Planning Our First Crime
The early morning wind was cold as small boat pulled into Slateport harbour, the gentle groan of wood stirring the calm air as an anchor splashed into the sparkling waters. Cole worked swiftly, tying down ropes as a younger male knotted the masts with an expressive yawn.
"You learned how to make those knots for the boat so fast!" Noah broke the silence of the morning with an astonished look towards the Magma Admin, Cole looked up in response, "This couldn't be your first time doing that after I just taught you last night." He wondered aloud while scratching his head, a tired smile gracing his features.
"It's not that hard." Cole replied, his arms flexing as he pulled at the firm ropes, finishing the job. He then looked upward, Slateport's towering lighthouse piercing above the city.
His gaze then shifted to Slateport beach. The waters sparkled softly as the day's first rays hit its surface. Some people were surprisingly already on the beach, jogging or enjoying other early activities. The rich salty air mixed nicely with the scent of the open food markets within the city that were preparing for the new day, making his stomach growl softly. Stifling a yawn, he looked at the beautiful scenery. They were finally here.
"Well, I'm going to take a long nap!" Noah called from the boat. He smiled to himself as Cole waved a hand at him, lazily indicating that he heard the message while not taking his eyes off the beach. "Just wake me up when you're ready to head into town." Noah finished before heading back towards his sleeping bag that was not too far from the single cabin where their researcher resided.
"Yeah." Cole replied subconsciously. He continued to look out onto the beach, not knowing whether to be looking for something...Or someone. Dark brown eyes then narrowed as he took in a figure not too far from the harbour.
He recognized those nine tails immediately.
Tori hummed to herself softly, overlooking the splashing waves that dared to touch the tips of her sand-filled shoes; her orders from Holland still fresh in her mind as a flock of Wingulls cried out from above. Shivering slightly from the cool breeze, she huddled closer to her Ninetales.
'Cole will be reaching Slateport in a couple of days. I want you to rendezvous with him there and brief him on the Oceanic Museum.' Holland's voice echoing softly in her thoughts, she nodded to herself in confirmation, "Cole's going to be the rat this time...If the Dragon Plate is the real deal, then we'll get another chance at Groudon."
"I'm not going to fail this mission." a firm voice interrupted.
Tori jumped with a soft squeal, whipping her body around to meet a familiar tall figure. "Cole..." She breathed, small relief washing over her. She then glared at Ninetales, 'Why didn't you warm me that he was here?' she thought angrily, but the fire fox smirked devilishly, not taking its eyes off Cole. Quickly recomposing herself before standing up to him, her full height reaching just under his chin, she glared at the Magma Admin with a small pout. Cole rubbed the back of his neck as Tori continued to glare holes into him.
"You're too quiet for your own good." She joked with a cheeky smile.
"What are the orders from Holland?" Cole asked quickly, getting back on topic. He knew that he should have called out to her, but they were still a part of Team Magma.
She pouted again at his response, she should have expected it. That expression alone would get half of Team Magma to fall into an eternal trance, but as usual, the man before her was the only one that never seemed to be fazed. "Sheesh." Tori sighed, but began her briefing, "We confirmed that a mysterious plate did in fact arrive at the Oceanic Museum from a deep sea exploring team."
"So that vision was true..."
"No, nothing. Continue." Cole answered quickly, recomposing his normal tone.
The female Admin slapped her hands on her hips before shrugging it off. "Okay, well after we got your info about the Dragon Plates, I did some field work; the three Dragon Plates are called the Earth, Ocean and Sky Plates. They are connected to Rayquaza's power and the Jade Orb." Tori explained.
Tori shot him a smirk. "You didn't know about that did you? The three Dragon Plates are the keys to reactivating Rayquaza's power. Basically its a form of energy that counters the likes of the Red, Blue and Green Orbs." Cole nodded, listening intently which earned a small smile from his fellow Admin. "So far, we only have information on the first plate." Tori then pointed North towards the city. "It's the Ocean Plate, and it'll be at the museum on display for the next couple of days before the exploring team takes it back for their own personal research. Since you don't have any history with the events that happened there two years ago, Holland said that you'll be the one to obtain the plate." Tori finally finished with an exhale.
Cole nodded silently as he processed the new information from the young woman, "So I'll have to break in at night once the museum closes." Cole confirmed looking towards Slateport City.
"Not exactly..." Tori trailed off, catching the Admin off-guard. "We were able to get a ticket for the Oceanic Museum tonight. Holland told me that since you'll be stealing it, he doesn't want you on the security cameras during the display. He wants to confirm that it's the real deal before we break in." Cole gave her a questioning look, waiting for her to continue.
"Holland wants you to use your researcher-friend to identify the Dragon Plate first. Once we know what it really looks like, then I can help you with the break in." She explained with a nod.
"Her?" Cole asked.
"Yeah her...What's with you?"
Cole avoided Tori's eyes, looking over to the stone lighthouse that stood above the harbour. "I don't think she can do anything useful right now..." Cole trailed off before letting out an annoyed sigh.
"If she's an expert on this case, like you told us, it's best to use her then." Tori argued, shoving something into Cole's hands to his surprise. He quickly identified the flashy blue paper as the Oceanic Museum ticket for the display. "You told Holland that you got a piece of the plate when you were in Dewford, right?" She asked, poking him in the chest.
"Yeah, it's a small piece that broke off." Cole answered while safely putting away the ticket into the folds of his jacket.
"Good. Then you're girlfriend will be able to make the match then without any problems." Tori then turned to leave the beach, ignoring the grimace from her fellow Admin. "The display is tonight, so get something nice for the girl to wear. If the Dragon Plate is confirmed, then I'll steal it after the display for you." She smiled, waving a goodbye.
"Where do we need to meet up then?" Cole asked, watching the younger Admin tease her Ninetales with her sandy shoes.
"Just be near the museum." She smirked, "That's all you need to know." Cole shrugged with a small sigh as the Tori trotted away with her Pokemon at her heels; disappearing amongst a group of tourists that suddenly massed towards the beach.
Cole sighed, the salty air stinging his lungs before turning back towards the harbour. As the young man strolled through the sands, passing groups of people that barely noticed him, he suddenly stopped midway and jerked his head around back in the direction of Tori.
"...Get her something nice?"
Cole could barely look on, too disgusted by the actions of the figures in front of him. Elisa and Noah were pressed up against the glass doors leading to the Oceanic Museum, shamelessly peeping into the mansion-like building with awe. It was early afternoon now and the trio had taken most of the day for sightseeing around the large city.
Their morning was surprisingly busy to the young man, Noah selling the pearls along with Elisa's Water Stone at the markets for an excellent profit thanks to his haggling abilities. The Pokedollars that rolled in were more than enough for them to restock on supplies for themselves and the Pokemon, mainly canned foods and medicines. It was not until they left the markets that Cole's younger associates noticed the museum's advertisements. Multiple posters and displays cascaded down from the entrance of the museum all the way to the market square, easily seducing Elisa and Noah's attention to willingly follow the signs to their destination.
"It's sooo beautiful!" Elisa cooed happily, small hands pressed above her narrowed eyes to get a better look through the crystal clear glass doors.
"They must have found a ton of treasures ever since Team Magma and Aqua attacked. It must be worth millions!" Noah added in with glee. The two continued to drool over the luxury of the museum until the doors surprisingly swung open, sending the two back onto the stone walkway with a thud.
"Hey! If you want to shop with your eyes, the markets are that way!" A security guard barked at the two causing them to cower in fear. "No one is allowed near the Oceanic Museum unless they have a ticket for tonight's gala!" He finished, glaring at Elisa and Noah with intense eyes.
"Ticket?" Noah asked aloud.
"Yeah, runt." The guard barked again causing Noah to glare at him. "If you don't have a ticket then beat it!" He snapped jerking his thumb behind him.
Cole then walked up to the guard slowly to Noah's surprise. "C-Cole? You're standing up for me?" The young boy asked hopefully.
"I have a ticket for myself." The young man flashed the blue strip of paper towards the security guard to his surprise; Noah dropped his head in defeat while Elisa gasped in disbelief.
"When did you get one?" Elisa asked with suspicion.
"When you guys were sleeping, I challenged a man for his ticket." Cole answered quickly turning to her, earning a jaw-drop from from the young woman.
"Excellent sir." The guard smiled, throwing Elisa and Noah into shocked expressions from his sudden change in attitude. "The Oceanic Museum's Special Gala will be open later this evening at nine." He informed bowing lightly.
"Thanks." Elisa and Noah blinked in confusion as their taller travelling partner approached them. "Let's go. You're going to be the one who uses it." Cole informed.
"Me?" Elisa responded pointing to herself.
"When we get to the Pokemon Centre we can discuss our plan." Cole then whispered in a low tone, avoiding any more attention from the security guard.
"We need to take it after all."
It took a few seconds before Cole's message was processed into her head.
"Ehhh? Cole we can't stea-" Elisa was cut off once the young man suddenly clasped a hand over her mouth to her surprise. Her cheeks flushed red as the security guard looked at the trio, confused, while Cole dragged her and Noah away towards the Pokemon Centre.
"I won't do it!" Elisa argued as she crossed her arms, clearly in denial. The three had rented out a room at the Pokemon Centre for the time being as Cole explained their upcoming plan. The two young males of the group both sighed as the lone girl turned from them, pouting angrily.
"If we don't take it tonight, we'll never be able to get more info about the Dragon Plates." Cole stated clearly. "Now, all you have to do is enter the museum tonight and check the plate with your own shard." Elisa turned to him, face still cross but she continued to listen, "If it matches, then we have our target." Cole explained.
Elisa could only return a look that clearly read to anyone with eyes, 'Are you kidding me?'
"I didn't come all the way to Slateport to steal a priceless treasure!" She cried in slight defence. Cole hung his head in frustration but Noah jumped and quickly put his fingers to his mouth in a hushed manner. The young researcher lowered her voice slightly but continued to give them a hard look.
"Why can't we just ask the owners of the museum for the Dragon Plate nicely? I'm sure they'll listen if..." Her voice trailed off as the two males in front of her gave her dry looks, clearly disinterested in the good-guy approach.
"You're too innocent." Cole sighed causing Noah to snicker with laughter. He knew that they could possibly ask to investigate the Ocean Plate, but his order from Holland was to obtain the Ocean Plate. "If Jonbi told you that the Dragon Plates were connected to Rayquaza, that would mean that we need to take the plates in order to see Rayquaza, right?"
Elisa pursed her lips shut, taking in the information. Her mission for this journey was to prove to her superiors at Devon Corporation with solid information about the strange weather occurrences that were happening in areas around Hoenn, and then link that to a Legendary Pokemon. Even though Groudon and Kyogre were believed to be sleeping, these weather occurrences were still rising in many areas around the country, like Fallarbor Town.
'If I could come back with the Dragon Plates and some evidence of Rayquaza's existence, then maybe...' She trailed off, becoming aware of what her goal was. Wasn't this just becoming a greedy scheme for acknowledgement from Devon Corporation?...No, she shook it off, looking back at Cole who was matching her gaze.
She didn't forget the promise they made on that first night. "You're goal is to see Rayquaza." Elisa confirmed aloud, earning a nod from the Trainer. "But to really steal a treasure from the museum." She hesitated before muttering, "Are we really willing to go that far?" Her voice shaken, stressing the magnitude of their decision.
"My goal is Rayquaza." The young man's face did not waver from her question.
Dark brown locked with light hazel in a silent standstill over personal morals; trying to persuade the other into their own ideals until Noah broke the silence by raising his hand. "I could be of help when you're breaking in. My Wingull can be very-" Noah started with a grin.
Cole responded quickly to the young sailor's dismay; a flash of devilish smile running through his mind before his thoughts concluded. "Once Elisa confirms the Dragon Plate, you two will head back to the harbour and prepare to leave."
Elisa then perked up and raised her hand childishly. "So you'll be breaking in once the display is over to bring the plate back to us, right?" She asked, earning a surprised look from Cole who nodded at her quick thinking.
Elisa then tapped her chin thoughtfully before sighing in defeat. "...O-Okay...I guess this is what we have to do. We're the only ones that really know where the Dragon Plates come from." She then played with her fingers slightly, nerves shaking of what would be happening tonight.
"Glad you're finally on our side." Cole smirked in victory. "Noah, I'll need you to prepare the boat to leave the harbour once this is all over."
"You got it captain!" The boy raised a hand in a solid solute before bolting for the door like a madman.
"Uh..." Both Cole and Elisa blinked in unison.
"No need to start now..." Cole trailed off, his words having no use now that the young sailor was already out of sight. With Noah gone, the room suddenly began to feel very large to him. He knew that he needed to do one more thing for the plan tonight. He glanced at Elisa slightly, her brow furled slightly as she fumbled through her backpack.
"So what can I do now to prepare?" Elisa asked after a few moments of silence, looking up from her backpack. She blinked curiously as Cole shifted uncomfortably in his chair.
"...You'll need a dress." Cole answered quietly, so quiet that a person wouldn't be able to hear it, unless they were in a silent room that he was cursed with at the moment.
The words were meant to never reach ears, but they sadly landed onto Elisa's as she gave him a confused look before finally taking in the information. She could feel a familiar warmth on her cheeks as she gaped at Cole. His words still ringing in her head.
"GET YOUR IRON HERE! NOW HALF PRICE!"
Booming voices from street merchants rang through the bustling markets; multiple scents of berries and seafood enticing Cole's senses as he trailed closely behind Elisa in the confusing atmosphere. He thought that when they first came through Slateport market in the morning it was busy...
'How do people function here?' The amount of people seemed to have doubled late in the afternoon, endless chattering and movement were the only things that he could take in at the moment as people bumped him from side to side in the streets.
He locked onto the source of his name to see Elisa pointing towards a clothing stand. The pair shuffled quickly, fighting their way through the crowds before finally reaching the little shop. Luckily for them, dresses and other pieces of clothing lined the front of the large tent as the owner smiled happily at them.
"Looking for some lady's clothing today?" The old woman asked while fanning herself with some papers. Cole nodded while Elisa gave her a polite smile.
"Yes, do you have any formal dresses that I can try on?" Elisa asked, leaning towards the old woman so that she could hear her. Cole blinked in confusion by her question as Elisa whispered into the old woman's ear about something he could not hear over the loud crowds behind him. The clerk's wrinkled face brightened before nodding happily; getting up from her seat, she began to pull out dresses from the back tent.
"Why do you need to try it on?" Cole asked, eyeing the young woman beside him as the pair waited for the old woman to return. His confusion only deepened as Elisa awarded him with a childish pout.
"I-I need to look decent in it!" She answered, avoiding his eyes while he sent a dry look in response. "Ugh! You'll never get it." Elisa sighed sadly as she turned back to the colourful display in front of the market.
Cole's jaw clenched in reaction to the young woman's confusing statement, not able to grasp onto her answer from before. If it was the right fit, why would she need to try it on in the first place?
The old woman then came back with a bundle of dresses draped over her arms. Cole could see Elisa's face brighten up slightly as the dresses were shown to her one by one. Each piece of clothing receiving a slightly different reaction from the researcher.
"I'll try this one." Elisa perked up as the old woman handed her a dark blue dress. Cole eyed Elisa intently as she gave him a fleeting glance before disappearing into the shop's changing rooms. The old woman gave Cole a strange look that he couldn't decipher as they waited for Elisa to return.
"She's in luck today; since the Oceanic Museum is having a special display this week, I'll throw in some heels at half price for her." The old woman told Cole with a flashy smile, a few teeth missing as she beamed at the rugged Trainer.
"Thanks for the deal miss." Cole couldn't help but smile back. She reminded him of his own grandmother and the retired residents that often visited the Lavaridge hot springs and sand baths when he was a child so many years ago. He dropped the smile once the tent's flaps fluttered slightly, only revealing a portion of Elisa as she attempted to exit. Turning to her, he was about to tell her about the deal she was offered, but his lips suddenly lost all movement after what he saw next.
Cole's current of thoughts froze like ice as his eyes finally captured Elisa's form. A midnight blue dress descended from the top of her small shoulders down to just below her knees as he completely took in her hidden features. The dress didn't seem that special, the kind that was common for a formal affair, but it daringly revealed her smooth arms and just a bit of her creamy legs to his surprise as Elisa shyly stepped out from the tent, the old woman shooing her softly.
"Oh my, look at the pretty girl!" A few onlookers praised; however Cole was oblivious to the few calls of awe by passing groups, he couldn't take his eyes off of her.
She was mesmerizing.
His eyes wandered, a knot forming in his throat, as they slowly moved from her finely toned legs to her surprisingly firm looking hips and waistline. Shamelessly gazing upon the outlining of her small breasts, he could feel his heart beat a little bit faster as he worked his way passed her slim neck to her reddening face, deep brown strands of hair sticking lightly to her creamy skin in a near perfect frame by the heat of the afternoon sun. It was only when his hypnotized brown eyes strayed towards her stunned hazel ones did he finally realize what he was doing.
Cheeks burning instantly, Cole could hear the now annoying old woman cackling with laughter as he gulped deeply, choking up as he stammered to explain his actions. His mind was blank as it could only harden the memory of the angelic woman before him into stone.
"Uhh..Um-T-That's okay..." Cole stuttered a little too highly for his liking as he quickly turned around to the busy streets of Slateport. "You're taking it, right?" He asked, tone reflecting suppressed hope.
Elisa managed to mutter inaudible words, hazel eyes fluttering in the golden sunlight before they darted back to the ground. Sprinting behind the tent, Elisa tried to pull herself together after her first experience of a man laying eyes on her. 'I...I felt so...so-' Her mind screamed, unable to explain the rush of feelings within her. No one had ever looked at her like that before and her cheeks burned hotter as the store owner's laughter rang louder from outside.
"Oh miss! I'll throw in the heels for free today!" The old woman later called into the tent. She smiled to herself as a barely noticeable 'thank you' called back to her.
Cole could only kick at the stone walkways as he waited for Elisa to finish buying her clothes for the museum. He had never seen a sight like that before...
'She looked so different...So...pure.' Immediately cursing himself for the shameful thoughts on the woman's drastic change in appearance, he looked up at the sky's first shimmering star; thanking the Heavens as his mind tried to recompose itself for the events to come. He would only need to see her in that dress once if everything was going to succeed in his favour tonight.