Twisted Paths, Forgotten Pasts

Chapter 16

Ash woke up with a start, breathing heavily. He blinked several times before remembering where he was and why. "Pikachu?" He called out, looking for the electric mouse.

"Kachu." He hopped onto the bed and sat beside the human, scratching an ear idly.

Ash stretched his arms then slowly slid out of bed. A sudden thought came to his mind and he turned to the little pokemon curiously. "Hey, Pikachu? How come you never speak in English if you have the ability?"

Pikachu blinked, surprised at the question. "Not used to it." Was his short reply. Then he added, in pikachu, "Besides, it's such a horrible language."

Ash laughed then picked up the little pokemon. They'd been together for what seemed like forever to him, and had grown so close that Ash was sure nothing could come between them. "I'm going to take a shower, you watch TV or something."

"Pika!" The pikachu agreed as Ash set him down then handed him the TV remote. As soon as Ash disappeared into the bathroom, he started flipping through the channels, looking for something to watch. He had finally settled down on one show when he heard a sound from Sorrow. Black tipped ears standing up, he turned to look at the black furred pokemon that was curled up in a corner.

She was shivering, although it was extremely warm and humid in the hotel room. Her little black nose and ears quivered, and her eyelids fluttered, showing that her eyes were moving wildly beneath them. As she curled up tighter, Pikachu ventured cautiously to her on all fours.

"Pika?" He stretched his neck so that his nose was only a few inches away from her own.

Her eyes flew open, glowing with an evil red. Barring her teeth, she growled, then lunged at the pikachu, who managed to dodge her. Her fur was raised, and something seemed... wrong about her. With another furious growl, she lunged at him again, the electric mouse escaping by leaping onto the bed and running across it to the bathroom.

Ash heard a scratching noise on the bathroom door and frowned. What was wrong with Pikachu? He zipped up his jeans and was about to put on his shirt when he heard the pikachu yell. When he flung open the door, a blur of yellow ran between his legs and hid under the sink. Ash turned to look at his friend when he felt something sharp sink into his ankle. Looking down, he found... Sorrow? attached to his ankle... Her teeth had sunk right through the fabric of his jeans and his skin.

Wincing, he bent down, grabbing her head and then using his thumb and the finger next to it to pry open her jaw as he had learnt from a Nurse Joy. It wasn't the first time he'd had a vicious pokemon sink it's fangs into him, but it was the first time one that he had befriended bit him... Lifting her up by the scruff of her neck, she surprised him by thrashing around wildly and attempting to bite him again. Her red eyes were glowing despite the fact that the room was lighted, and her charm had started emitting that black light again.

Somehow she managed to bite his hand and he dropped her. She scurried back into the room, and he followed her, but she had disappeared. He closed the bathroom door, locking pikachu in.

/You shall die, Guardian of Akira./ A lifeless voice filled the room. Ash couldn't tell if it was male or female, but he could tell it had evil intentions. The lights in the room went out, and Ash suddenly felt very, very scared, as terrified as was possible. /You should be scared, guardian. Your ancestor Lial may have escaped me, but I shall kill you./

"K...Kill me?" Ash swallowed nervously, stumbling to the side of his bed and fumbling around for his sword.

/Yes, kill you. You're nothing but trouble. I must prevent the prophecy from coming true./ If it were possible, the room seemed to get darker, and Ash felt very small and vulnerable. But Pikachu was safe, or at least, he hoped the electric mouse was safe...

He found his sword and grasped it tightly, feeling an electric energy pulsing through his veins and into the blade. "I... I'm not g...going to let you." He stuttered, trying to be brave. He had to stop the...thing... from getting to Akira by killing him.

/You're not going to let me?/ The voice laughed, but seemed to consider something. /Why don't I challenge you to a duel then? Then at least you shall die an honorable death./


/Yes, a duel./ A light appeared above him, and Ash realized they weren't in the hotel room anymore... It was just... an area? He didn't know how to describe it... Nothing but darkness all around, there was a light that only allowed him to see a little, and there wasn't anything to see.

Sorrow walked out into the light, then collapsed, whimpering a little. A black and red mist came out of her lightning charm and settled in front of Ash, slowly taking a human form. When it was done, Ash gasped, for it was...for lack of a better choice of words, beautiful beyond belief.

He was still not sure whether it was male or female, but that changed nothing about its appearance. Long silvery hair flowed down its shoulders and its back, nearly reaching it's feet. It's eyes were an eerie, but lovely shade of red ,and it had a slim, muscular body clothed in a black silk tunic and pants. A slight smile lay on its angular, androgynous face, as it picked up a sword that lay at its feet. "Ready to fight?" It asked in its new voice. Richer, and full of more life, but it still sent shivers down Ash's spine.

Ash closed his eyes, shaking his head for it wasn't right to be distracted by the looks of his enemy... He was going to fight it, ignore what it looked like. He held his sword even tighter and settled into a fighting stance. "Ready." He replied.


Their swords clashed together as they both charged, then danced aside, avoiding the other's thrust. Ash realized that his chances of surviving were very slim, as his opponent was extremely skilled. He narrowly avoided fatal stabs many times, but the 'creature', for lack of a better definition, managed to get through his defense and injure him.

It didn't take long before the pokemon master started to tire. He was breathing shallowly, and his forehead was coated with sweat, his hair plastered to his face. Yet the creature looked just fine... It smirked, noticing Ash's fatigue, and prepared to kill him and finish the meaningless battle.

Sorrow, however, had a slightly different agenda. She picked herself up, standing on shaky legs, then staggered to where the other two were fighting. She made it within a few feet of the battle, and then growled at the creature, who looked at her with a daintily raised eyebrow.

"You dare defy me, little one?" It asked, completely ignoring Ash. "Very well, I'll have to kill you too." It raised and arm and held it up so the palm faced the growling hybrid. A dark beam started to gather, and just as he shot it at her, Ash leapt in the way, taking the shot that was meant for the pokemon. He fell to the ground with a heavy thud, and his eyes were closed. He was barely breathing, and blood flowed freely from the wound on his chest.

Sorrow rushed to Ashs side. She nudged him gently with her nose, but he didn't stir. Consumed with fury, she looked at the creature that had been controlling her and started to gather power to break the bond between them. /You have used me long enough!/ She thought angrily to herself as she snapped the link between them. Before the creature could try and regain control over her, she and Ash disappeared, returning to the hotel room.

The wounded pokemon master lay on the bed, still unconscious, and Sorrow didn't know what to do. She wasn't psychic, so she had no healing powers... Leaping onto the bed, she started licking his cheek, hoping to wake him.

" I?" He asked as he opened his eyes. "It...hurts..." Ash coughed, closing his eyes, trying to block that pain.

The little pokemon whimpered. She had to do something, anything! She had to save Ash... She couldn't bear loosing him.

"You can save him." A bright feminine voice told her. "But it means going back to your helpless state for a while."

She seemed to shrug, as if saying that she didn't mind.

"I was hoping you'd agree." The voice replied. "Place your paws on his chest and concentrate. It will hurt, and you will be unconscious soon after you're done, but he will be healed."

The hybrid nodded, then followed the directions. She saw and felt a white flash of pain, nearly screaming, but unable to do so as the pain was too great. For a moment she stood on him, eyes unmoving, and then she toppled over, her mind blank again.

In his mind, Ash was having what he would later describe as his 'realest' dream ever. It was dark, like where he had fought, and it was red. He could still feel the pain and practically taste the blood that was leaving his body. And he felt another presence in his mind.

/Who are you?/

A teenage girl stepped in front of him, smiling brightly. She had angular red eyes, short black hair and beautiful light brown skin. /Thank you for saving me, it's my turn now./

Suddenly he felt... he felt a warm, loving touch, and the pain vanished, but so did the woman. Puzzled, Ash searched for her, but eventually drifted into a separate dream. The kind that normal people tended to have...


Sajoya banged on Ash's hotel room door. She'd been checking on him for over an hour, but she hadn't been answered each time she went, and she felt something bad happening in there. The others had gone out without her a long time ago, so she couldn't ask anyone to knock the door down for her, and she didn't dare use her powers for fear of being sensed.

She decided to check for the thousandth time whether the door was really locked, and to her absolute surprise, it opened! She ran in, finding Ash sleeping on his bed. He was only half dressed, missing his shirt, and he was covered in sweat and... was that blood? She quickly checked him for a wound, but there was none, so where was the blood from?

Shadow lay by his side, also fast asleep, but there was no sign of the pikachu. "Pikachu?" She called out, searching the room.

"Pika!" She was answered from that bathroom, followed by frantic scratching. She rushed to the door and opened it, and the pikachu ran up to the bed, jumping up and attempting to wake Ash up. "Pika-pi! Pikachu pika!"

Sajoya picked up the pokemon and hushed it. "He'll be fine. Sorrow healed him. She used some of her life energy to heal him..." She looked at the little pokemon in awe. To do that usually meant spending weeks, sometimes even months in a deep, dark coma. It was often called the 'Ultimate Sacrifice of Love' as one had to care very much for someone to risk using that way to heal him or her. "Come on Pikachu, he needs his rest. We can go get something to eat, and you can have all the ketchup you want."

With black eyes, he regarded his sleeping friend, and then the blonde lady that held him, finally nodding. "Pika."


Sajoya closed the door to Ash's room, having just checked him for the hundredth or so time in the last ten minutes. So absorbed in her thoughts was she that she didn't realize that Jay stood ing in front of her until he tapped her shoulder.

"Something's bothering you."

How Sajoya wished he wouldn't look at her with those sad eyes... She felt so guilty, that it was her fault that he had to go through so much pain in his life. "Nothing's bothering me."

He laughed suddenly, and lifted and eyebrow. "You lie just about as badly as my creator, something is bothering you and I deserve to know. You were put in this team to help me in place of Jyp, and even though there's no way the bond between us could be as strong-"

/You got that right.../Jyp mumbled in Jay's mind.

"-I don't want there to be any secrets kept between us. We should be able to trust each other with our lives." He looked at the door to Ash's room for a moment. "The lives of everyone in our team are our responsibility, and we need to share it evenly. The last few days have been rough for us, and I'm sorry if I was being too stubborn, but from now on, we have to cooperate!"

/I raised him well.../ Sajoya thought to herself with her eyes downcast, finding the carpet on the floor extremely fascinating.

"Look at me Sajoya."

She lifted her eyes and sighed. "Fine, I'll cooperate with you. What is bothering me is how Sorrow knew to use the 'Ultimate Sacrifice of Love'... It's not something people know about these days, especially a pokemon as young as herself, no matter how rare. Either she's not what she seems, another being interfered, or both. All three of those possibilities are a little disturbing."

Jay nodded slowly, now understanding her uneasiness. "Look, what we know is what we know, and we can't help that. For now, we're just going to have to keep our guard up, okay?" He smiled.

Mentally wincing, Sajoya cursed herself for being responsible for his unbeatable charm, and for her being so easily won by a warm smile. Against her will, she smiled at him, and her eyes brightened. "Okay."

/Did Jay just do something right? Call the press!/ The growlithe managed to manipulate Jay's mind into displaying an image of him rolling his puppy eyes.

/Shut up Jyp.../


Akira watched Jay and Sajoya separate and disappear into their rooms after discussing something. From what she could tell, there wouldn't be all that many fights anymore, which was a good thing, as she wasn't very fond of conflict, not that it showed through her temper...

"Hey, what're you doing?"

She spun around, surprised to see Garis looking at her curiously. He held a cold compress to his forehead, and his eyes seemed a little tired.

"Umm, I was just..." "Spying on Jay and Sajoya?" He supplied helpfully, with a slight smile on his face.

Grinning, she relaxed. "Yeah, kind of. Where's everyone else?"

"Good question." He leaned against the wall, thoughtfully looking up at the ceiling. "Rosc might still be touring around, Kevin and Taie are probably..." Here he coughed. "Busy. Gary's off being a proud pokemon master and showing off his champion venusaur, Sarina is..." He trailed off, looking at Akira now. "Why isn't she with you?"

"She's taking a nap in our nice, air-conditioned room." Kira grinned, remembering her sister's horror at having to be in such a warm climate. Although Sarina was not half ice like her husband, she was still more used to cooler climates, both in her past, and in her present life.

"Hmm, I thought so." Sighing, Garis straightened, taking his weight off the wall. "I'm guessing I should go pack. You guys are all so uncomfortable with this weather, andI think it might be a good idea for us to leave as soon as possible."

She smiled. "You're pretty thoughtful for a guy." She remarked. "I think I'll just go... bug my sister's guardian, if I can find him."

Garis grinned, reaching over to ruffle her hair. "You haven't changed one bit, Kira." And he turned and left. She watched him leave, the went off in the other direction, taking the elevator downstairs, then disappearing out of the hotel.

Akira knew that she shouldn't be wandering around by herself, because of who she was, but she was bored, and who was going to hurt her in Ralaos of all places? Plus, there was a festival going on! Now that was something she was not going to see just any other time, and while they were there, they might as well enjoy it. Besides, she had Rika with her.

"Gary!" She spotted the young pokemon master sitting down at a bench and speaking to some young teenagers, probably new pokemon trainers. One of them was proudly holding a little oddish, and the others were obviously jealous of her.

"Akira?" Looking up, he noticed her coming toward him, and started to look around for the others, finally realizing that she was alone. "What are you doing out here by yourself?" He asked, the crowd of kids forgotten.

"Well, everyone's busy... And Ash got attacked by something, so Jay and Sajoya have their hands full."

Gary moaned, running a hand through his spiky hair, then turning to the kids. "Maybe I'll see ya around some other time. And that's a nice oddish you have! Now scat!"

Laughing, the kids ran off, excitedly talking to each other.

He turned his attention back to Akira. "Ash got attacked? Then that's exactly why you shouldn't be out her by yourself!" Standing, he started to look around, examining the crowd that had gathered. "I guess that while we're here, we might as well enjoy what's going on, but you're sticking with me, okay?"

Sighing, she wondered whether finding Gary had been such a good idea. Like Jay and Ash, he was instinctively protective of her. "Okay. Now come on! We're missing the fun."

"Where do you want to go?" He asked, allowing her to lead him through the hoards of people.

"Anywhere." She replied. "Oh, look! A little drink stall!" Grabbing his hand, she directed him to it, and they bought two of the strange little fruit drinks. "Mind if we sit?"

"No problem." Gary replied. /If she's anything like Sarina, I might as well just let her have her way.../ He noticed a little area with shaded chairs. "Over there maybe?"


They sat down, quietly sipping the drinks, and enjoying the fact that the sun was no longer beating down on them. Chasing after an ice-cube, Errol got under many feet, but thankfully caused no one to trip.

"So, Kira, finding Ash okay as a guardian?" Gary had to admit, he was curious about how Akira felt about Ash, seeing as how Ash felt about her... Had she even noticed? Probably not... Gary noticed that she seemed very, well, sheltered. Datil really must have been one isolated place to grow up...

Kira smiled, thinking fondly of the pokemon master. "Ash is really nice, very watchful of me... Kinda like Jay." She grinned. "His pikachu's adorable too!"

On her shoulder, Rika, who had been mostly half asleep, snorted softly, and Errol stopped pursuing his ice-cube long enough to look up and maybe be noticed. He liked attention, and he felt he deserved it more than pikachu. With a dainty sniff, he went back to the little block of frozen water.

/So she doesn't think of him more than a friend... Interesting./ Carefully choosing his words, Gary spoke again. "So, you don't see him as more than a friend then?"

"Well, kind of like a brother really." She replied.

Mentally, Gary sighed. /Extremely sheltered! And she probably hasn't really had any experiences with love in this life.../ "I mean, would you ever consider dating him?" Gary said bluntly, hoping that this would go through.

She nearly choked on her drink. "Date Ash? But, that's like incest almost! He's my Guardian though, I don't think it's right to think that way about him. He's my friend and that's it." For some reason, and image of Calisin popped into her mind, and her heart raced a little faster.

Slightly disappointed, Gary decided to stop prodding her about the Ash matter. "Are you done? There seems to be some sort of gathering over there, I wanna go check it out."

Curious, Akira looked over her shoulder, and noticed a small group of people, small compared to the hundreds of people at the festival, and nodded. "Yeah, I'm done." She threw her paper cup away into a conveniently placed garbage can, then followed Gary over to where the people were. They pushed their way through the crowd, finally reaching the center of it, where a scantily dressed, well, more scantily so than your average Floreisan person, young woman was dancing. Along with here were a fearow, a persian, and a venusaur. They were all beautifully decorated, and they 'danced' a long with her, to the beat of the drum that a man about the woman's age was playing.

Suddenly, the music stopped, the dark brown haired woman fell to her knees, the bells on her ankles and wrists tingling. With hypnotic movements, she slowly rose, swaying seductively, her eyes cast to the sky. She started twirling then, her eyes still gazing at the blue sky, and her arms raised. At first, she spun slowly, but then the music started again, and with the beat, she spun faster and faster. People started throwing money into the clearing, and the pokemon set to gathering. Gary shrugged, but threw in some money anyway, curious to see what would happen.

When the pokemon were done collecting the money, the music started to slow down, and the girl eventually stopped twirling, standing unsteadily in the middle of the gathering.

"I predict..." She started to say, her eyes still looking upwards, although she spoke to the people. "I predict that something great is going to happen, something that will change the lives of all humans and pokemon!" A collective gasp rose through the crowd, but they hushed for her to continue. "The Firsts shall return, and they shall right what is wrong with our poor world!" A shudder spread through her body. "But chaos is returning and order is missing. Here, she stopped, lowering her head and sighing. "Anyone want their personal predictions?" She asked.

The group of people who had watched her immediately formed a line, and Gary and Akira immediately left, looking for something else.

"Interesting, huh?" Akira commented, looking back to the fortune teller.

"Very. Well, it seemed to have been partly in our favor though!" He ended cheerfully, or rather, hopefully.

/She could have been more specific though. She was too vague.../ Rika complained.

"Hmm, well..." She trailed off, having spotted something new. "Ooh! Over there!"

/Here we go again.../ And Gary allowed himself to be towed off.


"That's not the point! You could've gotten hurt, or lost, or something! Maybe kidnapped! Or worse, what if someone from the other group had found you? What would you have done then?" Sajoya turned her attention to the dratini on her shoulder. "You should have been more responsible too! Why didn't you say anything?"

Wisely, the dratini remained silent.

"I agree with Sajoya." Jay added, speaking up for the first time. "Never, ever go off like that again! You had us worried sick! At least tell us where you're going next time!"

Akira realized that she shouldn't have gone off like that, and that what she had done was wrong. But damnit, did they have to yell at her like that? "Just shut up! I don't need you guys acting like my parents or something! I can bloody well take care of myself, I don't need you scolding me like a little thirteen year old every time I do something wrong!" She stamped a foot. "A little lecture, or a simply 'Don't do that again' is enough! I'm an adult, I know when I've done something wrong! I found Gary, alright? I had him with me for practically the whole time! Yes something could've happened to me, but nothing did! I'm not gonna do this again because I'll never be able to! I'll always have Ash or Sarina or someone with me! I never get any quiet time anymore, and when I do, it's because you guys aren't telling me anything and I'm sulking. Even my thoughts aren't private anymore!" Frustrated as she could possibly be, Akira unwrapped the dratini from her neck and handed her to Sarina. "I'm going to my room to sulk some more! Alone!" And she stomped off, leaving everyone else stunned.

"Should...I go check on her?" Ash asked. "I mean, I'm her gua-"

"No." Sajoya replied. "Let her be. She needs to think this over on her own. Sarina, you can sleep in Taie's room tonight."

Sarina nodded, knowing that now was not the time to protest.

"It's been a long day for all of us, let's just go to sleep." And with that, the blonde-haired woman left Ash's room, where they had all gathered.


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