• Previously: Intro to the series

    tab "Dawn! We're here; this is the National Park!"
    tab "Hm?" Dawn asked dreamily. She was staring, half moon eyed with a sort of bemused expression on her face, looking as though she knew something funny that no one else did. Of course, she had been dreaming, daydreaming of him... Ash... it was her own way it of keeping a light heart and high confidence in these days of rivalry. Yes, there was rivalry, beyond measure, of her and her would-be "friend", May. They both loved their partner in travel of their own time, Ash. Dawn, desperate, did everything in her power to make Ash hers. May was torn and more overworked than desperate. Both of them, though, faced a very rough future in thier lives, either of loss or of confrontation.
    tab Now: facing the now and real world: "Oh," Dawn, as she turned to face an silver arch that appeared to be lined with wood. It very much took the look of a park resever's front.
    tab Accordingly, their true location was, as aforementioned and much despite Dawn's present belief, Route 35. They had been planning to stop by this location before their Pokemon tournaments, those being (of course), the Pokemon League for Ash and Grand Festival for Dawn and May, for it is one this route that the National Park lays, a great place for all trainers and coodinators.
    tab Ash nudged the Pikachu atop his shoulder. It was still tired, but not as much as before. Its battle with Probopass a while back had really drained it. "Alright, Pikachu?" Ash, knowing Pikachu was tough, but worried nonetheless.
    tab "Kaaa..." cooed the exhausted Pokemon.
    tab "So, what kind of place is it here? Any rare Pokemon?" May inquired of Ash. Ash was the one who had recommended it from his previous journeys in Johto.
    tab "Hmm, I don't really remember... Its been so long," Ash replied. Come to think of it, Ash suddenly wasn't sure if he ever had been here before. The wild really all looks the same, what's the difference of a name to a place? Unless it was a good restaurant, he'd want to remember that...
    tab "Well, it'll be fun to learn again!" May looked around. The gate behind the arch was open, and the pathway appeared to be worn from footsteps and tire tracks. A small building was lodged under a cliff a while forward. "Um, do we just go in?"
    tab "Probably," Ash assumed, basing as there appeared to be no sign of security systems or anti-poacher devices; he had been mistaken a poacher too many times for a life.
    tab "What are we waiting for, lets go!" Dawn grabbed Ash's hand enthusiastically and pulled him through the gate.
    tab "YOU DARN KIDS!"
    tab No sooner than the moment Ash and Dawn crossed to the gate did a voice, blasting louder than anything they had ever heard, met them right as they passed the gate.
    tab "Erm, fun?" Ash, aback. The voice belonge to a big, muscely man, probably of the mountain dwellers. He didn't seem to pleased, intimidation shone out of his eyes onto the three of them. His expression fed none to the concept of "fun", and they were pretty sure, judhing by the expression on his face and surroundings, that he was little educated.
    tab May stepped in: "Um, we've never been here before! We must have made a-"
    tab "But- I'm the only fifteen year old, the-"
    tab "But- you just said-"
    tab "I didn't mea-"
    tab An awkward silence proceeded, in which, Ash, Dawn, May, and Pikachu exchanged confused, abused, and doubtful looks, especially at the likelyhood that this guy had a Firari. Well, then they saw a Monster Truck with "Firari" splashed in paint over it. That wasn't too good.
    tab Ash broke the holding silence: "Er... are you counting in your head?"
    tab "YES!"
    tab "erm," Ash had joked, this guy most be insane "what are you at?"
    tab "SEVEN!"
    tab "Oh, um, run!"
    tab Ash grabbed Pikachu and high-tailed it down the opposite street, followed close by the others, but not in time to avoid hearing a faint "I'LL HAVE A ROPE NEXT TIME" in the distance. All doubtful this guy was sober let alone sane, Ash and the girls landed to a seating position on a curb near a sign post; ya know, the ones you press "A" to read. Confused, they all tried to make out what happened.
    tab "You did say that was the National Park, right?" Dawn, looking tired exhausted.
    tab "Erm, I thought so.... maybe they closed?" Ash replied, while gently resting Pikachu to the ground.
    tab "And gave the place to this nutbag. Modern times are just great, aren't they? May was now laying her head back on her hands on a wall.
    tab "Man, if Pikachu had been awake, he'd have fried tah guy in two seconds..." Ash thought back.
    tab "Well, we've still got another two weeks until the Grand Festival and Pokemon League initiate, if we can't go to this "National Park", what should we do meantime?" Dawn, worried.
    tab "Hey! I just had a thought! Ash, you ever heard of the Whirl Caffe?" May suddenly perked up.
    tab "Whril Caffe? Erm, a Roller Coaster Park?" Ash, not very intellegent.
    tab "No- its supposed to be the best place you can get noodles in the entire world! Look here!"(she pulled a brochure out of her shirt pocket) "Look - this quote: 'for all years of traveling and tasting, I never thought I'd find something worthy of six stars, that is, until the day I walked into thw Whirl Caffe'. You know who said that?
    tab "N-" Ash tried to answer. May seemed to be suddenly hyper, perchance this simple thought of going to this restaurant was driving her silly.
    tab "Stimon Clal, the harshest, most heartless judge in all of Joht- no, the entire world!
    tab "Wow, sounds convincing enough for me!" Ash liked the idea of food quite a lot. And if it had good opinion toward it, all the better.
    tab "Oh and look at this here! It is also said to have the best Ice Cream in the entire world! If only I could have it... but you can have all you want!
    tab Fact: A week before the fate-deciding Gemina contest, May had become a vegan. Why? Some things are to revieled later :,)
    tab "Hold on a second," said an irritated Dawn.
    tab "Oh, yes you can have ice cream too, Dawn!"
    tab "I don't want any!" she said, unable to decide if she was more stressed at May's happy face or her well-cooperation with Ash.
    tab "Don't want ice cream???" Ash and May queried, bewildered, looking at her as thoguh from a different planet.
    tab "No! We have other places to be than this Swirl Toffe-"
    tab "Whirl Caffe!" hissed May
    tab "Whatevs stare ." Dawn continued. "We're not going there. Because- of this:" She now pulled a flyer out of back pocket.
    tab "Copycat rolleyes " May, grumbling.
    tab The flyer, on inspection, depicted the skyscrapers of Goldenrod City and a rather ferocious looking Venusaur one side of a field and a Ferraligator on the other; it not appear, though, necessarily that they were battling they seemed to be upholding an event: The event titled above; Pokemon Pre-Competition Festivities! Restricted Entry!
    tab "Uniting all Trainers and Coordinators that are to compete in their respective Pokemon competitions, the Pokemon League and the Grand Festival!" Dawn recited enthusiasticly. "Only those with 5 ribbons or 8 badges may join in. That would be so cool! A whole gathering of champions!
    tab "Dawn," ( rolleyes again) "we see that every year. At the Grand Festival. And for Ash the League."
    tab "Yeah, but- that's different! We're not celebrating, we're trying to kill each other."
    tab "-I see no difference-"
    tab "And there is lots and lots of food there too! Endless Hamburgers, Farfetch'd on a Stick, and Forever Fish! Sounds great, doesn't it?
    tab "That does sound pretty tasty! Ash remarked.
    tab "Uuuugghhhh...." May moaned.
    "What is it May?"
    tab "It's all meat! Do they have any actual quality food there?
    tab "I'm sure there'll be some Egg sandwhich for you there." Dawn comforted falsely.
    tab "Oh kill me."
    tab "Dawn, they do have some vegan food there, right?
    tab Dawn seemed to enjoy the provoktion she had just given. "I don't spend my life studying her diet!" indingnantly. "That would just be wierd. But I'm sure they'll have something for her there..."
    tab "Thanks for caring so much, Dawn." May, stressed to hate on sarcasm.
    tab "You don't have to come if you don't want!"
    tab "I'm not stupid," she almost whispered to her. They both knew what that meant, as far as regards to Ash's company.
    tab "Please, don't fight! We can do both." Ash stepped in, somewhat nervously. He wasn't quite as obsessed of them as they were of him, but he considered them his friends and didn't like to see them argue. "Its simple, we go to one, and then the other."
    tab "Fine," Dawn, shortly, "But the celebration's in three days, and according to that thing" (pointing at the signpost) "it will take all of three days to get there. So we go there first."
    tab "Hold on," May tried to protest, but, alas, she was out of reason.
    tab "May, you still have an opinion," Ash offered politely.
    tab "-Lets go," she relieved. The sooner it was over the better. She could just diet for a couple of days of festival. Then, when she got to the Caffe, lets just say they'd better have a battalion of chefs on duty.
    tab Dawn gave a quirky smile as she set off down south-east: Toward Goldenrod. Ash followed, and lastly, May, still wishing there was a way to get to convince Ash to her side without risking him hating her forever for attacking his friend, came in tow.
    tab Yes, that's exactly what I need. May's mind worked out sarcastically. Both of them to hate me.
    tab Now was the time she missed Drew. He would always give confidence in these situation, even as it came in strange packages. But- her stomache fell into a pit of worse despair. He hates me. I'll probably never speak to him - again! Would he still be- if he was? Or was she overthinking the whole thing? She decided she'd rather overthink than under. She took a long thorny stick out of her bag as they walked. It was the remnants of the last rose Drew had given to her... now it was all but dust... the petals she had managed to save, now at the bottom of her bag, had turned to grey. She hoped, so much as ever in the world possible, that they could be the same, like they had been since they met. But wait- had she not been wishing more than all in the universe that Ash would take her on a date to the Whirl Caffe less than ten minutes ago? Its was SO confusing. Just like everything else for a thirteen-yr old, eh?
    tab "Ash, what's th-" Dawn had just began before getting knocked almost off her feet by a giant earth-trembling blast.
    tab Dust had flown up in every direction. Nothing five feet before them was visible. And the only thing audioble after the giant blast was-
    tab "Listen, is that a fail I hear?"
    tab "It flunks to me, loud and clear!"
    tab "On the Wind!"
    tab "Past the Stars!"
    tab "In. Your. Ear."
    tab The dust had cleared by now, but where they had once been a road embedded with trees was a giant clearing, and in the center a giant, stealthly looking Ryhperior. Of course, that Ryhperior wasn't real; Behold the mastery of bringing chaos at a max speed and dashing hope and selling fear! It was no other than Team Rocket; Of course, standing at top of the giant Ryhperior, they attempted well to resemble assassins. Long haired, heavy-makeuped Jessie had a glaring, daring gaze on her face; Lavender-haired green-eyed James had a very styled and cool look about him, and Meowth, proudly standing on two limbs, gave a very sly, proud look. Altogther, they did there best to strike terror; their mix just sadly seemed to draw humour.
    tab "No, not you again!" complained Ash.
    tab "Ohkay, really twerp, how many times have you said that in the middle of our motto? It gets repetitive!" Jessie snapped annoyed.
    tab "Talk about repetitive! You seem to have been able to switch, was it TWO WORDS in your motto?" May joined in. "And why did you have to change it!? It sucked enough originally back in Hoenn, now it sounds like Jingle Bells!"
    tab "On the subject, I was just about to one-horse open slay you!" James, confident.
    tab "Yep, dhere snow way you'se getting away dis time," Meowth, the talking Pokemon, wits-about.
    tab "UGH!" Dawn screamed, shaking head, furious.
    tab "What's up with her?" James.
    tab "-Gone whacky-"
    tab "M-my-my hair! Look what you did!"
    tab Her hair was, in fact, sheated with brown dust, and rather made her ragged and rough. To be fair, they all did.
    tab "Bad hair day?"
    tab "I dhink da Bluenette's gone Brunnette."
    tab "Ohhhh!!!" Dawn, close to tears. "This will take ages to get this out!" She pulled out a hairbrush and began to flatten it out, madly and hurriedly.
    tab "Well spend'em in battle like kids your age are supposed to!" Jessie grabbed a Pokeball.
    tab "Fine, I've got vendetta!" Dawn did too, quite furiously.
    tab Ash, whose hat had fallen off to the dust and also looked quite ragged, "May, you in?" May had easily remained the cleanest of the three, probably due to the fact she had been behind, thinking.
    "This remains a fair fight," James grabbed another to fill in; Ash tried to out throw Pikachu and almost did before rediscovering it was hurt, so-
    tab "Bayleaf, go!
    tab "Now, Seviper!
    tab "Skitty, I choose you!
    tab "Come out, dear Chimecho!"
    tab "Piplup! Stage!"
    tab "Wobbofet!" (Wobbofet decided to join the party as well)
    tab Pokemon released to battle: "No winning this time, twerps," James.
    tab "What you know!" Dawn in uncontained fury.
    tab "Your weakness!" Team Rocket, together.

    Next Chapter: PSychic by Sorrow