"So, It's best to use Riolu against faster, and more nimble Pokemon...Got it?"
Strands of dark brown danced softly against small shoulders, a young woman nodding aggressively as she burned the words into her head. "Yes...But I should also look out to switch them around; to prevent them from getting tired, right?"
"Yeah, since you don't have a lot of Pokemon with you."
Elisa nodded again before glancing down to the small creature in her arms. Wide eyes gazed back up to her, a confident twinkle shot back at her from the patches of moonlight that streamed down from the canopy. "Got it."
Leaning back against the tree she and Cole were taking a break under, she sighed softly. With Noah still sleeping soundly, or knocked out, she didn't know which since Cole had just spent a few minutes in the tent with him. The pair were taking a small break by the wildlife infested road of Route 111.
With all the wild Pokemon running around, Elisa had willingly, or in her words, Cole forced her, to battle the small fry Pokemon. She paled, remembering the annoyed looks the young man would give her with her slow decisions in making a move. 'It's not my fault they always run off!' She glared at him, though he was looking through his backpack.
The small calls of a few Pokemon chipped at her ears as another crackle of the camp fire in front of them flashed into the cold night. The winds were chilly, rich with a scent that only reminded her of her travels to Fallarbor weeks ago.
This was her first time travelling in this part of Hoenn. Glancing up to the Trainer's hardened face, Houndoom napping by his side, she smiled softly at him as he remained occupied with his task. "...You sure do know a lot."
Cole smirked to himself from the words, his attention never leaving his backpack, "I have to, especially around the desert..." He glanced up, peering North towards the tall mountains that acted as the gateway to the unruly desert lands. "One wrong decision, and you're dead."
'Did you really need to say that?! Scary!' Elisa took in a sharp breath, clearly unnerved. "Umm...Cole? Have you ever-?" She regretted her choice of words as soon as they left her mouth once the young man snapped to her, as if she had insulted him.
"If I did, we wouldn't be having this conversation."
"Well...yeah, maybe..." She muttered, he couldn't let her finish?
"You think I'm weak?" He smirked at her, yet the words stung before she gasped, Elisa now the one to give a hysterical face.
"N-No! You're really strong!" Her cheeks flared, crimson as he gave her a cocky look. "I mean!...I..." Elisa stammered, hiding her face from his. She didn't know why, but talking to him was starting to become more troublesome. It was probably all the teasing he was giving her due to her 'lack of strength' when it came to hauling her own weight through Route 111. But this was her first time hiking!
The young man watched her intently as she fumbled with her words, clearly amused. "Don't worry so much."
"I'm not worrying!" She snapped back, glaring at his sly look.
"Sounds like worrying to me...You just need to survive."
Elisa gave him a blank look, eyes wide before he pulled out a small bottle, a light purple liquid bathed in the moonlight within the clear plastic container. "Survive?"
"Hoenn's desert is known for unpredictability. So you should know some of these items Trainer use too." Cole stated, shaking the bottle in his hand before handing it to Elisa. She blinked, eyeing the unknown substance as the fire's light flickered off the steel lid. "If you don't get knocked out by the sandstorms, or burn in the heat; you'll have to deal with the some of the Poison Pokemon."
"P-Poison?" Elisa paled. As if the thought of being flung in a sandstorm wasn't bad enough.
Cole almost cracked a smile from her sunken expression. "Yeah, I haven't been there in a long time, but last time I checked, swarms of new Pokemon had been invading the routes." Dark brown eyes then hardened as they gazed upon the bottle. "That bottle has an antidote for most Poison Pokemon. You just need to swallow a spoonful, and you should be good."
"I see, in case we have to deal with them..."
"In case I have to deal with them." He corrected her sternly.
"But, I can still-"
"No." He quickly shook his head, earning another glare from the young woman. "The Pokemon in the desert are much stronger."
Her stern expression faltered before pouting at him. She hated it when he did this. She knew she would never be as strong as him and Noah. But, still... "Well yeah-"
"Exactly. Just take everything one step at time, but from here on out, I'll do the battling."
Dark brown eyes bore into light hazel as the two remained quiet, staring straight into each other's eyes. Looking deep into those expressive eyes, he held his breath before something drifted between them. It flickered in the light, snapping the pair out of their thoughts.
"Sand?" Elisa asked, but Cole remained quiet, his mind was mulling over the thought of a certain Poison Pokemon instead. He flinched, suddenly feeling something warm against his thigh.
The fire hound was fully awake now, gazing up to his Trainer with a serious expression, reflecting hotly in deep red eyes. If any of Cole's Pokemon knew him the most, it was Houndoom. He loved all of them, but he and Houndoom shared a special link. He smiled softly, away from Elisa's gaze, before patting Houndoom's head gently. The fire hound whined softly before turning to the dark skies. 'We'll get there. Once we get the next plate, I know we'll get one of them back.' He just needed to use a certain researcher to help him.
"Elisa." Cole called, turning to the young woman who was now staring up to the flutter of sand. "Have you learned anything of the Ocean Plate?"
Hazel eyes darkened. "...No." She muttered shamefully. Cole blinked in confusion from her sudden change as she handed the bottle back to him. "...The scriptures don't make any words..." She mumbled, avoiding his gaze. "I'm sorry..."
"Yet you're the researcher." He attempted it as a joke, but stopped once Elisa's expression sunk further.
"I know that."
Cole watched her carefully this time, the usual serene air that he knew she carried beginning to fade. 'She's not very confident...' He knew this, from the first day he met her back in Rustboro.
He suddenly leaned in, inadvertently brushing up against her shoulder. "...W-What?" She squeaked, turning to him. "I'm not the best you know-"
"Don't get discouraged with it."
She leaned back, squeezing onto Riolu for dear life as Cole's deep brown eyes were now inches from her face. 'One second he's making fun of me, now...now...' She blushed, cheeks clearly flaming red from the fire's light.
"You have the book, right?" He asked, earning a shaky nod in return.
"So don't give up on yourself."
Hazel eyes widened from his words as he gave her a slight nod. She was trapped, a sudden urge to lean in closer to him taking over.
"We still have a couple of days before we reach the entrance from here...So, just go at your pace." Cole quickly got up.
'Wait!' She screamed to herself but he was already heading back to the tent he shared with Noah.
"Do you want to practice some moves tomorrow night?" He asked, unzipping the tent.
She was too dazed to respond. "...Moves?"
Cole gave her an annoyed look, snapping her out of her thoughts. "Riolu's attacks, what we just talked about."
"O-Oh that!" She stammered, awkwardly avoiding his glare. "S-Sure!"
"Night then." And with that, Cole vanished behind the tent's folds.
"Goodnight..." Elisa mumbled back before letting out a frustrated sigh once the young man was gone from her sight. 'Stupid, stupid!' She shook her head frantically, yet her cheeks remained hot. Her heart was racing, the same feeling hitting her from when she woke up on...his back.
Elisa suddenly made a fist, Riolu eyeing the hand with confusion as she shook it. "Don't worry Cole...I might not be strong like you...But...I'll find the answer behind these plates-"
The young woman gasped, snapping her head to her left to see a large hound staring right at her. He had seen everything.
"H-Houndoom!" She looked back and forth between the tent and the Fire type. "P-Please don't tell him! T-This is our little secret, okay?" She pleaded, embarrassed as the fire hound watched her intently before turning towards the boy's tent. Hazel eyes widened as a small smirk graced the Pokemon's jaw.
'Was that a yes?...Or no?' The fire crackled yet again before the fire hound disappeared behind the tent's folds, leaving her to her thoughts with Riolu. Glancing down, she lifted the small Pokemon into the air, earning a small cry of joy.
"You still want to learn how to battle?"
"Ri!" Riolu cried happily, waving its arms. She giggled softly, swinging the Pokemon back and forth before Riolu's arms suddenly radiated a cool white. The strange aura descended from the Pokemon's arms before slowly wrapping around her own arms, yet she remained quiet, stunned from the exchange. It felt warm...relaxing...
She blinked. "...What was that?" Elisa asked aloud. A sudden breeze rolled by as the small Fighting Pokemon blinked back at her curiously, her thoughts raced, thinking back to the young man's words from back at the Pokemon Centre.
'It's called the Emanation Pokemon...So it relates to feelings...pfft...The perfect Pokemon for a girl.'
"Were those your feelings...about Cole?" Elisa asked her small friend, yet it stared intently back at her before smiling once again. The researcher couldn't help but smile back, "Looks like you like him too, huh?"
A flurry of sand whipped through a young man's face, the pungent aroma of pinewood and fragments of earth filled his nostrils as he took in a deep breath, taking in the scenery of the dense forest. Looking down, dark brown eyes softened as Cole displayed his rare affectionate side. Smiling at Flygon who was laying down beside him, the hot winds swept through the canopy above them.
"Smells like home, eh boy?" Cole asked, earning a wag of a thick tail in return. Cole and the rest of trio had been continued on for the past few days, battling the 'unpredictable' elements, Elisa's own words, of the rough terrain of Route 111 while trying to navigate to the desert region in one of Hoenn's longest routes. With the dry climate and ever-prominent fear of being watched from the canopies above, Elisa and Noah were having a very hard time of dealing with the change of scenery.
'It should die down soon enough-' His own thoughts were drowned out by a sudden screech of wind that cried from above. Even though the younger pair looked like they would keel over any minute, Cole himself was used to these kind of conditions. Growing up in Lavaridge and travelling to the desert with his father finally seemed to be paying off because, as usual, he was the one carrying the group by himself through the arid lands.
Glancing quickly at a pair of blue and black tents that the group had purchased back in Mauville before they had left, the Magma Admin's own thoughts began to trail as Flygon gently licked at his face. 'She must still be busy...' Cole's eyes narrowed on the blue tent as another flurry of sands rushed by, gently bouncing off the thick wood of the tree he and his Pokemon were resting on.
The researcher had confided herself into her tent for most of the mornings, only chatting with Cole and Noah during their early breakfast that Noah had surprisingly made before disappearing on them. 'She's been avoiding training...' He frowned at the thought. Noah, on the other hand usually disappeared soon after in order to train some of his Pokemon at a lake not too far from them.
Cole smirked to himself as another blast of wind ripped by, 'He hasn't shut up about that badge yet.'
Suddenly, a frustrated cry rang from one of the tents, snapping Cole out of his thoughts.
"This makes no sense!"
Cole's brow furled in confusion. That was Elisa's voice, but the usual polite tone that graced it that he himself was beginning to get used to was now overshadowed by one that seemed hopeless.
Getting up, to the disappointment of Flygon, Cole walked over to the blue tent, curiosity peeking. "You alright?" His voice sounded faint through the screech of the winds.
The Magma Admin could hear a small gasp from inside before she could answer. "Yeah!...Cole?!"
"You've been in the tent all day..." His voice louder to identify himself.
"I know! It's just that-"
Cole blinked in slight confusion once the steel zipper came down in one motion, allowing soft hazel eyes to meet his own dark brown ones. She was not wearing her grey sweater, Cole quickly realized, but an actual large blue t-shirt that hung over her figure and grey sweatpants. Avoiding his eyes from peeking further, Cole combed through his black hair that now started to shed grains of sand, the young man awaited the frantic woman to complete her sentence.
"That..." She sighed before turning back to the interior of the tent, "The Ocean Plate doesn't make any sense!" Elisa cried tiredly before covering her mouth once another blast of sandy winds passed by.
Cole smirked lightly at her antics, she was definitely cute the way she pouted angrily, but quickly shook the thought. He then tipped his head slightly to the side. "Didn't that book help?"
"Yes and no..." Elisa replied, now rubbing at her eyes which Cole quickly noticed were strained with fatigue.
'So she's been using all of her free time to study that book?' She was truly determined, that's for sure.
Elisa then turned around on her knees before motioning with her hand to follow. "This storm is too much! Just come inside!" And with that the pair made their way into the tent.
The strong winds howling from outside, Cole shifted uncomfortably in his cross-legged position, avoiding the sleeping figure of Riolu as Elisa sat beside him, her eyes skimming across the ruffled pages of a black book given from Jin back in Slateport. Watching her intently, her calculating hazel eyes skimming back and forth; he was lost, caught in her concentration that radiated from her very core. The Ocean Plate was just in front of the pair beside Riolu, giving off its ominous blue glow that illuminated the small tent. Their space was small, the pair nearly touching as the small tent swayed with the continuous winds from outside.
"At least we know that they won't be looking for the Ocean Plate anymore." The researcher sighed tiredly, breaking the calm silence as her hazel eyes moved from side to side in a continuous motion, gently flipping through another page to the Magma Admin's surprise. "I still wonder why Jin would call off the search..." She pondered, turning to eye the Ocean Plate's silent beauty.
"They didn't have any leads to begin with." Cole replied, his legs aching to be stretched but remained still. "Cameras didn't pick anything up from the scene either."
Elisa's brow furled, a sudden thought emerging, "...Hey? You don't think that they might be-"
"Trying to throw us off by saying they won't look for it." He had seen these kinds of tactics before.
"Yes!" Elisa nodded enthusiastically, perking up as she turned to the man that was on the same page as her. "We would have our guard down the whole time, so they could catch us easily!"
He couldn't help but crack a small smile, her expressions were contagious sometimes. He avoided her smile to glance back at their first Dragon Plate.
"That's why we need to get to the desert once these winds die down." Cole stated, eyeing the treasure. "We only need two more Dragon Plates...Then this will all end." With those words though, Elisa's smile seemed to falter into a small frown, thoughts of the future nagging at her before she turned back to the black book.
"...Yeah, I was looking through the book this morning, look here." Elisa replied, her hands reaching out to graze the surface of the cool Ocean Plate.
Cole stiffened once the researcher hastily picked up the blue tablet and held it up in front of the young man's eyes. It wasn't the fear of reacting with the Ocean Plate that had Cole's heart racing because it had not reacted with him since the museum.
It was the pleasurable warmth that graced him. Eyes flashing downward, he quickly identified the cloth of her baby blue t-shirt pressed against his shoulder.
"You see here? The scriptures on the plate." Her creamy voice teased the inside of his ear. "Jin's book has the translations for some of these markings...I can make out some of the letters," she continued, oblivious to Cole's panicked face as she inadvertently leaned forward to point at some of the strange markings. "But I can't make out any words using them..." She pouted.
"...I see." Cole managed to mutter, all of his senses jumping from the closeness of the girl beside him. He had never felt something like this before. Sure, Tori would sometimes 'coincidently' collide with him...
But Elisa was different.
"Once I'm able to read all of it, then I'll get somewhere with it." Her voice was firm, but sweet as she spoke; and her scent. The young man couldn't help but shamelessly take a deep breath through his nose as her dark hair fell down the side of her head to her neck, leaning closer. The last time they were this close, he could only take in the stench of alcohol. 'This is much better.' He couldn't identify what made his own body tingle from the sensation...but that didn't prevent him from stealing the chance.
Cole watched closely as Elisa's slender finger trailed down the front of the blue plate towards a small mass of strange markings. She stopped on the edge of the first. "This is the only one that I was able to translate." She breathed in, as if unsure to continue, "Kyogre."
"Kyogre?!" Cole jolted up, all of his pleasured feelings doused as he turned to her, earning a slight gasp of surprise from the young woman. 'Kyogre was in that dream!'
Elisa nodded meekly, "I-I'm positive...Well, I think so...That first letter," she pointed to the first strange marking, two lines and a few dots. "I checked in the book, it apparently reads a 'K'...and the others; I was able to spell out a 'Y', 'G' and 'R'." Her voice was low, avoiding the wide eyes of the Trainer in front of her.
"What about the others?" He didn't want to say it to her...But that dream. 'Did the Ocean Plate give me that dream?'
"W-Well...The other two markings weren't translated in the book, so I hypothesized that it would be 'O' and 'E'...Kyogre."
His heart beat relentlessly against his chest. 'This plate connected to Kyogre? But wasn't it supposed to be found with Rayquaza?' Cole grasped at the plate, one of his firm hands clasped over Elisa's own.
"C-Cole?!" Elisa stammered, failing to hide her squeaky voice.
"But why would Kyogre be related to this?" He asked, bordering on the tone of a command.
Elisa's own gaze shifted quickly between Cole's hand and his eyes. 'Concentrate!' Her mind screamed.
'...But he's... so warm...' She could barely keep such close eye contact, his fingers pressing harder against her own.
"I...Err...T-The three legendary Pokemon of Hoenn...Umm..." Cheeks burning to her dismay, she continued, "Um...H-Have a very strong link together...I...I don't know why yet..." She fumbled with her words, the pleasant heat of Cole's hand making her stomach flutter. 'Concentrate!'
"A strong link? Like what?" Cole asked, pressing further.
"...M-Maybe Rayquaza connects to Kyogre through the Ocean Plate." She finally concluded after a long pause.
Cole glanced back to the dark blue treasure.
"Ocean..." A sudden realization finally hitting him as he turned back to her, his dark brown eyes were wide with enthusiasm. "Do you think that the Ocean, Earth and Sky Plates give Rayquaza some kind of link to the other two?"
Elisa blinked softly before her mouth opened in awe, "Then that could mean that the plates link to the Legends individually!"
Both Cole and Elisa snapped back to the Ocean Plate, their eyes wide with what new kind of power they were holding. If they were actually able to find all of the plates; would that give them the opportunity to see all three of Hoenn's legends? This adventure was quickly turning from a simple journey to link something with the weather phenomena into a possible discovery of seeing all three of the sleeping giants-
"Of course I'm the strongest! I have three Gym Badges now!"
The pair jerked up, Cole hitting his head on the top of the tent while Elisa fell back. That shout surprisingly woke Riolu from his slumber as he also jolted up, eyes blinking with slight fear before turning to Elisa. They all blinked in confusion at the sudden noise, quickly realizing it was their youngest travelling partner, Noah from outside.
"What happened?" Heading out of the tent, confused expressions never leaving their flustered faces, Cole and Elisa looked on as Noah was standing above a frail figure.
By the looks of Noah's waving arms and stomping feet, they easily concluded that the young sailor was angry over something. It was not until they finally walked up behind Noah that their eyes went wide with pleasant shock.
"How could I ever lose to you!" Noah barked, his voice booming as he glared at an old man that was sitting cross-legged against a large tree. Elisa clasped at her mouth in awe as Noah fumed more from a previous argument he had with the man.
"A fool will flatter himself, but a wise man flatters the fool. So I said you're a very good Trainer." His large wrinkles churning with his smile as he rubbed at his grey and unruly beard. The strange reply only seemed to rile Noah up more as he closed a fist and waved it angrily at the old man.
"Face me in another battle and see what happens!" Noah barked. He was about to go into another rant before Cole's fist connected with the back of his head.
"W-What was that for?!" Noah whined, dropping to the sandy grass with a thud. He looked up, but regretted his decision once he noticed the dark glare coming from the older male.
"Respect your elders." Cole's words were laced with ice as he stood above the young sailor, scaring him into a silent nod.
"Jonbi!" Elisa ran passed Cole and Noah to hug the old man in greeting. The two shared in a small laugh before Elisa finally let go to look at the old man's smiling face. "How did you get out here?" She quickly asked, confused by his sudden appearance.
"I did say that I would meet you guys again on your journey." He replied happily, shaking out his ageing shoulders.
"But how would you know that we were here?" Cole chipped in, walking up behind Elisa.
Jonbi's small eyes glinted for a split second before he smiled innocently. "You two are becoming quiet a nice couple, thinking on the same terms."
Elisa's face flushed red while Cole averted his wide eyes. Jonbi grinned, pleased with their silence. "You don't think that I might have some gambling friends that could not wait to tell me about a weird couple that nearly put the Mauville Game Corner out of business?" His smile churned further upward, innocent words hitting on point as Cole's face burned red this time.
"What are you talking about?"
"He's old. He doesn't know what he's talking about."
Jonbi chuckled lightly, ignoring the fearful look on the Trainer's face before focusing on Elisa. "It was just a guess, but I decided to head North, since you were last seen in Mauville. I also heard some interesting news from Slateport, you two might become popular if you keep this up." He scanned over the researcher's perplexed face, "You have the Dragon Plate."
Elisa managed to recompose herself before turning to Jonbi, "Yes...You must have heard what happened in Slateport."
The old man slowly waved his hand, "It looks like you two won't be in much trouble though. I guess the Dragon Plate doesn't hold much value then?"
"No." Cole answered, catching Jonbi's attention. "But if they're known to have no value, then we can look for them without any trouble."
"I see." Jonbi then turned back to Elisa, his face revealing slight worry. "Even though they hold no value, I think they may be dangerous..." His words caught the attention of the trio as he slowly stood up, his cane shaking slightly, balancing himself. "Did you hear? Just recently, there have been reports of strong tidal waves hitting Slateport, Petalburg and Dewford's coasts."
"What?!" Noah gasped, jumping up from the grass. "Tidal waves? But Dewford never gets any bad storms!" Panic was written all over the young man's face as he snapped his attention to Elisa. "Could I use your PokeNav to call back home?" His voice quivered.
"Yeah...sure." Elisa replied, her face thoughtful as Noah hurriedly walked away from the group towards the tents.
"You found a companion?" Jonbi asked, pleased as the young boy disappeared from sight.
"He's a sailor." Cole answered. "He was able to get us to Slateport." He glanced back at the tent with slight worry.
"Oh that's right!" Elisa jumped, a sudden thought hit her before she raced off towards the tents. Coming back, Cole and Jonbi silent with confusion for the woman's sudden rush, they blinked as Elisa held the Ocean Plate in front of Jonbi, its beautiful aqua glow sparkling in the day's late sunlight.
"Yes..." Jonbi breathed, his frail hands slowly tracing along the lines of the plate. "This is one of the same plates that hovered around Rayquaza when I met him." He turned to the researcher and Trainer with worry in his eyes. "...I believe that the Ocean Plate may be connected to the storms that have been occurring in Southern Hoenn."
"The Ocean Plate is causing..." Elisa trailed off, turning to the treasure.
"Are you telling us to stop." Cole's voice was cautious as he eyed Jonbi.
"Not at all." Jonbi slowly shook his head as he handed the plate back to Elisa. The strong winds picked up again, rushing between the group before they covered their faces from the sands. "I believe that you and Elisa need to find out what these plates may be really doing." He turned around, another blast of wind ruffling his heavy shirt.
"Just be careful and protect each other..."
"Jonbi wait!" Elisa called as the winds picked up again. "Are you really heading back in this storm! Why don't you stay with us tonight?"
"I must be on my way!" Jonbi's voice could barely be heard as he disappeared behind a dense coverage of trees. The old man had mysteriously disappeared in the same fashion as he appeared.
Cole and Elisa continued to look on, mixed emotions spread across their faces as the sands continued to pelt them. The researcher turned to Cole worriedly: How did Jonbi find them? Were the plates really connected to the strange weather in Slateport and the other towns? Was this journey really becoming dangerous?
"...Hey." She bit her lip as the winds howled, too many questions beginning to rise. "Cole...Do you think that we should stop?"
"Jonbi is depending on us to find out about these plates." Cole's features remained staunch in the battering winds. "We should hurry to the desert before nightfall." The Magma Admin then turned away from her, heading towards the tents to pack.
Elisa could only look on, a pestering feeling beginning to rise within. 'Well he's not going to quit...That's for sure...' She began to head forward towards the tents as well. 'He really wants to see Rayquaza.' Thoughts continuing to race, she huffed slightly from the conflict of emotions that were beginning to eat at her. Nothing really seemed to faze him, always with that same indifferent expression.
Ever since their trip to Slateport, she had begun to develop second thoughts about their adventure. But she wanted to find a link between the weather and a Legendary Pokemon. A good future in research depended on this after all.
Cole wanted to see Rayquaza. They were both striving towards an individual goal, so they agreed to work together, because they intertwined. Hazel eyes darkened from the thought, ever since she got into university, that thought had pegged her every day. She knew people wanted to reach their dreams, 'Obviously.'
She knew that her goal in life was to discover something about a Legendary Pokemon, that was her drive, her ambition. She couldn't go back now; not after going so far. But the new information from Jonbi felt like a sudden hole in the road in front of her.
"What's next?" Elisa pondered. As the winds died down slightly, a sudden silence hitting her ears, Elisa took in a deep breath, the strong scents of the forest suddenly revitalizing her senses.
"We're going to the desert." She announced to herself, confident with her decision. There were only two more; she would unravel this mystery with the Dragon Plates, and finally prove to Devon Corporation that she was right.
All for the sake of reaching her goal.
"What do you mean the desert is off limits?!"
Elisa and Noah cried in unison, standing at the base of two large cliffs that windowed the desert of Route 111. Cole sighed as the pair in front of him seemed like they were about to collapse in defeat to some powerful enemy. The Magma Admin turned around to the setting sun, his face soft with thought on the sudden blockade.
"It's just land! No one owns it!" Noah chirped, fatigue hanging in his voice as he slapped his head. The young boy seemed tired for most of the day ever since their meeting with Jonbi.
It was late evening now, but the group could barely tell as the strong winds poured out from the entrance, sands covering the golden sky that mixed with shades of twilight.
Blocking the trio's path, two large men stood at the entrance, their faces thoughtful as the last remaining rays of the sun glimmered off of their chests, the symbol of Hoenn stitched to their black and green uniforms that read the words: 'Hoenn Ranger' below it.
"The desert has been experiencing terrible storms recently. Lavaridge's Gym Leader, Flannery Moore, agreed with safety officials to close off access until the storms die down."
"Storms?" Elisa perked up.
"Yes," The other Ranger added in, "Powerful sandstorms have been running across the desert, and some of them have managed to blow over into Route 112 and Fallarbor Town." His words seemed to suck the life out of the two that had been travelling for hours, in hope of entering the desert by nightfall.
"And besides," The first Ranger pitched in, eyeing Elisa and Noah closely, "Without Go-Goggles, you won't be able to see your own hands in front of your face!" A small smirk etching onto his lips, "It would be best for you three to head into Lavaridge Town and get some there anyway, then wait there until the storms die down."
"Hey," Noah turned to the only quiet one of their group who did not say a word during the whole ordeal. "Don't you live in Lavaridge?" His aqua blue eyes narrowing in question.
Cole averted the looks of his travelling partners. "I haven't been there in a long time...We only need to go there to get the Go-Goggles, that's it." He answered quickly.
"We know," Elisa replied for Noah, "But you do have family there, right?" She questioned him softly, unsure of what Cole's view was on his hometown. "Don't you want to visit them?"
"Yeah! Let's hang out at Cole's house!" Noah laughed, earning a jolt in the side from Elisa.
"When we get there, we'll get the Go-Goggles and head back to the desert." Cole snapped at Noah, earning a yelp before he turned to walk away, earning a saddened look from Elisa. Something was bothering him, but she couldn't bring herself to say anything as the Trainer pressed on.
"H-Hey, Cole wait up!" Noah called, jogging from the entrance to Hoenn's desert towards Cole's retreating figure. "What kind of food do they have in Lavaridge anyway?...Hey! Is the Gym Leader there really that hot? I don't know about you, but Roxanne was a-"
Elisa sighed to herself from overhearing the conversation between the two males as they continued to move forward. She then willingly moved her legs in order to catch up to them, briefly glancing back to the two large cliffs that framed the desert perfectly with the darkening sky above.
It seemed like a pattern was starting to form on this journey.
"I wonder if these Plates are cursed or something..." Elisa mused, turning from the large stone walls.
"I guess this is what all adventures have then.." She groaned, "There's always a challenge." Even though there always seemed to be some kind of trouble, it was exciting to find a way through them. Quickening her pace, Elisa caught up to her friends as they moved West.
With the setting sun peeking just above Mt. Chimney, bathing the dusty road a crimson red as the sands whipped around them in every direction; massive clouds of soot poured out from the volcano ahead. The trio looked on, knowing that it would be landing North of them in Fallarbor Town. The large pine trees bowed to the winds, bending softly as they made their way to find some shelter in an empty cave.
Another storm was coming, and they were lucky to find shelter for the night; for the next day, based on Cole's hesitant words, they would reach Lavaridge Town.