It was early in the morning that Twilight and Dawn found themselves waking up, yawning, stretching, and getting out of their bed in perfect synchronicity. They walked to their bathroom, and Twilight got out her toothbrush while Dawn unwrapped the spare from its plastic packaging. They both went at it, brushing for a few minutes, then spitting into the crystal sink. Taking swigs of mouthwash, gargling, and spitting into the crystal sink.
Only when their wings flared out and collided with each other's bodies did they notice how close to one another they were standing, waking up fully as they moved away from each other.
“Is this weird?” Twilight wondered curiously.
Dawn thought about this for a moment. “I don't think it's that weird. I'm kind of you, after all, only I'm also me.” She shrugged, and then glanced to the side and muttered, ”Whoever that is.”
The two left their bathroom, and trotted off to their kitchen, finding Spike lying on the table with Dawn's Riolu they read a comic together, two boals of Musili with milk already set out for the two Alicorns.
The two Alicorns dunked their heads into their own bowls and began eating, munching, and swallowing like animals, delicious oats and berries soaked with milk making their way down their throats.
“Thanks, Spike!” Dawn said, mouth still full of food.
“No problem. So, Twilight...” Spike began, pretending not to care. “When were you planning to tell me about your Cousin here?”
“She isn't my Cousin, she's an almost-exact copy of myself with no memories. We found her at the hospital and Pokemon Center yesterday, because right after Lyra found her, Derpy accidentally dropped a piano on their heads.” Twilight explained.
“...Oh.” Spike said, surprised. He opened his mouth to ask a question.
“My mane and tail colours are different because Twilight used her magic to make me look a little like her, instead of EXACTLY like her.” Dawn explained. “She let me choose the colours.”
“But you still look exactly like her. You look like somepony drew Twilight, and forgot what colour her mane is after colouring your coat.” Spike pointed out.
“What do you want from me, Rainbow Dash's tailstyle and Applejack's manestyle?” Dawn asked sarcastically. “I like this look.”
Spike shrugged and went back to his comic, and the two ponies went back to their food.
“Ri-ri-rio?” Raiden, Dawn's Riolu, quietly wondered to Spike, pointing at a word on the page.
“That says 'Converge', it means 'come together',” Spike explained.
"Ri," Raiden nodded.
“I must say, I'm impressed.” Twilight said, impressed, and eager to get the new Alicorn's mind off her amnesia for a while. “You're easily picking up the basics of magic.”
“Thanks. It feels like I learned all of this once before, but something tells me I'll find this a lot harder once I start learning stuff about magic you don't know,” Dawn said, and smiled. “If there is any!”
Twilight blushed, ears flopping down. “There's always something left to know,” She said.
“By the way, why haven't I seen any Pokemon in your house?” Dawn asked.
“The Pokemon I use in battle are quite large, and two of them hate coming out of their Pokeballs for anything other than battles,” Twilight explained, “But downstairs, my strongest Psychic-type Pokemon is reading his way through my book collection. If you want, I could introduce you to her.”
“Maybe later, I'd better go find my first Gym Leader first,” Dawn decided, looking out of the window and searching for Sweet Apple Acres. “I'll be back in an hour.”
“You don't want to capture a third Pokemon first?” Twilight wondered.
“Nah. How hard beating Applejack be?” Dawn asked.
Twilight chuckled. “You'd be surprised.”
“Well, in that case,” Dawn said, and teleported away, taking her Riolu with her.
There was a moment of silence, and then...
“In that case, what?” Twilight shouted, and received no answer. Groaning, she went back to her room to read for an hour. At least her books wouldn't disappear halfway through a sentence.
Dawn appeared on Applejack's farm, Sweet Apple Acres, and she paused to close her eyes and enjoy the subtle warmth of the morning sun. She wasn't quite sure why, but she really, really liked sunlight. Looking around, she saw apple trees on rolling hills, ploughed fields growing vegetables here and there, a red barn off in the distance.
And behind that barn, there was a second one.
A second barn. A fake one, with strong walls of thick steel, red-painted wood over them to make it look like a barn. She could almost see through the wood, and through the steel, to see the ponies within, but she closed her eyes and assured to herself that such an ability would be ridiculous.
She trotted over to that second barn, and noticed a sign on the door. “Equestrian Gym Leader Applejack – The Fighting Farmer of Friendship!”, the sign declared to the world.
She quietly peered into the place, glanced around, and left. “Nope,” She said, teleporting away from the farm and into the familiar shadowed coolness of the Everfree Forest, trotting past trees and along their shadows.
That barn was big, sure, but was that really somepony's idea of a Pokemon Gym? Gym equipment back against the walls? A straight path of red paint leading from the doorway to the far end of the barn, where a wooden chair impaled a stack of hay bales? Applejack seated upon that chair, looking down on her properly-painted Pokemon battle arena and at the three ponies waiting around the barn, each with their own paths that intersected with the main path! Who designed that? That's what Dawn wanted to know. It couldn't have been Applejack, she didn't seem like the looking-down-on-others type.
At the two rows of wooden stands on either side of the Pokemon battlefield looked cool. It was a shame only Sweetie Belle, Scootaloo, and Applejack's friends were there to watch. It would have looked way cooler if a few hundred ponies filled those wooden stands.
Also, the three ponies at the gym... Apple Bloom, Big Mac, and Granny Smith. Where was anypony else? Why wasn't the place full of Apple Ponies from other towns?
And the paths... Why did Big Mac and Apple Bloom's path cross over, so you could walk between the two of them at once? Why did Granny Smith get her own path? What, did she not like Double Battles?
Also, why didn't the paths have any barriers? Nothing would stop her from ignoring the paths and walking around everypony so she could fight Applejack first, besides her pride.
Dawn shook her head. Sure, the place felt strangely familiar, but a Fighting-type Gym needed more explicitly fighting-type-themed things. Like a puzzle that forced you to push punchbags into stacks of tyres, or something metaphorically themed around something Applejack liked, such as farming! That gym was just too... simple.
Then again, Applejack liked simple. Didn't she?
The chair on a hay bale was garbage, though, it needed to be replaced by something that suited her and her theme, like an exercise ball that looked like a big red apple.
Something running through the grass caught her attention, and the attention of her Riolu. Something nearby.
Dawn dropped to the ground, and her Riolu jumped down from her back. They moved away from one another as they instinctively stalked their prey like wolves.
Hiding in tall grass, Dawn and Raiden found what they'd heard before: A small thing with long and straight green hair. It walked on two legs, its body coated in overly-long white cloth that trailed behind it.
“Hey there!” Dawn cooed at the thing, stepping out from her hiding spot.
“Rio!” Raiden the Riolu greeted happily, waving and walking closer.
The Pokemon slowly drew closer, seeming to like that yellow Riolu.
Dawn lowered her grinning head closer to the Pokemon, who suddenly turned tail and fled.
“HEY!” Dawn snapped, her horn sparking to life and forming a bright bone-white glow around her horn, and around the fleeing Psychic's body. Her magic pulled the Pokemon into the air and towards her, where the green-haired thing did her best to growl in an intimidating manner. When that failed, she took in a deep breath, and focused.
Dawn felt a strange pinching sensation in the upper-left of her brain, and ignored it as she violently shook the Pokemon, breaking her concentration. The pain went away, and a painfully small and faint voice released a long, high-pitched... It was like that sound you heard when, after you squished a squeaky toy, you slowly unsquished it, and air slowly rushed back in. It wasn't loud, it wasn't annoying, this miserable sound didn't hurt her ears. Hearing it hurt her soul.
“Raiden, use Thunderbolt!” Dawn shouted.
“Riii-yo!” Raiden shouted, building up a bright-yellow electrical charge around its body and punching at the Ralts, sending a jolt of electricity at her.
It struck the Pokemon and hurt a little, and the faint almost-screaming sound got a little higher in pitch
Horn still glowing, Dawn's magic grabbed a Pokeball from her belt and smacked its button onto the Ralts's head. The ball opened and fired a beam of light at the Pokemon, digitizing her and converting her into light and data the ball pulled inside and stored.
One shake, two shakes, three shakes. With a faint and victorious “Ding!”, the ball confirmed that it had finished capturing that Pokemon.
“Finally,” Dawn sighed, and her Riolu did the same. But the yellow Pokemon seemed... saddened. She began tugging on the Alicorn's tail.
“Ri?” Raiden asked, pointing at the ball. She brought her paws together in fists, and pulled them apart vertically, as if asking her to open the Pokeball.
“Alright,” Dawn shrugged, opening the new Pokeball. Light spilled out and retook the form of a shaking and shivering Ralts, who nervously backed away from the Alicorn again, but found itself unable to flee.
Raiden rushed over and hugged the Ralts, purring softly. Body relaxing, the Ralts stopped shaking, and hugged back.
“Sorry about that,” Dawn apologized sadly, petting the Ralts' head with a hoof. “Whoever I really am, I... I don't think I took rejection well in my past life.”
“Ra.” The Ralts softly sang for a moment, seeming to agree.
“I don't know who I was in my old life, but I want to make this new life one worth living.” Dawn said with conviction. “I want to make a lot of new Pokemon friends. And I want to beat all the Gym Leaders, and the Elite Four, and the Champion! Doesn't that sound exciting?”
The timid Pokemon shook her head, and Dawn removed her hoof.
“What about getting to evolve and become one of the strongest Pokemon of all time?” Dawn asked with a grin.
She shook her head, and Dawn had an idea.
“What about getting to evolve and become the most beautiful Pokemon ever?” Dawn asked with a feline smile.
She nodded eagerly.
“That's the spirit! I think I'm going to call you... Aurora.” Dawn decided. “And today, we're going to kick Pokemon butt in our first ever Gym Battle!”
“Rio!” Raiden the Riolu cheered, punching the sky.
“Ra...” Aurora the Ralts cheered with far less enthusiasm, awkwardly mimicking Raiden's posture.
Meanwhile, back at the barn, Big Mac awkwardly let out a small cough, attracting the attention of everypony in the room for a moment.
“When is your new friend gonna get here?” Apple Bloom asked Applejack.
“Soon.” Applejack insisted with absolute certainty.
“...Can I use the bathroom first?” She asked.
“Fine, but be quick.” Applejack said, and Apple Bloom galloped off to the farm's outhouse.
Big Mac opened his mouth, ready to ask a question.
“Yes, you can go, too.” Applejack said, and he rushed off.
Soon, only Applejack, Sweetie Belle, Scootaloo, and Granny Smith were left. If you didn't count the rest of the mane six waiting in the stands.
“Are you going to ask to go to the outhouse, too?” Scootaloo asked. That was usually how this joke went, after all.
The elderly mare grinned. “Ah already went.”
“Ewwww!” Sweetie Belle recoiled in disgust.
“Before Ah got here!” The old mare insisted, and started to doze off.