"In other news; with no signs of a break-in during the alleged midnight robbery of Slateport's Oceanic Science Museum. Police are considering the powerful storm that occurred over Slateport City may have been the cause for minor damages that took place..."
Wrapped in a light blue sheet, a young woman hugged her legs against her body as she flipped through tattered sheets of paper, drowning out the buzz of the small television's afternoon broadcast. 'So Riolu usually prefer Fighting based attacks...' The young woman rubbed her nose lightly; the scent of rich grasses tickling her repeatedly by riding on a cool breeze that wafted in from an open window. The sensations sent a slight chill down her bare arms as she leaned against the back wall for support; though she remained focused on her task. Cole had told her that she needed to know the basics by the time they left.
"Jin Rathore. Founder of a treasure that was claimed to be the only one stolen from the museum told reporters that the treasure was considered irrelevant and that the police should not pursue the unknown suspects that may still be at large. Following thi-"
Elisa blinked; clearly she must have heard it wrong.
"They're giving up?"
The confused researcher turned her head from the television set to a young boy who was sitting cross-legged on the wooden floor of their room. His bright aqua eyes just as wide as her own as he stopped combing through the white down of a white bird that was perched upon his knee. "I thought that the Ocean Plate would be the best thing there?" He turned to Elisa for confirmation but she shared the same look as him.
"Well..." Elisa glanced back towards the television.
"When I met him there, Mr. Rathore told me that no one else knew about the Ocean Plate, or the Dragon Plates for that matter." Her lips pursed into a frown, "But I thought he would at least have the police search for it. Why would he display it at the museum even if no one would look at it?" Looking down in front of her, she eyed Cole's backpack that rested against the foot of her bed.
Noah followed her gaze until he identified what caught the young woman's interest. "Was he really that slick to get into the Oceanic Museum unnoticed?" The sailor's voice was quiet with awe. Noah then tipped his head to the side before suddenly getting up.
"Wing!" Wingull cried while flapping hysterically before landing on Elisa's bed while Noah walked towards Cole's backpack. He unzipped the single strap backpack in one motion to Elisa's shock before pulling out the blue tablet.
"What are you doing!" Elisa cried, the sheets that wrapped around her legs flew up as she shot up onto her knees. "That's stealing!" She accused while pointing her sheets of paper at his face.
Noah gave the young woman a sarcastic look.
"...I..I mean-" Elisa immediately shut her mouth, a faint blush creeping onto her cheeks.
"Are you really going to have your conscious get in the way now?" Noah mused as Elisa glanced away. He then turned back to their first Dragon Plate, its cooling presence sending a slight shiver up his arms. "Besides, we're all friends here; why would I steal from Cole right after he helped me win the Dynamo Badge?" He laughed, zipping the backpack shut before dropping onto the bed, the springs creaking as he sat beside his Wingull; the bird poking at the plate with curious black eyes.
"So you would have stolen from him if he never helped you..." Elisa gave the young boy a dead-panned look, earning a nervous glance in response.
"Well I...Uhh-he's a good guy!" Noah laughed, avoiding her annoyed look.
"I would never do anything bad to him!" Noah continued to wave off the dry looks from Elisa and now his own Pokemon before he turned back to the Ocean Plate. His nervous smile switching quickly to a cocky grin. "I know you think he's a great guy too..." The shackles of his trap tightening, he anticipated her next move.
"Huh?" Elisa shifted back as Noah gave her a coy look.
"I mean come on." He started with a smirk. "Great guy; strong, brave, protects us. Always willing to help you out. That's every girl's dream right?" Noah's voice was teetering on suggestive, sending Elisa into an absolutely shocked expression.
"H-He's not in my dreams!" Elisa cried, face tingeing pink before turning away from Noah who started to go into his common fits of giggling. She remained quiet, shoulders slumped in defeat at how the conversation spiralled out of control so quickly. Sure Cole was very helpful on this journey they had started together; she was extremely grateful for that.
But a girl's dream? She had never thought of him that way...
Suddenly a reoccurring memory that had plagued her mind for the past week flashed before her eyes. The heat of the markets in Slateport; Cole was staring directly at her, his deep brown eyes felt like they were boring into her when she had walked through that tent. He had gazed upon her shamelessly that day...but the small spark of pleasure that ignited within when he looked at her for the first time...
Elisa frantically slapped at her cheeks, "I-I don't know what you're talking about! H-He's a good person...That's it!" She muttered, voice barely audible as Noah started to laugh harder.
"It was a joke Elisa, you're so shy." The young sailor's laughter faded before turning back to the Ocean Plate, its unreadable text baffled him as he skimmed over the ancient words.
"I am not..." She whined softly, finally able to cool down as she glanced back at Noah. How could she be getting picked on by someone four years younger than her? She was the adult here...
"So do you really think there is another Dragon Plate out there that looks like this?" Noah started, snapping her train of thought. The plate continued to sparkle in its beautiful shades of blue as Elisa looked down upon it.
"Yeah, they should look alike...but-" She eyed the object in his hands. "We have one, but it has no clues concerning Rayquaza, except for what I believe are scriptures." She added, pointing at the strange texts. "This book has the same markings, but when I tried to translate them, they didn't explain anything." Elisa huffed slightly at her predicament.
"These form words?" Noah muttered with surprise, holding the plate above his head.
"Well, letters for the most part." Elisa sighed, pulling the plate back down to eye level. "I guess I'll just have to keep looking over the information from this book."
"The next one's in the desert..." The young boy huffed. They would be leaving his ship later today to venture North. He had never travelled very far from water before; a sinking feeling hit him in the gut as he looked out the window. The lively chatter of the city filled the small room while Noah remained quiet. "We won't be sailing for a while. I just hope we can still use my ship when we get the next plate."
"I still want you to travel with us!"
Noah blinked, turning to Elisa who's hazel eyes were bright with determination. "What?"
The young woman blushed slightly at her forwardness and Noah's confused look before continuing, "...Wherever this journey takes us, I want the three of us to travel together...Even if it's not by sea!" Elisa nodded enthusiastically. "You're our friend Noah; we're all a part of this!"
The young sailor continued to stare thoughtfully from his friends words before beaming at her with his signature smile. "I know that!" He laughed, scratching the back of his head modestly. "And besides, since we're going to the desert, we should stop by Lavaridge! The Gym Leader there uses Fire types!" Noah suggested, happiness flooding within, knowing that he finally had friends to travel with. "It'll be an easy win!"
"Of course!" Elisa giggled. Her own guilty pleasure now fawning over the possible hot springs. Her smile then wavered; they may actually visit Lavaridge Town. Would Cole really want to see his family? He never told her that much about them though, so it was beginning to pick at her.
"If you get that Gym Badge, I know your parents will be proud." Noah beamed at Elisa's words before pumping his fist into the air. The pair continued to laugh, filling the small room of the with a positive feeling despite the growing uneasiness that lingered above them. Could this journey really be that easy after all?
Meanwhile, not too far from the Pokemon Centre, a tall figure stood outside of the Mauville Game Corner. The warm afternoon sun brought everyone out of their homes as the streets were filled with residents of all ages. The Game Corner was running at an efficient pace as greedy eyed gamblers shuffled back and forth between its entrance.
Leaning against the smudged glass of a run-down payphone booth, Cole quickly dialled a familiar number; lightly pressing the receiver against his ear, the ring droned out the chatter of the streets.
"It's Cole," The Magma Admin replied quickly, knowing that his leader would hang up if he didn't get a response.
There was a small sigh on the other line. Cole blinked repeatedly, unsure of what Holland was thinking. "I heard the news. You have the Dragon Plate?"
"Yes sir; it's currently at the Pokemon Centre with the researcher." Cole glanced behind him down the street, a slight hope of laying eyes on the red-roofed building.
"Excellent." Cole could hear his commander chuckle lightly. "It seems like you're finally getting somewhere with Rayquaza. Where's the next one?" Holland asked, his greed getting the better of him as he leaned forward in his chair.
"Didn't Tori tell you?" Usually she would be inform Holland immediately on any task; the Dragon Plate was their most important objective at the moment. The Magma Admin then heard a sudden crash from the other end of the phone, the loud noise making him flinch from the receiver. "...Sir?"
"That girl-" His voice was sharp but it leaned to that of surprise. "What the hell is she thinking? When she returns to base..." His voice trailed off, sending a shiver down Cole's spine in fear of what would befall the young woman.
"Well...it's in the desert sir." Cole cut in, breaking the tension that pressed against him. "I'm heading there now to investigate."
There was only silence on the other end of the phone; dry lips churned as the young man held his breath, waiting for a reply before his leader's voice finally blared into his ear. "Your teammates are getting careless Cole. It's a good thing that you're still useful to me." Cole smirked from the praise, the phone shifting to the other side of his ear.
"If the next Dragon Plate is in the desert, then its fair game to everyone. You shouldn't need any help."
"Well um...Sir?" Cole quickly interrupted. "The desert contains a lot of powerful Pokemon. Nidoking and Shedinja would be very useful for me there. Since I found one of the Dragon Plates...would I be able to get my Pokemon back?"
A sneering laugh slapped a shocked face, the tone striking at Cole's heart for he knew the answer already. "If your first mission was to break in; I know that Tori was the one that completed all of the difficult tasks." Holland chuckled at the man's attempt. "Don't think that you're off the hook just because you managed to find one plate!"
Cole clenched onto the phone a little bit harder, the force causing the rusty steel to cut into his hand. "But sir!"
The pain pierced at him with an even greater force now; Cole hastily clenched his fists to prevent himself from getting into more trouble.
"You still have two more plates to collect. Get those, and you'll see your Pokemon again. Four Pokemon are more than enough with your skills." Holland informed, his voice low, almost as if it was mocking his very being. "They're in great hands by the way...Tori and Koji are taking good care of them."
"What!" His free hand slamming onto the steel frame of the phone box, he glared at the receiver in shock. Why didn't Tori tell him that she had one of his Pokemon? 'Koji has my Pokemon!' The heat of anger rose within, overpowering his usual cool demeanour; but he took a deep breath, suppressing his urge to give Holland a piece of his mind. "...I-I understand sir..." He couldn't do anything.
"Good," Holland smirked. "You'll be fine on your own."
With Holland's last words, the line finally died. The continuous beeping of the receiver blaring into Cole's ear as he closed his eyes; frustration and sadness washed over his mind. His Pokemon were paying a price for his failures. Why did they have to? He could take all the blame and punishment on his own, so why use his Pokemon?
He needed to get to the desert by all means.
Cole slammed the receiver down, a shattering clang erupted from the impact but he did not care for that, nor the odd looks of the surprised residents that jumped back from the booth. 'I'll get you guys back...' Moving swiftly, Cole slid out from the booth and headed for the Pokemon Centre; he needed to get more information on the Dragon Plates. It would be his only hope.
Far from civilization, on the outskirts of Fallarbor Town within a dark and dreary cave. A middle-aged man placed an old cell phone onto the splintered wood of his desk, the deep lines of his face becoming more prominent as he smirked to himself. The room was quiet now, the end of the conversation with one of his best men finally behind him, he folded his arms on his desk while leaning forward in the decaying chair that centred his small office.
"Fool." Holland chuckled. "He should know that he has no authority over me."
A sudden loud knock slammed against his door, breaking his smile as a younger, but much larger man rushed into the room. The rough features of his face menacing as he slammed his fists on the table in front of Holland, shards of wood flying up in the air.
"You let Tori get one of the Dragon Plates!" Koji barked, his sapphire eyes fierce with anger.
"Yes." The Magma Leader responded without a flinch. "It seems like our plans are finally baring fruit."
Koji pulled at his tousled brown hair in frustration, "Why didn't you use me!" He barked. "I've been sitting around this crap shack for weeks! If I was running the show, we would have had all the Dragon Plates by now!"
Holland stood up, making Koji jump back with a surprised snear. "Is that an order?"
The oldest Magma Admin avoided his leader's gaze. "N-No..." The anger was still evident on his face as he clenched his fists. "But why should Tori be out running with that loser? I-"
"Cole and Tori are my best."
Sapphire eyes flashed with shock from the words that slapped him. "What!"
Holland came around from behind his desk to Koji's surprise, his face showing no emotion as he stood face-to-face with the Admin, making him step back. "Do you know how much work Maxie and I put into those two? The time we sacrificed to hone their skills?" His voice was rising. Those two children were his only aces; with so many Magma members dropping out, times were becoming desperate.
"I know that bu-"
"Then you should damn well know that they are the stars of Team Magma!"
Koji sneered at him, though the trembling of his fists did not match the anger in his eyes. "They will be the ones that make our name feared all over Hoenn once again!" Holland roared, his voice tearing into Koji as he fell back, slamming hard into the stone walls behind him.
"Koji!" The Admin flinched from the sharp call, "You were only appointed to Admin position so that you would give them some guidance. You are not the best out of them!"
His words were ruthless. That's what Holland really thought...Just another teacher to pass knowledge to people that were worlds beyond him.
"Holland.." Koji stood up from the wall, the wet stones soaking into his dark red Magma vest. His dry lips moved but no words escaped, as if preventing himself from saying what he really thought; he finally looked his leader in the eyes.
They were dark, full of hate, just like his own. "What do you want me to do then."
Holland smirked, pleased with the idiot's rare showing of obedience. "Be patient." The Magma Leader patted Koji on his shoulder to his surprise before turning him to the open door. A few Magma grunts were shyly peeking from the hallway, eyes wide from the display they had witnessed. "First off, I have some business to attend to; then I'll need you."
"When?" Koji blurted out as he passed the front door.
"When Cole finds the last Dragon Plate. We'll need everyone working once Rayquaza comes into my grasp." His dark eyes suddenly glinted, surprising the oldest Admin again. "You should be training in the meantime. This is Meteor Falls," Holland chuckled. "I know your Nidoking will love to train in these mountains."Koji's shocked face quickly flashed to a confident one as he pulled out a lone Poke ball; its surface scratched in multiple places, clearly indicating how long it had been used over time.
"My Nidoking huh..." A devious grin plastered itself onto his face. Tossing the Poke ball into the air, a large, dark purple bipedal creature materialized before him. "I'll make sure he goes through a hell of a time." Koji's words were low, threatening as he glared at the Pokemon's dark face. Nidoking remained silent, his beady eyes downcast as Koji leered at him.
"Miss your master?" Koji taunted, kicking Nidoking hard armoured body. "He left you...Because you're weak."
"Niiii!" Nidoking snapped his head up, clear shock written over his face as Koji continued to smirk. Did his friend really believe that he was not strong enough? Nidoking growled angrily at the large man, his white teeth glinting in the hallways flickering lights. He had not seen any of his other friends in days, could Cole really have left him behind?
"I'm your master now..." Koji laughed, "That idiot Cole was too weak to realize the real strength you have." He patted Nidoking roughly. "Don't worry though, I'm going to bring that out..."
"Turn him into a true fighter." Holland began to chuckle lightly at the man's words before Koji began to join in as well; slowly turning into an onset of laughter that filled the hollow room. The passing grunts did not join in though, because this laughter had no joy behind its ominous drone. Their superiors were finally moving in the right direction. All of Hoenn would be theirs soon enough.