A young girl groaned slightly from a sudden sensation poking her cheek.
It was wet...
Tired brown eyes fluttered open; bright sunlight earning another groan from the girl as she rubbed her eyes childishly before looking around the familiar room. "When did I get home?" She yawned before another cool poking sensation hit her.
"Backburner?" She asked, finally noticing the Fire type on her stomach as her Pokemon greeted its Trainer with a low growl. "Morning." She smiled softly, leaning against the headboard of her bed as she playfully ruffled Quilava's fur.
Her Pokemon cooed softly as it looked up to its Trainer who remained silent, her small nose scrunching in thought. 'Someone was...chasing me.' She let out a relieved sigh, suddenly happy that she was in her room, protected from that freak, whatever his name was. 'And...And...I saw...'
"...Protect...Wait a minu-"
Her eyes widened. Flinging the red sheets from her body, only wearing her white tank-top and brown gym shorts from the day before, Backburner yelped from the sudden motion as its Trainer kicked her own door down.
The small chatter among three people abruptly came to a halt once a young girl stormed into the kitchen, her face flaring as a small Pokemon squirmed in her grasp.
Panting slightly, light brown hair in a complete mess, she blinked once, quickly noticing that it was not just only her mother, standing by the gas stove, wide-eyed; but two unknown figures were sitting at their table, expressions just as shocked.
She turned to her mother who raised a spatula towards her. "Manners!"
"Mornin'," She shot back, "Where is he!"
Katherine took a step back, clearly vexed with her daughter's words before sighing tiredly. "Your brother..." Her face suddenly brightened to Kyra's surprise, "went with mum to Mrs. Walker's house."
As the brunette gasped, Elisa continued to stare wide-eyed at Cole's younger sister. 'How are they related...' Turning to her younger companion, Elisa cringed slightly as the boy's innocence was ripped from his eyes, drool running down his face as he gawked at the Kyra's exposed skin.
"Why is he here?! Why did he leave! When I find him, I'm gonna-"
"If you didn't realize..." Kyra blinked from her mother's words as she pointed towards the table. "You have guests today, so please try to look decent." Turning slightly to her right, her face paled once her eyes landed on a young woman and the stalker in front of her. Cheeks heating up, she sadly looked down, noticing the sudden breeze that nipped at her exposed legs and arms.
"Stop staring you freak!" She screeched, bolting back upstairs with her Pokemon as Katherine shook her head slowly, a smile creeping onto her face as Elisa and Noah remained silent.
"I'm sorry about that..." Katherine apologized as she heard the blatant swearing from her daughter upstairs, "She can be rather..." Her voice trailed as she cracked another egg into a frying pan, "Adamant for her age."
"That would make her...a strong girl." Elisa muttered, the girl's appearance still fresh in her mind. She had the same dark brown eyes as Cole, yet hers seemed to be much brighter, fiercer than the man she came to know. 'It's like they're complete opposites.' Elisa smiled.
With another fit of swearing, the three looked back towards the staircase at the end of the hall before Kyra bolted back into the kitchen; but this time, sand-coloured goggles dangled from her neck, her white tank top was now concealed beneath a black spring jacket that fell just above her crushed blue jeans.
"Hey! Don't bother him okay!" Katherine warned as her daughter quickly stormed into the hallway. "He has chores to do!"
"I heard ya!"
And with that, the three shut their eyes as a loud slam of the wooden door echoed throughout the house. With the sounds of splattering oil and boiling of water filling the kitchen, it was a sudden choking sound from a sailor that earned the attention of Elisa and Katherine.
"T-That's...your daughter?.." Noah hesitated, turning around to look at the confused woman's face. Elisa gave Noah a dark look as the boy trembled in his seat.
"Yes," Katherine answered with a small smile. "Her name is Kyra."
"Daughter..." He paled, lips trembling as the next words came from his mouth. "Cole's...S-S-Sister..." He suddenly dropped his head to the table, the impact making both women cringe with sympathy.
"...Um?" Katherine tipped her head to the side.
Panting slightly, a bead of sweat running down her forehead as the warm sunlight poured down from above, a young girl gazed upon a fairly large one-story house. The front fence creaking with the sudden force as she pushed by it; Kyra slipped into the front yard, only to see her grandmother come out through the front sliding door.
"Where is he." Kyra's words leaning more towards a demand.
"Good Morning." Her grandmother replied happily, yet her glare mirrored the intensity of her grandchild's. "Did you complete your training for the day?"
Kyra huffed angrily as she stepped up to her grandmother, eyes ablaze as the older woman smirked from her own words. Usually she would never need to hear that question because she was the one that always completed them without needing to be asked. But today was different.
"Please...Where is Cole?"
The older woman opened her mouth slightly, but closed it, noticing the usual fiery attitude of her granddaughter suddenly fizzle to a soft frown. She smiled thoughtfully as Kyra's eyes remained fixed on her, "In the back."
The young girl smiled gratefully to the woman's surprise before gently slipping by her and into the large house. Her heart was beginning to race, legs suddenly heavy now with the thought that her brother was so close now.
'He really came back...'
The gentle patter of socks against hardwood, Kyra remained silent as she walked down to the end of the house. Voices were now coming within earshot, she hesitated; she could not slow her heartbeat down.
A soft breeze kissing her cheek, she stopped in her tracks. Kyra then peeked from the frame of the sliding back door, only to see an elderly man and woman sitting on a large wooden porch. Her dark brown eyes narrowed, catching a glimpse of their expressions, bright like the sun that beat down upon their large umbrella that protected them from the rays.
"My my!" The elderly man, Mr. Walker, spoke up after taking a sip of water from the large table in front of them. "He's gotten much stronger over the years! He can practically do this by himself!" He laughed, turning to his wife.
"Indeed." Mrs. Walker mused as she fanned herself, eyes never leaving the backyard's grounds. "He's become a fine young man."
Hesitantly walking towards the chatting couple, Kyra took a deep breath once a tall figure came into view. "He's..."
A focused look in his stern brown eyes, Kyra's brother huffed and puffed, his bare back sweating as he continued to tear through the soft earth beneath him, shovel in hand. He did not look from behind him as the elderly couple continued to praise his work, only sticking the shovel into soil once more, sweat dropping from his brow.
Kyra looked on, her face soft with thought as Cole struck at the earth once more. She quickly noticed two Pokemon beside him, Houndoom and Flygon. She remembered them instantly, gasping with excitement. "They're so big now!" She breathed, never noticing the confused look of the woman sitting down at the table.
"Kenna?" Mrs. Walker asked, rubbing her eyes softly as Kyra clasped her mouth shut. "Your grandson is as helpful as ever! He hasn't even used his Pokemon like you asked; but with his help, we should be able to double our harvest this year!" She smiled excitedly, peering back towards the young man who turned over another patch of dirt.
"I'm not old granny-"
"That's not Kenna dear..." Mr. Walker spoke up now, eyeing the girl between them as he took another sip of water, "I believe that's the youngest one...Hmm..." He scratched his dark beard in thought before tipping his head to the side. "Kyro was it?"
Kyra snapped her head down to the old man, earning a shocked look in return as he trembled slightly from the girl's flaring eyes. "I-I mean!" His memory jolted back to the correct answer. "K-Kyra! That's it!"
She squeaked at the old man's loud voice, snapping her attention back to the backyard to see three figures turning around.
"Houun!" Houndoom barked happily, suddenly wagging his tail along with Flygon, both noticing their long time friend as she stared wide-eyed at them in silent shock. Cole whipped a bead of sweat from his brow before narrowing his eyes to focus on the source of attention that was apparently watching him this whole time.
The young girl blushed scarlet. Throat now clogged, she ran back into the house all in one motion as Cole and his Pokemon blinked in confusion. Houndoom whimpered softly, his tail dropping to the soil as a new figure walked onto the porch. Her smile was soft, accenting the wrinkles that lined her face.
"Martha dear," Cole's grandmother began as she placed a small hand on Mrs. Walker's shoulder, "Do you think Cole has done enough for the day?"
"Of course Kenna!" Martha beamed, turning back to the young man who was now leaning against the tip of the shovel. "My my, didn't I just tell you that we should be able to double our harvest this year!" She frowned slightly, "You usually have the best hearing out of all of us Kenna."
"No no," Her husband interrupted, patting his wife's hand softly, "The young girl before was Kyro. She just left."
"Huh? But she was here the whole time." As the couple began to switch over to a soft repetitive argument, Kenna shook her head with a smile before waving her grandson over.
"We'll come back in the coming days to finish up the work here." Kenna interrupted as Cole returned his Flygon, Houndoom hopping up onto the porch to greet the old woman.
Cole's face remained thoughtful as he gazed upon the bantering couple who apparently did not notice his grandmother's words. 'They always do this.' Cole smirked as he pulled a dark brown shirt over him, the sweat already staining the cloth. He turned to the back door, as if waiting to see his sister pop out, like always. 'Kyra...'
'Hey! Hey! Big bro, I got your fav! Cinnabar-style, just the way you like it!'
A memory of a little girl, light brown hair high in pigtails, flashed before him as he stared softly into the vacant home of the Walker's. He shook the thought away sadly before turning to his grandmother. "...Where to next?"
"The funny one's ranch."
Cole sighed, yet a smile couldn't help but graze his features. "He still has that nickname?" Cole shook his head, remembering the name his father was given from his mother-in-law.
"Nickname?" Kenna gave her grandson an innocent look, earning a smile in return. "Hurry up now, we should be leaving."
"Goodbye Martha, Ben." Kenna bowed slightly, along with her grandson as they slipped into the house, preparing for their next destination.
Unnoticed to them, she believed, Kyra trailed the pair hiding behind anything that concealed her frame as the two moved West towards the mountains.
"With the sandstorms still present on Route 111, local Rangers remain vigilant with their blockade of the entrances to the desert, preventing anyone-"
Another page turned gently, the reader of a black book remained quiet as the ruffled sound of paper could barely be heard over the drone of the television in front of her.
A young woman huffed for the millionth time; she was getting nowhere. Eyeing the markings on the scrambled pages, she tipped her head slightly in her hands, a perplexed look dominating her features as she shifted from her cross-legged position on the floor. Elisa tiredly turned another page before glancing to her left.
The Ocean Plate.
Hazel eyes narrowing with annoyance, she stuck her tongue out to the object before turning back to Jin's black book. 'I have all the letters...But no words...' She sighed again before softly dropping onto the wooden floors.
Ever since the strange greeting of Cole's sister, Kyra, that morning the young woman had stayed with Katherine after breakfast. Although unsure of where Noah had run off to following Kyra's departure, she had enjoyed her time with Cole's mother; she was surprisingly easy to talk to, contradicting with her own view of the woman's son.
Staring at the patterns on the ceiling, she played with a strand of her dark brown hair before she suddenly felt a small sensation press against her thigh.
"So this is what you three are working on?"
Elisa jolted from the floor, hazel eyes wide, wondering how the woman she was thinking about suddenly appeared before her. "K-Katherine!" She squeaked earning a smile in return. "H-How long where you there?"
Deep brown eyes stared back at her innocently. "What do you mean?"
Elisa hesitated slightly as Katherine smiled at her. "Um...N-Never mind..." She trailed off once Katherine turned to the Ocean Plate, her expression shifting to curiosity.
"Is this the reason you and Cole are travelling?" She asked softly, eyeing the treasure with interest.
Elisa nodded her head softly as she finally shuffled to the low table, sitting beside the older woman. "Yes, this is a Dragon Plate."
"Dragon Plate?" Katherine turned to her, waiting for Elisa to continue.
"Mhm! It's really called the Ocean Plate; one of the three Dragon Plates that was apparently found with Rayquaza." Elisa's smile faded though as the older woman's eyes widened. She hesitated with the rest of her explanation, now unsure whether to continue or not.
"Rayquaza...Hoenn's Guardian of the Sky..." Katherine breathed, turning back to look at the Ocean Plate in a new light. "I thought Rayquaza disappeared." She mused, touching the treasure, only to have her eyes widen with pleasant surprise at the cooling sensation at its surface.
"That's what everyone thought," Elisa nodded, "But there was an old man that I met not too long ago, saying that Rayquaza had returned with three plates circling its body." She then sighed, catching Katherine's attention. "I was lucky enough just finding him. But I really can't do anything now that I have one."
"Can't do anything?"
"Well, I was hoping to find out more information about the plates by using these markings," Elisa leaned in slightly, her fingers trailing the strange text that Katherine merely followed. "I had some that could be translated, but I can't spell any words from them..." She pursed her lips, fighting her urge to stick out her tongue again at the treasure.
Katherine nodded softly before reaching for the black book in Elisa's hand, earning a curious look from the younger woman. "I'm sure you can do it..." She trailed off, flipping through the pages, only to have her face scrunch up into a confused gaze.
Elisa couldn't help but giggle at the woman's expression.
"I'm guessing you're the brains, and my son is the brawn?" Katherine mused as she pulled the book closer to her squinting eyes before glancing at the Ocean Plate.
Elisa laughed lightly, hearing the simple description of herself and Cole before Katherine trailed a finger over one of the Dragon Plate's markings. "This one here...a K?" She turned to Elisa only to smile brightly when the researcher nodded in agreement.
"Then it's like a small puzzle..." Katherine determined, her gentle voice filled with awe as she handed the black book back to Elisa. "But a dangerous one." She stood up quickly as Elisa opened her mouth slightly from the words. The room remained quiet after that, only the drone of the television and a gentle breeze rolling in prevented it from slipping into silence.
"If this thing is related to Rayquaza," Katherine's voice cut Elisa off, catching her attention, "aren't you worried about the consequences you could face?"
"Consequences?" Elisa took in a sharp breath. So far, their only problem was the thought of the police chasing after them for stealing that treasure in the first place. Yet, that alone was behind them once Jin had called off the search a couple of weeks ago. 'If the other plates are free for the taking, then there shouldn't be any more consequences.'
Elisa remained quiet as the older woman turned away from her, face hidden as she went towards the kitchen. She eyed Katherine before she disappeared behind the entrance of the door, only to hear the sudden spark of a gas stove.
"It's just a thought Elisa!"
The young researcher perked up, hearing her name from the kitchen.
"Just make sure you're safe!" Shuffling was heard from the other room before her voice rang again, this time in the more caring tone. "Anyway, what do you want for lunch? Do you want to try some of my homemade herb smoothie?"
"Herb?" Elisa cocked her head to the side, the tension in the room suddenly gone.
"Or do girls your age want something more sweet? Kyra never liked it; that's why she's always so hot-headed! Come and try it, it'll refresh your mind!"
A nervous smile broke through as Elisa hurriedly jumped from her seat, only to glance back at the Ocean Plate, her face thoughtful on Katherine's words of advice. She knew that it could be dangerous, yet she wanted to continue; she did have Cole after all.
Meanwhile, not too far from the edge of Lavaridge Town, in the high hills, a young girl remained hidden behind a long fence. Piercing brown eyes remained fixed on their target; a man who was currently on both knees, continued to polish the bright armour plates of his Pokemon in a large field for grazing. She stifled a sneeze, the leaves of the large bush she was hiding in scratching her nose as she continued to stalk her brother throughout the town.
'He's been going non-stop all day...' Kyra breathed, ripping a few leaves from her eyes as her brother continued to work on a group of Pokemon. It was now leaning towards the late afternoon, the sun beginning its descent; yet Cole was still at work.
Kyra frowned. After his work at the Walker's home, he had been ambushed by countless old people; all greeting the man that they had not seen for years. 'Always asking for favours.' She knew the town was an ageing one, probably the oldest in Hoenn, so any chance to use a young man was a God-send to them.
"He helped everyone today..." She huffed. Gazing at his back, shirt drenched with hard working sweat. Any idiot could tell that he was fatigued; his pace slower than earlier that morning yet he continued to work, determined on finishing another task. 'He's...different...' Her lips curved upward, past memories flooding her mind as she gripped the lattice of the large wooden fences.
A branch pulled at her arm.
Back then, when times were happy and fun for her, she and her brother would run around town, a simple game of tag turning into an all out race through the streets of Lavaridge. They would never stop, from the first rays of morning to the setting sun of the evening, she would always be with him.
The markets, hot springs, forest and their father's ranch, they all were a part of her playground. It was surprisingly easy to get into trouble when games got a little more intense. Yet, he was always there, taking the blame whenever they got into trouble.
And his punishment, sharp brown eyes narrowed slightly as Cole chatted with their father about something she could obviously not hear; chores, chores and more chores. Thinking back, he was always taking the blame for her, the hot-headed little girl.
She sneezed from another leaf that graced her nose.
Although he always looked depressed, angry or just down right beaten when doing the endless tasks he was assigned to for breaking parts of the town when they were younger; he had refused to ever have Kyra take the blame. Back then, she would just give her brother the same happy smile, and tell him, 'I won't do it again!' She bit her lip, frustration takings its usual place in her mind; why did he let her get away with everything?
'I was always using him...and getting him in trouble.' A sad frown fell upon her face, 'Yet he was always there for me...' Was that not the role of an older brother? To watch over their little sister, protect them from harm?
'But he left us for them...' She sneered, she did not know whether to be truly happy that he was back, or just completely attack him. He had disappeared with Team Magma; family, friends...her, all abandoned because of that man, Maxie. '...I'll teach him a lesson for leaving!' Kyra smirked, forcing herself to come up with the only answer she felt comfortable with; now glaring daggers at her brother, she was oblivious to her surroundings.
A twig pulled at her hair bun.
'What do I even say...' She leaned in closer, only to have something snag her jacket slightly.
Already clearly frustrated with the failure of her hiding spot, she barked, "Stupid bushes! Get the fu-" She stopped; turning around only to receive a blank look from a wrinkled face.
"It's not like you to hide."
Cole smirked from the gentle moan of his Pokemon as he pressed one more time on its now glimmering body. "How's that boy? It's been a long time since you got a polish, huh" Standing up, he cleaned his hands with a ragged cloth in his pocket before turning to an older man.
"That's my boy!" It was his father, Ethon, smiling brightly as he walked over to Cole before eyeing the group of Pokemon around him. "That's a spot on job Cole. Lairon has grown very well. It feels just like yesterday that he was just a little Aron battling those Pokemon twice his size." Ethon smirked, patting the Steel type with affection. "Lairon's lucky I was working with the Steel types today." He then turned to a group of Magnemites that hovered above the grassy plains of the ranch. "Steel types love it when you polish their coats. It really relieves the stress."
Cole nodded slightly as he turned in the same direction as his father. "So who's that one for?"
Not too far from the men was a large steel-plated bird, its armoured head tipped downward as it lay nestled on a patch of thorns. Cole eyed the sleeping bird silently as Ethon began to move towards it, his own expression calm as he stretched out his arms.
"This Skarmory is for Mark's son at the end of town. You remember him right? The one with the pot belly?" Ethon asked. He smiled softly once Cole began to chuckle, nodding his head. Ethon then walked over to the large bird before petting it gently, its bright yellow eyes fluttering open before peering at the culprit.
"Skar!" It cried softly, stretching out its armoured wings.
"I know, I know!" Ethon chuckled as he calmed the cranky bird down to Cole's amusement. "But your Trainer is coming today! You're going to be exploring all of Hoenn! Isn't that exciting?" Not to his son's surprise, the older man gently polished Skarmory's wide wings, earning a joyful cry in response.
Cole eyed the pleasant exchange between man and Pokemon, his father continuing to make the steel bird comfortable with his kind words. This was not something new to him, yet it felt as though he had never seen this side of his father. 5 years away from home, he had tried to forget that his father was the Pokemon Breeder of Lavaridge; giving many of the eager young Trainers their first Pokemon. He was also the one that gave him his first Pokemon Egg, the egg that contained his first ever friend, Houndour. He gazed at the back of his father; noticing the few strands of grey that interfered with his mane, the way he would stop polishing Skarmory in order to stretch his aching back, and the sweat that ran down his tough neck; all of which he believed would never fall upon his once youthful father.
He was getting old. Cole's dark brown eyes remained thoughtful as he walked up behind his father to assist him. Taking a cloth from his pocket, he reached out to stroke the bird's neck.
The young man snapped back, Skarmory waving its wings frantically, kicking up the sharp thorns that flew dangerously by his face. Cole turned to his father who had an annoyed look on his face to his surprise.
"Skarmory's neck is a vital weak point! They are very sensitive; especially fledglings!" His father's stern voice made the young man shrink back, his expression blank as Ethon calmed the flustered bird. "You know that!"
"S-Sorry." Cole averted his eyes from his father, a thick feeling building up in his throat. 'I do know that...' His father was right. He had grown up going to this ranch pretty much every day to help his father. Ethon would breed many Pokemon for the town, and he would always inform his son about each Pokemon's abilities and natures. Skarmory's main territory was not that far from Lavaridge Town too, so this one was supposed to be easy.
"Sorry doesn't cut it when it's a life you're looking after!" Ethon snapped back, finally easing the Pokemon down. "Or has Team Magma made you forget about others?"
Dark brown eyes widened from the words, yet Ethon continued, "I don't care if you haven't been with us for five years...Always remember the importance of others."
"Yes dad..." Cole muttered, his father's words sinking in before a sudden call snapped both men from their silence.
Both men turned around to see a fairly large man, his stomach round as he walked, approach them with a young boy at his side; perhaps 10 or so as he smiled along with his father. "Mark!" Ethon smiled as the pair finally approached them. Ethon leaned down to the boy, his grin bright making the small child blush slightly. "Are you ready to take your friend home?"
"Yes!" The boy slapped his hands to his sides, standing tall as if the question was an order. "I will make him strong!"
Ethon and Mark laughed at the boy's words before Ethon put a large hand on the boy's shoulder. "It's always good to make Pokemon strong. But never forget, the friendship you make with them is the most important. Got it?"
The boy's bright blue eyes went wide from the words, unnoticed to the three, Cole as well seemed to be touched by the words as he looked back at the Skarmory that would be leaving the ranch. 'Friendship...'
"Yes sir!" The boy beamed, earning another smile from Ethon as he stepped out of the way; blue locked on with yellow as boy and Pokemon observed each other softly, their gazes fixed as the buzzing of the Magnemites suddenly became noticeable.
"Get your hands off me woman!"
All four males blinked in confusion, only to turn around to see the source of the angered voice. There at the entrance to the ranch were two women although one was literally at the borderline of being thought of as a boy by the way her messy bun fell from her head.
With a flick of a wrist, Kyra was tossed forward. The young girl stumbled slightly before recomposing herself, her face tinging pink as she sneered back at her grandmother, only to receive the same treatment shot back at her.
"I-It's meanie-meanie tomboy!"
Cole and the rest of the men gaped at the young boy, all in blatant shock and awe, as Kyra took a step back; the nickname that was given to her from the children of Lavaridge without her consent. Cole had to refrain himself from laughing as he watched his father clutch at his own mouth.
"Bwahahaa! You're the bully of Lavaridge?! What are you doing here, son?" It was too late, Ethon had already burst into a fit of laughter, only to receive a blazing glare from his daughter as she stamped her feet, storming towards them.
"Cole!" Kyra snapped angrily, her face a deep red that blended, in Cole's opinion, very nicely with the sun's rays.
"Yeah?" Cole replied, his voice strangely quiet as his sister pulled out a Poke ball. 'She's really a Trainer now.' He had never seen her battle before; let alone the very first Pokemon she received. His eyes softened as Kyra clutched onto the red and white ball, her own sharp brown eyes never leaving his...He had missed everything.
Cole had never seen his sister start her very own journey.
"Five years,." Kyra started, her sneer never leaving her face as the rest of the group stepped back, away from Cole. "That was more than enough time to train my Pokemon!" She snapped at him angrily as her brother stepped away from the group, his own hand reaching for a Poke ball.
"Kyra..." Ethon warned.
"You think that you can just jump back into Lavaridge, and have everyone just magically love you?" Cole's brow twitched from her words, only earning another hard glare from the young girl.
"You said...You said that..." She hesitated, looking down to her Poke ball that contained her strongest Pokemon. "You would become stronger-" She suddenly smirked before throwing her Poke ball into the air, the sphere sparkling in the sunlight.
"Then show me how strong you've become!"