Ash Ketchum and his friends had settled to camp out, hours after leaving the Diamond Domain, and saying goodbye to Diancie. Having just finished eating, Ash and Pikachu wandered off to plan ahead, while his friends discussed the exciting events of the past few days.
"That was AMAZING! We saved a Pokémon princess, and helped her mega evolve, and even met the Legendary Pokémon we saw at summer camp! This was the best week of my life!"
"Are you kidding? That was terrifying! We were chased by super thieves and attacked by a different legendary Pokémon! I'll probably have nightmares for days!"
"What do you think Serena?"
"While it was kind of scary at first, Ash seemed to know exactly what he was doing, so I guess I stopped worrying so much. I only started to be terrified again when he was – when Pikachu got hit by… We don't know if Pikachu's okay or not!"
-Meanwhile, with Ash and Pikachu-
"You sure? We don't usually fight them more than once."
"pichuka pika pi pika kachu pi kakachu pi…"
"Okay, I get it, Pikachu, we'll add Yveltal to the list."
"Do you think Counter Shield would've been more useful?"
The electric mouse shook his head.
"Quick attacking Thunderbolts, then?"
Pikachu shrugged. The pair noticed their human travelling companions walk over to them.
Serena: "Ash, is Pikachu feeling better?"
Ash: "I think so." He turned to his best friend, "Are you okay, buddy?"
The rodent rolled his eyes. "Pi Pikapi. Pika-Pikachu chu pipika! Pika chu chupika!"
Ash: "I know you're fine. They asked, didn't they? And no, I don't think we should start training everyone for that yet. We should probably wait for them to calm down first."
Clemont: "Wait for us to calm down? Logically, I'd expect the two of you to need more time to decompress than we would. Why are you so calm about this?"
Ash scratched the back of his head "It's not the worst thing we've been through, really. This was probably number…?" The trainer looked at his partner, and they both began to count on their fingers.
Ash:"Five? I was gonna say six. Which were you counting?"
'If Pikachu dying wasn't the worst thing they've experienced, what could be worse?' The others thought.
As Pikachu gave his answer, he acted the encounters out. To the Kalos natives, it seemed like the mouse was jumping back and forth and acting out two horrible monsters, one on four legs, the other on two, fighting each other (while making adorable roars). Then he stood tall, jumped and threw down an Electroball. Third was what appeared to be an improvised skitty chasing its tail (Bonnie giggled at this performance). Finally, he pretended to swim.
"I was thinking of the worst in general, not the worst that happened to us. "
Ash: "I didn't count Samiya. Shamouti is two, Alto Mare is three or four, and Michina was five."
Serena wanted to ask why the two lists were different – why the raven haired teen wasn't counting something bad happening to them as one of their worst experiences – but was too engrossed in the conversation to do so.
"kaka Pika chu chupichu Ikpichu?" questioned Pikachu, while positioning its ears into a 'V'.
Ash: "Because we can barely remember what actually happened that day, remember? We have no idea if it was some kind of group dream or not. Or an aftereffect of what happened in Sinnoh."
Bonnie had long noticed that Ash rarely told interesting stories about his past adventures, and assumed he just didn't have many. Now she wondered if he just didn't want to. What happened in Sinnoh?
Pikachu paused for a moment then shook his head.
"pi pi pi pi pi pi pi"
Another improvisation of Pokémon that the Kalosians could barely parse followed.
"Why would Spear Pillar be two? No one got hurt there"
The mouse glared at his trainer.
"Maybe you're right. Why is shamouti only six then?"
"ka chukaapi? Ka kapi piiichuka chuu."
"There was that huge storm, Pikachu. We don't know that people didn't die during Shamouti."
Clement and Serena could have sworn they had heard the name Shamouti before in relation to a storm, but they couldn't put their finger on it.
After a shrug, "pi pi pi pi"
Ash: "That makes sense. Okay, maybe this was the seventh worst. Hmmmm…I've got an idea."
Ash: "Maybe we ask for another opinion"
'Who would he ask?'
Ash looked around, randomly chose a potential hiding place – in this case a large tree in the distance - and yelled out to it.
At about this time, hidden in a large tree, Team Rocket had just finishing eating.
"Mmppff. Dat was good. Now, lets get back ta spyin on da twoips!"
A moment later, the Main Twerp suddenly faced in their direction.
"Hey Team Rocket! I want to ask you a question!"
James: "How did the twerp know we were here?"
Meowth: "Dunno. Dramatic convenience, maybe."
Jessie: "Should we answer back? What if he's trying to blast us off before we're prepared?"
James: "When's the last time they've tried to trick us? Hoenn? I think the twerp genuinely wants to ask us a question. "
Meowth: "Well we probably wouldn't be in dis story if the authuh didn't want us ta answer him. I say we go."
After a few minutes of waiting, Ash sighed.
"Maybe I picked the wrong spot."
No sooner than he said this did he hear a familiar woman's voice:
"Prepare for answers!"
"And make it double!"
"To protect the world from-"
"Get on with it already!" yelled Bonnie.
Jessie: "You uncultured brat! We work hard on planning these out!"
The blue haired man cautiously walked forward."So what do you want to ask?"
The Orange League Champion scratched the back of his head.
"Clemont wanted to know why me and Pikachu are so calm about what happened with Yveltal and I told him that we've been through worse. So Pikachu and me have been trying to figure out what number to rank this one as. And since you've almost always been around for them, I thought you might have an opinion."
'You've almost always been around for them.' How long have they been trying to steal Pikachu, anyway? Thought Serena.
Clemont's thoughts took a different direction: What would they know about this or other times?
Bonnie's was orthogonal to both: why would Team Rocket answer?
James: "Huh. I never thought of that."
The three criminals (plus Wobbuffet, who had emerged for some reason) all paused to think.
Finally, the orphan answered: "I think this would be second, after the Tree"
"What'dya mean aftuh the Tree? Unlike you lot, this was the foist time I kicked it."
kicked it'? 'Unlike you'? He's not serious is he?
"Like I told Pikachu, I sort of meant the worst in general – not the worst to happen to us personally. Otherwise we would have settled on his first list." Ash clarified.
He is serious!
"What's your current list?" James asked.
"Alamos Town is numbuh one, ain't it?" Meowth added.
Clemont was sure he heard that name before. Where was it? What happened there? Hopefully we'll get to hear what happened.
"Makes sense to me, " Jessie agreed.
James simply shuddered.
Disappointed, Clemont decided to look it up in his Handheld-Worldwide-Information-Retriever-Mk-III.
"Shhh. Not now, Clemont. We're trying to listen." His sister interrupted.
"What's the rest of your list?" the runaway asked again.
Ash answered: "Coronet, Shamouti, Michina, the tree and Alto Mare, and then this."
After about a minute of thinking, Meowth was first to respond, "Alto Mare wasn't dat bad."
For the Kalosians, this didn't ring any bells.
Jessie: "Yeah, the city just got locked down. It wasn't any worse than what happened in La Rousse."
That was the high tech city in Hoenn that Clemont talked about, wasn't it? Bonnie mused. Her brother, in turn, vaguely remembered reading about something happening there. Something about extraterrestrials. At the time, he dismissed whatever it was as preposterous rumors, of course. But it seems that Team Rocket was in the city during some event, and Ash, Pikachu, and their friends there too. Could I have been wrong? Did something actually happen?
Ash closed his and took a deep breath, while Pikachu's ears drooped.
Serena rarely saw this side of the boy. She didn't like it. He seems hurt. Why? What happened?
"chuchu. Kachu chukapi"
Meowth frowned and said "Oh… Dat makes sense then. "
The human criminals simply accepted that their partner in crime knew what he was talking about.
"Den why'd ya put it together with da tree? It was bad, but everyone came out of dat one okay."
Did someone get hurt at this 'altamar'?
The amateur aura user lowered his head until his hat shadowed his face. Then he muttered: "Lucario".
With that, the reasons for Alto Mare and the Tree of Beginning clicked into place for the J's.
Jessie, who barely knew her mother and never met her father – the former died hunting Mew, for all anyone knew – said simply "I'm sorry."
Ash lost someone. At least two someones. A Lucario was one of them. Serena realized. He never told us.
"Why aren't those on top?" James asked.
And as quickly as the mood came over the Rota Champion and his partner, it vanished.
Ash answered: "A lot more were in danger in the others."
That was something the Kalosians were not expecting. If someone died at this tree and at 'Alto Mare', and the others were more dangerous…
James: "Shouldn't Spear Pillar be on top, then? We don't know that Alamos would have been as bad."
Clemont Thought: There's Alamos again. And what's Spear Pillar? And why would it be on top? What was endangered? A city?
Jessie responded with "No. Spear Pillar was caused by people, and could've been prevented. Which is why I don't think it should count – They wouldn't have been there in the first place had Galactic not summoned them."
"I still think it should be up with Alamos," James muttered.
Who was summoned? And who's 'Galactic'?
"Besides," She continued, "We got to be heroes that time. It should go on the opposite list"
'Team Rocket – being heroes?' Bonnie thought, Why did he never tell us about this? I want to hear that story!
"Shamoiti shouldn't be on da list for da same reason." the outcast concluded.
"But the weather could have-" Ash started
"-The correct term is climate." James interrupted, "and climate change is inevitable. Remember Hoenn?"
Now the Kalosians were feeling totally out of the loop.
'Remember Hoenn?' We never heard about any climate stuff related to Hoenn (aside from there being a weather institute and a castiform, but that probably wasn't what they were talking about). Serena felt a sense of smallness then. Her crush seemed to have gone through extremely significant events, and he never told her about them. She didn't know anything about any of them. But Team Rocket does. They know more than I do.
"Ya missin da point! We 'elped save da day! Da show moight of ended if not fer us!"
How many times have they saved the day?
Jessie countered with "You mean sacrificing ourselves to give The Twerp more time!? We thought we would die from the fall or the cold water! That was a horrible day!"
But Team Rocket are bad guys! They're not supposed to do that!
Ash frowned "I know. When it all ended, we started to mourn, until Tracey noticed you on an island with Slowking."
Slowly, his words sank in, and the TRio's faces darkened.
But we're bad guys! The twerps aren't supposed to do that!
Eventually, the cat decided "No. No, you're roight. Dat was an 'orrible day."
A minute later, the the Shamouti's Chosen One grinned: "I don't know why we got upset though. You've fallen from higher up than that every week!"
"WHY YOU LITTLE TWERP!" Jessie yelled, as she lunged at him, only to be caught by Meowth's Team Rocket Extendo-claw.
James waved his hand, as if to dismiss the insult. "What else was on your list again?"
"Michina was number three."
"But nothing happened at Michina. They showed up, It talked to you, and then they left."
Who are 'it' and 'they'?
"Yeah. That's because we fixed the problem. It went on a rampage originally."
"Sound's like dat ting I did with the Hoenn twerpette."
The Hoenn twerpette? Serena thought. Ash had told them about his other friends, true. But to Team Rocket, I'm just the Kalos Twerpette, aren't I?
"Will you quit with that story?!" Jessie snapped," We both know you didn't feel like doing anything that day!"
"No, I think I remember May telling us about that. It was when her Glaceon hatched I think."
Bonnie was feeling completely lost. Ash never told us any of these stories.
"If you twerps are the only ones who remember it happening, I don't think it should count," James decided.
Clemont was beginning to suspect that they were discussing time travel. But that's impossible, isn't it? But before he could ask, Ash had already spoken up: "that makes sense. Any others you can think of?"
Jessie: "No, I think that was the worst of it."
James: "to review – Almos, Spear Pillar, Shamouti, the Tree and Alto Mare, and then the past twenty four hours. So this is number six."
"That makes sense to me," Ash replied. And then turned to the inventor: "does that answer your question, Clemont?"
The Gym Leader was jerked out of his thoughts "Huh? Um… yeah?"
Truth be told, he was more confused now than before he asked.
"Now that that's settled, I'm going to back to my food" said James, who turned and started to walk away.
Meowth: "No, I tink we forgot one."
Ash: "What did we forget?"
The cat grinned as he answered: "Daclaw"
Jessie's face shifted to a similar smile "No. The Claw"
Team Rocket acted immediately: The outcast used his extendo-claw to grab Pikachu, the orphan dropped a smoke bomb, and the runaway activated a drone.
What followed was a drawn out battle involving Pumpkaboo, Fennekin, Inkay, Meowth, a just woken up Dedenne, a Pelipper Drone, thirty wild Combee, the Pichu Brothers (utterly lost during a vacation), Froakie's frubbles, and finally, a well aimed Thunderbolt.
Once Team Rocket was no longer visible, Bonnie snarked: "Well there they go again".
Ash turned to Serena and asked: "Which way were we going, again?"
The brunette was jolted out of her thoughts "What? Oh. Um, lets see…"
After opening up her map, and staring at it for a bit: "While we could just go back the way we came, it seems we can go east to get to Lamballe Town by tomorrow, then go from there straight to Shalour City in another day or two."
"Neat," Said the Kantonian. He started walking, and then stopped "Which way is that again?"
"I knew you'd say that," said Clemont, "which is why we have a solution. The future is now, thanks to science!" The inventor held out his hand "I present to you – Serena's town map!"
Bonnie and Serena sweat dropped, while Ash and Pikachu beamed.
Science is so cool! This would have been so useful in Kanto!
Clemont: "So, Serena, which way to Lamballe Town?"
The performer checked her map, and then pointed "That way!"
As they walked, Clemont realized he had forgotten something.
I was going to look something up online. It was about something Ash had said about whatever they were talking about earlier. But what was it? Oh well. It's probably not important anyway.
Eulor News Search: _Alamos Crisis___________
Pokémon Researchers Monthly: How to predict another Alamos? Local scientist receives additional funding, research teams
Alola Times: Local Professor Burnet joins international team to study Alamos incident
Pokémon News Press: One year after crisis, PTSD still epidemic among Alamos town residents
Sinnoh Star: A year later, Alamos locals still traumatized by incident
Hoenn TV: Alamos crisis thousands of years in the making, say archeologists, dimensional scientists
Sinnoh Now: study suggests Alamos prelude to Arceus Michina appearance
Pokémon Researchers Monthly: Evidence suggests Alamos crisis was caused by dimensional foreshock to Arceus' awakening
National Pokégraphic: Dr. Newton Graceland: Pollution in Reverse World due to events in Alamos town
Celestic Gazette: Experts divided on whether Alamos Crisis could have ended Universe
Coordiantor Monthly: Contest cheers up the locals following Alamos Crisis
Pokémon News Press: Industrialist Cyrus funds research team to prevent future deific crises
Almia Herald: Capture Styler could have ended Alamos crisis sooner, says Ranger Union; Calls for more funding, outreach
Castelia Times: It's not the end of the world as we know it – you should feel fine
Electabuzzfeed: Could Alamos happen again? The prospect should terrify you!
Orre Tribune: Crisis in Alamos City as Legendary Baccer Player Suddenly Announces Retirement!
InfoBattles: Rangers fake Sinnoh crisis in order to increase funding to improve mind control devices!
Le Lumiosien: Universe almost ends above Sinnoh town of Alamos
Vermillion Post: Lt. Surge: the Alola Crisis is the Nightmare Scenario
The Jubilifer: The near doom that came to Alamos
Sinnoh Star: Alamos Town drawn into crossfire between Dialga and Palkia
Sinnoh Now: Dialga and Palkia drew Alamos Town into another dimension; almost ended the universe