What is Power?
A question that ravaged him for decades, Holland drummed his knuckles against a wooden desk as he leaned against the back of the old chair that once seated Team Aqua's Archie. His eyes fixated on two of the hidden treasures of Hoenn, the fill of complete authority within him. In his youth, he conquered pokemon, challenged the very precipice of Trainers to battles and even dared to face myths beyond human grasp. Now he was the leader of Team Sky, a union between land and sea in order to control the mightiest legend of Hoenn.
What is Power? For all his life he had been at the top. Even when Maxie was leading their organization years ago, he was his right-hand man, never backing down from a challenge, always searching for ways to put their team above the other. Red eyes twinkled with fascination as the Earth and Ocean Plates shone with brilliance, their proximity adding to their glow. Only one more and he would control Rayquaza.
Was that the answer? Having ones at your own beck and call was impressive, but even that was starting to become an annoyance. He wanted more. Rayquaza would give him that. He raised a hand to the treasures, sliding his fingers against the smooth surfaces.
Pokemon equaled power. Their abilities, strengths and overwhelming capacity to evolve. That was power, to be able to adapt to every challenge and succeed. By controlling pokemon, he would obtain that power for himself. Control of pokemon meant power.
A sudden ring of a phone snapped the man from his thoughts. Glaring at the cellular device, Holland quickly snagged the phone before lifting it to his ear.
"Leader Holland. Our researchers here at Sky Pillar have been noticing several spikes in energy coming from within the structure for more than three days!"
"Meaning." He leaned forward, his lips churning into a sadistic smirk.
"Usually the spikes in energy have been minimal, but their readings are going off the scales now. We believe something must have awakened inside...or around the tower. We've never seen anything like-"
"Understood. We'll be arriving by nightfall. Update me every hour on the readings."
With a small click, the connection was lost and the man was alone once again. A small burst of air from his nostrils, then another. He began to laugh, hysterical almost as the words from his men circled him.
"...It's almost time."
A sudden swing of the room's door choked the man of his amusement before a woman entered without warning. Glancing at the man for a brief moment, Professor Snider then quickly turned her attention to the two Dragon Plates that stood atop Holland's desk.
"You have a petty laugh."
"And you have terrible etiquette."
Elizabeth smirked for a moment before she marched to his desk and picked up the Ocean Plate. Her fingers pressed the glass-like surface as she stared at the treasure. "These have the power to manipulate nature itself…May I?"
"Of course. We'll be leaving shortly so hurry and complete the preparations."
"They were completed weeks ago. The only thing I needed was the final key." Elizabeth countered before she turned on her heel towards the exit. "We'll test it on the way to Sky Pillar."
A few pebbles splattered into the cold waters of the ocean. An insignificant drop in the mighty pool of the ocean before a few larger stones stabbed its surface with a frightening crash. Even though the sound was nothing compared to the roaring waves that clawed along the cliffs of Lilycove City, Elisa cringed from the sound as she and Lucario scaled along the narrow path to their destination.
"Almost…there." Elisa breathed with short breaths as she tried to maintain her balance. With each step, her footing played with her nerves as the ocean sprinkled itself across their bodies. Thoughts of Noah and Kyra danced across her mind as she made each uneasy step. 'I won't let them get away...This time…This time I'll be there to help!' She reassured herself before leaping for the other end of the rocky path, landing with a hard thud.
'I can feel others close by.' Lucario informed her before landing at her side gracefully only to earn a jealous glare.
"So they're on the other side." The researcher let out a tired groan, her injuries stinging before she got to her feet and moved quickly against the cliff face. Glancing down, Elisa held her breath as the ocean stared back. Even though she was a good swimmer, growing up in Mossdeep gave you that by default, she doubted her abilities as the waves crashed against the earth with continuous force.
Taking the lead, Lucario guided Elisa along the cliff's face, around a narrow bend of slippery rocks before stopping abruptly. 'Only one is here.' Opening his piercing red eyes quickly, Lucario pointed to the edge of the cliff.
Elisa wasted little time, crawling along the earth behind Lucario's advancements before making it to the end. Peeking over the cliff, the young woman could feel her chest pound a little harder once she noticed a large man below. He was wearing a large green vest, his muscles flexed to unnatural levels in her opinion as he continued to glare at the still pool of water that sat at the foot of a large cave entrance.
'...We'll have to battle him.'
"W-What?!" Elisa gasped, snapping her attention to Lucario who already anticipated her reaction.
'Our friends are deep within that cave, I have the power to help you...We can get to them, but it will have its challenges.' The Aura pokemon explained while forcing Elisa's head back down as the Sky grunt glanced up in confusion.
He was right after all.
Elisa sighed, unsure of her next move as she stared at Lucario's deep red eyes. They were going after both teams this time, but she only had two pokemon to depend on. What would normal Trainers do in this situation?
"You sound just like Cole." She mused, nodding slightly from Lucario's words before the Aura pokemon mirrored her movement, their attention back on the grunt. "If we're going to do this...then...then we need to be strong for when we actually find them. So...so that means as few battles as possible!"
Elisa could have sworn Lucario looked apathetic to the idea of fewer battles, but quickly ignored it as he got to his feet. A faint blue aura encircled the Fighting/Steel type before it began to deepen in colour.
"Come on! Come on!"
"Where are the pokemon from Rustboro?!"
"Hey piss ass, those are staying here!"
Kyra leered at the men and women rush back and forth in front of them. Like a bunch of wild Sandshrew, they popped in and out of her view, carrying crates and cages filled with pokemon from their cells to God knows where. She squeezed her legs closer to herself as one of the grunts dropped something, earning a barrage of insults from their commanders.
"They've been doing this for hours now…" She muttered to herself before glancing at Noah who stood beside the cell's bars. His face was stern, unflinching as their captors glared right back at him. Despite their situation, she had never felt at a complete loss during their time because of the pony-tailed blonde. He would usually just be a comedic loser when Cole and Elisa were around, but now he was completely different.
"What are you doing with all those pokemon?!" Noah snapped at the guard who instantly sneered from his words.
"How many times do I have to tell you, none of your damn business!" He snapped, yanking Noah's t-shirt to his and Kyra's surprise. "Now shut the hell up before I stain your hair red!"
"Noah!" Kyra jumped once the boy was thrown back against the stone walls of their prison. He cried out, wincing from the pain as the two grunts laughed. Pulling the sailor to his knees, Kyra's deep brown eyes shimmered with worry as Noah glared at the Sky grunts.
"I'm okay…" He shrugged it off before glancing at Kyra. "They've been moving around for so long while we just sit here. It's just driving me crazy!"
"Just wait until they open those doors, I'll get that guy back." Kyra chirped as she turned to the grunts who seemed to be focusing their attention on the pokemon across the hall. She felt her heart crush with an intense weight once she noticed a rather large container housing a thick blue mud fish. It's face was beaten and multiple bruises were painted across its skin.
The hulking mud fish snapped its eyes open once Kyra's voice reached it.
"Hey?! Calm down!"
The grunts moving Cobalt's cage jumped in surprise once the Water/Ground type began to slam against the bars with a tired roar. Turning its deep yellow eyes towards its Trainer, Cobalt roared louder as Kyra lunged against her own cage to reach her pokemon.
"Let go of him! How dare you do that to my family! I'll kill you-stupid pieces of shit! LET HIM GO!" Kyra swore with all her might, yanking and clawing at the Sky grunts who guarded her.
"We told you to shut up!" The grunt lunged for Kyra's arm to her surprise with a metal baton. She froze, anticipating the sharp pain but it never came as her body was pulled backwards in an instant. Slamming against something firm, she gasped once the sound of hard metal connected with concrete.
"...Hmph! Lucky he was there." The Sky grunt sneered as his weapon rang off the ground before he turned back to Kyra's Swampert. "This one put up a good fight for the last couple of days. Hopefully he still has enough energy for later."
"N-Noah…" Kyra breathed once she noticed that it was the boy that had pulled her away from the attack. She turned around slightly, mixed feelings washing over her as Noah gave her a weak smile before looking towards Cobalt's beaten form.
"If you get injured now, who knows what Cobalt will do...you could put him in even more danger than he is now."
Kyra flinched from his words before snapping her attention back to her starter pokemon. He was right after all. She had let her emotions get the better of her...again.
"They're bringing our pokemon somewhere…but I've only seen them moving Water pokemon." Noah started, catching the girl's attention as Cobalt was moved further down the hall, away from their prying eyes.
"I don't know what they're planning, but it involves a lot of Water pokemon."
"Do you think Magma may have made some type of deal with Aqua?"
"...Or maybe Aqua may betray Magma now?"
The two young Trainers furled their brows in deep thought before more grunts appeared across the hallway. Kyra flinched once she noticed the group surround the chambers that held Cole's pokemon. Houndoom remained still, Aggron narrowed its eyes confidently and Solrock lifted itself from the floor in anticipation as more grunts seemed to enter.
"Alright everyone." The apparent leader announced before pulling out a few Pokeballs. "...Beat it out of them if they give you any trouble with the move. I want Cole's pokemon on the ship as fast as possible."
Kyra's heart sank once she noticed Nidoking's furious glare. He had gone through so much, she could imagine…'Don't give up guys...We'll get out of this somehow.'
Meanwhile, a single grunt smirked from his seat as he watched what chaos would ensue between Team Sky and Cole's pokemon.
"Good thing I don't have to deal with those guys. Even if Cole's not here, they'll still up one hell of a fight!" He laughed before leaning back in his chair. Glancing at the other monitors that overlooked Team Aqua's retired base, the grunt let out a deep sigh as he laid eyes on one of Hoenn's Elite Four. Phoebe remained still, watching the hallways in front of her while standing in front of her grandparents.
"I wonder if we can use her as bait to get the other members too?" He wondered before leaning forward to press the zoom button on the main board. His eyes glossed over the women's dark skin, a small urge rising in the pit of his body as his imagination got the best of him.
"...Or maybe I can help out with taking care of her-"
"Whoah!? What the-" He jumped once the screen framing Phoebe blacked out. Getting to his feet, sweat started to run down his temple as he frantically pushed at the motherboard. "C-Come on! I didn't even do anything! Old piece of-" Before he could even release his frustration, the screen beeped to life, catching the man off-guard.
Eyeing Phoebe and her grandparents for any signs, he blinked in confusion as their hostages remained still, as if nothing had happened.
'Ok...Just one step at a time! Nice...Nice...just a little further. See it isn't that bad! You're doing great! You can do this. You've seen others do it before! Just like in the movies! I'll be the hero-'
Elisa froze once her foot punted a stone off the edge of the cliff over-looking the entrance to Team Sky's lair. Lucario looked on with horror as the stone skipped, bounced and finally plunked itself into the still pool of water, scattering shards of crystal clear orbs into the air.
"Maybe he didn't notice." Elisa attempted to reason to her partner.
'He's looking directly at you.'
"HEY! Who the hell-"
Before Elisa could utter a retort, Lucario leaped from the cliff, rocks and debris trailing behind its feet as it glared at its newest opponent. Dark blue energy began to swirl around the Aura pokemon's palms as the man gasped from the surprising speed of Lucario.
"Auugh!" He cried out in pain as a jolt of electricity spread through his chest from the point of impact before rocketing into the steel walls of the entrance. Sliding to the floor, the large man let out a rasped breath before his head tilted to the side, completely knocked out.
'I should make Lucario the Trainer and pokemon...' Elisa let out a deep sigh of relief before making her way down the slippery slope. Running around the pool, she beamed once she noticed Lucario watching the entrance closely, deep red eyes never wavering.
"Well that's one down, great job Lucario!" She smiled before turning to the grunt that lay unconscious, sparks of electricity spurting from the man's form every few seconds. "I guess we should probably move him."
Lucario nodded before walking over to the large figure. Lifting him with relative ease, Elisa cocked her head to the side once she noticed the massive green hood that went along with his Team Sky attire. A sudden rush of adrenaline then washed over her as Lucario dropped the man closer to the edge of the pool with a thud.
Meanwhile, as the pair huddled around the large man, a camera droned softly above the steel doors that blocked Elisa and Lucario from their friends. It reflected the light from the water's surface before golden sparks jetted from its body. As if coming to life itself, the machine twitched continuously before zooming in on the Fighting/Steel type with exponential intrigue.