Max's Incredible Journey: Hide & Shrink

(Cubed Cinder; idea by GiantessUniverse)

One day has passed since May and Max parted ways with Ash and Brock, and the atmosphere was rather quiet back at the Petalburg City Gym. It was morning, and May was planning to leave for the Johto region later that day. Max lay in bed, thinking about everything he and May had experienced while traveling with Ash and Brock, such as watching Ash win all of his gym badges and Battle Frontier symbols, meeting new Pokemon, and seeing May compete in Kanto and Johto Grand Festivals.
However, Max quickly shook those memories out of his mind. Now that he wasn’t going to be traveling with May, Ash, or Brock any more, the memories were just too painful to think about. Because he wasn't at the legal age where he could have Pokemon of his own, he basically could do nothing else but stay home.
Max sighed. Climbing out of bed, he went down to the kitchen. Hopefully, a nice breakfast would make him feel better. He sat down at the table where his mother, Caroline, greeted him.
"Morning, dear! Breakfast?" Caroline said cheerfully as Max entered the kitchen.
"I guess so... where's May?" Max said, sitting down at the kitchen table. Caroline placed a plate of pancakes in front of Max.
"Oh, she went out shopping. She’s so excited about her trip to Johto, it’s making me excited! Still, I wish she wouldn’t leave so soon... she just got back home from her last journey with Ash and Brock last night." Caroline said. Norman, the patriarch of the family already sitting at the table and a Gym leader himself, smiled.
"Now, now, dear, you and I both know a Pokemon Coordinator like our May is always going to be on the road." Norman said to his wife.
"Just like you were when we were first dating. You and your dream to be the best trainer." Caroline said with a giggle. Max leaned back in his chair and sighed.
"Can we talk about something else?" Max asked miserably.

At that moment, the back door opened, and May entered the kitchen.
"Hey everyone! Look what I’ve got!" She said, now wearing an orange and green outfit (her default outfit in Pokemon Emerald, in fact).
"What do you think? Isn’t it cute?" May said excitedly as she spun around showing off her new clothing.
"May, dear, did you really need a new outfit? You’ve got to conserve your money if you’re going to be on such a long journey." Caroline asked, frowning at her daughter.
"I know, Mom, but if I’m going to start a new journey I have to give myself a new look, right?" May said.
"I suppose... Just don’t go spending ALL of your money on clothes!" Caroline said, looking a little worried.
"Come on, Mom, you know I'm not that crazy a spender! I promise to use my money only when I need it." May said.
"Of course. I know you will!" Caroline said. Max couldn't stand hearing this conversation go on. He put his hands on the table and used them to thrust himself off the chair.
"May I be excused!?" Max shouted, already getting up from the table and running upstairs to his room without waiting for an answer.
"Max, wait! What's wrong? Was it something I said?" May said, looking a little concerned.
"May, your brother is just a little upset that he can’t go with you to Johto, that’s all. I think he just needs some time alone...” Norman said calmly.
"Well, let me talk to him... just one more time." May said.
"Alright, May. Just think before you speak... I fear this is already hard enough for him." Caroline said. May just nodded and headed up the stairs. She noticed the door wide open to Max's room and so she just walked in.

That's where she saw her brother kneeling by his bed, his head nearly plopped down on the sheets. May slowly approached her brother.
"Max... can we talk?" May asked.
"I guess we could." Max said. May first tried to lighten up the mood a bit.
"It's funny... I remember all the days you used to wish I wasn't such a jerk and how you wished you never had a sister. And I would be the same way... wishing I never had a brother as I pulled on your ears like you did to Brock." May said as she softly laughed.

"I guess it shows how much we mean to each other." Max said.
"I know. I know... I know how hard this must be for you..." May said. Max finally got away from his bed and ran up to his older and taller sister, hugging her by the waist and looking straight up at her.
"Please don't go! I'll... I'll feel so lonely. Life just isn't the same without you..." Max said as he slowly shed a tear or two from his eyes.
"Max... we've already been through this." May said.
"It’s not fair! I shouldn’t be stuck here while you're out having fun in Johto! I need to take a walk!" Max shouted. He finally stormed past May and ran down the stairs. The young girl listened as she heard the front door slam shut. She started to walk in the same direction, but quickly stopped.
"No... he'll come back and he'll be over this. Like Dad said, he just needs a little time alone." May said to herself. She took a deep breath and walked back to her own room to finish up her preparations for the trip.

Max ran into the forest that was not far behind the gym. He sat down on a nearby rock, tears in his eyes.
"I just wish there was a way for me to go with May without her realizing it..." Max said to himself.
Suddenly, there was a rustling sound nearby. Looking up, Max spotted a nearby Pidgey pulling a berry off a bush. His eyes quickly widened.
"Wait! Are those what I think they are?" He said, staring at the bush in near disbelief. He had read about those kinds of berries before...
After much wrestling with the bush, the Pidgey finally yanked the berry off of the bush, and swallowed it with one gulp. After a few moments, the Pidgey suddenly glowed blue, and, in an instant, it shrunk to the size of a bug. Max stared at the shrunken Pidgey, and watched as it flew off.
"I can’t believe it! Those are MicroBerries!" Max exclaimed, running up to the bush. "I’ve read about those kinds of berries, but I never thought I’d actually see them considering how rare they are!"
As Max stared at the MicroBerry bush, he had an idea. He quickly pulled several MicroBerries off of the bush, and ran back to the Petalburg City Gym, a terrific idea brewing in his head...

Later that day, May was preparing to leave. She was just about to zip her supply bag shut, when Max entered the room.
"Oh, Max! You're back! I was a little worried about you..." May said.
"It's okay, May. I feel much better now. Oh, you left one of your Poke Balls in Dad's greenhouse." Max said.
"Really? Okay, Max! Better not forget those, right?” May said, running out of the room. After hearing the front door close, Max turned to May’s supply bag. He stuck one of his legs inside, swallowed two of the MicroBerries, and waited. In an instant, he began to glow blue, then, almost immediately after that, he started to shrink
"Alright! It's working!" Max said. Eventually, he was small enough where he could fall inside May's supply bag. Max found himself shrunken down to he guessed somewhere between two and three inches tall.
A few minutes passed in silence as Max waited. Then, he heard the door open, and he heard May’s voice.
"Max, I didn’t leave any of my Poke Balls in Dad’s greenhouse... hey, where’d he go?" May said confusedly.
“That’s weird... he was just in here a few minutes ago... Oh, well, I’ll call him once I get to Johto!” May said.
Suddenly, Max saw his unusually giant-sized sister bending down over the supply bag, and she zipped it shut, encasing the shrunken boy in total darkness. Picking up the supply bag, May heard her mother’s voice.
"May, are you coming? We should probably get you to the docks before the boat for Johto leaves, so don’t stay up there too long!" Caroline called.
"I’m coming, Mom!" May called back, running out of her bedroom. Little did May know that she would be accompanied to Johto by an unexpected visitor in the form of her even smaller brother.

After getting a ride to Slateport City thanks to Mr. Briney and his fast boat, May thanked the old man and headed towards the bigger port. She showed the ticket that her parents had gotten for her, and luckily she didn't have to wait long because the S.S. Tidal was leaving for Johto in just a matter of minutes. While May excitedly boarded the extremely large ship, Max was getting the bumpy ride of his life.
"Whoa whoa!!" Max shouted as he felt himself getting thrown around. He couldn't see what he was landing on because it was so dark inside the backpack. He just hoped he would still be alive by the time this whole ordeal was over.

May got herself settled in her private room, watching as Slateport City and the region of Hoenn started to fade from view. As she watched the city shrink from her eyesight, May almost shed a couple tears from her eyes, but she quickly brushed it off.
"No... I have to be strong. My parents and even my little brother would want me to be that way." May said. She remembered the large swimming pool on another side of the ship.
"I better take a quick swim. Surely that will help me feel better." May said. After taking off her bandana, her shoes and socks, and then her new outfit, revealing her pink swimsuit (she always wears a swimsuit underneath her clothes), May went towards her supply bag and opened it up.

When the inside of the bag lit up, Max could finally see what it was he had landed in. He gulped when he realized where he was sitting.
"*gulp* One of May's slippers!" Max said. And just as worrying to the shrunken boy was when May lifted the slippers out of the backpack, including the one he was in! Of course, May had no idea as she was putting her feet into these slippers.
"Okay, in you go!" May said as she moved her bare feet towards the slippers.
"May, waaaaaaaait!!!!!" Max shouted, but there was no way he was going to stop those mighty toes, so he just ran as far as he could until he couldn't advance any further in the slipper. Fortunately, even as he hit the dead end, the toes didn't reach that far, so he was safe for now... just as long as he didn't run out of oxygen. Still, to see May's toes towering above him reminded him of how incredibly small he had become.

Later, May stepped out of her room and walked towards the swimming pool. Between the two locations, May did not bump into a lot of other trainers. She wondered why there wasn't a whole lot of people that wanted to travel to the Johto region like she was doing, but that wonder quickly went away when she approached the large pool. May approached one of the lounge chairs and slipped her feet out of the slippers, resting them alongside the chair.
Max watched as May's huge toes moved away, allowing him to easily walk out of the slipper. He stepped out and watched as his 'bigger' sister jumped into the swimming pool. He looked around and saw a few other trainers out and about on the cruise ship.
"I better stay in here, and then stay in the bag if I ever get back to it. It's unsafe as small as I am..." Max said, thinking how horrible it would be to be crushed to death and have nobody know about it. He simply stayed in the comfort of May's white slipper (feeling like a little boy instead of an old woman inside the shoe).

After a little under an hour of swimming around, with the sun setting in the background, May stepped out and picked up the towel that was sitting on the chair. She spent the next few seconds wiping herself off; that was until she was suddenly hit in the back of the head! It was a soft hit, granted, but enough that she felt it, turning around and wondering what hit her.
"Ow! What the...?" May said. She looked down on the ground and saw a beach ball (that looked like the famed Master Ball) bouncing on the ground. Just as suddenly, she watched as someone ran up and picked up the beach ball.
"Whoops... sorry. Are you okay, ma'am?" the male voice sounded. May looked up and got his first look at the gentleman, who looked about the same age as May. He was wearing black swimming trunks and a green bandana wrapped around his forehead. What really interested her was the white hair he had.
"Yeah, I'm fine. Thank goodness it was just a beach ball." May said with a smile.
"I know. And thank goodness my friend didn't spike it as hard as I thought." the boy said.
"So I guess you're heading to Johto too?" May asked.
"Yes... to continue my training there. Oh, my name's Brendan." Brendan said.
"I'm May. It's nice to meet you." May said. The two shook hands.
"Hey, Brendan! Come on, let's get back to the game!" another male voice shouted in the background.
"Okay, coming! Well, it was nice to meet you, May. Good luck on your Johto adventure." Brendan said, smiling back at the girl before he turned around and dove back into the pool with the beach ball in hand. May briefly watched him playing around with his friends in the pool.
"He is kinda cute..." May said to herself. But she shook it off and got back to drying herself. After throwing the towel back on the chair, May slipped her feet back into the slippers.

Max had been watching the brief conversation between Brendan and May from inside one of the slippers. He wondered what kind of movement Brendan might make, if any, on his sister, but thankfully the conversation remained friendly as they parted ways.
"Well... he does seem nice. Still, if I were normal size, I'd check him out from head to toe..." Max said. He was thinking so much about Brendan that he almost didn't notice May's foot coming right towards him for the slipper.
"Yikes!" Max said as he ran back inside and found himself trapped inside the slipper once more with May's toes near him, this time with them smelling almost like pool water. Max held on as May was walking back to her room.

May got back and not only slipped her feet out of the slippers but quickly threw them back into her backpack, causing the very tiny Max to fall back inside as well.
"Whew... safe at last." Max said, glad to be back inside May's backpack despite being surrounded by all sorts of huge and oversized items, including May's Poke Balls.
Meanwhile, once May felt her swimsuit was dry once again, she put her new outfit back on over the swimsuit. She then stretched and yawned for a little bit.
"Well, might as well get some sleep since Johto is still a few hours away." May said. She gently sat and then laid down on the bed, but before she could pull the covers over her, she drifted off to sleep.

Later that night, May was still sound asleep on her bed. Max had fallen asleep as well inside May's backpack. And while the two were sleeping away, May's cabin door suddenly opened up.
The sound of footsteps stirred Max awake, but amazingly May stayed asleep through the whole ordeal. She was clearly tired from the events of earlier in the day so it would take a lot more noise to wake her up. Max, meanwhile, heard the footsteps and initially thought it was May sleepwalking.
"I wonder what May is up to." Max said. But just then, he watched as the bag opened up once again. When he saw light from a flashlight beaming down inside the bag, Max quickly took cover behind one of the Poke Balls. He looked up and saw a shadowy figure looking inside. He couldn't quite see who it was... but one thing was for sure judging by the big red R on this unknown woman's shirt. She was with Team Rocket.
"Ha ha... another big jackpot hit. Oh I'm so good." the female said.
"Hey, Cass... come on, we better hurry! Daylight's coming in a couple hours." a male voice said.
"Alright, alright, Butch. Hold your horses, I'm coming." the female said as she zipped the bag back up and picked it up. Max held on for another bumpy ride.
"Oh no! They're stealing May's bag!" Max said to himself. He could only wonder where he was going to end up, and who exactly those grunts were that were doing the stealing. 

Finally, the next morning arrived, and May was slowly waking up to the morning sun beaming through her window. She looked to see she was not underneath some covers and that she had slept in her new outfit.
"Hmmm... I guess I was really tired yesterday. Oh well." May said. She reached down for her bag to grab her toothbrush inside... but grabbed nothing but the pleasant air of the room. She looked and saw her bag was gone!
"What!? Where's my bag? I know I left it beside my bed!" May said. She got up and wandered around the room, but there was no other place she could think of where she might hide her backpack. As she got near the window, she looked outside of it and took a deep breath remembering why she was on this boat in the first place. She looked at the familiar lighthouse of Olivine City, having read about it in a brochure all about the Johto region.
"Well, at least we're not too far away from Johto... huh? Wait a moment..." May said. But as she kept looking at the scenery, something didn't add up.

The city looked to be getting smaller rather than bigger. It was like the ship was moving AWAY from its destination rather than towards it. Between this and her missing bag, May now sensed something was terribly wrong.
"Something's not right here. I better ask the captain what's going on." May said. She turned around and headed for her cabin door, opening it up and walking outside.

As May was making her way towards the captain's quarters, it was also strange to see not a single person walking around on the deck. It was like she had the ship all to herself. Not that this bothered her a great deal, but it was something to keep in mind. May finally walked up the short staircase and proceeded to open the door.

Inside the captain's quarters was the very reason why the ship was sailing away from Johto's Olivine City... because it wasn't the captain himself guiding the ship. In fact, he was tied up in a corner, surrounded by a few Rocket Grunts. Commanding the ship instead? Butch and Cassidy, essentially Team Rocket's #2 team behind Jessie, James, and Meowth. Of course, don't tell them that.
"Hahaha! This was too easy, disguising ourselves as travelers and then capturing all those people and their Pokemon overnight!" Cassidy said.
"I gotta admit, Cassidy. You've got one sharp mind." Butch said.
"I know, I know. Hopefully this'll get the boss to realize that he doesn't need those other losers at Team Rocket and that we're at the top of the heap." Cassidy said.
"Once we get back to Hoenn with our loot, he'll reward us quite handsomely!" Butch said.

Just then, Butch, Cassidy, and the other grunts were surprised to see the door open. There was May standing outside, who gasped herself as she saw what had happened.
"Huh!? What the?" May shouted.
"What!? Butch!! You said you captured all the passengers an hour ago!" Cassidy said.
"Hey, don't blame me! It's one of your lame brained grunts that I caught fishing off to the side a little while ago!" Butch said.
"What... what's going on here?" May asked.
"What's going on? We'll tell you, little girl. This ship is now the property of Team Rocket!" Cassidy said.
"Yes... so you better prepare for trouble. Make that right!" Butch said.
"And make it double..." Cassidy said.
"...because we're here for a fight!" Butch said.
"To infect the world with devastation." Cassidy said.
"To blight all peoples in every nation." Butch said.
"To denounce the goodness of truth and love." Cassidy said.
"To extend our wrath to the stars above." Butch said.
"Cassidy!" Cassidy shouted.
"And Butch of course." Butch said.
"We're Team Rocket! Circling Earth all day and night!" Cassidy said.
"Surrender to us now, or you'll surely lose the fight." Butch said.
"That's right!" Cassidy shouted as the two did their pose.

May stood confused outside the quarters as she looked at the two evildoers.
"Jessie? James?" May asked. Both Butch and Cassidy gasped like crazy.
"The name is Butch! Weren't you listening to the motto!?" Butch shouted.
"How dare you compare me to that cherry-headed failure, Jessie? I'll make you regret that, little girl!" Cassidy shouted.
"Well, whoever you two are, you're not going to get away with this!" May shouted.
"Big talk from such a small fry. What are you gonna do without your precious Pokemon?" Cassidy said. May looked inside, and indeed, in the other corner of the room were a stack of backpacks and Poke Balls, including her own.
"Hey! How dare you steal my supply bag!?" May said. She started to charge into the room, but was quickly blocked in progress by the Rocket Grunts, with one of them grabbing May and tying her hands up with a rope.
"Nyah nyah! This is one battle you're not going to win, girl!" Butch said.
"Throw her in the storage room with the other passengers. She can wait with them until we collect our reward." Cassidy said.
"No! Let me go! Let me go!!" May said as she was pushed out of the room by the Rocket Grunts.

Max, meanwhile, could tell May was in major trouble even if he couldn't see anything due to being at the bottom of the backpack.
"Oh... what to do? What to do?" Max said.

Eventually, May was led to one of the storage rooms on the cruise ship. One of the grunts opened the door, and then May was simply thrown inside where the other passengers were sitting and tied up as well.
"Eeeeek!" May shouted as she tumbled into the room with the door slamming shut behind her. May landed on top of one of the other trainers but quickly moved off and was now sitting on the floor.
"May! Are you alright?" a familiar voice said. May looked to see it was Brendan (in his regular Emerald outfit) that she had landed on.
"Oh, Brendan? They got you too?" May asked.
"I'm afraid so. Man, this stinks to be invaded by Team Rocket." Brendan said.
"Don't worry... we'll figure a way out of this. Somehow..." May said. But it was at that point she wondered what she could do. She was all tied up, and most importantly, she was without her supply bag for now.

Meanwhile, as Max climbed out of the supply bag, he reached the very end of a gigantic lounge chair, in which Cassidy, now in a swimsuit rather than her usual Team Rocket outfit, was relaxing stomach-down. And he was right in front of her gigantic feet! Max examined them carefully. It seemed that he might be able to climb them and reach Cassidy’s head, which would allow him to slide down one of her hairs and reach the ground. The idea of climbing those gigantic, sweaty soles was not a pleasant one, but he knew that it was his only hope.

And so, taking a deep breath, Max walked up to Cassidy’s gigantic soles and began to climb. It was not a pleasant experience at all. The heat from the sun, combined with the exercise from climbing, caused Max to sweat quite a bit. Every so often a drop of sweat would slide down the feet and hit Max, causing him to slip a little. The soles were so soft that it was nearly imposssible for him to keep his grip. However, the thought of May being held captive by Team Rocket forced Max to keep going.

After what felt like an hour, although in reality only 15 minutes had passed, Max finally reached the top of Cassidy’s left foot. Looking ahead of him, he saw how long of a distance it was from his standing point to Cassidy’s head. This didn’t bother him that much, because at least the hard part was over.

And so, he began to make his way across Cassidy's left leg. It was slightly difficult to keep his balance, but he managed to reach Cassidy's back after about 20 minutes. Luckily, the giant Team Rocket female didn't seem to notice Max at all. And so he kept going, made his way across her back, and, at long last, reached her hair. Taking a deep breath, he jumped, grabbed onto the hair, and slid straight down onto the ground. Getting up, he began to think... how was he going to find May?

Suddenly, there was a loud POP from inside of May’s supply bag, and May's Skitty appeared in front of Cassidy, who jumped off of the lounge chair in shock (nearly crushing Max). She stared at the Skitty for a moment, seemingly confused.

"How did you get out of your Poke Ball?" She asked the Pokemon, confused. May’s Skitty simply meowed in response.

Suddenly, Max had an idea. He ran up to Skitty, and jumped into its fur. Then, he ran over to the Pokemon's ear.

"Skitty, it's Max! Take me to May, and quick!" he shouted.

His plan was a success. Skitty heard him, and immediately ran off, forcing Max to grab hold of one of Skitty’s hairs to avoid falling off. But their escape wasn’t going to be too easy... not with Cassidy nearby. The moment she spotted Skitty taking off, her look of confusion turned into a look of outrage.

"HEY! GET BACK HERE!" She yelled, chasing after the Pokemon. Max looked behind them, and, to his horror, she had already caught up with them! Then, she dived, and grabbed the Pokemon.

"What's wrong with you?" She yelled at the Pokemon. "You’re MY Pokemon now! Forget about your old Trainer!"

Then, she spotted something moving inside of Skitty’s fur. With no way of escaping, Max could only watch in horror as the woman's gigantic fingers reached out and grabbed him. Holding the tiny boy up to her face, she recognized Max immediately.

"Well, well... look who it is. It’s that short kid that Jessie is always going after! And he’s the size of a bug!"

And as Cassidy grinned with fiendish delight at the tiny boy, Max knew that he was in HUGE trouble.

After locking Skitty up in a cage sized just right for the Pokemon, Cassidy turned her attention to the tiny-sized Max in her fingers. It was quite fascinating to finally meet one of the new kids that gave Jessie so much trouble, and at such an incredibly tiny size too. Max didn't have time to wonder how Cassidy possibly knew of him and his sister even though they never met her. He just hoped he could survive this horrible predicament.
"What... what are you going to do with me!?" Max shouted.
"Oh, who knows? Maybe squash you like the bug you are. Maybe make you my foot or back servant. But not now. First we have to get this ship back to Hoenn." Cassidy said.
"But why?" Max asked.
"Our boss is going to be thrilled that we've captured all these Pokemon for him. My guess is we'll be using these Pokemon as our slaves to help us capture the rarest of Pokemon! Something those other goofballs at Team Rocket couldn't accomplish!" Cassidy said.
"You won't get away with this! My sister will stop you!" Max shouted.
"Hahahahaha! Oh, you crack me up, little boy. I'm going to have as much fun with you as I will your sister!" Cassidy said.
"Hey! Don't you mess with my sister, you hear me!?" Max shouted as he flailed his arms and legs wildly trying somehow to break loose of Cassidy's grip.

Skitty knew Max was in a lot of trouble, and at first it didn't know what it could do. But soon, the Pokemon suddenly remembered one of its moves. One of its signature moves, in fact. Skitty had a move known as Assist, where it could use any move that it wanted as long as a Pokemon on the same team or nearby wild Pokemon knew that move as well. And Skitty quickly thought of a move powerful enough to break out of its cage.
"Nyah!" Skitty shouted. A white orb appears on Skitty's front paw... and then Skitty launched forward moving one of its paws in an uppercut fashion. It was clearly using the Sky Uppercut learned by Blaziken. And it worked... the cage shattered apart, and the noise from that act caught Cassidy's attention.
"WHAT!? That little Skitty broke apart my cage!!!" Cassidy shouted. Skitty, rather than confront the Team Rocket member, instead ran towards May's supply bag.
"Nya nya nyah!!" Skitty shouted, repeating its words a few times. Then, suddenly, there were more popping noises and flashes of light as more Pokemon suddenly joined the fray. They were the rest of May's Pokemon in fact. Beautifly, Munchlax, Bulbasaur, Squirtle, and most importantly, Blaziken. Eevee was not with May at the moment (she debated whether to take it or Skitty with her to Johto; and obviously Skitty won that vote). All the Pokemon growled their names as they stared as Cassidy with mean looks on all their faces.
"Um... now, now. I'm sure we can talk about this rather peacefully." Cassidy said with a smile on her face and sweat running down the side of her head. Suddenly, Cassidy found herself getting hammered by five different attacks.
"Bulba!" Bulbasaur said as it extended its vines and used Vine Whip.
"Squirtle!" Squirtle shouted as it used Water Gun.
"Beautifly!" Beautifly shouted as it lunged forward to Tackle the villainess.
"Blaziken!" Blaziken said as it used Fire Blast.
"Munchlax!" Munchlax shouted as it ran forward and used Focus Punch. All five combined attacks struck Cassidy and knocked her backwards.
"Eeeeeek!!" Cassidy shouted as she landed head first onto the side of the ship, knocking her out cold.

The resulting bang caused Cassidy to lose her grip on Max and send him flying into the air.
"Whoaaaa!" Max said, thinking he was going to have an unpleasent landing on the deck. But to the rescue was Skitty, who ran forward and allowed the shrunken boy to land on its head.
"Whew... thanks, Skitty. I owe you one." Max said.
"Nya!" Skitty said happily.
"Now come on, let's find my sister and save her!" Max said.
"Nyah nyah!" Skitty said. After telling the other Pokemon what to do, namely in keeping an eye out for other members of Team Rocket and defeat them if necessary, Skitty and the other Pokemon were on the move.

A few minutes pass, but it seems like an eternity for May and the other trainers who can do nothing but sit all tied up in the storage room. May was trying whatever she could to find a way to escape, but it was no good. Nobody really had any tools that might help them out of this jam.
"I'm sorry, ma'am. I wish I could be of more help." one male trainer said.
"It's okay. It was only a suggestion anyways. I guess we're gonna stuck here for a while." May said.
"Don't lose hope, May. I'm sure we'll get some good luck soon." Brendan said.
"I hope so. Sigh... I was hoping I'd get to explore the Johto region. Ash... I mean, a friend of mine said it was a huge land filled with wonderful Pokemon and exciting places." May said.
"I've heard that too. I guess both our dreams have been shattered at the same time." Brendan said.
"Yep, it looks that way." May said.

But then came the good luck and hope that Brendan said would come. Everyone heard a voice coming from outside the door.
"Blazeeeeeeeeikennnnnnn!!!" Blaziken shouted as suddenly the door swung wide open at high speed, breaking off its hinges and crashing towards the ground. On the other side was a foot that was completely ablaze, and May knew exactly what that foot belonged to.
"Blaziken!!" May shouted. Blaziken walked in with a smile on its face, happy that its Blaze Kick did the job in breaking down the door. The rest of May's Pokemon came running in; Bulbasaur and Squirtle even running towards their owner and hugging as much of her as they could.
"Oh, thank goodness you're all okay!" May said.
"Are those your Pokemon?" Brendan asked.
"You bet! All six of them!" May said.
"Awesome! They must all be very close to you." Brendan said.
"Yep! We've been through the woods and back. Alright, I want you guys to untie every one of us!" May said. The Pokemon did just that, helping in freeing every one of the trainers inside the storage room, including May and Brendan themselves.

As soon as May was untied, Skitty came running up towards May, who patted it on the head.
"Good job, Skitty, for making it this far." May said. Max, who was standing atop Skitty's head, had to dive a bit to avoid being crushed by May's huge gloved hands as she was patting her Pokemon. And as a result of this dive, May noticed the tiny Max move, but didn't recognize him at first.
"Huh? Skitty... you have a little bug on your head. Hold still..." May said. She reached down to grab the 'bug,' and as she did that, Max begged like crazy for his life.
"MAY! MAY!!! Don't crush me!!!" Max shouted as loud as he could. May stopped reaching down for Skitty's head when she heard the 'bug' squeaking out something.
"Whoa... did that bug just talk to me?" May said.

Out of sheer curiousity, May decided to lean in and get a closer look at this 'bug.' Max was almost scared to see May's face so extremely close, but he stayed firm in his spot and waved his hands around.
"May! It's me, Max!!! Down here!!!" Max shouted. May was stunned.
"M-M-Max!? Is that you!?" May shouted. Max covered his ears as May shouted out as loud as she did.
"Geez, May! Say it, don't spray it!" Max shouted. The next thing Max knew, he was suddenly caught in May's fingers as she lifted him up off Skitty's head. Max was thrown around for a bit as May placed him right in the middle of her gloved hand, but he stood back up and looked up at his giant sister.
"Alright, Max. What happened?" May said. Max knew there was no sense in lying about his situation, so he came right out and said it.
"I... I didn't want to feel so lonely, and I felt like I was really going to miss you. So I took some MicroBerries and was gonna hide in your backpack while you traveled around Johto." Max said, gulping at the end wondering what May was going to think.
"What are you thinking!? Don't you know how incredibly small you are? Even an Azurill could crush you!!" May said.
"I know, I know..." Max said.
"And Mom and Dad are probably worried sick about you!!" May shouted. Max once again had to cover his ears, but this time he wouldn't argue about the decibel level. He was as good as busted and his size left him no chance to argue back with his sister.
"I'm sorry, May! I just..." Max said.

"May? Who are you talking to?" Brendan said as he walked up towards May. May stood up to her full height and decided to show off little Max.
"Brendan... I'd, well, I'd like you to meet my really little brother, Max." May said.
"Wow... that is really tiny. Did he eat some MicroBerries?" Brendan asked.
"As a matter of fact, he did. How did you know it was MicroBerries?" May asked.
"My Dad, Professor Birch, once accidentally ate some MicroBerries. Fortunately, I and some of his assistants were able to reverse the effects and restore him back to normal." Brendan said.
"Oh..." May said.
"But never mind that, we should get out of here! Someone said they found where our Pokemon are being held!" Brendan said. Indeed, many trainers had already made their way out of the storage room, and one of them realized the Pokemon were being stored not very far from where they were.
"Okay, let's get going everyone! You better hold on tight, Max." May said as she placed the shrunken boy on her right shoulder. Indeed, with May running out of the room with her Pokemon behind her, Max held onto as much of May's clothing as she could.

But just as May and Brendan made their way out of the storage room, a couple of Team Rocket grunts blocked their paths from both sides.
"Hold it, pretty lady! This is as far as you go!" one of the grunts said.
"Hand over your Pokemon and nobody gets hurt!" the other grunt said.
"Oh boy, this could get ugly..." Brendan said, and without his Pokemon with him, he couldn't help out at the moment. May just smiled.
"Don't worry, Brendan. Watch a master at work." May said. She now had to choose the Pokemon she was going to send into battle with these grunts. Of course, she made sure to keep a close eye on her teeny tiny brother as well.

Fortunately for our heroes, May made short work of the two Team Rocket grunts, easily pounding their Pokemon with her own high level and battle tested creatures.
"Waaaaah!! You won't be so cocky when our bosses get through with you!" one of the grunts shouted before they both ran away.
"Hah! They weren't so tough." Brendan said.
"Oh, that's nothing new. Team Rocket can't seem to fully execute their plans 95% of the time when I'm around. Man... I'm starting to sound like Max all of a sudden." May said.
"Hey! I heard that!" Max shouted. May couldn't help but giggle as she felt the little Max pounding his feet on her shoulder.
"Come on, I should get my Pokemon before more of those grunts find us." Brendan said. May nodded and the two heroes made their way around the ship looking for where the Pokemon were being held.

After following the crowd that was coming and going near one of the cargo bays, May and Brendan walked inside where Brendan recognized his backpack and May saw her own supply bag. They both reached down (causing Max to hold on tight to May's shirt so he wouldn't fall off her shoulder) and picked up their packs, just as the other travelers were doing with their own bags. Others simply called out the names of their Pokemon so that their Poke Balls would gravitate towards them. Nevertheless, the room was getting quite crowded and May and Brendan bailed out so they wouldn't be trapped inside.

They got back outside and breathed a sigh of relief.
"Whew... feels good to have our Pokemon back." May said.
"I know. I just hope they weren't treated any more poorly while we were held captive." Brendan said. As the two were talking with each other, Max looked behind him and saw a giant hand suddenly reaching out and grabbing him.
"MAY!!" Max shouted. May picked up on that and looked by her shoulder, where Max no longer was.
"Max? Max! Where did you go!?" May said. Her first instinct was to look on the ground and see if he had fallen there, but another voice made her look another way.
"Right here, silly girl!" Cassidy shouted. May turned and saw Cassidy, still in her swimsuit, holding onto the tiny Max as he struggled in her fist. Butch was standing there as well.
"Hey, let go of my brother!" May shouted.
"Not a chance, feeble brains. You may have rescued all the Pokemon, but you're still prisoners of this ship." Cassidy said.
"Yeah! Surrender to us and we might let that little boy live." Butch said. May had an anguished look on her face. She didn't want to surrender, but wasn't about to put her brother at risk. Brendan, on the other hand, didn't back down and stepped up to the rescue.
"That's what you think! Go, Tropius!" Brendan said. He threw one of his Poke Balls into the air, and out came the tall grass/flying-type Pokemon, Tropius. Butch and Cassidy looked shocked, probably because they're either never or rarely seen a Tropius in their lives.
"What... what is that!?" Cassidy shouted.
"Body slam, Tropius!" Brendan shouted. Tropius charged forward without question and lowered its head towards Cassidy's midsection, slamming into the woman.
"Ouch!!!" Cassidy said. The blow caused her to fall backwards, but send Max flying into the air.
"Help meeeeeee!!!" Max shouted as he screamed towards what could be a most painful death.

But it was Max's big sister who saved the day. May ran forward almost as soon as Max went flying into the air. Luckily she got underneath Max just in time and allowed him to land into her gloved hands.
"Max, are you alright?" May asked as she looked down at her brother. Max just looked up and after realizing where he was, he cried a little bit.
"T-t-t-thank you, May. You're a guardian angel..." Max said. May would ordinarily come back with some kind of sarcastic remark like Max would usually do, but May simply smiled.
"You're welcome, my brother." May said. She then put Max back on top of her shoulder and focused her sights back on Butch and Cassidy, who was slowly getting back up after being tackled by Brendan's Tropius. May's smile quickly deteriorated to an angry face. A VERY angry face. Max may not be able to see May's face, but he could sense it coming.
"Uh oh... they're in for it now." Max said to himself.

Butch and Cassidy could only look as May took a few stomps towards them with the most angry-looking face they may ever see.
"You two just crossed a very fine line... toying with my little brother like that!" May shouted. Butch tried to play it cool.
"Now now, little girl, just take it easy. You might blow a gasket with a face like that." Butch said. After May felt the rest of her Pokemon gathering behind her, she called out her move to finish the duo off.
"Beautifly, Gust attack!" May shouted. Beautifly flew in front of May (with Brendan taking cover behind her after hearing the attack being called out) and started flapping its wings at a very high rate of speed. Butch and Cassidy tried in vain to keep their footing, but the wind proved too much and they went flying off the ship.
"Arrrrgh! That little brat! She's just like that little orange-haired girl who carries a Togepi around!" Cassidy shouted.
"The boss is definitely not going to like this..." Butch said.
"Team Rocket's blasting off again!" Butch and Cassidy shouted before they both disappeared into the bright blue sky.

May immediately calmed back down after having defeated her foes.
"Way to go, Beautifly." May said as Beautifly rested itself on May's head like it usually does after a successful battle. May couldn't help but smile over this.
"That was incredible, May! But... maybe blowing them off the ship was a bit much?" Brendan said.
"Sorry... I have a tendency to really go off when I'm angry." May said with a smile on her face.
"Obviously." Brendan said.
"Well, I guess we better take care of the rest of those Team Rocket grunts." May said.
"Oh, no need. I think everyone else on the ship has taken care of that." Brendan said as he pointed down the ship at the many trainers and their Pokemon that had the other Team Rocket grunts contained. At the same time, the captain of the ship suddenly walked in front of May and Brendan with a smile on his face.
"Hohoho! What a good show you two put on! You took out those evil Pokemon trainers without breaking a sweat!" the captain shouted.
"Thank you, captain. We just did our part to rescue this ship." Brendan said.
"But does this mean we'll still be going back to Hoenn?" May asked.
"Heavens no, my child! My crew is working as I speak to get this ship turned around. It'll be later than we planned, but rest assured we'll be in Olivine City of the Johto region!" the captain said.
"Ah, thanks! So I can start my Johto journey after all!" May shouted.

In fact, it was several hours at night when the ship finally pulled into the docks of Olivine City. All the passangers slowly made their way off the boat and into the city, lit up by not just the lights inside the buildings but also the lighthouse as its light swirled its way around.
Brendan started to walk off the ship when he turned around and looked back at May.
"Well, I guess this is where we seperate." Brendan said.
"Yeah... I guess so." May said.
"Don't worry... maybe we'll meet in the Johto Pokemon League tournament." Brendan said as he walked back towards May.
"I hope so." May said, now starting to blush a bit. Brendan suddenly leaned forward... like he was trying to kiss her. May caught onto this and gently pushed Brendan back by holding a hand at his chest.
"Um... you should go, Brendan. You've got badges to collect, right?" May said.
"Yes... yes, you're right. I'm sorry. Well, so long, May." Brendan said. He finally turned around and walked away, thinking about May for a little while longer before focusing on the journey ahead of him.

Max was a bit disappointed that he didn't get to see Brendan kissing his sister.
"Awww... why didn't you kiss him? I think you two look cute together!" Max said.
"Watch it, you bite-sized brother of mine." May said. She then picked Max up off her shoulder and held him in her hand. Max was worried at first that May was going to mess up his hair or something for making a remark like that.
"Besides, we've got a much bigger problem right now. No pun intended." May said.
"Huh? What's that?" Max asked.
"Mom and Dad are probably worried sick right now. They probably don't even know you're with me!" May said.
"Oh... I... I forgot about Mom and Dad..." Max said.
"I'll have to call them so they don't have to worry about you." May said.
"You're not going to tell them the part where I shrunk... right?" Max said. May didn't respond to that, instead thinking of what she was going to say as she walked off the ship and headed for the Pokemon Center.

May walked inside the center and, after leaving all her Pokemon with Nurse Joy so they could get healed, walked over to the video phones. After putting Max on top of the video phone and out of its camera's point of view, May put in the extra money needed to dial long distance. She dialed up the phone number of the Petalburg City Gym and watched as her Mom and Dad both appeared on the screen.
"Oh, May! Thank goodness!" Caroline shouted.
"Hey, Mom and Dad! Sorry it took so long to get back to you." May said.
"What happened, sweetie? We thought the boat would make it to Johto earlier this afternoon." Norman said.
"Yeah, there was a problem on the ship... but it was taken care of and here I am in Olivine City." May said.
"Olivine City? Ah... I hear there's a very tough but sweet gym leader named Jasmine there. You should challenge her first, but that's just my opinion." Norman said.
"Okay, I'll do that tomorrow morning. How about you guys? Is everything okay?" May asked. Norman and Caroline did not say anything at first, just looking at each other for a few seconds.
"Actually... there is a problem that we're doing our best to solve. We can't find Max anywhere." Caroline said.
"We think he ran away from home. He might be trying in vain to get a ride to Johto himself." Norman said.
"Well, you can relax. Max is here with me." May said. Both parents gasped at the screen.
"He is!? Where is he? Can we speak with him!?" Caroline shouted. May was the one silent this time... trying to decide whether to tell the truth or not. May could see the nervous look in Max's eyes despite his tiny size.
"Actually... he's sleeping right now. I think he's had a long day trying to stay hidden on the ship. I don't think it's a good idea to wake him up." May said.
"Oh dear... that must've been when we lost him. He probably turned around when we weren't looking and snuck on board the ship." Caroline said.
"Well, thank you for telling us, May, about your brother. Tell him when he wakes up to please call us back so we can talk with him." Norman said.
"Well, okay then. Sorry, but I gotta run... I'm on a tight budget when it comes to long distance phone calls!" May said.
"Okay! Good luck, May! We miss you already!" Caroline said.
"Represent our family well, my dearest daughter!" Norman said.
"Right..." May said softly before she hung up, shutting off the video screen at the same time.

When May looked back up at Max and picked him up, he could see the relieved look on his face. He once again couldn't thank May enough.
"*gulp* Thank you, May. You're such a great sister..." Max said.
"I don't know... I just lied to my parents. I've never had to do that before, you know." May said.
"Well, you did now, but it was for a good cause. How do you think they might have reacted if they saw me teeny tiny?" Max asked.
"Yeah, I guess you're right. Still, they'll have to know someday." May said.
"Yes, I understand." Max said.
"Are you just saying that because you're afraid I'll crush you like a little bug?" May said with a smile on her face.
"What? No! NO! Of course not!" Max said. Finally, Max could only watch as May took one of her fingers and rubbed it all over Max's head, messing up his hair and almost knocking his glasses off.
"Don't worry, Max. No matter what happens, I will take care of you." May said.
"Thanks, sis." Max said.
"Alright... time to pick up my Pokemon and then sleep for the night. Tomorrow, a big journey begins!" May said.
"Yeah... but at least I have a much bigger journey!" Max said. Immediately catching onto Max's joke, May rubbed his head again.
"You crack me up, little buddy." May said, sticking her tongue briefly at her tiny brother before she walked away from the video phone and back to Nurse Joy's desk to pick up her Pokemon.

Little did Max realize that he was right. The biggest events of his 'bigger journey' were soon to come.