Slamming the door that rocked the walls of my small house, I bolted through the door towards the main hallway where I could hear crying. "What happened?" I shouted in disbelief.
I could see two figures slumped over on the ground in front of me...My mother and sister!
"C-Cole!" A small, childish voice cried out to me, "Big mean sailor people...They-They...a-attacked mommy!" I could barely contain myself as an eruption of anger and sadness filled my heart as my little sister dropped her head back down and continued to weep, her big cheeks swollen and drenched with tears.
"It's okay now...It's okay." My knees felt weak as I dropped down beside her and quickly started to comfort her, protectively wrapping my small arms around her head, light brown strands of her hair falling onto my tense skin.
Coming back home after not being able to find my dad, panic took over me when I saw our windows smashed from the outside. I looked around our small home that I had lived in since I was born. Tables were knocked over, dishes and other pieces of furniture were destroyed; the cause clearly a fight. I knew that I was supposed to be there with them when dad told me to stay while he went after the first Aqua grunts that started running around the town.
'This was my fault...' My mind repeated dreadfully.
"I couldn't stop all of them..." Mom's usual stern voice was trembling now, as she slowly stood up, trying to keep her composure. I could see on her swollen face, bruises and scrapes, all of which made blood continue to drain from my body.
"T-Then how did you get away?" I quickly asked, my voice reflecting the anxiety in her eyes.
"You should have been the one who stopped them!"
"Kyra please.." My mother tried to quell my sister's sudden anger but my eyes darted to my sister once again who still had her head down in my arms.
"Dad told you to stay here!" She shoved me away angrily as she continued to cry, coughing after each breath.
I attempted a comeback; some kind of explanation for my actions, but nothing but a swelling feeling filled my throat because I knew she was right. I knew dad told me to protect the house while he chased after the Aqua grunts that stole some Pokemon from us and our neighbours; but I just couldn't take the thought of my dad taking on those guys by himself. Why wasn't anyone helping him?
'I was strong like dad too! I could help him!' I tried to believe those words...But now as a result, our home had been attacked by Team Aqua while I was gone.
"I'm sorry." That was the only thing I could come up while my sister's usual identical dark brown eyes glared at me. Except this time, hers were blazing with anger, revenge; while mine...I just knew they held nothing. No spark, no flame...This was the first time I wanted to be like her.
But who helped them? I turned back to my mother, "Who saved you from the grunts?"
"I believe that I can answer your question."
A deep, unidentified voice came from the front door. I jumped slightly at the new voice as three men walked into the house. One of them was dad, who looked completely beaten; a small jolt of relief sparked within me as my mother rushed over to him in an instant, grabbing him before he collapsed. The other two men...I had never seen before, but they did not move from the front door, only staring at my dad and mom with small smiles.
"Who are you?" My voice came out weaker than I intended, as I stood in front of my sister. The older looking one of the two men smirked as he stared at me.
"My name is Maxie." His lips curved upward. "Leader of Team Magma."
"What? No way!" I gasped in shock. The leader of Hoenn's new Magma organization was in their house of all places? These people were making headlines on the news for all the wrong reasons!
"It was my team that stopped the Aqua grunts from taking over Lavaridge Town." Maxie explained clearly, stepping closer towards me. I clenched my fists anticipating the worst as my sister trembled behind me.
"T-Thank you for saving my husband." I lost my focus as I snapped my head over in disbelief towards my mother. She was grasping onto dad tightly as she continued to sob softly.
"How could you thank them? That's Team Magma!" I snapped at her. "Magma and Aqua have been committing so many crimes lately! And they're up to no-"
"But!" I could hardly muster a response as dad stood up quickly, towering over me.
"They saved our town today," His dark eyes were locked onto mine, but I didn't dare look away. "Didn't I tell you to watch over your mother and sister?"
Again. That swelling feeling filled my throat. "I-"
"If you couldn't even protect your own family, what makes you think that you can shout your opinions about the people that just saved you!" I dropped my head down, tears threatening to fall.
I heard movement again after a long silence as footsteps moved towards me. It was Maxie, his hand gently touched my shoulder, making me flinch with fear. "Its alright." My eyes widened looking up to his soft looking face.
"I know how it feels to be powerless." Those words struck at my very being as I averted his gaze. Powerless...
"Your father was in danger and you wanted to save him, but you also had to protect your family at home." He smiled softly. "It must be very hard for such a young boy like you to know what the best option is, right?" His voice was soft.
"I-I..." I hated it when I didn't have an answer; mom and dad always loved it when I could come up with good answers, but this time I couldn't say anything. I did not want to say anything. Maxie then leaned down to me with a smile causing me to look away sharply. I didn't like him. He was evil...Right?
"I...thought I could help mom and dad with my Pokemon." I answered, my feelings taking the best of me.
Maxie's expression quickly shifted to surprise, "Pokemon?" He looked up to my dad, "This child uses Pokemon to battle already?" Maxie shifted his gaze back to me; my face flaring with embarrassment, feeling a small sense of pride.
"Uh...yes." Dad's voice was hesitant as he answered, sitting down on a chair that my mother had put back up. Trying to fight off my blushing face, I noticed the other Magma man was silent during all of this, I could see that he was eyeing me after hearing my dad's answer. "He loves Pokemon. Always going to the gym to train with his girlfriend."
"D-Dad!" My cheeks burned bright red now as the room filled with soft laughter. My thoughts, just for an instant picturing the Gym Leader's granddaughter that would be taking over Lavaridge Gym one day. She wasn't my girlfriend or anything...Really!...I was just a kid in her eyes anyway to be honest.
As the laughter died down, Maxie turned back to me, I didn't know what he was thinking this time as he stood up and looked at my parents.
"I would like this boy to join Team Magma."
What he said sounded so simple, but I could feel the air shifting in the room as the words rang through my house.
"M-Me?" I stuttered.
"What!" My parents gasped in unison. My father instantly stood up, his anger obvious to even my sister who was now squeezing my hand. "Why would we do that! He's just a boy! There is no way that I'm going to lose my son!" Dad grabbed Maxie by his black collar, earning a shout from the man at the door; but Maxie smiled and waved the the member to stay where he was. My mouth was wide open, my body filling with mixed emotions. Dad was very strong, how could Maxie not be scared?
"Isn't your town already in a mess right now?" Maxie asked coolly. My father's arm twitched slightly, loosening the grip on Maxie. I gasped as the Magma leader brushed himself off before looking down at me, a strong rush was building up in me but I didn't know what it was. "Excuse me for what I said before. I want him to join Team Magma when the time comes. I'm not going to force you to answer my request now."
Maxie leaned down to me again. "You want to protect the ones you love right?"
Of course, who wouldn't? I answered truthfully. My parents hesitated, my mother shifting uncomfortably behind my dad. "I never felt so weak when I saw my mom and sister crying." I continued on, my feelings taking over. My sister pulled my hand, as if to drag me away from Maxie, but I didn't budge; she was too weak, feeding my growing resolve.
"The only way that you can protect people is to become strong yourself. That's easy to see right?" He asked calmly.
"Don't listen to him Cole! Joining them is foolish!" My father yelled. The other man suddenly moved and faced my dad coldly.
"Stay out of this." The Magma member ordered.
"Holland!" Maxie snapped, causing the other man to turn to Maxie with apology. "This is his decision. I will visit him in the coming years to see his progress as a Trainer."
I turned to my parents who were looking right at me with fearful faces. If I joined them though, wouldn't that make me stronger? "You will see me when I become a Pokemon Trainer?" I asked softly. That would be very soon; I knew that I could pass the entrance exams.
"Yes, when the time comes." Maxie answered happily as he turned towards the door with the other man. "Remember that we, Team Magma were the ones who protected your town when Team Aqua attacked." I nodded in understanding, they were good people...
"Team Magma lives for one thing. To expand the land that allows people and Pokemon to live happily together in greater harmony." His eyes darkened as he turned to my parents, "Team Aqua are the ones who want to drown the people of Hoenn in an endless rainstorm. Do you really want those people to succeed? We are the ones that are trying to help." He finished boldly.
My mouth was suddenly dry as the words reached my ears. That was their goal? Then how could the people on the news say that they were bad?
"But you guys..." My father was muttering something but I could hardly hear him as he fumbled with his own words.
My family and I snapped back to Maxie, "This is your decision. You can help save us when disaster falls onto Hoenn. If you love Pokemon dearly, then I know that you can become a great Trainer one day to help save the world...We will meet again."
A deafening silence filled our small house. The sirens of emergency staff and shouting people rang throughout the town, but my house had never felt so silent.
"Cole" The voice was faint but I couldn't see where it was coming from.
"Cole..." I looked up...but there was nothing but darkness...
The young man jolted up from his sleeping bag. Large hazel eyes were looking at him, confusion painted across a girl's features.
"Elisa?" He choked. Cole was back on the small ship, the sails were blowing roughly as the boat tore through the waters of Route 108, nearing their destination of Slateport. He remembered now as Elisa gave him a concerned look.
"You've been sleeping all morning and afternoon." Elisa explained with a gentle smile. "Aren't you hungry?" She handed Cole some bread that was given from Jonbi. The young man took it slowly as he looked up to her.
"No thanks to you last night." He responded sharply, although he regretted the tone of his voice. Elisa's face burned red; vivid memories of what he did the night before still fresh, she looked away quickly before he noticed. Cole then looked over to his Pokemon who were talking to the rest of the group's Pokemon in lively chatter.
'My love for Pokemon was going to help...Save the world?' Did he really still believe that? Would capturing Rayquaza really save Hoenn from or lead it to destruction?
"Seems like they're making friends easily." Elisa's soft voice caught his attention as she regained her composure. "Noah said that we should reach Slateport by early morning. But since you slept for most of the day, I guess that means you'll be staying up tonight and directing the ship?" She peered back at him, a small smile on her face.
"I will." Cole responded with a light nod to her surprise.
"...Are you sure you're okay?" Elisa eyed his soft expression but the Trainer didn't respond as he got up and walked towards Noah at the wheel, earning a concerned look from the young woman.
"I'm fine, just a little tired. I'll talk to Noah about watching the ship tonight." Cole responded quickly, continuing towards Noah. That dream...A direct link to past events he never wanted to experience again sadly resurfaced...But why?
Elisa's concern, on the other hand, did not fade as she watched the two talk lightly at the wheel of the ship. The sun was beginning to make its soft dip towards sunset as the trio sailed through the vast ocean pass and jagged rocks that lined their way to Slateport's harbour. To her own surprise, she was silently watching him for most of the day. It was only when Cole started to grimace in his sleep that she built up enough courage to check on him.
"He must have had a nightmare..." She murmured softly into the salty breeze; suddenly a cold sensation stung at her side and she squeaked from the feeling. Reaching for her sweater's pocket, hazel eyes sparkled softly as they identified a small blue tablet wrapped around small fingers.
'The Dragon Plate.' A light blue aura radiated from the small fragment, twinkling in the sun's rays before suddenly fading away. She eyed it with calculating eyes. "It's been doing that all day..." She then looked forward towards the sunset, her face filled with worry.
They were getting closer to their target.