A flip of the page; a woman's rather large chest heaved before an angered sigh escaped her lips. She rubbed her red eyes, tired from the past events that forced her organization into such a situation that they she herself, the Leader of Team Aqua would have to depend so deeply on her own lowly grunts.
Shelly rubbed her tired eyes once more before she took a handful of the files from the top of the tattered desk in front of her. Glaring at the markings, as if directing all of her hatred towards them would yield answers, she kissed her teeth before finally slamming them on the dirty tiled floor.
"I can't believe that fool would run off!" Shelly swore to herself, an image of a green-eyed old man forming in her mind. "First he loses the book to those Magma idiots...and now he bolts just because his office was attacked! Is Hoenn just full of wimps?!" A vein in her head began to bulge, she was losing more people by the day. "He swore his loyalty!"
Knock Knock Knock!
Red eyes blinked in confusion from the sudden noise, but her curiosity faded once the door to her beaten down office opened slowly to reveal a woman. "...You." Shelly's gaze sharpened, wary of the woman's moves as she made her way in.
"I knocked earlier," The woman started, "but you seem to have weak ears." She smirked to herself once Shelly's eyes flashed with anger.
"What do you want." The Leader of Team Aqua snapped, crushing a few more unreadable pages in her hands. To be honest, she never really liked the lead researcher for Team Aqua. Snider was one of Archie's most dependable assistants during the Kyogre Project, leading the way to discover the mysteries behind the ancient pokemon of the sea. Shelly huffed to herself as the woman flicked her chestnut strands that were laced with a few specks of grey.
"Jin's falling out is the least of our problems right now, Commander Shelly. We need you more than ever." A wrinkle creased the woman's cheeks as a small smile formed. "I have word from our scouts that storm winds have been forming over Lilycove City and Mt. Pyre."
Upon hearing those words, Shelly raised an eyebrow at the older woman as she leaned on the tattered surface of the desk.
"...You know what this means, right Commander?"
"Spit it out, Snider."
"The last plate has been activated." Professor Snider then glanced at the crumpled pages in Shelly's hands. The younger woman flinched from the speed of Snider as she took the pages with ease. Inspecting the text eagerly, Snider smiled to herself. "You should have given me all of the documents on the Dragon Plates, Commander Shelly..."
"The ignorant shouldn't hold onto this." Snider, although her voice was smooth as silk, her eyes bore into the Leader of Team Aqua. "You can't comprehend the amount of value these pages hold."
"You would have gotten full privileges with the notes, if Jin would have handed over the book! But now, some Team Magma punks have it." Shelly shot back, standing her ground as the professor placed her attention back on the unreadable text.
"Is that so?" Professor Snider cocked her head to the side, her long chestnut strands falling over her shoulder. "If Team Magma has the book….then there's a high chance of a Dragon Plate as well. They're searching for the same treasures...Then they're next move will most likely be..."
"Certainly. Your orders then, Mam?" Professor Snider asked quickly, completely out of character. "We shouldn't waste any time here, I need a decision now!"
"Do not order me. Team Magma won't beat us at our very own headquarters!" Shelly snapped back, already feeling the pressure of leading her people to the final treasure. "We'll get all of the plates together once they make their way to Lilycove."
Snider bit her lip anxiously, the thought of the Dragon Plates coming to her. 'Who was it...Who was finally able to translate them?!' Her highly developed mind raced for answers to such a question. A pathetic question really. Ever since the battle between Kyogre and Groudon, she had tried, and failed to recover information about the Dragon Plates for herself.
She was sick.
Sick and tired of depending on Team Aqua attempting to lead the world down such a ludicrous and unrewarding path. She was the one that adored these beings-
Whoever loved something the most, shouldn't they have control over it? She adored them, she was sure it was an addiction by now. To learn everything about them, to finally have control of them. No one would ever get those Legendary pokemon but her.
It was Archie's horrible change of heart at the worst possible time that drove her over the edge. If he had only remained steadfast, she would have had Kyogre, the God of the Seas to herself. To examine and study and finally break the mystery of its existence.
He was the reason she had to do this now. But in the end, possibly all three would be in her grasp. Now that, was a good trade-off.
Shelly suddenly stood up, the wooden chair snapping Snider from her thoughts as it scratched against the tattered floor. "Rainstorms in the South...Sandstorms in the West and now..." Shelly shut her tired eyes, stifling a yawn to Professor Snider's surprise. "I'll gather as many men to bring to the center of the new storm-And Snider!"
"How is Hoenn Ship One fairing?"
"A few more days, and it will be ready." Snider responded quickly. Shelly nodded to herself before waving the older woman to the door.
"Have everyone else here take care of the ship's preparations first. Once its complete, prepare the men to leave. The rest of the men in the field will rendezvous with you once we get all of the Dragon Plates together."
"You should really come down to the base to see for yourself."
"I have faith that your team will be able to complete it on time." Shelly scoffed. "If it wasn't for Archie, I would have done it myself."
A malicious smile formed on the older woman's lips as she opened the door.
"Thank you Commander Shelly...I'll take care of everything."
A bustling city that never slept. Always full of energy, hopes, dreams and the electrifying personality of its Gym Leader, Wattson. When you visit this vibrant utopia, you would always expect the city to shine brightly, as if smiling upon you.
Passing the Northern gates of Hoenn's central city, dark brown eyes narrowed once they noticed the atmosphere. A few more steps onto the main street only confirmed his initial suspicions as a slight breeze ran through his messy strands.
Mauville City was silent.
"What's the matter, Cole?"
The young man glanced down to his side, quickly taking in the figure of Elisa. She was watching him, a worried look etched on her face. He gave her a small smile which only made her shyly avoid it.
"...It's nothing really...Just..." That smile faded quickly as the group of four noticed a few people at the outskirts of the city. Their expressions seemed frantic in the fading sunlight of the day; their movements rushed, most of them seemed to be carrying extra supplies in hand to their surprise.
"...Something's off." Noah quickly spoke up, earning everyone's attention as he walked forward, ahead of the rest. "I'm going to check on the boat-I'll be back!"
"H-Hey! Wait up!" The young boy didn't even wait as Kyra snapped at his sudden actions. "You can't just ditch us like that!" Sprinting ahead of Cole and Elisa, she stopped for a second to wave at her brother before chasing after Noah.
"Guess we should stop at the Pokemon Centre before we leave, right?" Elisa asked, a bead of sweat running down her brow as she tried not to laugh at the younger pair. Turning back to Cole's quiet expression, a frown formed on her own features as past thoughts began to cloud her mind.
"...We only have one more."
Elisa's words snapped the young man from his thoughts once more. He blinked with confusion once he felt something soft wrap around his fingers. Looking down, he could feel his heart begin to beat a little bit faster once he noticed it was Elisa's hand clasped around his own.
"E-Elisa?" His voice cracked slightly which led to a full blown blush once she smiled up to him.
"Remember the promise you made to me back in Rustboro? Don't break it now." She nodded with a determined smile. "We've come this far...we can't stop!" Elisa squeezed his hand slightly, sending her strong feelings towards him. It was so close now, her chance to be recognized.
Sandstone met chestnut as the pair gazed into each other's eyes, feeding off the other's courage for the journey ahead. To complete their own goals, they would need the other to obtain it.
'When this is all over...I'll make sure to tell you everything Elisa.' Cole swore to himself as he squeezed the young woman's hand. He had never experienced something like this before, being by Elisa''s side, the warmth and infusion of energy that she brought him. Now that he thought about it, she was the first person aside from his family that he really enjoyed being with. He wanted to keep feeling that...to make it last.
'I'll stop Magma...then I'll be free to be with her.'
Nearing the entrance of the massive Pokemon Centre for Mauville City, Cole and Elisa blinked in confusion once they noticed a large sign stuck to the glass doors.
"...Weird, I've never seen a Pokemon Centre closed before..." Elisa breathed, walking up to the door only to gasp in shock.
"What's the matter?" Cole asked quickly, walking up behind the researcher. His question was answered for himself once he noticed them. "...No way…"
People and pokemon alike were crowded together on the tiled floors of the Pokemon Centre. Like a thick school of fish, one after the other were huddled beside, clearly showing that the facility was beyond its capacity to take in another person. Cole held his breath; it was almost like some weird nightmare to him. The Pokemon Centre always had room!
Seeing those worried, tired and solemn faces on the faces of so many Trainers and pokemon, Cole felt his heart stricken by a wave of sorrow. Why were they all huddled together? What could have forced so many Trainers to find shelter in one building?
Dark brown eyes then widened once the glass door slide open slowly. On either side of the clear glass, creamy hands held them open as a pink-haired nurse gave the pair a tired smile.
"Hello...I remember you two." Nurse Joy greeted before Elisa nodded politely. "I'm truly sorry to say this right now, but our centre is beyond maximum capacity at the moment. We can't accompany any more people."
"That's okay," Cole spoke up quickly, catching Nurse Joy's attention. "We just came by to heal our pokemon."
Elisa blinked once she noticed the nurse's eyes dim from Cole's words. Craning her neck into the Pokemon Centre, her heart skipped a beat once she noticed that most of the Trainers and their pokemon were on the brink of collapse. Battered, bruised, and looking like they had nothing to give, the young researcher took a step back.
"...I'm sorry...But we can't do that either..." The words alone earned gasps from the pair before Nurse Joy pointed to an old man at the front desk.
"That's!" Cole perked up once he noticed that familiar brown sweater and balding head.
"You two must have just come to Mauville City." Nurse Joy spoke up, "There's a blackout right now, all of the machines are down...And our medical supplies are being used for the most serious patients right now." She then turned back to Cole who was eagerly trying to get by her.
"Do you...have any pokemon that need emergency assistance?"
"No." Cole snapped back, making the woman flinch slightly. "May I talk to Wattson?"
"Y-Yes. Of course." Nurse Joy then slide the doors further out, allowing the Ex-Magma member to slip by her.
Upon entering the crowded building, Cole fought back the disgusting feeling in his stomach as he narrowly pushed his way through the groups of people and pokemon on the floor. Complaints, grunts of anger and an overall low morale inflated the air against him as he made his way further to the city's Gym Leader. The majority of said Trainers looked like rookies to him, evident by the small pokemon in their hands.
"Wattson!" Cole called from the front desk.
"...Ah! Cole, is it?" Wattson greeted with a tired smile as he wiped a bead of sweat from his brow. "So you've come back for another rematch? This time my pokemon are ready!" He gave the young man a small smirk, but it quickly faded once he noticed the worried look on Cole's face.
"Our rematch will need to wait Wattson." Cole responded quickly. "When did this happen?" He started, indicating with his eyes alone at the large group of Trainers that littered the floors.
Wattson gave the young man a small sigh before he waved him to move closer. Once Cole was in whispering distance, the Electric Gym Leader leaned in. "The blackout has been going on for a couple of days now to tell you the truth..." He then gazed up at the ceiling, as if recalling something.
"We lost power from the main generator around the same time that sandstorm in the desert disappeared-"
"What?!" Cole tensed from the words but kept his voice down as a few Trainers eyed him. He knew that the sandstorm had moved to Fallarbor and Rustboro...Why was Mauville affected too?
"If I was able to get to the main generator to restart it, then the Pokemon Centre could start its backup power...but-"
"The wild pokemon that are around New Mauville have been starting fights with any passing Trainers in the area." Wattson sighed, hanging his head down before glancing at the exhausted travellers.
"My pokemon are nearly at their limit because I've been trying to head down there myself lately. Those pokemon from New Mauville rarely interact with humans...but now, its like every pokemon in the city has been attacking residents at random."
Cole remained silent as Wattson's explanation sunk in. Ever since the battle with Regirock to steal the Earth Plate from the Desert Ruins...It was like all of Hoenn was beginning to fall out of order now...Could the Dragon Plates act as a medium to the Legendary pokemon, as well as a balance for Hoenn?
If that were the case...Dark brown eyes narrowed as Cole lowered his head in thought. "Wattson," Cole started as he looked up to the man's elderly face. "You said that the Pokemon Centre could get its power back through New Mauville?"
Wattson blinked in confusion from Cole's question, "...Well yes. But with the hordes of Electric pokemon wandering outside of the city-"
"I can use my pokemon."
Wattson took a step back, flabbergasted. "No-No! I couldn't make you do that alone!" The Electric Gym Leader scoffed, waving his hands. "I already sent out some of my pokemon to head to Slateport, Verdanturf and Lavaridge. We should get help-"
"These pokemon need help now!"
Elisa, along with the other Trainers in the Pokemon Centre nearly jumped from the sudden voice. Hazel eyes wide from her friends sudden outburst, Elisa watched carefully as Cole's hands slammed onto the front desk. The Trainers and their pokemon remained silent, watching Cole and Wattson as the two stared each other down.
Elisa was about to walk over to Cole before a rough hand grabbed her hand. Nearly screaming for her life, she snapped her head around to see a familiar face nod at her.
Despite having a title as high as Gym Leader, it meant nothing when facing Cole face-to-face. Wattson's eyes wavered from the young man's hard glare. "Cole...Well..." He could tell from Cole's eyes alone that he wanted to do this. He was just that type of Trainer after all. Thinking of the pokemon above all else.
"I have Ground-type pokemon with me," Cole lowered his voice, taking the attention off of himself. "I can help you get to the generator, and you can start it back up."
"I see...since most of the pokemon there are Electric type, you could defend against most of their attacks…But that will be a great strain on your pokemon."
"They've dealt with harsher conditions than this." Cole shook his head from Wattson's words. "Should we get going then?" The Ex-Magma Admin was already turning to leave, earning a gasp from Wattson before he nearly leaped over the front desk to catch up to him.
"There will be a lot of pokemon Cole," Wattson started, "Bring your A-game to the battlefield, or we'll get fried!"
Cole gave the old man a small grin, "Don't worry about me over there-" His voice was cut off once he bumped into something soft. Looking down, he suddenly became more aware of his heartbeat once Elisa smiled up to him.
"We overheard that you need to reactivate the main generator. I think he can help too!"
Cole blinked at the young woman for a few seconds before a taller figure caught the corner of his eye. It was not until two orbs of emerald green flashed across his memory that he suddenly felt trapped in that cramped Pokemon Centre.
It was him...he could never forget that murderous face...
"Cole, this is a friend I met at the Oceanic Museum! I'd like you to meet Jin!"