Chapter 7: Arrival of the Phoenix
Ash and Pikachu continued walking up the floors of the Tin Tower. The floorboards of the ancient structure creaked with each step that Ask took. The entire trip up, Ash continued to wonder why Ho-Oh would choose him to test. While it was true that it was Ash’s dream to become a Pokemon Master, he was far from achieving that goal. The Silver Conference had reminded him of that. So why would Ho-Oh bother with him when there were many other trainers out there who were far stronger?
At last, Ash and Pikachu had reached the top floor of the tower. After going up the last staircase they had reached the roof. Right away Pikachu trotted over to the edge of the roof to get a better look at the view. Ash joined him moments later. The view from the top of the Tin Tower was simply breath taking. Not only could Ash see all of Ecruteak City, but he could also see Goldenrod City in the distance. By looking to the west Ash could just make out the lighthouse of Olivine City, and in the east he could clearly see Mount Mortar and Mount Silver. It was almost as if he had come to the top of the world.
“You can almost see all of Johto from up here.” Ash commented. “We sure have come a long way, haven’t we Pikachu?”
“Pika.” The electric rodent responded.
“But it seems like we still have a lot farther to go.” Ash added. “There are still so many Pokemon out there we haven’t seen, and so many strong trainers out there we haven’t battled. Our journey is far from over.”
Moments after Ash said that, the bells of the Tin Tower rang again. Ash and Pikachu turned around and looked up. Flying towards the tower was a massive red bird with a white underside. It had a large yellow beak and black rings around its eyes. Around its long neck was a green band, and shimmering green feathers rimed its enormous wings. Magnificent golden feathers composed its tail, and adorning the top of its head was a golden comb. Within moments the great bird landed on the roof and sat before Ash and Pikachu.
“Ho-Oh.” Ash said in awe as he and Pikachu approached the legendary phoenix. “I know you’re here to test me, but I don’t understand why. What’s so special about me?”
Ho-Oh responded by looking at Pikachu. In that moment it seemed to become clear to Ash.
“I think I get it now. You’re not just testing me, are you?” Ash realized. “You want to test both me and Pikachu. Well then Pikachu, you up for the challenge?”
“Pika!” the rodent declared enthusiastically.
“Okay then Ho-Oh, we accept your challenge!” Ash declared. Ho-Oh responded by unfolding its wings and shrieking.
* * *
Back down on the ground, Misty and the others had seen Ho-Oh descend to the roof of the tower.
“I wish we could be up there with Ash.” Misty said with a worried expression.
“Ash and Pikachu have to face this challenge on their own.” Morty told her.
“Besides, you five have your own problems to worry about.” A voice interrupted. The group turned to see Noir Mask standing not too far away.
“Whoever you are, leave now!” Morty commanded. “This is no place for the likes of you!”
“You’re in no position to be making demands I’m afraid.” Giovanni said as he, Persian, and the men he had brought joined Noir Mask.
“Who are you?” Eusine demanded to know.
“I am Giovanni, the leader of Team Rocket. And as you may have guessed, I have come for Ho-Oh and the Legendary Beasts.” Giovanni explained. “I suggest you hand over those beasts and allow us to enter the Tin Tower. Otherwise things will become very unpleasant.”
“Dream on creep!” Bolt declared.
“So you’ve chosen to do things the hard way I see.” Giovanni said with an amused expression before snapping his fingers. Within moments the Team Rocket grunts surrounded the group. “I’ll give you one more chance. As my former underlings used to say, surrender now or prepare to fight.”
“C’mon Morty, we can take these guys!” Eusine declared. “Go Alakazam!”
Emerging from the Pokeball thrown by Eusine was a somewhat humanoid creature with a large fox-like head that had a long mustache. Its torso, lower legs, and forearms were brown, while the rest of its body was tan. In each hand it carried a large spoon.
“You take on half, I’ll take the rest.” Morty told Eusine. “Go Gengar!”
Emerging from the thrown ball was a black almost spherical creature with short arms and legs. Its back was covered with spiked fur and its face consisted of two red eyes and a sinister grin. The Rocket grunts all responded by sending out several floating grayish-purple balls with faces on them. The creatures looked similar to Wheezing.
“A bunch of Koffing huh? This’ll be a piece of cake.” Eusine said confidently.
As Morty and Eusine began fighting off the Koffing, Misty, Lisa, and Bolt, were left to face Giovanni and Noir Mask.
“I’ll let my men handle your friends.” Giovanni said to the trio. “In the meantime you three still have us to deal with.”
“Sir, I would like to take on Lisa Flare, the girl with Entei, myself.” Noir Mask requested.
“By all means, go ahead.” Giovanni replied. “The other two are more than enough to keep me occupied.”
“Thank you sir.” Noir Mask said with a somewhat insane smile. “Now we can finally settle things dear Lisa. Go Zweilos!”
“I have no clue what you’re talking about, but fine with me!” Lisa said as Zweilos emerged from Noir Mask Pokeball. “Go Entei!”
Entei roared and charged at Zweilos. Meanwhile Giovanni looked at Misty and Bolt with a confident smile. Suicune and Raikou had already gotten in front of their human partners, ready for battle.
“Now let me see. To take on Raikou I think I’ll use this Pokemon.” Giovanni said as he threw out a Pokeball. “Go Nidoking!”
Emerging from the thrown ball was a large purple creature with a white chest and belly that almost looked like a cross between a gorilla and a rhino. It had large ears that were green on the inside, and a long horn adorned its forehead. Its back was covered in spines and it had a thick long tail.
“As for Suicune, it has been awhile since my Persian has had a good workout. So I’ll use him!” Giovanni announced. Persian leapt from Giovanni’s side onto the battlefield and growled. “This should be quite fun.”
* * *
Meanwhile atop the Tin Tower, the battle between Pikachu and Ho-Oh was just beginning. Ho-Oh rose a few feet into the air, and suddenly its eyes began glowing with a blue light. Seconds later, Ho-Oh body became covered in rose-colored flames. With a flap of its wings, the great phoenix sent those flames at Pikachu.
“Quick Pikachu, dodge it!” Ash commanded.
Pikachu ran from the spot it was standing seconds before the flames hit the roof. The attack did do some damage though, as the very end of Pikachu’s tail had been singed by the flames.
“You okay Pikachu?” Ash asked with a worried expression. Though it looked like it was in pain, Pikachu nodded at Ash. “Okay then, use Thunder Bolt!”
“Pik… a… CHUU!” Pikachu cried out as it sent a blast of yellow electricity from its body.
The bolt of yellow lightning hit Ho-Oh on its left wing, causing it to cry out. Ho-Oh quickly recovered however and flew a few feet high into the air. It circled around the roof and attacked Pikachu from the right with a blast of flames from its beak. Pikachu ran from the attack seconds before it hit.
“Use Thunder Bolt again!” Ash commanded.
Pikachu fired another blast of electricity, hitting Ho-Oh in the same spot as before. Once again, Ho-Oh retaliated by covering its body in rose-colored flames and sending them at Pikachu with a flap of its wings. It seemed that there was no way for Pikachu to dodge the attack.
“Pikachu, no!” Ash cried as the storm of flames hit.
When the fire cleared however, Pikachu was nowhere to be seen. Ash looked around and soon saw Pikachu in the air flying at Ho-Oh. It didn’t take long for Ash to figure out what had happened. He realized that Pikachu had used its tail as a springboard to launch itself in the air seconds before Ho-Oh’s attack had hit. It was a trick that Pikachu had used in battle before. Pikachu landed on Ho-Oh’s face, obscuring the great bird’s vision as a result.
“Great job Pikachu!” Ash called. “Now let’s finish this! Hit Ho-Oh with Thunder!”
“Pik… a… CHUUUUUUU!” Pikachu cried out as it sent a powerful blast of electricity into the sky. The blast came back down as an enormous bolt of lightning that hit Ho-Oh dead on.
When the attack ended, Ho-Oh crashed back to the roof of the tower. Pikachu fell off and landed right in front of Ash. The electric rodent soon got back to its feet, though it was breathing heavily. Ho-Oh had also gotten up, but it too look to be in bad shape. It seemed that it wasn’t able to get back into the air.
“It’s now or never. Pokeball, go!” Ash called out as he threw a ball.
The Pokaball hit and sucked Ho-Oh in, rolling up in front of Pikachu after doing so. Ash and Pikachu watched anxiously, wondering if Ho-Oh would break free. Ash hoped that it didn’t, because Pikachu did not seem like it could take much more punishment. And Ash did not have any other Pokemon with him to use. At long last however, the ball stopped moving and made the noise that indicated that the capture had been completed.
“Yeah!” Ash exclaimed as he picked up the Pokeball. “I caught a Ho-Oh!”
“Chaaaa!” Pikachu suddenly cried out as it fell to the ground.
“Oh no, Pikachu!” Ash exclaimed as he quickly picked up Pikachu. “Don’t worry buddy. I’ll get you to a Pokemon Center real soon.”
Before Ash could head for the stairs he heard the sound of an explosion from the ground below. He went over to the edge of the roof and looked down to the foot of the tower. From where he was, Ash could see his friends struggling against Giovanni and Noir Mask while Morty and Eusine fought off the grunts. With Pikachu out of commission and Ho-Oh badly injured, Ash couldn’t see how he could help out.