The Forbidden Trio: Sail to the Sky Dragon

A Wandering Flame Returns

Youthful, dark copper eyes glinted in the early morning sun; a familiar spark of life igniting within as they peered upwards to two large doors towering above them. Early mist kissed against soft cheeks as a small grin broke through a tired face; she loved these kind of mornings.

Fixing her light auburn hair into a messy bun, just like always, she nodded to herself as she stepped forward, another full day of training ahead. The large doors swung open, creaking loudly with age as a rush of steam engulfed her, relaxing body and soul.

"Let's go."


Welcome to Lavaridge Town. An excellent place for relaxing!

He read the words over and over, warm winds kissing his tanned skin as he stared at the large wooden sign that officially declared his arrival. Lips unwillingly turned upwards, feeling more out of place here than any other city or town he had ever travelled to.

He was home.

"So this is Lavaridge Town? It's so...So..." An energized voice rang through his ears before he turned to his travelling partner.

"Complacent..." A different voice, soft and feminine, sighed happily.

"Yeah! That's the word!"

Cole couldn't help but smirk as Noah snapped his fingers at Elisa's definition of his hometown. She was right for the most part; Lavaridge Town had a different feeling than most of the other places in Hoenn. Or maybe he was just more comfortable here, he didn't know.

Venturing further into the town, a mosaic of homes lined the dusty roads of Lavaridge. Large, small, traditional, modern; all unique as the crunching of sand and rocks calmed Cole's soul. "This is the lazy time of day..." He said abruptly, catching Elisa and Noah's attention as they passed a couple of gardens that were rich with the scent of large berry plants.

"Ohhh.." The younger pair replied, realizing the serenity of the streets as a few residents passed by, most of them greeting the new travellers with warm smiles.

"The people here seem very nice." Elisa smiled at a resident who was watering her plants, the old woman shaking slightly as she waved to the trio.

"Are you sure you were born here Cole?"

The Trainer sent a dark glare towards the sailor, earning a small smile in return.

"K-Kidding!" Noah laughed it off, suddenly taking fewer steps, allowing Elisa to get in front of him.

Elisa giggled softly at the young boy's antics before she turned to Cole; her smile fading slightly though as Cole continued on, his usual stern features reflecting a surprisingly soft look as he looked back and forth between the houses, their path leading to a large fountain that centered a small park.

The gentle chattering of small Pokemon increased as they approached the fountain. "Cole..." She called, but blinked as the man continued forward, her voice falling on deaf ears. "Cole, shouldn't we-"

"Where's the Gym?"

Elisa jumped slightly from the annoyed voice behind her. Turning to the source, Elisa pouted softly once Noah passed her before plopping himself onto the stone lining that surrounded the open fountain, its water misty as the winds rolled by.

"Gym?" Those words finally seemed to snap the man from his thoughts before he turned to Noah, giving him a confused look as the sailor leaned back, enjoying the cooling mist. "I thought you didn't want to battle anymore."

Noah smiled softly. "Well ever since you helped me, I kind of felt like trying out again."

"Or you just want to battle in a Fire-type Gym."

"Wha!" The young boy waved his arms frantically, balancing himself from falling into the fountain.

"I think he really just wants to go there because of a certain Gym Leader."

Cole nearly laughed as he turned to Elisa, eyeing her softly as the young woman gave Noah an annoyed look. "Good one." He smirked, earning a bright smile in return.

"Thanks Cole! He seemed a little too happy to come here anyway."

"Yeah, I shouldn't have helped him in Mauville then-"

"Uhh...Guys?...I'm right here?" Noah's voice droned, pulling the two from their small fit of chuckling, his face red knowing the two struck on his plans perfectly.

"Yeah yeah..." Cole waved off Noah's depressed words before pointing towards one of the paths that jetted from the fountain's center. "We'll only be here for a bit." He informed sternly. "Lavaridge Gym is South of here."

"You're the best Cole!" Noah perked up, earning a surprised look from the older male. Leaping off the stones, Noah went into a full sprint, earning yelps of surprise from a few residents as he headed towards the Fire Pokemon Gym.

Cole blinked in confusion, Noah's expression still fresh in his mind as the boy disappeared amongst the large trees that lined the roads. He frowned, not liking the fact that he actually felt kind of sad that the young boy had run off without them. He then huffed, turning back to Elisa. '...He won't beat Flannery.'

"I guess he really wants to see the Gym..." Elisa murmured, a small smile beginning to form.

"He'll be back crying in no time." Elisa giggled softly at Cole's remark before he turned towards the Northern path leading from the fountain. "Come on, the markets are this way. We'll get the Go-Goggles and then meet Noah at the Pokemon Centre. He'll definitely have to go there."

"Stop being so mean to him!" Elisa attempted to scold him, but it didn't sound like it with her snickering while following along. "Oh!" She then abruptly stopped, earning a confused look in return.

"What is it?"

She hesitated, opening her mouth before quickly shutting it. "Almost forgot...Well, I um..."

Cole's expression softened once again, dark brown eyes glinting in the sunlight as she glanced back and forth between him and the path. She looked cute; oh how he hated those thoughts...But he couldn't argue with that as her cheeks tinged pink. "What." He quickly asked, making the girl jump as he looked away from her nervous expression.

"Well I..." She turned away from Cole, an awkward smile plastered her face. "H-Hot springs."

"...Hot springs?"

"C-Can we just check them out?"

His eyes widened, "Togeth-"

"N-Not together!" Her face flushed red now as Cole flinched, taking a step back. Now playing with the folds of her sweater, she averted her eyes from the young man, "...Or a-anything..like that..I-I just wanted to see them." Elisa's words were barely audible as the young man combed through his messy hair, quickly realizing that some of the people passing by were giving them coy looks now.

He opened his mouth for a quick reply, but shut it quickly, remembering their first conversation back near the abandoned ship. "I-I'll think about it..." His voice was quiet, almost embarrassed for remembering something about her, but those feelings quickly washed away once Elisa perked up from his words, her smile making his heart flutter.

"Let's just get the Go-Goggles first. Okay?"

"Sure!" Elisa beamed, following after Cole as the pair moved towards the Lavaridge's markets.

Thud.

Though that sound fell on deaf ears, a small basket filled with herbs and greens spilled onto the ground as deep brown eyes remained wide; trembling slightly as they denied to even blink, questioning reality itself from the sight before them. The woman's heart was beating against her chest, as if it would burst out and literally chase after that man.

It could not possibly be...


"Lavaridge Gym..." A young sailor's mouth was wide open, voice filled with awe as he gazed upon the massive gym doors that would lead him to the Fire-type Gym Leader. Finally closing his open jaw, he smirked before he pressed his hands against the massive steel doors of the building.

"H-Hot!" Noah cringed, snapping his hands back from the piercing hot doors before squeezing them against his armpits. "Who builds a Gym like this?" Sucking on his fingers with a pout, he kicked against the door with his foot; the towering structure creaking loudly to his surprise before he pressed forward to be hit with a strong blast of hot steam.

"Does this place act as a hot spring too?!" Noah's voice surprisingly echoed throughout the steamy building but he continued forward, wiping a bead of sweat from his brow in frustration.

"Hello!" He called out, moving further down the cloudy hallways while reaching out with his hands to guide him forward. "Hmm...I guess they really wanted to make this feel like a Fire-type Gym. Thought there would be more candles...or lava." He chuckled softly, turning down another hallway, only to see a faint light in the distance. "Maybe the Gym Leader's there."

Now reaching the exit, aqua blue eyes narrowed from the sudden change in light. Noah blinked softly as a gentle gust of warm wind kissed his face. Taking in a sharp breath, he finally noticed the wide gym field that spanned the courtyard. It was similar to the other Gyms, the Poke ball symbol centering the field while white lines marked out the borders.

"So...I'm in the right place...Just need the Gym Leader." He stepped forward without much thought, only to hear a flurry of footsteps from the other side of the field. It was blurred out by a rush of steam once he heard a thunderous groan of massive doors from across the field open up; the similar sound of creaking steel chipping at his ears as he took a step back. 'Crap...I should have just waited outside.' He cringed slightly as the patter of feet against earth became louder.

"Now you see girls, the main advantage a Fire Pokemon has while facing a-" A firm, but silky smooth voice stopped to Noah's dismay. Looking forward, the woman with expansive bright red hair blinked repeatedly once she noticed her unannounced visitor. "Oh...Hello there."

Being a teenage boy was clearly not new to Noah, so he knew that girls would become noticeable over time during his travels. But now...

"I must have died..." The sailor drooled once a group of young girls appeared before him, all blinking with curiosity as the tallest, most developed of them all stepped forward with a pleasant smile, 'So hot!' He sighed as she cocked her head to the side in a way that made parts of his body unwillingly rush with blood.

"Hi there, I'm Flannery. Gym Leader of Lavaridge Gym...Are you a Trainer?" Flannery asked as Noah blushed furiously, turning away from the tall woman.

"Uh...Err...Y-Yes!" Fumbling with his words, he mentally swore towards his pants. 'Down! Down I say!' He quickly turned back to the girls, a goofy smile plastered on his face. "I-I'm Noah from Dewford Town!"

Some of the girls behind Flannery replied with sighs of amazement from the young Trainer's words, clearly not helping Noah contain his excitement as he scratched the back of his head awkwardly. Flannery smirked as Noah continued to chuckle from the small praises. "Ah, Dewford; then you must have met Brawly. Are you here for a Gym match then?"

Noah snapped out of his daze, finally looking Flannery in her blazing red eyes instead of her... "Y-Yes! I just defeated Mauville's Gym Leader!" He smirked to himself as another chorus of sighs came from the young girls, fuelling his confidence. "I really want to-"

"Cut the crap!"

Silence.

"Huh?" Noah blinked with surprise as some of the girls behind Flannery gasped in fear from the voice. Looking forward in attempt to see who would dare cut him off, his mouth dropped wide open once another finely built female emerged from the group of girls.

'She's...'

His heart skipped multiple beats once a young girl, probably his age, he hoped, stepped up beside Flannery; her dark brown eyes ablaze as she crossed her toned arms over her slender chest. Noah couldn't help but have his shimmering eyes wander; memorizing light brown strands that were wrapped into a messy bun that made his heart beat even faster. 'Who...who is-' One long strand caught his eye. Following that one strand that pressed against her forehead, he passed her sharp eyes and the cute features of her childish face, mouth still parting from her features.

Drool now escaping his lips, he daringly gazed upon her closed white tank top, her chest pushed out slightly from her tanned arms. Noah finally managed to blink once the tinted goggles around her neck dangled softly, snapping him out of his reverie.

"The Gym's closed!" She barked but the sailor remained fixed on her. "Get your ass out of here!"

"K-Kyra!" Flannery hissed, face reddening as she grabbed onto the young girl's shoulder to pull the fuming loud-mouth behind her. "I-I'm very, very sorry about that!" The Gym Leader apologized, cracking a smile, "I'm showing some of Lavaridge's Trainers batt-"

"She's an angel."

"Ling stra-Excuse me?" Flannery and the girls behind her blinked in unison as Noah sighed, his face drunk with love and knees buckling under his weight.

"That girl!" His voice suddenly full of life, the group of girls jumped back in fear as Noah daringly pointed towards the said loud-mouth behind Flannery. "Her, right there! She's an angel!"

"Huh?" Kyra, the young girl gave Noah a completely baffled look as all of the girls and Flannery dropped their mouths in disbelief by the young boy's words.

"He's so bold..." One whispered.

"He likes...Kyra?" Another chipped in.

"...Why?"

"Who the hell are you?" The young girl in question clenched her fist now, temper rising as she suddenly felt all of the Gym's attention focus in on her, making the small hairs on the back of her neck stand on end. "Are you deaf or something? The Gym's closed!"

"I don't care about the Gym!" Noah snapped back. He only had one shot at a first impression.

"My new goal in life is to be with you forever!"

"W-W-What?!" Kyra's face flushed red before the courtyard suddenly erupted with screams. The flustered Trainer took a step back, head whipping back and forth between the chattering group of girls and Flannery, gaping at them for some kind of explanation. 'Who says-'

"Oh my! A boy really likes Kyra!?" One of the girls cooed, hugging the now steaming Trainer as a vein bulged at her temple.

"Our Queen tom-boy finally has a boyfriend!"

"Awww! When's the wedding?"

"ALL OF YOU SHUT UP!"

The girls, and surprisingly Flannery shut their mouths as they cowered in fear from the young girl's wrath. They could only tremble and huddle together once the tom-boy raised her fist in anger before shaking it to Noah who was still staring with admiration towards her. 'This loser is sooo dead!' She hurriedly clawed at the the black belt that wrapped around her sand-coloured gym shorts. A Poke ball was pulled off in an instant.

Glaring at her love-struck opponent, Kyra then pulled up the long sleeves of her open black jacket, tightening them around the top of her elbows as her teeth clenched. "We're battling!"

"That's a great choice for a first date!" Noah replied happily, earning a flustered curse from the young girl as the rest of the girls cooed. His smile widened; 'She sure is feisty.'

"Shut up!" She snapped back, "Get to your side of the field, you weirdo! I'm going to beat the crap out of you for daring to challenge Flannery!" Kyra barked angrily as she hastily moved towards the Gym Leader's side of the field.

"She's going to battle!" The girls gasped in awe as Flannery hesitated to call towards the younger female.

"K-Kyra, I think that-"

"This isn't about this loser saying those stupid things!" Kyra called back, earning a confused look from Flannery.

"This is for our Gym!"

Flannery couldn't help but crack a smile, turning away from the spunky hot-head Kyra, towards the new challenger who seemed to snap out of his dream-like state before shuffling towards the challenger's box. 'That kid made a big mistake...' She smiled thoughtfully while shaking her head in what would be in store for Noah.

'She's going to prove to you why boys never try to flirt with her.'


"Sir, our hidden members have reported sightings of Team Aqua in the desert!"

The sun accenting piercing red eyes; they never wavered from a handful of sheets that were stuffed in a binder as the voice fell on deaf ears. The lowly Magma grunt eyed his Leader with confusion as they continued towards the entrance of their base. He quickened his pace as Magma's Leader folded a sheet into his pants pocket.

"...Um, Leader Holland, sir? S-Shouldn't we stop Team-" He yelped once the binder forcefully snapped shut.

"Are you, a grunt, in charge here?" His voice was low, anticipating his answer as the grunt shook his head violently before bowing in shame.

"N-N-No sir!" He cried, keeping his head down as Holland stopped in his tracks to look at him.

"Know your place." Holland sneered, turning from the lowly grunt before letting out a low sigh. He gazed into the empty hallways of Magma's Hideout, his face rigid with thought as the shadows of Meteor Falls fell over him.

'More of them ran away...Thanks to those idiots.' Sharp red eyes then glared towards a wooden door down the hallway. Even with the pounding waterfalls within the mountain, the hallways felt eerily silent. 'I can't believe she...of all people would stoop so low. I'm losing too many people now because of her and that fool, Koji! All of my newest Admins...Useless!'

The grunt managed to look up at this time, only to nearly faint from his Leader's murderous glare. Even though it was not directed at him, the intensity of his hatred could be felt from his conniving sneer. He wouldn't need to be a genius to know why his Leader was so angry; his Admins had really screwed up. 'Even Tori...' He blushed lightly from the name before hiding his face in his red hood.

Magma Admin Tori had to deal with the blunt of the punishment for battling that night. Destroying parts of their base in the process and nearly killing Nidoking to top it all off didn't help either in trying to keep their remaining members from second guessing each other now. He bit his lip as Holland began to pace forward once again.

They were all losing trust amongst each other.

"You."

"Y-Yes Leader Holland!" The grunt luckily snapped out his thoughts, sweating bullets as the Magma Leader eyed him.

"Get two of the newest recruits for my next phase. We're heading out now." Holland ordered. The grunt eagerly bowed before running off down the hall, disappearing into the darkness. But it was not his heavy footsteps that made the Magma Leader darken, but the creaking of a wooden door just in front of him. There was a reason he wanted to stop here.

"Tori." Holland stared at the young woman as she slowly exited her room, eyes downcast. She did not even look up as she attempted to shuffle by her superior.

Slap!

The sound was deafening, echoing throughout the lonely hallway as the woman stumbled back from the force of the impact. Amethyst eyes widened from the pain before tears began to brim at their edges, but dared never to fall.

"I-I'm sorry...Sir." Tori mumbled, bowing slowly. She did not want to see him, talk to him, or even smell him at this moment. Her hands trembled at her sides, waiting for him to speak. What could he possibly want now? He already stripped her of everything she had at this point.

"While I'm gone. You have a mission."

Her hands stopped for a second before starting up once again. "...But...my Pok-"

"You'll be getting them back now." Holland smirked, eyeing her reaction as she gaped at him before forcing her eyes down. "The Weather Institute. You said that man Jin works there?" He watched her carefully as she took in a sharp breath. "...Tori."

"Yes, sir."

"Go there, and get all of information that he's hiding in that building." He reached for his pockets to pull out 4 Poke balls before tossing them at the young woman. She gasped, fumbling with the tools before looking up to him with wide eyes. She looked relieved, or surprised; he really didn't care.

"Once you get that information. Do not waste any time reporting back to me."

"Understood sir." Tori bowed quickly before attaching the Poke balls to her belt. Purple eyes that once held light were now pale as they glanced back at their Leader. Only to darken as the man glared at her in silence. '...He doesn't care.' She quickly ran passed him before dashing out into the open world once again. Her next mission; the Weather Institute.


With each Trainer taking their side of the field, Flannery cracked a grin as she walked towards the middle of the arena, coming to a stop at the referee's box. Raising two flags, one red and the other blue, she looked back towards the girls as they stared, starry-eyed at Kyra who remained fixed on her opponent. "Alright girls!" The Lavaridge Gym Leader's voice rose, catching everyone's attention. "I will keep this as a single battle using two Pokemon on each side! Substitutions will not be allowed on either side and there will be no time limit!" She raised both flags high into the air, "Let the battle begin!"

"Backburner!" Kyra roared, throwing a Poke ball high into the air.

Noah blinked in confusion as a small rodent like Pokemon materialized onto the battlefield, its top blue fur mixing well with the its creamy-coloured underbelly, it yawned loudly, identifying the blonde boy with red, feminine eyes before turning back to its Trainer.

"Kyra! Kyra!"

Drowning out the girl's cheers, Flannery's eyes widened slightly as she gazed at Kyra's Pokemon. 'She's using Quilava first?!' A nervous laugh then escaped from her mouth before she glanced away from the hot-headed Trainer, 'Well at least she's not using her best Pokemon...'

"We're going to crush him!" Kyra yelled towards Backburner. Noah could only take in a sharp breath once the young girl's Pokemon nodded softly before getting into a stern battle position. What surprised the boy the most was the sudden ignition of flames atop its head and lower back as it now glared at him with quiet confidence.

"Fire type," Noah smirked, taking out his own Poke ball, "perfect for me. Let's go Wingull!" In a flash of light, a small seabird graced the sky, wings in full extension as it hovered above the ground, eyeing its opponent.

'This should be over quick. Just need to use-' His nerves got the best of him once Kyra smirked, his heart a flutter at how devilishly cute she looked. But he could tell her that later. "Wingull, Water Gun!" The Seagull Pokemon obeyed, opening its beak to release a stream of water towards Backburner who stood its ground.

"Dodge it with Quick Attack!"

Noah took a step back in shock, the once lazy-looking fire rodent bursting from its position in a blur, the Water Gun collided harmlessly into the dirt. Backburner sprinted across the field, flames blowing wildly as it bolted towards Wingull.

"Fly up!" Noah hastily cried as Wingull flapped its wings to ascend higher above the Gym's walls.

Kyra's dark brown eyes glinted as she pointed towards Wingull. "Launch yourself up with Flame Wheel!"

"What?!" Noah gasped as the flames a top the Fire types head suddenly engulfed it, whole body a flaming torpedo as the momentum of Quick Attack increased its velocity before blasting high into the air towards Wingull. The sailor could only look on in awe as Quilava slammed into a surprised seagull, his Pokemon screeching out in pain as the intense flames surrounded it.

"Are you okay!?" Wingull slammed into the ground, blowing up dust and debris from the collision.

"You really think Water Pokemon will give you the advantage!" Kyra barked from her side of the field as Backburner landed beside a groggy Wingull who slowly shook off the Flame Wheel attack. "How did you even get a single Gym Badge?!" Her cocky smirk struck at Noah's pride as she pointed towards Noah's Wingull who struggled to get up. "Crush Claw!"

"Crush Claw?!" Noah blurted out, surprised at what the unknown attack could be before he quickly shook his head, "W-Wingull get out of there!" The groggy bird heard the command, but its burned body would not move as the fire rodent descended from above, paw flaring a blinding white.

"WING!" A large gust of wind and debris expelled from the point of impact between the Pokemon, Noah covered his face, coughing as dirt washed over the field.

'Where is that Pokemon from?!' Blinking repeatedly through watery eyes, the sailor gasped as the battlefield came into view, revealing a smirking Quilava standing above a knocked out Wingull in a small crater, its small eyes now swirls as it lay motionless.

"Wingull is unable to battle! The first battle goes to Quilava!" Flannery announced, raising the red flag towards an adamant Kyra.

"W-Wingull!" Noah cried in disbelief before returning his knocked out Pokemon. His hands trembled slightly, finally realizing the trouble he had gotten himself into before turning to fiery girl across the field. 'She's no joke...'

"Ha!" Kyra crossed her arms with a sneer, glaring at Noah's sunken expression as he pulled out another Poke ball. "If you're getting scared now just because of me, then you'd really piss yourself if you faced Flannery! This is Lavaridge Gym! We have the strongest Fire Pokemon around!"

Noah's aqua blue eyes bulged as he snapped towards the Gym Leader/referee. Flannery could only laugh nervously as she hurriedly shook her head, denying the praise as Backburner jumped back onto its side of the field, flames burning brightly.

"We'll see!" Noah's own thirst for a battle now taking over, his depressed feelings from the insults before finally washed away as he threw another Poke ball into the air. "Wartortle!"

Flannery and the group of girls gasped in slight awe as a light blue turtle materialized onto the field, standing on hind legs as its eyes glinted with confidence. Wartortle suddenly wagged its fluffy tail back and forth, earning screams of joy from the audience. "He has a Pokemon from Kanto!" Some of the girls called out in astonishment at the rare sight.

"He's so cuuute!"

Noah blushed slightly from the girls, scratching his head in embarrassment. "Thank you, thank you! I try-"

"They're not talking about you!" Kyra snapped angrily, ice in her voice. 'Boys! All they do is fall for any girl that smiles at them! Idiots!'

"Let the battle begin!"

Kyra's focused look did not leave her youthful expression as she pointed towards her newest opponent, "Crush Claw!" Again, Backburner's paw flared a magnificent white before leaping into the air, ready to strike upon the Water Pokemon.

"Protect!"

Kyra's eyes narrowed once Backburner slammed into Wartortle's glowing white shell, a thunderous roar echoing through the courtyard as her Pokemon grunted from the impact before flying back, sliding across the ground on all fours. 'Hiding behind such an attack?...He can't use it forever.' Her sharp glare did not leave the field as her Pokemon roared, scratching at the ground as Wartortle popped out of its shell.

"Let's test him out! Backburner, Flamethrower!"

Flannery gasped as its flames expanded, the air around the Volcano Pokemon shimmering as it took in a deep breath.

"Counter with Water Gun!" Noah's voice boomed as the Turtle Pokemon jumped back before releasing a powerful jet of pressurized water.

"Waarr!"

"Quiii!"

Hot flames collided with cold water, the familiar sound of fizzling between contracting elements erupted from the point of collision, filling the battlefield. The two attacks surprisingly pushed back and forth until an explosion of heated steam erupted violently; everyone covering their faces as a white cloud engulfed the arena.

"They're evenly matched!" Flannery cried as she covered her face from the blast of vapour.

Noah fanned the air around his eyes as he focused in on the figure of his Wartortle, its pointed ears barely visible in the dense cloud. "Hang in there! Rapid Spin!" Wartortle quickly withdrew into its shell, spinning at a high speed which eventually blew most of the steam away from his side of the field. As the Water type popped out of its shell, it panted in anticipation as Kyra's side the of field was still dense with a white fog.

"I guess she's waiting for the steam to clear..." Noah murmured to himself as clouds of steam rolled out in every direction. "Wartortle use-"

Noah's mouth remained open, his own voice cut off as a small shadow caught his attention in the distance. In a sudden blast of super heated air, the steam around the Quilava blew away in a rush as the flames on its body flared to their maximum. Wartortle could only step back nervously as the Volcano Pokemon roared, its eyes glowing a deep red, powering up some unknown attack that it and its Trainer were not prepared for.

"Let's see if your weak Water Gun can handle this!" Kyra's voice was strong as she reappeared from the dense steam cloud. "Backburner, Flame Wheel!"

"Protect!" Noah quickly called before Backburner burst from its initial position, its entire body once again engulfed with red and orange flames. He smirked confidently once it slammed into Wartortle's glowing white shell, sending the Volcano Pokemon back with a grunt. "That's not going to work! Wartortle-"

"Overheat!"

Flannery and the rest of the girls gasped in blatant shock as Backburner continued to slide backwards; but to their surprise, the Volcano Pokemon's flames intensified, erupting crimson red as a supreme jet of fire exploded from its mouth; the attack alone tearing away the ground as it streamlined towards its target.

"Kyra that's too much power!"

"Prot-I mean, Water-" Noah screamed, but it was too late. A new attack, dwarfing the previous Flamethrower he once thought was its strongest attack ripped into Wartortle, the intense heat and roar of flames obscuring Noah's senses as he shielded his face. The Turtle Pokemon was consumed instantly, the massive Fire attack forcing his friend towards the Gym's guard walls behind them. An explosion of fire and smoke rippled out from the impact as everyone covered their faces from the flames.

Backburner safely slid to a stop in front of Kyra, eyeing its work as its Trainer crossed her arms in anticipation. "Weak." She spat as the smoke cleared, revealing a singed Water type, imprinted into the stone walls as the last of the flames died down. Wartortle then dropped from the walls, a small thud echoing throughout the courtyard.

Silence.

The result of the battle could not be easier as Flannery slowly lifted her arm, red flag in hand. "W-Wartortle is unable to battle! The winner of this match is Quilava and Kyra!" She called out quickly as Noah sprinted towards his injured Pokemon. Flannery's usual bright red eyes darkened as she glanced at Noah's crestfallen face, the Trainer slowly picking up his beaten Pokemon; sadly, he had to learn about Kyra the hard way.

The Gym Leader then turned to her star pupil with mixed emotions as she picked up her own Pokemon, the usual confident smirk plastered on her face as her Quilava smiled brightly.

'She's truly a force to be reckoned with...'


"I hope you enjoy the Go-Goggles! Be careful in the desert!"

"Thank you so much!" Elisa smiled brightly as she tucked two pairs of goggles into her backpack before waving towards the man who owned the small shop. "One for me...and one for Noah." Zipping the bag shut, she glanced at Cole who was looking off into the distance of the markets. A few people lined the thin roads, a light chatter filling the warm air as they turned to leave.

"These Go-Goggles are really light!" Elisa nodded her head repeatedly, smile wide as she strolled through the markets with Cole.

"We can leave and wait by the desert's entrance without a problem now." His words snapped Elisa from her smiling spree as she turned to him, concern now filling her expression.

"...Are...Are you sure you don't want to stay here...for a bit?" She hesitated with her question, eyeing Cole softly before she averted her eyes, noticing his attention shift to her.

"Our task is to find the Dragon Plates." His words were stern, making her cringe slightly. "We don't need to do anything else here."

"But...you should really-"

"Enough!"

The young man turned forward, now fed up with the researcher's continuous shots at him throughout the day. She had been asking him about his family, but he refused to give up anything; he did not belong here.

Not any more.

"I..." Elisa snapped her head down, why did she feel so weak? Hiding the hurt in her eyes, suddenly interested in the dirt road below them, she clenched her fists as they passed more open markets. 'You can't leave here without at least saying hi...Can you?' A feeling, some sense of a word she could not piece together pulled at her, screaming at her to tell Cole her thoughts, but she couldn't.

Even though Cole had helped her on this journey so willingly; battling Trainers, facing adversity and literally stealing from places in order for them to progress- what had she done for him?

Sure she knew about some of the secrets of the Legendary Pokemon, but it never felt like enough. 'Useless.' Her mind ranted. They were a team...But ever since Slateport, she felt as she was not pulling her weight for the group, not contributing in the mystery of the Dragon Plates.

'The Plates...' She pouted slightly, the puzzle within their text alone did not help her low confidence as she had struggled with the ancient scriptures, once again bringing problems to the group instead of solutions.

"Cole."

Elisa blinked...'Did I just hear his name?' Suddenly, she looked up, only to be standing alone. She slowly turned around, relief washing over once she realized Cole standing behind her; but it was the expression on his face that made her stand there awkwardly, unsure of how to respond.

It was the expression one would display when they were...scared?...Sad?...Maybe...fear? Elisa's face was weary as she looked at Cole with soft eyes, unsure of why his expression looked so horrified; as if they had seen a ghost.

"Cole..."

'Who is that?' She snapped her head back in their original direction; it was a woman's voice. So someone was talking. Finally getting a glimpse of a middle-aged woman in front of them, her deep brown eyes were wide.

'She looks...' As Elisa continued to stare forward at dark brown eyes that held a strange familiarity; those same deep eyes then began to water to Elisa's surprise as the woman began to tremble slightly, tears threatening to fall as she stepped forward, earning a step back of retreat from the young man behind her. 'Is...that...'

Cole could barely move as the figure approached him; her eyes soft with age...just like he remembered them, she moved closer, gently pulling two lives closer that were never meant to reunite.

'No...Please.'

Run! Run damn it!

But he couldn't do it; his body wasn't listening. They were never supposed to...see each other again. He did not belong here anymore. The figure moved closer, now inches from his face as one word he believed would never resurface escaped from his lips.

"...Mom..."



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