Chapter 3: Way of the Aura
Ash and Misty did not stay long in Jubilife City after meeting with Riley. After swinging by the town Pokemon Center the group got back out on the road to Oreburgh City. There they had camped out for the night, and the entire time Ash kept thinking about What Riley had said about him having the potential to become an Aura Guardian. It was enough for Ash to be chosen as Ho-Oh’s partner, but the idea that he also had some supernatural power seemed rather unbelievable. Even so, Ash had decided to give Riley’s training a shot, as he had nothing to lose.
The following day, Ash awoke to the light of the morning sun. The first thing Ash noticed was Riley sitting on a large rock looking at him with his arms crossed. Lucario of course was standing near by. The site caused Ash to immediately shoot up in his sleeping bag, which awoke both Pikachu and Riolu in the process.
“Good morning.” Riley greeted with a smile, completely ignoring the oddity of the situation.
“How long have you been staring at me like that?” Ash asked, feeling a little creeped out.
“Oh, not very long.” Riley admitted. “It seems that you’re an early riser. It’s time we get started on your training.”
“Okay, how do we start?” Ash asked as he got up.
“Follow me.” Riley said after getting off his rock.
Ash and his two Pokemon followed Riley and Lucario, leaving behind a sleeping Misty. Before long they had come to a small clearing filled with rocks.
“So are we going to battle?” Ash asked Riley.
“Not yet, first you have to get the hang of some of the basics.” Riley said as he pulled out two strips of black cloth from inside his jacket. “First, you and Riolu go and stand on that rock over there. After that, both of you put on those blindfolds.”
“Um, okay.” Ash said as he took the two blindfolds and went over to the large rock indicated by Riley. He then began tying the blindfold on Riolu. “So what’s the point of this?”
“Those with the ability to use Aura can see their surroundings while blindfolded by sensing their Aura.” Riley explained. “For your first lesson you’re going to be doing the same thing.”
“Does that mean we’re going to have a battle blindfolded?” Ash asked as he put on his own blindfold.
“Not for awhile.” Riley chuckled. “For today all I’ll have you do is just sense what’s around us.”
“So what do I do?” Ash asked.
“Clear your mind of any distractions and picture that everything around you is giving off a blue light.” Riley instructed. “When you’ve done that, tell me the first living thing you see and where it is.”
Ash took a deep breath and put his doubts aside. He then did as Riley said and began picturing a blue light in his mind. The light then began to form different shapes, some easier to make out than others. There was one light though that seemed somehow brighter than the others. Ash focused on that light and noticed that the light had Misty’s shape, and that it was moving.
“Hey, this might sound weird, but I think Misty’s coming toward us.” Ash told Riley.
Sure enough, a still drowsy Misty came from around the tree behind Riley, Lucario, and Pikachu. She yawned and looked at what Ash was doing with a raised eyebrow.
“What the heck are you guys doing?” Misty asked. Ash was greatly surprised that he heard Misty’s voice.
“I thought Misty would be the first thing you sense.” Riley said to Ash with a chuckle. “It’s not surprising considering how close you two are.”
Riley’s comment caused both Ash and Misty to blush. Lucario chuckled a Ash and Misty’s reaction, as did Pikachu.
“Okay, now for something a little more difficult.” Riley told Ash. “There’s a tree directly in front of you. Focus on that tree and tell me how many Pokemon are in it.”
Ash took another deep breath and tried not to think about what Riley had said about him and Misty being close. Again he saw the blue lights and focused on the one that was shaped like the tree that Riley had spoken of. As Ash focused on the tree he noticed five brighter lights in the branches. He also noticed that the lights had a sort of bird shape to them.
“There are five of them, Starly I think.” Ash told Riley. Riley then closed his eyes.
“Well done. You were even able to see what kind of Pokemon they were.” Riley said as he opened his eyes again. “Okay, let’s try something else.”
* * *
A few hours later, Riley decided to stop Ash’s Aura training for the day and the group had lunch, which Riley skillfully prepared. After lunch, Ash went for a walk with Pikachu and Riolu while Misty and Riley cleaned up.
“So is Ash’s training going well?” Misty asked Riley.
“He’s done exceptionally well for his first day.” Riley answered. “It’ll take a little time, but I have no doubt that Ash will make a fine Aura Guardian.”
“Um, about what you said before…” Misty began hesitantly. “Do you really think that Ash and I are… close?”
“Well, while it isn’t any of my business, that is the impression I got.” Riley answered. “Why, don’t you think that the two of you are close?”
“Lately I’m not so sure.” Misty sighed. “I mean Ash and I have been traveling together for a few years now, and along the line I started to see him as… well, more than a friend. And for a while I thought that Ash just might feel the same way. But since our trip though Hoenn I’m not so sure.”
“What happened?” Riley asked.
“Our first day in Hoenn we met this girl named May.” Misty began. “She was a nice girl, kinda dense though. May was just starting out as a Pokemon Trainer, but she ended up becoming a Pokemon Coordinator instead. Anyway, May ended up coming with us, and after awhile she was getting just a little too friendly with Ash.”
“Forgive me for suggesting this, but is it possible that you were imagining things?” Riley asked.
“Oh believe me, I wasn’t imagining anything.” Misty told him. “One day we were at the hot springs at Lavaridge Town, and May pretty much admitted how she really felt about Ash.”
“I see. So did Ash know how this girl felt about him?” Riley asked.
“Please, Ash was totally clueless.” Misty scoffed. “Which was worse, especially since he has no clue how I feel about him. At first I thought he did before we left for Hoenn, but maybe I was wrong.”
“Ash is still quite young.” Riley pointed out. “I will take him some time, but I’m sure he’ll realize how he really feels about you.”
“You really think so?” Misty asked with a hopeful expression.
“He may already be starting to realize it.” Riley theorized. “When Lucario and I first encountered you near Lake Verity, we could sense from his Aura that he really didn’t like that you were mad at him.”
“I guess I have been hard on Ash for the last few days.” Misty realized. “Thanks for listening Riley.”
“Not a problem.” Riley said with a gentle smile. “Now, we should probably go find Ash if we want to get to Oreburgh City before the end of the day.”
* * *
Meanwhile, Ash was walking through the woods with Pikachu and Riolu. The whole time Ash kept thinking about his training that morning.
“It’s still a little hard to believe, but I guess I can do some of this stuff Riley says I can.” Ash said to his two Pokemon companions.
Suddenly Pikachu and Riolu froze. Ash could tell that the two were sensing something, but rather than ask what they were seeing he decided to put what he had learned during his first day of training into practice. Ash closed his eyes and concentrated on the blue light. Just as before, the light took shapes, and Ash tried to focus on what it was Pikachu and Riolu had sensed. Ash could see a shape of light approaching from behind a nearby tree. Ash opened his eyes, and sure enough he saw a Pokemon he had never seen before.
It was a light-green tortoise with a large head and a dirt-brown shell. It had a large yellow jaw as well as yellow feet. Growing out of the very top of its head was a twig with two leaves on it. Ash got out his Pokedex to see just what he had encountered.
“Turtwig, the Tiny Leaf Pokemon.” The Pokedex identified. “The shell of Turtwig’s back is made of soil. If the shell is not moist, it is a sign that the Turtwig is in poor health.”
“Wow, I wonder if it’s wild?” Ash asked.
Suddenly Turtwig opened its mouth and fired a barrage of orange glowing seeds at Pikachu and Riolu. The two Pokemon quickly dodged the attack.
“That was Bullet Seed!” Ash observed. “I guess it wants to fight. Okay Riolu, use Bullet Punch!”
Riolu lunged at Turtwig as its right paw began to glow with a white light. The punch hit Turtwig right in the jaw and knocked the grass tortoise into the air.
“Now use Quick Attack!” Ash commanded.
Riolu disappeared for a moment and reappeared behind Turtwig and delivered a powerful kick. Turtwig was knocked into the side of a nearby tree before hitting the ground.
“Okay, Pokeball go!” Ash called as he threw out an empty Pokeball.
The ball hit Turtwig and sucked it inside. Ash and his two Pokemon watched as the ball jiggled on the ground. After a few moments the ball stopped moving and made the sound that signaled that the capture was complete. Ash quickly went over and grabbed the ball.
“Yeah! I caught a Turtwig!” Ash happily declared. Pikachu and Riolu did a happy little cheer in response.
“There you are Ash!” Misty said as she and Riley came up from behind with Lucario. “C’mon, we should get going.”
“Right, let’s go!” Ash said as he and his two Pokemon rejoined the others.
* * *
After a few hours of walking the group stopped on a hill overlooking a large mining town. There weren’t too many large buildings in the city, but in the distance they could see a large mine that looked to still be in operation.
“So this is Oreburgh City, huh?” Ash observed.
“I happen to know that the leader of the Oreburgh Gym uses Rock-types.” Riley informed Ash. “Do you think you’re ready for that?”
“I’m more than ready!” Ash said with his usual enthusiasm, and with that they began to head for the city.