The Key Discovered
"...What is up with this weather..."
Leaning forward against the large wooden wheel of his boat, a young boy moaned out in agony. His long time vessel continued to rock back and forth slowly with the crystal clear waters of the large river that spanned across Route 123, hinting at the fact that they were barely going anywhere.
'It's been three days!' Noah whined in his head as a chilly breeze kissed the back of his neck. Peering up to the large mainsail of his boat, his expression dropped as the thick white material fluttered lazily, leading to a soft groan that rung out into the air. He shivered, shaking his head as the breeze continued on forward down the watery path to their next destination.
Ever since they left Mauville City, Noah had been ecstatic about travelling on the open waters once again. Honestly, he missed this; the sunshine, the refreshing sounds of waves and the calls of pokemon around him.
However, one of those sensations was missing today. As the boat drifted to the right, his chest pressing in between the valleys of the wheel, he glanced around at the thick trees that framed the riverside. Aqua blue eyes dimmed, watching the trees for movement.
A rustle, a call...anything.
"Haven't seen a lot of pokemon around here either..." Noah mumbled out before his eyes casually drifted to a slim figure that continued to move up and down on the floorboards of his boat.
"Most of the pokemon are...shy here anyway!"
Noah perked up, surprised that for once he was able to get a response out of the tough, yet cute Kyra. He continued to watch her, sweat running down her brow as she grunted with her movements. Beside her, a furry white pokemon mimicked Kyra's movements, panting as well as their actions made the wooden floor beneath them groan out.
"Do you really have to do push ups...right now?" Noah asked, a faint blush rising on his cheeks as she let out another grunt, completely oblivious to the sounds she was making.
"...Hell yeah!" She suddenly flipped onto her back, panting for air as Viggy let out an energetic cry, pleased with their results. "I have to keep myself busy by working out, your boat is sooo boring!" Kyra then grabbed a towel that lay by her feet before pressing it into her face with a sigh. "If you did some push ups too, instead of sitting on your ass all day, then maybe you wouldn't be so ugly!"
"W-What was that!?" Noah barked back, nearly ripping the wooden wheel from its holding as Kyra smirked at him. "I'm perfectly thin!"
"Thin as a starved Linoone." She spat back, smirking once she earned his sour expression.
"Well I can't exactly eat as much as I want when I'm stuck on a boat with Elisa!"
Ignoring the pervert's comments, Kyra turned her attention to Cole and Houndoom who were sitting beside her. They were both asleep, napping peacefully in the shade of the mast as it groaned with the movements of the river. '...I didn't think he'd sleep this much...Maybe he's getting ready for the last treasure!...' Kyra smiled at her brother for a few moments before she looked ahead to a lone figure that sat at the front of the ship.
Kyra breathed as she watched short brown locks flutter with the cold breeze. She was surprisingly quiet today, but it was not like she wanted Elisa to talk or anything; in fact it was very refreshing. Walking up behind the older girl, Kyra peeked over Elisa's shoulder. Copper brown eyes lit up once they noticed two surprisingly pretty objects sparkle in the afternoon's sunlight.
Kyra gazed at the ruby and sapphire-coloured objects, hypnotized by their beauty and luster for a few seconds before she shook her head quickly. "...Hey loser, that pervert just made fun of you." Kyra poked the back of Elisa's head with two fingers while hiding a dark smirk. "He said you're fat, weird and that Cole will never like you...I know its hard to deal with the truth sometimes...So how about this. Do you want me to beat him up for you?"
Kyra blinked, cocking her head to the side as the older woman remained seated, leaning over the plates. Even if she was being silent for the past couple of days Kyra expected at least some type of reaction. "...Oh come on, just say it! I can get him back for you right now!" The fiery Trainer pushed on, snickering to herself as she poked the back of Elisa's head again.
"Hey...did you hear me-"
The young woman froze, an ominous voice slipping from the researcher's lips. "...E-Elisa?...Are you okay?" Kyra was surprised by her own voice, it almost sounded scared to her. But that wasn't the point.
What was she saying?
Kyra quickly leaned down, only to nearly jump back once she noticed the older woman's face.
"E-Elisa?!-" She nearly lost her voice from the sight of the older girl. Her eyes looked blank, void of colour as she continued to mouth nearly inaudible words, rocking back and forth slowly.
"Earth and sea...opens...sky...Ray...Ray-Power...earthsea-"
"H-Hey! Knock it off!" Kyra quickly grabbed onto Elisa's arms, shaking her while her own body began to shiver with fear. "What are you talking about?! Wake up!"
Suddenly, as if her words finally reached her, Elisa's mouth shut and she blinked multiple times, colour returning before she noticed Kyra's panicked look. "...Kyra...What's wrong?" She wondered, gazing at the younger girl's wide-eyed face.
"What's wrong?!" Kyra nearly blew her top, "You were just chanting some weird crap right now!" She fumed while Elisa continued to give her a blank stare. "You really…" Sighing deeply, Kyra plopped herself down on the deck with an annoyed look. "You really don't remember chanting that weird stuff?"
"I-I was?...That's strange." Elisa blinked again, her brow furled as she tried to take in the girl's words. She then smiled softly, catching Kyra's attention. "I... don't know what you're talking about Kyra...I was just reading the tablets-"
Dark brown eyes faded with disbelief. "You can't be serious...You were just-" Kyra suddenly felt a shiver run up her spine once she caught sight of Elisa. She looked calm to the naked eye; however Kyra backed away.
Her hand suddenly landed on something cool and she jumped, yanking it away as if it were on fire. Turning around, Kyra held her breath once she noticed the treasures again, glittering innocently in the sunlight.
Something...Something was weird about them.
Her voice changed. Snapping her head back to the older woman, Kyra gulped once she noticed Elisa's expression.
The strands of her dark brown hair casting an ominous shadow over her icy glare. Kyra felt her hands begin to shake, she wanted to call out to her brother, anyone, but her mouth remained shut.
"Please be careful with them...They're quite valuable to me," Elisa started, hazel eyes sharpening. "I will not let anyone get in the way of my treasures."
"O-Okay...whatever." Kyra mumbled before finally squirming out from Elisa's dark gaze.
Heart still racing, Kyra scurried away from Elisa before leaning back against the mast, hugging her legs to her chest. '...What's gotten into her?' She tried to forget it, but Elisa's cold eyes were already rooted into her memories. Were the treasures that valuable to her...that she would actually look that angry?
She quickly turned to Cole who continued to sleep, completely unaware. 'Come to think of it...they've both been really weird lately...Ever since...' She racked her brain, squinting her eyes as she tried to remember the exact point in time.
The Desert Ruins...
Something had happened to them back then. She could not explain it exactly, but the feeling remained the same.
Cole and Elisa were changing. The young girl clenched her hands into fists, angry at herself, but she didn't know why. Something was happening, but they were not telling her.
Hiding secrets was a human condition held by nearly everyone, her brother and Elisa were no exceptions.
'I should have went with them...'
The day nearing its end, Noah stretched tiredly as the last rays of sunlight fell softly onto the flat waves of the river. Sparkling with a hue of gold and red, he watched the waves carefully until something by the shore caught his eye.
'A person?' Noah wondered as a figure of an old woman appeared, waving softly at the boat as it drifted closer. She smiled, wrinkles lining her face once she noticed Noah wave back at her. She then pointed down a dirt path, leading deeper into the forest.
"Someone's over there!" Noah called out, catching Kyra's attention before she leaned over the railing.
"Oh-The Berry Master's wife." Kyra perked up, leaning over the edge, along with Cole and Elisa who followed. "Hi granny! How are you?!" She waved energetically, earning side glances from Elisa and Noah while Cole smirked to himself.
"Why is she so nice to her, but so mean to me?'' Elisa and Noah muttered in unison.
Cole had to fight off a fit of laughter as he watched his friends continue to glare at his sister, the boat nearing the shore as the old woman smiled up to Kyra. Even if he had not been with his sister for five years, he still knew one of the few ways of making Kyra actually happy.
"Do you still have that nanab berry pie!?" Kyra squealed.
"You only care about her food?!" Elisa and Noah cried, earning laughs from Cole and the old woman.
"Come everyone." Agnes, the Berry Master's wife started. "You must have traveled a long way."
Laying down beside Wingulll and Houndoom, Noah grunted to himself as he watched Agnes continue to chat with Cole, Kyra and Elisa at the main table. Seeing as the large oak table held only four seats it was quite obvious who would be sitting out to Noah's chagrin.
The sun's last rays poured in from the main window just behind the sailor, bathing the rest of the group in a deep red as Agnes placed an assortment of desserts for the group to eat. Luckily avoiding Kyra's blinding smile in response to sweets, he continued to pet his Wingull as it ate by his side. They had arrived at the popular Berry house after the sailor had docked his boat by the riverside. As Wingull chirped happily, eating the fresh pokeblocks provided by the Berry Master's wife he could not help but notice the stressed look from Agnes as she spoke with Cole. A look that carried a sense of urgency more than anything else.
"So you heard about what happened in the Desert Ruins?!" Elisa nearly jumped from her wooden seat. "But I thought the police shut off any access to that information..."
"Fufufufu..." Agnes smirked as her deep blue eyes glinted mischievously from the sun's rays. "I have my connections with Dewford. I always get the news first."
"That's pretty crazy granny, I thought Dewford was under a lockdown right now?" Kyra leaned in, her dark goggles dangling against the hardwood table that held their desserts. "Where's gramps right now anyway?"
Cole frowned, catching the faded look on the woman's face before she regained her composure. "...Yes he's in Dewford right now, that's why I was able to get the news even faster." Agnes responded quickly. She held Cole's stare, yet this time her voice seemed to nearly slip from her dry lips. "I have not seen him in weeks...The storms are keeping me from him."
Dark brown eyes hardened once Agnes' words reached him. Being a master of communication for most of Hoenn, he knew that her messages always had a second meaning.
Someone was keeping her from her husband.
'Magma or Aqua must be making their moves now. But why would they want the Berry Master in their plans?'
Noah stretched out on the floor tiredly, earning a surprised cry from his Wingull. Strands of dirty blonde hair slide from his forehead as he glanced out the window to the setting sun that was beginning to sink beneath the canopy of the silent forest. "I'm not surprised you can get information so fast from the Gossip House. They get news faster than Hoenn Central."
Agnes gave the group of four a solemn look before she glanced down at her dessert. "Yes...truly unfortunate that these storms have been causing so much trouble for us..." Her gaze rested on Kyra for a moment who was sitting beside Cole. "I'm glad that you're by his side again Kyra...I really hope that all of the rumours that I've been hearing aren't true-"
"You know about the Dragon Plates."
Elisa, Noah and Kyra held their breaths, a crackle from the fireplace behind Agnes the only sound as they all turned to her. She remained silent, a bead of sweat running down her brow before she avoided Cole's glare.
"...My information is limited."
Elisa narrowed her eyes at the old woman. The Gossip House in Dewford may have had strange sayings most of the time, but they were also the only group that would know about their little adventure besides Team Aqua and Magma.
Cole leaned in, a calculating stare boring into the old woman as he looked for what she truly wanted to say. "Is it Team Aqua."
Agnes nearly jumped from the words, avoiding Cole's hard glare. "I...Well that's not-" She then got up slowly before walking over to the fireplace. She watched the flames, dark blue eyes dimming from the dance of red, orange and yellow flares.
"These recent storms have been destroying many towns from what I've heard. My husband and many others are in trouble right now, and I do not have any means of reaching him."
Houndoom perked up once he noticed his Trainer's body language become tense.
"My colleagues...told me that a large group was seen recently in Fallarbor Town," she turned back to Cole and Kyra, "they were wearing red and black..." Kyra snapped her head to Cole, who was staring at Agnes wide eyed the entire time.
'Please don't say it!'
"Uniforms...They were looking for a man that was connected to what you call the Dragon Plates. Fallarbor Town was destroyed because of them."
Elisa, Noah and Kyra all jumped once Cole slammed his fist into the table, the plates and glasses nearly falling over. They watched without words, the man's face flaring with anger.
"Yes..." Agnes started, unnerved by the hot fire in Cole's eyes. "They were last seen wandering around Fallarbor. And Team Aqua has also been spotted to. They were last seen in Lilycove City. From what I've heard, they may end up fighting the next time they meet."
His body still shaking with rage, Cole's mouth opened as if he was going to say something before he stopped himself. So they were both on the move now? His mind raced for a plan as Agnes' words burned into his head.
'Holland's tired of waiting...Now he's going after anyone connected to the Plates by himself!' Cole then turned to his friends who were watching him closely.
Only he knew what they were really going to get into now. Even if they were a lost organization, Team Aqua was still one of the most dangerous gangs in the country.
With their 3rd and final plate now literally a day away, Cole knew it. He had to give it his all for this last mission. Capture the last plate, and he would finally be able to prevent Team Aqua and Team Magma from getting the upper hand. He would be the one to end them once and for all.
'...If Team Aqua starts anything in Lilycove, then Holland will definitely be there too...I can't let them start another fight with so many people involved.'
"...We should go there now then." Elisa broke the silence, standing up as Cole and the others looked at her with surprise. "I know about those plates more than anyone else. If I get all three, then I can find a way to prevent Magma and Aqua from using them to hurt anyone else. One more plate, and we'll be finished with them, right?"
"Yes...of course." Cole agreed, still astonished by the boldness in Elisa's voice. She had definitely changed since their journey in the desert. Even if he knew that she would be in danger for having the Dragon plates in her possession, he would protect her no matter the cost. Houndoom barked, catching Cole's attention as he stood by his Trainer's side. It did not matter where their adventure would take them, Cole knew that his best friend would not leave him.
"We should get to Mt. Pyre right now!" She turned to Agnes before bowing slightly. "Thank you for your hospitality! I promise that I'll find a way to stop the storms." Elisa thanked quickly before running out the door with Cole right behind her.
"Y-your welcome." Agnes breathed as the pair along with Houndoom disappeared into the forest.
"They've both been acting weird lately..." Kyra started, getting up quickly along with Noah.
"You noticed it too?" Noah asked, catching Kyra's attention. "It's like they're trying to hide something from us."
Kyra bit her lip angrily, clenching her hand into a fist as she watched Cole and Elisa venture deeper into the darkness of the forest. 'Cole...I know you have a lot to deal with right now...but I'm here to help.'
Where would they end up if they continued? The Dragon Plates were clearly dangerous, anyone could see that. Why sacrifice so much for such a thing? She could not understand.
And that's what she hated to admit.
"Don't worry Kyra."
The fiery Trainer blinked once she noticed Noah's hand pat her on the shoulder. She watched him closely before he raised a salute towards her, his smile never fading.
"If anything happens to them, they always have us right?"
"Wing! Wingull!" The Seagull pokemon cried out, landing on Kyra's head playfully in an attempt to cheer her up.
"You guys..." Kyra breathed, gazing into Noah's blue orbs before he patted her again, knocking her train of thought.
"Come on, let's go. I know they can't take the boat without me anyway!" He laughed before waving his goodbye towards the Berry Master's wife, Wingull letting out a soft cry as well before chasing after its Trainer.
"...You still don't know the truth." Kyra mumbled to herself before a soft hand landed on her back. She turned around, noticing Agnes smiling at her.
"I don't need my gossiping friends to get an idea of what you will be doing out there. I know you've become a very strong Trainer since the last time that I saw you. No matter what happens..." She gave Kyra an encouraging nod. "Stay by your family's side. I know he has a pure heart."
"Thank you granny..." Kyra's crestfallen face was evident, but she quickly shook her head aggressively before giving Agnes a determined look.
"I'll beat the crap out of both Aqua and Magma! They won't be hurting anyone ever again! Make sure you tell your friends that!"
Agnes chuckled to herself as Kyra quickly turned on her heels before sprinting after her friends. She watched the door as the fire continued to crackle behind her. They were all so young...it almost felt like deja vu...two Trainers had done the very same thing two years ago.
"...You're a powerful Trainer Kyra...Don't let them try to destroy our country again."
As the small silhouette of Kyra finally disappeared into the maze of the forest, Agnes froze once she heard the backdoor of her house open slowly. Her small hands shook with every creeping step that echoed behind her before a cold chuckle nearly made her heart stop.
"You should be a motivational speaker. If it wasn't as loyal to that old man, I would have joined their little party too."
"Where is my husband." Agnes demanded, turning around before she met the cold glare of a man that towered over her.
"So it's the girl that understands how the plates work."
"You know that the girl is the key to those plates...now give him back to me!"
"Keep your mouth shut!" Koji spat angrily, earning a shocked look from Agnes. "We'll need your husband for a bit longer, but I promise you he's safe for now." The Magma Admin yawned tiredly as Agnes fell back into her chair, still shivering in fear from his glare. 'So it's Cole's little girlfriend that is the key to the Dragon Plates. Holland is going to love this!'
Turning back to the old woman, Koji gave her a dark look before heading for the front door. "If you tell anyone...well..." He let his words hang in the air for Agnes to dread before he closed the door slowly, leaving the woman alone once again.
"Ahhh! What a day!" A woman groaned tiredly, stretching her arms as she stepped out from the Pokemon Centre for what seemed like the thousandth time.
As the slim woman skipped down the cobblestone roads of Lilycove City, a few people couldn't help but smile as the woman's pink hair ornaments bobbled with each step she made. It was quite easy to spot her, since no one else wore such things, and a bathing suit/ floral dress to go along with it.
"We had to help out with so many pokemon today, isn't that right, Banette?" Phoebe, member of the Elite Four smiled up into the air. As if on cue, a doll-like pokemon materialized in front of her, floating ominously in the chilled air. Its zippered lips remained in a frown, catching Phoebe's attention. She followed the pokemon's watchful eyes, her own gaze sharpening before they landed on a towering figure that stood just beside the last rays of sunlight.
"You've been watching Mt. Pyre everyday lately..." Phoebe started before crossing her arms under chest.
"Baa Banette-Banette!" The Ghost type protested to the young woman, only earning a perplexed look in return.
"I know that, but everyone said that the graveyard was safe. We haven't seen anyone suspicious around the mountain either." It was the place that helped the departed souls of pokemon move on to the afterlife...yet that wasn't the reason she had inspected the mountain multiple times since her pokemon started to act strangely.
"Ban...Ban, Banette!" The Marionette pokemon shook its head as if listening to its Trainer's thoughts. "Baaan, Banette!"
Phoebe's bright blue eyes widened for a second before she glanced back to the mountain's peak. "I know, We'll make sure to protect it if anything happens. Don't you worry-"
Phoebe blinked, catching Banette's attention. She was silent, cross-eyed as she looked at her nose. Banette continued to stare, confused by her actions before Phoebe reached out one of her hands slowly to the clouded sky above.
"Ban?" The Ghost type cocked its head to the side, unsure of what to say before it finally hit it. It blinked as well. Something had touched the top of its head. The sensation was something it had faced before in battle, but much weaker...and soft.
"This...This can't be possible." Phoebe breathed, her face blank with disbelief as the unfamiliar sensation kissed her cheek.
And another...drifting softly onto the top of the city's buildings as people, one after another stared up, looking directly into what was once thought impossible.
"This is snow..."