It's been quite a while since I decided to stop writing Four Journeys and I've decided that it's finally time to start up a new Pokémon fanfic. Problem was I had at least half a dozen different ideas for new stories. After a lot of consideration I finally settled on my most recent story idea, which is basically a mix of the original Pokémon anime with the most recent Pokémon games: Sword and Shield. This first chapter is probably the single longest chapter out of all of my stories so far since I'm focusing this story's chapters more on content rather than length. Anyway, on with the story! Spoiler: Episode 1: I Choose You The stadium was packed with thousands of cheering fans as the chairman of Macro Cosmos finished his speech. They weren’t cheering for him, of course, but for what was about to happen. As the sharply-dressed chairman walked off the field, there was a small explosion of smoke and confetti near the center of the field, causing the crowd’s cheers to become deafening as the smoke cleared to reveal the region’s Champion, Leon, striking a pose for his fans. One of the many yellow Rotom cameras recording the event pulled in for a close-up, prompting Leon to flash a smile for the fans watching the livestream being broadcast before sticking his hand up dramatically and holding out his thumb and two fingers. The sight of Leon’s signature ‘Charizard Pose’ caused the crowd to erupt into even clouder cheering and yelling as many of the people watching imitated the iconic gesture. Many of the onlookers didn’t even seem to register the other trainer walking out onto the field until he was practically standing face-to-face with the undefeated champ. “Exhibition match or not, Leon, your pristine record is about to end, ‘cause I’m beating you here today!” Raihan, the dragon-type Gym Leader declared. “You know I don’t lose battles, Raihan!” The champion retorted dramatically, putting on a show for the audience. A bell rang, signaling the start of the match, and the two trainers turned away from each other and walked to their places before turning to face back to face each other. The crowd roared with excitement again. Many began stomping their feet rhythmically and the cheers turned into a loose melody that was familiar to anyone who was a fan of Pokémon battling in the Galar region. Leon and Raihan both sent out their first Pokémon as the exhibition match officially began. * * * Caught in the heat of the moment, Ash involuntarily jumped off the side of his bed and onto his feet. He stumbled a bit before falling onto the hardwood floor. The Rotom Phone he had been watching Leon’s match on slipped out of his hand and hovered in the air above his head before he got back up. “Ow.” The excitable youth groaned as he grabbed his phone and took a seat back on the edge of the bed again. Hopefully, his mother hadn’t heard that. There was a loud knock before Delia Ketchum opened the door and peered into Ash’s room. “What are you doing in here?” She asked in a raised voice. The startled Ash jumped, causing his phone to go flying out of his hand again, this time hovering in the middle of the room between parent and child. “Oh, um… nothing.” Ash said innocently. “I was just, uh, watching a Pokémon match.” “Do you have any idea what time it is? You should be in bed!” Delia snapped. “But mum…” Ash whined. “No buts, young man.” Delia held out her hand and the Rotom Phone, knowing the routine by now, flew over to her. “You can watch whatever you were watching tomorrow.” “Fine.” Ash groaned and rolled his eyes before lying back on his bed. “G’night, mum.” “Goodnight, my Deerling.” Delia said sweetly before stepping back out of Ash’s room and closing the door behind her. Ash didn’t think that he would be able to sleep but turned out to be wrong as he didn’t even have to start counting Wooloo before he was out for the night. Ash didn’t know it yet, but this would be the last night he would spend in his own bed for a long time. * * * Ash woke up the next morning with a yawn and stretched his arms before getting out of bed. Sunshine poured into his room through the window, making Ash realize that he had overslept. Fortunately, he didn’t have anything that he needed to do that day, but his mother still wasn’t going to like that. Although it wasn’t like it was his fault, she knew that he used his Rotom Phone as his morning alarm. Ash quickly got changed out of his pajamas into a plain black t-shirt and an old pair of jeans before heading to the kitchen to get some breakfast. Once he was there, he poured himself a bowl of cereal and sat down at the table. It wasn’t until he was half finished eating before Delia walked in and Ash realized that something was off. “Did the power go out?” Ash asked as he looked around, noticing that the lights were off and none of the digital clocks built into the various appliances scattered around the small kitchen were on. “It’s been off all morning.” Delia confirmed. “And I heard some squeaking coming from the basement, so I think we may have a Pikachu. As soon as you’re done eating, I want you to go down and check it out.” Ash grumbled something that he was glad his mother didn’t hear before returning to his cereal. Having to take care of a wild Pokémon was certainly not how he had wanted to spend his day. * * * Ash headed down to the basement with a pair of large, pink rubber gloves and a net designed for catching small Pokémon. It was dark down there, but fortunately his mother had returned his Rotom Phone so that he could use it as a flashlight. At first, it didn’t seem like there was anything down there and Ash was ready to turn back and head upstairs. A sound like an electrical spark caused Ash to swear as he and the Rotom Phone both turned to the corner where it had come from. Sure enough, his mother’s suspicions had proven correct and there was a Pikachu chewing on some electrical wiring it had pulled out from the wall. The Pikachu looked over at Ash and Rotom and seemed to flicker for a moment before continuing to feed off the electricity flowing through the house's power cords as if they weren’t there. Sighing, Ash tightened his grip on the net before plunging forward and bringing the net down on the wild Pikachu. “Aha, gotcha!” Ash declared triumphantly before the Pikachu suddenly popped out of existence and the boy realized too late that he had just caught a Double Team copy. As swore again as he was hit from behind by a Thunder Wave. The electrical charge wasn’t enough to really hurt him, but it sent a very uncomfortable tingling sensation down his spire and his hands seized up for a moment, causing him to drop the net he was holding. Ash quickly picked the net back up and rolled to the side. His movements were a bit sluggish after that shock to his system, but he had been able to dodge out of the way of the second Thunder Wave the wild Electric-type tried to hit him with. Ash reached down and pulled out a bottle of Repel that he shook vigorously while hopping out of the way of another electric attack before spraying the Pokémon repellant towards the electric rodent. The Pikachu sneezed and began scratching at its nose furiously as it was distracted long enough for Ash to catch it in his net. “There, let’s see you break out of this.” Ash twisted the net’s handle, tightening the loop so that the Pikachu wouldn’t be able to get out. The Pikachu tried discharging an electrical blast, which startled Ash but wasn’t able to travel far enough past the net to be able to hurt him. Delia was standing in the living room as Ash came back up from the basement, proudly holding the trapped Pikachu. “I got ‘im.” Ash said. “But now what?” “Let him go outside.” Delia told him. “But make don’t let him out near the house, or he’ll just come straight back here. Try letting him out outside of town.” “Right.” Ash nodded before heading to the front door. As Ash stepped outside, he was immediately greeted by a trio of Budew hanging out in his mother’s flower garden just outside the house. Ash smiled at the wild Pokémon, but they were immediately scared off as Pikachu tried shocking the net again. Ash sighed as he looked around for a good spot to free the Electric-type. Postwick was an old, small farming town that consisted of only a few scattered houses and a number of large wheat fields. To the north was Route 1, a short pathway that led straight to a larger town known as Wedgehurst. In the five years since his mother had moved them to Galar, Ash had never understood why Postwick and Wedgehurst were considered separate from each other but eventually he just realized that it didn’t really matter that much. To the west of Postwick, practically just outside his house, was a gateway that blocked off the Slumbering Weald. Ash actually had no idea what a weald was, but he figured that it must have just been a fancy word for forest since that’s what the Slumbering Weald seemed to be. He had always been told not to go in there, though, so wasn’t really all that certain what was on the other side of the gate other than trees. There was a Wooloo that had apparently decided not to heed the warnings not to enter the Slumbering Weald, however, as it was repeatedly ramming into the gate in an apparent attempt at forcing it open. Ash found this behavior odd, but his attention was quickly pulled away from that. “Hey, Ash! What’re you up to?” A boy Ash’s age in a teal jacket that was just a bit too large for him called out as he ran up to Ash. “Oh, mornin’ Hop.” Ash nodded to his neighbor before holding up the net containing the wild Pikachu. “This li’l pest broke into our house and me Mum decided that I needed to take care of it.” “Interesting, we had a Pikachu get into our wiring the other day.” Hop noted. “Wonder if it’s the same one?” “Don’t know.” Ash shrugged. “Probably means I’ll need to send it out further away if we don’t want to see it again, though.” “Yeah.” Hop agreed. “I think Dad let it out over on Route 1, which means you’ll probably want to take it to Route 2. At the very least it can bother the folks up in Wedgehurst, right?” Ash laughed. “Yeah, I suppose-” There was a sudden crash, causing both boys to turn to the Slumbering Weald. The Wooloo that had been attacking the gate had apparently succeeded in breaking through and was now rolling into the dark woods. “Oi, where do ya think you’re goin’?” Hop called after the sheep Pokémon. “It’s dangerous in there! C’mon Ash, let’s go after it before the poor thing gets itself into trouble.” “Right.” Ash nodded without any hesitation. The two boys ran after the stray Wooloo, venturing into the Slumbering Weald for the first time in either of their lives. It proved to be a much less momentous occasion that they had imagined, at least at first. They simply had to run along a straight trail until they had to suddenly turn around and run the other way as the Wooloo they had been chasing after had apparently turned around and was now barreling straight towards them. Ash was able to jump out of the way, dropping his in the process and inadvertently freeing the captive Pikachu within it, while Hop was knocked flat onto his back by the charging ball of wool. “Ow, that barely hurt.” Hop groaned as he got back to his feet and dusted himself off. “What do you think made ‘im turn around like that?” “I don’t know.” Ash picked the now-empty net back up and looked around to see where the wild Pikachu had gone. He found it lying on the ground just a few feet away, dazed by the sudden fall. “But I suppose we should be headin’ back ourselves before, um…” “Before what?” Hop looked up from the speck up mud he had been trying to wipe out of his wool-trimmed jacket. “Oh, huh.” The two boys found themselves surrounded by a ring of fog, that seemed to be steadily inching closer to them. “Well, this certainly doesn’t look good.” Hop glanced around. “We should definitely get out of here but, uh, which way did we come from?” “I’m not sure but hopefully it wasn’t that way.” Hop gaze followed the direction that Ash was pointing, to see a pair of large wolf-like Pokémon in the fog. One seemed to have fur that was primarily blue with sections of orange, while the other was mainly dark red with some darker blue mixed sections while they both had white muzzles and fur. They looked old and worn-out, with white markings in their disheveled fur that looked like scars. “Any chance they’re friendly.” Ash wondered aloud hopefully. “That would be nice, but I don’t think so.” Hop grabbed the lone Pokéball he had in his pocket and sent out his only Pokémon, a Wooloo similar to the one that had just run him over. The fluffy sheep Pokémon stood his ground beside Hop, ready to defend him. The atmosphere seemed tense as the young trainer, his Pokémon and Ash all waited to see what the strange new Pokémon would do. After a moment that seemed like a lifetime, the two wolves had apparently decided to leave them along and started to turn to leave. Pikachu, however, had chosen a very bad moment to regain his senses and launched a Thunder Shock at what he thought were a pair of hostile Pokémon. The bolt of electricity seemed to arc right through them as if they weren’t even there and blasted a hole in one of the trees. The two wolves immediately turned back to them. The red wolf assumed a defensive stance while the blue one lunged forward to attack. Pikachu was startled by the speed at which his opponents moved, barely managing to avoid being bitten by the blue wolf. Meanwhile, the fog had rolled in, making it harder to see what was going on now. “Not good!” Ash yelled. “Very not good!” “Okay, we’ve got to get out of here, now!” Hop shouted to Ash and turned, only for the red wolf to jump in front of him to block his path. “Waugh! Nope, never mind. Can’t go that way.” Ash tried to keep his eye on the blue wolf, but it was getting harder and harder to see anything through the fog. The wild Pikachu sent out another Thunder Shock, showing Ash a brief silhouette of the mouse Pokémon as desperately tried to hit something. Ash then caught a glimpse of movement out of the corner of his eye and spotted the blue wolf slowly creeping up on the Pikachu, ready to pounce. Before he even had time to think, Ash dove forward to catch the Pikachu just as the blue wolf came in for an attack. And then everything went black. * * * “Hey, kid? Are you alright?” Ash was sure that he had died, because he could have sworn that he heard the voice of Galar’s champion and his personal hero, Leon. Although if he was dead, he probably wouldn’t be feeling nearly as sore as he did, so he figured that he was just hearing things. Then he opened his eyes and was greeted by a face he knew well despite having never seen it in person before. “L-Leon?” Ash grunted as he sat up and looked around. He was still in the Slumbering Weald, though the fog was gone, and Hop was looking down at him beside a man that was unmistakably the Galar League Champion. “Oh, good, you’re awake.” The man who looked like Leon said. “And you know my name.” “Everyone knows your name.” Hop pointed out. “You’re the most famous person in Galar.” “Oh, right. I guess I kind of am.” Leon scratched the back of his head and looked kind of embarrassed. Ash stared up at his idol, completely mesmerized. “You’ve never actually met my brother before, have you?” Hop laughed as he helped Ash back up to his feet. “Your brother?” It took Ash a moment to process that. “Wait, I thought you said your brother was named Lee!” “It is.” Hop smiled and nodded. “Short for Leon.” “You must be Ash.” Leon held out his hand, which Ash started to shake before consciously noticing it. “I’m sorry that it’s taken so long for us to finally meet, considering that we’ve been neighbors for, what, three years now?” “Five.” Hop corrected him. “Really?” Leon looked surprised to hear this. “Man, I am really bad at keeping track of time. Although now that you mention it, that does sound right. Also, you can stop shaking my hand now.” “Sorry.” Ash let go of Leon’s hand, looking embarrassed. “It’s fine. But now that we’ve finally met, would you mind telling me what you two were doing in here?” “Oh, right.” Hop stuck his hands in his pockets and looked embarrassed. “Well, you see, a Wooloo broke through the fence so we went after it to make sure it was safe but then it turned around in a hurry and left, then everything got foggy and we couldn’t find out way back. Then a couple of large wolf-like Pokémon showed up and attacked. I don’t remember anything after that, though.” “Yeah, same here.” Ash nodded. “Hm…” Leon scratched his chin contemplatively. “That’s rather disconcerting, but at least you’re both safe. Now let’s get out of here before the Pokémon that attacked you come back.” “Don’t have to tell me twice.” Hop laughed. * * * As soon as Ash stepped out of the Slumbering Weald with Hop and Leon, he found himself pulled into a sudden brace so tight that he could barely breathe. “Are you alright? I was so worried! I never should have sent you to do that alone! Please tell me you’re not hurt!” “Mum! Mum, I’m fine.” Ash tried to force his mother off of him. “Right, right, of course you are.” Delia let go of her son and took a step back. “I’m just glad you’re safe.” “It’s nice to finally meet you, Mrs. Ketchum.” Leon said, taking off his hat and bowing slightly. “And it’s good to see you, Leon. Though we have met before.” Delia reminded him. “We have?” Leon seemed confused. “Yes, you and your family helped us move in when we first got here.” Delia pointed out. “Oh, yeah, that’s right.” Leon slapped his forehead lightly. “I think I had a Champion Cup match right after that, so I guess I had other things on my mind at the time.” Ash thought back and realized that he could vaguely remember what his mother was referring to. He couldn’t believe that he had never realized that ‘Lee’ was Leon, though. “Speaking of the League…” Leon turned back to Ash and Hop “Or at least Pokémon, anyway. I’m curious to see what you too can do in a battle.” “Oh, yeah!” Hop pumped his fist into the air. “Wooloo and I’ve been itchin’ to finally take you on in a battle!” “That sounds like fun, though I’m not actually a Pokémon trainer, yet.” Ash said. “Wait, isn’t that Pikachu yours?” Leon gestured near Ash’s feat, a confused look on his face. “What Pika-ahh!” Ash recoiled as he suddenly realized that the Pikachu he had gotten out of the house earlier had apparently followed him back from the Slumbering Weald. “Pika-chuu!” The Electric-type hopped away, startled by Ash’s sudden movement. “Ah, looks like he likes you.” Hop laughed. “Or he just wants back into your house for another power meal.” “Ah, I didn’t realize it was wild.” Leon put his hat back on. “Although it looks like you could probably catch him if you wanted.” “Really?” Ash looked back down at Pikachu, who looked up at him and seemed to nod. Ash then turned to his mother. “Can I, Mum?” “Oh, alright.” Delia smiled, realizing that if they hadn’t moved away from Pallet Town all those years ago, this would probably have been the day when Ash got his first Pokémon anyway. “Yes!” Ash couldn’t contain his excitement even if he tried, not that he did. “Although I guess I’ll need a Pokéballs, then.” “Don’t worry, I can help you with that.” Leon said, then suddenly realized something. “You know what, I feel like a special occasion like this deserves something special. Meet me out by the old battlefield, I’m going to go get something.” Leon then ran off North towards Route 1, before his Charizard emerged from his Pokémon and pointed him in the way he actually meant to go, which was East to his family’s house. “He’s certainly an energetic young man.” Delia turned to Ash. “Anyway, I’m going to go call an electrician to come over and get the power up and running again. Have fun.” “Bye, mum!” Ash waved to her mother as she went back into the house, before turning to Hop. “What do you think Leon’s getting’?” “Dunno.” Hop shrugged. “Let’s head over there and see.” * * * Ash and Hop didn’t have to wait long for Leon to come back. “Catch!” “Wha-ow!” The red ball Leon through at Ash hit him in the head and bounced off the ground. “Whoops, sorry.” Leon flinched and smiled apologetically. “Ooh, what’s that?” Hop asked as Ash picked up the cherry-red Pokéball. “It called a Cherish Ball.” Leon explained. “It’s a really rare kind of Pokéball that’s hard to find. I was saving it for something special, and this certainly feels like a good opportunity.” “Thank you.” Ash nodded before turning to Pikachu, who was resting on a moss-covered stone fence next to him. “Are you sure about this?” Pikachu looked uneasily at the red ball in Ash’s hand. He wasn’t particularly fond of the idea of being crammed in that thing and was almost ready to change his mind. But then he remembered how Ash had put his own life at risk in order to save him from that strange phantom wolf, looked up at Ash, and nodded. “Alright.” Ash nodded back. “Then let’s do this!” Ash chucked the Cherish Ball at Pikachu, which opened up and swallowed the Electric-type in a flash of red energy. It then dropped to the ground and shook once, then again. After the third shake, the front button flashed for a moment and the Cherish Ball clicked, indicating that Pikachu had been successfully caught. Ash then picked it up and pressed the button, causing a beam of red energy to shoot out as Pikachu rematerialized back on the fence. The mouse Pokémon stumbled a bit and nearly fell off the fence, disoriented by the unusual experience. “Woah, is he alright?” Ash asked, concerned. “Oh, right. I’ve heard that Pikachu are a bit more sensitive going in and out Pokéballs than most Pokémon are.” Leon remembered. “You’ll probably want to avoid having him sending back in the ball for now. Other Pokémon normally don’t have a problem, though. Anyway, I think the occasion calls for a battle! What do ya say?” “Of course!” Hop performed his namesake action, ready to battle. “I’ve been wanting to battle you for ages!” “I meant between you too.” Leon specified. “I’m afraid that if you fought me it might be just a bit lopsided.” “Ah, right. I guess that makes a bit more sense.” Hop forced a smile before turning to Ash. “So how about it? Fancy a scrap with ol’ Hop?” “You’re on!” Ash assumed a steady stance, eager for battle. His freshly caught Pikachu mimicked the pose. “Alright, but I won’t be going easy on you.” Hop walked over the opposite side of the blue patch of ground reserved for Pokémon battles. It was far, far smaller than a regulation field, but it was enough big for a small battle like the one that was about to take place. “Come on out, Wooloo!” The sheep Pokémon re-emerged from his Pokéball as Ash and Pikachu assumed their places on the field. Leon stood to the side and rose his hand up high over his head before swinging it back down again, signaling the start of the battle. “Wooloo, use Growl!” Hop ordered his Pokémon. The fluffy white sheep let out a loud bleat, causing Pikachu’s ears to twitch violently and grit his teeth. The electric rodent responded by lunging forward and turning around mid-air, smacking Wooloo across the face with his tail without waiting for a command from Ash. “Defense Curl!” Hop shouted. Wooloo tucked his legs and head into his thick wool, which served as a natural shield. Pikachu built up an electric charge in his cheek pouches before nuzzling them against Wooloo’s wool. Barely any of the electric energy was able to get through to Wooloo, however. “Tackle!” Wooloo’s legs seemed to spring back out as he kicked off the ground and tackled Pikachu to the ground. The agitated yellow Pokémon pulled himself back up to his feet and turned to Ash. It was clear that he would not be making any progress in this fight on his own. Unfortunately for the duo, Ash had realized once the fight began that he didn’t actually know any of Pikachu’s attacks yet. “Um, try hitting it with, uh… Thunder!” Ash said the only Electric-type move that he knew off the top of his head. Pikachu wasn’t nearly strong enough to use a move that powerful yet, though, but he did get the general idea of what Ash was asking for. His fur began to crackle with electricity as he built up the strongest charge he could muster and shot it out at his opponent. The resultant bolt of lightning burnt through the air before striking Wooloo. Wooloo was hit hard by the attack and his wool fluffed out so that it could hardly move as the residual energy flickered across his body. “That looked like it hurt.” Hop winced. “Can you manage another Tackle, Wooloo?” The Normal-type tried charging forward again only for his legs to seize up, causing him to fall over. Pikachu started to laugh at the sight of his opponent tripping like that in the middle of the fight. He Quickly stopped laughing, however, as Wooloo bounced off the ground and straight into Pikachu’s face. Pikachu grumbled as he picked himself up again. He was still relatively exhausted from everything that had happened that day and taking a Wooloo to the face twice in a row was doing nothing for his strength. If he didn’t finish this quick, he wasn’t finishing it at all. Pikachu did have one advantage now, though. Wooloo had managed to land upside down and the electricity still running through his wool was causing him to statically cling to the grass so that he couldn’t get himself right-side-up again. “This is your chance, Pikachu!” Ash declared triumphantly. “Now hit him again!” Pikachu glanced at his trainer and nodded before turning back to Wooloo. His fur crackled with yellow electrical energy as he charged up another Thunder Shock. This was a mistake. “Quick, use Defense Curl again!” Hop shouted. Wooloo tucked his legs back in just as the Thunder Shock struck him in the side with enough force to roll him over again. “Now Tackle!” Wooloo kicked out just as he leveled out and launched at Pikachu, striking the mouse before he had a chance to dodge out of the way. Pikachu was sent hurtling back and rolled along the ground several times before losing momentum. Pikachu tried to pick himself back up again, but the strain was too much and his strength gave out. Slumping to the ground, Pikachu let out one final squeak of exhaustion. Leon counted silently in his head before raising his arm. “Pikachu is unable to battle! Hop and Wooloo win the match!” “Yes.” Hop pumped his fist into the air. Ash tried to pull down the brim of his hat to cover his eyes, only to realize that he wasn’t actually wearing a hat at the moment. He instead tried to pass the motion off as him brushing his bangs instead. “Good game.” Ash said after a moment, holding out his hand to Hop. “Yeah, that was really close.” Hop responded enthusiastically as he shook his defeated opponent’s hand. “Any longer and Wooloo would have lost for sure.” “That was a great battle!” Leon agreed. “Even though you’re both just starting out, you both seemed to have a real knack for this. You and Wooloo were totally in-synch for the whole match and I could really tell you knew Wooloo’s abilities well and how to react and the circumstances of the battle changed.” “I wouldn’t go that far.” Hop said modestly, recalling his Wooloo back into his Pokéball. “And did really well yourself, considering that you and Pikachu just met.” Leon turned to Ash. “You were still able to get a sense of what Pikachu was able to do, even if you didn’t know exactly what his abilities were. If you and Pikachu actually had a chance to train together first, I have no doubt that battle would have gone very differently.” “Thanks!” Ash’s sour mood from losing his first Pokémon battle was replaced by pride at being complimented by his idol. “You’re both just starting out, yet that battle was positively charged!” Leon laughed at his own joke before continuing. “By the end there I was almost ready to send Charizard out and join in myself. You both show a lot of promise as trainers and I’m looking forward to seeing how you can both grow. In fact, yeah… I think you should both take part in the Galar League this year!” “Wait, what?” It took Ash a moment to process that. “You mean it?” Hop asked excitedly. “But wait, don’t you need a sponsorship from one of the Gym Leaders in order to able to get into the League?” “You could get a sponsorship from a Gym Leader if you wanted to.” Leon replied. “But don’t you think being sponsored by the unbeatable champion would be a lot more impressive.” “You’re really going to sponsor us in the Pokémon League, Lee?” “Of course.” Leon nodded. “I just said that I thought you were both great trainers with a lot of potential, didn’t I.” “Are you sure this is a good idea?” Ash asked. “Couldn’t it damage your reputation if one of us failed the league? And it seems like people would object to you sponsoring your own brother and someone who just lost his first Pokémon match.” “If they want to complain, then let them.” Leon shrugged, unconcerned. “I know you’ll both show everyone what I’ve seen in you today. No one will be complaining when you both make your way to the Champion Cup and prove why you’ve earned your way there.” “That’s quite a lot of confidence you have in us.” Hop mused. “Yeah, maybe.” Leon grinned. “Which is why you should accept my sponsorship before I change my mind.” “I don’t remember saying anything about not accepting it.” Hop laughed. “I’d be honored to accept.” Ash said. “Then it’s settled.” Leon nodded. “Although we’re going to need to get you both set up before you can actually enter the League. Meet me in Wedgehurst after you’ve finished getting ready. There’s someone there I want you to meet.” With that, the champion of Galar turned with a swish of his logo-covered cape and ran off. Hop turned to Ash. “Wow, I can’t believe we’re actually going to get to take part in the League!” Hop said excitedly. “I’m going to go get ready. I don’t want to waist a second.” Ash smiled as Hop turned and ran off in the opposite direction. So much had happened that day that it was hard to process. He went over and picked up his Pikachu, who had just regained enough energy to stand up again, and held the electric rodent tightly as he headed back home. * * * Once Ash got back to his room, he set Pikachu down on his bed and walked over to his closet. He pulled out an old blue jacket with white sleeves, a pair of fingerless gloves and a red and white baseball cap with the Galar League logo on it. A knock at the door caught his attention and Ash turned to see his mother with a sad smile on her face. “You look all grown up.” She said sorrowfully. “Oh, uh…” Ash wasn’t exactly sure what to say to his mother. He had been so caught up in the moment that he hadn’t even thought about the fact that he was leaving her behind. “You know, if we were back in Kanto then this would be about the time that you’d be expected to head out on your own and become a Pokémon Trainer. And now here we are, half-way around the world, and yet it’s like nothing’s different.” “Yeah…” Ash glanced down at his feet, holding back tears. “You’re going to want this.” Delia hefted up a large, leather-trimmed bag that Ash immediately recognized as having belonged to his father long ago. “I had a feeling this day would come, so I made sure to pack just about everything you should need out there, though I figured that you would want to pick what clothes you wanted to take with you yourself. But remember that if you need anything then you should call right away.” Ash walked over to his mother and took the heavy bag from her. Before he had a chance to walk away again, Delia wrapped her arms around Ash and they both began to cry. “I love you so much.” “I love you too, Mum.” The two remained there for a moment before Delia finally let go and stepped away. “Now make me proud.” She smiled, though her eyes were still red and puffy. “I will.” Since the story is set in Galar, I'm trying to make everyone sound British. I doubt I'm doing a very good job with that, however, and any advise on how to improve in that regard would be appreciated. In fact, any feedback you have to give would be nice and I'd love to hear what you think of the story so far.