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  1. #1
    I came in like a wrecking ball... [Desolate Divine]'s Avatar
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    Mar 2013
    Melbourne Australia

    The Eon Academy [S.S. Wishmaker Side-Story]

    S.S. Wishmaker RP can be found here. Otherwise there is a summary below.

    A year had passed since Jon and Alyssa Drake stepped off the S.S. Wishmaker, having lived through the cruise that changed the world.

    Trying to figure out what life for them looked like moving forward, they ended up purchasing a property that used to be home to a monastery, in dire need of improvements. This would serve as the start of Jon's next endeavour, the Eon Academy.

    In the year since winning the High Seas Tournament, Jon has spent his time getting the Academy ready, and in the first summer since, had five young trainers, each with their own goals and ambitions, attend the Eon Academy, and grow as trainers and people. It is currently the third summer the Eon Academy has run its summer program. The five students from the previous year have returned as interns, and thirty five new students attended the Eon Academy, under the tutelage of Jon and his interns during the second summer. Now, the third summer, the Eon Academy hosts and tutors over a hundred students.

    S.S. Wishmaker Summary (From Jon and Alyssa's perspective)

    Jon Drake, real name Ryan Jonathan Mason, was a competitive battler, relatively successful, but largely unknown due to avoiding larger tournaments, and using connections to the League and media to keep his name and face out of the spotlight, in order to remain hidden from his abusive father. Eight years before the S.S. Wishmaker Incident, Jon was approached by the Hoenn Champion Steven Stone, and asked to work for the League to help investigate tournaments being used as drop points for drug trafficking, hoping that Jon's history and his fathers drug use, as well as already living under an alias, would make him a beneficial operative.

    After this job, Steven would occasionally contact Jon with other operations he needed operatives for, eventually leading to Steven contacting Jon, asking him to compete in the High Seas Tournament, and investigate suspected cheating by the top three trainers at the time, The Diamond Ladies. Whilst Jon intended to go on this mission alone, not wanting to drag his wife Alyssa into danger, she had heard Jon was going to compete, and got a media pass from BattleNET, the battle-news website she reported for, and joined him, unaware he was there to do more than compete.

    The cruise departed Slateport Hoenn, and Jon competed in the opening rounds, winning and earning himself one of the four slots in the semi finals. Things seemed normal, until the evening of the third day of the cruise. Whilst Cassandra, Jarena and Violet of the Diamond Ladies ate dinner, operatives breached their room, finding evidence of something supernatural, but triggering a trap, and losing contact with their commanding officers.

    On the morning of the fourth day of the cruise, Jon went to the arena on the S.S. Wishmaker in order to train for his battle that night, whilst Alyssa attempted to track down any of the semifinalists for an interview, though setting her sights on Cassandra, who was competing in the prestigious tournament. After a brief interview with Avery Miller, who was due to battle Cassandra that evening, Alyssa noticed an altercation between Cassandra and a fan, and after getting changed into a disguise decided to tail the Diamond Ladies to try and get an interview. Little did she know that operatives Avery Miller and Jimmy Kendo had also decided to tail the Diamond Ladies, a few steps ahead, having heard that a breach of their room was attempted, and contact was lost with the operatives. Receiving this same message, Jon sent Latios to tail Violet and Jarena, with the Eevee they carried, whilst Cassandra was unaccounted for. The Eon Pokemon turned invisible, sharing his vision with Jon, and leaving the arena via a hole in the wall he created, and following the Diamond Ladies.

    Alyssa turned a corner and found a Buizel and Pachirisu, tangled in some clothes, some of which she recognized as Avery Miller. Believing that the two were Pokemon who had stolen some guests clothes, she picked up the pair to take them to the Battle Arena where she figured Avery might be training, as Jon was there for that purpose.

    As Latios followed the Diamond Ladies, transmitting what he saw and heard to Jon, they discovered that through some form of witchcraft, Cassandra had been turned into an Eevee, and Violet and Jarena were looking through their tomes, trying to find a spell to restore her, confirming to Jon that witchcraft was being used, and the missing operatives had probably been turned into Pokemon.

    Jon wanted Latios to leave, however Latios' telepathy was not strong enough to communicate easily with Jon at the time, and instead, Latios attempted to steal the tome, tipping off the Diamond Ladies to his presence, before fleeing empty handed back to Jon. Shortly after Latios returned, Alyssa arrived at the arena with the Pokemon, and explained where she found them and how she thought they belonged to Avery and had stolen their clothes. Putting the pieces together, Jon lied to Alyssa, telling her Avery got hit by a stray sludge attack, and was showering in the change rooms, and Jon would return the Pokemon and the clothes, much to the confusion of Avery Miller the Buizel, who was standing next to Alyssa, whilst Jimmy Kendo, was being carried tightly by Alyssa, who was none the wiser, because he's just so cute...

    Leaving the two Pokemon and the bag of belongings with her husband, Alyssa left, as Jon arranged for Steven to join him at the Arena to share his findings, and plan next steps. The Diamond Ladies required a sample of Cassandra's DNA, which they were currently searching for, and a gold nugget to turn her back, so Jon suggested that Steven make the call to all operatives to buy every Gold Nugget they could get their hands on on the ship. Once the Diamond Ladies realized they couldn't turn Cassandra back without the league's help, they could negotiate turning the other operatives back.

    Meanwhile, having managed to acquire a nugget by asking a trainer who had approached them for an autograph, Jarena and Violet were horrified when Doug Henderson, a league operative stole the nugget from their hands. Violet tackled Doug, however Jarena had already cast a hex, intended for Doug, which hit Violet, turning her into a Furret. In response and frustration, Violet then used a hex of her own to turn Jarena into Buneary.

    Receiving an update as to what had happened, Jon dispatched Latios to steal their belongings. Their clothes, spell tomes, and ingredients. Latios succeeded, though had not been stealthy, and was seen 'attacking' the Diamond Ladies, when in fact, he had just brushed past them very quickly, leaving more holes in the ship, and bringing his total up to seven, much to Jon and Steven's horror.

    With the Diamond Ladies now disarmed, Jon and Latios approached them to take them in, however Latios finally used his telepathy to communicate with Jon. Being able to see their emotions, and understand how lost and confused they were, he asked Jon to try talking to them first, wanting to give them a chance, instead of just having Latios immobilize them and handing them over. Deciding to listen to Latios, Jon approached them wanting to talk. He offered to advocate on their behalf to the league for a lesser punishment, if they came with him willingly, and did what they could to undo the damage they caused, and help cover up the existence of witchcraft. He told them his own story, and asked for theirs, trying to understand how they found themselves where they were.

    The Diamond Ladies originally didn't take Jon up on his offer, and fled, finding more reagents for their spells, and going on a minor rampage, turning civilians into Pokemon, in order to force the league into a position where they would rely on the Diamond Ladies, and therefore be willing to negotiate a deal for immunity. However, they were approached by Jimmy Kendo, who managed to convince them to hand themselves in.

    Jon met with them by the pool to give them what they'd need to turn the other people back into Pokemon, before taking them into custody, giving them what they need to turn themselves back, and then leaving them while he met with Cynthia, Steven and Lance, who were overseeing the operation.

    Knowing the league would not want people realizing witchcraft was real, and copying the Diamond Ladies, Jon proposed a much reduced punishment, a private ban, that would be published under the guise of the Ladies taking a break, whilst Jon would let himself be caught during a battle with a Zoroark, creating an illusion identical to the scene in Central Park, when Violet and Jarena turned themselves into Pokemon, effectively making himself out to be the mastermind behind a massive hoax, and taking the fall, with only those in the know realizing that Jon Drake wasn't his name, and that he would start going by Ryan Mason, and start a new life with Alyssa, with the League compensating them heavily for it.

    Steven and Cynthia approved the idea, however Lance was against it, outvoted, and wanting to throw the book at the Diamond Ladies. Returning with Alyssa (who by this point was made aware of Jon's real reason to be here) to where the Diamond Ladies were being held, Jon explained the plan, and they agreed. That evening, Cassandra battled Avery Miller, taking her first win without the use of witchcraft. During this battle however, Lance found Violet and Jarena, and attempted to have his Dragonite kill them and frame Jon and Latios for it, only to be found by Jon, who intervened with Latios, before brutally beating Lance. Jon battled and defeated Ethan Caldwell, using questionable tactics in order to start causing people to believe he might be a cheater. After the battle, Jon was approached by Ethan, who picked a fight with him, before being knocked to the ground by Jon, in order to turn the public against him and make the coverup more believable.

    The next day, the media reported the use of witchcraft by the Diamond Ladies, using information that was held by the League. Meanwhile, Cassandra was receiving text messages from someone harassing her and threatening to blow the cover-up story they had planned for Jon and Cassandra's battle that evening. Eventually the decision was reached for the Diamond Ladies to come clean, with the League letting them get away with a lifetime ban and having to pay off their debt, and not prosecuting any further since they were attacked by an ex-League Champion. Jon and Cassandra visited Lance in his guarded infirmary room, where Jon rubbed salt in his wounds by making it clear how much Lance had lost in his pursuit of revenge, and Cassandra managed to record a psychotic rant, which would further destroy Lance's reputation, and make sure he spent a long time incarcerated.

    That evening, Jon and Cassandra battled, and whilst Cassandra put up an admirable battle, it wasn't enough to match Jon's own experience and unique way of battling, with Jon taking the victory and being named the first High Seas Tournament Champion. The cruise ended, with everyone going their separate ways. Jon and Alyssa used the prize money, and the reimbursement from the league to purchase a large property in Mossdeep City, that once upon a time was a monastery, but with a little work, would be home to Jon's new project.

    The Eon Academy.

    Maps *Heavily Outdated*

    Character Bios [SPOILERS]

    Jonathan Drake, as drawn by johnrielduana
    Winner of the first High Seas Tournament, and known for his somewhat more eccentric style of battling, Jon's life has taken a completely different direction than he originally anticipated, having brought to life the idea of a battling school, where he would teach students to battle the way his grandfather taught him. Despite seeming intimidating to those who don't know him, Jon is surprisingly easy to get along with, and when life is simple enough that he can enjoy himself, he will be the first to take things a little less seriously.

    Christopher Kingswood, as drawn by johnrielduana
    Cousin of disgraced former Champion Lance, but a powerful battler in his own right, Chris is ambitious and proud. However, he is also aware of his shortcomings, which causes his loyalty to shine through most of all, resulting in Chris being the first to throw down if one of his friends is wronged.

    Justin Collins as drawn by johnrielduana
    Down to earth and mindful, Justin was quick to learn from his shortcomings, and grow further. He sets goals, and works as hard as he can to achieve them, with a strong desire to grow as a person, more so than as a battler.

    Charlotte Jones, as drawn by johnrielduana
    Described by Jon as terrifying with regards to her battling, Charlotte is determined, calculating, and, as the result of many years dedication and practise, one of the best battlers of her generation, and who many believe to be most likely to follow in her mentor's footsteps.

    Dylan Squier, as drawn by johnrielduana.
    Quiet and reserved, Dylan needs to be among those he is comfortable with to be outspoken. Despite being a more than capable battler, Dylan's strengths are in his natural instincts for caring for Pokemon, as well as his natural technical prowess. Being built like a truck also helps...

    Abbee Strauss, as drawn by johnrielduana
    Thoughtful and kind-hearted almost to a fault, Abbee is the daughter of battling royalty, and exudes natural talent. She is friendly and easy-going, though sometimes may be too willing to put herself out for those around her.

    Last edited by [Desolate Divine]; 12-30-2022 at 08:13 AM.

  2. #2
    I came in like a wrecking ball... [Desolate Divine]'s Avatar
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    Mar 2013
    Melbourne Australia
    Episode List
    Season 1
    Prologue: Off The Books
    Episode 1: Welcome to the Eon Academy
    Episode 2: The Wager
    Episode 3: Blood Ties
    Episode 4: Retribution
    Episode 5: Hypotheticals
    Episode 6: Growth
    Episode 7: Priorities
    Episode 8: Sincerity
    Episode 9: Shock (Part 1)
    Episode 10: Legacies (Part 2)
    Episode 11: Secrets (Part 1)
    Episode 12: Safety (Part 2)
    Episode 13: Divergence
    Side-Story/Epilogue: The Challenge
    Side-Story/Epilogue: Closure

    Season 2
    Episode 1: Inductions
    Episode 2: Media Frenzy
    Episode 3: Unexpected Aid
    Episode 4: Control
    Episode 5: Resolve
    Episode 6: Avoidance (Part 1)
    Episode 7: Initiative (Part 2)
    Episode 8: Regrets (Part 1)
    Episode 9: Collapse (Part 2)
    Episode 10: Analysis
    Episode 11: Politics
    Side-Story/Epilogue: Evil
    Side-Story/Epilogue: Justice

    Season 3
    Episode 1: Targets
    Episode 2: Implications
    Episode 3: Subtlety
    Episode 4: Aftermath
    Episode 5: Odds
    Episode 6: Descent
    Episode 7: Unload
    Episode 8: Challenge
    Episode 9: Timing
    Episode 10: Forevermore
    Episode 11: Pride
    Episode 12: Miscalculation
    Episode 13: Respect
    Side Story/Epilogue: Nightmares
    Side Story/Epilogue: Sickness

    Spiritwater (Season 4)
    Episode 1: Reunions
    Episode 2: Preparations
    Episode 3: Motives
    Episode 4: Carnage
    Episode 5: Warnings
    Episode 6: Developments
    Episode 7: Onslaught
    Episode 8: Progress
    Episode 9: Discord
    Episode 10: Endgame
    Episode 11: Ambush
    Episode 12: Rise
    Episode 13: Pain
    Episode 14: Responsibility
    Episode 15: Homecoming
    Side Story/Epilogue: Loyalty

    Season 5
    Prologue: Inevitability
    Episode 1: Capability
    Episode 2: Grudge Match
    Episode 3: Familiarity
    Episode 4: Statement
    Episode 5: Another Wager
    Episode 6: Lessons
    Episode 7: Last Resorts
    Episode 8: An Unlikely Team
    Episode 9: Redemption
    Episode 10: Impact
    Episode 11: Instances
    Episode 12: Attrition
    Episode 13: Contact
    Episode 14: Emblem

    Episode 1: September
    Episode 2: December
    Episode 3: March
    Episode 4: April
    Last edited by [Desolate Divine]; 12-17-2023 at 11:32 AM.

  3. #3
    I came in like a wrecking ball... [Desolate Divine]'s Avatar
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    Mar 2013
    Melbourne Australia
    Prologue: Off The Books

    Chapter 1
    “Come on Steven…”

    It was a cold mid-December Thursday night, with snow starting to fall on the ground of Mossdeep City. Jon stood outside of the Mossdeep City Gym, the door locked as he shivered in the cold night air, his breath visible.

    The digital display on his watch read 8:15, forty five minutes since Steven was supposed to meet him at the gym for their weekly training matches, followed by a beer or two later. Usually they were done and at the bar by 8:30, leaving Jon thinking something was up.

    “You’ve reached Steven Stone. I can’t take a call at the moment, so if this is an emergency, please hang up and contact emergency services. Otherwise, leave a message.”

    “It is an emergency,” Jon said into the phone. “I’m locked out of the gym and about to freeze my a** off because you haven’t shown. Call me back…”

    Jon gave Steven a few minutes to return the call, before driving to the bar, stopping by Steven’s house on the way. He knocked on the door with no response, and the lights were off. Jon wondered whether Steven had an emergency and had to leave town?

    As Jon walked into the bar, going to his usual spot, Dom the bartender called out to him.

    “Solo tonight?”

    “Yeah, he didn’t show,” Jon replied as one of the wait staff brought him a beer. “Not like him to disappear, but I guess I’ll have to wait and see.”

    “Could have something to do with the plane?” Dom suggested.

    “What plane?”

    The bartender gestured to the TV, showing the news, before unmuting it.

    “The commercial aircraft was forced to make an emergency landing on the outskirts Pacifidlog Town, due to an engine failure. Whilst the airline is yet to make a statement regarding the turn of events, the Hoenn government have issued a statement saying the engine malfunction was due to a missed pre-flight inspection.”

    “You reckon they’d call the Champion at a moment's notice for a plane malfunctioning?” Jon asked, sipping from his beer glass.

    “If the government is getting involved in something that is allegedly as open and shut as this, it doesn’t seem unlikely…”

    Jon had to admit he made a good point, but figured there was no point worrying about it now. Steven would call him when he got a chance.

    Jon paid for his beer, before driving back to the large property that housed his current project.

    The Eon Academy.

    The sign was so far all that had been done to the once-upon-a-time monastery. When Jon and Alyssa were in the position to buy their own house, the house they were looking at was off the market, however this had been on the market for ages. It was more expensive than what they were originally looking at, but nowhere near as expensive as a property this size with an old hall and lodge should have been. Granted that was because it needed a hell of a lot of work, but realistically, Jon could have it renovated and ready to use for the summer program he was planning on running in under a year.

    He drove to the back edge of the property where the caretaker’s house was, finding a light on in the lounge.

    “You’re home early?” Alyssa asked from the couch, speaking over the TV. “Steven having an early night?”

    “He didn’t show up. Isn’t answering his phone either,” Jon replied, taking off his jacket and hanging it near the door. “I waited at the gym until 8:15, then swung by his place, but it was empty. So I got a beer by myself and came home.”

    “Geez, I hope he’s alright…” Alyssa replied, as Jon noticed the empty bag of chips and tub of icecream on the coffee table.

    “Salt and vinegar Neapolitan?” Jon asked jokingly.

    “Hey, I’m eating for two here, and it makes me want some weird things…” Alyssa laughed. She was sixteen weeks pregnant, due less than a month before Jon was supposed to start his first summer program. In the last week or two, it was becoming more and more apparent.

    “Steven will be fine,” Jon said, as he sat on the couch next to her. “Even if it is some regional emergency, he has done more crazy dangerous jobs than I have. He’s the Hoenn Champion for a reason.”

    “What makes you say it’s a regional emergency?” Alyssa asked. “I thought he might have a sick relative or something.”

    “Just something Dom at the bar said," Jon explained. “Kinda strange with that plane that went down, that the Hoenn Government is making statements about it before the airline itself is.”

    “Yeah, good point,” Alyssa replied as she considered Jon's words. “Makes no sense for the government to be so involved if it is just an equipment malfunction, right around the time the Champion goes AWOL…”

    The two sat up for another hour or two, before going to bed, thinking little more of it all, until Jon was awoken by his phone buzzing with a text message. It was an unfamiliar number, with five words.

    Chapter 2

    “Meet me in the church…”

    The clock on the wall read 2:35am, and Alyssa was still asleep, so Jon crept out of bed, grabbing his clothes and getting changed in the lounge room, before letting Scizor out of his Pokeball.

    “Someone is on the property, and I’m going to check it out,” Jon explained. “Use Swords Dance and Agility to give yourself an edge in case anyone comes here.”

    Jon found a nearby notepad and pen, writing a quick note explaining where he was.

    “If Alyssa comes out, give her this.”

    Scizor nodded in agreement, as Jon grabbed his coat from the rack, and made his way towards the old chapel on the property. When he was a hundred meters away, he let Latios out of his Pokeball, tapping his own temple to tell Latios to tune in to his thoughts.

    “Someone sent me a message telling me to meet them in the church, but I don’t know who it is, or if it's a trap. You mind flying ahead and scoping out the situation?”

    Latios smiled, before turning invisible, and flying forward, as Jon crept closer to the church. Before too long he heard Latios’ voice in his head.


    Hearing Latios give the all clear, he made his way to the door, and unlocked it, letting himself in.

    “It's me,” Jon called out. “Who else is here?”

    “Me,” said a familiar voice as a tall woman dressed in black, with long blonde hair stood out from the shadows.

    “Cynthia,” Jon acknowledged. “What are you doing here at this time of night…”

    “Steven’s been detained,” Cynthia said. “By the Hoenn military.”

    “Wait, what?” Jon asked, almost unsure if he misheard her. “Is this something to do with that plane that went down?”

    “I don’t know. I only got to speak to him for a few moments,” Cynthia explained. “He had to go to a conference in Slateport, and apparently the military are holding him in an office there because they think he might interfere with one of their operations.”

    “Okay, go to the beginning,” Jon said.

    “I got a call from him this morning saying he was heading out to Slateport for this emergency government conference, and that he would be in touch when he arrived, but he never called,” Cynthia explained, before being cut off by Jon.

    “Wait, he was supposed to meet up with me tonight, we train every Thursday. Why would he let a work colleague know he was heading out, but let me wait in the snow for an hour?” Jon asked, as Cynthia began to blush and stutter.

    “Ohhhh…” Jon said with a grin. “He mentioned there being a lady in his life, but I didn’t put two and two together…”

    “Jon, this is serious...” Cynthia muttered, trying to regain her composure. She took a breath.

    “He didn’t call back, and it’s really not like him to be that unreachable,” Cynthia continued. “I ended up taking a plane out to Slateport, and when I got to the government building where this conference was being held, I was gatekept by reception. They said there was no conference and Steven wasn’t there…”

    “So how do you know he is detained?” Jon asked. “The whole thing is sketchy as hell, I admit, but what do the military have to do with it?”

    “I called in a favour,” Cynthia explained. “Even though the military have him detained, and are occupying the building, it is still a government building. Whilst they aren’t completely open to each other, the government and League Networks are closely linked, and the right person in the League can sneak their way into the government network. I had an old friend in the League do some digging for me, and he managed to slip past a few walls and get security footage of him being forced into an office at gunpoint, and being locked in, but there is nothing on record about it.”

    “Goddamn,” Jon muttered. “So are we breaking him out?”

    “He says we can’t.”

    “Wait, you got in touch with him?” Jon asked.

    “My contact in the League has been looking over all the footage and network maps, and realized that they weren’t planning on detaining him until the last second. It was a spur of the moment decision,” Cynthia explained. “The room they locked him in is an office with a phone and PC, but they just cut phone and network signals to the room so he can’t communicate. My contact discreetly reconnected the phone and I called him.”

    “He said he didn’t have time to explain the situation, the guards stick their heads in the room every half hour, and they were going to any minute. That, and if we left the phone connected, they would realize pretty quickly, so we could only talk for a few minutes,” Cynthia continued. “From what he told me, there is something big happening behind that plane incident in Pacifidlog, and the military wants to respond in a way that will have massive consequences for Hoenn. When he spoke up, they detained him because they didn’t want him to interfere.”

    “Wait, how can they do that?” Jon asked. “They will need government approval to do whatever they want to do, and if the government finds out they detained the main person who objected to it, the government will just change their mind?”

    “What they’re thinking is something that can’t be reversed by the government. Really, they will do what they want and ask forgiveness later,” Cynthia answered. “We offered to reconnect his PC, and send him a Pokemon or two to break out, but he said that if he breaks out and tries to deal with the situation, they will know it’s him and he will not get far. He needs someone who is willing to do this for him, off the books, while he stays detained and lets the military think they won’t have anyone out there who can prevent them from acting.”

    “Wait, he wants me to make myself an enemy of the state?” Jon asked shocked.

    “He thinks that you can get this done without tipping anyone off that you’re involved,” Cynthia replied.

    “Still, that is a giant ask…” Jon explained. “I have a wife, and this time next year, we will have a kid. I get Steven thinks we can pull it off without any collateral, but that’s a huge risk…”

    “He’s asking you to take a chance on his instinct,” Cynthia replied irritably. “Just like he was willing to take a chance on yours with that Zoroark plan on the S.S. Wishmaker.”

    “That idea got scrapped anyway.”

    “But if it didn’t he would have had your back, even if it meant putting his own neck on the line.”

    Jon was silent for a second, before speaking up.

    “If I’m doing this, I’m gonna get myself some help,” Jon explained as Cynthia began to protest. “Don’t worry, it will be someone who can keep the whole thing a secret. There is a lot more at stake if Steven’s plan doesn’t work than if mine did, and someone else watching my back could be the difference between this working out, and me being made an enemy of the state.”

    “So what’s the plan?” Jon asked as Cynthia began to stutter.

    “He couldn’t tell me,” Cynthia replied quietly. “He was getting too close to being caught on the phone, so told me to do two things five days from now. Firstly, reconnect the PC in the office he is locked in at 9pm for five minutes and in that time, transfer two Pokemon, a Zoroark and some sort of Psychic Pokemon that can teleport. Secondly, let you know to expect him, here, once he gets out. He will fill you in then.”

    “If this is so desperate, why is he waiting a week?” Jon asked, already knowing what the Zoroark is for.

    “Because by the time the military gets clearance to act, it will be at least three weeks, and right now, he has been detained less than a day, so they are watching him like a hawk. If he spends a week not acting up, and not giving them reason to suspect him any more than they have to, they will be that much more likely to buy the Zoroark illusion. Once he has made contact, he will return, put himself back into custody, and therefore have an alibi that he wasn’t involved when they realise whatever they had planned has failed,” Cynthia explained. “I get that this plan has a lot of holes, but we don’t know much of the details, and Steven wouldn’t propose it if he thought we’d be dead in the water.”

    “Five days?” Jon asked, to which Cynthia nodded. “I will see if I can track down someone who can be trusted to help, and be ready for him.”

    “Now I need to figure out what next for me,” Cynthia explained. “I’ve had someone I trust source a Zoroark back in Sinnoh to keep up appearances of me being there, and had my contact adjust a flight record to say I’ve left Hoenn.”

    “You can stay here?” Jon explained. “The lodge has a few rooms ready for people to stay, and nobody has reason to come onto the property.”

    “I already took a risk coming here. I made sure I wasn’t tailed, and we should be fine, but if anybody sees me here, they will realize what is happening,” Cynthia replied.

    “How do you feel about camping then?” Jon asked. “I caught Latios on an island south east of Slateport that is uninhabited by people. It is by some miracle, just in phone range, so you can keep your ear to the ground without being seen.”

    “That may just work,” Cynthia muttered, making her way to the door. “I’ll be in touch if anything changes. Steven’s room is monitored, and we have replaced the footage of us communicating with him, but we came up with a code for him to do in front of the cameras if he needs us to make contact. I’ll let you know if anything comes up.”

    “I appreciate it,” Jon explained. “Otherwise, I will wait for him here in five days.”

    Cynthia left, departing Mossdeep from the cliff that overhung the ocean that backs onto Jon’s property, as Latios materialized next to Jon.

    “Lots of weird s**t going on…” Jon muttered, with Latios nodding in agreement.

    “Latios, I need a pretty massive favour from you,” Jon explained. “I need you to find Cass…”

    Chapter 3
    Had anyone overheard Jon's command to Latios, they would have thought he was insane. It was only a few months ago that reports came to light of the cabin near the appropriately named Lake of Rage that the Diamond Ladies had been renting for a weekend away was torched, with the trio presumed killed in the attack.

    Jon however knew that it wasn't that clear cut. When he first met them, they tried to negotiate freedom, with the intention of living out their lives as Pokemon. That and once they were off the ship and released from League Custody, they had no reason not to use all of their talents however they pleased. Had someone truly torched the cabin, they would not have hesitated in stopping the arsonist. Instead, Jon was certain they had faked their death in order to live a peaceful life. He never tried to confirm this, because if they wanted his help, they would have asked.

    "They went missing from the Lake of Rage, so start there. Ask the Pokemon who live in the area about a Buneary. They aren't native at all to Johto, so she should stand out," Jon explained. "Even if they say they don't know of the three of them, ask them to pass on a message anyway if they see them. Tell them 'Jon needs a favour.' Hopefully even if they are hiding they will come out to speak to you."

    Latios nodded, before taking off, heading east, towards the Johto region. After a few moments when Latios was out of sight, Jon heard a boom as Latios accelerated to max speed, breaking the sound barrier. He should reach Johto by morning, so all Jon could do was wait.

    It was before noon the next day when Rudania, a Kecleon who called the Starglade in Johto home, heard a strange voice.


    The Kecleon looked around, seeing nobody nearby, before dismissing it as him hearing things before he continued foraging in the woods for food to take home.

    "Hey!" called out the voice. "Listen!"

    Rudania turned around, looking for the source of the voice before calling out.

    "Who's there?"

    "Oh, I'm sorry," said the voice. "Force of habit..."

    Rudania almost collapsed when a large blue and white Pokemon, shaped like one of the humans flying machines materialized in front of him. Rudania was no stranger to being hidden, using camouflage on a daily basis, however this was something more.

    "I'm looking for an Buneary that I think might have been around here," the strange Pokemon said. "She was probably travelling with a Furret and an Eevee."

    Rudania had to take a moment to intentionally hide the recognition of the description. Those three Pokemon were newcomers to the Starglade community, only arriving in the last few months, using supernatural abilities to keep the others there safe. Now a stranger had come asking questions about them.

    "Sorry, I can't say I have seen them," Rudania replied.

    "Riiiiiight..." said the friendly stranger with a smile. "Well if you do run into them, can you let them know Jon needs a favor?"

    "I can't promise I will but if I see them I will let them know."

    "Thanks heaps. I will keep looking around," said the strange Pokemon, before flying into the air. "Have a nice day!"

    Rudania breathed a sigh of relief at the fact the strange Pokemon was gone, before making his way up hill, into a more densely wooded area, where his camouflage would be more effective. He sat there, blending in with his surroundings, watching as the stranger flew above the trees in the distance, looking around, before giving up and flying south, towards the Lake of Rage. After waiting another half hour to be sure he wouldn't be followed, Rudania made his way back to the Starglade.

    Violet, Jarena and Cassandra sat in the Starglade around a small bag that contained various reagents for different spells and hexes.

    "I don't get why we can't just place a bunch of dizzying hexes fifty feet from the entrance?" Jarena asked. "Problem solved!"

    "Because we can't guarantee that one of the Starglade Pokemon won't trip it, and if they are close together, if one gets tripped they all will," Cassandra answered.

    "Also, if humans keep tripping it, it will attract attention, and they will think it's a gas leak or something. We will be found," Violet added.

    "We need something to ward away people without harming the Pokemon, or drawing unwanted attention to this place," Cassandra noted. "If we can't figure out something that ticks those boxes, we are better off doing nothing."

    "Cass!" called out a voice frantically, causing all three of the Pokemon to turn and face the source. They recognized him as Rudania the Kecleon.

    "What's going on?" Cass asked. "Is there a human getting too close?"

    "No, but I am not sure this is any better. There was this weird Pokemon asking about you three..." Rudania explained.

    "Did you tell it anything?" Violet asked sharply.

    "No, I told it I didn't know you, and he said if I did happen to meet you, to say Jon needs a favour."

    The three Pokemon's jaws dropped.

    "Was this Pokemon white and blue? Did it fly?" Cassandra asked.

    "Yeah, seemed a little slow, but pretty friendly," Rudania explained. "I blended in somewhere and made sure he had gone before I came back here."

    "He can see through your camouflage, and turn invisible. He is probably one of the hardest Pokemon to hide from," Jarena muttered, knowing Rudania's attempt to lose him was probably fruitless. "I'm having flashbacks to S.S Wishmaker…"

    "At least Namrice and Kenna can sense him if he tries to sneak in," Cassandra said, trying to remain optimistic.

    "They aren't here…" Violet muttered. "They have been escorting the younger Pokemon when they go out to play. That way if one gets lost they can try and track it down…"

    Cassandra cursed under her breath, before calling out loudly.

    "I know you're here Latios!" Cassandra called out. "Might as well save our time and show yourself!"

    There was a second of silence, before a happy cry, as Latios materialized near the ceiling, before flying into the trio, pulling them in for a hug.

    "Well, at least he's still friendly…" Violet muttered to herself, though still skeptical.

    "It's so great to see you!" Latios said cheerfully. "So this is where you guys have been living! It looks nice! In another life, maybe I'd have lived somewhere like this."

    "It's nice to see you too, just a bit surprising..." Cassandra said, trying to give him the benefit of the doubt. The last six months, surviving meant being skeptical of most people, and by extension their Pokemon, and that need to look over the shoulder was hard to shake even in the face of a friend. "What's going on? It must be something important if Jon has sent you to find us."

    "It is. Really important. Steven needs Jon to do something for him, and Jon wants help with it," Latios explained.

    "So much for not working for the League anymore…" Violet muttered cynically.

    "Look Latios, I appreciate that Jon thinks highly enough to ask for my help, but the League turned their backs on us, even when we tried to help them fix the consequences of our actions. They wanted to make their jobs more difficult, just to not be associated with us," Cassandra explained. "And even then, even if the League are convinced we are still alive, they have no proof of it, and they proved they have trouble keeping things under wraps."

    "This isn't for the League…" Latios said. "Off the books. Steven has been detained."

    Cassandra's large Eevee ears perked up.

    "Wait, what?" Jarena asked. "Why would they detain Steven? I wouldn't go as far as to say I trust him, but he doesn't seem like a bad guy…"

    "Yeah, he's no Lance…" Violet agreed.

    "There was an incident in Hoenn, a plane had to make an emergency landing, though we don't know why, and the military were wanting to respond to it in a way that Steven thinks will have massive consequences for Hoenn," Latios explained. "He objected, so was detained so he couldn't interfere with what they had planned. Cynthia managed to get into contact with him, but only had a few minutes to try and come up with a plan before they got caught."

    "Geez, did people always suck like this?" Jarena asked.

    "They did, but once upon a time, we sucked with the worst of them," Violet replied cynically.

    "What's the plan?" Cassandra asked, trying to stay focused.

    "Steven didn't have time to explain the situation in detail, but has a plan that he is certain will work, for Jon to be able to diffuse the situation before the military get involved, and everyone else be none the wiser," Latios explained. "Steven is going to lay low, and give the people watching him no reason to think he is going to try anything. In four days, Cynthia is going to give him a window to sneak out and meet with Jon to brief him on the mission, before returning to his detainment."

    "Why not just stay busted out?" Jarena asked.

    "Because if the military are going to act, they need time to get organized, but if they think Steven is out there trying to interfere, they will fast-track whatever they're planning," Violet answered. "Am I correct?"

    "Yes. Steven thinks the military will need three weeks before they can act, but if they think he is a threat, they will cut corners to get in first," Latios confirmed.

    "Here's the thing that doesn't make sense," Cassandra said. "Jon is Mr. Down-To-Earth, and attention to detail. But he is risking getting into a heap of trouble, and trying to ask for my help, on a plan that he doesn't even know the details of, or that it will even work. Does he not see this whole thing sounds extremely sketchy? How is he okay with this?"

    Latios was quiet for a moment before his eyes glowed, and suddenly the three Pokemon found themselves watching a conversation between Jon and Cynthia in a dark looking chapel.

    “Still, that is a giant ask…” Jon said to Cynthia. “I have a wife, and this time next year, we will have a kid. I get Steven thinks we can pull it off without any collateral, but that’s a huge risk…”

    “He’s asking you to take a chance on his instinct,” Cynthia replied. “Just like he was willing to take a chance on yours with that Zoroark plan on the S.S. Wishmaker.”

    Cassandra felt her stomach drop, as she started to realize why Jon would be on board with this seemingly suicidal mission.

    “That idea got scrapped anyway.”

    “But if it didn’t he would have had your back, even if it meant putting his own neck on the line,” Cynthia said, hammering the point home.

    The scene vanished as the Pokemon found themselves back in the Starglade.

    Cassandra was silent for a moment, with Violet and Jarena curious to see what she would say.

    "Latios, you mind giving us a moment to talk things over?" Cassandra asked. "There is a lot to talk about…"

    Latios nodded before floating away, looking around the glade, before introducing himself to a young Zigzagoon, who seemed curious by the Legendary Pokemon.

    "Well, at least he didn't destroy the place like he did when he first tried to find us…" Jarena muttered, however the joke fell flat amongst the tension.

    "You're thinking of going aren't you…" Violet asked Cassandra, knowing the answer.

    "More than thinking," Cassandra replied quietly. "I know it could go pear-shaped at the drop of a hat, but I can't stop thinking about what Cynthia said…"

    Violet went quiet as Cassandra tried to explain herself.

    "Even before we turned ourselves in, Jon offered to help us get it together, because he wanted to give us that chance," Cassandra said. "The reason we never took him up on that wasn't because we thought he would turn his back on us, but because we knew he wouldn't, even if it meant putting himself and Alyssa out."

    "That doesn't mean you need to follow him into hell and back," Violet replied. "To his credit, he didn't offer expecting anything more than us coming clean. He didn't want anything in return, so you don't need to come running when he calls."

    "I know I don't. Between him dealing with Lance the way he did, how he beat me in the final, and how easily Latios managed to catch us out, and even find us now, I know most of the time he can handle himself when it comes to this sort of stuff, but if he is actually asking for my help, he must have good reason for it," Cassandra explained, still seeming unsure. "This whole thing is a mess, but I can't not think about what Cynthia said. Even though he still wanted to try and cover it up, when we decided to cut our losses and come clean, he respected that and took a chance on us. Now I have the opportunity to do the same, I don't want to do nothing and have that on my conscience if he ends up killed, or something even worse happens, which if they are right, they think all of Hoenn could be at risk..."

    Violet was silent for a moment, before responding.

    "It sounds like your mind's made up," she said. "So I'm coming with you."

    "Same here!" Jarena chimed in. "Jon wants you to have his back, so we will have yours."

    "I appreciate it, really, and I'd be saying the same thing if we swapped positions. But you two should stay here…" Cassandra said quietly.

    "But what if something goes wrong?" Jarena asked.

    "Then the Starglade will still have you two. If only I go to Hoenn, and people show up here, or someone gets injured, you two can handle it. And if the worst happens…"

    "If the worst happens with all of us there, we are killed, and they are on their own…” Violet lamented.

    “It also is a lot more likely that we get recognized if we are all together than if I go alone. If it gets out that we faked our deaths, people will come looking for us,” Cassandra said. “But Jon and I will be careful, and I wouldn’t be going if I thought this was going to be goodbye. Besides, when I talk to Steven, I am going to milk this for what it's worth…”

    Jarena smiled hearing that, as Cassandra called Latios back over, who had been levitating the young Zigzagoon he had befriended, who was screaming in delight at the experience.

    “Tell Jon the following, and pay attention, because we don’t want anything getting misinterpreted,” Cassandra said to Latios, who stood up straighter, and began focusing a little harder.

    “Tell Jon I will meet with him and Steven when he arrives to hear him out. This doesn’t mean I agree to do the job regardless, but if he thinks Steven has a plan worth listening to, I will hear him out, and if it isn’t looking like a suicide mission, I will help him however I can,” Cassandra explained. “But for this to work properly, I’m gonna need a few things. Firstly, he needs to track down a plain white backpack, as white as he can find. Secondly, I presume he wants me in my human form, so some clothes for me to wear, as well as a nugget for the spell. The last thing will be the hardest. If he wants me to be human, I need him to track down a sample of my DNA from when I was a human, which I am not even sure is possible at this point, but he has a tendency of pulling a Raboot out of his hat, so I figure I might as well put him to the task.”

    Taking a moment to making sure she wasn't forgetting anything, Cassandra paused, before continuing her instructions.

    “Steven will arrive in four days?” Cassandra asked, as Latios nodded. “I will be there before then. I just have one or two other things to arrange before I leave.”

    “Did you get all that? Do I need to repeat anything?” Cassandra said. “It’s imperative that you get all of that to him.”

    “I’ve got it,” Latios replied. “If I leave now, I can get that message to him in the hour or so after sunset. Before I go however, I will show you where he lives.”

    “Good,” Cassandra affirmed, as images of Mossdeep Island, and the route to Jon’s property began to flash in her head. “I’ll see you again soon.”

    Latios said goodbye to the trio, before also saying goodbye to his new friends, Rudania and the young Zigzagoon from earlier.

    “Do you really think he can find your DNA?” Violet asked as Latios left, making his departure known with a sonic boom. “There could be a sample in the ruins, but it was burnt months ago, and it’s a snowflake's chance in hell he will be able to find some.”

    “He has to, otherwise he is getting help from Cinnamon the Eevee,” Cassandra retorted, as she began scheming on how she would get to Hoenn…

    Later that evening, in Mossdeep City, ad Jon was cleaning the dinner dishes he was surprised to hear the sonic boom in the distance, indicating that a certain Eon Pokemon had returned.

    “I think he’s back,” called out Alyssa from the lounge room next door. Jon had filled her in on the conversation the night before, and whilst she had her doubts, she agreed with waiting to hear Steven out first. There was no harm in that.

    Jon quickly put down the plate he was drying, before making his way outside, where Latios, looking exhausted, greeted him.

    “I take it you found them?” Jon asked, to which Latios nodded. “What did she have to say?”

    Jon felt a pressure on his mind as Latios entered it, and in a moment, he was not on Mossdeep Island, but instead in a glade amongst a densely forested area, where various Pokemon watched from a distance. In front of him was an Eevee, Buneary and Furret. Though they spoke in poke-speak, he had no difficulty understanding them.

    “Tell Jon I will meet with him and Steven when he arrives to hear him out. This doesn’t mean I agree to do the job regardless, but if he thinks Steven has a plan worth listening to, I will hear him out, and if it isn’t looking like a suicide mission, I will help him however I can,” the Eevee said. “But for this to work properly, I’m gonna need a few things. Firstly, he needs to track down a plain white backpack, as white as he can find. Secondly, I presume he wants me in my human form, so some clothes for me to wear, as well as a nugget for the spell. The last thing will be the hardest. If he wants me to be human, I need him to track down a sample of my DNA from when I was a human, which I am not even sure is possible at this point, but he has a tendency of pulling a Raboot out of his hat, so I figure I might as well put him to the task.”

    “Steven will arrive in four days?” Cassandra asked, as Jon saw his field of view bob with Latios nodding. “I will be there before then. I just have one or two other things to arrange before I leave.”

    As the vision disappeared, Jon quickly pulled out his phone and took note of the four things he needed to find. The plainest, whitest backpack he could get his hands on, some clothes for Cassandra, a gold nugget and a sample of her DNA. Three of these things posed little challenge for him, the fourth however would be difficult. But he had an idea…

    “Get some rest. You’ve done really well,” Jon said, giving Latios a scratch behind what he thought was the ears. “And if things are as dire as Steven thinks, we may have our work cut out for us in the next few days…

    Chapter 4
    It was Tuesday morning when Jon walked out into the backyard to get some fresh air, before noticing something strange. An Altaria, sitting on a nearby fence, staring at him with a sense of familiarity. It took Jon a second to understand what was going on.


    The Pokemon cried out happily, as it dropped off the fence, fluttering down slightly awkwardly, and making its way towards Jon. Not entirely convinced, he called out Latios.

    “Mind confirming that this is her?” Jon asked. “Alyssa will kill me if I let a stray Pokemon in the house…”

    Latios’ eyes glowed for a second before Jon heard a familiar voice in his head.

    “It’s me, now can you please let me in before I freeze to death… I have a double weakness to the cold…”

    Jon jumped at the sound of the voice, before quickly guiding the Altaria into the house. Alyssa stood in the kitchen, waiting for the toaster to pop up, watching in confusion as Jon led an Altaria through the hallway, which was followed itself by Latios. As the trio passed the door to the kitchen, Alyssa poked her head out the doorway and watched as Jon grabbed a box from a nearby cabinet, and rushed into the kitchen to grab a glass of water, before placing both of them in the spare room, before gesturing at the Altaria to enter. By this point Alyssa had figured out what was going on, but found it too amusing not to watch…

    A few moments later, Cassandra emerged from the spare room, dressed in a pair of designer jeans and a gray turtleneck, holding a thick jacket, surprised at the fact Jon managed to source her old clothes.

    “How did you-” Cassandra began.

    “I’ll explain over breakfast. It’s quite the story,” Jon replied. “I’m sure you haven’t had a hot breakfast in a while…”

    “Look, you're not wrong,” Cassandra laughed, as she followed Jon into the kitchen, where she was almost tackled by Alyssa hugging her.

    “I’m so glad you’re okay!” Alyssa exclaimed. “I saw the reports of the cabin being torched, and thought the worst, but Jon figured you three had faked it all. I really wanted to believe him, but was still a bit worried he might be wrong…”

    “Hey, when am I wrong?” Jon asked jokingly.

    “More often than you realize. I just pick my battles,” Alyssa retorted.

    “I’m sorry to worry you, but we thought it best,” Cassandra explained. “Things just got from bad to worse for us, and becoming Pokemon had always been our plan B if things didn’t go well after coming clean. And in all honesty, we are actually really enjoying life where we are at. What about you? I hear congratulations are in order?”

    Jon opened the fridge, pulling out a carton of eggs, starting to cook them on a frying pan.

    “Yeah, we are really excited!” Alyssa replied, putting her hand over her semi visible bump. “Not looking forward to the sleepless nights or dirty diapers, but everything else we can’t wait for!”

    Alyssa and Cassandra continued to chat, with Cassandra filling them in about what had happened after the cruise. Stories of her hairstylist intentionally messing up her haircut, their property being vandalized, having to sell off their assets at a loss. However Jon’s knuckles went white as he gripped the handle of the frying pan when he heard Violet’s Pokemon were all stolen.

    “That’s disgusting,” Alyssa said, upon hearing of Violet’s Pokemon being stolen. “Did the police do anything?"

    “They refused to even file a report,” Cassandra said solemnly. “That was the last straw for us. When we said screw it and made the switch. And it was one of the best things we ever did.”

    “I can’t guarantee anything, and I get it may be too little too late, but I have an idea about Violet’s Pokemon,” Jon said. “We can talk to Steven when he gets here.”

    Cassandra nodded, as Jon dished up breakfast.

    “So you never told me how you got a hold of the clothes, or the DNA?” Cassandra asked. “The clothes, I last saw in a bag destined for the charity bin, and I asked you to find the DNA because I had a snowflake's chance in hell of finding it, and you had a slightly bigger snowflake…”

    Alyssa’s expression shifted to one of annoyance and disgust, as Jon chuckled to himself.

    “I had an idea, and it paid off,” Jon said. “I googled Diamond Ladies Memorabilia, and came across this guy on Facebook Marketplace, who used to be a pretty big fan of you three. And I mean really big… I did a quick Facebook stalk, and there was a photo from a few years back of him getting your autographs tattooed on his arm, though I get the feeling he has had them lasered off since. Wait here…”

    Jon got up, as Alyssa scowled at the story, leaving Cassandra confused. After a few moments, he returned with a plain white towel, tossing it to Cassandra, before opening the Facebook Messenger app on his phone to the conversation with the aforementioned ex-megafan.

    “Remember this?” Jon said, as he passed the phone to Cassandra, showing a photo of herself from eighteen months earlier, wiping the sweat off her face with the white towel she was now holding.

    “Wait, you don’t mean…” Cassandra began, starting to have a realization.

    “This dude was a big fan of you three, and now is trying to make some money back on his collection. And he has everything…” Jon said, struggling not to laugh, as Alyssa grew even more irritated at how funny he found the situation. “Used towels, pillows from hotels, clothes once owned by you three, even dirty napkins…”

    “Eww…” Cassandra groaned as she thought about this guy being so obsessed, and now feeling a little more glad that her fame was out of the picture.

    “I even found another listing from him for, and I quote, Anime Girl Body Pillow, Lightly Used. Any guesses who the anime girl was modelled to look like?” Jon asked as Cassandra gagged on her breakfast, and Alyssa leaned over to gently slap him on the arm…

    “Stop it Jon…” She muttered, before standing up. “Don’t worry Cass, he is only kidding.”

    Alyssa left the room to go find her phone, as Jon leant in closer to Cassandra.

    “I wish I was, but it’s legit. I told Alyssa, and realized that she was this close to finding this dude’s place and tearing him a new one for being such a creep, that I had to tell her I was kidding to stop her getting into a fight,” Jon said quietly before bursting into laughter…

    “Something funny in there?” Alyssa called out from the other room.

    “Just telling her that joke you told me last night,” Jon called out back, as Alyssa groaned, muttering that he was 'full of s**t'.

    As Cassandra listened to the conversation happen, between moments of disgust at the supposed seller Jon was discussing, she couldn’t help but wonder how this was the same person who approached them, with his own broken history, to hand themselves in, or the same person who beat the ever-loving crap out of Lance. Whilst she knew he took his role in the League’s investigation of the Diamond Ladies seriously, as well as his responsibility as a trainer, this back and fourth of jokes and banter seemed to surprise her a little…

    “Actually, there is something I do want to tell you,” Jon explained. “I actually bought a fair bit of this guy’s stuff to get DNA samples for all three of you…”

    Cassandra was pulled from her thoughts.

    “Jon we’re happy the way-” Cassandra began before Jon cut her off.

    “Just hear me out for a second. I didn’t get this expecting the three of you to use them and become human again. Whilst I personally wouldn’t go down that route myself, I understand why the three of you did, and I also get that turning into Pokemon and giving yourselves no contingency was partially a way of making sure it was exactly what you want to do,” Jon explained. “Really, if you three are happy the way things are, then I’d hope you never have to use them. You three can live out the rest of your lives as Pokemon in peace.”

    “Don’t think I have it because I think this is all just some sort of phase you three are going through or something like that. It’s just that we don’t know what the future holds, none of us do, but circumstances change, and the situation may arise that you find yourselves wanting to be human again, even if just to do something like what you’re doing now,” Jon said calmly. “I will hold onto it, and keep it safe, and if you never need it that is fine, people will just think I’m some sort of creep for having it. But if the time ever comes when you need to be human again, the option is there. So how about that? Are we cool?”

    Cassandra was silent for a minute, thinking over what Jon said. At first, slightly annoyed at him going to that length without their permission, but after thinking through what he had to say, felt like it wasn’t worth the debate. He did raise a good point, it wasn’t completely implausible that they may need to be human again, and it isn’t like he made the decision for them. Only made sure they had the option.

    “Look, I get where you’re coming from, really,” Cassandra explained. “And after this, I honestly hope that the three of us can go the rest of our lives the way we are now, or more so the way we were a few days ago. The option may be there, but as you said, hopefully we never have to take it.”

    When breakfast was finished, Jon tried cleaning up, however was shooed out of the kitchen by Alyssa, who kept saying ”show her what you’ve been working on.” After Jon checked the security cameras to make sure nobody was watching the property, he offered Cassandra a hoodie just in case, before they left the house, as Jon showed her around the property. Steven wasn’t due until the late hours of the night, and Jon wasn’t expecting Cassandra to arrive so early in the day, so right now, he was trying to kill time and be a somewhat decent host.

    “Long term, the plan is to have trainer schools do short camps here during the school year, and to run specialty classes on battling,” Jon explained, as they walked through the chapel that seemed more like a construction zone, with most of the walls blocked by scaffolding, and the smell of fresh paint piercing the air. “The main focus of this place though, is the twelve week summer intensive. We get young trainers in, give them the hardest training we can without rights groups getting involved, and take their battling to the next level.”

    “This is going to be great,” Cassandra responded, looking around the large empty room. “I’m surprised that in six months things are already this far along. It seems like a massive job.”

    “You know I have you to thank for this right?” Jon laughed, as he walked towards the front of the chapel.

    “How so?” Cassandra asked. “For getting disqualified and the league giving you extra cash for the job?”

    “Well that too, but no. Remember what you said to me after our battle?” Jon asked. “You told me I was a great teacher, which surprised me because I’d never been told that before.”

    “But after you said it, I couldn’t get it out of my mind, how much I’d actually really enjoy teaching,” Jon continued. “It’s no secret I love to run my mouth and share my own experience with other people. What better way to do it than have people who are there to listen and learn from it, you know?”

    Cassandra laughed, before speaking up.

    “So you’re opening next summer?”

    “Yeah, as a bit of a trial run,” Jon explained. “Limited numbers since setting up the lodge to accomodate more than half a dozen people is expensive, and also, if I can’t handle looking after five teenagers, I definitely will struggle with fifty.”

    “And how does that fit with the baby?”

    Jon snorted hearing the question.

    “Alyssa is due a matter of weeks before the first summer program…” Jon said. “We advertised the summer intensive about a month before we found out Alyssa was pregnant. I tried to tell her I’d delay it another year, but she wouldn’t have a bar of it. Said there is no job outside of flipping burgers that would only have me for a year, and, and these are her words, being a house-husband really doesn’t suit you…

    Cassandra rolled her eyes at the joke before continuing.

    “And you have interest so far?”

    “Three slots are filled. One is a young guy who has been dominating the junior circuits the last few years, one is the daughter of a world famous battler, who for some reason wants me to teach her, and the third is a local kid from Mossdeep, though I wouldn’t be able to point him out,” Jon explained. “I still have two slots available and a few people who seem interested, but nothing concrete from them yet.”

    Once the tour of the grounds for Jon’s Eon Academy had concluded, Jon excused himself as he had to head into the city. His reasoning was that he was a creature of habit, and if he didn’t show up for his weekly errands that always fell on a Tuesday, it would raise suspicion.

    Cassandra spent the rest of the day getting accustomed to life as a human again, even if it was only temporary. It amazed her, and also irritated her how accustomed she had been to having ears that added almost half of her height, and as she walked through doorways, felt uncomfortable that she couldn’t feel them getting caught under the doorframe. That being said, there were certain human luxuries, that though she wouldn’t admit it to Violet and Jarena, she had missed, one being the hot shower and soft towels she got to enjoy, which was a stark contrast to the chilly pools of water in the forest surrounding the Starglade, and shaking dry after a bath. Whilst she made sure not to become accustomed to all of this, and reminded herself nothing was going to stop her returning to her new home, she did make a point of savouring these small things that she had missed.

    Whilst she had sworn she would not look at Twitter, after a little while, curiosity got the best of her, and she asked Alyssa if she could use her laptop to look up some things. Mostly, wanting to know whether people actually believed they had died in that fire. She hadn’t seen a human outside of the odd soul that wandered a little too close to the Starglade in months, so was out of touch with the world around her.

    Though it had only been a few months, the interface of the web browser, and the mouse and keyboard already felt a little foreign to her, however she got the hang of it quickly. After reading a few websites, she breathed a sigh of relief, at the general consensus being that they had passed away. Whilst a few people had commented that it could have been staged, it got to a point where there was not enough evidence to prove they were still alive and it was assumed they perished in the fire, and their remains were burnt to nothing, potentially by a Fire Type Pokemon. Their phones were destroyed in the fire, none of their credit cards or social media accounts had been used, and nobody had heard from them in months. To the general public, it seemed more likely they had perished than gone this long in hiding.

    “You wouldn’t know this, but you three actually did a great deal of good with that,” Alyssa said as she walked past, spying the article Cassandra had been reading.

    “How so?” Cassandra asked. “Did the cabin owner get a nice insurance payout?”

    “No, nothing like that,” Alyssa laughed. “There has been debate for years about the responsibility of these social media platforms regarding the content their users post. They have always dodged responsibility for it, banning certain topics of conversation when it doesn’t align with their own views, but allowing controversial posts to remain when they do align.”

    “Wait, what?” Cassandra asked. “Did we seriously fix that?”

    “In a way, yes,” Alyssa explained. “When Twitter allowed #BurnTheWitch to trend for as long as it did, even though it clearly was inciting violence against you three, and played dumb when they got called out for it, it was pretty damning when it came out that the three of you were killed in an arson attack…”

    “Geez, that wasn’t why we torched the cabin,” Cassandra replied. “We just wanted to cover our tracks, and have nothing left to return to.”

    “Oh, I understand completely,” Alyssa said. “I didn’t think for a second that choice was to make a political statement. It’s just funny, good if nothing else, that it did. After that happened, governments actually created commissions into the behaviour of these companies, and now, if it is believed they are allowing stuff like this to remain, they will be penalized like crazy. Twitter, Facebook, all of them.”

    “People are still a**holes there, of course,” Alyssa added. “But the echo chamber with this stuff is almost effectively disabled.”

    “I’ll have to let Violet and Jarena know,” Cassandra laughed, now partially wishing she had been able to see these events as they unfolded.

    Chapter 5
    It was 11pm when Jon and Cassandra made their way to the chapel, waiting for Steven to arrive. Cynthia didn't give them an exact time but they knew it would be in the early hours of the morning when he arrived. Jon had Latios out of his Pokeball to let them know if someone else was coming.

    It was shortly after midnight when Steven materialized alongside a Gardevoir in the chapel, before Steven called it back to a Pokeball. Steven's usually neat clothes were creased and worn, having been detained for almost a week, and his usually clean shaven face was starting to show signs of a beard. He found a chair nearby, and collapsed into it, without saying a word.

    "Goddamn, non-stop teleports are exhausting," Steven said after a second, before realizing who was in the room with himself and Jon. "Cassandra? I'm glad to see you are alive, but I honestly didn't think I'd be seeing you again."

    "The way things went after we came clean, the best thing for everyone was that we disappeared," Cassandra replied. "Did a good job of it too, until Jon got nostalgic and sent Latios to track me down."

    Jon chuckled at the joke, before turning to Steven.

    "So what's going on? We are completely in the dark here…" Jon asked.

    "The military are trigger-happy idiots, that's what," Steven replied irritably." There haven't been enough wars recently for them to justify the amount of money they ask for from the government, so the moment the opportunity comes up for them to flex their muscles, they want to jump on it."

    "I don't understand," Cassandra said. "Who are they going to attack?"


    "Wait, what?" Jon asked in disbelief.

    "This is highly confidential, but the League has kept tabs on the location of any known Legendary Pokemon. Latios, Victini and Jirachi included, though they are easier to monitor. Rayquaza on the other hand is a little more difficult," Steven explained. "We have monitored it's location for years, and have an idea of its migratory patterns. Whilst it will spend weeks at a time in the ozone layer, it roosts on an ancient skyscraper called Sky Pillar, North of Pacifidlog town…"

    "So it wasn't an engine malfunction that caused that plane to land…" Jon said.

    "Exactly," Steven confirmed. "Two month's back, the air force was doing a training operation in the airspace above Route 132 and 133, and one of the pilots accidentally left the training area, and flew into the airspace near Sky Pillar. Rayquaza was roosting at the time, and saw this as a threat, and based on the footage from the aircraft, attempted to scare it off. Flew close to it, snapped close to it and made a bit of noise, but never really did anything overly aggressive. But the stupid pilot panicked and attacked it with the aircraft's weapons…"

    "Is it okay?" Cassandra asked. "Rayquaza, not the aircraft…"

    "Not a scratch, the weapons on the aircraft aren't enough to pierce Rayquaza's hide, but the military do have the means to do it if they have enough time to prepare," Steven said. "They have deemed it a threat, and will now settle for nothing less than exterminating it…"

    "I'm against killing a Pokemon for the sake of flexing as much as anyone, but you said this has consequences that could affect all of Hoenn," Jon said. "Is there more to this? Than just stopping them from doing something stupid?"

    "Do you know much of the mythology behind Hoenn's legendary Pokemon?" Steven asked.

    "Not really, no. It gets so hard to seperate the fact from the fiction, I tend to just focus on the facts."

    "Hoenn has two legendary Pokemon that shaped the region. Kyogre brings downpours that create the seas, whilst Groudon brings out intense sunshine to dry the seas and create land. These Pokemon need to be kept in balance, but it is believed in the past they battled for dominance, resulting in Hoenn being under dangerously intense sunlight or devastating storms in random places," Steven explained. "Rayquaza's role in all this is to intervene when this happens."

    "So what you're saying is that Rayquaza is like the angry parent who comes along when they hear their kids fighting in the other room," Jon asked, irritating Steven.

    "Please try and take this seriously, Jon, goddamn it," Steven exclaimed.

    "I am, I just found that tidbit interesting."

    "So what you're saying is if the military have their way and wipe out Rayquaza, there is nobody to intervene if Groudon and Kyogre end up battling again…" Cassandra asked.

    "Exactly," Steven said. "At the meeting to discuss it, they proposed waiting for Rayquaza to leave Sky Pillar, since they can't mobilize there with Rayquaza in the area without getting torn to pieces. They will wait for it to go, and set up there, before having a dragon specialist lure it back by setting off some other Dragon types in the area, to trigger it’s territorial instinct…”

    “You’ve got to be f**king kidding me…” Jon said loudly, his tone shifting drastically after hearing this. No names had been mentioned, but Cassandra already knew who this Dragon Specialist was…

    “They are willing to offer him a pardon if he is able to help exterminate Rayquaza…” Steven said solemnly.

    “I don’t know what’s worse, that psychopath being freed for killing an innocent Pokemon, or the chance he captures it, and now the psychopath is on the loose with one of the most powerful Pokemon in existence…” Cassandra muttered.

    “How do we fit into this?” Jon asked, all traces of humour now gone, determined to not allow that to happen.

    “Rayquaza is currently roosting on Sky Pillar, and by our estimate, will be there another week before it heads into the Ozone Layer. Unless they have reason to believe that I am capable of getting in their way, they won’t go near Sky Pillar until Rayquaza is gone, because they need time to set up the ambush, so I need to get back to where they were holding me and play dumb for a few weeks. They have surveillance drones monitoring the area around it, but aren’t able to get eyes inside it, or on the peak where Rayquaza roosts,” Steven explained. “I need you two to get to Sky Pillar undetected, while Rayquaza is still there, and capture it yourself…”

    “Wait, what the f-” Jon began before Steven cut him off.

    “Before I came here, I got in touch with Cynthia’s contact in the league. The military pulled rank and demanded all of the information they have on Rayquaza, including its migratory patterns. This could work to our advantage,” Steven continued. “Once Rayquaza is captured and you give the all clear, a false flag of Rayquaza leaving Sky Pillar will be placed on its file, and we will continue to add false flags of it being detected until in the eyes of the league, Rayquaza has migrated somewhat permanently somewhere out of Hoenn. For the next few years, you need to make sure nobody sees it. Maybe even take it to Southern Island to train it once the heat has died down and I can keep the monitoring equipment looking away from there. Then once enough time has passed that the military aren’t going to go after it, and you are convinced it won’t go after commercial aircraft like it did, you can release it back at Sky Pillar…”

    “Steven, this whole idea sounds crazy,” Jon said. “Firstly, if they have the area surrounding Sky Pillar monitored, how are we supposed to get there without the military finding out about us? And how am I supposed to catch it, without the Pokeball registering it and flagging it at the League?”

    Steven pulled a bag off his shoulder, opening it up.

    “With these…”

    Inside the bag were half a dozen Pokeballs, however unlike the standard ones, these were gloss black on both halves.

    “Where the hell did you get those…” Jon said, eyes widening at what he saw. The last time he saw any of them was for an early job he did as a league operative, helping to catch the person distributing these, and confiscating them.

    “Ever since the S.S. Wishmaker, I have had my doubts about the League, and government in general. The fact they were willing to give Lance so much authority, who in hindsight is the last person should have it, among other decisions I see being made, caused me to lose faith in the league. Whilst I do what I can to keep it genuine from my role, I myself am bound by its regulations, so I have been preparing for the day I have to go against them since,” Steven explained. “When evidence got transferred from one facility to another, I oversaw that transfer, and happened to look the other way when six of these went missing, and the records were changed to make out they didn’t ever exist…”

    “What are they?” Cassandra asked, having never seen Pokeballs like this, and unsure why Jon was so amazed and concerned by these.

    “Unregistered Pokeballs,” Jon explained. “Take the illegality of an illegal assault rifle, and crank that up to eleven. If Steven got caught with these, it would be a bigger disgrace than Lance…”

    “Why are they so illegal?”

    “About fifteen years ago, a Pokeball was developed that contained a unique chip that stored a serial number, was able to scan the wavelength of the Pokemon inside, and communicate with a trainer’s Pokedex,” Steven explained. “This smart Pokeball quickly became the industry standard. Pokemon are converted to light energy, which allows them to be stored in the Pokeball, and each species has its own wavelength. The way it worked was that when trainers purchased Pokeballs, whilst they were empty and unused, they would be scanning the area around them for Pokedexes and using that to determine the trainer that owned them. Then, once they were used, they would scan the Pokemon inside, and register it to the Pokedex. It also prevents trainers with seven or more Pokeball in their party from opening the extra ones.”

    “That’s what the public were told, but anyone with half a brain can see it goes beyond that,” Jon continued. “If someone uses one of those to catch a Legendary Pokemon, or restricted Pokemon, the League is notified so they can monitor them. Steven knew about me years before we met, because I had used one of those to catch Latios. Additionally, every time one of those Pokeballs is put into a healing machine in a Pokemon Center, that machine also logs what Pokemon are in there and which trainer they belong to, and will notify the League if there is anything to be concerned about. Even when you go through airport security, there are scanners that interact with any Pokeballs on your person and scan the Pokemon inside them. This is why I thought it may be a good idea to speak to Steven about Violet’s Pokemon, because unless her Moltres is put in an unregistered Pokeball, chances are the League will be able to find it without too much hassle.”

    “So these unregistered Pokeballs are just Pokeballs without all the tech?” Cassandra asked. “They don’t transmit information?”

    “Exactly, which is why they are highly illegal,” Steven explained. “Imagine if someone wanted to hoard powerful Pokemon, then attack a police station with twenty of them at once. The Smart-Pokeballs don’t allow more than six Pokeballs to be opened per registered Pokedex, and getting additional Pokedexes, or unlocked ones is even harder and more illegal than these things. But if a person has twenty of these, they can take their twenty Pokemon to the police station and set them all loose. Or in the case of stolen Pokemon, if they can hack the smart Pokeball to release the Pokemon inside it, then place them in one of these, the stolen Pokemon is almost impossible to find.”

    Cassandra grimaced hearing those words, thinking of Violet’s Pokemon.

    “Trust me, I think Violet’s Pokemon are safe from these things,” Jon explained. “They are incredibly difficult to produce, with a street value of over twenty thousand dollars each, and going up because the league is getting better at finding these things and taking them. The chances of Violet’s Pokemon being untraceable are very low.”

    “So that’s one problem out of the way. I catch Rayquaza in one of these, and make sure I am never caught with it, otherwise I wind up in prison. Cool…” Jon said, almost sarcastically. “But we still have the issue of getting there undetected.”

    Cassandra thought about this predicament, trying her hardest to come up with a solution. Whilst she didn’t show it, she really wanted to be able to complete this mission, feeling a sense of empathy with Rayquaza. Not even a week ago, her and her friends were Pokemon trying to find ways of keeping the humans away from their home, without drawing attention to themselves and putting everyone in more danger. Rayquaza had someone invade its home, and is now being put to death for trying to keep the invaders away. Should she not tread very carefully with how they deal with humans finding the Starglade, she could find herself in the exact same situation…

    “Do any other Pokemon live in or around Sky Pillar?” Cassandra asked.

    “Plenty, it is actually surprising how many wild Pokemon live in the tower,” Steven explained. “Golbat, Sableye, Mawile-”

    “Altaria?” Cassandra asked.

    “Yes, they aren’t as common, but Altaria have been sighted in and around Sky Pillar,” Steven said. “Why do you ask?”

    “Two trainers may raise concern entering Sky Pillar,” Cassandra explained, “But not a pair of Altaria…”

    “Wait, are you suggesting we both travel there as Pokemon?” Jon asked.

    “Back too...” Cassandra confirmed, ignoring the concern in Jon's voice.

    “That would work well. Nobody would think twice of it.” Steven asked, “But what of your clothes, Pokeballs, even the ingredients to turn back?”

    “That’s why you wanted the white bag…” Jon asked. “If you wear it as an Altaria, it will blend in with all the fluff, so if you did have to travel, you could take anything you need and not draw attention to yourself…”

    “Exactly, though I didn’t think I’d be turning us both into Altaria,” Cassandra answered. “That is, if you’re okay with it…”

    Jon went silent for a second.

    “Look, under normal circumstances, I wouldn’t,” Jon explained. “The fact that everyone who you guys turned into a Pokemon retained their ability to understand them after turning back as an unintended side effect, means that side effects exist, even if it is only that. But we don’t know for certain that there aren’t others we aren’t aware of. That is why I was so furious when it looked like Jirachi was going to turn whoever it wanted into Pokemon for its playtime, regardless of whether they wanted it or not. Because we didn’t know that there wasn’t going to be any other side effects.”

    But,” Jon continued. “I don’t know for certain there are, and if there is this much at stake if we fail this, I will put those concerns aside. Though if my hair goes white by the time I’m thirty, I will forward the bill to keep dying it to you, Steven…

    “So we fly from Mossdeep to the top of this tower, become human, catch Rayquaza, turn into Altaria again and fly back?” Cassandra asked.

    “It won’t be that simple,” Steven explained. “This tower is huge, and Altaria are low-flying Pokemon. Really, the only Pokemon in the area that flies at the height of the summit is Rayquaza. If the drones catch two Altaria flying that high, it will raise suspicions. You’re going to have to fly to the entrance at the bottom, and go up inside the tower.”

    “Of course,” Jon replied sarcastically.

    “Steven, I do have to talk to you about something,” Cassandra said. “I came here planning on making sure to get what I can out of helping you with this, but this situation has touched a bit of a nerve with me, and I want to help resolve it, so I will help regardless.”

    “I also now know that you are the sort of person who could understand why I am after what I am after, and would want to help with this even if I weren’t offering something in return, so I need a favour,” Cassandra inquired.

    “Go for it,” Steven said, appreciating the brutal honesty. “I wasn’t expecting you two to do this without some form of compensation. The only thing is that I am limited in what I can offer without drawing suspicion. If I transfer a few hundred thousand from the League, people will ask questions.”

    “No money, I’ve had enough of that for one lifetime,” Cassandra replied. “When Jarena, Violet and I went off the map, we decided to live as Pokemon, finding a small community in the wilds north of the Lake of Rage in Johto. This area is mostly untouched by humanity and most of the Pokemon here have never even seen a human, and they are all happy and content that way.”

    “Since we got there, we have been using our talents to try and keep humans from finding this community, but every time we do, we run the risk of being caught, or doing something that raises concerns, and attracting attention to this place. Really, this community is just like this Rayquaza. We want to be left alone, but if we try and stop people from invading our home the way we know best, chances are it will only make things worse,” Cassandra explained. “Is there anything you can do to help us with this?”

    Steven smiled at the request.

    “When I was helping to organize the sting operation six months back, I never thought I’d hear you asking me for something like this,” Steven laughed. “It’s good though, and I agree whole-heartedly. We humans have our space, but tend to take the space of others with little thought. If there is a community like this, that wants to live in peace, then they have every right to.”

    “This should be easy for me to make happen without compromising the mission. Johto was under Lance’s jurisdiction, but with him in prison, and no replacement on the horizon, I have been overseeing things in Kanto, and Cynthia in Johto. I will chat to her, and arrange for the forest north of the Lake of Rage to be made a private reserve, with rangers posted there to turn away intruders,” Steven explained. “I will even choose the rangers myself, picking the ones who will do their best to leave you guys alone.”

    “That’ll be nice pillow talk,” Jon chuckled, as Cassandra went from beaming at the thought of her new home being protected, to wondering what Jon was talking about, eventually it clicking, as Steven rolled his eyes at Jon acting so juvenile.

    “You wonder why I didn’t tell you…” Steven muttered.

    “I wouldn’t be enjoying myself this much if you did just tell me…” Jon teased.

    “Look, I can’t stay for much longer. The Zoroark illusion only works because I have been sleeping at this time every night. If I don’t make it back before sunrise, the illusion won’t be convincing, and they will know I am up to something,” Steven said. “Is there anything else you need to know?”

    “You said we aren’t getting nothing out of this?” Jon asked. “Here’s what I want. The league to create a new grant to fund local projects. I don’t care what it is, as long as the Eon Academy is eligible for it, and it is a decent amount. Reckon you could make that happen?”

    “When the idiots who are supposed to be defending us release me, I will make it happen,” Steven said. “If there is nothing else, I will go. Get in touch with Cynthia when you get back and let her know if the mission was a success or not. She will let me know.”

    “Well if it isn’t a success, chances are we'll be dead, or cell-mates with you…” Jon said.

    “Well try not to let that happen then,” Steven said. “But thank you for doing this. I didn’t ask it lightly, and I know you two won’t let us down.”

    “Us?” Cassandra asked.

    “All of Hoenn. As I said, a lot rides on this.”

    Steven said his goodbyes, before letting out the Gardevoir, and teleporting away.

    “We’ll leave at dawn tomorrow,” Jon said. “I don’t know what the flying speed of an Altaria is, but the longer we leave it, the more chance we have of missing Rayquaza, should it leave early, or run into Lance and the military…”

    “Not yet,” said Latios’ voice in both Jon and Cassandra’s heads.

    “Why?” Jon asked, surprised.

    “Waiting on a friend.”

    “Wait, Latios, did you tell someone else about this?”


    “Latios, I can’t be seen by anyone who isn’t on this property!” Cassandra exclaimed with great concern. “This includes your friend.”

    ”Your friend too. He already knew about all about you…”

    Cassandra sighed, before turning to Jon.

    “If he doesn’t tell you who it is, and this friend arrives, turn them away, whatever it takes,” Cassandra said. “I can’t be seen by anyone else.”

    “Don’t worry, I will,” Jon said irritably. “And Latios and I will be having a good chat…”

    Latios grinned as the trio made their way back to the house, eager for sleep, before the early departure the next day…

    Chapter 6
    Cassandra awoke shortly after sunrise, and found Jon waiting in the kitchen, with an irritated look on his face.

    “And here I thought I had that Pokemon well trained…” Jon muttered. “We didn’t even know what the mission was and he has run his mouth…”

    “Hopefully he was right with this person being safe,” Cassandra responded, trying to stay optimistic. “Is this out of character for him?”

    “A bit,” Jon explained. “He knew how important all of this was, so I’m shocked he would just go and tell someone else. That being said, after seeing the bill I got to repair the S.S. Wishmaker, I shouldn’t be too surprised.”

    Before Cassandra could respond, the doorbell rang.

    “Go hide in the spare room,” Jon whispered. “If it’s someone who shouldn’t be here, I will send them packing.”

    Cassandra nodded, before moving back into the room she had spent the night in, making sure to avoid sight of all the windows.

    Jon made his way to the front door, opening it and was surprised to see…


    There was nobody standing in front of him. Or so he thought, until he heard a slightly familiar voice in his head.

    ”Hey, Jon, down here…”

    Cassandra was waiting in the room, when she heard Jon call out.

    “Cass, you can come out...” Jon said, sounding relieved. “Latios is a bit smarter than we give him credit for…”

    Confused, Cassandra walked out, before being nearly knocked over by Victini launching himself into her for a hug.

    “Victini?” Cassandra asked, almost wondering if this was real. “What are you doing here?”

    “Since that sad day when we parted ways, I’ve been taking in all the sights, doing a little travelling,” Victini said. ”I was on a beach in Cianwood City, working on my tan, when I got knocked over by a white and blue Pokemon, flying way above the speed limit. I put a telekinetic barrier in his way so I could catch up to him and give him a piece of my mind, when I realized it was Latios.”

    “We caught up, and he told me he had just seen you, and that you were heading here to help Jon with something, and that I should come to,” Victini said, before turning to Jon. ”So what’s the job?”

    “Sneaking into Sky Pillar to catch Rayquaza before the trigger happy Hoenn Military send a crazed lunatic with a dragon fetish to go kill it because they couldn’t keep one of their guys out of its airspace…” Jon said very casually.

    ”Sounds easy,” Victini replied just as casually. “Can I help?”

    “I’d love that,” Cassandra replied with a smile, giving her old friend another hug. “The only thing is that you’d draw too much attention if you are seen. Jon and I are turning into Pokemon to travel there, so we don’t raise any alarm bells, but if the military sees a Victini near Sky Pillar, they will get suspicious, so you’d have to be in a Pokeball.”

    “That’s fine. I’ve been on my feet for days getting here, so a little Pokeball R&R would be nice before the adventure,” Victini said. “So Jon, you’re finally being initiated.”

    “Looks like it,” Jon replied. “At least Latios won’t have to keep poking around my head anymore…”

    Jon went to the other room, grabbing one of the unregistered Pokeballs and tossing it to Cassandra.

    “If you use anything other than this, it will show up that I caught Victini at the League, and I really don’t want to be monitored any more than I already am,” Jon said. “These things don’t require a formal release to let a Pokemon go. You just let him out, toss the ball in the bin, and everything is set.”

    Cassandra nodded, before looking to Victini.

    “I’d love to hear more about your travels, but right now we are a little short on time, so it will have to wait,” Cassandra explained. “That okay?”

    “Sounds fine to me!” Victini said, before tapping the button on the black Pokeball himself. Instantly he was transformed into light, entering the Pokeball.

    Cassandra pressed the button on the Pokeball, shrinking it to its more portable size.

    “First things first, we need to prepare a few spells to revert us back to human. Stored in a way that we as Pokemon can touch them, and at least twice as many as we need. Take two of each with us, and leave two of each here, that way if one breaks or goes missing, we aren’t stuck,” Cassandra explained. “Once we have that and everything we need ready, we will place it all in the backpack. Make sure to put some decent string on the zip, so we can open and close it with our mouths whilst we are Pokemon. Those fiddly zips will be the death of us if we don’t. After that, I will place the backpack in the spare room with a pair of single use hexes on the floor. One of us will go in, strip down, place our clothes in the bag, and step on the hex, then leave the room while the other does the same.”

    “Sounds like a plan.”

    Alyssa woke not long after, walking out to find Cassandra scouring the kitchen for some sort of vessel that they could open with their mouths or Altaria wings, whilst Jon was yanking his own hair out of his head. She walked over to the kettle, boiling that to prepare a cup of tea, before sitting down and watching the events unfold, having been told of the plan by Jon the night before.

    Eventually Cassandra found some drink bottles that had lids on hinges, that, whilst awkward, they could open with their mouths. She quickly prepared the spell to revert them, labelling the bottles well, before placing them in the bag with Victini’s Pokeball, as Jon placed all bar one of his Pokeballs in the bag, leaving Nidoking to protect Alyssa should anything happen here, seeing as, according to Jon, Nidoking wouldn’t struggle to accidentally bring the whole tower down on them.

    When they had done all they could to prepare, Jon muttered something along the lines of wish me luck before making his way into the spare room, closing the door behind him.

    “I’m surprised you’re so okay with this?” Cassandra asked Alyssa. “I know he originally didn’t tell you about what he was doing on the S.S. Wishmaker, but this is a whole lot more dangerous…”

    “Oh, I am definitely worried,” Alyssa explained. “But I know if anybody can pull this off, it’s you two. He has Latios with him, and I know you have his back, so I can sleep peacefully at night. You’ll both come back, probably with one hell of a story to share.”

    “I really appreciate the confidence,” Cassandra said. “I just hope it’s not ill placed.”

    “He wouldn’t have asked for you if you weren’t the best person to help him,” Alyssa said. “Besides, I just can’t wait to see him as an adorable little Altaria…”

    A few minutes later, there was knocking on the door, as Cassandra and Alyssa realized that Jon would have no way of turning the round door handle as an Altaria. Alyssa opened the door, not even trying to hide her laughter, as Jon emerged, a little over half his height, and a lot fluffier. She tried to contain herself, however lost control when she saw Jon waddle out of the room, the look on his face indicative of how he felt. When Alyssa forgot to turn her phone on silent before she tried to sneak a picture, his expression soured even more.

    “I swear to God, if we get there and find there is no military presence…” Jon the Altaria said, though only Cassandra could understand him.

    “Of all people, I thought you’d be the one erring on the side of caution…” Cassandra laughed, before making her way into the spare room. “Alyssa, once I have transformed, can you put the backpack on whichever of us is bigger? It will probably be Jon.”

    Alyssa laughed at the thought of putting the backpack on one of them, like a child before their first day of school, before agreeing, as Cassandra entered the spare room. A few moments later, there was a familiar knocking on the door, as Alyssa opened it, still laughing at the sight, though Cassandra found the situation equally amusing, to Jon’s annoyance.

    “Be safe, or at least, as safe as you can be,” Alyssa said, before looking at Jon. “Don’t do anything stupid, and look after eachother.”

    “I’ll hopefully see you both in a few days,” Alyssa added, as she gave them both a hug, struggling to still not laugh at the pair of Altaria, one of whom seemed like a Magikarp out of water.

    “Wait, Cass…” Jon said. “How the heck do I fly?”

    “Just flap your wings,” Cassandra replied, as she started to flap her wings, taking off. “Flap when you want to go up, and just glide wherever you want to go. It’s not that hard…”

    Alyssa stood with her arms crossed, chuckling at the two Pokemon, who she verbally couldn’t understand, but understood exactly what was going on, so glad that the phone she held in her right hand, with the camera facing them, was secretly recording, as Jon tried flapping his wings, and began to ascend, but drifted to one side.

    ”F**king hell!” Jon barked, as a dragon breath attack escaped his jaws without him intending to.

    “Calm down!” Cassandra retorted. “You’ll have a stroke before Rayquaza has a chance at you if you keep this up.”

    After a few more attempts, Jon found his footing, or lack thereof, and the pair left Mossdeep Island, beginning their trip to Sky Pillar.

    Chapter 7
    The pair flew through the day, reaching Sootopoolis City by noon, where they rested their wings on the roof of the Pokemon Center there, much to the amusement of the local children who could see them sitting there. They had to be careful though. As Cassandra pointed out, Altaria don’t take the cold well, and if they don’t make it to Sky Pillar and return to their rugged up human forms by nightfall, they would be in for a cold, and potentially dangerous night.

    Once they had rested long enough, they departed Sootopoolis, much to the disappointment of the growing crowd of children, and continued their journey towards Sky Pillar.

    Whilst Jon had found his rhythm, of flapping his wings to ascend, before gliding slowly downwards and then repeating, he was nowhere near as comfortable in the sky as Cassandra was, though she did tell him she hadn’t learnt how to use Altaria’s attacks, meanwhile, Jon could call a Dragon Breath every time he cursed at the prospect of falling out of the sky. Whilst he would never admit it, deep down, he half wished that he could keep the curse-Dragon Breath when he reverted back to his human form…

    It was nearing nightfall and the wind was starting to have much more of a chill, by the time they reached Sky Pillar. Whilst they didn’t know exactly what they were looking for, the seas of Hoenn surrounding Pacifidlog town contained a whole lot of nothing, and it didn’t take long before they found the small island containing the large and ancient skyscraper came into view. They did hear the sound of the drones in the air above them, though acted naturally, knowing that the only indicator they weren’t what they appeared was the backpack, which was hidden well amongst the fluff that covered Jon’s body.

    They arrived at the ruined tower, waddling into the doorway, looking around.

    “I can’t see s**t in here…” Jon said, accidentally letting off a small Dragon Breath.

    “Give me a moment,” Cassandra said, before muttering an incantation.”Joor Zah Frul.”

    Jon stumbled as his vision shifted, with everything becoming brighter, at the expense of the range of colors he could see.

    “Goddamn,” Jon said, feeling the Dragon Breath in his throat. “How long have you known how to do that?”

    “Six months,” Cassandra explained. “Before we got caught, the magic we knew was mostly for winning battles and covering our tracks. The tomes we had contained a lot of spells we had no use for back then, but preparing for life as Pokemon, they were going to be handy. Especially since we had no experience living as wild Pokemon, so needed to give ourselves a bit of a head start while we got used to it. I think you’ll find I have some new tricks up my sleeve.”

    They found a blind corner, where they fumbled to open the bag, and withdraw the reagents for the spell to return them to their human forms. When they were ready, they took turns, going out of sight around the corner, before reverting to their human forms, Cassandra first, Jon second.

    “I only brought one sock…” Jon whined as he walked around the corner. “For f**k’s sake!”

    Jon cursed, before realizing he didn’t release a Dtagon Breath attack, before letting out a disappointed sigh.

    “Did you seriously hope that you’d be able to still use Dragon Breath every time you swore, even as a human?” Cassandra asked, almost surprised at that, considering his earlier objections.

    “I can hope, can't I?” Jon asked. “I’d rather that than Alyssa and mine's next kid popping out with a white Altaria haircut...”

    Cassandra chuckled at the thought as Jon fidgeted with his shoe, trying to get comfortable, before giving up, swearing, and seeming disappointed again, and the pair began moving along, as Jon was sorting through the Pokeballs containing the five Pokemon he brought with him. After a few moments, he held out two Pokeballs.

    “In case we get separated,” Jon explained. “Scizor and Absol are in there. I have Blaziken, Jolteon and Latios with me.”

    “Victini isn’t going to like this,” Cassandra said. “He still has a bone to pick with Scizor after that battle.”

    “I get it isn’t ideal, using loaned Pokemon,” Jon explained. “But I’d rather be prepared for anything, and I see more situations where you could use three Pokemon than I could use five…”

    Cassandra accepted the reasoning, placing the two Pokeballs on her belt alongside Victini’s black Pokeball, before they continued, letting out their Legendary partners, Latios and Victini.

    “Jon, can you understand me now?” Latios said. His cries were still the same as before, but Jon could understand it completely.

    “I can…” Jon replied, before joking. “Am I going to regret this?”

    “Definitely not!” Latios replied. “This is going to be so good! Maybe we gotta change Alyssa so she can understand me too!”

    “Maybe wait until she isn’t pregnant…” Jon said, wondering if there were any effects on unborn children. “But I didn’t realize you were so talkative.”

    “Was I like this when this first happened to you?” Victini asked Cassandra.

    “No, Latios is just a special breed,” Cassandra laughed.

    “So what do you think this place even is?” Jon asked. “A skyscraper before skyscrapers became cool?”

    The ancient building seemed structurally sound, however did have the odd crack in the floor that Jon definitely didn’t plan on putting all his weight on. The structure itself showed incredible attention to detail, with the bricks that made it being lined up as close to perfect as one could get, and the windows on the walls being near perfectly symmetrical.

    “I don’t know...” Cassandra responded, looking around. “The craftsmanship is incredible.”

    As they wandered through the first floor, Cassandra had a thought.

    “You said you don’t know much of Pokemon mythology,” Cassandra said. “Have you heard the story of the two towers in Ecruteak City?”

    “Not a thing,” Jon asked. “Considering I was born and grew up in Goldenrod, my knowledge of them is pretty abysmal.”

    “Long story short, two towers were built seven hundred years ago, nine stories high, probably similar height to this, to act as the perch for the legendary Pokemon Lugia and Ho-oh,” Cassandra explained. “Unfortunately lightning struck one of the towers a hundred and fifty years ago, and both Pokemon fled, and haven’t been sighted near there since.”

    “You think this might have been built as a perch for Rayquaza?” Jon asked.

    “I wouldn’t be surprised,” Cassandra replied. “In which case, it’s even more disgusting the military are willing to kill it for defending its home. Rayquaza has more right to this place than anyone…”

    The group climbed the tower, going carefully through each floor, making sure to walk where the floor seemed most stable, having a few near misses on the way. They made a point of avoiding the wild Pokemon there, though kept Victini and Latios out for two reasons. The first to allow the wild Pokemon to see they were there with other Pokemon, and also to defend themselves if any attacked. Whilst the pair tried to not worry too much about it, they could hear the murmurs of the Pokemon they passed as they ascended.

    ”What are they? I have never seen Pokemon like them in my life…”

    “Are they humans? What are they doing here?”

    “Are they the ones who attacked Rayquaza? Are they here for another go?”

    Jon went to speak up, before Cassandra grabbed his wrist, and gestured at him to be silent.

    “You’re better off saying nothing, and just letting them do their thing,” Cassandra whispered. “They don’t want your attention. They just want us to go...”

    Jon nodded, as they continued to ascend the building. Finally they reached what they thought was the top floor, with moonlight seeping in through the large entrance to the roof.

    Jon got Latios’ attention, before tapping on his temple, and gesturing to the others.

    “You’re not going to like this Cass, but our priority is to catch Rayquaza as quickly as possible, before it runs, or more likely, kills one of us,” Jon said telepathically to the group call Latios had created. “Can you use a spell to put it to sleep?”

    “That doesn’t sit right with me,” Cassandra responded. “It’s like me walking into your house, drugging your food, and taking you away when you’re knocked out.”

    “I wouldn’t ask if I thought there was a safer way. I know it’d be ideal to try and reason with Rayquaza, but that commercial flight wasn’t in Rayquaza’s territory. Flights have been going through there for years, yet Rayquaza approached it. I think we are beyond talking…” Jon explained. “When we are somewhere safe, I will let Rayquaza out and explain the situation. Beg for forgiveness if I have to. But I have a bad feeling that if we try and reason with it out of the gate, we will be in the same boat as that plane, if not worse.”

    Cassandra was silent before Jon spoke up.

    “I have a home and family to go back to, and I know you do too,” Jon pleaded. “We are doing this for Rayquaza’s sake, and if an underhanded approach means we are more likely to be able to go home after this, then we need to take it.”

    Cassandra thought of Violet, Jarena and the other Pokemon in the Starglade community back home. If anything happened here, and Cassandra didn’t make it home, they’d be waiting until they had to give up hope.

    ”You go up first and start a battle. In exactly 90 seconds, I will come up the stairs, and start performing a sleeping hex,” Cassandra explained. “If this thing is as big as I think it is, I won’t be able to put it completely to sleep, only make it drowsy and groggy, and even then that will take time…”

    ”Thank you…” Jon said, before he tossed Cassandra his watch, and ascended the staircase with Latios, leaving her to watch the countdown tick.

    Chapter 8
    Jon ascended the staircase, Latios in tow, unprepared for what lay ahead of him. As the staircase rounded, and the roof became visible, Jon found himself face to face with the largest, and most dangerous Pokemon he had ever seen. Rayquaza, who had been coiled up, hovering slightly above the ground, now unwound, eyes locked on Jon and Latios, snarling. Jon had to muster every bit of courage he had and ever would have to be able to make eye contact with the large green serpent and not shake on the spot. No words were coming from the noise it made. Just anger.

    Latios floated forward, making eye contact with the Legendary Pokemon that was three times its own size. Right now it was a waiting game, to see who would make the first move, however Jon had used fifteen seconds already, with Cassandra ascending the staircase in seventy-five. He couldn’t wait any longer.

    “Zen Headbutt!” Jon called out, as Latios dashed towards Rayquaza, covered in psychic energy. This move was a win-win, because either Rayquaza would take the hit and be that much easier to capture, or would dodge it, with Latios darting past him and Rayquaza’s attention being drawn in the other direction. Or the slight chance Rayquaza would just go for Jon who stood undefended, and make him his dinner. But Jon tried to avoid thinking about that.

    Rayquaza dodged the attack, darting to the side with its extremely nimble body, and then thankfully turning around to face Latios, as Jon began to jog around to the edge of the battlefield, where he could see both Latios battling Rayquaza, and the opening where Cassandra would emerge.

    Rayquaza let out a deafening roar, as soundwaves blasted Latios, who took the hit, but managed to remain in place.

    “Dragon Pulse!” Jon shouted, guessing he had used thirty seconds already. Another minute they had to survive.

    Latios let out a roar that sounded like a squeak in comparison to Rayquaza’s however managed to hit the larger Pokemon, causing it to cry out in pain.

    The battle was a simple back and forth between the two Pokemon, with both managing to get in hits and dodge incoming attacks. Whilst Latios was trying his hardest, it was obvious this was a more difficult battle than he was used to. Jon could see that whilst Latios was faster in battle than Rayquaza, it wasn’t by much, and Rayquaza had a few quicker hitting attacks. Whilst Latios was a powerful Pokemon in its own right, it wouldn’t be a great deal of effort for Rayquaza to knock Latios out, meanwhile Latios would probably only be able to knock Rayquaza out with a kamikaze style attack in the best of circumstances. Jon breathed a sigh of relief when ninety seconds was up and he saw Cassandra come out of the staircase.

    Cassandra gasped at the size of Rayquaza. Whilst she had heard the roars and the noises of battle, she hadn’t expected it to be this huge. Hoping that her sleeping hex would be strong enough, she held her palms forward, and began chanting an incantation, as Victini stood forward, ready to protect her in case Rayquaza noticed she was there.

    Latios continued to attempt to dodge Rayquaza’s attacks, whilst landing some of his own, but the exhaustion was starting to become apparent in his movements. However, before too long of Cassandra’s incantation, Rayquaza’s movements became equally slow and sluggish, getting slower by the second. Whilst the Pokemon was still extremely dangerous and powerful, the plan was working. They just needed to hold out.

    Rayquaza roared, as Jon heard the first words it had spoken since they arrived.

    “What are you doing to me?!” it roared at Latios, before flicking its tail towards the Eon Pokemon, who quickly dodged it, however as the tail passed, Jon watched in horror as it continued towards him.

    “Jon!” Cassandra yelled, dropping the incantation, before pointing her palm towards Jon and muttering a few quick words.

    There was a flash of light in front of Jon, as the air a few meters in front of him turned into what he could only describe as red stained glass, taking the tail attack, and shattering into dust. However the hex subduing Rayquaza was already starting to wear off, as it turned and saw Cassandra, realizing what had happened.

    It roared again, this time with no words, just pure rage, as it launched a powerful Dragon Breath attack aimed directly at Cassandra and Victini. Victini stood forward, ready to defend its trainer, before there was a loud boom, as Latios darted from the other side of the tower roof, to between Rayquaza and its targets, creating a telekinetic barrier that dispersed the Dragon Breath.

    “I’m going in!” Victini shouted, as it leapt past Latios, using the cover of the dispersed Dragon Breath attack to charge up a signature V-Create. Victini rocketed forward, headbutting Rayquaza, with the full force, before dropping towards the ground, being caught by Latios before Rayquaza would have swallowed him in a single mouthful. Cassandra resumed the incantation, as Latios propelled himself into the air, letting go of Victini at a decent height, before rocketing down to hit Rayquaza himself, drawing its attention away from Victini, who as he fell, was charging another V-Create.

    Rayquaza began to slow again, and before it could attempt another attack on Cassandra, it was knocked to the ground by Victini landing another V-Create attack.

    “Create a barrier!” Victini shouted. “Hold it down!”

    Whilst Rayquaza was attempting to compose itself, it was hit from above with telekinetic barriers. It roared in anger, but couldn’t do anything as the sleeping hex continued to work. Once it had reached its full potency, Cassandra didn’t need to keep muttering the incantation, only hold her palm forward. Rayquaza was still awake, but moving weakly, staring intently at each of the intruders who had subdued it, its eyes darting between each of them.

    Jon made his way over with the Black Pokeball, ready to end this.

    “Have you no honor...” Rayquaza said weakly. “Resorting to such dirty tricks as this…”

    Jon stopped in his place, surprised by Rayquaza’s accusation.

    “I could say the same thing of you attacking that plane last week…” Jon replied. “They were civilians. They did nothing to you.”

    “Jon!” Cassandra said, unimpressed at the way he was talking to Rayquaza, considering they were the intruders here.

    Rayquaza however didn’t respond in anger, instead in surprise.

    “You humans understand me? How?”

    “Let’s just say we walked a little in Pokemon’s shoes,” Jon said. “Cassandra over here actually prefers it.”

    Cassandra rolled her eyes, as Rayquaza looked to her.

    “So you’re the one who doesn’t smell like a human should?”

    “Thanks?” Cassandra replied awkwardly, unsure if that was a compliment or not.

    “Before you capture me, like you humans have done to so many that I know, can I ask why?” Rayquaza asked, though still sounding angry.

    “It is for your sake,” Cassandra explained. “Though I agree humans should have left you in peace, they are now looking to kill you because of what happened with the plane. They are planning on ambushing you, and ending your life.”

    “All we want to do, is make sure you aren’t here when that happens, and make sure you are safe until it is safe for you to return to this place,” Jon explained.

    “This is my home. Do I not have a say in whether I can defend it?”

    Rayquaza’s words hit Cassandra hard, however she didn’t cease the hex.

    “Right now, we can take you with us, and you’re guaranteed to be safe, or we can take you at your word, and risk you being killed for the sake of pride if the humans that come are stronger than you realize,” Cassandra said softly. “You may not like it, but I hope you can understand why we are doing this…”

    Rayquaza was silent, before speaking again, this time in a calm tone.

    “For the sake of my pride, give me the chance to prove I can defend this place.”

    “How do you want to do that?” Jon asked, curious to see how this Legendary Pokemon thought.

    “A fair test of strength, the type you humans seem to be so fond of…” Rayquaza offered. “If you can surpass me in this test, I will come with you willingly, and trust your instructions are for the best. If you can’t, the safest hands are still my own, and you leave this place. You will have earnt my respect by granting me the opportunity, and warning me of the enemies who wish to spill my blood.”

    Jon looked at Cassandra, before speaking up.

    “What do you think?” Jon asked. “I could go either way. On the one hand, we take Rayquaza here and now, no risk. On the other, we grant its request, and if it is as honorable as it wants us to think it is, and we beat it, keeping Rayquaza safe becomes a lot easier.”

    Cassandra considered their options for a moment.

    “Let’s do it,” Cassandra responded. “No witchcraft or tricks, again. It will battle you, and we can go back with a clean conscience and win for the history books… Once we can talk about it and not be thrown in jail.”

    Jon grinned as Rayquaza spoke up.

    “I see the capture devices on your belt too. Are you not a fighter?” Rayquaza asked, as Cassandra released the hex, and Latios and Victini removed the barriers holding Rayquaza down.

    “I am, but not as experienced as Jon,” Cassandra said. “Besides, would us two battling together against you be a fair contest?”

    “You’re going to need that…” Rayquaza said, before roaring, as a flash of light blasted from it, as Rayquaza emerged almost four meters taller, barely fitting on the roof of Sky Pillar.

    Cassandra looked in shock at the even larger dragon, as strong winds began to blow across the battlefield, and Jon smirked.

    “This will definitely be one for the history books…” Jon said. "That’s assuming anybody actually believes us…”

    Jon made his way to Cassandra, as Rayquaza readied itself for the second round, though now seeming to be enjoying the scenario more than before.

    “Welcome to the Eon Academy, lesson one,” Jon said. “Lesson one, we aren’t gonna stand a chance unless we can pull off some team combos, but also are able to handle ourselves on our own when the time arises. Luckily, I have a plan…”

    Chapter 9
    Latios and Victini waited by their trainers' sides, as Jon and Cassandra sent out Jolteon and Absol respectively. They waited for the signal to begin, and when Rayquaza let out a roar that seemed to shake the ground beneath them, they took that as the signal.

    Jolteon darted forward, launching a Thunder attack, which hit Rayquaza, though the Legendary Pokemon didn’t seem to be phased by it. As Rayquaza let out a Dragon Breath attack, it was tackled in the face by Absol, who had slashed with the blade on its head, causing Rayquaza to shriek in pain, as the trajectory of the Dragon Breath attack was knocked off course, missing Jolteon. Rayquaza’s attention was drawn to Absol, who used Protect. So far it was all going to plan.

    ”I am going to have Jolteon hit it with a weak attack first. With all this wind, I don’t think his electric attacks are gonna do much damage,” Jon explained to Cassandra earlier. “I need you to draw its attention. Either Absol or Scizor will work. Scizor has moves that will strike hard and give good consistent power, while Absol is a bit on the slower side, but has enough moves to buy time, assuming Rayquaza keeps going for it. We want Rayquaza to think that Jolteon isn’t a threat, and focus on Absol. Just try and hold out as long as you can.”

    As Rayquaza attempted to attack Absol, Jolteon used Agility, doubling in speed, and whilst the Pokemon was already as fast as Rayquaza, now it was faster.

    “Use Substitute!” Cassandra shouted, as there was a flicker where Absol had been standing, now in his place a doll that looked almost the same, with Absol now out of sight. Without instruction, Jolteon used Agility again, keeping in Rayquaza’s blindspot, though not struggling to do so, with Rayquaza being completely focused on Absol. Rayquaza lashed out with a Dragon Claw attack, slashing at the substitute, before roaring in frustration, before launching another Drahon Breath on the original whom Cassandra managed to command a Protect from just in time, as Jolteon used Agility again, reaching max speed.

    Cassandra ordered another substitute, as Jon called out.


    Jolteon used Baton Pass, as Blaziken now entered the arena, and Rayquaza knocked down another substitute.

    “Jolteon is going to build speed in preparation for the final attack. As long as you can keep Rayquaza off his a** he should be able to build speed and pass it on to Blaziken, but that’s when it gets tricky,” Jon explained. “If Blaziken doesn’t start trying to land hits, Rayquaza will know what’s up. So instead of just drawing fire, time your attacks to hit at the most inconvenient time possible, when Rayquaza is about to hit Blaziken. I need you to frustrate the living hell out of Rayquaza. None of the Pokemon know any moves designed to draw its attention, so you need to get creative. Blaziken will be getting in hits, whilst trying to boost its power.”

    As Blaziken entered the war zone, with Jolteon’s speed, Cassandra gave Jon a nod as she called for another Protect, sparing Absol from taking a potentially match ending hit, as Blaziken leapt forward to hit Rayquaza with a Power-Up Punch. Rayquaza took the hit, barely affected by it, however turned to face Blaziken, before being hit in the face by the Sucker Punch Cassandra instructed. Irritated by the cheap shot, Rayquaza launched a Hurricane attack, which hit Absol directly, knocking it unconscious. Cassandra quickly called Absol back, sending out Scizor, whom she instructed to use Protect, when she noticed Rayquaza’s attention was on the new Pokemon. Blaziken took the opportunity of no attention to use a Swords Dance, as Rayquaza launched another Dragon Claw on Scizor to no avail. Blaziken launched forward with another Power-Up Punch, this time hitting twice as hard as before, drawing Rayquaza’s attention again, managing only to dodge the counter attack with its own uncanny speed.

    “Bullet Punch!” Cassandra called out, as Scizor ducked in front of Rayquaza, hitting quickly with it’s fast attack, and hard with its Technician ability, whilst Blaziken took the moment to use Swords Dance again, reaching peak power output.

    Rayquaza grabbed Scizor with a Crunch attack, throwing him across the war zone, as he landed unconscious and got called back to the Pokeball, Victini rushing forward.

    “When you gotta send out Victini, have him do what he can to have Rayquaza give up on trying to hit him,” Jon said. “I will try and have Latios out as soon after that as I can, but you need Rayquaza to have more reason to focus on Latios…”

    “Double Team!” Cassandra called out, remembering Victini struggling to hit Scizor in her battle with Jon. Rayquaza however didn’t have the advantage Victini did with his Psychic abilities.

    Victini erupted into a multitude of identical apparitions, as Jon called out again.


    Blaziken was returned to the Pokeball, as Latios darted out in a blur, faster than Rayquaza could even hope to comprehend. However, with so many Victini scurrying around at the arena, Rayquaza’s focus was instead on trying to follow Latios.

    ”Is Latios gonna do a big finish on it?” Cassandra had asked.

    “Nope. Victini is,” Jon said with a grin. “When they are on the field together, Latios, you need to keep us all in sync with telepathy. Victini, when you are in Rayquaza’s blindspot, let Latios know. He should be fast enough to pick you up without Rayquaza even knowing he is holding you…”

    There was a flash as Latios dodged a Dragon Breath attack from Rayquaza, darting past him, and quickly snatching up Victini, before ascending directly upwards…

    ”Once you are together, get as high as you can, above the clouds, where Rayquaza can’t see what’s going on, this is where the magic happens,” Jon said, before turning to Victini. “When Cass gives the order, I want you to use a move called Power Swap. This will give you all the attack power Latios has stored up. Then Latios will let go.”

    “I like where this is going…” Victini said with a grin.

    Jon watched as Rayquaza began ascending, trying to chase Latios. Cassandra watched, waiting for the moment that Latios and Victini were out of sight for Rayquaza. Just as they passed a cloud, Cassandra sent the command through the telepathic channel.

    ”Do it now Victini!” She called out, as the sound of manic laughter resonated through their minds…

    ”If all goes to plan, Rayquaza’s attention should be on Latios, which means Victini, you are now in the best possible position to light it up…”

    Jon and Cassandra got the all clear that the swap had worked, as Latios dropped Victini, who waited for Cassandra to give the word. As he did, Rayquaza opened its jaws, as a bright light began to charge, growing by the second.

    “It’s a Hyper Beam…” Jon muttered, preparing to call Latios back to his Pokeball.

    There was a bang, as the white light erupted from Rayquaza’s jaws, shooting up, just missing Victini, hitting its intended target. As Latios fell to the ground, Jon quickly aimed the Pokeball, calling his Latios back, hoping that he wouldn’t have to send Blaziken back out.

    “All on you now…” Jon said. “You got this…”

    As the light from Hyper Beam disappeared, Cassandra shouted at the top of her lungs, seeming to forget they had a telepathic channel.

    “Now Victini!”

    The sky had just darkened again as the light from Hyper Beam disappeared, and Victini called out in their telepathic channel.

    “Jon, you may wanna get your phone out for this…” Victini said, confidently, as Jon quickly fumbled for the phone in his pocket he had in airplane mode, opening the camera from the lock screen, and getting ready to hit the button.

    “I hope you know where the aloe vera is…” Victini said in the telepathic channel, with Rayquaza seeming to react to it as well, indicating Victini had let him in on this.

    “‘Cause this is gonna burn…”

    There was a roar that sounded like fireworks, that started faint, before growing deafening, as Victini exploded into a flaming V in the sky, twice the length of Rayquaza, and rocketing down at immense speed, hitting Rayquaza in the head as they both plummeted to the tower beneath them, hitting it it with a bang as a gush of wind blasted out towards Jon and Cassandra. From the dust, Victini stood up, still on Rayquaza’s head, who was teetering in and out of consciousness.

    “I’m bested…” Rayquaza said weakly. “I stand by my word. My fate is in your hands…”

    Jon looked down at his phone and grinned at the image of the giant flaming V in the sky, crashing into Rayquaza.

    “I can’t believe I got that shot…” Jon said.

    “Let me see!” Victini said excitedly, rushing over to Jon, and climbing up his leg to see the photo.

    “I’m surprised you didn’t bring down the whole damn tower…” Cassandra laughed.

    “Like the weak buildings you humans build now?” Rayquaza asked, seeming almost offended. “This structure has stood tall for centuries, being built to last for eternity by both humans and Pokemon…”

    Rayquaza winced as it seemed to ache.

    “Now please,” Rayquaza sighed. “Let me rest.”

    “Thank you Rayquaza,” Cassandra said. “That is a battle I will never forget.”

    Jon pressed the black Pokeball to the Legendary Pokemon, before putting it to his belt.

    “Well Victini, I really hope Steven can find me a bootleg healing machine for Rayquaza,” Jon said. “Because you did a number on it…”

    “I did every number…” Victini retorted. “But wasn’t that the plan?”

    Cassandra couldn’t help but laugh at her old friend, thankful she got to battle alongside him for such an occasion.

    Chapter 10
    Jon and Cassandra spent the night at Sky Pillar. It was nearing midnight when the battle with Rayquaza ended, and whilst they were chilled by the cold winter air, they had warm clothes and blankets, and flying back during the night would prove to be dangerous with Altaria’s weakness to cold.

    They slept on the blankets they brought with them, as Victini stayed awake overnight, keeping a fire going to keep them warm, before gratefully returning to his Pokeball in the morning for some rest. Once they reached the bottom, Cassandra began the process of turning them both into Altaria, before they began their flight back to Mossdeep Island. They returned to Sootopoolis for a longer rest today, given the horrible sleep they had the night before, much to the delight of the local children, however still made it back to Mossdeep before sundown and the cold it brought, thanks to Jon having a slightly better handle of flying, and having left earlier that morning than the day before.

    When they arrived in the backyard of Jon and Alyssa’s small house, the back door burst open, as Alyssa near tackled them, giving them a hug. Whilst she had tried her best the day before to laugh and not seem too worried, that was to let them know they had her confidence. She still spent the last day scared out of her mind.

    Sfter regaining their human forms, they spent the next hour in the lounge, as Alyssa had them retell every moment from when they left, and fawning over the photo that Jon had got of Victini landing that final blow. However, as much as Jon wanted to relax, he knew he had some business to take care of. He left the room unlocking his phone, and calling the number who messaged him to come out to the chapel.

    “Cynthia, it’s me...” Jon explained. “You mind letting Steven know we pulled it off? We have Rayquaza…”

    “Wait, was that stupid light in the sky last night you?” Cynthia asked. “Everyone for miles would have seen that…”

    “Well, Steven said that the league was gonna fudge the tracking file for Rayquaza? What’s that legendary move it is supposed to know? Dragon Ascent? Has anybody seen it in person?” Jon asked.

    “I will let him know you weren’t as discrete as he liked, but it should be safe. If nobody saw you enter or leave, and they think Steven was locked up the entire time, it should be clear,” Cynthia said. “Good job. I will let Steven know. Rest easy.”

    Cassandra stayed with Jon and Alyssa for a few more days to rest before the journey home. Before she performed the spell to become Altaria again, she said her goodbyes.

    “It was great to see you again,” Cassandra said to the both of them. “I hope this isn’t the last time…”

    “It won’t be," Jon replied with a grin. “I’m calling it now so it has to happen. We will see you again, even if it’s as Cinnamon the Eevee.”

    Cassandra chuckled as Alyssa gave her a hug.

    “He told me you stopped putting Rayquaza to sleep to save him,” Alyssa whispered. “Thank you for bringing him home to me…”

    “S**t, I almost forgot,” Jon said as he rushed inside, coming back out with the white backpack.

    “I know you Pokemon don’t have your worldly possessions or whatever,” Jon started as Alyssa rolled her eyes at his lame humour. “But I figure you can have one. It’s in here. Even if just to prove to Violet and Jarena that your Victini decimated a Mega Rayquaza…”

    Cassandra opened the backpack, to find a photo frame containing the snap from the V-Create that lit up the South Hoenn sky.

    “We both know that wouldn’t have worked anywhere near as well if you didn’t set it up for me,” Cassandra laughed, before placing the frame back in the bag.

    “We know that, but they don’t have to…” Jon said with a grin.

    “Thanks Jon,” Cassandra said, before giving him a hug. “For the photo, for sending Latios out for me, everything. It was stupid and dangerous and I hope I never do anything like that again, but I treasured every second of it.”

    Victini stood next to Cassandra, quieter than he had been in days. He had already said goodbye to Cassandra months earlier, and now it was that time again.

    “Victini, I wanted to yell at Latios when I heard he told someone else what was going on, but I guess I gotta trust him now, because we wouldn’t be here without you,” Jon said, kneeling down to shake the little Pokemon’s paw. “If I could tell the story without being declared an enemy of the state, I would tell everyone I could of what you did.”

    “It was a pleasure working with you...” Victini replied, slightly teary at the goodbyes.

    Cassandra made her way into the spare room, and a few minutes later there was knocking on the door. Jon opened it, as an Altaria waddled out. Jon placed the white backpack on her back, as he followed Cassandra and Victini out into the backyard. He had said his goodbyes now to give them some privacy to say their own. As they walked to the edge of the backyard, Jon called out one last thing.

    “You both know there’s always a place for you here, right?” he asked. “Be it a day or a year, you’re always welcome.”

    Jon wished them the best, before closing the door, and making his way to the lounge, where Alyssa waited for him. He sighed as he entered, and Alyssa walked over, wrapping her arms around him.

    “We’ll see them again,” Alyssa said, trying to reassure Jon. “I’m sure of it.”

    “Even if we don’t, I just hope they’re happy. All of them.”

    A few minutes passed as Jon looked out the window, and saw the Altaria flying away. He made his way to the back door, opening it to see Victini had gone as well, to wherever his travels were going to take him.

    As he closed the door, only one thought was in his mind.

    ”I hope they’ll be okay…”
    Last edited by [Desolate Divine]; 12-30-2022 at 03:03 PM.

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  5. #4
    Actually Prefers Popeyes Kentucky Fried Torchic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by [Desolate Divine] View Post
    Prologue: Off The Books
    Boy, you don't mess around! My initial plan was to review a few chapters at a time, but there was so much packed into this prologue that I had to share some of my thoughts!

    Some people use prologues to lay the groundwork for the adventure to come, to introduce the reader to the characters, or to simply grab the audience's attention by leaving them wanting more. This prologue did all of the above, and instead of whetting my appetite on some intrigue and mystery (although there were shades of that), my experience of "wanting more" came from the explosive battle with Rayquaza! Hopefully I didn't just spoil the prologue, but wow, using a high-stakes, high-octane scene like that to climax your prologue makes me only wonder where the story can go from there.

    Having just come from reading the underlying S.S. Wishmaker RP, I am glad to see further world-building on top of the foundation of elements already laid in that collaborative endeavor. The shady side of the Pokémon Leagues and governments feels very Tom Clancy at times, especially when describing things like unregistered Poké balls, a really cool concept that immediately had me wondering about how they interact with the likes of Team Rocket and Kurt in Azalea Town. Are Aprikorn-based Pokemon balls illegal? The overall shadiness around the League and governments also makes me worry that Steven is too naďve in trusting that he can protect Starglade merely by hiring the right personnel. Institutions have minds of their own, and the more I see the less I trust.

    Also coming off of S.S. Wishmaker, it was a pleasant surprise to see the Diamond Ladies make a reappearance. From the epilogue and the title alone I did not expect them to come back, especially so soon, but the reasons for doing so were clear in-universe. The powerful relationship between Jon and Cassandra was evident in the RP, and it was a treat to see them working and battling together for a common mission. Unfortunately, the cast reunion also hinted that Lance is back and up to his old ways, but, again, the reasoning in-story made perfect sense. Of course the League would use a Dragon Tamer to try and subdue Rayquaza. It wasn't entirely clear to me why the powers that be wouldn't want to tame Rayquaza instead of killing it, but thanks to Jon and Cassandra's efforts that's neither here nor there.

    Speaking of old friends, I always really enjoy Latios. Well, to be most accurate, I should say that I especially enjoy the reactions of other characters to Latios. Even the legendary Pokémon pales in comparison to my real favorite character though.

    One reason why Jon is my favorite character is that he will make the hard choices that need to be made, but always with full knowledge that he will need to make amends for them later. We saw this in S.S. Wishmaker, and we can see it here, too. His initial plan to put Rayquaza to sleep with magic is one of those instances. He is quite ruthless when he needs to be, yes, but moral as well. He can also be persuaded by an alternate plan, such as Rayquaza's appeal to honor.

    The battle that happened between Jon, Cassandra, and Rayquaza was also a nice treat for the audience. The battling showcased was a good blend of game-based strategy fused with a writer's imagination. The quick-thinking and coaching from Jon highlighted again his talents as a teacher, and the rapid fire of the battle culminated in a dazzling finale. Some detail was sacrificed for the breakneck pace, which was an all right trade to make.

    Ultimately, the story has cemented Jon as a profoundly viable protagonist and I'm certainly looking forward to reading more, much more!
    Dreams do come a size too big. It's so that we can grow into them.

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  7. #5
    I came in like a wrecking ball... [Desolate Divine]'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kentucky Fried Torchic View Post
    Boy, you don't mess around! My initial plan was to review a few chapters at a time, but there was so much packed into this prologue that I had to share some of my thoughts!

    Some people use prologues to lay the groundwork for the adventure to come, to introduce the reader to the characters, or to simply grab the audience's attention by leaving them wanting more. This prologue did all of the above, and instead of whetting my appetite on some intrigue and mystery (although there were shades of that), my experience of "wanting more" came from the explosive battle with Rayquaza! Hopefully I didn't just spoil the prologue, but wow, using a high-stakes, high-octane scene like that to climax your prologue makes me only wonder where the story can go from there.
    Glad you enjoyed it! Rayquaza's battle was one of my favourites for the teamwork element of it, but at the same time, things only improve from there, even if the battles that come later are relatively lower stakes at times, the further you get, the more you will find the battles are deeper (with the exception of scenes where there are battles upon simultaneous battles and I just don't have the mental capacity to flesh out as much), especially when you have a battle between two very talented trainers, each trying to outwit eachother.

    Having just come from reading the underlying S.S. Wishmaker RP, I am glad to see further world-building on top of the foundation of elements already laid in that collaborative endeavor. The shady side of the Pokémon Leagues and governments feels very Tom Clancy at times, especially when describing things like unregistered Poké balls, a really cool concept that immediately had me wondering about how they interact with the likes of Team Rocket and Kurt in Azalea Town. Are Aprikorn-based Pokemon balls illegal? The overall shadiness around the League and governments also makes me worry that Steven is too naďve in trusting that he can protect Starglade merely by hiring the right personnel. Institutions have minds of their own, and the more I see the less I trust.
    Good pickup! One of the things I enjoy doing is taking the things that a franchise who largely try to sell to children glosses over/pretends doesn't exist, that adults would wonder about, and flesh them out. The Pokeballs are one example, and another is Jon's comments about his insurance premium going up. Like, what sort of society would allow civilians to carry what we would consider weapons of mass destruction, without asking questions of liability? If my charmander burns my neighbours house down, and I can't afford the damage, what happens then?

    As for aprikorn based-Pokeballs (and I'm making this up on the spot), my guess is that manufacturers making those sorts of more unique Pokeballs would have to get certification, and part of the process would be placing the tech in the Pokeball. In the same way my boss used to make his own trailers for towing various bits of equipment around and whilst legally he could, he was also legally required to stamp the VIN number on the trailer that the state government provided and such.

    As for Steven, in terms of experience as Champion, between himself, Cynthia and Lance he has been Champion for the least amount of time, and honestly, the S.S. Wishmaker was an eye opening experience for him at how government can place their faith in the wrong people. You will see (especially in Season 2 and 5) that this experience in the prologue has changed him.

    Also coming off of S.S. Wishmaker, it was a pleasant surprise to see the Diamond Ladies make a reappearance. From the epilogue and the title alone I did not expect them to come back, especially so soon, but the reasons for doing so were clear in-universe. The powerful relationship between Jon and Cassandra was evident in the RP, and it was a treat to see them working and battling together for a common mission. Unfortunately, the cast reunion also hinted that Lance is back and up to his old ways, but, again, the reasoning in-story made perfect sense. Of course the League would use a Dragon Tamer to try and subdue Rayquaza. It wasn't entirely clear to me why the powers that be wouldn't want to tame Rayquaza instead of killing it, but thanks to Jon and Cassandra's efforts that's neither here nor there.
    You are asking all the right questions! And that last one gets answered considerably later in the story! Season 2 to be precise ;)

    Speaking of old friends, I always really enjoy Latios. Well, to be most accurate, I should say that I especially enjoy the reactions of other characters to Latios. Even the legendary Pokémon pales in comparison to my real favorite character though.

    One reason why Jon is my favorite character is that he will make the hard choices that need to be made, but always with full knowledge that he will need to make amends for them later. We saw this in S.S. Wishmaker, and we can see it here, too. His initial plan to put Rayquaza to sleep with magic is one of those instances. He is quite ruthless when he needs to be, yes, but moral as well. He can also be persuaded by an alternate plan, such as Rayquaza's appeal to honor.
    Latios is always a favorite of mine! He does undergo some development, but ultimately is largely still himself, albeit a bit more fleshed out. Honestly, it started because Latios physically comes off as the strong, silent type given its power and design, even in the anime when it is a bit more cute. Heck, I've had characters in other RPs before with Latios who just fit that category. So I thought "What if I make Latios far less serious and more of a clown?" and it resulted in this!

    I'm glad to see Jon is liked as a character, as I (and I am aware I am my own worst critic) sometimes feel he is just too much of a cliche thirty-something year old white dude who is too much of a jokester whilst also being too willing to throw down. Honestly, I think him opening the Eon Academy is the best thing for his character, as he takes on a teacher, and then mentor role for a while with far less high stakes stuff. It lets him be a normal dude and actually get developed in that sense.
    The battle that happened between Jon, Cassandra, and Rayquaza was also a nice treat for the audience. The battling showcased was a good blend of game-based strategy fused with a writer's imagination. The quick-thinking and coaching from Jon highlighted again his talents as a teacher, and the rapid fire of the battle culminated in a dazzling finale. Some detail was sacrificed for the breakneck pace, which was an all right trade to make.

    Ultimately, the story has cemented Jon as a profoundly viable protagonist and I'm certainly looking forward to reading more, much more!
    Yeah, I get what you mean about detail! Don't worry, there will be far more detailed battles to come, especially as Jon's students (who were referenced but haven't been introduced yet) grow into capable trainers themselves!

    Keen to hear more of your thoughts!

  8. #6
    I came in like a wrecking ball... [Desolate Divine]'s Avatar
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    Another four week gap between episodes, but for a very different reason: It actually took that long, planning so many simultaneous battles and writing them so that they happened at roughly the same time. But Season 5 only has one episode left after this, before the final Epilogues, at which point the main story of the Eon Academy will be finished...

    And there are plenty of things to do between now and then...

  9. #7
    I came in like a wrecking ball... [Desolate Divine]'s Avatar
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    Episode 1: Welcome to the Eon Academy


    Charlotte looked at her watch, as she stood by the closed gate to her new home for the next twelve weeks. The meeting time was 11am on this warm Sunday morning, however she had always had the mindset of ”there is no such thing as on time. You’re either early or late… Being the first to show up was nothing new to her, but she still found herself bored at the thought of the next fifteen minutes waiting, knowing what was coming once those fifteen minutes were up. She had already been waiting fifteen minutes so far, so what was another.

    “Of course you’d be the first person I’d see here...” came a familiar voice, almost groaning. The sixteen year old turned to her right, brushing her shoulder length blonde hair out of her vision, before recognizing the teenage boy calling out from the last tournament she had participated in. The person who made her a runner up.

    “Chris...” Charlotte retorted. “You sure you need to be here? After all, you’re just that good.

    “I never thought I’d hear you flatter me like that,” the fifteen year old replied, as he dumped his own bag by the gate next to Charlotte’s, intentionally ignoring the sarcastic tone.

    “Well you have one over me, so maybe I’m lulling you into a false sense of security…” Charlotte explained. “Make it that much worse for you when you lose to me next time.”

    “Do you two know each other already?” came a new voice, unfamiliar to the both of them, from on the other side of the gate.

    The bickering pair turned to the gate, which was now being opened by someone on the other side. It was a man in his late twenties, who didn’t know either of them, but they both knew who he was. That was the reason they were here.

    Jon Drake.

    “Junior tournaments tend to not have too many people competing. So when you compete in them as long as we have, well, you tend to see the same faces,” Charlotte explained. “Redhead over here has been a thorn in my side the last four years.”

    “Sorry for making you work for that attention you crave,” Chris retorted smugly. “I didn’t ask to get to your level so quickly…”

    “I see...” Jon replied. “I wasn’t expecting to have people showing up so early, but hearing the way you two are talking, it kinda makes sense…”

    Jon opened the gate, before offering a handshake to the pair of them.

    “I’m Jon, but you two probably know that,” he said. “I take it you two are Charlotte Jones and Christopher Kingswood?”

    “Chris,” Chris replied, shaking Jon’s hand. “Nine times out of ten, nothing good comes out of someone calling me Christopher.”

    Jon chuckled, as he shook Chris’ hand before shaking Charlotte’s.

    “Well, I wasn’t expecting people showing up early, but you’re welcome to come through,” Jon explained, as he made his way into the property. The two teenagers grabbed their bags, following Jon through the gate, making their way towards the repurposed monastery, passing a sign on their way through.

    The Eon Academy.

    “So you guys made your own way here?” Jon asked as they walked towards the hall. “You both got signed off when you applied, so there’s no issue, I’m just curious...”

    “My older brother is graduating from college this afternoon,” Charlotte explained. “I managed to convince my parents to let me skip it, but they wouldn’t have been able to fly out from Sinnoh to see me off and be back in time.”

    “Same here. Or at least close enough...” Chris said. “Family have some stuff they are dealing with at the moment, so I came out on my own.”

    “Fair enough,” Jon explained, checking his watch as he opened the main hall. “Well you’re well and truly on time, so I think we will get along well.”

    To the pair of teenagers, and probably any others who showed up, Jon was somewhat of an enigma. He was almost completely unknown until a year earlier, where he managed to take first place in the first High Seas Tournament on the S.S. Wishmaker, from the previously undefeated Cassandra Silvers. Granted, it had been revealed that her and her Diamond Ladies companions had been using witchcraft to cheat up until the semi finals of the tournament, Jon had still managed to take down Cassandra’s Victini, with a Scizor sporting a double type disadvantage, which was a legendary feat in its own right.

    The interesting thing was that Jon had been competing for the good part of the decade prior, and whilst not having the undefeated reputation the Diamond Ladies had, had had some success in the competitive scene, but somehow, very little was actually known about Jon’s time before then. Records of him competing prior to the High Seas Tournament were publically available, but very little footage or profiles existed of him, which just added to the polarized nature of his reputation.

    On one side, there were those who despised him due to a couple of incidents on the S.S. Wishmaker. Namely an attack that he claims was an accident that many felt should have been ruled a foul, as well as an altercation with the trainer he beat in the semi-finals, on top of the damage his Latios had done to the ship. On the flip side, there were those who saw that famous attack as simply an accident, and that he was in his rights to respond to his opponent the way he did, given the fact his opponent started the altercation. And considering Jon paid for all the damages Latios did out of pocket, they figured there was little point in holding a grudge.

    So naturally, when this enigma of a trainer announced he was opening a summer school for teens wanting to improve their battling, teaching the majority of the material himself, it stirred up some controversy. Some said that he was not fit to be teaching teenagers given the circumstances during and after his semifinal match, and seeming lack of control of his own Pokemon, whilst others were for it, seeing his style of battling as a breath of fresh air compared to the culture of relying heavily on type advantages and the almost turn based approach of calling out commands that had permeated competitive battling for as long as anyone could remember. Regardless, spaces were limited, as the first year was almost a demo run for the school, so both Charlotte and Chris, unaware of the other one thinking the same thing, jumped on the opportunity.

    The trio entered the main hall, where Jon flicked the light switch, causing the lights to slowly start warming up and lighting up the room. Whilst the main hall had originally been some sort of chapel in the Academy’s previous life as a monastery, right now, it didn’t look anything like that. The room itself was devoid of the pews that would have probably lined it earlier, instead with a dozen chairs lined up near the front of the room, taking up a very little space.

    Renovations seemed to be partially completed, with most of the walls exposed brick covered with plaster, though sections that were still incomplete were blocked by scaffolding, with only half the room painted.

    Chris looked around the room, surprised at how incomplete the academy was, before being pulled from his thoughts by a new voice, who was thinking the same thing.

    “Wow, I knew this place was a bit in-progress, but didn’t expect this,” said a girl’s voice with a friendly laugh. “Don’t get me wrong, it looks like a big job, just surprised me.”

    “Abbee...” said a man’s voice. “You’re lucky to be here…”

    Charlotte and Chris looked towards the entrance, noticing three figures by the door, however recognizing one.

    “Is that Richard Strauss,” Chris asked Charlotte, who was just as shocked.

    “I think it is…”

    Richard Strauss was a legend of the competitive battling world, and whilst he was now in his fifties, and mostly retired from battling, he was still prominent in the scene, these days working as an author, guest commentator, and occasionally participating in the odd charity match.

    “Jon, it’s a pleasure to meet you,” Richard said as he walked forward to shake Jon’s hand. Jon himself seemed a little starstruck, but quickly composed himself.

    “The pleasure is mine,” Jon explained. “I saw your name on Abbee’s registration, and almost fell out of my chair. If anything, I’m honored you’d let me try and teach your daughter. Speaking of which, I figure this is Abbee, but who is this with you?”

    Jon looked towards the third person to enter the room, a teenage boy who looked a year or two older than the others who had already arrived. He had entered silently, contrary to the others in the room.

    “This young man is also attending the summer school,” Richard explained. “He seemed a little lost, so we all came in together.”

    Jon had a brief look at his list, knowing he was one of two people, however based on his age, Jon had a good idea of who he was.

    “Then I take it you’re Dylan?” Jon asked. Dylan nodded, as he shook Jon’s hand, looking around at the others in the room. As Jon glanced at the young man, dressed in ripped jeans, a faded shirt, with long messy hair, he couldn’t help but feel like he had seen him before.

    “Have we met before Dylan?” Jon asked. “You seem familiar.”

    “I live in Mossdeep...” Dylan explained quietly. “I know I’ve seen you around, so maybe you’ve seen me too?”

    “Yeah that’s probably it,” Jon explained, before turning to Abbee. “It’s a pleasure to meet you too Abbee. I’ll be interested to see how the daughter of Richard Strauss battles.”

    “Don’t get your hopes up,” Abbee laughed. “Dad has been a great teacher, but I never really inherited that instinct that he has.”

    “Well we will see what we can achieve over the summer,” Jon explained. “Dylan, Abbee, welcome to the Eon Academy.”

    Dylan made his way towards the chairs, sitting on the other side, away from Chris and Charlotte, whilst Abbee said goodbye to her dad, before making her way to where the others sat, seeing Dylan sitting by himself and sitting with him.

    Charlotte and Chris continued stirring each other, as Jon gathered the two had been fairly evenly matched for years, with Chris ducking ahead in the last tournament. Abbee on the other hand kept making conversation with Dylan, who seemed like he was completely out of his comfort zone, trying to respond to the slightly hyperactive teenager.

    Jon looked at his watch, seeing it was now past 11, and the last student was now late.

    “You will be happy to know that this room is the last one needing improvement,” Jon explained. “The lodge where you will all be boarding was renovated in the last few months and nearly brand new. The five of you will be living in more comfort than I will be.”

    Before anybody could respond, there was another voice from the door.

    “I’m sorry I’m late!” called out the voice of a young man who was entering the main hall, before slowing down, finding himself distracted by the improvements that were still being made to the large room.

    “Justin, come take a seat,” Jon called out. “We’re just getting started.”

    The blonde teenage boy rushed towards the chairs, sitting in the closest one he could find, directly in the middle of the two duos.

    “So, you will all have a chance to meet each other properly soon enough, but I will introduce myself before we go any further,” Jon explained.

    “My name is Jon Drake. I’m thirty years old, and have been competing for the last thirteen years. I started competing late compared to some of you,” Jon began. “I have completed both the Kanto and Hoenn Gym challenges, however held off taking on the Elite Four because I was a little camera shy at the time. Instead, I participated in smaller tournaments, focusing there, until I competed in the High Seas Tournament last year, and took first place there.”

    “I spent the first half of my life living in Johto, before spending most of my teenage years in Kanto, and relocating out to Hoenn when I was eighteen. I met my wife Alyssa whilst competing, and we have been married for three years, and we just had our first child, Amelia, three weeks ago.”

    Abbee called out with a cheer, much to the embarrassment of Dylan as Jon chuckled at her enthusiasm.

    “Thank you,” Jon explained. “Alyssa and I live in the caretakers house on the other side of the property, so you will probably meet her at some point. But if I do seem like I am falling asleep, it’s because we are sharing a house with a newborn…”

    “And don’t worry, she won’t be keeping you guys up at night. Our cottage is about a quarter mile from the lodges, so you will all be able to sleep soundly, I hope,” Jon added. “But on to the important stuff. You are all here because you want to become better battlers, am I right?”

    There was a general response in agreement, as Jon continued.

    “In my humble opinion, the battling scene has gone downhill in the last thirty years. I was taught to battle by my grandfather, and when he competed, Pokemon battles were a tactical gladiator match, where Pokemon battled using their own skill, making their own decisions. Where Pokemon battled with their own strength and ability, and the role of a trainer was to act more as a coach. Come up with game plans, which they then train their team to enact, identifying their weaknesses beyond simple type advantages, and train them in a way to cover it,” Jon explained. “That’s not to say things are completely different and no trainers think that way anymore, but if I am being honest, the competitive scene has been saturated with trainers whose Pokemon can’t act without direct orders, and trainers who don’t have enough faith in their Pokemon’s ability to battle with a disadvantage to even give them that chance.”

    Most of the students reeled at Jon’s comments, partially because they knew it was true. The first thing any trainer learns is the type match-ups, but a lot of the time, they become relied on to a fault.

    “That’s a pretty massive claim,” Chris asked. “Like, I get you won the High Seas Tournament, but does that give you the right to criticize the way nearly every trainer battles? Even Elite Four and Champions battle that way?”

    “You’re right,” Jon said with a smile. “The only major win on my record is that. But remember what I said earlier? About being a little camera shy?”

    There were nods of understanding as a grin broke across Jon's face.

    “This is as good of a lead-in as any,” Jon laughed. “As I said, I have a newborn at home, and a wife who would kill me if I left her to raise her every day, so I will occasionally be bringing in a guest tutor or two who will be filling in for me. One who has already offered to help, and you will be seeing a lot of is Steven Stone.”

    Charlotte’s eyes widened hearing this.

    “Steven Stone, the Hoenn Champion?” Charlotte asked with great anticipation.

    “The one and only,” Jon explained. “The reason I mention him is that since there was a lot to be said by the media in the last tournament I competed in, and Alyssa and I were wanting to have kids, I decided to take a break from competing. Steven and I met a few years ago, strangely enough, not in a battle, but have become decent friends since then. Part of our weeks is meeting up for a battle once a week and getting a beer after.”

    “And like you two…” Jon said, gesturing towards Charlotte and Chris. “We keep track of who has more wins, and right now it is sitting at about a 60/40 split, my way…

    “If you aren’t as camera shy these days, why don’t you actually make a formal challenge?” Justin asked. “Surely being champion pays more than this place?”

    “It does. But it also comes with all its own bulls**t...” Jon explained. “The regional champion isn’t just the person who is considered the strongest in the region, but comes with responsibilities and expectations. With the league and regional government being so intertwined, being champion means working for the government during times of potential crisis, being a mixture of politician and superhero. That’s why the controversy around Lance on the S.S. Wishmaker was so big, and don’t pretend you haven’t seen that video. I don’t want to be the champion and based on the publicity after the High Seas Tournament, I’m not wanted as Champion. Regardless of battling ability, Steven is much more suited to being champion than I am.”

    Chris’ stomach dropped hearing reference to Lance, as Jon continued talking.

    “What I was getting towards is, in regard to whether I can make the call about what the battling culture is like, I am the winner of the High Seas Tournament, have beaten Steven more often than he has beaten me, and can say with near certainty, that if Lance were in a position to be taking challengers, I would be pretty confident I could beat him. Plus one or two other battles I legally can’t tell you about…”

    The last comment earned Jon some puzzled glances, and realising he had spoken to much, he forced the conversation away from it.

    “So in terms of what this summer will focus on,” Jon explained. “There will be five subjects, plus one on one tutoring, mostly with myself but occasionally someone like Steven will fill in. The five subjects are Tactics and Strategy, where we will hopefully teach you to look at a battle and see more than Fire beats Grass, then Practical Training, where you will put what you learn there to the test. There will be Raising Pokemon where you will learn how to raise Pokemon, and figure out how to identify the best way to do that. Not every Pokemon has books on how to raise them, especially Legendary Pokemon, so you need to be able to understand how to identify what these Pokemon need and how to provide it. Then there is Trainer Career where you learn the business and PR side of competing professionally, something I would have benefited from learning at your age, and lastly there is Pokemon Knowledge. There are nearly 900 identified Pokemon and counting, and our goal is for you to learn about each and every one of them.”

    “Wait, all of them?” Abbee asked in shock.

    “Think of it this way. Legendary Pokemon have that little information that it's not going to take long to teach everything we can find out about them. Between the rest, we will be focusing on evolution families. Most of them are in groups of three, and you are only really going to be battling the final evolution most of the time. Then you have forked evolution lines like Oddish or Poliwag, and even crazy ones like Eevee,” Jon explained. “If you do the reading on each of them before classes, and pay attention, you will be surprised at how much you pick up and how much it helps. Whilst I hate the idea of battles hingeing on type matchups, you would be stupid to not use them when you can, and being able to identify an opposing Pokemon’s types could be the difference between a win and loss.”

    Jon picked up the clipboard he had placed on the chair behind him, which contained an envelope for each student, containing a map of the academy, their timetable, and their room key, handing one to each student.

    “Classes start on the hour, starting at 9am. Because you are a small group, you will do all of your main classes together in the one room, so it’s only a matter of showing up on time at 9am. Classes will start with or without you at 9am,” Jon explained. “This isn’t like high-school or summer camp. Each of you are here because you want to be here, so it’s up to you to make the most of it. Under normal circumstances, I won’t be repeating myself, so if you show up late and miss out that is on you.”

    Jon glanced around, wondering if any of his new students needed to hear this in particular.

    “Fact is that even though you are all still minors, consider this a taste of adult life. Breakfast and lunch aren’t served to you. There is a kitchen that is well stocked next to the common area to prepare your own breakfast and lunch, organize your own snacks, and I will provide dinner for you all. Nobody is going to wake you up for breakfast or classes, so if you wake up at 8:55 and miss breakfast, that is on you. Classes run until Period 3 which ends at noon, and then you have an hour for lunch. You can make yourself something for lunch in the morning, and have the whole hour to relax, or you can arrange something during your break. I will leave that with you,” Jon continued. “After lunch, two of you will have an hour rostered for one on one training with me. Everyone who isn’t rostered will have a free period. Consider this your time to catch up on anything you may have missed, arrange to train with someone else who has a spare, or get ahead on readings for next class. Or, as I said earlier, don’t. You will only get out of this summer what you are willing to put in. I’m not going to force you to spend every free period studying, and would encourage you to take a break every once in a while.”

    “You are allowed to spend your free time outside of the academy as long as you are in pairs, but must remain on the premises between 9pm and 5am. Look out for eachother and don’t do anything stupid. Any questions?”

    The room was silent, the teens shocked at the amount of freedom Jon was giving them, before Jon spoke up.

    “Well in that case, it's half past eleven now. I will take you to the lodge to find your rooms, get some lunch and get settled,” Jon explained. “At 1pm, I want you all to meet me at the outdoor training ground with your Pokemon for our first session.”

    “What session?” Justin asked, looking at his timetable. “This has no classes on Sunday?”

    “Consider this a Session 0,” Jon replied with a grin. “I gotta see what I’m working with here before the real training begins…”


    “Geez, Jon is near impossible to read,” Abbee said as she walked into the common area, where Charlotte had made herself comfortable a few minutes earlier, lounging on one of the couches. Both of them had spent a bit of time taking a look around their rooms, however found little reason to stay there. The lodge itself seemed like a large manor, with common areas on the ground floor, with the accommodation on the first floor.

    “I think I’ve got a bit of an idea about him,” Charlotte started, before there was a crash from the adjacent kitchen of pots and pans falling.

    “Sorry!” Justin called out with a slight laugh. “I wanted to see how well stocked this kitchen is and bumped something.”

    Justin made his way out into the common area, before collapsing onto a nearby couch.

    “So what’s your read on the guy? He seems like he wants to make a joke one second and is dead serious the next,” Justin asked.

    “In all honesty, I think he is just someone who hasn’t got much tolerance for bulls**t or having his time wasted,” Charlotte explained. “He’s right, nobody is forcing us to be here. So if we half-a** it, and go home getting nothing out of it, why should he lose any sleep over it.”

    “She’s right,” Abbee agreed. “Why should he bend over backwards for people who don’t wanna be here?”

    “Because we’re paying him? A decent amount…” Justin explained, before speaking up again. “Sorry, a decent amount for us.”

    Charlotte noted the tone in his voice as he made that last comment, before sitting up to see how Abbee would respond.

    Abbee looked over at Justin, before responding.

    “Well if the amount you paid to come here is really that damaging, and you want that to go to waste, then by all means, go for it,” Abbee explained as Chris entered the room. “He told you exactly how to make the most of this summer, and anyone with half a brain could do that, so everything that happens next is on you.”

    “What’s going on?” Chris asked Charlotte, noticing the tension between Justin and Abbee.

    “Lateness here ran his mouth because being told he needs to put in some effort to have this summer mean anything got his panties in a bunch,” Charlotte explained bluntly, causing Abbee to chuckle.

    “Look, I’m just saying the dude could afford to chill out,” Justin explained. “We aren’t all teenage delinquents.”

    “Then prove it,” Abbee said. “We probably have to get moving to make it to the training ground in time. You ready?”

    “Is that a serious question?” Justin asked. “It’s Day 0, how hard can it be?”

    The other three looked at one another before laughing.

    “What’s so funny?” Justin asked, feeling like he was missing something.

    “Should we tell him?” Chris asked the other two.

    “Nah, he has it under control,” Charlotte retorted, though struggling to keep the laughter to herself.

    “Guys, seriously, what do you know?”

    “The reason we are going out there is so he can gauge where we are at…” Abbee started, hoping Justin would figure it out…


    “Well that means we are going to battle…” Abbee continued, starting to feel bad for him.

    “Goddamn Justin…” Chris said, starting to sound concerned.

    “There are two ways this could go down,” Charlotte explained. “Either we all battle him, so he can see where we are at first hand. Or we battle each other…”

    “Battling each other doesn’t sound too bad…” Justin replied, hoping that was what happened.

    “Except there are five of us, so even if we do pair off, someone is probably going to battle him…” Abbee explained…

    “Oh f**k…” Justin muttered, causing Charlotte to burst into laughter.

    Abbee looked at the time, before realizing Dylan hadn’t come out of his room.

    “You guys go ahead, I’m just gonna get my Pokemon from my room,” Abbee explained, before making her way down the hallway. As the others left she could hear Justin starting to freak out about the one in five chance of having to battle Jon on the first day.

    Abbee walked down the hallway, passing her room, and stopping by the one next to hers. The one she saw Dylan enter before.

    “Hey, Dylan,” she called out as she knocked on the door. “If we don’t head out now we will probably be late.”

    There was silence for a few moments until the door opened, and Dylan stepped out. Without saying a word, he closed the door behind him, making his way towards the exit, Abbee slightly confused at his silence, before following him out.


    “So you all probably gathered that you will be battling each other today,” Jon explained, as Abbee and Dylan joined the rest of the group, making it just in time. “Some of you might have even realized that we have an odd number, so I will need to get in on the action…”

    “Oh no…” Justin muttered, before realizing he had actually said it out loud.

    Jon chuckled.

    “To keep it fair, we will draw for it,” Jon explained, pulling out five playing cards. “Here I have two hearts, two spades and a joker. You will all pick a card, and that will determine who battles who. Hearts will battle one another, as will spades. Joker on the other hand, will be up against me.”

    Jon held out the five face-down cards, before speaking up.

    “So who’s up first?”

    Charlotte and Chris, both stood forward, eager to be the first, with Chris getting just in front of Charlotte, getting a card first. Charlotte grabbed the second one, with Dylan moving forward to get the third.

    “You want to go first?” Abbee asked, noticing Justin was pale as a sheet. “If the joker is in there, you have a 50/50 chance of not getting it if you go first.”

    “You know that won’t make a difference…” Justin replied, as Abbee shrugged, picking a card, leaving Justin to grab the last one.

    Once they all returned to their places, Jon spoke up.

    “Can the two trainers with a spade please step forward,” Jon asked, as Charlotte revealed her card. Chris chuckled to himself as he revealed his own matching card.

    “This will be interesting,” Charlotte said. “Time to show everyone that that last win was a bit of a fluke…”

    “Keep dreaming,” Chris laughed.

    “Save it for the battle,” Jon said. “What about the two trainers with a heart?”

    Dylan stepped forward silently, as Abbee sighed, stepping forward.

    “Sorry Justin,” Abbee said quietly.

    “Don’t be…” Justin replied equally quietly.

    “So that means I’ll be battling you Justin,” Jon said with a grin. “Lucky…”

    Jon had the group clear the space where the trainers would be battling, setting up Chris and Charlotte up for their battle, with all of the group, bar Justin who was holding off a panic attack, watching with great anticipation, given the amount of tension between the two trainers that had been shown since they arrived.

    “It will be a 3 Pokemon Battle. Both of you select a Pokeball, but don’t let the Pokemon out,” Jon explained. “Under normal circumstances, if the other person has their Pokemon out first, go ahead and give yourself the advantage, you’d be stupid not to. But I want to train you to be able to get a good start in any match, regardless of the set-up…”

    Charlotte did what she had done last time she was about to battle Chris, analyzed his team, trying to figure out her strongest lead. She knew he had a Charizard, Kingdra, Dragonair and Gabite. Eventually she chose a Pokeball containing a Pokemon she knew should decimate Charizard on any day, but had learnt a trick that Chris hadn’t seen yet, which would wreak havoc on his whole team, though his Gabite could pose issues. That and all of Chris’ Pokemon were male. Either way, for a leading Pokemon against him it was her best bet.

    Chris selected a Pokemon, before Jon called out.


    Charlotte pressed the button on her Pokeball, as a light emerged, materializing as a Luxray on the field, who saw Chris, and snarled, remembering losing to him last time. Chris pressed the button on his, revealing a serpentine Pokemon. Dragonair.

    “Brilliant,” Charlotte thought to herself, as Chris called out a command.

    “Dragon Tail!” Chris shouted, as the Dragonair leapt forward, flying through the air towards Luxray, darting from side to side, preparing to dodge any counter attacks that may come from its target. However Chris found himself confused by Charlotte and Luxray’s reaction to this, or lack thereof. Usually Luxray would be launching powerful electric attacks…

    When Dragonair was nearby, Charlotte finally called out a command.

    “Play Rough!”

    Luxray lowered itself to pounce, as his tail began to wave excitedly. Once Dragonair launched its attack, flipping forward to strike Luxray with his tail. Luxray pounced, taking the attack, but also launching one that was more effective against Dragonair.

    Luxray grabbed Dragonair with his strong jaws, biting down to hold it in place, but not hard enough to do any damage, before shaking his head, swinging the dragon type around like a Houndour with a stuffed toy. When Luxray finally let go, Dragonair was thrown into the air, and hit the ground hard, unable to battle.

    Irritably, Chris called back Dragonair and was torn as to which Pokemon to send out next. Gabite would be immune to Luxray’s attacks, however was less experienced in battle and lacked the strength Charizard did. Charizard on the other hand was stronger than Gabite, but knew a Ground type move or two, but was more at risk of Luxray’s electric attacks.

    In the end Chris went with the riskier option, having faith his Charizard could take down the Luxray. He pressed the button on his Pokeball, sending out his starter Pokemon, the Pseudo-Dragon flying into the air.

    Charlotte grinned to herself, knowing what was coming. Her last battle against Chris ended with humiliation, as his Charizard pulled out an Earthquake, taking out her type-advantaged Luxray. Something she didn’t want to happen again, so had prepared for.

    “Fly up in the air, and circle above it!” Chris called out, as Charizard began to ascend, similar to their last battle. One of the issues with Earthquake was that Charizard needed to make contact with the ground, the closer to Luxray, the more damaging it would be, but in the air, it would be harder for Charlotte and Luxray to pick where the attack was going to come from. This was how he beat her last time.

    “Charge!” Charlotte called out, as static electricity began building around Luxray. This would power his next attack up even more.

    “Earthquake!” Chris called out, as Charizard descended, darting in different directions to throw Luxray off. Last time he did this, Luxray used a Thunder attack that missed, given the inaccuracy of it, and how nimble the target was.

    “Discharge!” Charlotte called out as Chris’ stomach dropped. This one was new.

    Chris watched in horror as unlike last time, where a single, powerful bolt of lightning was launched from Luxray, the ground was torn up as electricity was launched out in every direction, making it impossible for Charizard to dodge. Normally it was a weaker attack than the targeted electrical attacks but the Charge was enough to power it to well beyond what a Thunder attack would have done.

    Charizard hit the ground, creating the earthquake attack, knocking Luxray unconscious, whilst taking the full force of the Discharge and falling unconscious himself. Both trainers were now calling back their Pokemon, however Charlotte had a significant advantage and they both knew it. Chris had two Pokemon left, and Charlotte knew what they both were. And she had a Pokemon with a type advantage against both of them.

    “Go Roserade!” Charlotte said with a grin, as Chris silently sent out his last Pokemon for the battle, Gabite. Whilst he had a Kindgra as well, in this environment, Kingdra would be at a significant disadvantage, even though it was more experienced and physically stronger than Gabite.

    “Leech Seed!” Charlotte called out, as Roserade launched a cluster of glowing seeds towards her target, which made contact before exploding into a cluster of thorny vines, tangling around the Gabite. Whilst Gabite’s movement wasn’t impeded, the seeds had taken effect.

    “Dragon Claw!” Chris called out, as Gabite lunged forward, slashing at Roserade, who took the attack, staggered slightly before sapping health from Gabite, and following her next order.

    “Grassy Terrain!”

    Roserade held the two roses on the end of her arms against the ground, as long grass exploded from the earth beneath them, powering Roserade’s grass moves.

    “Another Dragon Claw!” Chris commanded, as Gabite lunged forward and slashed again, with Roserade taking a second consecutive hit, before having his health sapped again. At a guess, Gabite was still at three quarters of its energy, with Roserade teetering on half. One more attack could possibly put Roserade down, however Chris had seen this strategy before. Next move would be a glass cannon attack. Something like Leaf Storm, to do big damage, but had a higher chance of missing, especially since Charlotte still has one Pokemon left. Chris called Gabite back a little, waiting to see how Charlotte would move, and reacting to that.

    “Magical Leaf!” Charlotte called out, as Chris grinned. Magical Leaf was a low level Grass-attack, which was guaranteed to hit, that Roserade had used when it was still a Roselia. It would barely leave a scratch on Gabite…

    “Push through it, and hit it with a Dragon Rush!” Chris called out, as Gabite lunged forward, ready to take the full force of the weaker Grass type move, and finish of Roserade.

    Except that wasn’t what happened. Instead, the swarm of glowing leaves was over twice the size it was when Chris had last seen it used, striking Gabite hard, and knocking it to the ground. Whilst it still had a small amount of health, Leech Seed quickly finished the job, sapping it and leaving Gabite unconscious.

    “What the hell?” Chris asked in shock.

    “Well I’m flattered,” Jon said with a laugh as he stepped forward to face Charlotte. “You spent a lot of time watching my battles in the High Seas Tournament, didn’t you?”

    “Perhaps…” Charlotte replied, a little surprised he knew those were some of his strategies that she adapted for her team.

    “What did she do?” asked Abbee, trying to piece it together.

    “Firstly, she found herself in the same situation I did against Ethan Caldwell. An electric type trying to take out an airborne opponent, but managed to take it down better than I did back then. Then the battle between Roserade and Gabite used some strategies from both my match against Ethan and Cassandra.” Jon explained. “Correct me if I’m wrong, but you let your Pokemon take attacks from a Pokemon with a type disadvantage, to buy time to strengthen your Pokemon, and then used Roserade’s Technician ability to take a weaker move that was more likely to hit, and use it to finish the battle. That it?”

    “Pretty much.” Charlotte explained. “Though it was a mix of that, and trying to not make the same mistakes I did last time Chris beat me.”

    “So your battling history informed your decisions?” Jon asked, as Charlotte nodded. “What about you Chris?”

    “Yeah, I did as well,” Chris replied. “Last time we battled Charizard dodged Luxray’s attacks and took it down with an Earthquake. That and I hadn’t seen Magical Leaf used since before Roserade evolved, and back then it didn’t hit anywhere near as hard…”

    “Well you’ve both done one thing well,” Jon explained. “Whilst typings played a large role in how you battled, they weren’t the be-all and end-all, which is what I want to see. However, Charlotte, I’d suggest using the buff strategy earlier in the match. You could have quite easily adapted it to beat Dragonair, and had Roserade hold its own against the other two as well, and saved Luxray for a bit more of an emergency. Chris, it’s good that you’re taking note of what has worked for you in the past, but your downfall was relying too much on it. Charlotte, I presume you knowing his team is why you opened with Luxray? You’re going to have plenty of time to come up with new strategies and put them to the test over the summer. I’d be focusing on that.”

    Charlotte gleamed at the victory and the praise, whilst Chris hung his head a little at the embarrassment. Charlotte managed to beat him, with only one fainted Pokemon to show for it. Considering how supposedly evenly matched they had been for years, this was a shock.

    Charlotte called back Roserade, as the ground returned to normal with the Grassy Terrain now no longer active, as Jon called the next pair up.

    “Abbee, Dylan, you two are up next. Show me what you got!”

    For Jon, this was the match he was most interested in seeing. The daughter of the famous battler, Richard Strauss, who was here because her father claimed to have taught her all she knows, against Dylan Squier, the one who had said a total of two sentences since his arrival. To a degree, Dylan’s reserved nature reminded him a lot of himself at that age.

    “You two know the drill. Choose a Pokemon, but don’t let it out until I say,” Jon explained. “Be creative.”

    The duo both selected a Pokeball, as Jon called out.


    Abbee let out her first Pokemon, Ariados, as Charlotte made a quiet shriek at the sight of the metre tall arachnid. Dylan sighed, realizing he had made a mistake in his Pokemon choice, before sending out his Sceptile.

    Jon couldn’t help but grimace at the significant disadvantage Dylan had out of the gate. He didn’t want to be the sort to write the match off this early, but based on Dylan’s reaction, he had already done the same.

    “Double Team!” Dylan called out, Justin, Chris and Charlotte surprised hearing him speak, as Sceptile split into multiple apparitions, only one being the real deal. Jon thought to himself that he’d have done the same in those circumstances, remembering the battle against Victini. He had renewed hope that Dylan could save this.

    “Sticky Web!” Abbee called out gleefully, as Ariados launched the aforementioned web all over the ground beneath Dylan’s side of the field. Whilst the apparitions were still there, they were all now slowed down.

    “Now Toxic Spikes!” Abbee called out with more excitement, as Ariados began littering the battlefield with yet another hazard.

    “Dual Chop!” Dylan commanded, panic becoming more prevalent in his voice, as Sceptile attempted to move forward through the difficult terrain. Abbee said nothing, as Sceptile landed the attack on Ariados, however Abbee took that moment of exposure to give herself the advantage.

    “Cross Poison!” Abbee called out, as Ariados slashed at Sceptile with its fangs, hitting a weak spot, causing extra damage, especially with Ariados’ Sniper ability. Sceptile went down, as Dylan called it back to it’s Pokeball.

    Dylan sent out his next Pokemon, as a Walrein materialized on the battlefield in front of him. This Pokemon too however was also slowed down by the web, and unlike Sceptile, got caught up in the toxic spikes, leaving it poisoned. Dylan cringed, as Abbee didn’t hesitate in making her next command.

    “Sucker Punch!”

    Ariados darted forward, launching itself into the air towards Walrein, as Charlotte jumped at the sight of the spider Pokemon moving so quickly. With one of its front legs, it slashed at Walrein who took the hit, not overly phased, before retaliating.

    “Icicle Spear!” Dylan instructed, as Jon watched, eager to see where this went. Icicle Spear could hit twice, three times, or if Dylan was lucky, four or five times, which could be enough to put Ariados on the ropes.

    Two spears were launched before the attack ended, causing some damage to Ariados’ but far from what was needed to put it down, as Walrein cringed at the poison doing damage to its insides.

    “Leech Life!” Abbee said, as Ariados lodged its fangs into Walrein, and the energy began to drain from it, leaving Ariados looking refreshed.

    “Icicle Spear again!” Dylan called out, trying not to show how panicked he was.

    Walrein launched another attack, this time with four spears hitting Ariados, who took the attack hard, but still clung on to the large Pokemon, fangs draining its strength, as it took more damage from the poison.

    “Keep leeching!”

    Walrein slowed, as Ariados continued the attack, before finally letting go, leaving the exhausted ice type to try one more time.

    “Again!” Dylan called out frantically. Jon watched in anticipation, knowing that this matchup could go either way.

    Walrein launched a final Icicle Spear, this time with only two spears hitting, before collapsing on the brink of unconsciousness from the poison, struggling to stay awake, as Ariados scuttled awkwardly towards it, also feeling the exhaustion.

    “Fell Stinger…” Abbee said, as Jon realized what she was doing.

    The attack hit Walrein, knocking it out, which caused Ariados’ attack power to double. Now Abbee just had to finish off one more Pokemon, and she would have a near perfect victory.

    Dylan sighed, as he called back Walrein, before sending in his final Pokemon, Flygon.

    “Oh crap...” Abbee muttered when she realized that Flygon was not going to be affected by the arena traps Ariados had set earlier. Which meant that Ariados was now slower, and severely exhausted from the last fight.

    “Dragon Rush!” Dylan called out, finally feeling a little more confident that he may be able to take one of Abbee’s Pokemon down.

    “You gotta hit it first with Leech Life!” Abbee cried out, as Ariados launched itself into the oncoming Flygon, attempting to dig its fangs in before it took enough damage to fall unconscious. Ariados was thrown back by the attack, as everyone watched in great anticipation.

    Abbee thanked her lucky stars when Ariados stood, more energized than before thanks to managing to land the Leech Life in time. Meanwhile, Flygon was looking exhausted, having taken the attack. Both Pokemon were launching heavy attacks, with the next one to take a hit to be the one to go down, however Flygon had a significant advantage in speed. Abbee needed something more than just a big hit. Like what Charlotte did before, something that will focus more on getting a hit in than just hitting hard.

    “Earthquake!” Dylan cried out, however Abbee was equally quick to command.

    “Sucker Punch!”

    Ariados leapt forward, slashing at Flygon, causing it to crash to the ground, as Ariados remained standing.

    Dylan called back his third Pokemon, looking at the ground in embarrassment.

    “Abbee, you did really well,” Jon explained as he stepped forward. “Some words of advice though, arena hazards are great, but if someone has the right Pokemon, they can be removed, and some Pokemon, like Flygon, are unaffected by them.”

    “It’s always tempting to try and get a single Pokemon win, but had Dylan been a little luckier with those Icicle Spears, Ariados would have been knocked out, and now if your hazards are removed, they are gone for good,” Jon continued. “Consider finding a way to remove Ariados once the hazards are out, and using another Pokemon that can take down the opponent in less hits. Then if they remove the hazards, Ariados can bring them back.”

    “I’ll see what I can do,” Abbee said cheerfully, as she called Ariados back to its Pokeball.

    Jon made his way to Dylan, as moved to the sidelines.

    “I think the thing that did the most damage in there was your nerves,” Jon said, putting his hand on Dylan’s shoulder. “It seemed like you already had accepted defeat the moment you saw the first match up?”

    Dylan nodded silently as Jon continued.

    “I think you had the skill to put up more of a fight, and maybe even win there. You just need to learn to cope a little easier under pressure,” Jon said,.“We will work on that in one on one training. Sound good?”

    “Yeah…” Dylan replied, sounding defeated, as Jon turned to face the group.

    “Come on Justin, you and I are up…” Jon called out with a grin.

    “I know, but you better not be using Latios…” Justin retorted jokingly as he made his way to the other side of the field, really trying to cover up how nervous he was in the face of this battle.

    “Well, even in junior tournaments, there are no rules about using Legendary Pokemon, so you may end up battling a Legendary outside of here," Jon explained. “But no, I will hold off using Latios.”

    Both Jon and Justin selected a Pokeball, before the match began.

    Jon sent out his Blaziken, as Justin breathed a sigh of relief, sending out Greninja.

    “Chris, you mind doing the honors?” Jon called out.


    “Hydro Pump!” Justin called out. He knew there were a total of sixteen Pokemon that weren’t Legendary or Mega-Evolved that were quicker than Greninja and Blaziken wasn’t one of them. Regardless of its strength, Hydro-Pump should decimate it. It should…

    “Protect!” Jon called out with a grin, as Blaziken blocked, creating a barrier to negate the attack fully.

    “You can’t do that forever!” Justin called out.

    “I don’t need to…” Jon chuckled, as Blaziken began to glow for a second.

    “Oh s**t…” Charlotte muttered from the sidelines realizing what Jon had done. This ability was on display during his High Seas Tournament matches. Speed Boost. Blaziken might have been slower out of the gate, but all it needed was one turn to wind up faster than Greninja.

    “Endure!” Jon called out, as Justin instructed another Hydro Pump.

    Blaziken took the full attack, forced to kneel on the ground, however glowed again as its speed increased, but managed to stand again.

    “Reversal!” Jon called out, as Blaziken lashed out, using a fighting move that's power was relative to the energy of the Pokemon using it. With Blaziken now on the bare minimum, Reversal was one of the most powerful moves, equivalent to Self Destruct.

    Greninja crashed to the ground like a ragdoll as Justin called the Pokemon back, sending out his next one. One even faster than Greninja. Ninjask.

    Jon could see his reasoning behind it, but it was too late. Blaziken was already well and truly faster than Ninjask. However there was one guaranteed way to finish off Blaziken, though Jon was unsure if Ninjask could. He would give Justin the chance to do it, though if he didn’t do it now, chances are he either can’t with Ninjask, or doesn’t know how to…

    “Double Team!” Jon called out as Blaziken disappeared, and a number of apparitions appeared around the arena, with Blaziken being amongst them.


    Ninjask began to dart around, gaining speed itself, more so than normal with its own Speed Boost Ability, making it faster than Blaziken.

    “Dual Wingbeat!” Justin called out, causing Ninjask to launch two blades of air at Blaziken, missing and hitting one of the copies, as Jon commanded Blaziken to use Double Team again, knowing the chances of it hitting were now shrinking drastically, regardless of speed.

    “Again, Dual Wingbeat!” Justin shouted, hoping for another hit, but expecting the worst, as it hit another copy.

    “Double Team one more time!”

    From there, a cycle began. Ninjask attempted to hit with high damage moves, missing Blaziken, before taking a hit from a Power-Up-Punch, dealing both damage and empowering Blaziken’s attack, with both Pokemon getting faster and faster, until both were nothing more than a blur.

    After the fifth Power-Up Punch hit, Ninjask went down, with Justin calling it back and sending out his final Pokemon. Lucario.

    “High Jump Kick!” Justin commanded, as Lucario leapt into the air at an impressive height.

    “Protect!” Jon called out, as Blaziken prepared to take Lucario’s first hit. The Pokemon crashed into the barrier, leaving Blaziken unscathed and Lucario with recoil damage.

    “Drain Punch!” Justin called out, hoping to restore Lucario’s energy, however missed, hitting one of the copies.

    “Mirror Move.”

    Blaziken leapt out, copying the move Lucario would have used against it, hitting it with a solid punch and draining its energy. Lucario hit the ground unconscious, as Blaziken stood, now with most of its energy regained.

    “Goddamn…” Justin muttered as he called back Lucario.

    “So what I saw from that,” Jon began. “You have a solid understanding of your Pokemon and their strengths, particularly their speed, and how to do big damage under normal circumstances. Truth is that any one of your Pokemon could have taken Blaziken down with one, possibly two moves that aren’t necessarily big hitters, but have side effects…”

    “Wait, what?” Justin asked, trying to think over the moves his Pokemon knew.

    “Blaziken got the upper hand over Greninja because of its Speed Boost ability. But Greninja knows a move called Role-Play, which would allow it to borrow that ability, which would have kept Greninja faster. Blaziken only was able to pull that Reversal trick because it had the upper hand on speed,” Jon explained. “As for Ninjask, you managed to get that upper hand back for speed which was great, but could have used Aerial Ace, which would hit regardless of how many copies there were on the field. Lucario had the most difficult time with it, as by that point Blaziken was powered up, but if it could land a Quick Attack or Extreme Speed, Blaziken would have gone down before it could land a hit.”

    Justin's jaw dropped as he realised that every single one of those tactics would have beaten Blaziken near effortlessly, having used Jon's tactics against him.

    “We will work on this over the summer,” Jon explained, before turning to Abbee. “I think you two would benefit from training together. Abbee, you could do with focusing more on dealing some damage and less on arena hazards and buffs, and Justin, you could do with using some of Abbee’s tricks to give yourself an edge before you go all out.”

    Jon looked over the five young trainers who had all just battled. Abbee and Charlotte seemed fine, whilst Dylan, Justin and Chris seemed pretty downcast.

    “Don’t stress too much about this. The whole point of being here is to improve. Use this as motivation to make sure when we do the same thing on the last day, we are all better going forward,” Jon explained, before checking his watch. “It’s 2pm now and dinner is at 6pm. I’m a hopeless cook myself, but Alyssa is pretty great at preparing meals, so I’m gonna relieve her of newborn duties, and she’s agreed to prepare dinner for tonight. Take some time to get comfortable, and get to know each other, and be in the dining room at 6pm.”

    There was a general acknowledgement, though some of the people involved were less than enthusiastic given the show they had just put on, as Jon waved goodbye and made his way to the small house in the distance on the edge of the property.

    “Well s**t…” Chris muttered as Jon walked into the distance.

    “You’re telling me?” Justin asked. “I don’t know what’s worse, the fact he decimated my team with one Pokemon, or that he made it sound so easy for me to have taken that damn Blaziken down…”

    “Don’t worry too much about it,” Abbee said, trying to reassure him. “Any one of us would have wound up in that position if we drew the Joker, and anyone who says otherwise is a liar. In all honesty, I would be interested to see him battle Dad...”

    “I just wonder how he was able to set up that sort of test for me after a single attack...” Justin wondered.

    “Sometimes one attack is all you need to see how a trainer thinks,” Charlotte explained. “Same went for Abbee, I could see nothing was going to be straightforward the moment she put out the Sticky Web. Really, I am seeing more after this, what he was saying about not just relying on type advantages but really thinking outside the box.”

    “Look at you, being all studious on Day 0,” Chris jeered jokingly.

    “Well if you want to beat me next time, you’d better do the same and catch up,” Charlotte retorted as Abbee choked back a laugh.

    “What about you, silent type?” Justin asked Dylan, who hadn’t said a word since his match. “What do you think of all this?”

    Abbee’s attention was caught as she waited to hear what the shaggy haired boy had to say.

    “I don’t know,” Dylan replied, before turning, and making his way towards the lodge. “I’ll just have to get better.”

    ************************************************** ************************************************** *****

    As the clock reached 5:45, the young trainers, bar Dylan, sat in the lounge of the common area, each in their own little world. Abbee sat on a couch with her Eevee on her lap, putting a brush through it’s already tidy and brushed fur, while Charlotte sat next to her with her tablet open, watching replays of some of the bigger League matches. The one on screen was Steven Stone against a trainer from Littleroot Town, though according to interviews, lived in Johto prior, called Brandon. Whilst Steven had won that match, Brandon didn’t make it easy for him.

    On the chair opposite, Chris had a guidebook open for the Hoenn Region, that listed which wild Pokemon appeared in which area, whilst Justin sat on the floor against the wall, playing some sort of game on his phone.

    The sounds of Abbee’s Eevee, and the battle highlights on Charlotte’s tablet was interrupted by the sound of a door opening, and someone making their way towards the dining room.

    “Suppose that’s dinner?” Charlotte asked, closing the video, and placing her tablet on the coffee table, before making her way towards the source of the sound, with the others in the room not far behind her.

    Whilst they expected to see Jon there, they were slightly surprised to see a woman in her early thirties setting the table with plates from the cupboard nearby.

    “Hey, you guys must be Jon’s students,” the woman asked. “Someone mind giving me a hand?”

    “Sure,” Abbee replied, before passing her Eevee to Chris, who acted like he had never held a cute Pokemon in his life, as she made her way to the cupboard to help the woman set the table.

    “I’m Alyssa, Jon’s wife,” the woman said, before pulling a hair-band out of her pocket, and tying her light brown hair back. “We’d have both come for dinner, but it took Jon three hours to get Amelia to have a nap, and she is going to be asleep for a while, so he decided to stay with her.”

    “I’m surprised he was willing to start the Summer Program, considering how young Amelia is?” Charlotte asked. “Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad he did, but he would have been pretty justified in waiting another year.”

    “He offered to, but I could tell he really wanted to get this started,” Alyssa laughed. “He had the idea a year ago, and has been full-steam ahead getting it running. I think waiting another year would have driven him insane more than the lack of sleep is going to…”

    Alyssa placed down a few plates before realizing something.

    “I’m sorry, I come in here and ask for help, and don’t even ask you your names,” Alyssa said apologetically.

    Everyone quickly introduced themselves, with Abbee being the last.

    “There is also Dylan, but he tends to keep to himself,” Abbee explained. “I’ll go get him now, if dinner is almost ready.”

    “That would be great,” Alyssa replied. “Jon would just say it’s his responsibility to make it for meals, but from what I’ve heard you all had a pretty big afternoon. And I’m sure Dylan would rather have a familiar face than some strange woman knocking on his door.”

    Chris chuckled at Alyssa’s remarks, as he passed Abbee’s Eevee back to her as she walked out.

    Abbee could hear the rest of them chatting as she climbed the stairs, making her way to Dylan’s room, knocking on the door.

    “Hey, dinner’s almost ready...” Abbee called out. “And Jon’s wife is here to meet us.”

    There was the sound of movement in the room, before the door opened, and Dylan walked out, still silent, though slightly surprised to see the Eevee.

    “This is my Eevee,” Abbee said proudly. “Haven’t got a nickname for her, or chosen what to evolve her into, but for now she seems pretty happy.”

    The Eevee cried happily, as Dylan gave her a scratch behind the ears, and the pair made their way downstairs to dinner in awkward silence, much to Abbee’s distaste.
    Last edited by [Desolate Divine]; 12-31-2022 at 01:50 PM.

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  11. #8
    I came in like a wrecking ball... [Desolate Divine]'s Avatar
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    If it interests you.

  12. #9
    Cheers and good times! Neo Emolga's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Desolate Divine View Post
    @Neo Shaymin @Noblejanobii @Chakramaster

    If it interests you.
    That was great! Definitely nice to see Jon and Alyssa have their storyline arc continue in this way and to see this great new batch of characters come into action. I'm curious to see how each of these teens learn and develop over time and if they follow Jon's advice. I'm sure a few of them will, but the setup sounds like at least one of them (not going to say who) may find it too challenging and may get too discouraged. We'll see, though, it's a neat setup and there's plenty of interesting directions it can take.

    I also like the way the RP was referenced and incorporated into it, where you didn’t need to have been a part of it to get into this story, but it adds that extra bit of appreciation if you were.

    All great stuff, dude!

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    The Queen of Shaymin
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    This is so great thus far! Can't wait to see more!
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