The perfect evening.
Yes, you would call it that. The baby was finally asleep, a storm prevented those pesky neighbours from trying to see said baby and your dear husband was watching some program about Dewfords trendy new saying. To top it off, you were under the protection of a light sheet to cover your bare legs…Yes this is what you would call absolutely…
Immune to the woman's outburst, a man continued to watch the flicker of the television program. He was used to this by now but he could tell from the way she continued to jab his leg that she wanted attention. He turned his attention away from the glare of the television to focus on his wife. Ever since he met her, these types of reactions would occur about every year or so. She was not a stay at home mom, that was for sure. Her bakery made her the bread winner surprisingly compared to his desk job, the cutest 8-month old would take most of her time when she got home, and he was definitely the type to keep her satisfied.
"...Well it's not like we can do anything," he poked her forehead earning a soft whine. "We might even be in a lock down too just like Lilycove because of this weird weather."
"I know that but…" She turned to the window as more sheets of rain slammed against the glass, blurring the outside world. "Don't you ever just want something fun to happen once in a while?"
"Excuse me Emma?"
"You know-" She smirked, getting on his nerves was almost child's play. "If we're locked up in the house...I don't want to just sit around all night-" She took in a sharp breath once her husband appeared in front of her with shocking speed.
"...So you want to do something."
"...Obviously...don't make me say it."
He smiled softly before moving in for the kill-
Both jumped from the sudden noise. Whipping her head around, Emma's big blue eyes shook with a mix of fear and suspense as the door suddenly roared to life as something banged against its wooden body.
Emma nodded frantically but was already on her feet behind her husband as he crept towards the front door. Grabbing onto his shoulders as he peaked through the hole, sweat began to run down her brow. Who would be outside in this sudden storm? Was it a kidnapper? A stalker about to profess their love? A legendary pokemon!? Oooh that would be amazing! Or maybe even a-
"Huh." Emma's rampant imagination was doused as the door swung open, carried by a powerful gust of wind and water. The couple gasped, covering their faces as the chilling winds slapped the anxiousness from their bodies.
Blinking in confusion, Emma and her husband stood dumbfounded as their little sister waved at them sheepishly with one hand while supporting some man with the other. That confusion could only be swallowed into an enigma of bewilderment as two other kids poked out from behind them in the pouring rain along with a posse of pokemon that must have seen better days.
"...Mind if we come in?" Elisa attempted to laugh but was only met with two pairs of suspicious eyes.
Pressing a finger to his temple, a tall man let out a tired sigh. "It's now or never." Pulling the trademark PokeNav from his pants, Steven held his breath as he dialed a few numbers before pulling the device closer to his face. His steel blue eyes glanced from side-to-side as men and women clad in white attire frantically passed by with each second.
"...Steven!" A relieved voice rang against the man's ears as a dashing pair of blue eyes met his. "I was worried because I called you before but you weren't answering. Are you okay? I've been trying to contact the others, but my signals is jammed here...I'll be leaving the city shortly."
"I'm fine, thank you Wallace." Steven nodded, his voice low. "I was able to notify Roxanne before I left Rustboro and Flannery will be helping out as well. But I can't get to Brawly-" He let out an exasperated breath, earning a surprised look from the Water Gym Leader.
"Drake and I took on Team Aqua."
"Yes...we were able to spot them leaving the bay outside of Lilycove earlier this morning...but they managed to escape using some kind of airship."
"An airship?...That doesn't seem to be their usual style."
"I know, but that's not the point." Steven continued, leaning against the wall behind him. "Drake and his Salamence were hit by some kind of attack from a strange weapon."
Wallace's shocked expression quickly turned bitter as Steven shook his head with regret. "...He's not-"
"He just needs rest for now." The former Champion spoke up before giving his good friend a strong smile. "We were caught off-guard, but I won't make the same mistake again…When they were escaping, I saw a Trainer chasing after them."
"One Trainer?!...That's suicide, taking on Team Aqua alone. Where do you think they're headed?"
"I'm not too sure, but if they left from Lilycove, they'll be heading East to Mossdeep," His voice wavered slightly from the thought. "or more likely...South…Has anything strange happened in Sootopolis?"
"The Cave of Origin has been releasing waves of energy for the past couple of days...ever since that explosion at Mount Pyre." Wallace pressed a slender finger to his lip as his side of the PokeNav began to shake. "Team Aqua...how could they manage to take down two Elite Four members so easily?"
"They're weapon was beyond my imagination." Steven quickly spoke up. "Drake wasn't able to defend himself at all. It was like…a terrible hurricane focused into a single attack…"
"So what do we do?...Brendan and May are not in the country."
"We're the ones that are tasked with protecting Hoenn." Steel blue eyes hardened as images of the young heroes flashed before him. "For now, contact Tate and Liza. Team Aqua's ship may be closer to Mossdeep, so their pokemon may be able to intercept them before they do anything drastic."
"On it." Wallace nodded quickly before he flashed a smile to the former Champion. "Don't worry too much, that Drake is frightening when he's angry. So he'll be up and running in no time!"
Steven smiled softly as the PokeNav faded to black. 'We need all the help we can get.' Steven glanced to the hospital room that held the Dragon Master. Despite his injuries, he was sleeping soundly. With two of the Elite Four down along with Brendan and May unable to help them due to the powerful storms, they were certainly in a pinch.
"Please...help us get through this."
"...So let me get this straight." Emma threw her hands up in the air, getting the attention of her new guests. Earlier this morning, she was sipping tea with her husband in the kitchen. Oh how things could change so quickly. She deadpanned at her sister as she attempted to calm the highly-stimulated ball of electricity zipping around her living room. "The last time I talked to you, Elly, you weresupposed to be on your way back home because someone's proposal went down the drain, right?"
"But somehow, by the grace of Jirachi, you managed to find some boy to help you with your research." Emma stood from her thick blue couch to point a finger at Noah who flinched in his seat across the room.
"I clearly saw two boys beside you when you came knockin, right Ayden?"
"I believe that's right. You were supposed to come home and go back to school." Emma's husband added, glancing at the younger woman who fidgeted quietly.
"Well they needed transportation…" Noah argued softly. "I can navigate a ship, so Cole asked me to join them on their journey."
"And this journey was to find...some treasures...The Dragon Plates, was it?" Emma turned back to her sister. "Yes, super ancient treasures that can possibly manipulate the very climate of our country?"
"So you decided to pursue this endeavour, despite the fact that the most dangerous organizations, Magma and Aqua-"
"T-Team Sky now."
"-Sky, are also going after those treasures to resurrect Groudon, Kyogre and Rayquaza?"
The room suddenly fell quiet. Kyra shifted her gaze to Elisa who kept her eyes downward, then to Noah who continued to pull at his ponytail. She would usually speak up in these kind of situations, but she wasn't at home anymore.
"I can't believe it…" Emma held in her breath. "WHY DIDN'T YOU TELL ME SOONER!"
Noah and Kyra both blinked in confusion as Elisa slammed a hand onto her forehead. Ayden managed to stifle a laugh before turning to leave the room.
"Why do you get to go on such a cool adventure while I'm stuck here?!"
"Love you too, dear!" Ayden shouted from the top of the stairs, heading towards their child's room.
"Mhmm...Anyway, so that boy upstairs-" Emma's blue eyes shone with excitement as she leaned towards her little sister. "He must be the boyfriend you were talking about, right?!"
"What was that!" Kyra stood from her seat, glaring at Elisa for her attempt to answer.
"H-He's not-" Images of the beach suddenly flashed before her. Her cheeks flushed which blue eyes quickly noticed.
"...She's not denying it, oh I'm soooo happy!" Emma clasped her silky hands over her sisters. "So you've been gallivanting with him for the past month because you were finally fed up with the restrictions of being a researcher! Oh I knew you had a wild side in you! I just knew it!"
"She's literally putting her own words into the story…" Noah leaned over to Kyra who's lip continued to twitch.
"You and my new brother-in-law." She pressed a finger to her lip in thought before jumping with shock. "...So it must have been you two-"
Elisa flinched from her sister's sudden change.
"You were the ones that robbed the Oceanic Museum!...Elisa, I know I say live your life to the fullest but-Wait…Did you go to Fallarbor Town as well?"
Emma frowned, turning to the window that continued to be pelted by rain. "Most of the town was attacked by a group of Trainers."
The trio gasped in shock from the older woman's words.
"That blasted Team Magma and Aqua-" Kyra punched the palm of her hand, suppressing her rage. "They were hunting us down the whole time!"
"They must have attacked...because Jin lives there-" Hazel eyes shook from the words. "...I endangered so many people...just because of the plates."
"We need to stop them before they get to Sky Pillar." Noah announced, catching the attention of the three girls. "They're using innocent pokemon to power the Ocean Plate. And now they have all three! We can't just sit here!"
"Obviously!" Kyra argued, glaring at the boy who stood his ground. "But our pokemon were beaten to a pulp!" Noah blinked in confusion when he heard the crack in the girl's voice. "...Cobalt...Backburner...they were no match for…that woman."
"Woman? Like the leader of this new Team Sky?...You guys battled with the best of Magma and Aqua?!" Emma beamed but Elisa avoided her sister's eyes.
"...Mom. It was mom."
Hazel met azure as the siblings exchanged a mix of emotions. Emma took a few steps back before falling into the seat of her couch.
Waited for Elisa to suddenly laugh it off as a joke, but she continued to stare at her, expression grim.
"...So that's where she's been."
"This isn't a joke." Elisa started, earning a surprised look from her sister. "Team Magma and Aqua have all three treasures now and are on the verge of destroying Hoenn unless we do something about it."
"You can't go."
Elisa flinched. Did her sister just say that? "...What?"
"You can't." Emma repeated, getting to her feet. "J-Just stay here tonight, it's on me, haha!...I'll get some clean sheets for Kyra and Noah too. A-And I think Ayden has some pokemon potions in the-"
"I am going!" Elisa slammed her hands against the fabric of the couch, trying to stop the shaking as Emma stopped mid-stride from leaving the room. "...I...I have to go, Emma!" Her heart pounded against her chest once her sister turned around, a fearful glare boring into her being. "...Please."
"Go?...and see more of my family disappear?!" Emma snapped. "Do you know how long mom has been gone? I bet you can't even remember her! She left dad just to find legendary pokemon! She never took care of you, I did!" Stomping across the room, she stood above Elisa who meekly retreated into the seat of the couch.
"We never had a mother because of Legendary Pokemon!" Tears began to spill. "I know I've always teased you about being such a shut-in, but this is different-"
"I know it's different."
Elisa rose slowly, "...It's different because lives are at stake, Emma. I-" She turned to Noah and Kyra who remained still. "I've seen so much just by travelling with everyone...if I turn my back on them now...when I was the one that threatened their way of life…" She let out a sigh before clenching her hands into fists.
"I'm not the same as mom." Hazel eyes flared with passion, "I'm not doing this for myself anymore!"
Emma stared with a soft gaze as the winds howled from outside. Gazing into her sister's surprisingly adamant will, it was shocking to see the amount of change. Once shy and allergic to standing up for herself, Emma's little sister was now far beyond her former self. "...You were never like this before...I…" Glancing back, she waved off her husband who had watched the entire exchange in silence.
"...You better not chicken-out when dad comes in the morning."
The moon hung low, peaking through the dense ocean of clouds that did not seem to move. A tall figure raised a foot onto a small boulder. Whistling to himself in amazement, the man eyed the scene in the middle of a massive lake as waves splashed against the beach.
"...Damn. Guess we missed the party…So that's the power of Rayquaza? They didn't even fully control it and it managed to do this…" Koji's eyes continued to move upward, along the surface of Mount Pyre until they stopped at its peak. Smoke and ash continued to flutter from the apex, sparkling in the faint moonlight.
"They even sealed off the entrance…" He turned to the dock that usually held ferries to the pokemon grave. However, yellow tape blocked its gates, the destruction of the mountain warding off any visitors. "You see buddy-" Snatching a defenceless old man from the hands of the guards behind him, he turned to him with a smirk. "This could have been prevented if you just spilled everything to us in the first place."
"I….I-" Jonbi struggled to form words. His face was a mess, matted with dirt and tears from being dragged across Hoenn to Mount Pyre. His soft eyes turned to the heavens. The destruction was as clear as day. Not even the cries of pokemon echoed over the still waters, only silence as his view jolted to and from the multiple areas of lightning strikes.
"Well it's not like we need you anyway now."
Those words snapped the old man from his thoughts. Flinching as Koji pulled him closer to his face, the Magma Admin sneered. "Guess we can dispose of you and that old hag's husband now. We have all the Dragon Plates now."
"I've waited long enough." Koji tossed the man to the ground. He cried out in pain, rolling across the cold earth before a few grunts pulled him to his feet. "Dump him somewhere, let the wild pokemon take care of him."
He struggled to resist but the men were too strong for him. They could not be serious? To leave him in the wild? "I haven't done anything-Please! I just want to go home!"
"You'll make a new home here." Koji laughed. "Come on, we need to get to Sky Pillar by-" A thick brow raised in confusion as the winds suddenly began to pick up. Confused awes and murmurs echoed from the grunts around him, but Koji glanced to the lake's surface, then the forest around them, then up. These winds weren't normal.
Grunts suddenly screamed out in surprise as a bolt of lightning pierced the earth. An ear-splitting crack followed before men and women were flung through the air by the intensity of the attack. Slamming against the boulder he was just on, Koji grunted in pain before he looked up only to see a dog-like figure slam its legs into the crater that formed.
Sapphire eyes could only look on in a dazed surprise once a large bird suddenly dive-bombed from the clouds above. In one swift motion, Jonbi was snatched from the pile of grunts that lay on the field before vanishing into the night air. Just as swiftly as the electric dog had descended, it rose back into the sky in a bolt of lightning, blinding the man's vision. Silence met the man's ears again as the grunts struggled to get their footing. Few words formed in the man's head as the events unravelled before him.
"...What just happened."
Blinking in confusion, Jonbi struggled to open his eyes from the cold winds slapping at his face, but also out of fear before finally gazing upon his saviour. He was quickly met with a pair of emerald green eyes.
"I knew it was you my friend!" Jin greeted happily as his Pidgeot swerved in the skies, its sights set on Lilycove City. "I've been following those grunts since Mauville, but I never would have imagined that you would be with them!"
"Jin!" Jonbi smiled in return, clutching onto the man's thick coat. His smile quickly faded before he turned back to Mount Pyre that dwarfed the lands around it. "Thank you for everything-but its too late!"
Jin furled his brow, pushing for the elderly man to continue.
"They managed to capture all of the Dragon Plates!" Jonbi cried, dropping his head in defeat. "Those children that I gave the shard to...Team Magma must have-"
Jin flinched from his pokemon's cry. "Hold on Jonbi. What is it Pidgeot?" Turning to the large bird pokemon, he combed his fingers through its feathers. Nodding in response, Pidgeot quickly tilted its tail to the side, swerving through the chilly air before it began to descend upon the thick grasslands.
"Why are you going to the Safari Zone?" Jin called out, but his bird continued to descend, the speed pulling at both men's stomachs.
"I believe it sees something-" Jonbi called out, earning a surprised look. "...There!"
Turning back to the fields below, Jin flinched once his eyes landed on two figures. If not for his pokemon's superior vision, he would have never noticed that familiar creamy fur. "That's...It can't be-"
Ninetales growled angrily as a burst of wind blasted her and a still body that lay on the grass. Its red eyes flared as the bird pokemon swung through the air like a pendulum before flapping its thick wings to keep its balance. Landing with a thud, the Fox pokemon's intensity died down somewhat when a man leaped off Pidgeot's back.
"S-Simone!" Jin screamed before running towards the woman's still form. Emerald shook with shock once they gazed upon the ex-Admin's beaten form. Dried blood, torn clothes and bruises along with gashes marked Tori's body as he scooped her into his arms. "-Come on….Wake up!"
Amethyst eyes fluttered open from the words. As her sight returned, Tori struggled to speak from the piercing cold at her limbs. Glancing upwards, she blinked in confusion once Jin smiled down at her.
"Don't worry, it'll be okay!" Flipping the thick coat from his shoulders, Jin quickly wrapped it around Tori's beaten form. "...All of this...because of what I did." Shaking with anger, the man turned to Pidgeot who turned around, preparing to lift off.
"...What can we do."
Jin, Jonbi and Ninetales jolted from the words before turning to Tori who clasped onto Pidgeot's body. Jin shook his head, trying to calm her dark features. "Even if you're a part of Team Magma, it's not-"
"It is!" She cried, glaring at Jin. "...You don't know...how...how helpless I felt when Rayquaza attacked everyone!" The young woman turned to Ninetales who cuddled against her leg. "I ran away from all of it...I left Cole to die!"
"C-Cole?!" Jin and Jonbi blurted out before turning to each other with as much surprise.
"He unleashed that power...and I just left him there-My own friend!"
Jin's face darkened as the missing pieces finally began to fall in place within his racing mind. The plates were snatched by members of Magma...then back at the Oceanic Museum...the collapse of the Desert Ruins...and Mount Pyre.
"Simone...you and Cole...were working for Team Magma all this time."
What?!" Jonbi gasped in shock as Tori buried her head into Pidgeot's back. "B-But I never felt a trace of hatred or evil from him when I gave him the Dragon shard!...This can't-"
"Was he playing all of us…" Jin murmured to himself. Suddenly flashes of the man's face back in Mauville hovered above. "No...or was he playing Magma? Like I did with Aqua?" Shaking his head free from the avalanche of questions, Jin grabbed his old friend before putting him on Pidgeot's back as well.
"Take them to Lilycove-I'll meet you there." Before the pair could utter a word, Pidgeot launched itself into the dark skies before swinging in the direction of the city pelted by snow.
Ninetales glared at Jin for a few moments before the man smiled softly in its direction. "Don't worry...I have a place in the city...She'll be safe. So let's get moving too."
The Fox pokemon eyed the Trainer's face before dashing into the heavy wall of grass.
"...I've figured everything out now." He turned to the South, a chill running up his spine as a sudden breeze danced across the grassy fields.
"...But that means nothing if I can't do anything about it."
A soft thump rang into the his ears. Then another.
Peeling his dark brown eyes away from a pair of sharp ones, Cole felt somewhat at ease once Elisa's tender gaze washed over him. Lifting himself from the bed, he grunted only to be met by a familiar scent wafting into his nose.
"You can get some rest for now…" The young researcher pressed into the mattress softly, a small groan coming from the sheets as she sat. Rubbing the bandages along his back, she turned to him. "...How are you injuries?"
"Is that so-" Elisa fought off the grin pulling at her lips as dark brown met hazel once again. She softly pressed her fingers against the bandages around his bare back, earning another grunt in return. "…You know we can...be...b-be more honest with...each other." Despite what happened at the beach, it was still quite nerve-wracking for her to speak to him like this. The memory of her desperate action to save him, she fought off the heat in her cheeks. She would probably take to her grave.
"...I know." Cole nodded, earning another smile. "I don't want us to hide anything from each other..." Gazing over the many cuts and bruises that laced his body, Cole flexed his hands, reassuring himself. "But my pain is minor to what Holland and the others might do to Hoenn...We only have one more day…How are the others?"
"Kyra and Noah went to the Pokemon Centre to heal most of the pokemon." She leaned over Cole, noticing Houndoom's sleeping form. "I guess he wants to stay with you tonight." She whispered, smiling at the fire hound.
"I'll bring him to the Pokemon Centre tomorrow morning then...I hope Flygon, Solrock and Aggron are okay there."
"They were worried, but Kyra managed to convince them to stay the night." She glanced at Nidoking in the corner of the room before looking at Cole. "I can come with you too."
Cole nodded softly from her words, but his attention was focused elsewhere. Narrowing her eyes, she followed his gaze before she realized it was the large poison pokemon that he was weary of.
"...Everyone is tired of it all…"
"Let's go to bed then." Rising to her feet, Elisa glanced at Cole's somber gaze. Her brow rose, curious from his crestfallen expression before turning to Nidoking who sat in the corner of the large guest room. She did not notice until now, but its eyes were focused on Cole the entire time. Pulling at the fabric of her sweater Elisa felt a lump build in her throat as the Drill pokemon held its gaze before flicking its attention to the window.
"I'll see you in the morning, Elisa."
Flinching from his tone, the young woman glanced at Cole once more before shuffling to the door.
Closing it with a soft click, Elisa let out a breath once she got out that suffocating room. The look between those two...It was true…
A picture was worth a thousand words.