: Well, at least I know what's going to happen next.

Mewtwo: What?

Rio: Not telling...

Mew: Please review!