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Chapter 9: Battle of Celadon GymEdit

“To infect the world with devastation,”

“To blight all people in every nation,”

“To denounce the evils of truth and love,”

“To extend our wrath to the stars above!”

“Jessie!” said the female Team Rocket member, though as Ash could recall she was a lot fatter than back in Viridian Forest – a lot fatter.

“James!” said the male. This one was considerably shorter than the James back then – so Ash knew that this was altogether a different team. And yet, they still used ‘Jessie’ and ‘James’…

“Team Rocket blast off at the speed of light!”

“Surrender now or prepare to fight!”

“That’s Right!” exclaimed what seemed like a two purplish, cratered, and connected balls that floated high above them.

“A Wheezing!” exclaimed Ash, amazed. Every Team Rocket group seemed to have a powerful pokemon!

“We want your Ralts,” demanded Jessie.

“Team Rocket values its teleportation skills,” added James.

The next instant all the police officers had their guns out and aimed at the two intruders. At the same time both Jessie and James seemed to know that it was about to happen. They ordered to the Wheezing, “Wheezing, Destiny Bond!” The floating stink bomb released several stars that immediately impacted the police before vanishing into their skins to work the ability’s magic.

The police grunts came very close to shooting their guns and killing themselves from the extremely unusual magic of that spell. They were at a standoff, neither side wanting to do anything for fear of receiving a deadly reprisal from anyone who had a death wish. Team Rocket then pulled out their own guns and aimed them at the police.

A shrill cry broke the terrifying standoff. Out of nowhere, right above the five police officers, appeared an insidious-looking Misdreavus as it screeched at Team Rocket. Boundless terror struck Ash’s mind, rendering him temporarily paralyzed – and the next moment Team Rocket had its weapons trained on Ash – who knew immediately that he didn’t have a pokemon that knew such an ability. But he had other defenses – ((Teleport!))

The next moment Jessie was startled into firing her gun by Ash’s – and his Ralts’s – sudden disappearance. They reappeared upon the rooftop, this time easily ducking behind the eaves of the roof and avoiding Team Rocket’s infuriated shooting. But to Ash, it was still a miracle to have avoided such a horrible fate…

The grass pokemon that had earlier populated the Gym had by now fled in every conceivable direction, bumping into each other in their haste to reach safe haven. No longer were they producing any sweet fragrances--

By then the police had backed up behind obstacles and corners and launched their pokeballs. “Go, Steelix! Bind those two criminals!” shouted Officer Jenny, and simultaneously there appeared a massive, steel-covered Onyx – or what once was an Onyx. Its plating was steel all over.

PPT! PPT!

Minor scratches showed on Steelix’s body where Team Rocket had fired their guns, evidently having no other target. Steelix reared up in anger before pouncing on the duo. It suddenly lost its way when Wheezing let out a terrific jet of smoke that blackened the vision of everyone in the gym despite the shining of the noon sun’s rays. Steelix thrashed about, but clearly missed its target.

“Go, Fearow! Gust away the smokescreen!” shouted a police grunt; a split second later the furious-looking bird had materialized, and aided by the smokescreen, it spiraled into the air, before launching a vicious whirlwind that quickly blasted away the smokescreen. James aimed his gun at the bird…

PPT!

The bullet hit nothing as suddenly Fearow turned into a flash of red and was recalled by its trainer. In the three seconds that followed, over a dozen other pokemon were summoned into battle, most of them able to contribute little due to their vulnerability to bullets. Another grunt threw his pokeball into the large fountain in the center of the gym, revealing a Starmie. It began systematically shooting bubble-beams at its targets from underwater, even as Jessie’s bullets hit the surface of the water and upon collision scattered into fine dust. The Misdreavus fired a shadow ball at, then began trading attacks with Team Rocket’s Cloyster. Ralts too joined the fray, using telekinesis to shoot spent bullets without the need for a gun, albeit at only a tenth of a normal bullet’s speed.

“Steelix, attack now!” ordered Officer Jenny. The Steelix prepared to fall down upon the duo, instantly killing them, when—

BOOM!!

The Wheezing had exploded, its internals literally ripped apart as all the gases within self-combusted. There was very little of Wheezing’s exterior skin left after the detonation.

But the power of the explosion had sent shockwaves into the ground, ripping the earth apart and even causing the steel plating on Steelix to buckle. The pokemon came crashing down to the ground, split in two and with parts flaked and burned off of its body entirely, to lay scattered all over the gym. They would have to rush the near-dead pokemon over to the poke-Center within a minute or else Steelix would be dead for good…

“Make a run for it, Jenny!” shouted a grunt. All in tears, Jenny recalled the broken pokemon back inside her ultra-ball and made a dash for the exit.

“Oh no you don’t!” screamed James, launching another pokeball through the air. It clicked open behind the police officers, revealing a Charmeleon.

Immediately it created a smoke screen so dense the police officers could only fire blindly and, of course, nothing hit. Then fire began to billow out of the blackened passageway, preventing Jenny from exiting. “Go, Squirtle!” said Jenny. “Water gun on that Charmeleon! That will scare it away or knock it out!” The next moment Squirtle opened its mouth and a forceful stream of water shot out into the place where the fire pokemon must be lurking. Seconds continued to pass as the battle in the main field ground to a halt – everyone being either trying to avoid being hit or was immune to being hit or were marked with Destiny Bond.

Then through the smoke and steam the Charmeleon advanced, not the slightest perturbed by the water attacks it had suffered, and seeming to have instead enjoyed a bath. Which, for a Charmeleon, was a very unusual thing. Although the officers were about to shoot at it, the Charmeleon got them first with a terrifically hot smokescreen directly in the face, forcing them to retreat.

Ash had been looking at the battle from behind the eaves of the roof during this whole time and perked to attention when he saw that Charmeleon come out of the steam. This was one tough Charmeleon! It reminded him of his own Charmeleon, who, when he parted (and he tried not to cry at this), could shake off water as if it were nothing.

Perhaps this is my pokemon!

“Hey, Charmeleon! Can you hear me?” It looked up at him, distracted. “You’re my Charmeleon, aren’t you? Don’t you still remember me?”

“Yes, I do,” replied Charmeleon glumly. Upon noticing this, Jessie stopped trading bullets with a police grunt to press a button on her ultra-ball. Suddenly the Charmeleon roared in agony and fell flat on its face. When it picked itself up a moment later, its eyes were filled with hatred – and that hate encompassed Ash as well. It leered, causing Ash to shudder in fear, before launching a stream of hot fire down the passageway toward the police, alighting all the plants on the walls.

“Oh no, Charmeleon!” Ash raged helplessly. His guardian was being forced to obey Jessie’s orders through the power of her ultra-ball! Only now, when he saw it being used, did Ash make the connection with back at the department store, where the salesperson had mentioned the ultra-ball’s torture and torment abilities… “Charmeleon! This is your one chance to go free, you hear me? Stop obeying Team Rocket!”

Charmeleon turned its head toward and prepared to attack Team Rocket, before it succumbed to another shock of pain. It whimpered, turning back to the police officers…

((Ralts! Ralts!? Get back here!)) commanded Ash, noticing that the Ralts had teleported out of the Gym and was steadily racing away from the battle site. It turned around and balked. ((Ralts, I’m counting on you to help me, please don’t just leave! You’ve got to get Charmeleon out of there! I know teleportation can only be used on those who are willing, but deep inside Charmeleon is willing to leave! I have pokeballs that I can use to reverse-capture Charmeleon!))

The pokemon sensed that Ash’s emotions were true and nodded slightly, its eyes still hidden behind its greenish cap. It suddenly vanished, to reappear by Ash’s side on the rooftop.

Ralts turned its squinted eyes toward the reptile, and in the flash of an eye it was gone from the alleyway, reappearing right next to Ash. Charmeleon opened its mouth and incinerated the first pokeball Ash tossed at it. “Charmeleon! You’ll be okay once you get inside my pokeball! Now stop burning them! Just give me one chance!” Ash screamed at it, aware that one more blast could send him tumbling off the roof.

“What the…?” screamed out Jessie upon noticing what was happening. She turned her gun in Ash’s direction…

Ash noticed just in time, but knew he couldn’t dodge it – he couldn’t get to the other side of the roof in time, nor could he give the order to Abra either. So he immediately did the only viable option he had.

Much like what he had done to the spoon back at Pallet, he bent the gun into a 90-degree angle.

Jessie gave one horrified look at the useless gun, and threw it as hard as she could at Ash. Ralts’s flat red horn lit up, and the broken rifle stopped in midair before clattering onto the ground.

“Jessie, if you don’t give me the ultra-ball you used to capture Charmeleon I’m going to snap your arm just like I did to that gun!” Ash threatened the Rockets fighting below. Meanwhile Ralts continued playing a game of dodge with the Charmeleon…

PPT!

Ash narrowly avoided James’s gun by ducking behind the roof. “All right, that’s it!” He focused intently on Jessie’s arm, remembering how he had managed to do it the two times before, and tried to snap it.

Nothing happened.

Darn it, why did this engagement have to happen so early? Give me another week, and I could have perfected this skill to the point that I could break her arm much like straw!

((Ralts, get me that ultra-ball!))

Jessie clenched her fist fight around the ultra-ball and successfully stopped it from being levitated over to Ash. Darn it! Psychic power is too weak! He took out another pokeball and tossed it at the Charmeleon when it was distracted yet again by Ralts teleporting. Suddenly a streak of scintillating light struck out of Jessie’s ultra-ball, going through the roof tiles, and intercepted Ash’s pokeball, knocking it out of his hand. The next moment Charmeleon looked at a shaken Ash with a glare that practically froze him to the spot.

“Ha!” shouted Jessie in delight. “My ultra-ball’s hold on that Charmeleon prevents you from capturing it!” She waved it over her head in exultation while Ash stood rooted to the spot in dismay.

The next moment Ralts had directed a spent bullet out on the barren field directly at the ultra-ball, striking it from behind and causing the device to shatter. Just then Jessie seemed to remember that Ash’s Ralts hadn’t been the target of either side’s Destiny Bond attacks. Very shaken by being very nearly hit by a bullet, Jessie forgot all about the broken ultra-ball and fled down their side of the corridor, recalling her other pokemon along the way (most of which had sat out the firefight in some safe alcove or other).

The Ralts had a very pleased expression on its face, and Ash delighted in seeing it. ((You were wonderful, Ralts! Thank you so much!)) It basked in its glory…

Then suddenly it began to radiate light. Within moments it had become almost blindingly white; as Ash squinted, he could see that the Ralts had begun to metamorphose… into a Kirlia! The pokemon grew considerably taller, though still quite shorter than Ash was. Out of the back of its green head-cap grew a short green cape that resembled a girl’s hair. The dress split and folded up into a miniskirt, revealing long, slender green legs. The head-cap had split at the front to take the form of green bangs, and the red flat horns had rotated to either side, resembling ears.

The newly metamorphosed Kirlia turned its attention to James, who was hiding behind a wall and directing his own pokemon. Its two horns lit up, and suddenly the commands the remaining Team Rocket member was giving became a load of nonsense. Several pokemon balked at his commands or listened to them, resulting in serious harm. Confusedly the pokemon began a hasty retreat back to James, who was utterly baffled by how meaningless everything had suddenly become. Soon the battle was over.

“Yeah Kirlia, that’s the way to do it!” said Ash.

Ash tossed a third pokeball at his former guardian pokemon and this time it quite easily submitted to returning to Ash’s side. The pokeball, now filled, returned to Ash’s hand. “All right!” he said, striking a victory posture. Then he looked down and saw that the police grunts were aiming their guns at him now. “Whoa! Take it easy now…” All four of the police officers seemed to know enough about commando warfare to avoid getting hit.

“Stop it and put your guns down!” Officer Jenny ordered them all. “By helping out our side in the battle against our mutual enemy Team Rocket, and helping us obtain a kill against James here, Ash has proven that he is not the criminal we originally thought he was. Upon my authority I hereby exonerate Ash from any punishment he might have received for stealing from the casino.”

Ash turned all bashful. “Gee, thanks!...” His Kirlia spun around shyly in a victory dance.

Officer Jenny didn’t even hear him. Instead she looked at the ultra-ball in her hand, and sighed. The next moment she fell to her knees, weeping. From what Ash could tell, her Steelix had not been rescued in time and was now dead.

A flash later, Ash, his Kirlia, and his Charmeleon were all at the corridor where the police were lamenting over the death of the Steelix and using full revives on other downed pokemon. It was the period of weeping, the aftermath of a major battle. Ash approached slowly and sorrowfully, aware that he was the catalyst for this entire battle. “I’m… sorry,” he told Officer Jenny, not knowing what words he could use to ease the pain.

And after all, he couldn’t. He hadn’t lost anything, and had gained his guardian pokemon back…

A few minutes later, after Jenny had wiped the tears off her face and the other policemen had finished clearing up, Erika came out of a hidden trapdoor. “Well? Is it all over?” she asked hesitantly.

“Yeah, we beat ‘em,” replied Ash in his most upbeat tone.

Erika, who knew nothing about battles, took this to mean utter, total victory, and leapt for joy. “Well then you’re all heroes for having saved the day!” she said gaily. “Go Shaymin, use your aromatherapy on those poor pokemon!” The floral pokemon jumped off Erika’s arms and approached the grunts’ pokemon, chirping happily as she released a cloud of potently medicinal spores. Within moments the paralyzed, burned, and poisoned had recovered entirely.

“Thank you, Erika… but actually…” Ash pointed over to Jenny, who continued to sob.

Erika's face flushed. “Uh… Sorry for having been so ecstatic earlier,” she said.

“It’s nothing,” Ash said, ready to leave. His words were like acid. “I know for certain that this is one peace area I do not want to return to.”

“Wait!” Ash whirled around. Erika was looking at him with a hint of something in her eyes. “I still think nurturing pokemon is a world better than having them fight and kill each other. But… You’re still my hero. What’s your name?” An embarrassed Ash answered. “Well Ash… Thank you so much for having fought to defend this place. You may not have done much to nurture your pokemon and make them grow into their best, but I greatly value your help today. I think it makes up for the fact that you’ve yet to get a plant-type pokemon. I heard what happened earlier. And from what you said I realized that you really care about your Charmeleon. It may be, in one respect, the best that any pokemon may be able to expect from a trainer. Here.”

She took out a badge from her purse. It was greenish, star-shaped, with eight variously-colored edges, and the entire thing was the width of his thumb. She opened Ash’s palm and gently closed it again around the badge. She smiled. “You deserve this, Ash.”

“Aww… Yes!!” cheered Ash. “That’s three good things to happen to me in one day!”

“Then I’ll make that four,” said Officer Jenny as she came over. “You and your Kirlia have been a big help in this firefight. Without your support someone in our team might have been seriously injured, or worse. But not only are all five of us still alive and well, we’ve managed to take down one Team Rocket member, which means the pokemon he was carrying are freed also.”

One of the pokemon released from Team Rocket’s control, the Cloyster, rolled over to Ash’s side. It opened the hard layers of shell, revealing the black spherical core. It smiled. “Thank you, Ash. It would be an honor to accompany you on your journey. I will serve you faithfully in our travels.”

Ash was flabbergasted. This was almost too good to be true! Now he had three pokemon, all of which were now very tough. There was hope for Kay yet!

“Ash,” said Officer Jenny, no trace of tears left on her cheeks, “As a condition for taking Cloyster, you must promise me never again to go playing in a casino. You’re a psychic, Ash. Remember that it marks you as an outcast.”

Ash dropped his head in defeat. “Oh, all right, no more gambling for me.” He smiled. “There, good enough?”

Officer Jenny winked.

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