Chapter 1: The Rider from Hoenn
The most inevitable and fundamental part of life is change. There are times when one chapter of a person’s life ends and another begins. And most often at those times that person must make a choice about which direction to take. But at those times it is usually difficult to decide just which path to take. For what comes next when a great challenge ends?
That was the dilemma faced by young Pokemon Trainer Ash Ketchum. The Pokemon League’s Silver Conference had just come to an end with him making only the top eight. In that short time, many things had changed a bit. Ash’s longtime rival, Gary Oak, had decided to pursue becoming a Pokemon Researcher like his grandfather, the renowned Professor Oak. Meanwhile, Ash’s friend and traveling companion, Brock, had returned to his family’s Pokemon Gym in Pewter City. The winds of change were blowing, and Ash was trying to figure out which path he should take.
Ash had been considering a trip to the Hoenn Region, the homeland of the trainer that had defeated him at the Silver Conference. But before As could decide Professor Oak had made a special request of him to investigate a strange occurrence happening in Ecruteak City in the Johto Region. So once again Ash was out on the road, and of course he wasn’t alone. Riding on his head was a yellow rodent-like creature with long pointed ears ending in black tips, red circles on its cheeks, and a tail in the shape of a lightning bolt. This was Ash’s first and most trusted Pokemon, Pikachu.
Ash also had a human traveling companion, a girl with red hair tied in an odd ponytail on the left side of her head wearing a yellow tank top and denim shorts held by red suspenders. This was one of Ash’s longtime traveling companions, Misty. In her arms, Misty carried a Pokemon of her own, a small somewhat egg-shaped creature that was mostly light yellow in color, but its body was covered by a white eggshell with various red and blue triangular rings on it. The creature had stubby arms and legs a pair of tiny black eyes. On its head were five spikes aligned like a crown. This was Misty’s infant Pokemon, Togepi.
Ash and Misty had been on the road for several weeks. After all, it was a long trip by foot from Ash’s hometown to Ecruteak. Conversation had been rather light during the entire journey. Whether this was due to Ash’s restlessness over trying to decide his next path or the fact that it had been the first time in quite awhile they had traveled without Brock, neither of the two could say. That particular afternoon the two had just left Goldenrod City. Their next stop was Ecruteak, and as before there was very little conversation.
“So, what do you think Brock’s up to now?” Misty asked in an attempt to break the silence.
“Dunno.” Ash replied, not once turning to face Misty as they walked. “Maybe he’s taking on a trainer who’s challenged the gym.”
“…Well I bet Brock beat him.” Misty said enthusiastically in an attempt to keep the conversation alive. Again Ash did not turn to face her. “Um, hey Ash?”
“What?” Ash said as he finally stopped walking and turned to face Misty.
“Well… nothing. Never mind.” Misty quickly replied, turning away from Ash a little bit.
“C’mon Misty, what is it you were about to say?” Ash demanded somewhat impatiently.
“Well…” Misty began with a rather nervous expression on her face. “Ash I…”
Before Misty could finish what she was about to say, Pikachu suddenly jumped off of Ash’s head and took off into the forest on the left side of the road.
“Hey, Pikachu!” Ash called as he ran after the little electric mouse. Misty gave off a frustrated sigh and quickly followed after Ash.
After a few short minutes, Ash and Misty finally caught up to Pikachu. The electric rodent had stopped before a large clearing. Running in the clearing was a very large brown lion-like creature with a cream-colored underside. Its paws were white and it had a pair of large spiked grey plates on the sides of its back. In between those plates like a cape was something that looked like billowing grey smoke. The creature had an almost mask-like face with a three-pointed yellow plate on its forehead, red plates on the sides, and a white mustache-like plate on the front of its snout.
“Hey Ash, isn’t that Entei?” Misty asked, referring to one of Johto’s Legendary Pokemon.
“Sure looks like it.” Ash replied, not taking his eyes of the beast.
Suddenly something very fast came into the clearing as if it was chasing Entei. It was a yellow-white horse with a horn on its head like a unicorn. Its mane and tail looked as if they were made of fire, and flames also came out from around its hooves. Ash and Misty recognized the Pokemon as a Rapidash, and they were amazed to see someone riding it. The person in question was a girl who looked to be about fourteen. She had long flowing raven hair and green eyes, and wore a red t-shirt, a green backpack, and denim shorts.
As Ash and Misty continued to watch, the rider’s Rapidash suddenly increased speed and was suddenly running alongside Entei. Within seconds she passed Entei and stopped in front of it.
“Now Rapidash, use Hypnosis!” the rider commanded.
Rapidash’s eyes began glowing with a pink light. Entei suddenly stopped in its tracks and started stumbling around like it was trying to keep itself from falling asleep.
“I didn’t know Rapidash could learn Hypnosis.” Ash commented.
“Me neither.” Misty told him. “But it looks like this girl has Entei right where she wants it.”
“Okay Rapidash, use Take Down!” the rider commanded.
The fiery steed charged into Entei at top speed, knocking the Legendary Beast back a bit.
“Take Down again!” the rider commanded. Rapidash turned around and charged into Entei from the side. “Once more!”
Rapidash charged into Entei a third time. Both Rapidash and Entei looked as if they had taken a beating.
“Hey, that Rapidash is really going to get hurt if that girl keeps using Take Down like that!” Ash commented.
Suddenly the rider reached around to her pack and pulled out a Pokeball. Though it looked different from ones that were normally seen. The top half was orange, and it had a yellow lightning bolt on the top and orange circles on the sides.
“Isn’t that one of Kurt’s Fast Balls?” Misty asked Ash, referring to one of the custom Pokeballs made by Johto’s renowned craftsman Kurt.
“You’re right.” Ash confirmed. “I guess that’s a good ball to use on a fast Pokemon like Entei.”
The rider kissed the ball before throwing it at Entei. The ball hit Entei on the forehead and opened up, turning the beast into red energy and sucking it in. The ball closed and fell to the ground. The button on the front of the ball flashed red as it jiggled on the ground. After a few tense moments the ball stopped jiggling and made a noise that signaled that the capture had been completed.
The rider sat on Rapidash looking at the ball with a stunned expression on her face. Eventually she dismounted, walked over, and picked up the ball.
“I did it.” The rider whispered to herself.
“Hey!” Ash called as he entered the clearing. “What the heck did you think you were doing?”
“Huh?” the rider responded, finally noticing Ash. “Were you watching me?”
“Yeah I was!” Ash confirmed somewhat angrily. “I know you were trying to capture Entei, but you were pushing your Rapidash way too hard.”
The rider suddenly turned and went over to the fiery steed, which was still catching its breath.
“I guess I have been pushing pretty hard, haven’t I boy?” the rider said as she stroked Rapidash’s snout. “Well you deserve a good rest.” With that, the rider called Rapidash back into its Pokeball. “As for you, you should know that I don’t push my Pokemon any harder than I push myself.”
“Just who are you anyway?” Ash demanded.
“Lisa Flare.” The rider answered. “Mind telling me who you are?”
“Ash Ketchum from Pallet Town!” Ash answered.
“Pallet Town, huh?” Lisa repeated as she looked up at the sky. “Never heard of it.”
“Why you…!” Ash began, but stopped when Lisa finally turned to face him.
Lisa had a very tired expression about her, but Ash noticed that her eyes seemed to be filled with a deep sadness. It was not the expression he expected to see on someone who had just captured a rare Legendary Pokemon like Entei. Ash backed down, and soon Misty entered the clearing.
“So I see I had two spectators.” Lisa said as soon as she noticed Misty. “No big deal I guess. Hope you enjoyed the show.”
“It’s not like we were spying.” Misty told her. “We were running after Ash’s Pikachu who suddenly ran this way. I guess he heard you chasing Entei. By the way, my name’s Misty.”
“Charmed.” Lisa replied somewhat flatly. “Sorry if I don’t seem very social. I haven’t had a lot of sleep lately. I guess that’s part of being obsessed.”
“How long have you been chasing Entei?” Ash asked.
“Oh, four, maybe five months I think.” Lisa yawned. “Either way I could use a break. You guys could join me I guess.”
“I guess that’d be okay.” Ash responded.
“Fine with me.” Misty agreed.
Within moments the three had sat down and ate some sandwiches that Lisa had prepared earlier. Pikachu and Togepi were eating bowls of Pokemon Food that had been left as a parting gift from Brock. After a few minutes the party had finished eating.
“Those were some good sandwiches.” Ash commented.
“Yeah, they were almost as good as Brock’s cooking.” Misty agreed.
“I do my best.” Lisa responded.
“So where’re you from Lisa?” Misty asked.
“Lilycove City.” Lisa answered. “It’s a place in the Hoenn Region.”
“So why’d you come to Johto?” Ash asked.
“…About a year ago a very close friend of mine died.” Lisa began hesitantly. “When it happened I lost my passion for Pokemon battles…. I lost my passion for a lot of things actually. One day I was walking out in the rain, not giving a damn about getting wet. I don’t think I even knew where I was going. Suddenly the rain cleared and I looked up and saw this huge bird Pokemon flying towards a rainbow. It was mostly red and had a tail of gold feathers.”
“That sounds like Ho-Oh.” Ash said with a shocked expression. Lisa’s description sounded like the same legendary bird he and Pikachu had seen when their journey first began.
“That’s what I was told it was called.” Lisa responded. “I guess most of the people around here have heard of it. Anyway, after I learned a little more about the Pokemon I saw I decided to come here to Johto. It was right after I left Olivine City when I saw Entei. I learned more about Entei in Ecruteak City and became obsessed with chasing it down.... I guess it was all to deal with the grief of my friend’s death.”
“So what do you plan to do now?” Misty asked.
“I honestly have no clue.” Lisa answered. “I’ve been chasing after Entei for so long I never thought about what I’d do if I actually caught it.”
“You could come with us.” Ash suddenly suggested. “Misty and I are headed to Ecruteak City to do a favor for Professor Oak.”
“Aren’t you afraid I’d be a third wheel?” Lisa asked.
“We wouldn’t mind at all.” Misty assured her. “Ash and I have actually gotten used to traveling with a third person along.”
“Well, if both of you are okay with me tagging along, I guess I’ll go with.” Lisa finally agreed, and within moments the three got back on the road.