Disclaimer: All characters, settings, and related material are the property of their respective owners, Pokemon character names are trademarks of Nintendo. All characters in this story are above the age of consent. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.
Chapter 26 - The Final Match - Ash vs Ritchie!
The morning of the final match between Ash and Ritchie played out more or less quietly. Both contestants shared a quiet breakfast with their respective girlfriends before making their way to the arena. They briefly spotted one another in the hotel’s lobby, but no words were exchanged as they merely gave one another a determined nod.
As quietly as the morning had been for Ash and Ritchie, quite the opposite was true for Max and Misty…
Max hadn’t said a word to Misty. Last night they had made love, she out of a desperate need to forget about Ash and he mostly out of a desire to help, though he couldn’t deny he had started to develop some feelings for the Cerulean redhead either. Those awakening feelings of love had been thoroughly extinguished though, when Misty cried out Ash’s name as Max had brought her to orgasm. It had hurt him terribly and he hadn’t spoken to her since, spending the day of rest in between the match he lost and the final match alone. Upon waking up and remembering the night before, Misty had attempted to apologize, feeling a mixture of embarrassment and shame for what she had done to the poor boy. When Max refused to respond to her apologies, she had yelled at him, telling him to stuff it. The rest of their resting day Misty had spent as far away from Max as she could, swimming laps in the local swimming pool.
This morning however, she couldn’t ignore Max when she saw him lying in bed, still asleep. It wasn’t so much about the boy himself though; it was the Pokemon egg he was sleepily cuddling in his arms.
The egg had a pure white color, featuring a red vertical stripe in the middle and it was about the size of Max’s head.
“What the hell?! Max, wake up, wake up!” Misty cried out, causing Max to jolt awake, cringing as the sunlight hit his unprepared eyes.
“Hmmm? Wuzzat?! What’s the matter with you Misty?” He mumbled as he tried to snuggle back into a comfortable position.
“It’s not about me Max, look what you’re holding!” Misty responded irritably. Groaning, Max reached for his nightstand and grabbed his glasses, putting them on his eyes focused on the egg in his arms.
“WHAT THE HELL?!” he cried, utterly shocked. “H-how did THAT get here?!”
“You tell me, you’re the one cuddling it like a teddy bear!” she snapped, earning herself an annoyed look from the young boy, which she instantly regretted. She wasn't in the mood for apologizing though and she was grateful when he didn’t pursue the subject and focused on the egg instead.
“Do you have any idea whose it is?” she enquired in a more gentle tone. “What about Absol?”
“No… it can’t be hers… She’s only been pregnant for a few weeks. According to Nurse Joy it’ll take at least another month before she lays her egg.” Max mumbled, his brow furrowed in thought.
“I have no idea how or why it got here, but I’ve got the strange feeling that I’m the one who’s supposed to have it…”
“Really?” Misty asked incredulously. “Could I take a closer look?” the Cerulean redhead asked curiously.
“Erhm… I think so…” Max obliged, but as soon as the egg left his touch he started to doubt his decision. Something within him seemed to yearn to be close to the egg, to keep it in his care and his care alone. He blinked his eyes rapidly as he thought he saw the egg twitch ever so slightly when it left his touch. The movement had been minuscule though, if it had been there at all to begin with. But still, the yearning feeling remained and he wanted to take the egg back as soon as possible.
In turn, Misty suddenly felt an overwhelming feeling of unease when she inspected the egg in her hands a little closer. As curious as she had been a few seconds ago, the moment she actually held the egg in her hands it just felt… wrong!
“Ergh… I think I get what you mean, Max!” she grimaced while eyeing the egg with a newfound suspicion. “It just feels… wrong, somehow… for me to hold it.”
Before the feeling got any worse she quickly handed the egg back to Max. Instantly, relief swept through her and she noticed Max visibly relaxed when he had the egg back in his arms again.
“Wow… that was weird.” Misty mumbled, giving the egg a wary look. “Somehow, holding it just felt wrong…”
“You felt it too?” Max gasped. “To me… it felt as though handing over the egg was the worst decision of my life! It… it made me physically sick almost.”
“That’s so bizarre…”
After pondering the situation for a few moments, she gingerly asked, “What are you going to do with it?”
“Well… For now, I’m going to keep it. Oh! I know! Maybe Professor Oak could tell us more! Remind me to ask him after Ash’s battle, okay?”
“Oh, sure… Speaking of which…” she clicked open her Pokegear to check the time. “We’ve got just over an hour to go before the battle starts. If you want to get a good breakfast, I think we’d best be going now!”
“Oh, right! Let’s go then!” Max exclaimed brightly. Misty watched him bustle about for a minute as they got dressed and ready to go. She hadn't seen the boy this happy ever since they had made love. Ever since she broke his heart... Again, she felt guilt embrace her heart as she pulled on a yellow t-shirt. Determinedly, she vowed she would find a way to properly apologize, but until then she couldn't help but feel happy to see Max's in such high spirits again.
Together they left their hotel room, the bright white egg firmly embraced in Max’s arms.
About an hour later, Ash and Ritchie had made it to their respective dressing rooms while their friends had found their seats in the stadium. For Max, this would be the first battle he would witness from this side and he was impressed by the sheer size of the arena. Somehow, it had seemed smaller when he had stood there himself.
“So, Iris… I hear you and Ritchie hit things off yesterday!” Dawn cried out triumphantly as the girls took their seats.
“What?! What makes you say that?” Iris asked awkwardly.
“Well, for one, you’ve been having this glow around you since yesterday… It’s unmistakable, you’re in love!” Zoey added in, having recognized Iris’ unusual behavior. The redheaded coordinator knew she had acted the same around Dawn the first few days after they got together. Iris rolled her eyes, giggling with the other girls anyway.
“Okay, I admit! We’re together! He asked me out and now we’re dating… Happy now?”
“You bet I am!” joked Zoey, having won her bet as Dawn slipped her a 10 dollar bill. They all laughed at this, save Misty, but even she couldn’t help but show a faint smile.
“So, Iris… Now that you’re Ritchie’s girlfriend and all… Who are you going to cheer for when the battle starts?” May asked with great interest. In return, Iris merely giggled, “I’ll cheer for both of them of course!”
“I figured as much…” May mumbled, eyes downcast. “I guess I’m the only one making a fuss over who I should cheer for!”
“Oh, come on May! I’m sure nothing would’ve changed had you cheered for Max instead. Ash loves you a lot, you know.” Iris reminded her, causing her to smile.
Suddenly, the stadium around them exploded in cheers and the two girls directed their attention back to the arena center.
“They started! Come on Ash, you can do it!”
“Show him what you’ve got Ritchie!”
Down in the arena, the fight between Ash and Ritchie had started with a bang. Both trainers had chosen their starter Pokemon as their first combatant, pitching Pikachu against Pikachu in an electrified battle. It was a sight to behold, both electric types were speeding across the arena faster than the human eye could see. Wherever they met, a small explosion of lightning crackled and a small crater appeared in the ground. No matter what they both tried, neither Pikachu could land a special attack on the other, their speed and dodging skills were simply too great.
“We won’t get anywhere if we can’t hit him…” Ash grumbled. “Looks like I’ll have to take some risks… Pikachu! IRON TAIL!”
“Sparky, you as well!” Ritchie cried out from the other end as both of their Pokemon raced towards each other. With brightly shining tails they twisted around in mid-air before colliding causing a huge white explosion. Ash had to shield his eyes from the sudden wall of air pressure and when the dust had settled he was stunned to find both Pikachu and Sparky still standing.
The two Pokemon had their paws interlocked and were pushing against one another in an effort to break their opponent’s balance. Lightning erupted from their red cheeks and the look in their eyes confirmed they were in it for the win. Whatever bond of friendship these two Pokemon shared outside of the arena didn’t matter; in here they were sworn enemies.
Ever so slightly, Sparky began to push Pikachu back. In raw muscle power, the scruffy furred Pokemon had the edge on him. But he couldn’t lose! He refused to let Sparky win… Ash depended on him! He couldn’t let him down now!
Just then, his sensitive ears picked up the sound of Misty’s high-pitched voice, cheering him on.
“Come on Pikachu, you can do it! I believe in you! Don’t give up!”
That was it. He couldn’t let Sparky win! If not for Ash, then for Misty… He couldn’t lose!
A split second later he felt himself slip underneath Sparky’s pressure. In an instant he made up his mind and unleashed all the electrical power he had in him, causing a huge spike of thunder to burst in to the air. He vaguely felt himself hitting the ground hard, the force of Sparky’s attack knocking the wind out of him as he lost consciousness.
When the skies cleared and the dust settled, Ash and Ritchie found both their Pokemon fainted. Pikachu’s desperate Thunder attack had knocked out Sparky just as Sparky’s physical attack knocked out Pikachu. Both trainers ran on to the battlefield to retrieve their fallen companions, murmuring appreciation and thanks as they made their way to their half. From there, the fight began anew, pitting Ritchie’s Swellow named Rose against Ash’s Charizard.
Back in the stands, Max took an annoyed glance at Misty as he absent-mindedly hugged the white egg. Misty’s high-pitched cries of encouragement to Pikachu, and especially those to Ash struck a nerve. It reminded him of how she had, in her climax, cried out her love for Ash, while it had been him she had been making love with.
Since that night, they hadn’t been on speaking terms, their short exchange surrounding the mysterious egg notwithstanding.
Sure, keep on cheering… Just don’t count on Ash ever noticing though… What was I thinking, believing I could make her forget about him? All I did was make it worse…
Suddenly, he felt a soothing wave of –something- go through his body, easing his mind as well as his heart. At the same time, he could’ve sworn the egg moved slightly in his arms. Max eyed the white object with curiosity, he had the distinct impression the egg had been responsible for his sudden ease of mind.
“I’m not sure what just happened, but you’re an interesting fellow, that’s for sure…” he mumbled affectionately, before he once again returned his attention to the battle in the arena below.
Ritchie’s Swellow proved to be no match for Ash’s Charizard, but his next Pokemon, an Alakazam named Whiskers posed a far greater threat. A devastating Psychic attack felled Ash’s fire-type and even his Blastoise couldn’t defeat Ritchie’s psychic powerhouse. In the end, Ash had to deploy a risky strategy, pitting his type-disadvantaged Infernape against the Alakazam. Certain of his victory against the disadvantaged monkey, Whiskers soon grew overconfident, a mistake Ash immediately exploited, knocking the Psi Pokemon out with a powerful Fire Blast.
Infernape then went on to soundly defeat Zippo, Ritchie’s trusty Charizard. Up in the stands, Iris cringed and let out a saddened cry as she watched the Pokemon she had made love with only a few weeks ago get demolished by Ash’s Infernape.
Ash couldn’t enjoy his comeback for long though, because Ritchie soon followed up his defeated fire-type with another powerhouse. Cruise, once a Pupitar but now fully evolved into a Tyranitar, took the stage and roared defiantly as he eyed Ash’s tired Infernape. To his credit, the tired monkey managed to give Cruise a nasty scratch near his left eye, before the Tyranitar took him down with the force of an earthquake. This left the battle a tie once again, both trainers having two Pokemon left.
“I gotta say Ash, you’re really giving me a run for my money this time!” Ritchie grinned. “You’ve come a long way since you last lost to me when your Charizard fell asleep!”
“Yeah, this time I’m not going to let you get away so easily! Not this time…” Ash replied, gritting his teeth as he looked Cruise in the eyes. With a confident smile, he released his Gabite out into the field.
“But only one of us is going to face Cynthia in the championship match, and I’m going to make sure that’ll be me!”
“You can try, but I won’t go down without a fight Ash! Cruise, let’s start with a Stone Edge!”
Cruise obeyed immediately, charging towards Gabite like a freight train.
“Gabite! Use Dragon Rush!” Ash cried out, and both behemoths crashed into each other.
With a mighty cry, Gabite brought down his claw in a ferocious Dual Chop a few minutes later. With great effort, he had managed to bring down Cruise, but Ritchie’s final Pokemon proved to be a challenge of epic proportions. In a final bid to take out Ash’s dragon-type, Ritchie had summoned a Froslass named Cream. Her attacks were lightning fast and soon covered the entire area in frost. Even though Cream seemed to lack the power Cruise had, her type-advantage over Gabite made sure that every frigid attack that made contact did devastating damage.
But the Froslass was delicate. Content with damaging her opponents from a distance with freezing ice attacks, but woefully untrained in the art of melee combat. Gabite’s last Dual Chop had proven that fact well enough, coupled with a final Dig attack, the battered dragon-type had only landed 5 hits on Cream, but she was out for the count.
She crashed down in a cloud of dust and to Ash it seemed like an eternity passed before Meowth declared her knocked out, pronouncing him the winner of the match and the winner of the Battle of the Champions Tournament!
“All right, we did it Gabite, we won!” Ash cheered, hugging the land shark Pokemon enthusiastically as all his other Pokemon were released and revived around him also. Together they cheered and together they laughed as Ritchie quietly revived Cream, praising her and every one of his other Pokemon for the great job they had done.
Standing up, the brown haired boy found it remarkably easy not to cry. Instead, he watched Ash’s celebration with a grim smile, diverting his eyes for a second to the stands. There, he saw May, Misty, Max and all their other friends celebrating too. The only one Ritchie had eyes for however, was Iris. The bushy haired beauty smiled a sad smile at him as she applauded, tear tracks evident on her cheeks.
Ritchie walked over to Ash, grasping his hand and giving him a vigorous shake.
“Congratulations Ash! You… You really deserved it!” he managed to choke out. Ash broke away from his celebrating Pokemon for a second to focus fully on his old rival.
“Thanks man… I’m just sorry I had to kick you out of the tournament to do it…” he thanked Ritchie solemnly, giving him a firm handshake.
“Bullocks, you knew what you had to do and you did it. Congratulations!”
Just then, Meowth interrupted the two friends, declaring Ash the winner while praising his sportsmanship.
“And there you have it, ladies and gentlemen, Ash Ketchum from Pallet Town has won the final match!” he cried out as the stadium’s lights flashed into life, focusing on the opposite site of the arena where a door opened to reveal a dark doorway.
“And as we all know… That gives Mister Ketchum certain… privileges…” a woman’s voice spoke, amplified over the stadium’s speakers. A tall figure emerged from the entrance, stepping into the light to reveal Cynthia, the Champion of the Sinnoh region. As Ash locked eyes with her, he was amazed at how little the woman had changed in the years since he last saw her.
Cynthia was still as tall and beautiful as she was all those years ago. Ash snickered mentally, how could he not have noticed her beauty back then? Had he really been that dense?
Her pale blonde hair waved down along her back, framing her face and hiding her left eye. Her right eye, icy gray as he remembered, looked at him with a piercing gaze.
Rather than the last outfit he had seen her wear, a cyan colored shirt with loose black pants, this time Cynthia wore a skin-tight leather suit. A long black cape accentuated her royal appearance, even though the leather suit showed quite a bit of cleavage, suggesting an entirely different side of the blonde woman. All in all, if Ash hadn’t been in love with May already, Cynthia's outfit would’ve definitely made him crazy for her.
“Privileges…” Cynthia continued with a small, challenging smile. “Like a chance to fight the Pokemon League Champion for the title of Pokemon Master…”
“Question is, of course… If you wish to accept said privilege?” she finished as she closed the distance between them, standing before Ash with her hand extended.
“You can still back out, you know” she smiled tauntingly.
Ash flashed her a challenging smile in return, grasping her hand in a firm shake.
“I wouldn’t dream of if Cynthia! I accept your challenge!” he stated firmly, causing the people in the stands to roar in excitement. The stoic blonde champion smiled, flashing her white teeth.
“Then, tomorrow we’ll see each other again, Ash Ketchum of Pallet Town. We’ll see each other again, in battle!” she finished with a shout, joining in the crowd’s boisterous emotions.
“Go on then… Go back to your friends and celebrate your victory today, believe me you’ve earned it! Rest well, and tomorrow we'll have our battle.” And with that, the blond-haired beauty turned on her heels and retreated to the inner chamber of the stadium where she had come from. In his mind, Ash cursed the cape she was wearing, as it obscured her obviously luscious swaying ass from his eyes.
With a shock he was snapped out of his reverie as May suddenly jumped in his arms, hugging him fiercely as the rest of his friends made their way on to the field. He lost himself in the ensuing hugs, slaps on the back and other forms of congratulations as the group slowly but certainly made its way out of the stadium and into the city. At one point, Ash noticed Iris tending to Ritchie with tears in her eyes, before she came up to him and congratulated him on his victory. He wondered just what was going on between those two for a brief moment, but he decided not to pursue it as he and his friends and Pokemon celebrated the rest of the day away.
Chapter End Notes:
Won't be long now until Ash finally takes on the biggest challenge of his life as he challenges Cynthia to a battle for the crown. At first, I had planned to make that battle short, so I could go on with the story faster, but as I'm writing it out now it really doesn't feel like doing justice to the importance of this fight. So, rather than fitting it all in a single bloated chapter, I've decided to spread out the championship match over 3 chapter.
Thank you to everyone who's read the story so far!