Two weeks later…
It was calm. Like the polar opposite of what happened not too long ago.
His dark eyes watching Houndoom sleep soundly at the edge of the bed, wrapped in bandages, a small smile graced Cole's lips. Shifting slightly from his sitting position, the young man turned his attention to a woman and nine-tailed fox that sat on the left side of the bed. Her attention was focused on the television that flashed images of two large creatures over and over.
"...I don't think Hoenn will ever be the same."
"Yeah." Cole played with the white sheets of the bed as he eyed the faces of Groudon and Kyogre. Ever since that day, "Looks like they're enjoying Hoenn as much as we are."
"I doubt anyone that comes near them will enjoy it that much." Tori snickered, glancing over her shoulder. "They're not bothering anyone...and people won't ever bother them in return. But it's still kind of weird you know?"
Cole nodded from her words. With the destruction of the Orbs and Dragon Plates, an extraordinary surge of natural energy had poured all over Hoenn from Sky Pillar. Groudon and Kyogre had taken a liking to the energy, but with it pouring over the entire region, their focus was on the very boundaries of the continent. Groudon to the North and Kyogre to the South.
"...What do you think will happen to the cities? I doubt people are going to want to be in Dewford for too long with Kyogre and the others so close." Tori mumbled, turning back to the program. "I've never seen so many pokemon running around."
Dark brown eyes narrowed with thought. "Well we're on everyone's radar now…" He turned to the clouds outside, a small knot in his throat. Flocks of flying pokemon were passing by in the distance of the bright afternoon sun. "...I don't want to admit it...But I think we'll just have to cope with the changes...It's not like people have never seen pokemon before."
"I guess you're right." Tori nodded from his words before rising from her seat. "...Well...I'm off then." Her words were soft, catching Cole's attention as Ninetales trotted away from Houndoom's sleeping form. Tensing from the man's eyes on her, Tori shied away from his gaze before playing with her dark locks. "...Jin was able to cover up my history of Holland and the others….He wants me to leave...Leave Hoenn with him."
Clutching the sheets in response, Cole quickly hid his surprise before glancing at Houndoom.
Tori paled from the distant look in his eyes. "Y-Yes... The Pokemon League and police might not know my name but he thinks it's best to leave. There are still some members of Magma and Aqua that know our faces I bet."
"...Along with their families."
Both darkened from the words. The battle atop Sky Pillar...the atrocities of using the ancient treasures on people and pokemon. Tori and Cole knew it all too well. They may have survived but-
"You'll keep in touch?" Tori quickly asked as Houndoom shifted from its sleep before glancing at Ninetales and Tori.
"...You know I will." Cole smiled softly, earning a brighter one in return.
"I don't think anything will be the same from now on…" Her smile remained strong despite the shaking in her voice. "I'm really nervous Cole. But...I think that's a good thing."
And with the soft click of a glass door, Cole and Houndoom let silence fall over them as their long time friends disappeared down the hallway. The words still hanging over his head, Cole let out a soft sigh. With the release of so much natural energy from the Dragon Plates, Hoenn was now overflowing with life.
Beautiful to look at, yet dangerous all the while. Groudon and Kyogre now had their own areas stapled to the map, but they were luckily far away from civilization. The natural energy release also attracted new visitors to the shores of his homeland. Thinking back, his dad told him about strange pokemon from faraway regions that were starting to make landfall. Turning to Houndoom, "What do you think Lavaridge is like now boy? Wild pokemon must be living in my room now." The fire hound huffed at the thought as Cole stifled a laugh.
Wild pokemon were attracted to the abundance of wildlife that now saturated the lands and seas. Trees and plant life were now a part of major cities, the seas were filled with more Water pokemon than Noah could count and pokemon continued to migrate to the land. Steven and many officials had called for a meeting to deal with the problem, but a somewhat optimistic pulse beat in his chest from how people were reacting to the changes.
Similar to Fortree. The thought crossed his mind before a gentle knock snapped his train of thought.
"Cole. You're awake."
Hearing the soft voice, Cole quickly turned to gentle hazel orbs that sparkled upon meeting his own. "...You weren't supposed to be out of bed yet."
"The nurses said I'll be okay!" Elisa whined softly before plopping onto the bed beside the man. "You were the one that nearly died three times!" Cole could hear the pain in her voice, despite the intention of the joke.
"How are your pokemon?" He smiled up to her, catching her attention.
"Lucario still needs some rest…But Sealeo and Rotom should be okay. They're still with your mom and dad." She glanced at Houndoom for a second before reaching over to pet the fire hound. "...I'm surprised Houndoom's looking this healthy after everything that happened. Pokemon are amazing."
"They are." The words slipped from his mouth like a reflex. Houndoom and Flygon had taken their fair share of battles in the past, but those last few days placed a heavy toll on them. "I can't wait to see Flygon and Aggron when I get back to Lavaridge." Cole smiled as Houndoom wagged his tail in response. "...I'm glad that it's over."
His eyes widened once something soft landed on his shoulder. Shifting his head, he blinked in confusion once a fresh scent washed over his senses, hair tickling his nose.
"I'm sure the pokemon will be fine...But what about you?...How's...How's-" She looked up to him, her usually bright hazel orbs tinged with worry.
"Rayquaza told me that it will be okay." Cole answered quickly, his words soft. The pair remained silent for what seemed like hours. The gentle breeze from outside washing over them, Cole and Elisa stared into each other's eyes before the woman lifted Cole's arm from the sheets.
"Your mother was right." He started, "By destroying the plates...We were able to save Rayquaza from going out of control from the natural energy."
"But all of that energy being released at once would have destroyed Hoenn's entire ecosystem." Elisa added, ashamed. "All because I wanted to get the Dragon Plates...I...I didn't know."
"None of us knew…" He defended, raising his arm slightly to see the engraved markings of the dragon. Pressed into his skin like a brand, Cole stared at the markings with an inspired look. "But I knew that the only way to save Rayquaza and everyone else was to do this." Elisa stared at him, her eyes watering.
"...You'll be the container for life."
Cole nodded from her words. "It will be able to have control over nature this way...and if Groudon and Kyogre ever get out of hand…Rayquaza won't be alone."
Elisa eyed the man for a few moments before turning to his arm again. With the immense power of the plates losing their former restraints, the amount of energy that they were releasing was beyond Rayquaza's control. Wiping her tears, she put on a brave face for not only Cole, but herself as well. He and Rayquaza would be the ones that maintained the balance of that energy...
Knock Knock Knock!
Jumping slightly, Cole and Elisa's attention jolted to the doorway where three figures stood. "...H-Hello?...Steven, how are you?" Elisa greeted with a yawn.
"Good Evening." Steven started, walking into the room, his face stern.
Cole could feel his cheeks tighten and his jaw clench once he noticed the badges stapled to the chests of the two men behind the former Champion. His suspicions only rose once they eyed him, a judgemental aura emanating from their posture.
"...This is Cole Hughes." Steven started, turning around to the pair of men. One, quite large, was wearing a heavy black coat that ran down to his knees. His face aged with a grey beard. The other was younger, but wrinkles were still painted across his face to add to his short buzz cut.
Elisa squeezed the sheets between her fingers as Steven continued on.
"...He was pivotal in stopping Team Sky and saving Hoenn from the Dragon Plates."
"I see." The larger of the two started, rubbing his beard.
"...You told me that he would have healed by now. Steven, what-"
"Are you here to tell us something?"
Cole glanced at Elisa, surprised by the tone of her voice as she lifted herself from the bed. He noticed it a long time ago, but she was becoming more strong-willed when it came to speaking.
"Yes, we do." The bearded man responded quickly before pointing at the badge that dawned his chest. "I'm the Chief of the International Police, Vincent Briggs."
"And I'm the Chief of Hoenn's Police Force, Raymond Matthews."
Elisa and Cole tensed from the words before turning to Steven who avoided their fearful eyes.
"...W-What do you want?" Hazel eyes shook as Vincent narrowed his glare onto Cole.
"It should be obvious." Vincent responded, his stern jaw tightening. "We're here to take Cole Hughes."
"W-What?!" Elisa jumped, her eyes filled with terror.
Houndoom growled, leaping from the bed and landing between the men and Cole in an instant. Ignoring the pain along its body, the fire hound snarled. The officers stepped back warily before reaching for Ultra Balls from their belts.
"Hey!" Steven's voice boomed in the small room. "This is no place for a fight! Cole, call off your Houndoom!"
Turning to his long time friend, Cole shook his head quickly, earning an annoyed look from the Dark/Fire type.
"...Just listen." He voiced his words softly. It took a few seconds, but Houndoom finally hid its fangs.
"...Perhaps we should have worded it more sincerely." Raymond finally spoke, eyeing Houndoom's murderous glare before turning his attention to Cole. "Steven told us of your efforts in bringing down Team Sky before they could control Rayquaza…."
"He also told us of your connection to Team Sky and the former Team Magma that threatened Hoenn two years ago." Vincent added.
"...Cole." Steven shook his head at the two leaders before turning to Cole and Elisa. His features stiff, he cleared his throat before continuing. "...You've been charged with global terror with your involvement of the Dragon Plates, the assault on Fallarbor Town, the destruction of Mount Pyre, theft at the Oceanic Museum along with the resurrection of Groudon and Kyogre two years ago-"
"IT WASN'T HIS FAULT!"
Elisa jumped to her feet, hazel eyes ablaze with anger. "Why are you putting all the blame on him?!" The three men eyed her intently as she stepped forward with Houndoom at her side, its fangs shining once more.
"He was tricked into fighting for Team Magma back then!...He was just a kid, you know that Steven! Cole never wanted any of those things to happen! He tried to stop Team Sky from controlling Rayquaza! He made up for his mistakes, so don't-"
Freezing in place, the young woman snapped her attention to Cole who stared at her. His eyes were just as hot, a raging fire to match hers.
"Let them finish."
"It's best if you stay out of this." The Chief of the International Police announced. "We know your family ties with these events as well."
Her chest burning, Elisa held her tongue as Cole sat up and turned his attention to the three men. To see someone you love...treated like this. She bit her lip as Cole got to his feet.
"...We're still searching for the remaining members of both organizations." Steven started, attention falling on him. "You're not the only one that the police have their eye on Cole. A few have turned themselves in but we will continue to search." Reaching into his pocket, he held up a small black card.
"What is that." Cole demanded, narrowing his eyes as a picture of himself flashed in the fading sunlight.
"We've taken into account your abilities Cole." Raymond started, stepping forward. "So listen carefully."
"The Hoenn Police Force and my organization have agreed on your punishment Cole." Vincent announced, pointing to the black card.
"For your association with Team Magma's crimes and association with Team Sky's plot to control Rayquaza. You are hereby banished from the Hoenn Region."
There was no world.
Cole felt the ground slip from his feet as the words crushed his heart at the very core. Lavaridge...his home...gone. His legs were suddenly not under him. Dropping to the floor, the trio of men looked as Cole slammed his hands to the tiled floor, the tubes of IV and monitors clacking together from the impact.
"Cole!" Elisa dropped to his side.
"However," Elisa and Houndoom snapped their attention to Raymond who sent them a sympathetic look. "Since your crimes happened in my territory, I made a deal with the International Police and the Hoenn League….Cole, you can return to Hoenn once a year-" Cole snapped his head up, a faint light shining within his pool of darkness.
"-Only on one condition."
"What is it."
"Your ban will only be lifted by working under the International Police and Hoenn Police Forces." Raymond concluded. "...That is the best and only option for you."
Vincent eyed the pair with a mix of emotions. His steel-like eyes crumbling slightly as tears suddenly rained down Cole's face. "We know about your connection to Rayquaza from Steven….So we will be monitoring you and using you to protect Hoenn from any future threats. This way we'll have an eye on you at all times as well."
The words materializing in his head, Cole loathed the last line of Vincent before he brushed away his tears. This was the truth of the world he lived in, just like his father had told him so long ago.
People and Pokemon are used.
His connection to Rayquaza now put him on the map of the International Police and Steven Stone himself. He was no longer bound to the chains of Team Magma, instead, Cole was now faced with a task like no other.
Steven and the two men blinked in surprise from his answer along with Elisa and Houndoom.
Except his response was not intended for them.
"I will work to protect Hoenn…I swear on my life to repay you."