The gentle lapping of brisk ocean waves and the salty sting of the sea air engulfed the senses of a young boy as he sat on the edge of a boat, over-looking the seaway that led to Dewford Town. He smiled brightly at the scene before him: Wingulls and Pelippers cried out happily as they soared through the air above, eyeing the water's surface for signs of prey. The boy scratched his dirty blonde hair softly before turning to his long time starter Pokemon Wartortle who was fast asleep in its shell, rocking every once in a while to show that it was snoring peacefully. The boy's aqua blue eyes brightened in amusement while watching his sleeping friend. He would be going back to Dewford Town tonight, he thought before sighing, to face some tough company.
"I need to talk to my parents!" The boy finally exhaled, flailing his arms hysterically, before falling onto his back. The wood panels that provided flooring for the ship he had used for his journey creaked softly under the added pressure.
The young Trainer had drastically stopped his Pokemon journey a couple of months ago, realizing that he was never going to live up to the expectations his parents had placed upon him when he began.
'Hey son! Know what'll really kick butt? A super-duper Squirtle!' His brain mocked to him. They had even given him a prized Pokemon from the Kanto region, blatantly bribing him that a rare Pokemon was needed to show others that he was a top-tier Trianer. He played with his hair subconsciously, spinning the small ponytail at the end of his head, remembering the moment.
His mother was a retired, but well known Pokemon Coordinator while his father was a renowned sailor, having sailed through three major regions: Hoenn, the Sevii and Orange Islands in his youth. Even though they urged him to become a Pokemon Master, like most young children, his mind and body had drifted towards his father's past work. A Wingull then landed beside him.
Turning to the small white bird, he smirked. "Hey buddy! Did you get the catch of the day?" He asked eagerly.
The Wingull cried happily, opening its mouth to show a mouthful of small pearls before dropping them into his out-stretched hand. His Wingull was another Pokemon on his team, catching the Water/Flying type back in Dewford. He had taught the Pokémon many moves on his short journey, allowing all of them to get by during their hardships.
"What happened to MY PEARLS!" A man cried out in shock from the other end of the harbour. The boy and his Wingull laughed mischievously as they continued to hear the sailor roar out in a disbelief.
"~More money for us~!" Noah smiled at his friend as he rolled the pearls in his hand, the white orbs glistening beautifully in the late afternoon sun.
Wingull was his little thief, stealing from countless Trainers and shopkeepers during their journey when times were tough. Eyes narrowing from a feeling in his gut, he didn't see anything wrong with it. Were they really going to miss a couple of fruits or Pokedollars when he passed by?
Wartortle then popped out of his shell and groggily looked up at Wingull and Noah who were still giggling in amusement. Looking back and forth between the two before noticing the pearls in Noah's hands, it instantly realized what they had done. Wartortle yawned at the new treasure before withdrawing back into his shell, expectations about its Trainer fulfilled.
'If we keep this up, we should be able to finally upgrade the ship to go on a real sailing adventure! Even the Orange Islands!' Noah smirked as he placed the pearls into his treasure bag next to Wartortle.
"We'll finally be able to sail the high seas forever!" He beamed, sitting up and petting Wingull for the job well done. Wingull ruffled its feathers happily before flapping its long wings to soar back into the darkening sky. The young boy got back up to his perch and fixed his sky blue spring jacket that was draped over his white t-shirt with the traditional Hoenn insignia embedded on its front.
The would-be sailor was just about to prepare for the sail back home before he noticed, from the corner of his eye, a large black dog Pokemon with a couple of adults talking to a fellow sailor at the neighbouring dock. He eyed the male of the group curiously as the girl attempted to reason with the brawny sailor.
"Why can't you just sail us to Dewford Town!..I mean, please?...Um..We can give you money!" A young researcher struggled with the words of her plea, opening up a purse that shamelessly revealed a few measly bills. A bead of sweat ran down Elisa's forehead as Cole looked away from her with shame written all over his face.
A sunburnt face sneered in annoyance as a large sailor tied his boat down, clearly indicating that he was not willing to comply to her offer. "Ya really think that I'm going to sail you two down to Dewford Town? For nothing? Get outta here before I pull my Pokemon out to show you what happens when little pricks piss me off!" He threatened before a free hand reached for his pocket.
"That a challenge?" Cole's eyes narrowed at his potential opponent cautiously.
Panicking in fear of a potential brawl, Elisa turned to Cole and waived her hands in front of him frantically. "C-Calm down! We need him to sail us to Dewford Town at least!" She pleaded, trying to avoid the unnecessary conflict. Cole refrained from replying to the researcher's plea, but continued to hold onto a prepared Poke ball, refusing to take his eyes off the sailor.
"You guys are idiots, tryin' ta bribe me with crap. The least is ten thousand! Ya hear me!" The sailor demanded, smirking at the two for a response.
"Ten thousand!" Elisa gaped in astonishment.
"Take it or leave it." The sailor shot back, knotting the rope tightly before turning to leave.
"B-But we don't.." Elisa turned back to Cole for help, but he shook his head, earning a look of disappointment in response. He would willingly help, but working for a defeated organization did not exactly come with a high paycheck. She sighed in defeat as the sailor gave the two a smug look before shoving past the pair to leave for the day, intentionally calling out sailor-restricted level swear words in his wake.
"Why would you even show that guy an empty wallet?" Cole asked in confusion, turning back to Elisa after the skirmish.
Elisa sent him a dead-panned look as her initial response, "At least I tried to ask politely! Unlike you who just said: 'Give us the boat.' to everyone else!" snapping back while doing a horrible, yet good by her standards, job of mimicking Cole's smooth voice. "Did you really think that they would just hand it over?" She finally droned, hands on her hips in annoyance.
"We don't need to ask, we can just take a boat. He's already gone." Cole responded in a matter-of-fact tone. He was eyeing the same boat that the sailor had 'willingly' abandoned earlier.
"What?" Elisa gasped in shock. "No, that's just cruel. We need to ask someone for help!" Elisa suggested in a hushed tone as a couple of people walked by.
"Wimp." Cole jabbed back. Elisa's cheeks flared as Houndoom looked at the girl with amusement. The young woman seemed level-headed at first glance, but could be easily riled up whenever Cole said anything to her for some reason. The Dark/Fire type snickered slightly as the two continued to bicker in low tones.
"You guys need a lift?"
Cole and Elisa managed to stop their small banter, both glancing up to a young boy that was sitting on top of a medium-sized boat. He smiled down at the two and waived at them. "I couldn't help but overhear you guys needing a boat?" He glanced around the harbour in mock search of a sailor, but they were all gone to his amusement.
"It doesn't look like anyone is willing to help you guys. But I can." Noah offered with a smirk.
"But you're just a kid." Cole stated simply. Noah's eyebrow twitched slightly as he tried to keep up his smile.
"I'm actually fourteen," He stated coolly. "I'm not a kid anymore."
"...That's still a kid." Noah hung his head in defeat at Cole's obvious reply. "So this is your parent's boat? Where are they so that we can ask them." The Magma Admin's words teetering towards a demand rather than a question.
Noah's shrewd smile that could usually fool anyone couldn't hold up for much longer. When he first spotted Cole, he thought the young man looked very cool. But now, that view of him was quickly slipping. "Uhh...It's my boat? I bought it with my own money. I'm a sailor of the Southern seas of Hoenn. My name is Noah!" Noah announced proudly as he slapped his chest with pride.
Elisa smiled at the boy's exuberance. "It's nice to meet you Noah. My name is Elisa, and this is Cole." She introduced both of them politely. "If you don't mind, would it be alright if you can give us a lift to Dewford Town?" Elisa asked nicely before elbowing Cole's stomach, preventing him from jumping in.
"Sure, it's not a problem. Who would not do a favour for a pretty girl?" Noah smiled, causing Elisa to snicker slightly.
"Thank you so much! Er...Um, we can give you some money for.." Elisa trailed off as she meekly pulled out a couple of bills, her smile breaking down into a shocked one as she remembered her predicament.
'I hope we never have to go to Mauville...' Cole sighed in annoyance, imagining the young woman's feeble attempts at bribery at the Corner slots.
"It's cool!" Noah laughed. "I'm on my way to Dewford Town anyway so it's not a problem for me. Anyway, I have enough money right now so it would feel that I'm stealing from you. Hehehe.." He finished with a hidden smirk. The young sailor then pointed to the side of the boat, "Hold on, I'll get the side bridge down."
"Oh, Thank you! You're so kind!" Elisa beamed happily as she ran over to the side, waiting eagerly.
Cole and Houndoom walked over with less enthusiasm. Coming from the land-locked region of Hoenn, he was not very adept to wet conditions. Ocean waters and sailing was something he was not looking forward too. He leered at Elisa that went unnoticed by her, 'If she wasn't such a wimp and would just fly, we wouldn't need to be begging for a boat ride from some kid.' Cole spat, following suit.
The side bridge bounced off of the wooden dock as Noah's head poked out from the top of the boat. "Alright hop on in! Sit wherever you want, just watch out for the shell." Noah announced as the duo walked onto the base of the ship, Houndoom right behind them.
"Shell?" Elisa asked as she looked around the spacious area to spot a large mahogany coloured shell. She eyed it curiously as it rocked back and forth. "Is that a Wartortle's shell?" Elisa asked as she bent down beside the Water type.
"Ohhhh, smart and pretty!" Noah laughed, causing Elisa to blush modestly. She loved it when people acknowledged her intellect. "Most people in Hoenn have never seen Pokemon from Kanto. You must be really into Pokemon if you know a Wartortle just from the shell." He explained, clearly impressed.
"My family used to travel to the Kanto region when I was younger so I got to see some Starter Pokemon in Pallet Town when I was there. Kanto Pokemon look very exotic compared to the Pokémon here in Hoenn though." Elisa replied with a smile, her usual shy demeanour fading.
Cole continued to watch the two closely as they were now wrapping up their light conversation that he had refused to join in. Now informed about Elisa's keen awareness on Pokemon, he sat down against the front sail of the boat. Houndoom yawned before laying down beside its Trainer and quickly falling into a light nap. Cole then peered at her as the conversation died down, "We need to move quickly in order to reach Slateport in time. You know we have a task to complete." Elisa glanced at him as soon as the words hit her ears. He was right, this wasn't a vacation.
Noah looked between the two curiously before he walked over to the sails and opened them. The two large sails ruffled strongly in the cool winds causing the boat to rock harder in a duet with the ocean waters.
He then looked up to the flock of Wingulls and Pelippers circling above, "Hey Wingull! We're heading out now!" Suddenly one of the birds dived out of the flock and circled around Noah's boat. Noah smiled when he saw his trusty partner return to him once again, "Alright, the winds coming in from the North so we should get there by morning." Elisa and Cole nodded at the announcement as they prepared for the trip. Noah quickly pulled up the anchor and the boat began to push forward with a loud groan of yielding wood.
"HEY! YOU STUPID RUNT! YOU'RE WINGULL STOLE MY PEARLS! HEY! GET BACK HERE YOU THIEF!" A voice boomed from the harbour's edge.
Cole and Elisa's eyes narrowed at Noah as he gave them an awkward laugh. He scratched the back of his head in innocence as the sailor from the harbour roared at the boat while throwing any random object he could get his hands on. He then turned back to his new companions who were still eyeing him with suspicion.
"Don't look at me like that!" Noah cried in defence. "I don't know what that crazy guy is talking about...hahaha!" Suddenly, Noah's Wartortle popped out of his shell in confusion from the noise, knocking the treasure bag over which spilled a handful of shiny pearls onto the deck. Noah felt his cheeks instantly heat up as Cole and Elisa's faces were blank, the pearls rolling back and forth with the lapping of each wave.
"Are you sure this is your boat." Cole asked dryly as he looked from the pearls to Noah's red face.
"I-It is gonna be a while before we reach Dewford Town so you guys should rest!" Noah suggested while snapping his head back to the horizon, clutching at the wheel with trembling hands.
Cole turned back to Elisa who was still eyeing the young boy. "This wouldn't have happened if we used Flygon." He said simply.
"Hm?...Flying is too dangerous anyway! I-I think its best if we reached Dewford this way." Elisa fumbled with her words, horrifying memories resurfacing from earlier that day as she took out her sleeping bag.
"Do you really want to go to sleep near a common thief?" Cole asked in a surprised tone. His excitement though, quickly fading, once he realized his own words.
"I'm not a common thief!" Noah barked.
"You're a magnificent thief then?" Cole suggested quickly, a perfect strike on an opportunity.
Noah pounded his head against the wheel."How could you do this on the very first day?" He cried while glaring at his Wartortle in shame for exposing him.
'I just need to deal with them until morning. Just until morning...' Noah repeated aggressively in his head as the boat began to pick up speed, heading south toward the sandy beaches of Dewford.