Knock Knock Knock!
A lone figure stood outside a large house decorated with flowers around its doors. The man waited patiently on the cobblestone porch, brushing out his metallic blue hair as footsteps slowly approached from inside. A few of his locks fell through his fingers, patting down his bangs before a tall man dressed in dark blue suit pants and a plain white dress shirt greeted him.
"Ah-Steven Stone!" The older man greeted with a bright smile, accenting the grey hairs that lined his face. "I haven't seen you since my daughter's acceptance ceremony! How are you?"
Past Hoenn League Champion; Steven Stone greeted the man with a sincere smile of his own before shaking his large hand. "Yes, it's been quite some time Albert. I'm sorry for intruding so suddenly, but may I have a word with you?"
"Of course Steven! Come in!" Albert chuckled before stepping aside to let the Steel specialist in.
"I'm sorry I don't visit as often as I used to. I've been busy with my father's work for the last few months..." Steven explained, taking off his shoes as the door closed behind him. He then let out a small sigh, the calming atmosphere of the house already relaxing him. "He's going to be retiring soon, so I've been looking after the majority of work with the Devon Corporation."
"That's no surprise," Albert started, walking by Steven and leading him into the kitchen. Steven took his seat at a large mahogany table while Albert began to boil some water on a kettle. "He's always been a real workaholic, even when we were kids. Is Father Time finally getting to him now?"
Steven stifled a laugh, avoiding Albert's deep blue eyes. "I'd say he's a little troubled by it, yes."
"Haahaha!" The old man slapped his thigh hysterically as he watched Steven's face burn red. "You should bring him to Mossdeep sometime Steven! I have a lot of rare stones from space he could look at-"
"He may actually have to."
The air in the room suddenly became thicker from the man's words, wiping the smile off Albert's face once he noticed Steven's solemn look. Just from the uncertainty in the man's silver eyes alone, Albert waited patiently for him to continue.
"...I just heard about this. It seems like the sandstorm that was plaguing Route One-eleven suddenly reappeared." Steven glanced from the corner of his eye once Albert suddenly jumped from his seat.
"Didn't that sandstorm just clear up a few days ago?"
The past champion glanced down, averting his eyes. "Yes, I thought so too. But my father told me that an even stronger one appeared less than a week after the initial call was given." Steven then turned to Albert with a grave look. "He told me that it has spread to Fallarbor Town...and now Rustboro City."
Albert shook his head repeatedly in disbelief. "Unbelievable...That's not..." The teapot began to whistle, earning a gasp from the old man. "...I've never heard of sandstorms reaching that far." He mumbled to himself as he turned off the pot quickly. Hoenn did have its strange weather from time to time, but this was out of hand now. He took a deep breath, calming his nerves.
"...It sounds very similar to those series of rainstorms that impacted Petalburg, Dewford and Slateport a while ago...What is going on..."
"That's why I came here."
"Here?" Albert gave the Steel specialist an odd look. "You know I'm more of a space pokemon researcher, right? I don't really look into any weather phenomena." He watched carefully as Steven continued to give him a determined look.
"I know Albert... But something strange is happening to the weather systems throughout Hoenn."
"Yes..." The older man shrugged at the thought. "I actually looked into the weather department a couple of weeks ago...But they told me that the rainstorms were a flash event. They should have noticed the storm clouds forming, but even their satellites weren't able to detect it...We all thought it wasn't serious." The old man then focused a stare towards the marbled floors, scratching his grey hairs lightly.
"These storms seem to be very sporadic at best. It can't possibly be natural to stop and restart such powerful events; which means-"
"It could be a Legendary pokemon, Albert."
"Legend?!-" The researcher gave Steven a wide-eyed look, his features frozen in shock.
"More specifically..." He started, reaching for his vest. "It may be related to...this." Slowly, Steven pulled a small object from his vest pocket. Once the sunlight from the large window hit its surface, it released an emerald hued glow.
Albert gasped in shock. "Isn't that?!-"
"The Green Orb."
"...So it really did exist..." Albert took a small step back, earning a questioning look from the younger man. "Brendan and May from Littleroot Town activated that orb to resurrect Rayquaza two years ago!"
Steven gave a small nod. "Yes, they were able to use it to call upon Rayquaza to quell the fighting." Steel-toned eyes watched carefully as Albert's face beaded with sweat. Such a dangerous object was literally just a few feet from him, it was easy to be unnerved at this point.
A treasure that could literally call upon a God.
"It really has been two years since that day...I really believed Hoenn was going to be erased from under my feet that day..." The old man then turned around, preparing two cups of tea before taking a seat beside Steven. His breathing was beginning to waver, fixated on the Green Orb.
"It's not activated right now, correct?" Albert asked cautiously.
"No, not since that time when those kids were using it. I can't believe how lucky we were with those children. They really did save our country." Steven gave a small nod of thanks as he took the refreshment, his face still dark with those memories from long ago.
"Once Rayquaza ended the feud between Groudon and Kyogre, Brendan told me that the Green Orb had lost all of its light. He asked me to hold onto it because he thought it was not active anymore...but-"
"But?" Albert's deep blue eyes held a sense of fear for what would come next.
"It seems like light is returning to it...Just a few weeks ago, around the same time that those unusual storms were being reported in Dewford, I noticed that the Green Orb was beginning to shine in my bedroom." The Steel specialist fiddled with the handle of his cup, the metal rings on his fingers sparkling with the sunlight.
"So it's regaining its activity?" Albert leaned in once Steven took another sip.
"Yes. I was surprised at first...but what really shook me was the colour of the orb..."
"Its colour?" The words slipped from Albert's lips. "...Wouldn't it be green?"
"...No." Silver eyes flashed with seriousness. "It was blue."
Both men sat in silence as the words hung in the air, tightening its grip around their senses. Clearly, the greeting from Steven had taken a turn for the worst with this new information. Something...or someone was trying to reactivate the legendary orbs.
But who, or what was behind all of this?
"That's why I came here today, Albert...It's about Elizabeth." Steven started, catching the attention of the older man. "Do you have..." He quickly avoided Albert's dark stare, as if he would already know the answer. Holding onto all of his courage, Steven continued. "...Please. Does she have any books on the Green Orb-"
"She's not my wife anymore."
Steven nearly jumped, the tone alone shaking his composure. "S-Sorry...I mean."
"No. It's okay." Standing abruptly, Albert's expression was still grim. "Now's not the time for me to be greedy...I'll check the library."
"T-Thank you, Albert..." Steven watched carefully, sadness written over his face as the old man trudged out the doorway and up the stairs.
'I guess they still haven't talked to each other...'
A few minutes passed before Albert came back down to the kitchen. Dust lined his white dress shirt, but he brushed it off with a sigh before tossing a small brown book on the mahogany table. It dropped with a light thud, more dust rising into the kitchen air. Something was written in gold letters across the front, catching Steven's attention as it slid in front of him.
"I believe they were also called Dragon Plates as well..." A faint smile lined Albert's old features as he glanced at the book's old cover. "She didn't have a lot of information on them because of the language it was written in. That was the first time I've ever seen her frustrated with something..."
"I see..." Steven took his hands from the mug before sliding his fingers across the book's tattered surface. Opening the old pages slowly, an old scent hit his nose as he scanned through the words.
"...Elly was always messy when she worked. You wouldn't believe what the house looked like when she tried to crack the language...I had to take care of our daughters day in and day out because she pretty much forgot about us-" He stifled a laugh, reminiscing about the time.
"But it wasn't really a problem, they were my sweet little girls after all." Albert mumbled to himself as Steven flipped through the pages eagerly.
"I can't read any of this...I've never seen this language before." Steven said aloud, amazed by the markings as Albert glanced over his shoulder.
"Yes, ancient language from the South. I remember that from her trip to Sky Pillar...Elly was able to learn that there were three Dragon Plates connected to Rayquaza's very being..."
"Wait!" Steven's eyes then widened in shock, catching Albert's attention. "...No...This isn't good."
"What is it?"
"Your wife wrote something here... It says...if the three plates are activated and brought into close range with one another-" He gulped before getting up in a panic. "Do you know where these Dragon Plates are?!"
"N-No." Albert answered hesitantly. "...She never told me that they were dangerous...You would need to find Elly, or my daughter perhaps...Elisa knows about these legends too, but she's in Rustboro."
"Elisa knows about the Dragon Plates?!"
Albert shrugged his shoulders, looking rather disinterested on the topic of his youngest daughter. "Elisa may be in love with Legendary pokemon just like her mother, but she's much more sheltered." He defended quickly.
"But she's the only one we can use!"
"She might know of them...but Elisa wouldn't try to find them by herself. She isn't like her mother." Picking up the tea cup slowly, Albert brushed through the pages of his wife's journal before turning back to Steven.
"She'll still be in Rustboro...Now that I think about it...Elisa usually calls me on her free days."
"Elisa could be in danger Albert!"
The older man brushed off the warning with a small smile. "No...never. Emma told me that she called her not too long ago, she should be fine at the Devon Corporation."
"Those Dragon Plates...they're most likely interfering with the weather around Hoenn. That's why Dewford had the floods and now Rustboro has sandstorms-" Grabbing the book to Albert's surprise, the past Champion of Hoenn headed to the front door, fighting with his shoes as Albert chased after him.
"H-Hey Steven, wait!"
"Albert, I need to borrow this. Your daughter may know more about these Dragon Plates than anyone else right now. I'm going to Rustboro right now."
Albert looked on, his features rather frazzled from all of the information thrown his way. "But there's a sandstorm right now, isn't there?"
Steven gave the older man a confident smile. "My pokemon are no pushovers."
Opening the door, Steven threw a platinum-coated ball from his belt. In a flash of bright light, an armoured bird appeared. It called out, earning shrieks from the neighbours as it flapped its sword-like wings.
"This is crazy Steven! I'm sure this is just a misunderstanding!" Albert called out, but the silver-haired man was already on Skarmory's back. "Elisa wouldn't know anything about this! She's never been in that room since Elly left!"
"Hoenn could be in grave danger right now!" Steven called back as Skarmory flapped harder, lifting both off the ground and blowing the flowers from the old man's garden. "I'll call you once I find Elisa!"
"My goodness..." Albert breathed, shielding his eyes as Steven and his pokemon ascended into the clear skies.
"You're just like your father...Guess that giddiness runs in the family." Albert brushed himself off, shaking his head with amusement before turning to enter his home.
He headed upstairs, directly towards the old library where his wife would stow away to on a nightly basis. Leaning against the frame of the door, his tired eyes longed to see her once again in that worn out chair.
"Where are you Elizabeth."
"S-Stop please! Why are you doing this!"
A stream of fire ripped into a wooden house, incinerating years of memories once held within its old walls. Creaking timber and the crackle of fire played along with the screech of wind, adding to the despair in the old man's voice as he shielded his granddaughter and grandson from the hot winds and choking ash clouds. They both coughed roughly, the black air of destruction stinging their senses.
"...Why-why are they burning our house?" The little boy asked, his eyes wide, trembling as he clutched onto his sister. "W-Who are those people?"
"You're a little too young to know who we are!"
Two large figures then slowly emerged from the flaming house, a dog-like pokemon coated with black fur, and a large turtle-like pokemon with a smoking shell. They glared at the old man and children, burning fear into their bodies as a low chuckle resonated with the roaring flames.
"It's a quite a shame, boy. If you knew more about our resume, you'd be begging to join us."
The small child gasped once a deep voice caught him by surprise. The group of three huddled in fear once a large man, dressed in black pants and a red vest stood over them, a large grin on his face as the light of the flames danced across his cold sapphire eyes, piercing them in place. "Your old pappy here decided to keep some secrets from us-This is only fair, right kids?"
The boy whimpered in fear once the roof of their house finally groaned in agony before giving way. It crashed to the charred ground, along with all hope in his mind, more soot and ash billowing into the sandy air. "T-The house..."
"Sir, we found it." A female's voice then caught the attention of the oldest Magma Admin. "Seems like the old man was hiding the documents about Groudon in the basement."
"Good work." Koji snatched the files from the Magma grunt before flipping through the pages as the group of three cowered in fear below him. "So you were hiding these away for your friend huh?"
"N-No!" He desperately cried. "I swear I didn't know!-"
"Oh shut up already!" Koji swiftly dealt a kick to the old man's side. He cried out, dropping face first into the dirt as his grandchildren screamed out.
"Stop hurting us!"
"If you just listened to us in the first place, we wouldn't need to trash the place now would we? You brought this upon yourself!" Koji gave him a smug look before turning around to catch a glimpse of an older man and a young woman. He was sitting on a bench; despite the chaos around him, he was calmly watching the destruction of the small town while the woman kept her head lowered, a shadow in the light of the fire.
"Yo Holland," Koji called out, catching the attention of the older man. "Here are the papers, most of it's still written in that weird shit, so I can't do anything about it. You think those Aqua idiots might have our plate now?"
The older man's eyes flashed for a second as the papers landed in his hands. He clutched onto them, the unreadable text beyond the value of gold to him as they fluttered with the black air. "...Team Aqua isn't important right now."
Koji took a step back, his brow raised. "Not important?!. His voice was already rising now. "Team Aqua might have one of the Dragon Plates right now, and we don't have jack shit!" He finally snapped, clenching his fists as his subordinates glanced back and forth between themselves. Koji was the only person man enough to actually talk like that to Holland. They were still wondering how he did it.
"Koji, I said-"
"Cole is most likely dead for all we know-" He stopped mid sentence once he noticed Tori flinch from his words. "Pfft...Even if he's alive, I bet he couldn't take on Team Aqua by himself and-"
Koji flinched as Holland raised his hand, silencing him on the spot. "But-"
"I'm still quite confused right now Koji." Holland started, looking up with fierce red eyes. "How did you know that the second Dragon Plate was in the desert anyway?"
"...I...well-" A bead of sweat ran down his brow.
"I was personally going to go to the desert to acquire that plate for myself. However, you seemed to beat me to it..." Holland nearly crushed the papers in his hands before taking in a deep sigh. "No matter. If you found Cole at the ruins, then he's still doing his job. Have some of our men locate his position now. We'll keep track of him until he gets the final plate."
"...Y-Yes sir..." Koji finally gave in, a wave of relief washing over him once Holland turned his attention back to the papers.
"So these are the scriptures that links Rayquaza and Groudon." Deep red eyes burned with excitement as he flipped through the unreadable text.
"He had all of this information...yet he never told you..." The man glanced to his side to gauge the reaction of the woman beside him. His glare hardened once she flinched.
She remained quiet. Holland's voice barely reached her. The only thing that reached her was...The fire. Hearing the roar of the flames...the destruction...
It was swallowing her whole, suffocating her as more screams rippled through the smoky air. She was the one that caused all of this. "Sir..."
"Hm?" Holland leaned down to gaze into Tori's hollow stare.
"We didn't have to...We didn't have to burn...Fallarbor Town-" Her eyes widened once Holland let out a deep laugh, knocking his head back as the clouds of smoke mingled with the rain of sand that blanketed the area.
"Of course we had to!" Holland then slapped Tori lightly with the sheets of paper, earning a shocked look in return. "If that Jin fellow of yours just told us the truth about his real hideout in Fallarbor Town, we could have come here, taken them with ease and be on our merry way! This is one of the few places I actually took a liking to, but this is what had to happen. Does he not know who Team Magma is?"
"B-But..." Amethyst eyes trembled from the man's words as he continued to laugh. This was all a game to him...She knew it, Holland wasn't trying to follow in Maxie's footsteps of creating more land for Hoenn. He never cared about the people.
He was trying to rule Hoenn for himself.
Clenching her hands tightly, Tori glanced to her side to see the old man and his grandchildren trembling in fear at the sight before them. Their home...Their way of life.
'I keep destroying...Is that all I'm good for?' Her mind burned the words into her soul as she watched Fallarbor Town's very existence erase before her shaking eyes. She had tried to stop Holland from coming here after she told him about Jin's ambush, but he never listened.
It'll be much easier to clear our own path to Rayquaza.
"What was that Tori?" Holland asked, standing up from the bench to dust himself off of the soot, sand and ash. "Come on, we have everything we need now. Let's leave this dump."
Koji watched as the woman shook violently in her seat. His expression remained ice cold despite the flames around him.
"Come now, speak up! You are one of the Admins of Team M-"
"I said you're disgusting!"
Jumping to her feet, Tori stormed right by Holland to his surprise before pulling a Pokeball from her belt. The old man and his grandchildren, along with a few of the remaining townspeople watched her, a glimmer of hope in their eyes.
Just maybe, not everyone on Team Magma was bad.
"I'm not going to let you hurt these people anymore!-" Glaring at the roaring flames of destruction around her, she stopped mid-swing once a cold laugh echoed behind her.
"And what exactly are you going to do?!" Holland sneered as the woman struggled with her grip, nearly dropping the Pokeball to the ground. "Your pokemon are built for nothing but destruction. I trained you for that! There's no way they can help this place!"
He was right.
"No...I.." She was a member of Team Magma, all of her pokemon were trained in Fire attacks...Not one of them could help now. She would only add to the problem.
Never solve it.
Koji looked on as Tori suddenly dropped to her knees, shaking as another house in the distance crashed to the ground. The smoke was starting to blind their vision. "You of all people should know your role Tori...Don't think that you can get out whenever you please." Koji spat before he turned to leave with Holland. They got what they needed here.
"You lost your family like this too."
Sapphire eyes widened in shock. Whipping his head around, Koji glared at Tori who watched the towering flames in silence.
"Why are we repeating the past..." Her voice was hollow, lost of all energy. "Koji..."
As the Magma Admin watched her from the corner of his eye, a deep pang of guilt stung his chest. They were repeating the past...but only to end it once and for all.
"Shut up!" Koji snapped before turning around to see Holland send him a dark glare. His red eyes flashed with the flames before he pulled a Pokeball from his belt.
"We're heading back to base. We have the notes...and Cole has the plates." He smirked to himself before tossing the Pokeball to reveal a large orange dragon pokemon. His strongest pokemon, Charizard surveyed the area for a few seconds before it stretched its thick wings. " And that woman who's with him. She'll be our key to unlock it all."
"About freaking time. He's been on vacation for too long." Koji followed suit, releasing his Aerodactyl before the two men hopped onto their flying pokemon to ascend higher into the thick air. "Take all of the best pokemon from any Trainers that try to resist you! We'll need them to complete the plan!" Holland called from above as the remaining Magma grunts cheered in unison for their leader.
"Hoenn will remember who we are!"Holland raised his fist as Charizard roared, spewing hot fire across the blackened sandy skies.
"WE ARE TEAM MAGMA!"
"HEY! GET A MOVE ON!"
"MAKE SURE THAT CRATE'S SECURE! YA DUMBASS!"
Shouting, swearing and everything else in between, a lone woman watched with cold and calculating eyes. She smiled to herself as her minions moved like a swarm of bug pokemon, working feverishly as the cavern filled with the noises of heavy trucks and motorboats. Ever since she had gotten word of what happened in the Desert Ruins, her schedule had been pushed drastically.
The woman glanced down from her perch overlooking Team Aqua's base. Nearly abandoned two years ago, Shelly and herself needed to work long hours into the night just to rebuild their equipment from scratch. A lone man, tall and tanned saluted to her once he noticed her gaze.
"Professor Snider, all the pokemon from Area Seven have been placed on the ship! Once the batch from Area Three comes in, we'll be complete!" He held his breath as Professor Snider gazed at him for a few moments. Even if she wasn't exactly the main leader of Team Aqua, her rank was still far beyond his.
"Excellent work," Snider smirked to herself. Her main plan was nearly complete. The only thing stopping it now was the unknown group that had in their possession two Dragon Plates.
'We merely just need one to begin our first phase.' She kissed her teeth from the thought. It seemed like that old geezer was still hiding something from her ever since that incident at the Oceanic Museum.
"Make sure all the Water and Flying type pokemon are fastened to their cages tightly. I don't want them breaking out like last time." Snider ordered, flicking her graying hair to the side. "Use the Magneton and Manectric to restrain them if you need to."
"Yes mam!" The grunt saluted one more time before running towards the large pool of ocean water at the base's edge.
"We just need one of those plates..." Snider whispered to herself before a sudden alarm went off. Despite the blaring sound, she remained steadfast as the dark waters began to bubble and rise. A few moments later, a black and massive figure began to rise from the depths, alerting all the Aqua members standing on the docks as they waited in tense anticipation.
"Aqua Ship One, rising!" Two Aqua grunts repeated the words as they waved their arms, signalling the rise of their most powerful weapon. Painted a deep blue, Snider felt her heart flutter for a second as the massive ship finally emerged, glistening with the last streams of sea water as the overhead lights illuminated its body.
Unlike Team Magma, they had actually been doing something for the past two years. Gathering pokemon from all over the region, they would be needed in order to bring out the full potential of their super weapon. If everything went according to plan, only then will her plan come to fruition.
"Now. To find the people that know how to translate Rayquaza's Plates."
A gentle breeze rolling by, carrying the scent of Lavaridge with it, Cole gazed longingly at his home. The thick trees that shielded the ground from the skies, the old stone porch, his mother's garden, he was leaving it all again...
But this time...
"You make sure you're careful out there Cole."
The young man blinked, only to realize his father smiling down at him.
"I hope your clothes don't get ruined so easily this time! You looked horrible when I first saw you!" A somber smile graced Cole's features as his mother wiped a tear from her eye while clinging onto her husband's thick arms. Now dressed in a new attire, Ethon and Katherine looked over their son's light brown cargo pants and black nylon jacket. It was a much needed upgrade from the beaten clothes he was used to wearing.
"It'll really help when we go to Mt. Pyre." Cole smiled back, pressing his fingers against the strong fabric. He could feel the sadness flowing from them, but this time no pain would follow, for they knew his reasons to leave this time, and agreed completely.
To put an end to Team Magma once and for all.
"I just hope I packed enough food for all of you too..." Katherine murmured, smiling softly at her son. "I know Elisa and Noah like to eat a lot."
"W-What? It's fine! I'll be okay!" A young woman waved her hands quickly in defence from the laughter that soon followed from the group of friends and family. "I don't eat that much..."
"I'll make sure to keep her from turning into a Slaking!" Noah snickered, earning a small laugh from the mother of the household.
"We'll be fine mom." Cole reassured, hugging his mother one more time. Only they knew the real reason he was doing this now. It wasn't just to stop Magma from gaining power using Rayquaza. But to finally put an end to Team Magma's ways.
"My backpack is probably going to break now since you gave us so much." Cole smiled to himself as his mother laughed in his arms, shaking slightly as she fought back tears. "We'll call you when we reach Mauville City."
"You better. I don't want to hear back from you five years from now. I may not be here."
Cole smiled to himself as his grandmother's voice scolded him from behind his parents. She was dressed in her usual attire with Windy sitting obediently beside her. The large fire dog whined softly. They knew this day would come eventually, but they were prepared.
"Don't think like that-" A fiery voice shot back from behind Cole earning snickers all around. "I'm with him this time, he's not running off anywhere."
"I promise...I'll come back."
Cole then slowly released his mother who fought back the urge to lunge for her son. Turning around, he eyed the three people that would journey with him, to finally finish this long adventure. They were going to discover the secret to the Dragon Plates, put an end to these strange storms and the dying organization of Team Magma.
Elisa, Kyra and Noah nodded in unison to Cole's rare smile before waving their goodbyes to the family that took them in for so long. Two of the three Dragon Plates were now in their possession; with one more to retrieve, many dreams would be realized, and many goals completed.
Elisa, dressed in her usual grey sweater along with new black hiking pants for their long journey ahead, she looked forward as the group of four made their way to the entrance of Lavaridge Town.'Once I get the third Dragon Plate...I'll finally be recognized as a top researcher. I'm really going to...' Now that she had the ability to read the Dragon Plates, a sense of pride washed over her as they continued forward. She had her use to the group now. These plates would lead her to her future.
No matter the cost.
Cole sighed to himself before turning back to see his parents, grandmother and Windy still sending their goodbyes their way as they neared the turn into the main district. With the power of the Dragon Plates, he would be able to take over Team Magma...and with that, disband them once and for all.
'I'll have to tell them eventually...'' Dark brown eyes darkened once the realization hit him. Elisa and Noah still did not know of his real identity. Once their journey was over, he would come clean. Telling them now would only ruin their trust; to him, obtaining the last Dragon Plate and using that power to stop Team Magma was the top priority.
Once he completed his final goal, only then could they learn of his dark truth.