What a foolish goal. I didn’t even know what it was.
I always believed I treated my Pokémon rather well. We had a good relationship; they always loved me in a childish sort of manner, and I loved them back. I owed my high places in all the leagues I had taken part in not only to my careful training, but also to this bond. They were always willing to help me accomplish my goal.
One night I lay in my sleeping bag, absent-mindedly petting Pikachu, who was clearly having an easier time sleeping than I was. Meanwhile, I thought about our journey – we had gone through so many things together. Still, I wasn’t a Pokémon master yet…
But then I realized it. We were not their masters. We had never been and would never be. They were so superior to us humans; they did not obey out of some foolish belief that we were the leaders.
And then it slowly came to me: Somehow, miraculously, Pokémon obeyed and battled for humans, just because they wanted to!
After that, everything changed.
I stopped treating my Pokémon like pets or children. I started treating them as the people they were - as equals. I started respecting them.
They also felt that I was ready to upgrade our relationship. They stopped loving me like a parent and started loving me like a very close sibling or friend. They stopped battling for me and started battling with me. We finally got to know each other properly. In the end I didn’t even have to open my mouth before they knew what I would command. This gave us more speed, an advantage in battle, which ultimately resulted in me being proclaimed the greatest Pokémon master of all times.
I didn’t want to be a Pokémon master anymore. I officially announced as I received my title that I wanted to share the honour with my Pokémon, because they were the true masters.
We grew very close.
Even now, though, I can’t help thinking that perhaps I miss our old relationship a little. Gone are the days when Pikachu would lick my hand, run beside me and be always there for me; now he takes himself much more seriously. Sometimes I even wish Charizard would still scorch my face every now and then; it hurt, but added to the adventure.
I am Ash Ketchum, the world’s first trainer who respected his Pokémon as equals…
Yet sometimes I wish I wasn’t.