Actions

Work Header

The 18 Masters

Chapter Text


Chapter 1


 

The First 18

 

Part 1: The Legend


 

Celestic Town, Sinnoh, 15 years before the present


 

Playing at her Grandmother's big old house, an 8 year old Cynthia, a blond girl with dark eyes, wearing a simple blue dress, laughed as she ran around the house with her small dragon pokémon, Gible. She was mostly blue in color with a red belly.

At one moment, her Grandma called her from the kitchen.

"Cynthia! Come to the kitchen, I made some snacks for you and Gible!"

Cynthia and Gible gleefully looked at each other and ran to the kitchen. They sat by the table and began to eat.

"Is it good, dear?" Her Grandma said.

They two little things nodded gleefully as they ate some chocolate cookies.

Cynthia suddenly remembered something she saw on her Grandmother's room early in the morning. It was something about a legend of some kids. Her Grandmother used to study those stories a lot, and she frequently told her stories about the ancient stories of Sinnoh and the other regions, and Cynthia loved those stories. Even by the age of 8 years old, she knew the full background of the "Creation of the Universe".

"Grandma, what was that on your desk this morning about the kids?"

The old lady visibly flinched. That was something completely different from many of the stories she told Cynthia. Many legends she told her were just theories and such, mostly bedtime stories for kids. But this one… She knew it very well. This one was like the legends of the Legendary Pokémon: It was real.

Cynthia is really young now, so she probably won't take anything seriously about this in the future. I believe it will do no harm to her by telling this story. Her Grandma kept some thoughts going through her mind, trying to imagine how her little granddaughter would react to the story.

"It's a story about 18 brave and wonderful children. Just like you." She said. "Do you want to hear it?"

"YES! I love your stories, Grandma Carolina!"

Carolina, and old woman with silvery hair and clear eyes, laughed heartly.

"Then let's begin. Our-"

"OUR STORY BEGINS LIKE THIS!" Cynthia interrupted her Grandma, saying what she usually said when she began every story. Carolina looked at her smiling.

"Can I continue?"

"YES!" It was easy to say that both Cynthia and Gible were very eager to hear the story.

"Now here it goes. Our story begins like this, a long time ago, on the far region known today as Johto…"


 

800 hundred years ago, Ecruteak City, Johto


 

The old city of Ecruteak, a very traditional city in Johto, hasn't always been known by that name. In ancient times, before the thought of pokéballs and the pokémon league itself existed, that city used to be a small town known as Kenmya. Most of the population there was made of farmers, and the townspeople were usually very religious. They worshipped Ho-oh, a legendary pokémon.

It was a very pacific town, with a small population and simple people, but something big would happen on a very fateful day.

One day, on a farm, 18 children and teens played happily with their pokémon partners. Though they were not trainers since that was only permitted to Knights of the Johto Kingdom, they still practiced daily and were very skilled in pokémon battles.

At that moment, two kids were battling it out with their pokémon. At one side, a girl with her mighty Dragonite, a goofy looking dragon pokémon. At the other side, a boy with his Typhlosion, a tall pokémon with flames on its back. A dragon type versus a fire type on a pokémon battle. Sitting on top of a haystack, two people were sleeping: a boy and a girl, each with a pokémon sleeping beside them. Snuggling up to the boy, his Umbreon slept silently, and the girl's Clefable was awake, watching the battle taking place.

Close to where the battle took place, another one was happening. Two boys were on each side of a small lake, watching their pokémon battle. On one side, a Tentacruel, and at the other was a Lapras. Three girls were talking to each other next to them. Beside of one of them, a Raichu. In the middle was a Cloyster, its trainer sitting on top of it. And finally, the girl with her Blissey.

On the next battle spot, two girls versus two boys. The girls had a Venusaur and a Gengar, while the boys had a Machamp and a Golem. Two girls and two boys watched the battle while their pokémon played with each other. The first pokémon belonged to one of the boys and it was a sleeping Pidgeot. The pokémon that belonged to the other boy was a Skarmory being chased around by the girls' pokémon which were a Scizor and a Sandslash.

The last ones, a boy and his Espeon, were kinda far from the group. They had decided to venture to the forest. He didn't know it was dangerous. He was the youngest of the group and by his age the word "danger" generally meant the same as the word "fun". He was such a naïve boy.

As he ventured deeper and deeper into the forest, he began to notice he was lost, and started to cry. His Espeon tried to comfort him, but it was of no help since it was scared too. From far, the eldest of the kids, the one with a Machamp, approached him, asking if he was okay and scolding him for going too far from the farm.

The other kids quickly joined them with their pokémon. The eldest told everyone to return to the farm.

But it took too long for them to realize they were lost, even more than the youngest was. They all began to get nervous, not knowing what to do.

But then, a small figure came up to them. It was green and looked like a plant. It had small arms and legs, bright blues eyes and a smile on its face. It circled them, laughing like a child, and distracting the kids from their nervousness.

It took a rest on top of the youngest kid's head, startling him but still making him laugh. Surprising everyone, the pokémon talked.

"Hello! Are you perhaps lost?" It said softly, but loud enough so everyone could hear it.

"Yes. We need to go back to the farm. Our families might be worried." The girl with the Dragonite said.

"That's right!" The boy with the Golem said. "We ended up here because he left the farm unattended." He pointed to the short boy, who felt embarrassed a bit after the accusation.

"I'm sorry…" He said. "I'm not going to do it again!"

The small green pokémon on his head smiled. These kids seem like a lovely group! Maybe they could help me.

"It just happens that you guys chose the perfect time to end up lost in the woods." The pokémon said. "Some mean people stole eggs from one of my friends and she is very mad now. But I am too weak to take on them alone. I was wondering if you guys could help me. It would make her very happy!" And me too!

The kids all looked at each other, deciding if it was okay to help a pokémon they didn't even know, and that could even talk. It was very suspiscious. But then the girl with the Clefable simply walked to the middle of the group.

"You're wondering why we should trust a pokémon like that, right?" She said. "It's okay. I can tell that it's telling the truth. We can trust it." She smiled softly. Her friends had known her since birth, and they knew that she only trusted those she deemed to have a pure heart. That was more than enough of a reason to trust the pokémon.

"So you'll help me?" It said. Everyone else nodded and the pokémon smiled brightly. "Thank you guys so much!"

It quickly headed forward, making everyone else follow it. The boy with a Typhlosion and the one with an Umbreon ran up to the pokémon.

"We didn't get your name." the boy with the Umbreon said.

"Oh, I forgot to tell you." It said. "I'm Celebi! What about you?"


 

Celestic Town, Sinnoh, 15 years before the present


 

Cynthia was having the time of her 8 years of life as her grandmother told her that amazing story. But something began to bug her.

"Grandma, why didn't you tell me their names?"

Carolina should have expected that. Cynthia was a smart girl, of course she wouldn't let this pass. But she wouldn't know their names, because her grandma also never knew their names.

"Their names have always been unknown, Cynthia. Their appearances, their identities… The only things present in the legend about them are their genders and pokémon partners."

Little Cynthia thought for a while after hearing that, resting her head on her hands. Comically, her Gible was mimicking her pose.

"So it's like a metaphor." Cynthia said. "It doesn't matter who they are. It's what they do that matters the most."

Oh my. My granddaughter is really smart. She noticed that just by thinking for some seconds. I'm so proud!

"Yes, Cynthia. That's exactly why. Now let's continue…"


 

800 hundred years ago, Goldenrod City, Johto


 

As they told Celebi their names, the kids began to loosen up a bit as everyone headed to a big city. Not just a big city, it was THE Big City: Goldenrod City. The capital of Johto.

"Is this Goldenrod?!" The boy with the Typhlosion asked, receiving a nod from Celebi as an answer.

"Wow, I've never been to Goldenrod before. This place is gigantic!" The girl with the Raichu said as she marveled at the long streets, taller buildings and mansions.

"Oh look, there's a market-place! It's as big as the old farm where we play!" The girl with the Cloyster said.

The girl with the Scizor went up to the front and looked at the most beautiful building she had ever seen in her life. "Is that the Kingdom's Castle?"

"Yes!" Celebi said.

The boy with the Tentacruel was loving everything that had happened so far since they got lost. "This day just keeps getting better!"

The boy with the Lapras noticed they stopped walking, now standing some meters from the castle. "Why did we stop walking?"

"That's the place where my friend's eggs are!" Celebi pointed to the castle. "Some guys with metal clothes fought her and stole her eggs. Her screams of despair and anger could be heard from everywhere, and she lives inside an underwater cave."

The girl with the Blissey remembered the day when they heard the screams. "That day… it was her?"

"Yes!"

"What kinda pokémon is she?" The girl with the Gengar asked.

"She's a Tyranitar!"

"A Tyranitar?! I heard they are huge and super strong pokémon!" The girl with the Venusaur said.

"What do we need to do, Celebi?" the boy with the Skarmory said.

Celebi circled them as she explained. "We need to get into the castle to take the eggs back!"

"Okay, Celebi. But we don't have a plan for that." The boy with the Pidgeot said.

"And I don't think they'll just be nice enough to give us the eggs." The girl with the Sandslash said.

"Then what are we supposed to do? Leave stolen pokémon eggs to the King? Not on my watch! What if the Tyranitar goes on a rampage and attacks the castle?" The eldest boy said, rushing towards the castle.

The others, seeing as that was apparently the only way since being stealthy, like some of them were planning, wasn't going to work anymore, decided to just follow the boy and his Machamp to try and retrieve the eggs.

Celebi followed them closely watching their every move.

Okay, now let's see how they fair against a large number of enemies.

Celebi was surprised to find out that the kids were better trainers than the knights in the castle, taking them down one by one without breaking a sweat.

They passed the first tests! Test 1: trusting me even though they didn't know me. And test 2: fighting against a large group of enemies. Now onto the next test! This is test 3: completing objectives without distracting themselves!

Celebi smiled brightly as she saw one of the kids, the girl with the Dragonite, retrieve the eggs by breaking into the throne room, where a meeting was taking place. She was heavily outnumbered, but the boys that had an Umbreon and a Typhlosion as partners quickly joined her and they began to completely obliterate every single knight with their pokémon partners inside. One of the boys ran up to the King after everything was over and asked where the eggs were. The King quickly answered, fearing for his life after seeing his best knights defeated, and the girl went to the place where the eggs were and had her Dragonite carry them as the boys guarded the entrance.

After they left the throne room, they began to gather the other kids so they could leave.

They just passed two more tests! Not only they passed test 3, they also passed test 4: stand united no matter what. And these three kids… Celebi thought about the kids with the Dragonite, Typhlosion and Umbreon. They are... intriguing.

They all managed to leave the castle and Celebi took them out of the city quickly so they wouldn't be followed.

"Come with me, I'll take you to Tyrana! She will love to see her babies safe!"

They passed their hometown Kenmya and headed west towards the city known today as Olivine, but by that time its name was Isleport. Celebi took them to the shore and had them cross the sea towards a rock formation.

"That's where Tyrana lives!" Celebi said.

"She lives inside the Whirl Islands?" the boy with the Lapras said as they crossed.

"Yes! Pretty cool, right?"

"I don't know. I heard this place was dangerous." The boy with the Espeon said.

They got in and began to venture further into the cave, to the point their visibility was practically non-existent. But one of the girls asked her Blissey to use Flash, lighting up the cave.

They kept going and finally reached a large pokémon sleeping soundly. Celebi went up to it and said: "Tyrana, wake up! We got your eggs back!"

The Tyranitar woke up and at sight of the humans, just like the ones that took her eggs from her, roared loudly scaring everyone.

"Calm down! They got the eggs back for you! They helped me defeat the mean humans!" The Dragonite and the girl put the eggs in front of Tyrana, who took the eggs to what looked like a nest and got back to sleeping, looking much happier than before.

"Guys, I don't know how to thank you enough! You've done me such a huge favor!"

"Leading us back home should be more than enough Celebi." The boy with the Typhlosion said. "Also, that was probably the most fun day ever!"

"Okay! I hope I'll see you guys again some time!" I think I finally found them! My Warriors of Time!, Celebi thought.


 

Celestic Town, Sinnoh, 15 years before the present


 

"And that's how the legend of 'The Reborn Children of Celebi' began."

"I loved this story!" Cynthia said as she clapped hands along her Gible.

"Do you wanna know something more Cynthia?"

"Yes!" It was easy to tell she had just found her new favorite story.

"Okay. Legend says that after those kids died, Celebi would take their spirits and after every hundred years, another 18 kids would be born with two spirits inside of them: their own spirits and the ones from the kids of the legend. That way, their legacy would never die. Legend also says that these Reborn Children are extremely powerful pokémon trainers, with unmatched skill, with trainers of every single type. But the trainers of Dragon, Fire and Dark types would always be the strongest of them."

"Wow, Grandma! Even though this is probably not true, it would be so cool! Now I wanna meet one of them!"


 

Route 7, Unova, Present days


 

Cynthia found herself facing a trainer. She shouldn't be in random battles out of the Pokémon League, but her trainer instinct told her otherwise: this guy was different.

He wore a black sleeveless shirt and dark jeans. He was wearing running shoes and thick chains on his neck. A small colorful sphere served as a pendant on his chains. He was muscular, but just a bit, so he was very fit. His hair was short and was dark brown, the color matching his eyes. By his side was a small red pokémon, a Magby. On his left arm, something that caught her attention a bit too much: a tattoo of the legendary pokémon Celebi. She remembered what her grandmother told her when she was younger: the trainers of the legends of "The Reborn Children of Celebi" each have a Celebi tattoo, no exception.

She never really believed in this story, even though it was one of her favorite stories, but this guy was about to completely change her mind, and she knew he was different right at the point when he wouldn't tell her his name if she couldn't beat two of his pokémon. It was another thing her grandmother told her about the Reborn Children: they won't tell anyone their names if they don't beat them in a challenge, no matter what kind of challenge it is.

Naturally, she accepted the challenge, because this was getting interesting. She thanked Arceus that no one was watching the battle that was about to unfold, that way she could relax a bit by not having some of her fans bothering her. Being a champion sure is hard.

The boy threw a pokéball and out of it, a Ninetales came out. As it landed on the ground, the sun suddenly began to shine brighter, making the temperature go up. That could only mean this Ninetales had a hidden ability, owned only by a legendary pokémon known as Groudon: Drought. That Ninetales had the same ability as one of the most dangerous legendary pokémon of all time. From this point on, Cynthia knew this was not a regular battle.

Steven is gonna flip when I tell him this!

She took out her first pokémon, a Spiritomb.

"Shadow Ball!" She said. Spiritomb launched a dark sphere of energy at the nine-tailed fox pokémon, who dodged it gracefully.

"Now, girl, use Flamethrower!" the fire type released a powerful flurry of flames towards its opponent, taking it down instantly, surprising Cynthia.

"Okay. That's new. Go Milotic!" She threw Milotic's Pokéball, releasing the beautiful water type. "Hydro Pump!" Milotic released a powerful blast of water towards Ninetales, who used Flamethrower at the incoming attack without needing a command from her trainer. The Flamethrower evaporated the Hydro Pump and left Milotic open for an attack.

"Now use Solar Beam!"

"Protect!" Cynthia commanded. Milotic quickly formed a barrier around her as Ninetales' yellow laser was fired at her. It blocked the attack, but only partially: the Solar Beam went through the shield with reduced damage but it was still enough to heavily wound Milotic. "Hydro Pump again!"

Milotic once more shot water from her mouth, but the opponent dodged the attack gracefully once again, without needing a command.

"Ominous Wind!" the trainer said and Ninetales released a powerful stream of dark energy, hitting Milotic full force and taking her down.

Upon returning Milotic, she remembers something her Grandma told her: The Reborn Children that are trainers of Dragon types, Fire types and Dark types are the strongest among the group. That meant she was fighting what could possibly be one of the strongest trainers in the world. She had to at least take down one of his pokémon, just to see how much strong he really was.

"Togekiss!" The flying type graciously came out of his pokéball, with a smile on his face. "Aura Sphere!" He formed a blue energy sphere in front of him and fired it at amazing speeds towards Ninetales.

This time, it was a direct hit. But Ninetales didn't seem much hurt, she barely even reacted. Ninetales ran up to Togekiss and fired a Solar Beam at point-blank range, heavily wounding it, but not taking it down.

"Air Slash while it's close!" Togekiss spun his body and from his wings two air blades forming an "X" were fired at Ninetales, who couldn't dodge due to the proximity. She was thrown back to her original spot because of the strength of the attack, but still landed perfectly and looked fine, quickly releasing a Flamethrower attack, taking down Togekiss.

What the hell? Nothing is working! Not only he is unpredictable, but his pokémon also don't need commands sometimes, making everything even harder for his opponent. And he also has a key stone on those chains of his, meaning he could become even harder to beat.

"Roserade!" The rose pokémon danced as she landed on the ground. "Sludge Bomb!" From her left hand, also known as the blue rose, she launched several toxic sludge balls at Ninetales, who dodged every single one of them.

"Run around your opponent using Psyshock!" Ninetales formed nine masses of energy that were light blue, purple and magenta in color. Each mass was on the point of one of her tails. She quickly took off, running around Roserade like a blur and firing sphere after sphere at Roserade, taking her down easily.

What an interesting way of using that move. It looks good and it's effective, taking the opponent by surprise through high speed movements and striking every time the opponent is not looking. That's fantastic! Cynthia thought as she prepared another pokéball, noticing how much skillful her opponent was.

"Lucario!" She threw out one of her last pokéballs. Lucario had a big disadvantage against Ninetales, even bigger than Roserade's, seing as Lucario was not the best in terms of defence like Roserade was, but Cynthia had a plan.

"Use Earthquake!" Lucario jumped and struck the ground with his fists, causing a strong earthquake.

"Jump up, Ninetales!" the fox pokémon jumped up and dodged the powerful move, but Lucario and Cynthia were not done yet.

"Extreme Speed!" Lucario practically teleported up to Ninetales from the sheer speed. "Now use Close Combat!" And he began hitting Ninetales every way he could by the use of his fists, legs and tail, finishing up by kicking her and making her crash to the ground.

She slowly got up, looking legitimately impressed, but not showing any sign of being very hurt, but some damage had to have been done.

"Finish him, Ninetales. Flamethrower!" Ninetales charged a Flamethrower and got in front of Lucario in a flash.

"Move out, Lucario!" Lucario quickly jumped to the side, but Ninetales expected that and moved to the point where he would land, releasing the flurry of flames right at him, taking him down.

Cynthia returned Lucario barely believing that she was losing so easily. "Garchomp, let's do this!" She threw the pokéball of her first and strongest pokémon. Garchomp stood tall and mighty, looking ready for whatever might come at her.

"Use Dragon Rush!" Garchomp's body covered itself in a blue aura in the form of a dragon, and then she rocketed in Ninetales' direction, who simply sidestepped the attack, dodging it completely. But Garchomp took a turn and went at her again, this time from behind. But she dodged again by jumping up, seeing her opponent fly below her.

"Let's finish this, Ninetales! Use Titanic Blaze!" Ninetales spread her tails, igniting each of their ends in fire. She took the ends of her tails in front of her and charged up a Solar Beam.

Cynthia was in shock. That guy created a new move!

"Now, Titanic Blaze, fire!" Ninetales released an enormous orange fiery laser at Garchomp, making her crash onto a tree as she was hit. As a matter of fact, she was fainted and the victorious trainer was Cynthia's unnamed opponent, who returned Ninetales and went to talk to Cynthia after she did the same with Garchomp.

"I'm gonna be honest with you, Ms. Cynthia. I expected you to defeat at least Ninetales. But I guess I was wrong." His face was very serious and he seemed… disappointed.

"Well, I'm sorry that I couldn't." She said as she looked at his tattoo, finally believing her grandma's old story a bit more. "Nice tattoo you got there. That's Celebi, right?"

He politely thanked her compliment. "Thank you. Some people actually say it's kinda dull, but I don't mind it at all."

"Cool. By the way, how did you create that last move? 'Titanic Blaze', right? It was really powerful!"

He still kept a very serious face, but answered politely just like before. "It's a move that uses both Flame Burst, which was the move used on Ninetales' tails, and Solar Beam. It's really powerful, but takes some time to charge."

"Hm… Interesting."

The trainer noticed Cynthia was making this conversation go on for too long. She probably knew something she wasn't supposed to know.

"Well, I gotta get going. I still have many things to do around Unova, so I'm taking my leave. I hope I'll see you soon, Ms. Cynthia, and when I do, I hope you're a lot stronger as trainer." He turned his back on her and began to walk away. His Magby began running behind him and began to poke his leg. The trainer looked at the small pokémon, who had his arms up, as if he wanted to be carried.

Cynthia knew that was not gonna happen. The temperature of the body of a Magby was simply too high for a human being to touch. Not even experienced fire type trainers would dare doing something like this.

But surprisingly, he picked up the small pokémon and carried him on his arms, without showing any sign of pain! Cynthia covered her mouth so he wouldn't notice her gasping in surprise. That was the single oddest day of her life, and she had just found out that "The Reborn Children of Celebi" was a real story. Steven, the champion of Hoenn, and her grandmother were going to have a heart attack after she told them that.


 

Lavender Town, Kanto, five months later


 

"So you finally believe it!" Steven said as he laughed.

Okay, that's definitely not the reaction I was expecting. "Why are you laughing?"

Steven Stone, the man known as the champion of the Hoenn League, was sitting right in front of Cynthia in a small Café in Lavender Town. He wore a dark suit with some purple stripes and a red tie. His eyes and hair were both light blue in color.

"Because ever since I was little I've always known this was true. You're the only person who knows about this story to not believe it."

"Why didn't you ever tell me it was true?!" She asked. Saying she looked absolutely livid was an understatement.

"Because I wanted to see that face you do when you're angry. My wait definitely paid off!"

She looked away in annoyance, blushed in embarrassment and sipped her coffee in an attempt to calm down.

"So you battled one of the strongest trainers in the world and lost miserably." Steven said. "The master of fire types… So he is good enough to defeat a trainer on champion level with ease, which means I would have been defeated just as easily or even easier than that if I were to battle him, considering I'm a steel type trainer."

"Precisely, and since he was one of the three strongest trainers, we can only assume the others may have a bit more difficulty with trainers on champion level like us, but they would take down any trainer on Elite 4 level or Gym Leader level without any effort." Cynthia said. "Just freshen up my mind Steven, each Reborn Child is a master of a pokémon type, right?"

Steven nodded.

"I wonder where the others may be." He said. "But their existence in our time doesn't mean something good, you know that."

Cynthia knew very well. Her grandma had told her before. Every hundred years, when the chosen children are reborn, it means something terrible will happen on that specific period of time, and when they are ready they are the ones meant to solve the problem.

"Something bad is about to happen. I don't know what it is, but if they are alive in our time it means it will probably happen in a very close future." Cynthia said.

"And no matter what we do, we won't be able to do a thing." Steven said. "I mean, every century they deal with dangers that not even we would dare to face. Like the last time Kyogre and Groudon woke up and began to fight in Hoenn, almost destroying the entire region 500 years ago. They faced them alone while the master of flying types went to Sky Pillar with his pokémon, a place that has its rooftop so high up that not even flying types that were not legendary could reach. But he went there and woke up Rayquaza so it could stop the fight between Groudon and Kyogre."

Cynthia didn't know what to say anymore. Some kind of disaster was going to happen in this century and she couldn't do anything about it.

Or maybe there was one thing.

"We need to find them." She said.

"Good plan, except for the part where we are both Leaders of our respective Pokémon Leagues and have very busy lives."

She knew it was true and she hated it sometimes. Just meeting Steven on the small Café in Lavender Town was already hard enough. But there was another thing on her mind.

"We have friends, Steven. Maybe they could help out."

"That could work. But who?"

"Maybe I could talk to the current Sinnoh Champion Lucas. And there's a girl I know back in Sinnoh. She is a Pokémon Coordinator. I believe you heard of Dawn Berlitz before. I could talk to her to see if she could help."

"Yes I did. She is one of the best coordinators out there. Actually, now that you mention her, there's a girl from Hoenn as well who's a fantastic coordinator. She and her boyfriend actually. May Maple and Drew Shu. I have a feeling that they could help. Though it may be a bit hard to get Champion Brendan to help."

"Well, so far it seems like a good enough initiative!" Cynthia said. "We should talk to Lance, Alder and Diantha to see if they could help us as well."

"Good idea. You know, even though it's not much, I feel like we're doing something good." Steven said, smiling happily.

"Let's just hope this unknown disaster is not too bad."

Steven then remembered something she told him, more precisely, the thing about the trainer not being burned by his Magby. "Also, about that thing the trainer did with the Magby…"

"What?" Cynthia said.

"This isn't normal. Actually, this isn't natural. I think there's something about these legendary trainers that we don't know."

Cynthia agreed to that, but she knew one thing for sure: "We gotta get to the bottom of this."


 

Part 2: Prelude to the End

Pallet Town, Kanto, two weeks later


 

The small town known as Pallet, famous for being the birthplace of famous trainers like the Battle Legends Red and Green was also known as a beautiful place, with polite and simple people.

It was also known as the home of the most important Pokémon Professor of all times: Professor Samuel Oak. His house, which was also his lab, was kind of out of place when compared to most houses in Pallet Town. The first difference was the size, seeing as it was at least 4 times bigger than most houses around. The second difference was the color, which was mostly yellow with a red roof and big windows, about three stories tall. At the back of the house there was a windmill and a large garden where many pokémon lived.

Inside this building, working in one of the many computers was Oak's grandson Gary, wearing his usual black t-shirt, purple cargo pants and brown shoes. His dark brown hair was messy and stylish as ever, but his green eyes were different from before. Usually, people would see an immature kid (and sometimes an asshole) in those eyes, but now they showed seriousness and responsibility. Of course, Gary was still a bit of a rebel, but the time he spent working with his grandfather was good for him, he certainly grew a lot as a person.

He was just finishing whatever he needed to do for his grandfather, who came out of his office to talk to him.

"Gary, are you done with the last report?"

"Almost there. Why?" He asked.

"Once you're done, come to my office. I have something very important to talk to you."

Gary nodded as he resumed his work. Prof. Oak went back inside his office, locking the door. This surprised Gary a bit. There was never a moment in his life that his grandfather would lock that door. What he wanted to talk about with his grandson was probably very important.

Today seems like a promising day, Gary thought. He quickly added the last details to the report he was writing, saved the file and knocked on the door.

His grandfather opened the door for him to enter, not saying a word. Once again, not like the usual Prof. Oak. Gary knew his grandfather always had something to say, no matter how boring it could be. Once he was inside, his grandfather locked the door once more.

Something happened. I don't know what it is but something doesn't feel nice about what he is gonna say, Gary thought.

"Please sit down, Gary." Oak said. His grandson sat in the other side of his desk, facing him as he sat on his favorite chair behind his desk. "There's something we need to discuss, and it's something very serious."

"Ok, go on then."

"Do you know Professor Cozmo? From Hoenn?" Prof Oak asked.

"Well, yes. Not personally, but I've read some of his articles about climate and stuff like that. Why do you ask?"

"He sent me a very intriguing file, a report to be precise. It's about some recent events that have happened around the world." He said. "According to his research, very strange climate changes have been detected all around the world. For example, there's been a tornado in Cianwood City, a place that in all history never faced such a tragedy like this one and geographically speaking shouldn't even have faced it. And of course, I believe you have seen the news lately, right? Do you remember what happened to Pewter City?"

He knew very well, and he didn't need to watch the news. "An earthquake. I didn't watch the news, but I received a text from Brock telling me everything about it. He is ok though, and Misty was with him by the time. Brock's pokémon managed to protect them. But the city is a wreck now."

"Exactly. And do you know what caused all this?"

Gary simply shook his head. His grandfather started to explain.

"Cozmo managed to get his hands on some equipment that was property of Team Galactic. You remember them, right?" Gary nodded. "Good. The most important item that he used from Team Galactic's equipment is a Dimensional Analyzer. With that, he could check if there was anything wrong with our dimension. But he only used it because there was no other explanation he could find for everything that happened. And when he did use the machine, he found several distortions in our dimension, and these distortions proved to be the cause of everything."

Gary understood what he said, at least parts of it. "Ok but what does this all mean?"

"We have two options: this could either be an isolated event, or something, or someone, is causing all this." The professor said. "I bet on the latter."

"Something bad is gonna happen, is it not?" Gary said, receiving a nod as an answer from Prof Oak. "If you wanted me to come here it means you want me to do something. What is it?"

"I've been contacted by the Indigo League's Elite Four Leader: Lance. He wants you to look for 18 very specific trainers around the world, each of them with a Celebi tattoo. Actually, one of the reasons why I asked you to start working here again was because Lance asked me to. He wanted to have at least one capable trainer in Kanto up for the challenge."

Now Gary was just finding all that a bit random. "How is that related to all this?"

"I don't know, and that's exactly why I'm sending you to Sinnoh first so you can this report to Prof Rowan and to talk to ex-Champion Cynthia. Apparently she and Steven Stone, Hoenn's ex-Champion, are the ones who know how these things are related." Prof Oak quickly took a flash drive, saved the report in it and gave it to Gary. "Explain the situation to Rowan and Cynthia, and don't forget to talk to me when you find out about these '18 Trainers'. You can leave right now." Gary nodded, leaving the room to grab his stuff back at his desk.

He took one of his pokéballs, opening it. Out of it came his Alakazam.

"Alakazam, we have a mission." His pokémon said his name in response. "Teleport us to Sandgem Town in Sinnoh."

Alakazam crossed his arms as his eyes shone brightly, and in an instant they disappeared.


 

Sandgem Town, Sinnoh


 

Right in the middle of town, two figures appeared. Gary and Alakazam found themselves caught in a harsh rainstorm. He quickly returned Alakazam to his pokéball ran towards the Pokémon Center.

Once inside, he could see the place was crowded. Many trainers and townspeople were inside because of the harsh rain. The weird part about it was that it was summer and it was just past noon, meaning the weather should be hot in a beach town like Sandgem. Gary quickly checked the news on his phone. Strangely enough, satellites showed information that Sandgem was not experiencing such rainstorm. Could it be that Sandgem Town was affected by the distortions as well?, Gary thought.

He decided to quickly head to Prof Rowan's Laboratory and talk to him about everything. He exited the Pokémon Center and went back out into the rain, soaking himself once again. He quickly reached his destination and rang the bell.

When his grandfather asked to talk to him earlier that day about these weird distortions he figured it was going to be an interesting day. But upon seeing the person who just opened the door he knew it was going to be a very nice day.

"Gary?" Dawn asked.

"Hey! Can I come in please?" He said and she let him in.

She was wearing clothes suited for the cold weather, but still keeping her style of using a mini skirt, boots and her beanie. She wore a red coat and pink scarf, contrasting nicely with her blue eyes and hair. While he entered, she asked someone inside to get a towel so Gary could dry himself up. One of Prof Rowan's aides came back with one and gave it to Gary, who thanked the woman.

As he dried himself up, he took his time to admire the girl in front of him. It must have been some time since he'd last seen Dawn because he didn't remember she had such curves.

"So, Gary. It's been a while since you've been here." she said.

"Indeed. Actually, I wasn't expecting to find you here of all people. Are you perhaps working with Prof Rowan?"

"Yeah. I started some months ago. He said he would need extra help and since the next contest season will only begin 6 months from now, I took the job." She said. "I heard you had restarted your works with your grandfather as well, right?"

"Yeah. About 4 months ago he called me saying he needed some help too. I thought it wouldn't be so bad to return to the lab." He said. "I was wrong."

She giggled at his joke.

"But for real, working on Gramps' lab is just so boring! Everything you do is sit in front of a computer for hours. You probably know what I mean, right? It may just be the same around here."

"Not really. My work here is very dynamical because I'm one of Rowan's assistants, so there's lots of different stuff to do. It's very exhausting, but at least it's not boring." She said. "By the way, what are you doing here? You just showed up without notice."

After he was done with the towel, he called the aide's name and the aide got the towel back and left. Gary once more looked at Dawn. "I need to speak to Prof Rowan. It's a bit urgent."

"Sure. Come with me." She led the way through the lab. "If you came all the way here from Kanto just for that then it's probably something very important."

They reached the door to the Professor's office and she slowly opened the door.

"Professor, may I come in? Also, you have a visitor." She said.

From behind his desk, Rowan looked at his office door. Upon seeing Gary he stood up and happily greeted him.

"Gary Oak, welcome! What a surprise!" They shook hands briefly. "Please have a seat, the both of you. If the grandson of one of my long time friends has come here all the way from his home then it's very important."

Rowan went back to his favorite chair and Dawn and Gary sat on the two chairs in front of the table.

"Now, Gary. Please tell me the reason why you came all the way here."

Gary took his laptop out of his bag and put it on the desk in a way everyone could see. He turned it on quickly. He took the flash-drive his grandfather gave him out of his pocket and transferred the files to his laptop. He opened the file "Cozmo's Report" and began to explain everything his grandfather told him.

After he finished, Rowan looked very, very serious and a bit apprehensive. "I really wish none of this was happening. Cynthia and Steven were right."

Gary and Dawn looked at each other, and then Dawn turned and looked at the professor upon a quick realization hit her. "So one the reasons why I've been working here is because of that?"

Rowan nodded in response. He took Gary's flash-drive, transferred the files to his own personal computer and gave it back to him. "I want the both of you to go talk to Cynthia right now. She must be in Celestic Town today. Since this problem's come up she decided to update on her location every time she changed so we could contact her more easily. Her last update was on her grandmother's house on Celestic Town. You two go there and explain everything to her and she will explain everything she knows about the legend to you. I will study this report and talk to the other professors so we know what to do." He said.

"Then we will leave right away, Professor." Dawn said.

"Wait." Rowan said as he reached below his desk and took two boxes, one was blue and the other was beige. "I don't know what kind of danger you'll need to face, but it'll be better if you are prepared. Gary and Dawn, I present you with Mega Stones and Key Stones, given to me by Professor Sycamore from Kalos." He gave the blue one to Gary and the beige one to Dawn. They slowly opened it, looking at the bright colorful spheres inside the boxes. "Gary, the one you have in your box is a Blastoisite, it makes your Blastoise break his limits." Rowan said. "And Dawn, I'm giving you a choice. I know your Buneary doesn't really want to evolve, but if you ever change your minds about it, consider using this Lopunnite on her."

"Thanks, Professor." They both said, bowing respectfully.

"Think nothing of it. Now go. From this point on, you two are on your own."

They all said their farewells to each other and Dawn and Gary left. Now facing the front door of Rowan's lab, they faced each other again.

"I feel like we're not prepared for this." Dawn said.

"Same. But what if Cynthia and Steven are right and something really bad is about to happen? We should at least talk to her." Gary said as he took Alakazam's pokéball and called him out. "Alakazam, take us to Celestic Town."

His eyes shone as he chanted his name as he prepared to teleport everyone, and in an instant they disappeared.


 

Celestic Town, Sinnoh


 

Alakazam teleported them right to the front door of the Pokémon Center.

"Thanks, Alakazam." Gary said as he returned Alakazam. Gary and Dawn looked around them for a second before entering the PokéCenter.

"Gary I'm starting to believe something bad is gonna happen now." Dawn said as she looked around nervously.

"I agree." He said. "I don't think I've ever seen this town so… empty and silent."

For the first time in their lives, a normally calm place with many people on the streets suddenly became too calm and everyone was gone. Celestic Town was completely silent.

They got in the PokéCenter and Gary walked up to Nurse Joy, who was quite possibly the only person still in town.

"Hello! How can I help?" The nurse asked.

"Hi, could recover the energy of my Alakazam please?" Gary said.

Nurse Joy nodded and took Alakazam's pokéball as Gary handed it to her.

"Do you know what happened around here? Everyone's like… gone." Dawn approached her.

Nurse Joy suddenly seemed very sad.

"I'm not sure how to explain. All I know is that the Mrs. Carolina, the elder of this town and once a renowned scientist, told the townspeople that something bad happened in Mt. Coronet, which is the big mountain beside this town. After telling that to everyone, most people left the town." She looked at the front door. "Now the only guests I receive here are travelers like you guys. This place is just not the same anymore."

Upon hearing that, Dawn quickly went outside to take a look at Mt. Coronet. The enormous mountain seemed normal, with ice on top of it and being tall enough to cut the clouds. She came back to Center to see Gary already sat in front one of the desks with his laptop on it.

"What are you looking at?" Dawn asked.

"I'm checking Prof Cozmo's report again to check if anything's wrong on Mt. Coronet. Also, I'd like to know about Sandgem Town as well."

As he looked into the report, he found a map of all the known regions and the points in which distortions occurred with dark purple marks.

"That's Sandgem Town." Dawn pointed. "There is a distortion there. That probably explains that crazy storm that's been going on for weeks."

"What about Mt. Coronet?" Gary asked.

"I went outside to check and I didn't really see anything unusual there."

Gary checked the mountain's location on the map.

"Holy Arceus…" Dawn said. "The distortion is covering the entire mountain."

Gary quickly closed his laptop and put it in his bag. "We gotta go talk to Cynthia right now." They stood up and left.

They quickly made their way to the largest house in the city, a two-story wooden house with a blue roof and clear windows.

Dawn knocked on the door.

After some time, Cynthia herself opened the door, and upon seeing who were her visitors, her expression darkened.

"So this is it, right?" She asked. Her visitors nodded. By the look on their faces, it seemed they understood the situation.

"Come in. We have a lot to talk about."


 

Chapter Text

Chapter 2

The Start of their Journey

Part 1: Retelling the Tale

Sinnoh, Celestic Town, Present time

As both Gary and Dawn both enter the house after Cynthia, they take their time to appreciate the way the house seemed a lot bigger inside than it already was from outside. From the front door, they could see three large beige and brown couches; one in front of a pair of windows, another couch in front of that one, a small table separating these, and hugging the wall was the other couch, to the right of the others. Still on the right side of the house, Cynthia headed to the kitchen, which seemed regular when compared to other places of the house. From there, Cynthia asked:

"Would you like something to drink before we begin?" Both of her visitors nodded "Is coffee okay for you guys?" Gary nodded.

"Just water is fine, Ms. Cynthia." Dawn said.

From the kitchen door, the Ex-Champion said "Good. Just a quick heads up: we have a lot to talk about." She then headed to the kitchen to get their drinks "And please take a seat anywhere you want."

While she was preparing the drinks, Gary looked to the other side of the house and saw many shelves with books on ancient history of many regions of the world, science and Pokémon biology (those probably belonged to her grandmother), and some championship awards. Many pictures were also placed here and there on the shelves. One of the pictures caught his interest: a picture of the champions from years ago. Cynthia and Steven in the middle with light smiles, directly behind them and towering over them was Alder, the ever enthusiastic Ex-Champion from Unova, smiling widely. To their right, Lance, who was the champion of the Indigo League by that time, contrasted from the other by simply keeping his serious and stoic manner.

I don't think I've ever seen Lance smile before, Gary thought. Finally, the super famous movie star Diantha, who used to be the Champion of the Kalos league, posed elegantly and smiled lightly for the picture. He also noticed there was no representative from Alola (meaning Champion Moon wasn't there with them), so the picture must have been taken quite a while before the Alolan League was founded. Time flies, it feels like they were the champions just yesterday, Gary thought while snorting quietly.

Dawn had decided to take a sit on the couch by the wall. She quickly took her phone and checked for texts. There was some from May that she was probably going read later, one single text from Ash that was probably just an image (high possibilities of it being a dumb meme, he was sending one to everyone everyday nowadays) and a text from Lucas, the Sinnoh Champion himself. But these were just a part of the texts, because the group chats were flooded with useless crap. I no longer have the patience to go through all of these, she thought. As she checked her phone, she heard Gary snort (apparently, he wasn't that silent), and she looked at him. He showed a light smirk, his eyes half closed as he looked at one of the pictures on the shelves. Unconsciously, she thought of how much he had changed, how he was now a very serious guy, but still showed his old side from time to time. She then looked at his eyes, the very deep green color they had was somewhat… calming and at the same time these very eyes could put her on edge.

He turned to her and she quickly stopped staring. He started going in her direction and took the seat on the couch in front of the windows.

Feeling a bit embarrassed by almost getting caught staring, Dawn simply avoided looking at him until Cynthia came back with their drinks.

As if on cue, Cynthia came back to the very large living room with a tray that held two coffee mugs and a glass of water. She set the tray on the table in the middle of the couches and took one of the mugs, then sitting down on the remaining couch. "Alright guys, please enjoy your drinks" she said "And another quick heads up: what you hear from me from this point on has never been said to anyone who has never held the title of Pokémon League Champion or that is a Historical Researcher, so in a way, since you probably found out about the existence of this legend from people like Rowan and Oak, who don't know the full background like me, you must be pretty lost. The people who know of the story I'm about to tell you have all vowed to stay silent about this, but given the circumstances, the vow must be broken. Among all the Legends of our world, this is one of the very few, along with the ones about Pokémon like Arceus, Dialga and Palkia, that is true." She paused, as if she was waiting for them to say something. Any sort of reaction from them was valid.

They simply looked at each other and nodded at Cynthia.

"We understand" Gary said "I just want to know more about what's going on."

Cynthia was precisely expecting something along the lines of what he said. "So something is actually happening." She crossed her arms as her expression darkened slightly "Tell me everything first then."

Gary and Dawn then began to explain everything they knew so far. They told her about the distortions, all the disasters that happened and how they found out about it. Gary had taken out his laptop to show Cynthia the areas of the world affected so far.

As he showed her Sinnoh, her eyes quickly caught sight of Celestic Town and Mt. Coronet. As Dawn had said, the distortion covered the entire mountain.

"But it's still really weird" Dawn said "I looked outside at the mountain and didn't notice anything different. And I've been there before sometimes."

Cynthia knew that something was weird since the beginning, and that was just making it worse.

"You didn't notice anything different outside because the problem is actually inside." Cynthia said. "The whole cave inside the mountain is completely changed. All the known paths are now different and many of the Pokémon that live inside the mountain and by its proximities have been acting more aggressive towards anyone. Others have simply migrated to other parts of Sinnoh. This behavior alone is already very suspicious, but when I decided to look inside the mountain caves… I knew something wasn't right."

She then seemed to get angry, gritting her teeth a bit and clenching her fists. "Whatever's happening to the world is messing with the very balance of space and time of it. If this keeps going, it might even break these two dimensions, throwing everything in chaos." She continued "It's just like me and Steven suspected months ago…"

Gary and Dawn looked at each other again, visibly concerned. He took a rather long sip of his coffee "Then there's gotta be something we can do." He said.

"Yeah, we have to find a way to stop this!" Dawn said confidently.

Cynthia gave them what could be considered a bittersweet smile, though a bit more on the bitter side. "Well… I like your enthusiasm, but you are incapable of solving this problem." She said, crushing their liveliness "But you can find those who are able to do it." She said, implying that she was talking about the legend.

As she said it, Gary thought to himself are those legendary trainers really that strong?

Dawn simply seemed skeptical but was still eager to hear what she had come here to. "Then, please, Ms. Cynthia, tell us everything that we need to know."

And so, she told them the story that her grandmother, who was resting upstairs in her room, told her when she was young. As she finished, she made sure to give them yet…

"Another quick heads up: what you just listened to is the version of the story my grandmother told me about when I was 8 years old. The real version wasn't so light-hearted." She said "To be fair, the real story is much more brutal. The kids, upon escaping the castle with the Tyranitar egg, were forced to fight wave after wave of soldiers of the Kingdom of Johto. After threatening the life of the King, albeit indirectly, his majesty himself ordered them to be killed at all costs, not even caring in the slightest that they were kids and teens."

Dawn gasped. She had thoroughly enjoyed the story before seeing as no one had died, but it seems this was not true anymore. "They were all killed?!"

"No, but most of them were, along with their Pokémon partners." Cynthia said, a very serious expression on her face "the only ones that managed to make it out alive were the boy who had a Typhlosion, the girl who had a Dragonite, but their pokémon unfortunately ended up dying, and finally the Umbreon, who was saved by the boy who took care of it and trained it, but the boy ended up dying as well. These are the ones that survived, but were seriously injured."

Gary gasped as something became a bit intriguing. "How much of the story your grandma told you is true?"

"Everything up until the moment they began to make their way out of the castle." She said "After finally making their way out of Goldenrod, they ran wildly towards Olivine, which was Isleport by the time, and crossed the sea to get to the Whirl Islands with the help of Celebi, who used Psychic to get them to the rock formations safely."

Dawn's expression saddened as she looked down at her lap. "Then what is it that actually happened inside the caves inside the islands?"

"They took the egg back to Tyranitar with Celebi's help, but right after that, they all collapsed in both exhaustion and pain from their wounds. They wouldn't last much longer." Cynthia said. "Since they would die soon, Celebi used its powers to take their spirits, and the ones of their friends who died during the escape, along with it to the mysterious place it goes each time it travels through time, a place that doesn't follow the laws of nature by any means, and somehow connects Celebi to any place in any point in time. And thus, at that moment when the two remaining kids and the Pokémon died, the legend of the 'Reborn Children of Celebi' was born. After every hundred years, Celebi would take the spirits of the kids and put them on newborn kids that it chose. So these kids would have their own spirits and the legendary ones within them. And with them, Celebi would give them knowledge of Pokémon and Battles that to this very day are still unrivaled."

Gary's interest popped up. "Define 'unrivaled'."

"I faced one of them." She said, catching both by surprise "And I must admit: I have never faced such a defeat in my life. The trainer I faced seemed to know exactly what to do and when to do so. And the Pokémon he used didn't even need commands sometimes, making his tactics even more unpredictable, not to mention the sheer power his Pokémon had."

"You lost that bad?! But you're a trainer on champion-level!" Dawn said.

Cynthia laughed nervously "That clearly didn't matter to him or his Pokémon" she said "That Ninetales was something else."

If it's a Ninetales then she probably faced the Fire Master, Gary thought. "Did you at least get his name?"

"I was just about to get there." Cynthia said, then she explained everything about their strengths and abilities that were known so far.

"So, as you might notice by now, I faced one of the three strongest trainers in existence and he kicked my ass effortlessly, and since I failed the challenge, I was not allowed to know his name." She smiled lightly, thinking of how ironic that situation was actually. "It's funny, really, that how many times before, people like me, Steven and the other champion-level trainers normally won battles just like that guy won against me."

Dawn gave her a nervous smile, not knowing if laughing was a good thing to do after that self-loathing humor. So, she simply recapped everything Cynthia said.

"So, let me see if I got everything right: Eighteen super-strong trainers, each of them being a master of a specific type of Pokémon. The three strongest trainers are masters of fire, dragon and dark types. The eldest is always the fighting master and the youngest is always the psychic master. They each have a Celebi tattoo somewhere on their bodies as a symbol of who they are, and they can only tell their names to people who know about the legend after they have passed on a challenge, no matter how difficult it is or what it is, as a way of testing these people." Dawn said, receiving a confirming nod from Cynthia.

"Precisely." She said simply "Now… do you accept this challenge, even knowing it might take a lot longer than you may think?"

Gary quickly checked the chances he would have in theory. He knew he was not on champion level like Cynthia or Lance, and Arceus knows he would never come close to the Battle Legend himself, Champion Red. He had some impressive battle experience and tactics, but would that matter when facing such opponents like the Reborn Children? Just how am I even supposed to beat their challenges?

Dawn, on the other hand, decided to focus on something else: Cynthia said they would challenge people, but the challenge could be anything… she broke her thoughts for a second remembering Cynthia's challenge: defeat two of the Fire Master's Pokémon. And thus, realization hit her. She didn't fail because she lost the battle, she failed because she couldn't meet the conditions he'd given her. Which means we don't necessarily need to beat them in case the challenge is a battle! This gave her a bit more hope of accomplishing all of that. The challenges that will be crucial to us will be those that are not battles.

"I'm in." the bluenette said, surprising Gary for being the first one to say yes. "I know of a way we can complete these challenges." She grinned confidently, then looked at her companion from Kanto, expecting a similar answer.

Gary looked at the two women that were with him. Something tells me this trip is gonna take a long freaking time. This same something also tells me I'm going to enjoy this.

"I accept. Just thinking of meeting whoever these people may be, and the possibility of taking them on in a Pokémon Battle… it really gets me pumped." He smirked, a good ol Gary Oak Trademark Smirk.

Cynthia stood up, closed her eyes and took a rather deep breath. As she exhaled, she slowly opened her eyes, now half-open. She rested her left hand on her waist, leaning slightly to the right. "I would like to go with you, but I can't." She said "Because of these suspicions of something bad happening to our world, I've been neglecting my position at the Pokémon League as one of the Admins. I'll be going to Kanto tomorrow, for a reunion with the other League members, and you can be sure that I'll be telling them everything you've told me."

Gary and Dawn followed suit and stood up as well.

"That's good." Gary said, "It's great to know the League will be working to help on this."

"Yes!" Dawn nodded. "By the way, is there something else we should know of, Ms. Cynthia?"

"In fact, there are two more things." She smiled "First, you can just call me Cynthia. And second, you should get the help of your friends from across the world to help you on this journey. Like Ash and May. As the saying goes, 'the more, the merrier'."

"Understood." Gary said.

They walked to the front door, Cynthia on front. She opened the door for them, giving them handshakes right after.

"I wish you luck on your journey." She said.

"Thank you!" they said as they left.


Part 2: Challengers

After some time walking back to the Pokémon Center (and being startled for having forgotten that the city was pretty much empty and silent), Dawn quoted herself from some time before, on that same day.

"I feel like we're not ready for this. This time… I feel like we're dealing with something we have no way of understanding."

"I know." Gary looked at his feet as they walked. "I mean… these guys can beat people like Cynthia with little to no effort. What chances do we even have?

"Yeah… but being down about this won't solve our problems. We should start by getting some clues of their whereabouts. Maybe there are some Reborn Children here in Sinnoh."

"That seems like a nice start. We should probably warn our friends about it too. I'm sure Ash wouldn't even hesitate after we tell him about how strong these trainers are."

Dawn laughed a bit, thinking of how true to Ash that was. "And then he would face a heart-crushing defeat, just like you will when you fight one of them."

"You seriously think I'm the only one of us two taking them on?" Gary said snorting "You gotta take turns battling them too, you know?"

"I would, but you're the only one of us with real chances of winning. My Pokémon are trained for contests, their battle experience is different."

He fell silent for a bit. Damn, she's right. I'm screwed. "Well then, I stand corrected."

"Yes, you do!" she giggled as she took the lead, walking up to the Pokémon Center's automatic doors.

They entered and took the same seats they had taken before going to Cynthia's house.

"I'm gonna talk to May and Iris, that is, if Iris actually answers this time. Hopefully they understand what's going on and agree to help us." Dawn said.

"Good. I'll talk to Ash, I'm sure he'll say yes, though."

They both took their phones, and Dawn started typing away, texting May after reading the texts she had sent her some time ago. Apparently there was a huge sale on the Lilycove Dept. Store in Hoenn and that she had gotten some awesome stuff there: everything 50% off.

Oh my Arceus, what a dream! She thought as she imagined the stuff she wouldn't get the chance to buy. She also decided to look at Ash's text. As expected, it was a meme (typical). But that one was surprisingly good though. It had the text 'when you're facing a trainer and you send your strongest possible pokémon but the trainer sends out a super smiling and tiny clefairy as a first pokémon' and then there was the image of a Clefairy saying 'does this look like the face of mercy?'. Judging by Ash's previous memes, this one was actually good. Finally she checked Lucas' text. 'Hey, sup? Do you know what's going in Sandgem? It's raining like the world's coming to an end'.

Oh, you have no idea, she thought.

She quickly texted May the full background, in detail. Hopefully she would read this and call her back maybe.

While that went on, Gary had been waiting for Ash to…

"Pick up the goddamned phone, for hell's sake!" He screamed.

"By Arceus, Gary. I swear you and Ash love each other." Dawn laughed.

He didn't even dare to say anything in response to that, he simply glared at her, and as if on cue, Ash picked up the call.

"Hey A- " Gary started, only to be interrupted.

"GARY MOTHERF #$ING OAK!" Ash shouted through the phone.

"I thought we weren't using that stupid name anymore." Gary said, a very visible popping vein on his forehead from sheer annoyance.

"Not in a hundred years." He laughed "Now, my dear bro, what's the matter? You normally send me messages but then you decide to call me? Is the world ending or some shit?

If only you knew, you stupid idiot. "Well, here's the thing." He proceeded to explain everything to Ash, word by word.

"Will you help us?"

Ash took some time not saying anything, as if he was thinking about what to say.

"Well then, I'm already one step ahead of you!"

Gary gripped his phone harder and gritted his teeth a bit.

"Come. The f #$. Again?!"

"Yesterday, me and Serena were at Coumarine city here in Kalos. While there, we saw two people that had Celebi tattoos, and they seemed to be trying to keep a low profile. A very tall and a bit overweight guy that wore glasses who also had a super awesome wave tattoo and a short girl with red hair that had some blond strands and she wore a shirt of some rock band. They were waiting in line to enter a ship that was headed to Canalave. If you go there as soon as possible, there's a chance you might find them!" Ash said. "And also, you can count me and Serena in! Seems like it's gonna be a fun experience, so I'll try and bring Clemont and Bonnie with us."

Gary couldn't believe it. Ash had already located not one, but TWO of them!

"Dude. DUDE. DUDE! Thank you so f #$ing much!" Gary said.

"You're welcome. Also, now you owe me one."

"What? Hell no."

"Hell yes."

"Hell no!"

"Hell yes!"

"This is gonna continue forever if we don't stop."

"Oh, you bet."

"Anyways, dude, that was all I had to say, and thanks again for the help."

"Yeah, yeah, you're welcome. See ya soon, man!"

Ash ended the call.

Dawn looked at Gary "I told you that you guys actually loved each other."

"Oh, shut up." He said, sighing hard, a bit irritated at her laughing. "So, will May do it?"

"Yes! She's with Drew actually, and said that they'll be happy to help." Dawn said.

"Nice! What about Iris?"

"She didn't even receive the texts. It's been like that for some time now. The others said she wasn't even calling back or anything. I wonder what's happened to her." That seemed to alarm Gary a bit.

"Yeah, that's a bit weird." He said. "But it's not a problem. At least not right now. At this moment, we need to head to Canalave as soon as possible!"

This surprised his blue-eyed companion. "What? Why is that?"

He quickly explained what Ash said as he took Alakazam's pokéball.

"Stop." Dawn said. "You have to be kidding me. Ash and Serena found not one, but two, and they're headed to Sinnoh at this moment?" Gary nodded. "Then there's no time! You said that they left yesterday, they must be arriving by now!"

Gary then released Alakazam and had him use teleport to take them to Canalave. As if in a flash after Alakazam concentrated, they disappeared.

Sinnoh, Canalave City Port

As the drawbridge on the center of the city was opening, a rather large ship approached, more precisely, a regular cruise ship, but visibly not as fancy as those enormous crafts such as the S. S. Anne. As the bridge was fully opened, the ship went through the gap made by the bridge, getting it closer to the port.

On the other side of the city (opposite to the port), Gary and Dawn had just arrived with Alakazam, who was promptly returned to his pokéball to rest.

Dawn quickly looked at the approaching ship. "I really hope Ash was right on this and that this is the right ship."

Her companion nodded, thinking the same. "Now we just have to wait for it to park by the port." He said. "Since they're trainers, they'll most likely head to the Pokémon Center first."

"Should we wait there?" she asked him.

"That's one option. We could also look for them by the port." He said as he looked at the drawbridge closing again. "Your call."

Dawn decided to play it safe. "Let's wait by the bridge for a while, just to see if we locate our targets. If we see them, we go to the Center and wait there. They'll probably head there, as you said."

He smiled. Nice plan, he thought. "Alright, then let's go."

They headed for the bridge and stood by the right corner on their side of town while they waited for the Reborn Children.

That is, if those were actually them.

As the ship parked, people started to come out of it and converging towards the bridge (a great majority of the people). Judging by the looks of the passengers, they were mostly simple people, some that looked more refined, others wore uniforms and stuff like that.

But then they saw them.

Just like Ash had said: one short girl with red hair wearing a rock-band t-shirt and a very tall kinda fat guy wearing glasses and that had short hair and a wave tattoo on his right arm. Both with Celebi tattoos on their left arms.

The redhead was wearing a black rock-band t-shirt, more precisely an Arceusmack t-shirt (A/N: Arceusmack = Godsmack but on the Pokémon World. Yeah, I really went there). She was wearing jeans and black all-stars. Her red hair with the blonde strands complimented her light brown eyes rather well. On her right hand were many rings: the little finger had a skull ring, her thumb had a ring with lightning sparks and her ring finger held…

"Gary, she has a Keystone for Mega Evolution." Dawn spoke quietly.

"I see it. The guy has one too." Gary said.

The guy's keystone was on the right foot of his pair of black and blue basketball shoes. He wore dark blue cargo long-shorts (reaching just below his knees) and was wearing a white button-up t-shirt. His glasses were simple and sometimes would shine very brightly from the light of the sun, making it hard for people to see his deep black eyes. His black hair was very short.

Out of seemingly nowhere, two pokémon appeared beside the trainers (they probably just came out of their pokéballs on their own). The first one was a Pichu, and it climbed up the girls body and sat on her shoulder. The other pokémon, a Buizel, did the same to the tall guy.

After looking at their 'targets', Gary and Dawn headed to the Pokémon Center.

The image of that redhead with the Pichu kept being shown in their heads.

"She reminds me of Ash." Dawn said.

"I know. If she ends up being annoying I'm gonna call on them being lost siblings or something." He joked.

"And that also clears up what their mastery in pokémon type is." She said.

"Yeah, the girl's is the electric master, and the guy is the water master." Gary concluded. "At least we're not going to face someone like the one Cynthia faced."

"You're right. If she couldn't do it, we probably wouldn't stand a chance."

They reached the Pokémon Center and got in. It was kinda full since many of the people who arrived on the ship probably headed there as well.

Luckily, two women were just leaving and two seats by the wall were now available, so the two friends headed there and sat down.

"Now we wait." Dawn said.

As the crowd gradually began to decrease, since most people were either going upstairs to their rented rooms or simply leaving after recovering their Pokémon's energy or getting something to drink or eat, they anxiously looked at the automatic doors, expecting the mysterious duo to come through them.

As if on cue, after Gary, Dawn and Nurse Joy were the only ones inside the Pokémon Center, the doors opened for the two trainers.

They simply walked up to the counter and asked Nurse Joy to heal their Pokémon.

Gary and Dawn looked at each other, as if waiting for the other to stand up and make a move to talk with the trainers.

At the counter, the two trainers talked quietly.

"So… what are we gonna do about these two by the wall?" the redhead asked, her voice rather high-pitched, almost to the point of being annoying.

"Well, we saw them on the bridge and I know they're here because of us" the tall guy said, his voice was kinda hoarse, but still sounded very gentle.

"…so?"

"We have to wait for them to make a move and reveal to us that they know about the legend."

"And what makes you think they've actually come here for us?"

"Easy. They are still here. If they had any other business in such a city like Canalave I'm sure they would already have left. Plus, they got here before we did, probably expecting us to come here since we're trainers, which was a very nice move, by the way. And finally, the most important thing that proves that they're after us..."

The redhead simply looked at him. "They are right behind us, aren't they?" She whispered.

"Yes, they are." He whispered back as they turned to Gary and Dawn after the girl greeted them.

"Hello!" She said. Now that she was close to them, she noticed just how funny the difference in size was: that guy was almost two meters tall and the girl was shorter than Dawn. "Are you perhaps new around here?"

Oh, she's going for the classic "I see you're new around here" the redhead thought I might as well roll with it.

"Oh, hi! Yes, we've just arrived in town and we're very excited to travel through Sinnoh!"

The tall boy chuckled a bit. It's ironic how she's trying to throw them off by telling them the truth. We're actually eager to travel around this region.

Gary decided to chime in at that moment. "Well then, you guys can start now! Canalave is a great city for sightseeing, I'm sure you'll enjoy it!

The boy looked at both teens in front of him. Something about them is very familiar. I swear I've seen them before, especially that guy.

Meanwhile, the girl also looked at them thinking about something similar.

Well… kinda.

THAT GIRL IS DAWN BERLITZ, ONE THE BEST SINNOHIAN COODINATORS AND SHE'S TALKING TO ME! On the outside, she seemed calm as a lake on a summer day, but on the inside… She was freaking out big time.

The tall Reborn looked at the other boy, once again noticing something different.

The accent. Gary's accent differed a bit from Dawn's and most sinnohian people. He spoke faster and stressed some consonants. Just like the people from Kanto. He thought.

"You're not from here too, are you?" the boy asked Gary.

That guy is sharp. How did he notice that?

"No, I'm from Kanto and my name is Gary Oak, by the way it's nice to meet you! And this girl by my side is my friend Dawn Berlitz."

Just as I suspected. The boy thought. It was just a bit hard to connect their names to their faces.

I KNEW IT, IT'S DAWN! The girl thought.

She had priorities, obviously.

And then she hugged Dawn as if she was her bigger sister. "I'm a fan, girl! Holy shit, I can't even believe I'm talking to you right now and I can't believe I'm hugging you and you're so good at what you do and I watched all of your contests on TV and…"

Dawn laughed nervously "Thanks, I guess?" she was a bit taken back from that sudden reaction.

"So you're Gary Oak, huh?" the boy asked.

"Yeah."

"I've read some of your work regarding the very close similarities between different pokémon species. Very detailed work and very informative, I enjoyed it, especially the part where you talk about the supposed 'DNA Mixing' that may have happened between the Caterpie evolution line and the Venonat evolution line, focusing mostly on their final evolution stages."

Gary was stunned. He never expected to receive a compliment on his scientific work that he did with his grandfather.

"Thanks, that's good to hear. But yeah, that part was one of my favorites throughout my research and it opened new doors for me, new areas of study for the future."

"Also, we know you're after us because we're Reborn Children." He said, catching everyone by surprise, even the redhead.

That guy was way ahead of them.

"You jerk, I wanted to say that!" Apparently, the girl was too.

He just stared at her blankly, then turned to Gary and Dawn and continued talking. "Do you have any idea of what you just got yourselves into?"

Dawn and Gary looked at each other and she said. "Surprisingly, we do."

"Then you know what comes next, right?" the girl said.

"A challenge."

The Reborns nodded and motioned for Gary and Dawn to follow them.

As they followed the trainers towards the exit and outside the city, they whispered to themselves.

"Alright, we found them and we've been challenged. Now what?" Gary said.

"I don't know! I didn't think we would get this far so quickly."

"Then what do we do?"

"Well, we gotta hope for the best." Dawn said. "Hopefully it's not a battle and we actually stand a chance at this… this… this madness."

In front of them, the two trainers also whispered among themselves.

"Isa, who are you gonna take on?" the boy asked.

"I'll take Gary, thanks for asking! And don't you dare go easy on Dawn!" the girl, whose name was apparently Isa, answered smugly.

"Do you even remember of a moment when I went easy on someone?"

"Good point. Rule Number 2 of Battles by Heinz: going easy on your opponent is the same as asking to be defeated." she said.

"Precisely." said the boy. "I, Heinz, will not go easy on Dawn, even though I know she probably wouldn't stand a chance anyways. But I have an idea."

Isa looked at him smirking. "Your ideas are usually great. What do you have in mind?"

"Let's do the 'High Risk, High Reward' challenge."

"Are you kidding me?" she said "That's too easy for us! That's no fun!"

"But do you remember what happens if they win?"

She sighed, looked to the side in annoyance "Okay, okay… Let's do it, fatty."

"Call me that again in the middle of the challenge and I'll lose on purpose and everything would end up being done in vain."

She simply laughed at him as they kept on going.

As they finally reached the their destination, out of the cities limits by route 218, they found an open area surrounded by trees and wide enough so they could go all-out on the challenges.

As they made it to that area, Isa approached their soon-to-be opponents.

"Okay! Since you two were waiting for us by the bridge, I take it you know in what type we specialize in, right?"

"You saw us by the bridge?" Dawn asked.

"Of course, you two weren't being very stealthy, and me and my dear tall friend" she pointed to Heinz behind her "as well as the other Reborns are always on the watch for potential challengers such as you, and we know when someone is after us, because you're not the first to find us, so spotting you was easy!"

"Oh." the coordinator said. "That makes sense. But yes, we think you're skilled with electric types and he's skilled with water types."

"Because you saw Gauss, my Pichu, and Morgan, his Buizel, apparently. But yes, you're right." Isa said. "As the rules go, we'll tell you our names and all sorts of stuff if you beat the challenge. That's how it's gonna be: Gary will take on me, and Dawn will face Heinz. We call this the 'High Risk, High Reward'. The High Risk means you'll have to achieve whatever objective we give you while in the middle of a battle, but the High Reward means only one of you needs to achieve the objective for you both to win."

Gary looked at Dawn, then at the trainers in front of him, Isa , though he didn't know that was her name, who was smiling rather smugly at them, and Heinz, whose name he still didn't know as well, who was not facing them at the moment, standing several feet away from them with his back towards turned to them.

Heinz then walked in their direction. "Do you accept these terms?"

Gary seemed to be fighting with his own thoughts. He didn't know if he was good enough, and he knew Dawn was not exactly a battle master, it was actually the other way around.

But before he could even mutter a single word, she stepped up and looked at the Reborns confidently.

"I accept and I'm ready."

Gary was a bit taken back at the realization that Dawn was the first to accept the challenge.

Maybe she has plan... He thought if that's the case, I'll just have to do the same and give it everything I got.

"I'm ready too. What are our objectives?"

Isa and Heinz nodded and took positions at one of the edges of the clearing. They then threw a pokéball each.

From Isa's pokéball, a feline looking pokémon with dark grey and golden fur came out. Its head showed a vicious looking mane of dark grey fur, its tail was long and had a four-pointed star at its end, and its yellow eyes with the red sclera looked downright menacing.

"Faraday, get ready!" Isa said as her shiny Luxray positioned himself, as if he was ready to pounce on his prey. The pokémon roared, signaling he was ready.

From Heins' pokéball a bird looking pokémon came out. Its main colors were blue, navy blue and white. Its arms were actually fins that could easily serve as blades, the legs were short, and its beak was big enough that it resembled a crown.

"Napo, ready position." Heinz with a very serious voice as the Empoleon simply swung its fins around. "So here's the thing: Gary has to do all he can to not lose the battle completely within 10 minutes against Faraday while he goes all-out, and by 'all-out', I mean that she will treat you as if you're a Reborn and battle you as if you're one of us. Just so I'd let you know: when we battle other people in the same way we battle Reborns, their winning chances generally drop to almost zero, so I hope you have a plan for that" Gary nodded and tried to keep cool, even though he knew things had just gotten harder.

"And Dawn…" Isa said. "I'm so sorry."

Dawn felt legitimately scared at that moment.

"You have to make Napo activate his ability: Torrent. But that's pretty much the same as defeating him, so it's not as easy as it sounds. It doesn't matter how you do it, but that's what you have to do. I think you'll have a really hard time, but just so I let you know, there is one person who managed to pass Heinz challenge."

Dawn was scared to ask. "Who was it?"

"I can't tell you, but if you pass, then it's another story." Isa said, grinning smugly. "So are you ready?"

After some seconds to let everything sink in, they looked at each other and then nodded at the Reborns.

"Good." Heinz said. "Come on, Dawn. You're going first."

"What?!" She said.


Part 3: The Trial

"We would totally make it a double battle if we could, my dear!" Isa said "but this place is just not big enough for that, so please take your position. Gary, let's just wait by the side! Follow me!"

As Gary and Isa sat by the sides of their improvised battlefield, Dawn remembered how she thought the challenges that weren't battles were the most important ones.

That was so unlucky, she thought, how am I gonna work myself around this now?

Heinz and Dawn took their positions on each side of the battlefield.

"Dawn, you are allowed to use as many pokémon as you need in this battle as long as there is only one battling Napo, ok? Just focus on the objective."

The bluenette was calmed down by those words, seeing as they meant she actually had better chances than she thought she had.

But even like this she couldn't be more nervous.

"The battle will begin as soon as you give the first command." Heinz said.

Alright, Dawn, what can you do, and what do you have…

She checked the pokémon she had with her: Piplup, Mamoswine, Buneary, Quilava, Togekiss and Pachirisu.

So Quilava and Mamoswine are not good options, at least not now… Buneary and Piplup are not good at battling… that leaves only Pachirisu and Togekiss as good options for this. But he probably already expect me to use a pokémon with a type advantage against the Empoleon, Pachirisu would be predictable… Maybe if I do something bold from the beginning it will throw him off guard, or if I use contest moves to fight… Gosh dang it, this is so nerve-wrecking! How do Gary and Ash always manage to do it so naturally?!

From the sides, she heard Gary.

"Come on, Dawn! You're gonna rock this, I know it!"

Trying to control her nervousness and trying to fight back the rather faint blush on her cheeks was proving a bit exhausting so she just quit doing both.

Thanks, Gary, now I have a plan… sort of.

"Buneary! Let's go!"

Her dress-wearing Buneary came out of the pokéball doing a backflip and landing perfectly in front of her. "Jump Kick!"

Buneary leapt high in the air and came spiraling down on Napo, delivering a swift kick to his chest.

Or at least she would have if the Empoleon had not blocked with his arms.

"While he's holding you, use Dizzy Punch!"

Moving her small body back then forcefully moving forward in Napo's arms, she delivered a strong hit on his face using her big ears.

"Great! Direct hit!" Gary said, but his smile began to falter when he noticed Isa laughing softly. "What?"

"It would have been a great attack if not for the fact she is battling Napo."

Said Empoleon didn't even react to the punch, instead throwing Buneary across the field back to Dawn, where she landed safely.

"Napo, use Aqua Jet." Heinz said, with a scary serious face. Napo's body was then covered in water and he took off, lightning fast, in Buneary's direction, landing a powerful strike to the small pokémon.

What was that speed?!, she thought.

"That was one fast Aqua Jet…" said Gary, his mind blown.

As expected from that, Buneary was out, fainted, and thus was returned to her pokéball.

"To be honest, Dawn, you're doing a lot better than I expected, seeing as you managed to land a hit, even though it didn't matter" Heinz said. "I trained all of my pokémon to be the best defensive fighters among us Reborns, so I'm afraid you'll have to try harder than that."

Damn it! What else can I do? She thought for a moment, and thus, her inner trainer showed itself as a determined look showed on her face.

Even if I lose, I'm still gonna do one heck of a number on him! As she made up her mind, she noticed Gary was not there beside the girl and the Luxray anymore. Maybe he's just nervous too.

She threw another pokéball, this time, closer to Empoleon.

"Pachirisu use Discharge!" I really hope that works on the first try…

As the squirrel-like pokémon came out of the pokéball, it released a very large electric discharge, shocking Napo full force.

This time, the opponent actually showed a bit of a struggle: it grunted, albeit softly, but it signaled something was done right.

Heinz then gave his pokémon another command: "Shadow Claw." Napo's arms were then covered by dark energy and it lunged towards Pachirisu.

"Protect!" Dawn said desperately. I need this to work if I want a chance of winning!

Delivering a cross-slash at Pachirisu, who had formed the protective barrier just in time, Napo sent him spiraling towards Dawn. Pachirisu grunted as he fell to the ground. He may not have gotten damaged by the Shadow Claw, but the fall definitely dealt a bit of damage.

"Approach him with Quick Attack!" She said.

From the sides, Gary, who had returned from wherever he had gone, recognized that move.

"Oh, she's doing Ash's thing… Smart girl."

Pachirisu quickly moved and jumped up to Napo's face in seconds. "Use Super Fang!"

"Oh… Interesting…" Heinz said, with a smile on his face. "Let him hit you, Napo."

And thus Napo lowered his guards and let Pachirisu deliver a very painful bite to his neck, screaming his name as he felt the pain.

I should be happy that it worked, but I heard him telling Napo to take the hit… I got a bad feeling about this.

"Flash Cannon." Taking advantage of the proximity, Napo used his left arm to get Pachirisu out of his neck and threw him in the air, and as he flew up, Napo launched a beam of silver light at the rodent, delivering a clean and devastating strike, knocking him out.

Before he hit the ground, Dawn returned Pachirisu to his pokéball.

"It was a very bold move, Dawn. Normally I wouldn't let it happen, but I needed something to happen in this fight to make it more fun, so thank you for that. Super Fang heavily drains the opponent's energy, basically halving its fighting capability. Very smart move."

"Thanks, but it wasn't that good seeing as you just made it easy for me to strike."

"But it was a very brave decision making on your part, and I can respect that. Most Reborns wouldn't even dare to use this move, seeing as everyone of us knows how to counter it."

Alright, now who should I choose: Mamoswine or Togekiss? After all that, it's become clear that Piplup and Quilava will do no good in this battle…

"Togekiss, use Aura Sphere!" She threw the pokéball, allowing Togekiss to come out in all her glory, immediately releasing the blue energy sphere at Napo.

"Deflect it with Flash Cannon."

Napo released the silver beam once more, aimed at the incoming blue sphere. As they met in the middle, they canceled each other out and exploded in the middle.

"Aqua Jet to Drill Peck." Heinz said, and like a blur, Napo simply rocketed toward Togekiss, spinning with his beak glowing, striking Togekiss without resistance, taking her down.

As Dawn returned Togekiss, she accepted her imminent defeat.

I only have one more Pokémon that could actually stand a chance. I'd better make the best of it.

"Mamoswine, let's do this!"

The big mammal pokémon landed on the battlefield from its pokéball. "Earthquake!"

Heinz smirked: he expected just as much.

The ever predictable "Last Ditch Effort Earthquake"… Never gets old.

Mamoswine lifted his forelegs, then brought them down fiercely back to ground, but before that, the Empoleon was already following another of Heinz's commands:

"Torpedo!" Surprisingly, this time he shouted his command like Dawn usually did.

Covered in water, Napo advanced towards Mamoswine faster than he did before, his arms in front of his head, shining with a purple color, as he spun his body, his beak also shining brightly and visibly longer, appearing as long as his arms reached.

As Mamoswine struck the ground with his feet, he was struck by the spinning torment that was Napo, that sent him flying towards a tree beside Dawn, knocked out.

She was at a loss for words. She never even heard of such a move before, and he could see that Gary also had never seen something like that seeing as he had a very surprised look on his face.

"I know that maneuver all too well, Dawn. Many people use it as a last resort, but that won't work with us. And since this is known as a last resort, I take it that this was your last pokémon?" Heinz said.

"I… uh… I have two more. But they won't do any good against Napo. So…" She expected such an outcome, but she couldn't help but to feel disappointed in herself. "I give up. Victory is yours."

He smiled and and looked down at his feet.

"You did well, Dawn. I know you're not a battle trainer, and seeing as this was how far you managed to get even though you don't have enough experience in the area, I can say that you have a future, especially with that great decision making of yours. It was a pleasure to battle you, Fräulein"

She seemed confused, as if she didn't understand what he meant with that last word.

"It means 'Ms', as in Ms Dawn" Heinz explained.

"Oh, okay. I am also glad I got to battle you. It made me realize how much room I have for improvement as a trainer and coordinator." Smiling nervously, she made her way to where Isa and Gary were seated, with Heinz right behind her.

As they approached them, Isa got up.

"Come on, Gary! It's your turn!" She gleefully headed to where Heinz was previously standing, with her Luxray beside her. "Alright, Faraday, time to get crazy!" She said as she began to pet her Luxray, who purred in delight. But as she stopped petting him and motioned him to look at where Gary was now standing, he roared furiously, his body getting covered by blue sparks.

Understandably startled, Gary asked:

"What's up with him?"

"That means he is ready. But don't worry, he roars every time he prepares to fight. If you succeed you'll see it happen rather often, and will get used to the loudness. Just like me when he evolved all those years ago. As a Luxio, Faraday was extremely calm and collected, but as a Luxray… his behavior took a goddamned 180 and then there was that time when he got-"

From the sides, Heinz was having a headache.

"Hey, Hobbit! Shut the hell up and get on with it!" She talks too freaking much at times like this… she could have accidentally told her name like that one time with that Hilda girl…

"Oh, you're no fun!" She said, sticking her tongue out to him "So, Mr Gary… Show me what you got! Fat Giant, start the timer as soon as he gives the first command!"

Heinz nodded, taking a… Nintendo DS from his pocket?

Dawn found that a bit weird. "You know you can just use a chronometer of a cell phone, don't you?"

He laughed nervously. I should have expected that… "You see… Reborns can't have cell phones."

"WHAT?!" she gasped.

"Celebi's orders. To be honest, none of us ever understood why this is important, but we follow our master's orders without complaining."

"That's so weird!"

"We know. And after so long without a cell phone, we don't really care."

On the battlefield, Gary's mind was already going on overdrive.

Come on, Gary… this is gonna be a piece of cake… just ten minutes, you can do this… Wait, no 'you can do this', the right one is 'you will do this'... yeah, you'll do this. So, a Luxray, huh? Ok… So that means I should expect very strong physical attacks, a fairly good movement speed and a ferocious battle drive… F$%&... And I should also be wary of attacks such as Wild Charge, any of the elemental fangs and Superpower. Ok, I got a plan, or at least a part of it.

"Umbreon, go!" He threw the pokéball, allowing the dark four-legged fox-like pokémon to come out of it. His red eyes shining brightly, just like his golden markings along his body. "We're ready."

Isa grinned from ear to ear, eager for another challenge. "Then give the first command, and the timer starts!"

"Confuse Ray!" Gary said, giving the cue for Heinz to start the timer:

10:00

Umbreon's eyes shone brightly, then releasing a multicolored beam directed towards Faraday.

"Block it with Shock Wave!" As she commanded, her Luxray's body's sparks became wilder, as he growled and unleashed a single lightning bolt precisely aimed at the incoming beam of light, causing a small explosion when they met in the middle.

"Use Double Team, Umbreon!" With Gary's next command Umbreon's golden marks shone brightly, as he created multiple clones of himself around the arena.

I see what you're doing, Gary… You want to make me use Shock Wave to find the real Umbreon immediately, but you know that these kind of pokémon have a very high resistance to special moves such as this one, so you know he will withstand the first blow… Very well thought out, Mr Oak.

But it's useless. As Heinz said, in this fight you'll be considered a Reborn like us. Don't think you'll get out of this that easily.

"Roar!"

And so Faraday did roar.

And he did it so hard that Gary, Dawn and Heinz had to cover their ears. In fact, it was such a strong roar that Umbreon' copies disappeared and he returned to his pokéball from the sheer force of the sound.

"What?!" Gary sputtered in surprise.

"Roar is one of the best counters for Double Team. So keep that in mind before you use it again. Actually, Reborns only use Double Team if it's part of a combo move."

Dammit! She broke my plan too quickly… I was planning on taking as much hits of special attacks as possible with Umbreon to stall her, but now that's not even a good plan anymore… What the hell?

"Oh, and before I forget: since I'm considering you one of us for this battle, you can just forget all about the 'Four Moves Rule'. I mean, it's ridiculous and keeps any pokémon from using their full potential."

9:00

And suddenly, something clicked in Gary's mind: A person never knows how badly he or she wants something until they get it… F$%& the Four Moves Rule!

"Alakazam, Go!" As the psychic type came out of the pokeball, Gary was was already giving commands, as if he had formulated another plan out of nowhere. "Psybeam!"

The psi pokémon crossed his spoons in front of him, as a way of channeling his psychic powers into them, and from them a very bright pink and light blue beam was fired, directly at Faraday.

"Thunderbolt to Night Slash!" Isa said. And her Luxray delivered: roaring loudly, he zapped a Thunderbolt attack at the incoming Psybeam, causing an explosion in the middle. As the smoke was spreading, Faraday jumped in, his claws covered by a dark aura.

But Gary was ready.

"Teleport up then use Shadow Ball!" Alakazam quickly vanished from his previous spot, now hovering a top the smoke while Faraday was still concealed by it, then from his spoons, once again, fired a black energy sphere.

"Discharge!" Isa commanded.

But this time, Faraday's counterattack was a lot stronger than Alakazam's attack.

The Discharge easily overpowered the Shadow Ball and struck Alakazam full force, leaving him very weak.

"Come on, Alakazam, you're doing great! Now use-"

"Quick Attack to Night Slash!" Isa said, and her Luxray jumped from the ground with such force that he was almost instantly positioned just below Alakazam.

"What?!" Was all the kantonian could say, which mirrored his pokémon's expression at the moment.

And thus, Faraday delivered the slash, greasing Alakazam's face and bringing him down to the ground along the linx-like pokémon. And there Alakazam stood; unconscious.

8:00

From the sides, Dawn was surprised Gary even managed all of that in such a short time. "He wasn't that good before… I mean he was never bad, but now… he's showing skill none of our friends ever saw him do so before. It's like watching someone else's battle."

Heinz simply laughed at that, as that was very much expected. "He starting to understand a tiny bit of what being a Reborn like us is like: he is feeling the true joy of a pokémon battle, that is, the freedom. To be able to do what he normally can't do, to be able to feel the energy of a battle as if winning could save your life… That's what us Reborns try to bring out of our opponents when we battle... this feeling." As he pointed to Gary, who even after suffering the first knockout, still showed a very proud and vivid grin.

Gary threw another pokéball, and once again his Umbreon was out on the Battlefield.

"Use Foul Play!" Umbreon quickly approached Faraday, his eyes shining brightly.

"Fire Fang!" Her Luxray simply lunged at Umbreon with burning fangs, just managing to bite down on Umbreon first and flinging him back to Gary, and still he stood up, looking somewhat beaten, but still up to fight and determined.

But to his surprise, he felt his body burning still, growling in pain.

"Damn it, he was burned!" Gary said. But wait… Umbreon's ability is Synchronize… So that means… !

As Umbreon felt the burn, Faraday too felt the burn.

Both fighters were burned from that single exchange.

"Heh, I guess that backfired, right? He mocked Isa a bit, but his smirk fell as he saw her smug one.

"Actually, it worked a bit too well…" She said.

Faraday closed his eyes and roared, but this time it carried such an anger that it legitimately scared Umbreon a bit. His fur got all up, and he was salivating a lot. As he opened his eyes, the others noticed they were bloodshot, and his entire body was covered by sparks.

"What the hell?!" Gary said.

"Faraday's ability is Guts. If he gets burned or poisoned while in battle, his physical strength is greatly increased. I didn't know your Umbreon's ability was Synchronize, but I really hoped it was, I just didn't expect to get this right on the first try, it was a very lucky shot, but it worked. By the way, the anger that comes with the activation of Guts is simply a side effect that I just can't seem to solve…" She paused, looking at the sky as if she was thinking about something super serious. "But he looks so scary and serious and cute when he's like this that I decided to just let it be!" She laughed jovially.

Dawn laughed nervously. "That's one weird girl…"

"You have no idea." Heinz said.

"Alright, Faraday, take him down with Double Kick."

And once again, the shiny Luxray lunged at the dark type, spinning his body so he could deliver a quick kick with his right hind leg, then a rather strong one with his left foreleg, making Umbreon slide across the ground back to Gary, unconscious.

F#$%... Now her Luxray is even stronger and I'm down two pokémon… And I'm not sure how much time is left.

7:00

Well, I might as well work with what I have right… and I really should have brought one more pokémon with me, I only have Electivire, Blastoise and Arcanine left… Shit.

"Arcanine, go!" Arcanine came out of the pokéball, looking ready to fight. "Flamethrower!"

Gathering flames in his mouth, Arcanine growled and released a flurry of flames at Faraday.

"Thunderbolt!" Faraday immediately unleashed a lightning bolt at the incoming flames after Isa commanded him to.

But to the surprise of them all, Gary decided something risky.

"Keep pushing after it hits! More flames, Arcanine!" And Arcanine put more effort into the attack, making the flames more violent as he growled. Fire and lightning now on a stalemate in the middle of the battlefield as Arcanine valiantly pushed through his limits.

Very impressive, Gary. Few would do this, since it puts strain on the pokémon to do something like this. You're proving to be a very interesting challenger. The Reborn girl thought happily.

"Override the Flamethrower into a Heat Wave!"

"Use Discharge!"

Both pokémon stopped their actions as they prepared another round of attacks, Arcanine's fur getting covered by flames, and the sparks covering Luxray getting more and more wild.

At the same time, both pokémon released their attacks, a pure wave of extremely hot wind coming from Gary's side, and a wild surge of electricity coming from Isa's side.

As the attacks met in the middle, a rather large explosion occurred, a loud 'boom' sound resonating from it, making everyone's ears ring.

Smoke covered the battlefield completely, obscuring Arcanine's vision.

But not Luxray's.

Faraday slowly and silently moved, sticking close to the limits of the smoke, getting close enough to Arcanine to ensure a clean hit without getting detected, his x-ray vision aiding his positioning, just like he practiced on Isa's training routines.

And she expected him to do just that.

6:00

"Use Facade!" She commanded.

Faraday's body was then covered by an orange aura and he charged at Arcanine, hitting him full-force from the shadows and sending him skidding to a halt next to Gary, extremely hurt and on his last legs. He got up slowly, wincing in pain.

"Facade is a move that has extra effectiveness when the user is burned, paralyzed or poisoned… in other words, it's the perfect strategic move for Faraday."

That was a very good one… Gary thought. But I still gotta deliver at least one strike on Faraday. Maybe two if I'm lucky.

"Extreme Speed!" Arcanine's face lifted, and in a flash he tackled Faraday with a very fast attack.

Did he just… ?! Now I'm enjoying this! The Reborn giddily thought to herself. "Night Slash!"

Her Luxray quickly tried to slash Arcanine, but then he felt the burn and flinched, leaving an opening for Gary and Arcanine. "Double-Edge!" Arcanine's body gained a yellow glow, and he forcefully smashed his body on Luxray's, making him grunt in pain, but falling unconscious from the force of the attack.

Shit! The burn is taking its toll on Faraday now. If not for this he could have ended that with the Night Slash.

"Blastoise, let's do this!" Gary said as he threw the pokéball of his first pokémon, to everyone's surprise.

"Are you crazy?! Blastoise is at a tremendous disadvantage!" Dawn said, a bit desperate.

5:00

"You know Gary, I'm all for using water types, but choosing Blastoise against her is making it too easy for her." Heinz said. "I hope you know what you're doing."

Me too.

"Mega Evolve!"

A surprised gasp escaped Dawn's mouth. "When did he put that on Blastoise?!" And then she saw the Key Stone, shining brightly as if was a decoration on his phone. "And that too?!

During Dawn's Challenge, when Gary vanished

Gary releases Blastoise from his pokéball, for some reason, out of anyone's field of vision. He also took his time to get the Key Stone he got from Rowan and attach it to his phone. The pokémon said its name, greeting his trainer respectfully.

"Hey, big guy." He smiled slightly. "We'll soon face a very difficult battle, and it's gonna be one we can't win. But we'll do better if you hold onto this." He presented his pokémon the Mega Stone: Blastoisinite. "No matter what happens, I want you to fight like your life depends on the battle, got it?"

He received a nod and a pleased grunt from Blastoise, who smiled at his trainer. "I knew I could always count on you."

As Gary said those words, a bright light surrounded Blastoise, making everyone shift their gazes away from the light.

No holding back, Blastoise. Just like old times.

The light faded away, revealing Blastoise's new and powerful form. His face looked more angled than before, his eyes that were previously brown had taken a red color and his ears were slightly longer. His hard shell was now bigger and supported not two cannons on the sides, but a very large and longer cannon on the middle. His side cannons were now supported on his arms, which also had shells covering them.

"BLASTOISE!" said the tortoise pokémon as he completed the transformation.

I hope this works as it does in my mind. "Use Water, Dragon and Dark Pulse!"

"WHAT?!" Dawn was not believing that day was even happening in the first place.

And thus, from the right-arm cannon, blue and violet energy began to be gathered, as the left-arm cannon charged dark purple energy, and the large middle cannon shone bright blue.

"Fire!" Gary said, and Blastoise let loose hell: a triple attack consisting of Dragon Pulse, Dark Pulse and Water Pulse, all aimed at Faraday.

"Full power Discharge!" Isa said. These are being boosted by Blastoise's Mega Launcher ability, a regular Discharge wouldn't be enough to stop these.

Luxray released an extremely violent burst of electricity, roaring loudly and angrily.

As all attacks hit, Faraday was, surprisingly, able to only get hit by a small portion of the Dragon Pulse attack, all the rest being mitigated by the Discharge.

4:00

"Wild Charge!" Isa said. Luxray's body was then completely engulfed in electricity as he rushed at Blastoise.

"Protect!"

As Faraday hit Blastoise, he had just managed to form the protective barrier around him, being just barely able to negate what could have been a 'one-hit-KO'.

"Hydro Pump!"

"Protect, quick!" Isa said, mirroring Gary's last move. I can tell Faraday is nearing the point of no return. If he gets hit again he might wanna do that thing…

Blastoise's cannons fired a vicious stream of water, seemingly endless, at Faraday, who was still very close to Blastoise, almost within point-blank range. But he still managed to form the protective barrier around him before Hydro Pump hit, leaving him unscathed.

"Shock Wave!" Luxray quickly released a pulse of electricity at Blastoise, who was hit immediately with no chance to follow any command from Gary, suffering great pain from the attack. "Get some distance between you, Faraday!" And he approached his master like a flash.

"All-out Water Pulse!"

"Use Thunderblast!"

What the heck is Thunderblast? Gary thought, already expecting something huge.

3:00

As the three cannons fired the Water Pulses, Luxray formed a sphere of electricity in front of him, and launched it where the Water Pulses would join to form one huge Water Pulse attack.

To Gary's surprise, the sphere, of about half the size of the big Water Pulse, managed to stop the attack in its tracks.

"Detonate!" Isa said, and Luxray released a Thunder at the sphere, detonating it, which caused the Water Pulse to evaporate from the strong electric current. And what's more: the Thunder attack managed to hit Blastoise, albeit only a small fraction of it, but it still hurt him a lot, leaving him on a pinch.

Damn it, Faraday is too strong, and they have these weird moves that no one's ever heard about.

"Hyper Beam!" Gary said.

From his main cannon, Blastoise began to gather purple and orange energy, preparing to fire.

When he was about to shoot, Faraday looked at his master behind him and nodded at her, as if he knew exactly what to do.

"If you think you can do it, then go. I trust you!" Isa said. And Luxray took off extremely quickly, probably using quick attack to boost his speed, his fangs surrounded by sparks.

"Blastoise, quick!" Gary said rather desperately.

2:00

But Blastoise was very wounded and tired, and it was also the first time he used Mega Evolution, so his body was not used to the rather heavy strain and the new form.

He would not be able to fire in time. Which led to a free strike from Faraday, who pressed his shocking fangs to Blastoise's neck with the Thunder Fang attack, finally managing to knock him out.

You did great, Blastoise! As Gary returned Blastoise to his pokéball, he thought to himself. I don't know how much time there is left for me to fight, but there's a reason I saved him for last!

"Electivire, go!"

The large pokémon positioned himself in front of Gary, raising up his tails and balling his hands into fists.

Completely immune to electric type moves because of Motor Drive, and also really fast, even for his size, and knowing a great quantity of useful moves. This is our last chance.

"Heh…" Isa snorted lightly "Who would have thought he'd have an Electivire…" She said as she looked at her pocket, where her pokéballs were. Let's see how Gary's Electivire compares to my dear Ampere!

"Use Light Screen, Electivire!" As commanded, the electric type formed a green cube around it, making it disappear shortly after.

"Ice Fang!" the Reborn commanded.

"Ice Punch!" the Kantonian commanded.

Electivire's right fist was coated in ice as he rushed at the Luxray, whose fangs seemed to have grown larger because of the ice coating, and he too was rushing at his opponent.

Before they met in the middle, Isa whistled, and as she did that Luxray accelerated.

Gary saw that, and decided to try and match the speed. "Go faster, Electivire!"

And thus they were all faster than before.

Just as Isa wanted.

Electivire prepared to take the swing so he could strike first, but as soon as his arm began coming down, Isa whistled again, but instead of accelerating, Faraday took a turn to the right just as Electivire punched, making him miss the attack and leaving him open for a strike.

"Now!" Isa said, and Faraday immediately bit down his left arm, making Electivire growl in pain. "Jump back quickly!" Faraday then released Electivire's arm, leaping back to position himself just in front of Isa.

Dammit! She made me think the whistle was supposed to make him go faster, but it was actually a strategy to make Electivire miss the attack. At least he's protected against special attacks for now, but I'll have to think of something fast.

"Flamethrower!" Gary said, surprising Dawn once again.

"Since when could Electivires learn Flamethrower?!"

Well, mine knows too. Isa thought. But that's still not impressive enough of your Electivire, Gary.

"Use Thunderbolt, on low power." She said, this time surprising everyone but Heinz.

1:00

Luxray simply released a quick surge of electricity towards the incoming flames from Electivire's mouth.

And it was enough to cancel out the flames.

"But how?!" Gary said. "A low-powered Thunderbolt is enough for this?"

She laughed at that. "Most pokémon have difficulty when trying to use moves of types that are not theirs, such as an electric type using a fire type move. The move will never be as strong as if it were one of the same type as the user. That's why a low-power Thunderbolt was more than enough to cancel the flamethrower."

I know that she just explained something basic, but she managed to use that to her advantage… just how strong are the Reborns?

Suddenly, Faraday's body began to tremble, as he roared loudly, but this time he simply walked forward towards Electivire.

0:30

"I guess we're nearing the end, Gary." Isa said, smiling lightly "Faraday, I leave all the rest to you. I know exactly what you wanna do, so I guess it's finally time to stop holding back."

Wait. Gary thought, a bit shocked. They were holding back all this time? Oh shit!

"Electivire, no matter what happens, do not get hit! Keep using Agility and Protect!"

Electivire's body shook for second, and he quickly moved to left very much away from Faraday who didn't stop walking slowly towards him, now completely covered by blue bolts of electricity.

As that happened, Heinz told Dawn something.

"Many of the Reborns never even had the chance of seeing this." he said.

"Seeing what?"

He snorted. "Faraday's strongest Combo move… that not even the abilities Motor Drive and Lightning Rod can stop…"

The sparks around Faraday became wilder and wilder as he approached Electivire.

0:10

"And the move's name is Thunderlord."

The electricity began to overflow, making Faraday seem to be made of lightning, with only his silhouette being visible, as if a shadow. The light he was shedding was so strong it made the others flinch for a second.

With a final roar, he took off towards Electivire at a blinding speed.

0:05

Electivire still managed to lift a Protect barrier before the hit.

But the energy was too strong for the barrier alone.

On an explosion of lightning and sparks, the woods on route 218 were lit up completely for one whole second, with a very loud thunder crashing right after the light.

The people in Canalave, unaware of what was happening, all looked at the sky, thinking that maybe it was going to rain, but confusing themselves upon realising the skies were clear as a glass of water.

Back in route 218, an entire area of the forest was covered by smoke.

0:00

Coughing could be heard from where Dawn and Heinz were sat on the ground, as well as where Gary was standing. But nothing aside from soft breathing could be heard from where Isa was standing.

Heinz checked the chronometer on his NDS, and upon noticing time was up he stood up.

"It's over." He said.

"Did Gary- cough- pass the- cough cough- challenge?!" asked Dawn in between coughs.

He threw one pokéball in the air. "Let's find out."

From the pokéball, an enormous snake-like marine creature came out.

"Havok, would you be so kind to use Twister to clear out the smoke, please?"

Havok, a Gyarados, moved to where he thought the center of the body of smoke was and rapidly spun his body, creating a small cyclone, slowly but surely dissipating the smoke.

As the smoke cleared, they saw what they could only describe as an aftermath.

The ground was scorched, steam rising from it as it gleamed a bright yellow from the heat on some small spots of charred grass.

On Isa's side, Faraday stood, no longer angry or covered by lightning, and seemingly fully healed. But that was easily explained by the empty Full Restore on Isa's left hand. She then took one and threw it to Gary.

On his side though, Electivire was still standing.

But not moving a muscle, only his breathing could be heard, and it was very weak.

He was about to fall, but held through the pain till the last moment.

Heinz thanked his Gyarados and returned him to his pokéball, as he began to laugh jovially and very happily. "Nice work, Gary! If it wasn't for the Motor Drive ability or her holding back you would never be able to do this though."

The Kantonian took the Full Restore tossed at him and immediately applied it o Electivire.

Needless to say, these things did wonders to pokémon, and Electivire felt much better after it, but still very tired, so Gary returned him to his pokéball.

And he was also very tired, and trying to keep a steady head, and trying to understand the situation.

He won?

"I… I did it?" he asked the Reborns, but rather hesitantly.

Upon returning her Luxray to his pokéball, she slowly approached her opponent.

"Yes, you did it!" She smiled brightly "And honestly, even though I was holding back, you almost lost." She motioned for the others to approach them as she talked to Gary.

"So what happens now?" he said. "Is there any kind of ceremony or like, a ritual for you to say your names?"

She just laughed at that as Heinz and Dawn walked towards them. "No, there's no stuff like that, but as per Lord Celebi's orders we must be formal when doing so."

Finally, Heinz and Dawn approached them, and the moment of truth could happen.

The electric master glanced at the water master, and then they nodded at each other, as if a mutual and unspoken agreement had been made between them. The girl turned to their challengers, who had risen successful from their challenges, and began her introduction.

"So, I guess this is it, right?" She smiled at them, as a flash of light, followed by a rather loud pop sound, came from one of her pockets, as a Pichu came out of it. "Gauss, what did I tell you about getting out of your pokéball without warning?" She scolded the tiny rat pokémon, but she was smiling. "But… I can't stay mad at you!" She laughed as the Pichu snuggled up to her cheeks while standing on her shoulders.

She then looked at her soon-to-be new friends again. "My name is Isabella Haart, or Isa for short and I am 15 years old. I am a Reborn Child of Celebi, Master of Electric Types. For such fact, the other Reborns call me by the title 'The Chosen of Thunder'." She bowed respectfully. "It is my pleasure to meet you!" She returned to a normal standing position as her Pichu cried his name. "And this is my friend Gauss!"

Before the Dawn and Gary could say anything, Heinz approached them.

"And I am Heinrich von Flüsse, but please call me Heinz." He bowed, as did Isa, as sign of respect to them. "I am 16 years old and, like her, a Reborn Child of Celebi and Master of Water Types. The title given to me is 'The Might of The Seas'." As he returned to standing, he turned his gaze toward the sinnohian bluenette. "I'm sorry I had to go easy on you Dawn. And to you Gary," He then looked at the man in question "You got lucky. Lucky because Isa was holding back throughout the entire battle and because of Blastoise's Mega Evolution. But luck is a part of battles, so… I guess that's ok."

Isabella "Isa" Haart and Heinrich "Heinz" von Flüsse.

So these are their names, Dawn thought. "It's no big deal, Heinz!" She said. "And it's also a pleasure to meet you guys.

"Likewise." Gary said, but then he looked suspiciously at Isa. "But wait a second… If you were holding back all that time, then what is it like when you're fighting seriously?"

The Reborns simply laughed lively. "Well, for starters, your chances of succeeding would be even closer to zero. Also, If I really wanted you to lose that badly, I could have made Faraday go berserk since the beginning, that way he would just pummel your entire team in 2 minutes."

He laughed nervously. "Oh, that's, uh- good to know!"

As they talked, Heinz snapped his fingers to catch everyone's attention.

"There's something bothering me a bit." he started. "You two were looking for us, am I correct?" To that, Dawn and Gary simply nodded. "Which means there's a reason why you did so." Once again, they nodded.

Isa looked at them, looking somewhat troubled, as if she knew their reason meant trouble. "Please tell us what was the reason."

They looked at each other, then Gary and Dawn nodded, and began to tell the full story.

After they finished, they waited for any kind of reaction from the Reborns.

But they didn't expected the worried and almost grave expressions they showed.

He was right… Isa thought to herself as she remembered what another Reborn had told her before. "Heinrich, the vision… He was right, his Gothitelle was right all this time!"

Heinrich knew what she was talking about. After all, they were both there when their friend gave them the news about their future and the future of all Reborns.

Though they never truly believed the vision was true, what Gary and Dawn told them seemed to clear all their doubts.

One year ago, Route 120, Hoenn

Isa and Heinz sat on the ground, close to the lake at Route 120 in Hoenn.

But they were not alone.

Beside them, five other people were also sat on the ground. Two boys and three girls.

The shortest, and perhaps the youngest of the group was one of the boys. He had very short light brown hair, deep green eyes and lots of freckles on his cheeks. He wore regular blue jeans, a plain white t-shirt beneath a very colorful hoodie and white and red all-stars. The other boy was lying on the ground, seemingly fast asleep. He wore cargo pants with camo patterns, black boots, a death metal band, Children of Dusknoir (Children of Bodom), sleeveless shirt (he probably cut the sleeves himself, seeing as the holes from where his arms came out from weren't exactly symmetrical) and he had piercings on his nose, lower lip and on both ears. Also, his body was covered by tattoos, some even on his head, where he grew a mohawk, colored red from the root of his hair, then purple at the middle of the mohawk and black at the end.

The girls were all sitting beside each other, Isa included. She was the one on the far left of the other three girls. To her right, a rather pale skinned blonde girl that had her hair tied in a ponytail, then a short-haired brunette to the right of the blonde, and finally, a tanned-skin girl with very long wavy silver colored hair (that was apparently natural, seeing as her eyebrows were also that same color, as opposed to Isa, seeing as her eyebrows had a dark brown coloration).

The blonde had aquamarine colored eyes that seemed to sparkle when she smiled. Even though the sun was out, she was wearing a sweater that had an Aurora Borealis as a design. She wore light blue jeans that went down to just below the middle of her shins. As a surprise, her feet were covered by medieval style sandals. The brunette had beautiful dark brown eyes, that complimented her short hair really well. She wore a simple lilac dress that reached just below her knees. She wore a bracelet on left wrist, and it was made of roots that had very tiny blue flowers around them, and on her feet, she had light brown simple sandals. And finally, the last girl, the silver-haired one, wore a sleeveless red shirt underneath a checkered black and white button-up shirt, along with black shorts. She also wore boots like the tattooed boy, but hers were brown and seemed much more worn-out than his. Her eyes were what caught most off-guard: they were very bright yellow eyes.

The tattooed boy slowly stirred awake after the girls began to laugh rather loudly, they were just talking when suddenly the blonde cracked a joke. As he slowly got up, he opened his eyes, revealing the very intriguing red irises he possessed.

"Guys, why don't you just let me sleep peacefully? It was a long freaking day…" He said, his voice was a bit intimidating, seeing as how deep it was.

"Oh, just quit it, Brokk!" The blonde said, and as contrast to Brokk's voice, hers was very soft and charming. "You shoudn't even be sleeping right now! Reno is about to tell us something very important!"

The other girls nodded as Reno, the other boy, just looked at them calmly. Then, the brunette spoke up. "I just hoped the others were here too. I'm sure they'd like to know of this first hand like us." Her voice was a bit low pitched for someone her age, and that would normally startle anyone that took her for just a cute girl upon a first glance.

"I know, Laura." Isa said. "But just getting the seven of us on the same place is difficult enough. I mean, I know Jane" She motioned to the blonde "always tries to join us for these meetings, but many others don't even try sometimes. Heck, we're lucky Mary is here, for Arceus sake!" She motioned at the silver-haired girl, who blushed in embarrassment. For someone as beautiful as she was, one could say she was as shy as she was pretty.

"Lo siento por no apare-" She paused for a second, her blush deepening as she realized she was speaking spanish again, even though she knew her friends didn't understand it. "I mean, uh- I'm sorry for not showing up often!"

Heinz simply laughed, and then he looked at Reno beside him. "I think that's a good moment to say what you need to. Everyone will listen, and you can be sure we'll all tell it to the others." He said.

Even him, If I, for some miracle, come across him again, He thought to himself, as he remembered someone important to the group.

Reno stood up after hearing that, which caught the attention of the others.

"All right guys, here's the thing." He started, as six pairs of eyes had their gazes locked into him. "Last week I did what I thought I wouldn't need to do for a long time: I asked Shade, my Gothitelle, to look into my future." He paused, sighing softly. "As you might know, a Gothitelle can see into the future of its trainer, up to the point of his or her death, so I simply asked her to see my future up to the point when our final stand would happen, and she… saw something."

The others gasped.

Brokk was the first to talk. "Wait a second, does that mean you know when The Gathering begins?"

Reno shook his head. "I don't, but I know that it's closer than we thought it was, because what she saw was us, and by that I mean all eighteen of us, along with many well known trainers in our world, fighting against an army, an army that had many mythical and legendary pokémon under their control. And I know it's close for many reasons: Isa's hair is still red, Natalie still has pink colored hair, and because the well know trainers I spoke about are none other than Gary Oak, Dawn Berlitz, Ash Ketchum, Serena Gabena, May Maple, Drew Shu, and believe it or not, the Battle Legend himself: Red, along others such as Heinz's good friend Champion Ethan Gold were also there, and the pokémon trainer called Moon, from Alola, who wore the Champion's Cape in the vision, but as some of you might know, this cape is a symbol of victory worn by the champion of the Pokémon League, and the next Alolan League will only happen next month, and I guess we all know who'll win that one now, right?." he snickered. For someone so young, he was very smart and extremely sharp.

The others simply listened, not daring to say a word after all that.

"And I know exactly who they are, though I've never met them personally. But after Shade's vision, I began to study these people. And through the analysis I made of them with the help of my psychic pokémon, I can confirm to you that the vision is true and The Gathering should start sometime around next year, but I don't know when exactly."

The others looked at each other, an almost tangible tension in the air around them.

After some time discussing, the group decided to call it a day and each one took their separate ways.

Reno left the group already thinking of a way to try to stop the army in the near future.

Heinz simply left, imagining how the others who were not present would react.

Jane was very worried, as she knew very well that the vision could have meant their deaths.

Mary didn't think their moment of truth was so close, but simply accepted her fate.

Brokk couldn't wait! He actually wanted to fight the army, and then he'd write a song after all of that, with a lot of insane guitar riffs and super brutal drums!

Laura spaced out when Reno was explaining everything (as usual) so Isa and the other girls had to fill her in on the details (again). She was surprised with the fact that everyone would finally be together for once and she loved it!

Isa didn't believe it entirely, especially because Reno said everyone of them would be there, including the one she wanted to meet the most:

The Master of Fire Types, The Knight of Flames, Bernard Haart. The Reborn who had orders from Celebi to only join the other Reborns after his training was complete. But to Isa, Bernard was even more important for another reason.

Like the others, minus the Dark Master and the Dragon Master, she never met Bernard in person. But what infuriated her was knowing the most disturbing fact of her life: they were siblings. And this information drove her wild for years, making her try to find him for an eternity. Because her parents never mentioned him, she never saw pictures or anything of the kind, she found out he existed and was a Reborn like her through Sonya, who was the Dragon Master, one of the only two people allowed to meet Bernard. After that day, she swore she would get to the bottom of this mystery in her life.

So our paths are finally starting to converge, huh? Just you wait for me. She thought to herself as she walked along route 120. We'll have quite the catching up to do once we meet.


 

Chapter Text

Chapter 3

The Void of One's Heart

Part 1: Fear of the Dark


Kanto, Cerulean City, 3 months before Gary's and Isa's battle, 21:49 pm

That night was rather chilly on Cerulean, especially now with such few people on the streets so late. From time to time, Hoot-Hoots and Notcowl's could be heard through the faint breeze of the night, and the city's lights barely illuminated enough for the people who were still outside.

As the clock hit 10 pm, the city's streets were suddenly empty, and no more sound could be heard from the outside, only the distant sounds of the pokémon that were active by night.

But then, a girl came out of the Poké Mart. There was a pink pokémon beside her, with very small wings on its back, very large ears that were tinted in a dark brown on their ends and a tail that curled on itself several times. Both the girl and the pokémon were carrying several bags from their purchases at the store. As they walked beside a city lamp, the light revealed her straight black hair that reached just below her shoulders, as well as her rather gentle looking grey eyes. She was very short, and was probably very young too. She wore very simple clothes, just regular jeans and a white-and-red striped t-shirt that would look like it was pink from afar. A necklace was tied around her neck, a very pretty pendant was on it, and it resembled a star that seemed like it was turning into a blooming flower. Surprisingly, she wore running shoes, that were… very colorful, like a rainbow was powdered on them.

They quickly made their way to the Pokémon Center, which was one of the few places that's open 24/7. She quickly greeted the nurse at the counter with a warm smile and made her way upstairs to her room.

From the Pokémon Center, on the second floor, where the rooms were, a boy sat on the bed. Strangely, as far away from the window as possible, even though it was covered by curtains. What was even weirder: the lights were off. Though it was dark, anyone else that could be in the room would be able to listen to his fingers tapping rhythmically on the nightstand besides the bed. Aside from that, he made no other sound or movement.

Suddenly, the door to his room opened, and whoever entered the room turned on the lights.

The same girl with the Clefable stood in the room, smiling at the boy sitting on the bed, the light revealing his appearance. His deep green eyes seemed to penetrate the souls of whoever he would be talking to. His short light brown hair was trimmed nicely. As he stood up, helping his friend get the bags she brought to a corner in the room, he revealed himself to be just a tad bit taller than her, by barely an inch. His white t-shirt had many letters on the front, but no specific words could be discerned from them, but if one tried… He wore cargo pants, completely black, and what seemed like skateboarding sneakers. On a chair beside the bed, there was a black hoodie, with what seemed like the a white cracked skull on the back.

"Hey! I'm sorry for taking so long. But I didn't know we would only arrive here before sunset." She said, her voice carrying what could only be described as an innocent breeze.

"It's not a problem. That gave me time to get my thoughts flowing, And you know I'd help you today had it not been night." The boy answered

She smiled sweetly, but then the smiled faded, a rather gloomy expression taking its place. "We're gonna fix your problem someday, I know that."

The boy averted his look from her to the window. "It's good to see that you still believe that, even after 4 years like this."

She put an arm on his shoulder, which made him look her in the eyes again. "Of course I believe it! You're my friend, and I want you to be on your best condition at all times. Never forget that, Alphonse."

He smiled lightly, "Erin, I don't deserve you." he said. "But anyways, what did you get for us today?"

"I was lucky enough that I found some sweets for us today, and I also got us some burgers, and yours has pepper and extra cheddar cheese, just the way you like!" She placed their food on a small table close to the door while he finished getting everything else organized.

"Thanks Erin." And they started to eat. After sometime, Alphonse had already finished his meal, while Erin was still halfway through hers. He looked at the window again, as if he was expecting something.

"Did you see it?" His voice carried a hint of sadness this time.

"See what?" She said. Though she knew what he was talking about, she still didn't want to talk about it. If only he could at least forget about it for just 5 minutes…

"You know what I'm talking about, Erin." He paused, as if waiting for a reaction. But she remained quiet and eating her burger. "Did you see the moon?"

The moon.

Why would he ask something like that?

"Yes, I did." She said, putting down her burger for a while, and looking deep into her friend's eyes. "It's really pretty tonight, shining very brightly…" She smiled lightly, expecting him to drop the subject.

He looked at the window again. "What does it look like today? Is it full?"

"No, it's a crescent today, a waning crescent."

He looked at her again. "I wish I could see it again without having to worry about anything." He smiled, though his smiled carried sadness. "But it's been years since I've been trying, and nothing works."

She finished her meal, and then she grabbed his hand that was resting on the table, and looked deep into his eyes again. He blushed visibly. She was a bit closer than he was used to, so he looked to the side as to not look directly in her eyes.

As he looked to the side, realization dawned on him, because of the one thing he laid his eyes upon: the bed. There was only one bed.

His face burned from the blush as he looked back at Erin, who was still oblivious to the "bed problem".

"We're gonna find a way, Al, I know it! You just have to trust in yourself, and believe that you'll be brought back to normal!"

He smiled at her again. I really don't deserve her…

"I still don't trust myself for this, but I trust you." He closed his eyes as he said this, which was good for Erin, that way he would see the blush on her face. "As long as you help me through this, I know we'll find a way." He then stood up, his t-shirt flowing a bit, but just enough to show a tattoo on his belly.

A Celebi tattoo.

"You can take the bed, I'll just sleep on the floor today."

"But Alphonse, there are two beds in here, we coul-" As she said this, she looked at where the supposed 'two beds' were, except there was only one, but a very big one. She averted her gaze from the bed and her friend, her hands on her cheeks as she did so to try and cool them off. "Well… The bed is big enough for the two of us… You can take one side and I'll take the other."

Not speaking to each other any further, they simply took off their shoes, Erin's Celebi tattoo on her right foot being revealed, and they got on the bed, feeling overly conscious about their current situation.

"Hey Al, look at the bright side." She said.

He made a confused noise in response. There is no bright side…

"At least you're not a werewolf. That would be even more complicated for us." She just laughed it out, as if nothing was wrong in the first place.

Okay, so maybe there is a bright side to this. He smiled at her, but then remembered something else, that was even more important than his situation.

"Remember that story my brother told us some weeks ago?"

"Which one? He tells a lot of stories."

"The one about his Gothitelle's vision, and how our destinies as Children of Celebi will be revealed." He continued. "I think we're getting there."

"What makes you think that? I mean, I know he said it would be this year, but I didn't receive any kind of sign from Celebi."

He looked at the ceiling. "Me neither. But I completed my training, Erin." He said. "Just as Sonya and Bernard did. And you know what that means."

Her face seemed suddenly grim, and it was really strange considering she used to be so cheerful. "What are we-" she paused, as if not wanting to think about this topic. "What are we gonna face in the future? Also… Bernard? HE IS READY?! Even after all this time without meeting any of us except you and Sonya?"

Alphonse laughed "Oh, believe me; he is ready. And take my word for it: he is very powerful, and one of his pokémon might be the strongest in the world. And Sonya, as we all know, trained the strongest team we ever witnessed, and back then, when we all first saw all of her pokémon in action, she wasn't nearly half as powerful as she is now."

She gasped. It's really happening… "But what about you? I mean, I know you're the Dark Type Master, but your team isn't as strong as Sonya's and your strongest pokémon is probably not as strong as Bernard's strongest pokémon. How do you even know that you're ready?"

"You know why."

Yes, she knew why.

"Because you are the absolute all-rounder. There's nothing any of your pokémon can't do. They can heal, attack with physical moves or special moves simultaneously, render their opponents completely powerless with status moves and they can fight multiple opponents as if they are just one." She said. "But you could do all that before, how is now any different?"

He laughed again, closing his eyes to try and get some sleep. "You'll see, I think."


Part 2: Where do we go now?

Sinnoh, Canalave City, Present time

The four teens had made their way back to Canalave after their battle, though Gary was at awe and Dawn was still confused. But Heinrich and Isa were chatting happily, as if nothing had happened.

"What should we get to eat? This challenge made me hungry!" She said.

"Well I don't really care." Heinz said. "Though I would prefer if it isn't something expensive. I'm saving money for Full Restores."

She turned to him. "You're still on that? I thought you had quit it!"

"I can't quit, and he would never forget about our bet and would never let me forget that I lost."

"Oh come on, Alex only has, like, half of his brain cells still functioning, you shouldn't take it so seriously!"

"Of course I should! That was the most embarrassing moment of my life."

She giggled a bit, remembering what happened. "Well, at least your glasses were still on you. Sadly the same can't be said about what happened to your clothes…" Then she laughed harder, getting an annoyed sigh from her tall friend as a response.

From a few feet behind them, Gary and Dawn walked mostly silently, and quietly watching their new… friends? Could they be called their friends right now?

"It's weird." Dawn said. "Just watching them talk and laugh together almost makes them look like they're normal."

"Yeah, if you're not counting the unrivaled battle skill, super powerful pokémon and slightly big ego, then they're pretty much the same as we are." Gary said sarcastically, making Dawn giggle a bit. "And I wonder where their fellow Reborns might be right now."

He looked at the two in front of them again, trying to imagine what it would be like if all 18 Reborns were already reunited, and thinking that maybe it's someone they know. "Do you think Red is one of them?"

She turned to him. "I don't know. He is one of the best trainers in the world, but I'm not sure if he could be one of the Reborns. I mean, he is a well-known trainer, and most people have never even heard of the Reborns. I think it's highly improbable that he would be one of them."

He sighed. "I kinda wish he was though, it would make our job a bit easier, because we could just go to Mt. Silver and ask him to join us."

"Too bad we're so far from there right now."

Heinz and Isa stopped to let the others catch up to them. Heinz then spoke up.

"Alright guys, here's some stuff you might need to know." He adjusted his glasses then continued. "First of all, we have no goddamned idea where most of the other Reborns are." This got a slightly annoyed sigh from Gary and Dawn. "But we do know that we could be anywhere, which means there might be one of us here in Sinnoh, and there is definitely someone out in the other regions. The one Reborn that we know the location of is on Kalos, a place that is, quite frankly, very far from here."

"And who would that be?" Dawn asked.

"William Kenson." Isa said. "He is not just the oldest of us, as in he is also one of the strongest, and he is the fighting type master. He has been living in Kalos for a while, because he already traveled the world and experienced everything the world could provide him, so he decided to settle down. I have no idea of what he's been doing there though. He tries to contact us from time to time, but he hasn't joined most of our meetings in a very long time. When we were in Kalos we tried to contact him, but we had no luck. It's like he didn't want to be found, even by us."

Ash is in Kalos… Gary thought, remembering they might have a chance to locate one of them. "We have people in Kalos, they might be able to find this guy."

"Excellent! That's one less problem to deal with. But there are 15 others we have to locate." Heinz said.

"And we also have people in Hoenn that have already agreed to help us. So we're covering three regions as of now."

The Reborns looked at each other. "I see you guys have been planning a bit for this, right?" Isa said. "But who's in Hoenn, though?"

Hoenn, Lilycove City, During the Dawn's and Gary's Challenge

May waited outside of the Lilycove Contest Hall for Drew. He had gone in and has been there for a while, after saying he had some stuff to organize for the next Contest Season, of which he would be a judge this time around so he had to get some paperwork done since he was in town. They had just gone through a rather long time shopping and she was starting to get a bit annoyed since he was taking longer than expected (and she was hungry), so she decided to get inside.

As expected, the hall was pretty much empty, since this year's season hadn't started yet. Scanning around the huge interior, the pink and brown floor accentuated shiny walls that was filled with pictures of coordinators with their winning pokémon from past contests.

She planned to participate in the next season along with Dawn and Serena, who would be making her coordinator debut this season, and Cilan, who would also be debuting this season. But lately she just hasn't been getting good enough ideas for the contests. She knew she would be likely entering all categories this year, but she didn't know what to do for each of them this time around.

As she scanned the room, she noticed he was nowhere in sight, so he was probably with the other judges inside the administration room, so she decided to take a seat and wait. Since the place was mostly empty, anyone would stand out while inside.

But she would stand out anyway if it was the other way around; bright blue clothes with matching bandana, that went really well with her brown hair and blue eyes(A/N: Yes, that's supposed to resemble Sapphire's appearance from the Manga: Pokémon Adventures/Pokémon Special, on the Emerald Chapter!), and also the fact that she was May Maple, one of the best coordinators out there, as well as one of the most famous, so she wasn't surprised when the few people that were inside noticed her and asked for autographs and pictures. She didn't mind it at all, even though she wasn't in the mood for this.

After this, she took out her cell phone and checked the texts: 1 from Dawn (very long), 1 from Ash (a picture, probably another dumb meme that she would never admit to anyone that she actually enjoyed), some texts from her brother Max (he was probably asking for tips again since he had recently become a Pokémon Trainer) and several texts from the group chats.

She quickly skimmed through the group chats, skipping whatever she felt was dumb or useless, replied to her brother (No, you shouldn't try to beat dad without getting at least 4 gym badges), muffled her giggles upon seeing Ash's meme and then read Dawn's text.

That was a bit… different.

That makes a surprising amount of sense though… She thought, remembering how the tide around Mossdeep had remained very high for a week, and then it would be low for another week and so on, while the tides around the other parts of Hoenn had been changing accordingly. She also remembered that ex-champions Steven and Wallace had put them on standby for any kind of situation that could involve the League. And since Dawn and Gary were put on standby for Cynthia and Lance respectively, it seemed plausible that May and Drew were now… on a mission? A quest? And what's this talk about super powerful trainers? She was a bit confused, even though Dawn's instructions were very clear about the whole "situation".

As she tried to make more sense out of all this, she noticed Drew approaching her. He was wearing a red t-shirt underneath a black button-up shirt and jeans. He looked a bit too colorful, and he had green hair to top it off, so he kinda looked like he had come out of an anime of some sort.

"Sorry for the delay" He said as he sat beside her, put his arm around her as he did so. "There was more paperwork than I thought, and Mr. Juan kept asking me questions all the time."

She smiled. "It's okay, but next time just do everything faster, because today we have lots to do. Also I'm hungry."

He laughed nervously. The phrase "I'm hungry" could mean "you'll be in for a lot of pain if we don't get something to eat in 10 minutes", so it still made in a bit uneasy even after almost two years of dating. "Okay, where do you wanna go? I'm also a bit hungry."

"Anything will do, really." she said as she stood up and took him by the hand, leading him out of the Contest Hall. "How about Emporio?" she pointed to a nearby cafe.

"That's a good idea. But really, I'm in the mood for a good beer today so I suggest 'The Laughing Salamence'." he said, grinning a bit.

"Let me guess: Juan made you bored out of your mind again."

"That pretty much sums it up, yeah." He laughed a bit. She simply rolled her eyes.

"I would totally go there, but it's in the other side of the city." she said. "It may be good beer but It's pretty far from where we are right now."

He looked to the side as she talked. "Then how about Lana's Diner? It's like a five-minute walk from here, the food is good, and they have those delicious smoothies."

She smiled brightly. "Well, I think I know exactly where we're going now!" They made their way there.

Upon arriving, they were surprised to find the place to not be as crowded as it normally is. But then they remembered that it was about 3 pm, a bit too early. There were just about six tables with people talking, drinking and eating.

As they got themselves a table and made their orders, May told him about Dawn's text.

"Are you for real?" He said. "This sounds pretty damn crazy…"

"I know! But it can make sense though. The tides around Mossdeep, Mt. Chimney going active again, all the pokémon behaving strangely… Things have been weird."

"Yeah I guess you're right." He played with his fork a bit, looking around the diner. "But what about these trainers, though? I never heard of this kind of stuff."

"Me neither. But what if it's for real? What if there really are super powerful trainers out there with Celebi tattoos and that can actually defeat Champion level trainers with ease?"

"If it's real, then cool!" He said. "They exist, and that's it. If it's not real, then cool as well. I mean, I don't think they could have made such an impact on these past years. I mean, it sounds too… fantastic to be real."

"Yeah that makes sense." She said. "But think about it. Steven wouldn't have put us on League standby if he and the others weren't expecting something serious. And we were not the only ones he put on standby. Wally was also called, and Brendan is the Champion, so he is automatically involved, I think."

Slowly, he realized. "All the people who received the standby notice are experienced and well known trainers… We are both top coordinators, Wally has some of the best records on the Hoenn Battle Frontier and is Top 1 on the Battle Tower right now, Brendan is the Champion… We're all people who have a certain amount of accomplishments."

"Yeah! And there's also Ash who was chosen by Lance, along with Gary. Dawn was chosen by Cynthia and Serena was called by Diantha. All of us have several achievements as trainers and coordinators. Since the beginning, they were assembling a team, because they knew the situation could become complicated or even dangerous."

They fell silent for a moment, only getting out a 'thank you' as a waiter brought their orders. They ate in silence, just letting everything sink in.

"So…" he started "Where do we start?"

"Well, we're in Lilycove! It's a big city and attracts a lot of tourists from all around. So I think we're in the perfect place to start."

"Sounds good. But what about the challenge?"

She took a sip of her smoothie, thinking of how to answer. "That… I'm not sure. As far as I understood it could be anything."

"So not necessarily a battle… That gives us a better chance, I think. Or maybe it makes things even more difficult."

She looked at him curiously. "What do you mean?"

"A non-battle challenge may be even harder because it could be something completely random, like arm-wrestling, a race or some kind of game. So it depends on the kind of challenge. A battle requires skill and luck from us, while any other kind of challenge would, pretty much, only require luck, and there's a reason you can't trust luck."

After they finished their meals, they paid for them and left the establishment. As they walked through the streets, she took her phone. "I'm gonna call Wally. Maybe he knows something about it already since he's always traveling around Hoenn."

"Good call."

She quickly dialed Wally's number. After sometime, she could hear his ever gentle voice.

"Hello?"

"Hey, Wally! It's May. How've been?"

"Oh I'm fine! You?"

"Doing great!" She said. "I actually wanted to ask you a question."

"Okay. What is it?"

"Have you heard anything about some legend of Celebi and trainers and that kinda stuff?"

"I did! I'm actually headed to Littleroot right now. I got a call from Brendan telling me to meet him there at his father's laboratory. He knows the full background that Steven told him and will tell me and his father about it. Do you know about it as well?"

"Yes, Dawn just told me. I guess we're in for a lot of work, huh?"

"Unfortunately." He laughed. "But we were put on standby for a reason, so I guess we shouldn't complain. But since something will begin, then I guess I'll see you soon!"

"That's right! Nice talking to you Wally, I'll see you next time. Bye!"

"Bye, May! And good luck!"

She put her phone back in her pocket. "He says he'll be joining us soon and that he'll meet Brendan on Littleroot."

"That's good." Drew said. "So where should we start here in Lilycove then?"

"How about the department store?"

"Sounds good. Let's go!"


Part 3: Littleroot Town

Hoenn, Littleroot Town

Upon arriving in town, Wally stretched his arms. "Oh, boy. It's been a while since I've been here…" he thought to himself as he walked through the small town, the wind rustling his white button-up shirt and making his necklace go everywhere around his neck. "I wonder what Professor Birch's been up to these days."

He quickly made his way over do Birch's Laboratory. It's a very big house, a-kin to Oak's Lab, but a bit more modest in appearance, especially because this one doesn't have a big windmill AND a small farm in the back.

He noticed they were already expecting his arrival, seeing as he knocked on the door and it opened almost immediately after he knocked, one of Birch's aides standing in front of him, holding the doorknob.

"Welcome, Wally! The professor and his son are waiting for you. They are at the professor's office."

"Oh, uh- thanks!" he said quickly before making his way over to said office, passing through a lot of the aides in front of the computers, seeing some familiar faces here and there. He's been there plenty of times, just enough to know not to bother those working. As he stood in front of the door, he could hear some conversation happening behind it, but it was muffled to the point he could hear them but not understand them.

He opened the door, the view of his friend and the professor gracing him pleasantly. "I'm sorry for the delay." he said.

"As if that would be a problem." Brendan said. As always, he wore that really weird white hat of his, that was so fluffy it confused people into thinking it was his hair, as well as a black and red sports shirt, along with shorts and sneakers, all on that same color pallette (A/N: Again, like it was done with May, this is a reference to Pokémon Special, in this case, Ruby's clothing on the Emerald chapter.). His red eyes, normally so intense that seemed to pierce the soul of whoever he was talking to, were now calmer, as was his smile. "But come on, we got some stuff to talk about." he said as he approached Wally, sharing with him a handshake.

The two teens sat down in front of the table in the middle of the room, the professor sat on his chair while they sat on two chairs on the other side of Birch. The professor shared a handshake with the boy who had just recently arrived. "Long time no see, Wally! Do we really need to have these meetings on potentially grave situations most of the time?" he joked a bit, getting a short snicker from them. "Well, seeing as we're all here, we should start this. And don't forget to tell May and Drew about this meeting. Now, Brendan, what it that you have to tell us?"

And so, he began to relay every bit of information Steven Stone, the ex-champion and current executive admin of the Hoenn League, had told him about the Reborns.

Needless to say, the professor was rather thrilled. "I have to be honest, boys, I was not expecting this. I mean, these weird climate events were already pretty sketchy, but having them being caused by interdimensional distortions? That is definitely a first for me." he said, smiling at the opportunity of working on something that was quite possibly going to be pretty big. "And the Reborn Children of Celebi too… I thought this was a myth, because there is no solid evidence pointing to their existence in the past or present, only very remote rumors. But seeing as Cynthia Celestic actually battled one, I guess I should probably put some faith into this 'myth' now."

Brendan was quite surprised to see his dad was quick to accept all the information. "Good, that's good, but the thing is that we don't know where to start."

"Well, then it's a good thing you said that Brendan, because I know where we shouldn't start: Lilycove City." Wally said.

"... The reason for that being?"

"May and Drew are already there, and they're already searching for the Reborns. She called me just before I arrived in town, and she told me Dawn told her about the recent news."

As the green haired boy talked, Brendan couldn't help but avert his eyes from him the moment he mentioned May. "Cool." he said, but not quite as an answer to Wally. "Then we go to Mauville or Rustboro. They're big cities, so the chances of them being there are higher, though the search will be more difficult."

"Could I suggest you start at Slateport, then?" Said Brendan's father. "It's also a big city, but its urban area is not as crowded as Rustboro's or Mauville's, and its port is mainly used for cargo ships instead of cruisers, so I think it would be preferred for people who don't want to draw too much attention for themselves, such as a Reborn."

The boys smiled at the professor's suggestion, and Brendan, voicing their contempt, said "That might just work, dad. Thanks!"

"Oh you're welcome!"

As the professor apologized, a knock on the door was heard.

"Who is that?" asked the professor.

From behind the door, a voice, deep but serene, answered calmly.

"It's Mike! Today's reports are all done! Could I enter so I can leave them in your hands?"

"Sure thing, Mike!" said the professor, as he turned to Wally and Brendan "You guys don't mind, right?"

"Not at all, it's how things work around here, after all!" said Wally.

The door opened to a man in a lab coat, a black shirt underneath it (poor guy was probably close to dying from the heat), very dark jeans and boots. His skin was very pale, contrasting with his very dark (almost black) brown eyes, with simple glasses decorating them. The short hair was very well trimmed, not a single strand of his black hair out of place.

"I'm sorry to interrupt you, professor, and sorry for the delay on the reports. Jay messed up the file he was working on so he had to start again, and Victoria had to take an emergency call from her family so she had to pause her work, but everything is here now, all printed and properly put into binders." he said, a bit embarrassed for handing in the work late "by the way, Brendan, Wally, good to see you guys again! I couldn't talk to you earlier when you arrived because of, well… this." He lifted the papers close to his face, smiling lightly, getting a short giggle from Wally and a reciprocated smile from Brendan. He then walked towards the professor's desk to leave the file with him.

As soon as he left the file with the professor, he turned around rather briskly, and a 'thud' sound was heard, as if something had fallen to the floor.

They all turned to the source of the sound, finding it beneath Mike.

Something that resembled a pen.

"Oh no!" Mike immediately went to pick it up "I hope it's not broken…"

"Oh, what's this, Mike? One of your new experiments?" asked the professor. Mike had a certain reputation in the lab for creating new equipment for the lab. He had created things like portable chargers for everybody's phones that could charge a phone up to 15 times, several calculation programs to make most of the research quicker, and surprisingly, a coffee machine that managed to only break twice. "I hope it's not another 'alarm clock' situation" There was also that time when he tried making an alarm clock that looked like a mini Electrode, making a very loud explosion sound. But it ended up backfiring, since it ended up working exactly like an Electrode.

"I swear this is never gonna happen again." he said. "But yes, this is one of my prototypes. It's a pen, and I know it looks underwhelming, but it's actually pretty neat. You can use either side of this pen, but it doesn't use as much ink as a normal pen: it works like a laser printer, but a lot smaller, and I used heat insulating material to make it so it doesn't burn you when you use it, but it's still a prototype, and by that I mean that I'm still having problems with the heat output, that is still too much in my opinion, and I'm having difficulties finding a better material for the heat, because this one is good, but not good enough."

Brendan didn't understand much of what the lab aide had just said, but Wally seemed to like it, seeing as he looked at the pen as if he wanted to try it out.

"Interesting, Mike. Seems like you've been really invested on your personal projects these days." said the professor.

"Only on my free time, professor, but it's been fun." He smiled.

"Hey, how do you make it work? Your pen, I mean." Wally said.

"Well, it's simple." He got closer to them, so he would be between Wally and Brendan and in front of the professor so they all could see. "You just press this button in the middle and it starts." he pressed said button, and thus, both sides of the pen ignited a bit, but not enough to start smoking, but probably just enough to write something down. "And to turn it off, you just press the button again." He then pressed the button again.

But it didn't turn off.

As the button was pressed, two sparks, one from each end of the pen, shot in the directions of Brendan and Wally, so quick no one could react.

As the sparks hit them, they started to tremble violently, the professor and his aide freaking out before both boys fell unconscious on their chairs.

"Oh no, Mike! What did you do?! Are they gonna be okay?"

The aide just looked at the pen, then pocketed it, drawing a strange glance from the professor.

"Mike? What's wrong?"

The man took a pokéball from one of his pockets. From it, he released an enormous blue pokémon, clearly a dragon type. The red wings and menacing look were a dead give away on its identity: Salamence.

Mike smiled at the professor, but unlike before this smile lacked any warmth. "Nothing's wrong, Professor Birch. In fact…" he checked the pulses of both unconscious teens in the room "everything is absolutely splendid." he said as he noticed both were still breathing.

The professor carefully read the room, and he knew the type of situation he was in. "Who are you?"

The smile faded from Mike. "It's me professor. Mike." as he answered, he started to take of his lab coat, also throwing away his glasses in the process. The black long-sleeved shirt he was wearing had a very large 'V' in the middle, in the color white. "Or, as my real colleagues and friends call me…" from his lab coat, somehow, he took a black leather jacket and a military hat "Captain Michael Wyvern, of Team Void. And I am here do business with you, professor, and as you might have noticed, I already have the upperhand in our soon-to-be negotiations." he motioned to the unconscious bodies lying on the chairs.

"I can guarantee that will not harm them if you, at least, listen to what I say, though I do believe that you do not have much of a choice right now."

Birch knew this situation was nearly impossible to get out of. Brendan and his best friend Wally, both extremely talented and skilled trainers, passed out. The betrayal of one of his best assistants in the lab. The traitor's Salamence looking at both the passed out teenagers and the professor with a look that literally spelled murder, and conveniently standing between him and the only exit from the room. He also realised trying to reach for his phone or shout out so someone else could hear him were options out of the table as they could put both his life and his son and Wally's life at an even greater risk.

This is really bad. He thought "What do want, Mike?" he said his 'name' with such scorn that the Salamence growled a bit.

"Easy, Salamence. He didn't do anything yet." Michael said. "I know that you have information about the distortions that have been happening throughout the regions. And before you asked how I knew about this information, yes: I do have ears in this filthy room of yours during all working hours." As he said this, he took one of the pens on the professor's desk in his hands. "You have to be creative when spying on someone."

The professor was astonished. Apparently, Michael thought about everything so he'd get exactly what he wanted from this encounter.

"What do you know about them?"

"Team Void caused them." He answered simply. "You can consider them tests, if you will. It's a fairly new technology, and our scientists are still getting to know it better, and so far, the results have been… acceptable."

"Acceptable?!" the professor said. "Thousands of people died on Pewter City's earthquake, a lot more were injured! And the tornado on Cianwood left people completely miserable! These were disasters!"

"I am well aware of that, professor." said the spy "What I mean by 'acceptable results' is that they all reached our minimum expectations: chaos and destruction. And these tests also served as a major distraction for us, seeing as basically nobody knows about us, and we have kept things these way smoothly by taking control of news platforms and popular media so nothing gets traced back to us."

"I see you've been very cautious up until now, Michael, because you just told me everything, and once I get out of here, you're gonna get screwed!"

Michael chose to remain silent, simply watching the raging professor with a stoic expression. "And what makes you think you're getting out of here, professor? I mean, I have the upper hand in every situation possible. I have calculated it. Your chances of success here are zero, especially with Brendan and Wally out of the way. I know I'm not a good enough trainer to stand up to Wally, the guy who broke several records at Battle Frontier, so I'm automatically no match for Brendan, who's the Champion of the Hoenn League. Making sure they were out of the picture at the same time was the hardest part of this plan of mine. May and Drew being out of town, though, I have to admit that was a surprise, but a very good one."

He was right. He had the upper hand.

"So, professor Birch, let me make things simple. You either come with me peacefully and I don't do anything to these two, or I'll simply have my Salamence make them his lunch. And I should warn you, he likes his food deep fried" Michael said, the stoic expression still strong, sending chills through the professor's body, shaking him with fear.

"Why me?"

"There's been rumors about a certain project shared amongst the most accomplished professors throughout the regions. If I remember correctly, it's something called 'Project REBOOT', or something along these lines."

As soon as he said it, the professor froze. This is a secret project! How could he possibly know about this if only me and the other profe-

And that's when he realised.

"Who did you capture? Oak? Juniper? Sycamore?"

"None of those. And I didn't do anything. I've been here for months planning this meeting of ours." Michael said. "We have Professor Elm under our custody, courtesy of one of my colleagues. She might have done the job faster than I did, but she did have to basically silence the entirety of New Bark Town in the process as to not have any witnesses. She always says 'the best ways to have no witnesses is to simply kill everyone'. She's such a barbarian sometimes."

Everyone in New Bark Town is dead and Elm is missing… What the hell?

"But enough talking about me and my allies, professor. What is Project REBOOT?"

"You'll never know. I'm not telling you shit!"

As soon as the professor said that, Salamence opened his mouth, flames beginning to burn inside it as he aimed at Brendan.

"Should I remind you of your situation, professor?"

Birch looked at the Salamence, then at Michael. He stood up walked right up to him. "Go to hell, you son of a bitch!" He then spat on his face.

With his eyes closed, Michael carefully cleaned his face. "How disappointing. I was being very considerate of your situation, professor, and that's how you repay me? With your simpleton saliva? Honestly, I should have just done this from the beginning." He then whistled, and his pokémon put out the flames in his mouth. "Leave the boys, Salamence." He said as he looked at the professor. "Burn him instead."

"What?!"

Salamence instantly released a flamethrower at the professor, making him crash against the wall behind him, the intense flurry of flames pinning him to the wall and burning him as he screamed helplessly.

But slowly, the screams began to die out, until suddenly the only sound that could be heard were the flames engulfing the now completely charred body of professor Birch.

"I will be a gentleman and leave your son and his friend alive, Birch. Sadly, I planned all of this too well to guarantee the same to the rest of the crew here in the lab and the townsfolk."

The door opened behind him, a woman coming through it, several bloodstains on her lab coat and blond hair. She carried a large knife in her right hand and from behind her, a Weavile walked in, its claws covered with blood.

"I waited for the signal, Captain. The signal being Birch screaming in pain because of the flames. I thought this was supposed to be a kidnapping mission, not an assassination."

"There's been a change of plans, Lieutenant Victoria. By the way, how was 'family business'?"

"The squads are already silently eliminating the townsfolk, sir. We'll be clear for extraction in minutes."

"Excellent work, Lieutenant. Also, we've got bigger fish to catch."

"What do you mean by that, sir?"

"Something I caught them talking about before entering the office. Something about… super powerful trainers. Reborn Children of Celebi, if I recall correctly. Have you heard of anything like this before?"

"No, sir. As lost as you are." she said. "Should we contact the Grand General about it?"

He looked at Brendan and Wally, then at the now dead body of Birch on the ground. "No, not yet. I have a better idea." He returned his Salamence to his pokéball, activating another of his pokéballs, a Beheeyem coming out of it. "Lt. Victoria, we have about two hours before they wake up. I want this entire town clean in one hour. We'll do 'Operation Substitute', but…" he looked at his pokémon. "A little bit different than how we usually do it."

"As you wish, sir." With that, she recalled her Weavile and left the place, leaving the Captain alone.

"Beheeyem, rewrite their recent memories exactly as I tell you to." he said, the pokémon making beeping sounds in response as it approached the boys, its eyes and fingertips shining brightly as it started to concentrated its psychic powers. Michael turned to look at the boys again. "I am so terribly sorry. But as long as I am alive, you won't know what really happened today." He then turned back to Beheeyem and started giving it instructions for the memory change.