Ash's Ultra Journey @darkknight55
The Calm Before the Storm

Chapter 99: Calm Before the Storm

"Passimian, use Rock Smash!"

"Zen Headbutt, Lycanroc!"

The final battle of the Semi-Final round was in its last legs, and both Passimian and Lycanroc were going at it like there was no tomorrow. Every time Passimian got close, Lycanroc smashed his head into him, knocking him back once more. David was starting to get nervous.

"Don't let him get to you, Passimian! Low Sweep!"

"Jump over it, then use Rock Slide!"

Passimian went in for a hard kick, only to fall flat on his face while Lycanroc jumped to safety before launching an avalanche of rocks down on Passimian. Passimian dug himself out, hurt but still ready to keep fighting.

"Oh, it is on! All Out Pummeling!"

"Continental Crush, Lycanroc!"

The crowd went wild as massive amounts of energy built up in the field. Passimian launched himself forward, using fists of energy to smash apart the giant rock Lycanroc had encased himself in bit by bit, before clashing in the middle, creating a small explosion that rocked the field. When the smoke cleared, Lycanroc was barely standing, while Passimian had passed out.

"Passimian is unable to battle! Lycanroc is the winner, and the battle goes to The Masked Royal!"

The Masked Royal bowed, soaking in the attention. David sighed, shook his opponent's hand, and then left while the announcer came back on.

"And there you have it folks, our lucky finalists! Ash Ketchum, come on down!"

Ash Ketchum ran down, meeting them in the middle. The two happily shook hands, matching grins on their faces.

"Congratulations, sir. I look forward to facing you."

"Same here, Ash. I can't wait to see how far you've come. Feels like just yesterday I saw you off..."

"Pardon?"

"Um, nothing."

"There will be a one day break before the final match. We wish both competitors good luck!"

Late that night, Ash sat on a cliff overlooking the Alolan sea, thinking about his journey so far.

"We sure have had a lot of adventures, huh buddy?"

"Pika!"

"Agreed."

Ash smiled, leaning back as he reflected on all of his previous leagues. All of the friends he made, the rivals he thought... the mistakes he'd made.

Kanto was his first, and it showed. Half of his badges were given to him, and while he hadn't had a problem with it at the time, looking back he realized how much that had swelled his ego. Losing to Ritchie was what taught him that he needed to take it more seriously, even if the battle had been a little unfair.

"Its been a while since I've seen Ritchie. I wonder how he's doing..."

After he'd beaten The Orange Crew, he felt like he was on top of the world. He'd beaten an unbeatable trainer, his Charizard was listening to him again, he reunited a lost Lapras with its mother, not bad for a trainer still just starting out...and then Gary had to show up and rain on his parade, the jerk. But he got him back in the Silver Conference, and that was the highlight of his career up until that point. Even his loss to Harrison hadn't spoiled that, even if he still wished he could have won. But Harrison was a strong trainer, and deserved to win just as much as he did. No shame in losing to him.

Hoen was when he stopped considering himself a "rookie". While he definitely wasn't an expert, he had two leagues under his belt and enough experience to give May advice. Even so, he still made plenty of silly mistakes, ones he can laugh at now but could've cost him important battles in hindsight. Looking back, he realized that part of the problem was that he hadn't had a real rival to push him to do better. Sure, Gary was a jerk, but the idea of Gary getting too far ahead of him had always been sufficient motivation to become stronger. Without that, he just kind of floated at his own pace. Still though, Hoen will always have a special place in his heart.

Sinnoh was when he really started to get serious, and without a doubt he had Paul to thank for that. As much as he despised Paul's methods, he had to admit he was his greatest rival, and pushed him to become better just to teach him a lesson. In the end though, as much as he disliked Paul, he had taught Ash a valuable lesson: sometimes kind words isn't enough. Sometimes you need to push your Pokemon hard in order to get their beast potential. Still pretty sore about that Darkrai, though.

Unova was...a disaster. A step backward for him in every sense of the word, and he couldn't really figure out why. Maybe having so many new Pokemon overwhelmed him. Maybe Trip just got in his head too many times, or maybe he hit his head and didn't know it. Either way, he was embarrassed by his trip through the region, though at least he met some interesting people.

Kalos was an adventure. Here, he had decided to take things seriously again, and it had done wonders for him. Second place in a regional tournament, that's not too bad. Alain had proved to be the stronger trainer, and he felt nothing wrong from losing to him. Of course, then Team Flare made their move, which kind of dampened the mood. He'd have to get in contact with Clemont and see how Kalos was recovering.

And now he was in Aloa. It had been an unusual adventure, and it had taken him a while to get used to undergoing trials instead of gym battles. But truthfully, Alola was his favorite region so far. The beautiful sights, the amazing people, the new Pokemon, it truly was something that one couldn't find anywhere else. And although it took a while to get used too, he had come to love the trials. They made him look at Pokemon battles from a different angle, and gave him interesting new battle ideas.

"Ash?"

...And of course, he couldn't forget the most important change Alola had brought him. He pushed himself up to a sitting position as Lillie sat down next to him.

"I thought I might find you out here. Doing some midnight training?"

"Nah, just reminiscing. It feels like just yesterday I was saving you and Nebby from those Sparrows, and now..."

Lillie nodded, pushing a few strands of hair out of her face.

"Are you nervous?"

"Incredibly so, but at the same time excited. I could be the first champion of the Alola League!"

"Don't forget, you have to get through The Masked Royal first. I wonder who he is..."

"Hey, if I can beat your brother's Sivally, I think I can beat him!"

"Touche."

"Besides, I have one thing he doesn't have."

"Oh? And what's that?"

Ash pulled her closer, giving her a quick peck on the lips.

"A beautiful girlfriend who will be cheering for me the whole time."

Lillie smiled, cuddling up to him as they watched the stars come out.

"And don't you forget it."

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