Test of Strength
Elisa shifted uncomfortably on a bench just outside Rustboro City's Pokémon Centre as she continued to wait for her new companion Cole. The sun gently descended down onto the stone city as the streets were filled with bustling movements of many residents and travellers. Lazily airing out her grey sweater, she remembered telling him that she would meet him at noon, but arriving an hour earlier, she found it hard to answer the nagging question in her head. Why did she come so early?
She huffed silently to herself, glaring from the corner of her eye to the reason why she had left her residency in the first place. One of her classmates from Mossdeep had found her in the lobby of the building she was currently residing in for her stay in Rustboro. Mentally cursing herself for not being more aware of her surroundings, she had been forced to listen to the young man talk for hours before she found the courage to change scenery to the Pokemon Centre.
The man's name was Jack, apparently a top student in the Pokémon Battle Simulation games. Recalling some of his past rantings, he had told her that even his teachers or some real trainers had trouble when he challenged them. Sadly, due to his continuous success, everyone loved him for his popularity and his self proclaimed good looks. Well everyone except for the person he was trying to win over at the moment.
"Anyways, Elisa...I was kind of wondering if you...You know, would like to go out to the movies some time? It's not a date or anything of course! But." Jack's usual confident speech was drenched with nervousness.
"I can't Jack" Elisa responded quickly, clearly getting annoyed with the boy that could not stop following her ever since she entered Mossdeep University. "I have to meet up with someone later and I wouldn't have the time." She tried to explain politely, forcing a smile.
Jack seemed to bow his head in defeat, causing Elisa to look at him, hazel eyes twinkling with hope that he would leave. That quickly died once he looked back up with a determined grin. "Well its okay I can wait until the meeting is over!" His eyes then wandered to Elisa's hidden frame, "Did I ever tell you that you are one of the most beautiful looking girls at the university? I know you like to hide it with that sweater and those baggy pants, but come on! I've never seen you with a guy before!" He rambled confidently.
Elisa's face flushed red with anger, "I-I'm busy with summer research right now!" She rarely fumbled with her words when it came to Pokemon, but unfortunately, that wasn't the case this time.
Unyielding to his attempt at flattery, she knew her answer before wasn't entirely true. She was a nerd at heart and could never maintain a decent conversation with any male peer at the university. The only person of the opposite sex she had a stable relationship with was her own father, and that was mostly on discussions on Legendary Pokemon. The young woman pouted to herself in sudden realization of her social life, she wasn't really the cool, out-going type, now was she?
"Well you can start and hopefully end with me!" Jack stood up suddenly, earning a perplexed look from Elisa. "Just allow me to take you out once and I swear you'll be all over me!"
Confusion dangerously swayed towards borderline anger as Elisa took in a sharp breath at the young man's overconfidence, causing him to grin in order to mask his growing fear. She was about to say something that she wouldn't regret before a familiar figure suddenly passed by behind Jack. She recognized that messy black hair immediately. "Cole!" Elisa jumped up from her seat, relief flooding her mind as she realized her chance to escape.
"Coal? Do couples really use that on each other these days?"
"Not the fuel source!" Elisa barked in frustration, sending Jack back with a yelp. "Cole is the person that I'm supposed to meet here so...bye now!" Jack's jaw dropped as Elisa quickly darted by him towards the entrance of the Pokémon Centre.
"Hey, hey wait!" Jack feebly grabbed Elisa's arm, preventing her escape. "It's a guy? So you do have a boyfriend or something? Where is he?" Jack demanded more than asked.
Elisa opened her mouth to say something but no words escaped, a fleeting memory coming back to her from last night when she first met the Trainer.
I'm happy that we can work together. I'll be your personal bodyguard on this adventure.
Elisa grinned at her new found luck. 'He did say that he was a powerful trainer!' The young researcher thankfully remembered. She could use Jack as a test subject. Even though he was very annoying, he was a not a pushover when it came to Pokemon battles. Elisa took Jack's hand off of her arm and gave him an honest look in the eyes, causing the boy to respond with an overconfident smirk. "Okay it looks like you really are determined to take me out on a date. Let's make a bet." She said quickly, raising a finger in the air.
"A bet?" Jack asked.
"Yes. If you can beat my colleague in a one-on-one Pokemon battle, I'll go on a date with you for as long as you want." Elisa proposed coolly. She did not like Jack's response to her proposal though as she saw his face tinge a dark shade of red.
"WHERE IS HE!" Jack roared causing a majority of the people around them to jump at the young man's sudden outburst.
"I'm not done yet!" Elisa cried, trying to calm Jack down before he destroyed half of Rustboro. "If you lose though, we can never date. Got it?" Jack's adamant face dropped back down to a fearful one once the words came out of Elisa's mouth.
"B-But that would mean we could never have a chance to be together... I-" Jack stuttered starting to feel nervous.
"Well?" Elisa urged, trying to coax him towards the answer she hoped for. "I did say that if you win, we can go out for as long as you want, right?" Jack blushed again, lewd thoughts already beginning to form in his head about the chances that would come if he and the brunette were ever alone together.
"Alright I'll do it!" Jack answered as he took a Poke ball off from his belt and held it out in the air. Elisa felt a drop of sweat go down her forehead as Jack started to talk to himself about something she was better off not hearing. She was putting her faith into this Cole character without even knowing his battling history. He may not even be a Trainer but a Breeder or something else. She sucked in her breath as she walked into the Pokémon Centre with Jack.
'...I hope he uses that Houndoom.'
Sitting in front of one of the video phones at the Pokémon Centre, Cole quickly dialled Holland's number. He moved closer to the screen in order to prevent anyone from getting a good look at who he was calling. Before Maxie had renounced his leadership from Team Magma, Holland was a high representative and was feared just as highly in the Hoenn Region. The screen then brought up a middle-aged man in his early forties with greying brown hair and cold eyes.
Holland's eyes widened in shock as he met face-to-face with the young Admin, "What the hell are you doing boy!" Holland growled in a low tone as he motioned for Cole to get closer to the screen. "You know that I cannot be seen here! What if one of the cameras spot me? Team Magma will truly be destroyed!" He barked angrily.
"It's alright sir. There are so many people in here, the cameras won't be able to see anything." Cole responded coolly earning another growl from the Magma leader. He quickly continued on before his superior could respond. "Sir I have important news to tell you. I was able to find some information about the Legendary Pokemon Rayquaza."
'What?' Holland's mask of emotion broke slightly in surprise, dumbfounded by the speed of Cole. 'It didn't even take more than twenty-four hours to find a lead?' The Magma leader questioned in astonishment at the younger man's persistence.
Cole smirked, "I found this researcher with info linked to Rayquaza. She told me that there are these Dragon Plates that are apparently linked to Rayquaza's very being. If we are able to find them, then we may be able to summon Rayquaza and use it to resurrect Groudon!" Cole whispered with suppressed excitement, amazed by his own luck at finding Elisa at the right time. He felt some of the energy drain out of him though when Holland shook his head with disappointment.
"Sir this is good news, right? If Rayquaza was able to stop Groudon and Kyogre, then it surely can-"
"Cole." Holland spoke in a normal tone, which was still intimidating to the young trainer. He shut his mouth quickly waiting for his leader's reply. "This researcherr may be onto something, but I need real proof of these Dragon Plates beforehand. When you do find one of them, report back to me immediately. You've done well Cole," Holland smirked slightly, "for now. I won't come after your other Pokémon because of the decent information you were able to come up with." he finished, his cold eyes unchanging.
Cole let out his breath he didn't realize that he was holding in. "Don't think that you're out of the frying pan yet. I'll be keeping your Nidoking and Shedinja for the time being until you find Rayquaza. When you obtain that power, I'll appoint you as our new leader Cole. Don't fail us." Holland's face disappeared off the screen as it faded black.
Cole stared at his reflection, feelings mirroring the screen's emptiness. The only way he was going to get his Pokémon back and rejoin Team Magma was to hunt down one of the most powerful Pokemon in Hoenn by himself.
Cole's shoulders jolted as he whirled around to come face to face with a blissful Elisa. He moved back and combed a hand through his hair, calming himself down. "I thought that we wouldn't be meeting for another hour." He responded quickly.
"Well I was just in the area...and I saw you walk into the Pokémon Centre, so why don't we just start our journey now?" Elisa proposed, tone happier than he would expect which caught the Magma Admin off-guard.
"Okay..." Cole replied, clearly disturbed. He then noticed a taller figure behind Elisa. It was a young man, blond with a dark blue shirt, light blue jeans and he was clearly not trying to hide the glare that he was giving him. "Who's this?" Cole asked, eyeing the other male cautiously.
"Umm...well he wants to battle you. You wouldn't mind, right?" Elisa asked hopefully.
Elisa's jaw dropped slightly from the automatic response, dumbfounded as Jack beamed. "If he won't battle me, that means that I get you forever!" Jack cheered with a strong fist pump to the ceiling.
Elisa cringed at the comment and looked back at Cole with pleading hazel eyes. "If I go with him, then we won't be able to find the Dragon Plates!" Elisa whispered into Cole's ear. He sighed and moved away from Elisa all before looking at Jack with obvious annoyance in his dark brown eyes.
Jack shot Cole a dark look, suddenly realizing that the Trainer in front of him wasn't actually going to give in so easily. "I challenge you to a one-on-one battle! If I win, Elisa will be with me forever!" Jack challenged boldly, earning another cringe from Elisa who shuffled behind Cole.
"When I win, Elisa travels with me and I don't want to see you near me again." Cole shot back coolly. The Mossdeep student took a step back from Cole's obvious confidence while Elisa struggled to contain laughter that threatened to escape her mouth. The two Trainers then headed towards the Pokemon Centre exit, prepared for their duel.
Cole looked over to Jack as the Trainer continued to glare daggers in his direction. The group of three had left to the outskirts of Rustboro City for their battle. The stage was a grassy field, lush with life as the two males took their sides. Cole continued to observe the confident Trainer before glancing at Elisa's nervous face. 'She really doesn't believe me?' His eyes narrowed in disbelief before turning back to Jack. 'Then I'll prove my worth here. Once this is done, we should be able to go.' The young Admin confirmed, waiting for Jack's move.
A strong breeze passed by, blowing Cole and Jack's hair roughly over their eyes. Jack took out his Poke ball and kissed it. "I'll start! Go Poliwrath!" Jack threw the Poke ball into the air with elegance as a large Tadpole Pokémon burst out in a bright white light. It flexed its muscles and got into a battle stance towards Cole.
Cole looked at the Water/Fighting type with intrigue before tossing a Poke ball into the air as well, "Solrock!"
Elisa gasped while Jack grinned with obvious confidence. 'That Solrock better have some strong Psychic attacks!' Elisa grimaced in fear as Cole's Solrock levitated above the ground eying down its opponent.
"This is why I passed my classes with such high grades because I know about Pokemon types! Poliwrath, Water Pulse!" Poliwrath jumped into the air before expelling a pressurized ring of water towards Solrock from the swirl on its body.
"Solrock Light Screen," Jack held his breath as Poliwrath's attack collided into a reflective golden wall sending the Water Pulse into the grass, splashing torrents of water in multiple directions.
"Double Team." Solrock vanished in a split second before multiple copies of the Meteorite Pokemon began to spin around Poliwrath at a blinding speed. Poliwrath continued to look at the replicas in confusion, waiting for a command.
"If you're going to stand still all day..." Cole started as Jack wiped a bead of sweat from his forehead, "Solrock use Solarbeam!" he commanded before Jack could respond.
Solrock began to glow a brilliant green as Poliwrath guarded himself, preparing itself for the attack. Jack shook his head angrily. "You're just an overconfident, trash trainer! I'm the best in my class, Poliwrath use Surf to take out the entire group!"
Poliwrath blasted a high volume of water into the grass, an eruptive force following seconds later. The entire circle of Solrocks that surrounded Poliwrath was washed away by the powerful attack. Moments later, Jack, Poliwrath and even Elisa looked at the soaked battlefield in confusion.
The Tadpole Pokemon stood alone.
Cole looked on unfazed, causing Jack to step back in fear. "Do it." Cole's calm brown eyes glanced upwards to Jack's dismay as he finally realized where the real Solrock was hiding.
"That Double Team was only a trick to power up Solarbeam!" Jack cried out as a bright golden beam ripped into Poliwrath from above. An intense explosion, flashing with golden sparks, covered the field in a thick cloud of smoke as Cole looked on in anticipation of the battle. Elisa and Jack covered their faces, desperately waiting for it to clear. As the thick clouds cleared, Solrock hummed softly as it floated above a knocked out Poliwrath.
The battle was over.
"NOOO!" Jack cried as he ran over to his Poliwrath.
Elisa mentally cheered to herself as she saw Jack run off with his Pokémon back towards Rustboro City. "That battle was amazing!" Elisa said happily running over to Cole. 'Even though he was facing a Water type he remained so calm and used defensive moves to give him time to charge up an affective Solarbeam.' Elisa smiled brightly at her saviour. The battle giving her a large boost in her confidence about Cole; he was not a pushover.
Cole returned Solrock and looked over to Elisa who was smiling brightly at him. He gave her a nod before turning to the entrance Petalburg Forest not too far away from them. "Yeah. Battling with type alone will not get you anywhere, you need to assess the situation and find a weak spot." Cole explained turning back to Elisa. 'Even if the Trainer is the weak spot.' He smirked to himself.
"What was his weak spot?" Elisa asked, "I know you beat him rather quickly but he is not a rookie."
Cole glanced down at her, "I've been training and battling with Pokemon ever since I could remember." Elisa's eyes widened, she knew that children were not allowed to even use a Pokemon in battle until the age of ten when they were allowed to go for their Trainer's Licence. Who would allow him to train at that age? "I was trained to anticipate any opening in a battle." Cole finished clearly.
Elisa was going to ask another question but Cole cut her off by throwing a new Poke ball into the air. A massive desert dragon materialized onto the ground and roared to the sky while stretching its wings.
"What are you doing?" Elisa asked curiously as she looked at the newest Pokemon for their journey. It was a large Flygon that returned her curious glance with its own.
"We need to get to Petalburg, right?" Cole asked intently. Elisa nodded in response. "Well, walking through the forest is going to take too much time; Flygon can get us there." Cole fastened his black backpack tightly around his body. He then climbed onto Flygon as the dragon bent down, giving its Trainer an easier climb. He then looked over to Elisa who suddenly seemed to be very interested in the grassy plains.
"What's the hold up?" Cole asked. Elisa perked up slightly as if not hearing the question.
"I've never flown before..." Elisa responded, avoiding Cole's dry look with shy embarrassment.
"Flygon has never dropped me. If that makes you feel better." The young man explained truthfully as he pet the dragon on its head who closed its eyes with satisfaction. "Come on now, we don't have all day." He finished, stretching out his hand for her to get on.
The young researcher did not budge, pushing Cole's nerves slightly. 'You can't really be serious..' He droned in his head, the feeling in his arm starting to give as Elisa attempted to ask a question.
"A-Are we going to be flying high up in the air? Not too high or something I-" Elisa was cut off as she felt a pair of strong hands grab her by the arms and pull her towards Flygon.
"H-Hold on! Please can we wait a couple of hours or something?" Elisa pleaded.
"Hours? Then you'll be flying at night. Flying by day is better." Cole smirked to himself as the young woman tried to free herself, but to no avail.
Crying out endlessly with no intent of stopping, Elisa clutched onto Flygon's long neck as the Ground/Dragon type began to rise into the air at a frightening speed for her, earning a disgusted look from Cole.
The young Admin then looked down onto the forest that linked Rustboro's stone city to the simple one of Petalburg. Flocks of Swellow and Tailow erupted from the trees and he could hear their shrill cries ring over the strong winds that whistled by him. This moment could have been put into anyone's top ten of life moments, soaring through the sky with the freedom of the winds. Sadly though, it would not be for Cole as he desperately plugged one of his ears, holding onto Flygon while Elisa continued to scream for her life.
'I'll most likely become deaf by the end of all this...' Cole thought in annoyance as Flygon sped towards the end of Petalburg Forest. Their journey officially under way.