Main article: Final Challenge
|Tagline||Ash is battling Cynthia to finally become a Master, but something has destabilized the Pokemon World...|
|Posted At||Fanfiction.net, BMGf, Serebii Forums|
|Began||Chapter One published September 6th, 2007 (FF.net)|
|Finished||September 5th, 2008 (FF.net)|
|Number of Chapters||41 + Epilogue|
|Genre(s)||Action, Adventure, Friendship, Romance|
|Followed By:||None (sequel planned)|
|Point of View||3rd|
Final Challenge is the first fanfiction written by Matkin22, and was regularily updated on Fanfiction.net. It brings an end to Ash Ketchum's journey as a Pokemon trainer. It has received almost unanimously positive reviews. The story is a length of 41 chapters (not including the epilogue), and was completed on September 5th, 2008 - one year to the day after the story began.
The plot of Final Challenge is exceedingly complex, and intricately woven. A full synopsis is shown below:
Chapter One: Preparation
The story opens with Ash waking up in his room. He has beaten the Sinnoh League, and undertaken the challenge of the Elite Four. In turn, he has defeated Agatha, Karen, Glacia, and Lucien; now Cynthia is the only obstacle to his officially becoming a Pokemon Master. It is also revealed that he is now the seventh Frontier Brain after Spenser's retirement, and in charge of a new facility; the Battle Colosseum. He speaks briefly to Brock and Dawn, who are both staying with him at the Colosseum, in the kitchen of his new home over breakfast and wishes aloud that May could have been able to be there for his battle, revealing that she was stranded in Cianwood City after a surprise hurricane knocked out all of the power and isolated the island from the mainland.
Chapter Two: Return
Walking over the Colosseum's battlefield, Ash notices a training battle between Misty and Max, who are also staying with him in the run-up to his battle. After Misty defeats Max, Ash walks over to cheer him up, revealing in the process that he owns a Gallade. He leaves Misty and Max in the battlefield, racing his Gallade and Pikachu to the training field. He is then hit by a Flamethrower from above and Charizard appears, returning as a permanent member of Ash's team.
Chapter Three: Reunion
Liza presents Ash with an egg that she believes came from his Charizard and Charla, asking him to give it to "someone special". Ash is then reunited with Latias, who has flown from Altomare City to battle on his team against Cynthia. He begins to train his six selections for the match (Pikachu, Charizard, Latias, Gallade, Sceptile, and Snorlax), when May makes a sudden appearance on Ash's Pidgeot.
Chapter Four: Buildup
Gary reveals to Ash that it was his idea to use Pidgeot to bring May from Cianwood to the Colosseum in time for his battle. Dawn runs up and lets everyone know that Cynthia has just arrived. Ash goes to greet her while everyone else heads off to a section of seats specially reserved for them, where they meet the other six Frontier Brains who have also come to see the match.
Chapter Five: Battle
Ash and Cynthia commence their battle, with Ash sending out Snorlax and Cynthia choosing Gastrodon. After a quick exchange of attacks, Cynthia recalls Gastrodon and sends out Spiritomb, who is quickly defeated. Snorlax faints as Cynthia sends out Milotic, so Ash counters with Sceptile, who narrowly wins. Cynthia chooses Roserade and Ash goes with Charizard. Despite taking a very damaging hit, Charizard's type advantage is enough to defeat the grass Pokemon. After a brief intermission, Cynthia sends out Gastrodon for the second time while Ash chooses Latias. A Rayquaza suddenly appears and attacks the Colosseum.
Chapter Six: Mission
Butch and Cassidy are called to Giovanni's office where he instructs them to hunt down and murder Jessie, James, and Meowth. After a brief detour to Professor Namba's lab where it is revealed that "Silver" has been caught, they leave on their mission. The chapter concludes with a mysterious caped figure pondering the behaviour of humans.
Chapter Seven: Escape
Ash, Cynthia, Gary, and the Frontier Brains use their Pokemon to try and distract the Rayquaza, giving the audience time to escape. Ash orders his Tauros and several more of his Pokemon to take Delia, May and her family, Professor Oak, and his friends back to Pallet Town, and Totodile and Kingler to try and put out fires started by the Hyper Beam's impact.
Chapter Eight: Fire
Ash, Cynthia, Gary, and the Frontier Brains manage to drive off the Rayquaza. Ash then becomes worried about how Totodile and Kingler are dealing with the fires and runs off to find them, becoming trapped in his burning house in the process. Tucker and Gary follow him, and with the help of Charizard he is rescued. They meet up with Brandon and Anabel on the path to Pallet Town, while Tucker joins the other Frontier Brains in Viridian City.
Chapter Nine: Home
Ash, Gary, Anabel, and Brandon reach Pallet Town where they find Professor Oak's lab completely destroyed. Ash is initially worried about his Bulbasaur, but May's Bulbasaur arrives and leads him to his house where all of his friends, family, and Pokemon have been waiting. Tracey reveals that it was the Rayquaza that destroyed the lab.
Chapter Ten: Revelation
May and Ash have a brief conversation in the backyard. May asks Ash to never force her away from a dangerous situation where he plans to stay behind and fight. Ash agrees not to, and May gives him a quick hug. The next morning, Professor Oak tells everyone his theory on why the Rayquaza attacked. He believes that it was under the influence of Pokerus.
Chapter Eleven: Seperation
The chapter opens with a Wobbuffet scaring a Weedle and being chased by Beedrill. It then cuts to a trainer who finds a badly injured meowth on the path. He captures it and asks his disobediant Tyranitar to take it to the Pokemon Centre. James wakes up to find himself stuck in a tree and being attacked by a flock of Fearow. He is saved by Paul, and decides to follow his rescuer, capturing a juvenile Fearow. Jessie finds herself stuck in some bushes and is pulled out by Drew. Drew reveals that he is searching for May.
Chapter Twelve: Infection
Professor Oak realizes that Latias has been infected by the Pokerus. Everyone save Ash, May, Brock, and Professor Oak is forced outside where they can't be attacked by the mentally deranged legendary. Ash is able to stop Latias when she attacks May, and the legendary Pokemon hudles against him for safety. Ash reveals that he plans to return to Sinnoh with dawn, and asks May if she wants to come with him.
Chapter Thirteen: Understanding
Latias awakes completely recovered from the disease, but very weak. Ash finds May asleep on his shoulder and has a brief conversation with Brock where he reveals that he has feelings for her. After breakfast, Ash and Max have the battle that Ash promised long ago. It is over quickly and a solid victory for Ash.
Chapter Fourteen: Gift
May and Dawn have a brief conversation where Dawn lets it slip about Ash's feelings. Embarrassed, Dawn leaves and May wonders what it is about her that Ash is attracted to. Dawn tells Brock about the slip-up, and Ash overhears the end of the conversation. Dawn lies and says that she was talking about Latias, prompting Ash to ask her if she would like to be his Pokemon. Latias agrees and Ash captures her. Ash walks outside and finds May, who he gives the Charmander egg to.
Chapter Fifteen: Rey
Professor Oak tells Ash and May his theory on how Latias caught the Pokerus. Ash and May then leave with Brock and Dawn for Sinnoh. On the way to Viridian City, Pikachu is snatched by Jessie and Drew tries to abduct May. Ash's old friend Rey, one of the unseen Pallet Town rivals, appears and rescues both May and Pikachu with her Venusaur. Rey, glad to see Ash after so many years, gives him a hug and May runs off, brokenhearted. The chapter ends with the mysterious caped figure trying to make his way to Vermillion City, and beginning to feel the effects of the Pokerus as he is infected.
Chapter Sixteen: Capture
Paul leads an unwitting James to Tohjo Falls, where the headquarters of Team Rocket are located. James is captured and taken to a holding cell. Giovanni is disappointed that Cassidy and Butch failed in their mission, but holds out hope that they are on the trails of Jessie and Meowth. He reveals that Paul is his son. In his office, Giovanni tells Paul that they have captured several legendary Pokemon for an unknown purpose. He instructs Paul to capture a Celebi, which is currently in Petalburg Forest, and gives him a Dark Ball for the job. James finds himself in the same cell as Silver, and is about to be attacked when Paul intervenes. He takes James with him, but forgets to lock the door behind him.
Chapter Seventeen: Memory
May has a flashback to when she was in Johto with Drew, and wonders what changed him from a friend to somebody that would try and abduct her.
Chapter Eighteen: Conversation
Cassidy is complaining to Butch that they could have captured Jessie if she had just stood a little closer to the trees before being blasted off. Rey, meanwhile, is having a very pointed discussion with Ash before reminiscing with Brock about their battle when she challenged him for a badge.
Chapter Nineteen: Lessons
Just outside Viridian City, Ash, May, Brock, Dawn, and Rey are stopped by Noland. He explains that the Frontier Brains have been handling the press since the Rayquaza attack, and that they need Ash to speak with them so that the world can stop worrying. He alerts Lucy and Anabel, who were also searching for them, and then they make their way to the Pokemon Centre via a secret underground tunnel. Anabel reveals that it was built during the Cyas Wars. In the Pokemon Centre, they find a rampaging Tyranitar that is trying to attack it's trainer. Ash intervenes with his Sceptile, saving the trainer's life. The trainer turns out to be Ritchie.
Chapter Twenty: Recapture
The chapter opens 400 years in the past with the king of Pokelantis. He is furious with the result of a battle in the Cyas War, and determined to get revenge on a meddling Ho-Oh. In Petalburg Forest, Paul tries to capture what he thinks is Celebi but turns out to be a Wheezing. It turns out to be James's old Wheezing, and he recaptures the Pokemon. Ash gives the press conference and comes out unscathed, despite the paparazzi.
Chapter Twenty-One: Beginning
Meowth wakes up in the Pokemon Centre, and finds out that he has been captured by Ritchie. He demands to be released, but Ritchie refuses. Ash is standing outside the press conference building and is approached by Anabel. She asks him about his plans and invites him to stay at the Battle Tower for a couple of days. Paul manages to capture Celebi and then receives a message from Giovanni telling him to go to Azalea Town. Ash and May have a brief discussion, where May accidentally tells him of her love. The two share their first kiss.
Chapter Twenty-Two: Loyalty
Jessie is found by Cassidy and Butch, and is attacked. Ritchie intervenes and battles Butch. His Pokemon are swiftly defeated, and he sends out Tyranitar as a last resort. It refuses to listen until it sees how hard Ritchie tries to protect Jessie and Meowth from Cassidy's Houndoom, and the damage that he receives for his efforts. It blasts off Cassidy and Butch, now loyal to Ritchie. Ritchie decides to release Meowth. The mysterious caped figure recovers from the Pokerus and teleports to Vermillion City.
Chapter Twenty-Three: Hunter
400 years in the past, the evil King of Pokelantis has had the first two Poke Balls built for him, using secret technology from stolen from the city of Pokemopolis. Giovanni meets with Hunter J, and she gives him all of the Sinnoh legendaries that she has captured in exchange for her fee. Giovanni is furious when he discovers that the last Latios was killed by Annie and Oakley. Paul and James arrive in Azalea Town. Ash, May, Brock, Dawn, and Rey encounter the mysterious caped figure on the outskirts of Vermillion City. The caped figure is revealed to be Mewtwo.
Chapter Twenty-Four: Theft
Drew has a dream, remembering when he and May travelled together in Johto; he wakes up in tears. Silver successfully escapes from Team Rocket headquarters, but he is pursued by several Grunts. James's Fearow, which avoided capture by Team Rocket when James was apprehended, observes and drives the Grunts off. Paul finds Kurt in Azalea Town and demands to know where the GS Ball is; Kurt reveals that he gave it to a girl with a Pidgeot, who was supposed to take it to Professor Oak.
Chapter Twenty-Five: Presence
Giovanni contracts Hunter J to capture Kyogre, Manaphy, Jirachi, Latias, and Deoxys, as well as to steal a portion of the Soul Dew. A Grunt enters the room and tells Giovanni of Silver's escape. Giovanni is furious, until he learns that the Silver that has escaped was a human. Mewtwo reveals to Ash, Brock, Dawn, and Rey that May is carrying around a dark presence that endangers all of their lives. May collapses the moment that Mewtwo leaves.
Chapter Twenty-Six: Defeat
A Deoxys is flying through the sky when it is overcome by a sudden spurt of pain. It crashlands just outside of Team Rocket Headquarters, where it is captured in it's Defense form when a Grunt uses a Dark Ball. Professor Namba reports to Giovanni's office, where he updates Giovanni on his progress of mutating the Pokerus into the Perporus, and he is told that the Deoxys that crashed earlier was infected with that disease. Namba is instructed to investigate a possible connection between legendary Pokemon. Giovanni then talks to Cassidy and Butch about their fate, following their failure to kill Jessie, James, and Meowth. Drew is dreaming again of Johto, and of May's final Contest in the region. She loses to Harley, failing to qualify for the Grand Festival, but agrees to become Drew's girlfriend. He then reveals to her that there is actually one more Contest, but she will be facing Soledad. He wakes up to find Hunter J stealing his Pokemon. He manages to push her away, and sends out Flygon to counter her Salamence. Brock and Ash speculate what Mewtwo meant about a "dark presence" around May. Nurse Joy is trying to heal May, who has become very sick following her collapse.
Chapter Twenty-Seven: Disease
Rey remembers an occassion in her Pokemon journey when she battled Koga and lost badly, causing Koga to inform her that she is not ready as a trainer. There is a strange glow from May's bag which goes unnoticed by Nurse Joy as she is inspecting a curious pustule on May's chest. Ash is in his room in the Pokemon Centre talking to Brock and Forrest when he develops a suspicion about what has happened to May, causing him to run towards the emergency room.
Chapter Twenty-Eight: Farewell?
Max is in the foothills of Mount Silver, searching for Deoxys whom he was supposed to have met. He notices several lights in the sky, which turn out to be Drew battling Hunter J on the back of his Flygon. J's Salamence easily defeats Flygon and sends them spinning down to the ground below. Ash and Brock enter the emergency room and Ash tells Nurse Joy he suspects May has been infected with the Pokerus. Nurse Joy instructs Brock to call Professor Oak to see if that could be the case and begins to remove the pustule on May with Ash's help. May reacts badly to the operation and tries to strangle Nurse Joy in her confused state. Ash restrains her and she collapses, seemingly dead.
Chapter Twenty-Nine: Egg
Tracey is doing some repair work in Professor Oak's lab when a mysterious man approaches. Tracey directs him to the Ketchum's house and continues his work. Profesor Oak is in conversation with Kurt, who reveals that he was attacked over the GS Ball. Luckily he did not have it on him, having given it to May previously as she travelled on Ash's Pidgeot to Pallet Town prior to the start of the story. Oak hangs up and is almost immediately called by Brock at the Pokemon Centre. Drew opens his eyes and realizes that he survived the fall. It is revealed that Max stopped both him and Flygon from falling with the use of his Claydol's and Gardevoir's Psychics. Max is not pleased it is Drew he has saved, and begins to torture him. The glow in May's bag is revealed to be a Charmander, hatched from the egg that Ash gave her. The Charmander brings down May's fever with it's Flash Fire ability.
April Fools Chapter
Titled Chapter Twenty-Eight-point-Five: Fight, this April Fools installment takes place in between chapters Twenty-Eight and Twenty-Nine. May has died from the stress of the operation; while Ash is saddened by this, Dawn tries to seduce him and reveals that May would have died anyways as she planted an Egg Bomb from Rey's Exeggcute in her bag. Rey and Latias interject, both saying that Ash should be with them instead of Dawn, and Nurse Joy volunteers the use of her wrestling pitc set up out back on the condition that all three girls wear bikinis. The fight begins, and Latias ends up winning.
This chapter was written for comedic purposes only, and it is not considered canon with the rest of the story. In the continuity of this lone chapter, Dawn and Ash are not related.