…..Just sit there and watch Team Sky change the world.
Dark brown eyes opened slowly before snapping shut in pain. As the five senses seeped back into his being, a young man hissed cold air into his lungs. The pain was agonizing, he quickly realized as his body shook violently from the cuts and bruises laced across his skin. Slowly, but surely, memories of past events began to flash and flicker across his mind.
Cole remained still, his eyes finally adjusting to soft moonlight that sprinkled from the thick clouds above. It was surprisingly quiet, only a faint breeze danced across his ears as he turned his head slightly, the simple movement earning a groan of pain. He tried to raise his arm, but blinked in confusion once he felt a strange, yet familiar sensation against his broken skin.
"...Flygon." His voice was hoarse, saturated with weakness as the dragon pokemon nuzzled against the top of his head. It was keeping his body warm from freezing in the dead of night. It let out a weak cry which Cole immediately caught onto. He knew what had happened…
The Ground/Dragon type raised its head slowly before scanning the remains of the graveyard a top Mount Pyre. After bringing Elisa safely to a hospital in Lilycove, it had flown at top speed back towards Cole and the others to help them. However with the deafening explosion of fire and debris lighting up the sky, Flygon had nearly lost all hope. The once peaceful resting place of pokemon was now a wasteland of shattered earth and charred tombstones. The battle between Team Aqua and Magma along with the devastating power of Rayquaza taking its toll on the defenceless peak.
Flygon blinked softly, snapping out of its thoughts as a rough hand clutched onto its back. Sorrow flashed from behind its tinted lenses as Cole slowly raised himself from the ground, dirt and soot falling slowly onto the tattered earth.
His face was a mess. Dried blood cased his lower lip, dirt entangled in his charcoal hair and his nose was broken as he fought for his balance. He wobbled on his feet as Flygon stared at him, waiting for his words. Cole opened his mouth, but his dried lips quivered as his eyes began to water as well. Matching the pokemon's soft stare, his voice cracked softly as his fingers dug into the dragon's scales. It was then that Flygon quickly realized.
"I lost everyone."
Hazel eyes watched tiredly as a woman hustled and bustled across a white room. She was humming, a faint sound that was somehow nostalgic to the ears as she jotted a few notes onto her clipboard. The nurse then smiled softly as she caught sight of those observant hazel orbs.
"Ms. Neville, don't look so down! When you came here on that Flygon two days ago, the staff thought you were in a much more serious condition!" She tried to make light of the woman's ordeals, but that only seemed to darken the mood of the young woman to her dismay. "Y-You should be fine! Just as I told your father; you only have a few lacerations along with a broken arm. He said that he'll be picking you up once you're cleared. Thanks to the help of our pokemon and the doctors, you should be fully recovered by the end of the week."
Elisa nodded slowly, the end of the nurse's words hanging in the air. Her father would be coming to take her back to Mossdeep. Turning away from her, the researcher's solemn expression remained as her Sealeo eyed the few snow flakes that splashed against the window of Lilycove's hospital. Despite the slow movements of her body and responses to the staff of the hospital, Elisa's mind had been running rampant through the events that happened only days before.
Cole...That name stung every time it rang in her head, clutching at the soft sheets of her bed where her Riolu slept restlessly, she could not find the words for how she felt. Her mother's face also plagued her mind and that only added to the confusion and torment that she was going through.
"Uhm...Ms. Neville," The nurse attempted to get the young woman's attention as the electrocardiogram began to beep at a quicker pace. "Please remain calm. If you would like to tell us why you came here in this condition, it may help with your anxiety."
Elisa turned slowly to the woman before nodding.
The nurse's smile faded once the realization of Elisa's tone set in. "...I'll just be down the hall okay? Just ring for me or one of the staff if you need anything." Her words were sincere before she bowed slightly towards the young researcher and left the room.
Now alone with her only two pokemon, Elisa's eyes remained shallow as she stared at the end of the room. Machines beeped and droned softly but that did not ease her of the creeping sensation that wafted from her backpack. She stared at it...a tablet-like object that sat lazily in the slouched bag across the room.
It was the reason for all of this...Hazel eyes began to water as her mother's face flashed once again. Her own flesh and blood... a part of Team Aqua?! 'How could you leave us….for them?' The idea was ridiculous but she had seen everything with her own eyes. Her mother had been after the plates all this time along with Team Magma that Cole, to her utmost surprise, was a part of as well. Had she been played a fool this whole time? Did Cole know of her mother's involvement? Did her own mother have Cole hunt her down? Was that the reason he tried to make a deal with her to find the plates back in Rustboro?
Riolu's ear twitched before its eyes shot open. Gazing up to its Trainer, it growled as the heart monitor began to beat quickly once again. Elisa flinched from the noise before turning to the small Fighting type. She smiled, but Riolu could easily read through the pain she was feeling. He had remained on guard the moment he broke from his Poke ball upon arriving at the hospital. At first he was on the defensive towards the hospital staff, but once he read their emotions he dropped his guard and allowed the people dressed in white to help her.
Thoughts of Houndoom, Wartortle and the other pokemon plagued the small pokemon's mind along with their Trainers once he read the thoughts of Elisa. Even though he was not involved in the battle, to his dismay, he could tell that something terrible had happened to his friends. Riolu stood up slowly before licking Elisa's cheek.
"...Thank you Riolu. I-I'll be okay." Elisa whispered as she patted the pokemon's head. Turning to Sealeo who remained in awe at the night sky, an ominous feeling washed over her once again. "Sealeo...come over here." The Ice/Water type hesitated for a moment before sliding to Elisa's bedside. As the young woman reached down to pat its smooth head, it whimpered softly as it turned back to the window.
"...I know." She could not understand her pokemon completely, but she could tell that it was worried about the strange snowfall. Glancing back towards the group's final Dragon Plate, Elisa held her breath from the rush of thoughts that flooded her mind. All three plates were activated now, but this was only the beginning of the consequences.
"Eat up kiddies!"
Two pairs of eyes glared with silent anger as a meesily bowl crashed onto a steel floor, the sound ringing through the cramped jail cell. Two figures, clad in a new dark green attire, smirked at the two Trainers who remained at the back of the steel cage. "And don't forget to say bye-bye to your friends cuz we're takin' them tomorrow!" The taller Team Sky grunt laughed before turning to another set of cages that held groups of pokemon.
"Some of those Aqua punks are still tryin' to fight us off, but I bet they'll join our team." The other Sky grunt started as he turned from the pair. "With our power now, we even snagged one of the Elite Four!" He laughed as he set his eyes on another cage that held the Ghost Master Phoebe.
She remained quiet, glaring at the grunts as a bowl slid across the floor to her injured legs. Sighing in frustration, she turned around to her grandparents who huddled together as if to avoid the pair of men's attention.
"Haha yeah! And I can't believe we got Admin Cole's Houndoom too!" One of the grunts whistled loudly before bending down to come face to face with the fire hound. "...Or should I say ex-Admin?" For the pokemon, a large energy shield blocked the monsters from the rest of the corridors as the Sky grunt kicked the thick frame in front of Cole's closest friend. It was beaten, its black fur tattered as its wounds from the battle of Mount Pyre were still visible. As the grunt peered closer though, uneasiness washed over him as the Dark/Fire type held his gaze.
"It's just starin' at ya…" The other Team Sky grunt breathed as Houndoom remained silent. "...Probably gave up-"
"Y-Yeah that's gotta be it…." The man shuddered from its stoic posture, standing in front of the rest of Cole's pokemon along with others Team Sky managed to capture over the past few weeks and from Mount Pyre.
'...Just wait until he gets out.' Kyra, despite her minor injuries, remained strong as she watched Houndoom. He was just like Cole in a sense, they had never been away from each other from the very day it was born.
"...How do you think we'll get out of here."
Noah's tired voice caught the young Trainer's attention. Turning to him, she smirked confidently with her next few words. "Cole's going to bust us out of here of course!"
Deep blue eyes shone with a glimmer of hope before fading slightly. He wanted to believe her words, he really did, but memories of Mount Pyre drowned any positive thoughts that tried to surface. If what that man said was true. "...But he's-" He stopped once he felt Kyra grip his hand tightly. Cheeks reddening from her warmth, he looked down to the girl as she stared deeply into his eyes.
"This, of all times, is not the time to lose faith in him!"
"I-I know that...but is he really a part of Team Magma? Why didn't he-"
"He's not with them anymore!"
Noah jumped slightly from her outburst as she glared at him. Shaking her head before taking a deep breath, Kyra turned to Houndoom who watched her closely before turning back to the young sailor.
"I'm going to tell you everything..." Her deep brown eyes shook softly, "about Cole...his past and why he joined Magma." Noah breathed but averted his eyes as she pleaded for him to listen to her.
"Once you hear everything….then you can decide on what you truly think of my brother."
Landing with a soft thud, Cole let out an agitated groan once he got off of Flygon's back. The pair had landed in an alleyway, deep in the heart of Lilycove City. Taking in short breaths, small freckles of snow flickered in the street lights. It was silent, which came with no surprise as it was the dead of night.
"She's in there…" The young man sighed, peering up the walls of Lilycove Hospital. His plan was simple; Check on Elisa's safety, retrieve the last Dragon Plate and take on the new criminal organization Team Sky.
"By myself." He mused before leaning against the dragon pokemon for support. Elisa's fearful expression from Mount Pyre suddenly washed over him and he felt his heart nearly burst. How was he supposed to face her? "...What do I-" She had learned everything about him in the worst way possible thanks to Holland. And to make matters worse...Images of that woman who was working with Holland surfaced. Similar facial features, alluring yet calculating eyes and the way Elisa continued to look at her throughout the the entire battle. There was no mistaking it, that woman was definitely related to Elisa. "...She could even be her-" Shaking his head quickly to prevent diving into deeper suspicion, Cole rubbed the weariness from his eyes before turning to Flygon.
The end...The end…
Elisa remained still, despite the taunting chant of voices that surrounded her. Hazel eyes flickered back and forth from the bed sheets to the Sky Plate, its scaly green light placing her into a small trance whenever she managed to look at it. 'This must be the same spell that took over me when we were coming here...and that time at Cole's house...' It was a sinister voice that wanted to hypnotize her whenever the chance came. Now that all three were activated, would Rayquaza really be in their control so easily?
The end….The end...Help-
Elisa shivered, clutching at her injured arm. This time the voice was different, as if pleading. "...Whose voice is that? Whose there?" She called out wearily. Hesitant, yet determined to figure out the last piece of the puzzle, Elisa shuffled her sore legs. One, then the other, Elisa hissed once her feet touched the freezing tile floor.
Somehow, the plates were reacting with her. It may have been the time she spent in such close proximity with the treasures that they now seeped into her very being. "They won't leave me alone now." Clutching at her bandaged arm, she turned to the plate again. More than likely, the deal she made with that voice was not a horrible nightmare.
The bed groaned as she attempted to lift herself, but she let out a small yelp, "It hurts!" She winced before glancing at her pokemon at the edge of the bed in fear of waking them. To her surprise, they were wide awake, but their attention was focused elsewhere. Following their gaze, her throat suddenly felt dry, she clutched on her bed sheets as hazel met deep brown once again.
They remained silent, Cole leaning against the frame of the door as Elisa held his gaze. She quickly noticed his injuries and tattered clothes. Jumping up slightly from his current state out of worry, she controlled her emotions as the young man slowly entered the room. Looking closely at the remorse painted across his face, she knew something must have happened after she passed out during the battle with Team Magma and Aqua. Her lips moved slowly but snapped shut once a faint glitter of light reflected from his eyes. He had been crying.
"I was a part of Team Magma."
Elisa held her breath, the machines in the room beginning to beep at a faster pace as the words hit her hard.
"...I've been with Team Magma for the past seven years…" Cole started, his expression darkening as memories surfaced with every word that left his dry lips. "Holland; that man you saw at Mount Pyre used to serve under Maxie, the first leader of Team Magma. They recruited me in order to battle Team Aqua that had been causing havoc throughout Hoenn-"
"I know who they are Cole! Why-Why would you join them?"
"It was my only choice!" His voice raised without him knowing, earning a startled look from Elisa. Cole flinched from her reaction as Riolu and Sealeo growled at him. He could tell from their expressions that the trust between them was tattered now, but he would tell them everything right here and now.
"I...I chose to join them because of what they did to my family…" Catching Elisa's attention, he continued. "They had attacked Lavaridge when I was a kid...I felt helpless back then because I couldn't protect anyone. Maxie and Holland helped fight Aqua so I was in their debt."
"...So you knew about my mother."
Cole's eyes widened in slight shock as Elisa's soft hazel orbs narrowed with suspicion. "Your mother?...You mean that woman-"
"Magma and Aqua hate each other, yet they were fighting together. You knew that my mom was with them and you never told me."
"I've never seen her until that battle! I never would have guessed that Magma and Aqua would join forces!" He pleaded yet Elisa's hard expression remained. "Holland took-" Cole choked on his words before shaking his head angrily. "H-He took two of my pokemon as punishment for my actions during Groudon's resurrection two years ago...Nidoking and another pokemon called Shedinja-"
"Nidoking?!" Memories of that man in the Desert Ruins suddenly flared. Her heart began to beat quickly as Cole's sinister expression of pure hatred screamed at her from that time. The reason why he told them to go on by themselves was to keep her from knowing about his true identity.
"I was only able to get Nidoking...but S-Shedinja...The only way that I would get them back was if I found another way to bring Groudon under our control."
Hazel eyes flickered with a new sense of realization. It all made sense to her now. "The only way to bring out their power. Through Rayquaza...That's why-" Tears began to form to Cole's surprise as Elisa squeezed the bed sheets between her fingers. "You only approached me because of my information on Rayquaza."
Cole opened his mouth to say something. No, I wanted to travel with you! I had no other choice! That's what he wanted to tell her, that these past weeks of travelling across Hoenn with her truly brought a sense of happiness to him, but he could not.
"You used me."
Those three words dug into Cole's heart as Elisa began to shake violently, heaving for air. It was true, since the first day, he had taken advantage of her intellect and naivety to help him search for the Dragon Plates. She may have believed that he truly wanted to journey the continent with her and help with her research, but he had only needed her to fulfill his orders from Team Magma.
Cole flinched once he noticed Elisa pointing towards the door with her non-bandaged arm. He reached out to her but she continued to weep. "...Elisa please wait-"
"I said get out! You never-" Tears continued to stream down her bruised cheeks as remorse and anger filled her being. "You never cared about me once didn't you! You only protected me because I knew of the Dragon Plates and what they could do to Rayquaza!"
"No!" He countered quickly. "Do you really think I wanted to stay with Team Magma after I met you?! They had my pokemon-I needed to find a way to get them back, I wasn't just using you-"
"You threw away your family to join them?!"
"What?!" Dark brown eyes flared with anger as Elisa matched his glare. "I did this to protect my family!"
"They were never in danger!" Cole flinched from her words as tears ran down her cheeks. "Team Magma and Aqua disbanded years ago, what were you trying to protect them from?! Your mom, dad, grandmother...and Kyra! You had a complete family to go back to, yet you stayed?!"
"I-I had no choice!"
"YES YOU DID!"
She screeched throwing a pillow at the bewildered man. "You're the strongest Trainer I've ever met Cole! Who could have stopped you?! I know they disbanded, so why did you stay?! You have a family to go back to! Do you even see the importance in that?! I-I...would have loved to say the same thing, but my own mother abandoned us to follow the same foolish ideals that you're sticking to right now! She took everything away from me!"
"...I...that's-" Speechless, Cole moved back as Elisa's chest rose with each heaving breath. He did have a choice back then...yet he-
"It's just as you said Cole." She cut him off as a rush of footsteps could be heard down the hall. "You helped me find the Dragon Plates, we're done here!"
A piercing shot went through he young man's heart as Elisa's cold remark struck him gravely. His legs began to shake as voices came from behind him but he could not hear them.
It was true after all.
What Holland said was right. People only used one another after all...When they first met, it was a deal to work together in order to find the Dragon Plates. It was only a deal between them...it wasn't something more. Those fleeting memories of her shy smiles, beautiful hazel eyes and insatiable love of legendary pokemon research stormed through his head. He was really going to lose her.
"Sir I'd like you to leave right now before we call security!"
Dark brown eyes flashed before turning to a pair of hospital staff in the doorway.
"Do you know this man Ms. Neville?" The nurse from earlier asked Elisa who wiped tears from her red eyes.
Cole froze as the young woman looked at him, a pained expression evident over her features as she moved her lips slowly to form words. Would she really reveal his identity to them? No...No then what would happen to him? His sister, the pokemon?! It was over-
Cole nearly fell to the floor, but was saved by the doctor who grabbed his arm.
"He was just worried about me…" Despite the pool of tears, Elisa smiled softly at the nurse who looked back and forth between her and Cole's broken form. "I-I'm sorry, he just couldn't wait."
"Sir these are not the visiting hours, and your injuries! You should come with me-"
Elisa, her pokemon and the hospital staff watched with surprise as Cole forcefully snatched his arm away from the man before turning towards the door. He gave one last look at Elisa's face, burning the image into his memory with what might be the last time he saw her. "I'll leave now-" He coughed roughly, all the strenuous activity beginning to take a toll on his body as he hobbled away from the one girl he finally realized that he loved.
Elisa, now alone with her pokemon in the dead of night once again could only stare at the doorway where Cole stood not too long ago. Her mind was fuzzy, distracted with the situation and his confession about Team Magma. With the Sky Plate resting firmly in her bag at the end of the room, the researcher tried to hold what little composure she had left but was failing miserably as more tears started to fall.
"...How could I be so stupid?!" She cried as Riolu and Sealeo looked on with concern. At first she had been shattered by the fact that Cole had been using her to get closer to Rayquaza but it was when he finally left that she realized that she was no different.
"I've been using him to fight all these battles since we started this journey-" Tugging at the damp bed sheets that held her tears, she kicked herself mentally at the thought. She had tested him back in Rustboro against a Trainer to see his worth, she forced him to protect her in the abandoned ship, went along with his plan to potentially get caught in the Oceanic Museum and nearly got themselves in the Desert Ruins by Regirock.
"How am I any different?"
They had used each other to reach their goals and kept secrets from one another since day one. "I knew he would be in danger, but I still forced him to find the Dragon Plates...He was hurting all this time with that secret...yet I-"
"Riii!?" The small Fighting-type jumped as Elisa suddenly pushed herself up from the bed. She cried out, pain ripping through her body but she fought it, slowly making her way to her backpack.
"...These treasures, they've only made things worse!" Grabbing its cool surface, Elisa glared at the Sky Plate, ready to slam it into the floor. "These things have only hurt me-"
Blinking in confusion, Riolu and Sealeo turned their heads to the side as Elisa stopped mid-swing. Her hands began to tremble to their surprise before the woman dropped to her knees. They held their breaths as Elisa's tired eyes began to fill with tears again.
"T-This can't be-" She dug her nails into the plate as the small scripture reflected the moon's light. The Sky Plate had the longest written piece, but it was what she read that made her stomach churn painfully with each passing letter.
"Churning of Earth...nor Crashing of Seas control my will. None...shall cling to the reaches of Heaven for all below the Skies bow before my power...Call me forth with the power of darkness to ravage Earth and Sea. Rewrite...is my command...Winds shall erase... I am the Epitome of our kin...harbinger of my own rebirth. God of the Skies..." The words hung loosely in the air.
That roar above Mount Pyre...the changes in the weather across Hoenn. The pieces finally fell into place as Elisa let the Sky Plate slip through her fingers.
"Rayquaza will destroy Hoenn."