Diamond 39: Give me Peace
Diamond 39: Give me Peace
There was a balcony in a tower above the climbing rows of benches in the circular white stone structure of the Viridian Stadium. The balcony consisted of a square platform suspended on two tall columns, positioned in the north-west and south-east corners of it. It had a stone railing around it and four thinner columns, one on each corner, supporting a triangular roof over it.
Behind the balcony there was a little bridge that led to another tall structure. The structure was made of four roman style columns and walls covering the little tower completely, that was were the elevator was. If the Viridian Stadium was an ancient coliseum the royals would sit at the balcony and watch the gladiators battle below. That was the VIP area from where the mayor, the gym leader and the surprise guest would watch the tournament.
As Giovanni gave his speech, playing the part of the noble gym leader admirably, Ash stared up at the balcony with open mouthed, wide eyed shock. Delia bit her lip and forced herself not to look away. She had allowed this to happen. Did Ash recognize Giovanni from the picture?
In truth, as Ash stared up, the gym leader was far from his mind. He was in fact staring at his mother, wondering what in the world she was doing up there.
For a split second during his speech, Giovanni looked directly at Ash. The young man must know Delia, since he was staring right at her. At that same moment, Ash glanced at the gym leader and felt as if the leader was looking right at him, examining his face closely. By then Ash had managed to close his mouth and compose himself, just in time for the end of Giovanni's speech. There was something familiar about the gym leader, but Ash couldn't quite put his finger on it.
It shouldn't come as too much of a surprise that the Viridian gym leader, Giovanni, looked familiar. Ash had never battled him, but he was a gym leader. It was possible his picture had been printed somewhere. A picture, that sounded right, but Ash couldn't remember where he saw Giovanni's picture. He assumed it must have been on TV, a magazine or a Pokemon League brochure. He didn't think too much of it beyond that.
The participants who had gathered in the center of the arena to listen to the speech were ushered back into the lobby to wait their turn to battle. Ash remembered to search for Misty in the crowd. He spotted her near the front looking uncomfortable by the limited space available to her on the full bench. She was looking between him and the balcony. Misty had definitely noticed Ash's mother up there and must also be wondering why she was there.
Brock was nowhere to be found and neither Ash, nor Misty, nor Delia knew where he was. They all assumed he was somewhere in the crowd. It would be impossible to reach him on his cell phone; he wouldn't hear it with the noise of the crowd cheering for the gym leader. In contrast, the mayor's speech seemed to put them to sleep before.
Mayor Rune Antilles had been reelected over and over for decades. However, Rune was certain that Giovanni held the real political power and he was a mere subordinate to serve as a figurehead at city hall. Giovanni was far too busy to be gym leader and mayor at the same time. Rune was well aware of where he stood, though he still tried to win the voters' favor for himself. Yet he knew he would never gain the amount of support the gym leader had.
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Time passed and Ash sat impatiently at the lobby, waiting to be called out to battle. More trainers were eliminated with each round, but Ash had not been called out yet. He had a good view of the action from the lobby's glass windows. The battles were mostly not what he was used to. He attributed it to this being an unofficial tournament.
"Prepare for trouble!" Ash heard a familiar voice right behind him.
"Make it double!" He recognized the second voice as well.
He turned around to see Jessie and James, "are you two going to greet me with your motto every time?" They were not in Team Rocket anymore. Their mysterious boss, Ash had no clue who he was, had fired them a few years ago. Ash remembered the story his mother told him about when Jessie and James went to Pallet Town.
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With a plentiful criminal record, it became difficult for Jessie and James to get jobs. Without Team Rocket to take them in anymore, it was a challenge to survive. Delia found them one day in her kitchen along with their talking Meowth. They had lost track of Ash, whom they blamed for getting fired, and decided to go to Pallet Town. They planned to find Ash or at least steal Professor Oak's pokemon. In the end, the scent of Delia's food was more tempting than any other robbery. Sneaking into the kitchen was easy, but stealing was unsuccessful as they were attacked by a Mr. Mime.
The pokemon desisted when his trainer appeared, "it's okay Mimey, these people are my guests."
"Mr. Mime!" The pokemon nodded and cheerfully went about his duties of cleaning the house.
"Have a seat, I've made lots of food today, do you like curry?" Delia had asked with a smile.
Jessie, James and Meowth immediately obeyed, sitting down and nodding their heads, "yes, yes!"
"Okay, here you go," Delia served a dish of delicious curry for each of them and set them on the table. "How about some cold lemonade? It's extra sweet," she served the drinks as well, watching as the trio ate.
"Why is it that you're giving us food?" Jessie finally asked between bites.
"Because you looked hungry. Besides, I heard the whole story from Ash," Delia revealed, "he told me that you were fired and were following him around blaming him for it. I think this is your chance to start over. I'm sure there are many things you must want to do that you couldn't achieve in Team Rocket."
Meowth got teary eyed, "all I wanted was to be the boss' top cat! Now he's going to keep that Persian forever."
"Aw, it's okay," Delia tried to console him, gently petting Meowth, "I'm sure your boss has a special reason to care for his Persian so much," she gave no hint of knowing what that reason was. "Wouldn't you rather be with Jessie and James instead? I'm sure you would miss them."
"Yeah, I guess so," Meowth sadly admitted.
"But Team Rocket is all we ever knew and we can't even get jobs now," Jessie frowned. The cheer that the food had brought was melting away as the meal came to an end.
"There's always a way, don't give up!" Delia placed three slices of cake on the table for them. "I'll talk to Professor Oak; maybe he can find jobs for you, but you have to promise to behave."
That was how it all started thanks to Delia and her food. Jessie and James worked for Professor Oak for a while, helping take care of the pokemon. Meowth worked as a translator. Professor Oak was fascinated listening to Meowth's stories and Meowth couldn't be happier to go on and on about anything and everything.
After some time, Jessie and James decided they wanted to be more independent instead of counting on Professor Oak for everything. They eventually set off on a journey. Later, they established a pokemon day care center in Saffron City, which went surprisingly well. They still visited Pallet Town every now and then and Meowth stayed in contact with Professor Oak by phone. They would talk for hours whenever he called.
Jessiebelle found out James was living in Saffron City and went to kidnap him on occasion. Jessie would always joke about how James was such a princess, being constantly kidnapped and in need of rescue. The danger of being kidnapped by Jessiebelle ended when James effectively broke off his engagement in a way no one could ignore, he married Jessie.
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While battles took place in the arena, the atmosphere in the lobby was calm. "How have you been twerp? I haven't seen you in a while," Jessie voiced as she picked up Pikachu off Ash's shoulder and petted him. The pokemon wasn't worried at all anymore, "if only it had been this easy back then."
"Pikachu is only being nice because he knows you're not trying to steal him away," Ashe reasoned, then firmly added, "and don't call me twerp, I'm taller than you!"
Jessie returned Pikachu and laughed, "once a twerp, always a twerp!"
"You're here for the tournament aren't you?" It was James' brilliant deduction. "You can forget about winning because I'm going to win, right Growlie?" The Growlithe barked happily and wagged his tail.
"No way, Pikachu and I will win!" Ash's declaration was followed by Pikachu's support. Ash had not seen Jessie or James among the participants during the gym leader's speech. He assumed they must have just arrived and were accepted as late entries.
Jessie and James had been there since the beginning, but decided to keep a low profile for the time being. They had signed up for the tournament with fake names and intended to wear disguises for the battles to avoid being recognized by Giovanni. They were not part of Team Rocket anymore and they were under an oath of secrecy that would bring terrible consequences if broken. The oath had not been broken, but there was no need to attract too much attention.
"You're both wrong because I'll win!" Meowth proudly declared. "Then he'll know just what he's missing for not making me top cat."
"I thought you were over that," Jessie argued, clearly annoyed. She remembered how much Meowth complained when they were fired.
"I am over it!" Meowth pouted.
"Either way you're a pokemon," Jessie reminded. "You'll have to go out there and battle if you want a share of the prize. You can be on James' team; I'm all set to go with my lovely Flareon!" Jessie released the pokemon from her pokeball. Flareon's fur was well groomed and shiny. She had a pair of yellow bows on her ears.
"Don't forget she used to be my Flareon, but it looks like you're taking really good care of her." Ash petted the pokemon he took care of as an Eevee.
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Ash had been at Pallet Town when Eevee evolved. Jessie and James were still part of Team Rocket at the time. They arrived at Professor Oak's research laboratory to steal his pokemon. It was something they had tried on numerous occasions before and failed.
That time had started the same way as always, with Jessie, James and Meowth reciting their motto. They played their cards right for the most part and in the mist of the chaos, Pikachu found himself trapped by a robotic rubber covered claw. While Ash tried to rescue Pikachu, he lost track of Eevee, whom he had let out to play.
Eevee had been very shy at first and Pikachu had always encouraged her. It made her look up to him as a brother. Her big brother needed help, but Eevee knew she wouldn't be strong enough to help him in her current form.
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Earlier, Professor Oak had been showing Ash some evolution stones an offered to give him one for Eevee.
"Do you want to evolve?" Ash asked encouragingly, "what would you like to evolve into?"
"Eevee..." she shook her head, evolution frightened her.
"Not right now? It's alright, you don't have to evolve if you don't want to," Ash reassured her.
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Eevee ran inside to the laboratory where the evolution stones were kept. She wasn't afraid of evolving anymore. The stones were on the same table were they had been displayed before; Ash had picked her up so she could see them. Eevee didn't know what she wanted to evolve into; she just knew she wanted to be strong.
She pulled on the table cloth trying to make the stones fall on the floor where she could reach them. Maybe she could evolve into Jolteon and use electric attacks just like Pikachu. Or perhaps she could be Vaporeon; Misty seemed excited about that possibility so it had to be a powerful evolution too. As she pulled on the table cloth, it was the fire stone which fell on her head.
At first Eevee felt the pain of the stone falling on her head, then she was surrounded by warmth and light and the pain was gone. She had not planned on evolving into Flareon, but when her body had changed completely, she found that she liked it.
Flareon dashed outside with new found strength and let out a powerful fire attack that caused Team Rocket's equipment to overheat and malfunction. The rubber claw opened releasing Pikachu and with a combination attack of electricity and fire, the Team Rocket trio was sent to blast off again.
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The story of how Ash's Flareon became Jessie's Flareon took place after Jessie and James were fired from Team Rocket. For many years, James entrusted Growlie with the mission of taking care of his parents. After Jessie and James established their pokemon day care center, James decided to keep Growlie there. Growlie would be very helpful in case Butch and Cassidy showed up to steal the pokemon, as it had become their occasional habit. Jessie even admitted that it was kind of fun to send them blasting off.
One day, Jessie, James and their pokemon, including Meowth and Growlie, went to visit Pallet Town. Gary had previously been away on a research trip when Ash's Eevee evolved into Flareon and Flareon had been traveling with Ash the rest of the time.
It was on that day when Ash, James and Gary were at Professor Oak's house simultaneously, that their respective pokemon Flareon, Growlie and Umbreon met. Fate would have it that both Umbreon and Growlie would fall in love with the beautiful Flareon and fight over her. The pokemon had been let out to play, but the noise of battle alerted the trainers who rushed out to see what was happening. They found Umbreon and Growlie locked in a fierce fight.
Flareon became upset that they were fighting over her, but at the same time ignoring her in favor of focusing on their battle. Frustrated, she let out a powerful flame thrower at the two male pokemon. The attack certainly got their attention; she yelled at them and ran away.
Both Umbreon and Growlie called out after Flareon and followed her. The pokemon were chased by their trainers and friends. Ash, Misty, Brock, Gary, James, Jessie and Meowth rushed after the run away pokemon. They ran out of Professor Oak's property and into the streets of Pallet Town.
Mrs. Alderaan was an old lady who lived in a little house down the main street of Pallet Town. She had a female Bellsprout named Belle, whom she spoiled very much. Belle always had a big pink bow tied around her thin neck, pink lipstick on her round mouth and pink eye-shadow over her beady eyes.
The coquette Bellsprout often suffered from chronic hiccup attacks. Mrs. Alderaan would always worry about her and call Professor Oak, asking him to give Belle first aid before she choked. Belle's condition wasn't serious at all, Mrs. Alderaan just exaggerated. Plus she had a tendency to go on and on about her precious Belle and the cute things she did. Thus Mrs. Alderaan was known as a sweet and grandmotherly, yet annoying old lady.
There was a wild male Weepinbell who liked to hang out around Pallet Town because he had fallen in love with Belle. Mrs. Alderaan was convinced the wild pokemon just wanted to pick a fight with her sweet Belle. "Get away you beast! Get away!" Mrs. Alderaan would always chase the Weepinbell away with a broom. Lucky for the love-struck Weepinbell, Mrs. Alderaan often misplaced her glasses and she couldn't see well enough to actually hit him.
Flareon suddenly ran through Mrs. Alderaan's front yard at full speed. The passing blur of red and yellow startled the old lady and she began to swing her broom around randomly. She was convinced that the wild Weepinbell, who had already made his escape, was trying to attack her.
Umbreon and Growlie dodged the broom and ran past Mrs. Alderaan in Flareon's pursuit. Mrs. Alderaan's broom slipped out of her grasp and went flying as the trainers arrived, chasing after their pokemon. The broom hit Ash on the head, causing him to stumble backwards into Misty. Misty lost her footing and accidentally pushed Jessie, who took James down with her. That caused James to fall on Brock, who in turn collided with Gary. The end of the pile of living dominos was the unfortunate Meowth.
Mrs. Alderaan finally calmed down and looked at the pile of people in her yard. "Oh my, were you attacked by that wild Weepinbell too? He's such a beast! Just the other day he almost snuck into my house. I don't know what would have become of my little Belle if I hadn't stopped him."
The group of trainers and pokemon stumbled to their feet. One became free to get up only after those at the front of the domino row were on their feet. "Sorry, Mrs. Alderaan but we're in a hurry," Ash continued the pursuit, followed by Misty, Jessie, James, Brock, Gary and Meowth.
"Wait, I wanted to tell you about Belle!" Mrs. Alderaan called out, but the group was already gone. She huffed indignantly, "kids today, always in a rush." She didn't realize that Ash and the others were no longer children, but compared to her advanced age, they might as well be.
By the time the group finally found Flareon and her admirers outside of Pallet Town, they had already solved their dispute. There was a multitude of fainted Spearow and Fearow all around, with a few Pidgey, Pidgeotto and a pair of Pidgeot near by.
Umbreon was heading back towards town, stomping his paws and pouting every step of the way. He walked up to Gary and expressed his desire to rest in his pokeball, "umbreon!"
"He says he wants to go in his pokeball," Meowth translated.
"Alright, it does look like there was a big battle here," Gary agreed, "get some rest, return!" With Umbreon back inside his pokeball, Gary turned towards Meowth for additional information. "Can you ask them what happened?"
"Sure, would you guys care to explain?" Meowth inquired to all the other pokemon in general. The male Pidgeot stepped forward and spoke in his language, which Meowth translated. "He's saying the Spearow and Fearow were picking a fight. He and his mate were defending the Pidgey and Pidgeotto when Flareon ran right into the war zone. Growlie and Umbreon tried to protect her, but she didn't need to be saved so they just got caught in her attacks. Then they teamed up with the Pidgeot and fought the Spearow and Fearow. Oh and he also says it's good to see you again, twerp."
"Stop calling me twerp!" Ash snapped at Meowth then walked over to his old friend Pidgeot. "I'm happy to see you too. I knew you would be happy here and you even found a pretty girl. I'm glad you're still taking care of the Pidgey and Pidgeotto."
"Oh yes, and thanks for helping knock out all these Fearow and Spearow," Jessie joyfully added as she readied her pokeballs.
"Thank you very much!" James agreed with the same happiness.
"Stop it you two, it's not fair to catch all these pokemon that you didn't even battle yourselves. Besides, it looks like they're getting ready to leave," Ash pointed at the Fearow who was the leader of the flock. He had woken up and was retreating with the Spearow.
"No, come back!" Jessie called after the fleeing pokemon, but of course, they didn't listen. Disappointed, she glared at Ash, "it's your fault they got away for distracting me!"
"Never mind that now, look at them!" James pointed at Flareon and Growlie with an adoring smile.
"Don't interrupt me!" Jessie growled, but stopped herself and gained a dreamy expression along with Misty. Both women chorused high a pitched "how cute!" Flareon and Growlie were cuddling together, looking quite loving.
"I see; Growlie must have proven how heroic he is when he tried to help Flareon, right?" James theorized, with great pride in his pokemon.
Flareon explained something, which made Growlie pause and stop wagging his tail with a soft whine. Albeit Flareon licked his cheek and reassured him, which cheered him up.
Meowth translated Flareon's explanation, "Flareon said that Growlie is so adorably helpless, she couldn't help it but to want to stay with him and protect him."
Gary laughed, realizing Umbreon had not completely lost. He couldn't be adorably helpless because he couldn't be helpless at all, he would tell Umbreon that if he was still upset later.
James looked shocked and stuttered for a moment before he finally let out a loud exclamation of "Growlie is strong!"
Ash smiled proudly of his pokemon, "Flareon is just stronger."
Brock was full of excitement and fascination watching the two pokemon. He was also a little jealous because he couldn't even get a date, let alone find true love. "I think we should let them be together." Everyone agreed.
Ash petted Flareon with a gentle smile, "Growlie needs to help protect the pokemon day care center in Saffron City. You could be a big help too. Do you want to go live with Jessie, James, Growlie and their pokemon?"
"Flareon, flare!" Flareon nodded excitedly. She jumped into Ash's arms and licked his face, thanking him for having taken care of her. She exchanged a few words and a hug with Pikachu, then returned to Growlie's side.
In a split second Jessie was next to the happy couple, "since James has Growlie, I'll be taking care of Flareon," Jessie immediately volunteered. She made it clear she wouldn't take no for an answer. "Besides, she's the perfect pokemon for me. I completely understand what she was saying before about adorably helpless men."
"What do you mean by that?" James pouted, making an upset, yet adorable face.
Jessie tried to look completely innocent, though she still had an amused grin, "nothing, nothing."
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Jessie and James had come far from the way things used to be when Ash's travels first began. Now they would be participating on the Viridian tournament as friends.
"We can't stay and chat, we need to get into our costumes before our names are called," Jessie reminded.
"Costumes?" Ash blinked in puzzlement, but assumed it was all just for show.
"We have our reasons," James didn't elaborate beyond that and left the lobby along with Jessie.
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One battle after another passed and trainers came and went from the waiting room. The winner would stay and the loser would be escorted out. Ash had never been too good at seeing past the disguises Jessie and James came up with, but he did recognize their pokemon. Thus he knew they had been called to battle and both had won their respective matches. Time went by and Ash was starting to worry that they had forgotten about him. "Excuse me," he addressed the waiter in the lime green suit, who came and went bringing snacks for the trainers.
"Yes, is there anything you need?" Comet asked politely.
"I was wondering when my turn is coming. I've seen some people go out to battle twice already and I haven't battled at all." This wasn't an official league tournament so maybe things were done differently. He didn't want to be forgotten and thus disqualified. Ash really needed to win and get Misty an amazing ring. Besides, after hearing the gym leader's speech Ash was really looking forward to their match.
Giovanni seemed cool for some unknown reason. Ash still had a nagging feeling in the back of his head that told him he had seen the gym leader somewhere before. It wasn't something as simple as a brochure, magazine or TV, but he could think of no where else where he could have seen Giovanni.
"Don't worry about that," Comet smiled reassuringly, he knew what was going on. If the champion, who happened to be from outside of Viridian City, went out there and badly beat the multitude of local rookies, it wouldn't make the city look good. That would not work in the mayor's favor. "This is a different kind of tournament, names are chosen at random. The trainers who lose are eliminated from the list so they won't be called out again. I'm sure your name is there, you just haven't been chosen."
Ash had a thoughtful expression, "so do they just pull names out of a hat?"
"Yeah, something like that," Comet decided to play along. Ash, despite being an amazing pokemon trainer and a past Indigo League champion, appeared to be gullible enough. Though he certainly had a lot of energy and an air of absolute determination. The look in Ash's eyes was somewhat familiar, but Comet didn't know where he had seen it before.
"Oh, alright then, I understand. Thanks for explaining it," Ash smiled, relieved that he had not been forgotten. It was just his luck that he wasn't chosen to battle. As less trainers remained, his chances of being called out to battle should improve, so he would be ready.
"Sure, no problem. If you need anything just give me a call, I'll be around," Comet played his part and concluded that the job that had invaded his break wasn't so bad after all. At least he would get to see some interesting battles in the end. He was certain that good trainers were among the participants and it wouldn't be long before only they remained.
To be Continued
Disclaimer, I don't own Pokemon. Jessie and James don't have a big reason to hide; they simply decided they didn't want to be recognized. Mostly it's just a matter of pride and a little extra safety to avoid looking suspicious for their ex-boss. I'm sure everyone must have caught the reference to Beauty and the Beast. Alderaan is a planet from Star Wars.