Re: Max's Hoenn Journey Chapter 25
I'm really excited for this now as things are coming together nicely, and lots of plot points will begin to become set up from this chapter onwards for the rest of Max's travels through Hoenn (and even possibly beyond if I ever get that far). A lot happens in this chapter so I hope it's not too lacky of description or just boring in my writing style. I also must apologise for the 24escness of it and the jumping around. It all comes together for the final scenes though. Enjoy!
Like usual, the opening - Max's Hoenn Journey Intro 2 - made by DanChimchar and is just a bit of fun : )
Chapter 25: The Plane Game
The hectic feel of the long stretch of queue ahead seemed rather relaxing after the day’s ordeals, whether momentarily or not. For Harriet, it didn’t matter that they had been stuck in the same line for almost thirty minutes, or that their plane was scheduled to leave in just over an hour. She cared only for a bed and a hot meal on the other end to comfort her and sooth her thoughts after a rather frightening and destructive encounter.
At the present moment, her head wasn’t capable of the simplistic joys of comfort and she thought that a good enough sleep would do wonders, although the haunting, ghostly sight of the silhouetted figure was very prominent in her mind’s eye. His freakish non-existent stare was penetrating her skin and causing her to shiver right down to the bones. Nothing before had ever seemed so evil, and she had witnessed many cruel trainers in her life on the Pokémon Ranch. She supposed, however, that it was due to the large threat that he placed on the world and how recklessly he used Pokémon. How he didn’t seem to care that utilising them could be so harmful to nature and their souls… and how he showed only a mere aspect of his true abilities and powers today. If he was able to control a bunch of Rock Pokémon and supposedly gain complete control over technology, then what else could he eventually gain control over?
“Harriet… come on now, you’ve got to perk up… where’s that kind hearted and joyful smile of yours? You for one told me earlier on to not stay behind and to carry on with our journey, so why then are your thoughts still on the matter? All it’ll do is keep you locked away here…” He pointed to her head while quietly stroking her shoulder with his other hand to try and alleviate some of her enclosed concerns and nervous tension.
“I know, you’re absolutely right,” she suddenly spoke, attaching with it a huge and grateful smile that reflected her sudden mood change, “And anyway, that comment was very adult like Max, not something I would’ve expected you to have the skill to say,” she joked, gently poking him in the stomach with her elbow as a sort of thank you.
“Ha-ha what a tease,” he responded sarcastically, whilst shuffling along slightly as the progression of people moved forward, “You always know how to snap us out of a bad mood, and that’s something I think is gonna come in real handy!”
“Max! Now who’s the joker…? No morbid thinking please,” she chuckled, turning the corner of the fashioned line under the instructions of the created path, made from red velvet ropes that guided their movements.
“I guess this day really did do something to the both of us eh? Well… luckily we’re nearly out of this place, and then the adventures of Dewford can spark our fascination once again!”
The two Pokémon’s capsules enlarged within her sweaty palm, and she knew they deserved and would relish from their long rest. The events had not only been strenuous for her, her fellow Rock trainer or even Harriet and Max, but also for all the Pokémon that participated in the standoff. Now, finally, her Nosepass and Rhyperior could take a lengthy and refreshing break within their PokeBalls before she returned back to her Gym and let them out, as per usual and as a custom, to be free and to roam and relax as they were made to.
“Alright, Nosepass and Rhyperior, thank you so much for all your help, we and all the citizens of Rustboro really appreciate the efforts you gave today, so take a nice long rest okay, return!” The two energy beams flung themselves from the round tip of the PokeBall, proceeding to make direct contact with the two large masses before withdrawing them into the stream and back into their balls.
“Phew… now what?” she sighed as she rested gently against the large shop window with two glittered-up mannequins on show with the latest seasons fashion.
The large rock troops were now fading into the distance, accompanied by some of her trusty Gym employees and also Nurse Joy’s workers too. Now it was time for the cleanup crews to begin their operations, and that’s where she and Brock fitted in, although their hearts pulled them to the large modernised airport that was only a matter of fifteen minutes away, where a matter of minutes made all the difference. Soon Roxanne would be left, once again, to run the show with no time for any more gallivanting, alas that was where her heart was supposed to be. Someday though, she hoped to see those two pearly faces again, beaming with joy because of their journey. One day the normality would return for her and for her city.
“Finally, just a few more minutes and we’ll be checked into this damned flight,” Max said, nervously fidgeting through his back pack to find the flight check in data that they had received.
“Calm down, calm down, we still have forty five minutes before the plane leaves, and we only have hand luggage so we’re going to be in the waiting room for a…” her voice trailed off as her eyes flicked between the numerous fashion shops that were no longer a huge queue away. She was gleaming with the immense anticipated thrill, “… oh… err… and yea, we’ll be onto that plane within a matter of minutes from there anyway.”
“Yea you’re right I suppose, sorry for my outburst, and I guess damned was the wrong word, that suggests it’s doomed from the start right?” he joked, trying to instil an idea of being a more mature boy into Harriet, as their earlier chat had left him to believe she deemed herself slightly higher than he, although he was offering the advice.
“Yea you silly, now, give the lady the documents when she asks and we’ll be out of here and onto Dewford Island sooner than you can say Hoenn League.”
“Don’t mock me; I’m not a child you know… I can hold a civilised conversation and do all the mature stuff and so on…”
“Yea… I know, but it’s still fun to watch you squirm, and I think that novelty will never wear off…” she chuckled, reaching for her two PokeBalls that now rested on the inside sockets of her pink denim jacket, “Oh, and you’re going to need to get Charmander’s, Murkrow’s and Budew’s PokeBalls out to be scanned. Security has become real tight lately, but it’s no biggie, just one little scan and we’re through.”
“Alright then, Dewford Island… Here we come!”
The gloomy essence still lingered inside the large metallic bulk that hovered above the Hoenn skies, gently gliding through the white gassy cotton balls that occupied the blue expanse. Inside, the resident beeping controls were all whirring away as the mass of Team Sukai operatives were whizzing backwards and forwards between tasks, preparing to engage the untested device that could immobilize Rustboro. Overlooking the hoard of the trusted Bridge Team was the shrouded individual, equipped with his tormented stare. His gaze fell over the lines of workers that were slumped over the electronic work stations pilled in two neat rows against the right and left hull of the Bridge. In the centre of the space were a few more stations that controlled navigation, piloting and any tactical uses. Everything was categorised and organised and nothing slipped under his radar.
“The hour’s nearly up… how close are we to start up?” his chilling voice said.
“Sir, we’re almost ready. The final calibrations have been input into the system by our two techs, and if our simulations are anything to go by, once activated Rustboro should be helpless in a matter of seconds. Everything will be under our control!”
“Good, this is very good…”
With those words, he quickly bolted from behind his desk; trotting down a few steps spread from left to right that separated his desk from the crew at work, before heading right to the front windows that gazed over the vast expanse before them.
“Alright then,” once again with quick movements, he swivelled around to face all the Bridge Crew; “If our plan is to succeed we have to be well prepared. That Pendant is the main priority here, nothing else.”
A sudden beeping interrupted his speech and he withdrew a small circular device from his pocket which was flashing a rhythmic red light with every beep. With one swift push of the device between his finger and thumb the beeping and flashing stopped.
“Sir, this is Tech 1 reporting in.”
“The device is completely ready Sir, and Tech 2 and I can control everything from here with your go ahead! Unfortunately though we have yet to find a way to transfer complete control over to your station, but we’ve got the Tech Subordinates working on possibilities there.”
“Well you’ve got my authorisation, and keep working on the transfer, but until then I want all Rustboro’s transport under my control immediately, and then lock down the city by capturing all electronic devices. Inform me when you’ve accomplished this, Apollo out!” He released his grip on the device and folded it away into his clenched fist.
The room was eerily silent as the Bridge Crew eagerly awaited the furthering plans from their Boss. They were all lucky to have been selected to man Capsule 1, the transport that Apollo always used, and none of them wished to be demoted by simply continuing work or causing annoyance to him through any sounds or movements.
“Right, it seems like we’re well underway now, so I want the main Principles to stay manned at their stations while the rest of you report down to the Delivery Bays where you’ll be grouped into teams for the blockade and siege,” he calmly spoke, waving his hand as a gesture for the actions he commanded.
As the shuffling bodies of the Subordinates left through the elevators at each corner of the Bridge, the remaining Principles all took their positions while staying attuned to everything Apollo was saying.
“When we arrive we shall meet up with my five Heads and their main Principles, you all will be grouped with me. The Heads should already have begun their descent upon Rustboro now and are awaiting my signal to move so we need to hurry along and arrive as soon as possible, so Helm, kick our speed up a notch.”
“Sir, Yes Sir!”
“May I remind all of you that if we don’t get this Pendant today then we’ll have more tiresome hours of searching ahead of us, hours which we can’t afford to lose. We need to acquire control over Hoenn so that shortly after we will be able to take over the entire world, then no-one can possibly interfere with our goals and plans for this world. We’ll be able to make it the way we want to. So… if any of this is going to work… Communication, I need open channels with the five Heads, plus an activated tapping device that will give me quick access to the TV signals again so we can broadcast the messages as soon as we arrive. Understood?”
A unanimous cry of “Yes Sir,” echoed throughout the room as all the main Principles began to work on their allocated tasks, general maintenance and planning. Nothing was going to stop them from proceeding with their plan. They had everything in place and soon Apollo and his Team Sukai would be in mere grasps of the Pendant.
Another beeping sound rang from the small circular device that Apollo was still clutching onto. With ease, he flipped the device between his finger and thumb and the channel was once again opened.
“This is Tech 1 reporting in again Sir.”
“What news do you bring,” he stressed with pure rigidness, taking one last look at his crew at work and turning to face the emerging scenes of the urban heaven that was Rustboro.
“We have everything working perfectly, and transport is under our control, as are the majority of the electrical devices in the city, but as you said earlier in your announcement to Hoenn about having control of PokeBalls, we have yet to acquire them and the same goes for the Pokédex and other Pokémon related devices as they have complicated wiring that our machine can’t break as of yet.”
“Keep trying your best, transport though was our main priority and if we have that under control then we’ll be fine. I’ve decided to leave you two on board when we arrive to keep control over everything, so you don’t need to transfer control up here yet, but have your Subordinates keep working on a solution okay?”
“Yes Sir, understood!”
“And one last thing, I’m busy watching a plane take off right now… I want you to tap into its systems and have it begin circling around the city; the same goes for the other four that I believe are scheduled to leave within the next ten minutes, after that though halt all airplanes by shutting the systems completely off, along with all land based and water based vehicles. As for the planes that’ll be in the air, I will relay further instructions to you… I think I have a little game to play with them!”
Finally Max and Harriet had the delights of a warming comfort that was oozing from the planes luxurious seating. The wait no longer ridiculed their thoughts, and the earlier distractions of the day had also temporarily been erased from their minds. How ordinary it had seemed at the time waking up to a day with complete freedom that only ended up being filled with hazardous obstacles: a farewell to Curtis and Rose, a brief yet productive encounter with Mark and then ultimately, to top off all that excitement, the tremendous onslaught of pure destruction. But now, although it didn’t amount to much, a momentary bliss was rifling through their bodies, through their inner most cores. Peace, tranquillity and harmony were slowly lulling them into a secured rest.
“Ladies and Gentlemen,” a crackly voice mumbled over the speaker system, “This is your captain speaking. I’d like to inform all passengers that we are ready for takeoff so please fasten all seat belts and turn off all mobile technology until the seat belt light disappears. We also ask that any Pokémon free from their PokeBalls be either put back inside or secured in their own booked seat… or with you. While we traffic down to the runway, our airhostesses will run through the safety procedures with you. I hope you enjoy your flight aboard Hoenn 910 and I hope you also have a pleasant journey.”
As swiftly as the noise had arrived, the gurgling voice over the tannoy cut off and the marching procession of airhostesses appeared from their private staff cabin, proceeding to aline themselves neatly down the aisles. Max and Harriet, however, weren’t interested in the formal waving of the arms, or the directional pointing towards the emergency exists. Their eyes wavered to the gleaming golden rays of the setting sun that poured itself, now meekly, over the stretch of runway they were preparing to charge down. The beauty of Rustboro still was as vibrant as ever, no matter what sort of terror had managed to cripple the city momentarily, and both trainers wished to absorb the remaining sights with a feeling of great happiness. A lot had occurred here over the past few days, and this city was now the birthing place of a great friendships and new journeying companions.
As they gazed out over the shoreline, allowing their eyes to cast one last glance over the fluorescent rippling colour of the ocean, they noticed the metallic shimmer of another plane that was slightly titled and on a circular course. They presumed, and rightly so, that it was preparing for a landing, along with the other three planes that had emerged out of a large thicket of clouds that obscured the view to Petalburg. Taking this with an ordinary satisfaction, the youngsters reclined into their seats and welcomingly drifted into relaxation while the plane slowly started shuddering with great speed down the runway.
The vibrations encompassed the body of the plane and soothingly added to the pleasuring rest for Max… until… nothing, only a gentle passage into the skies. Now his new adventure had begun, separate and void from any adult empowerment… for the moment and that was something he was willing to briefly revel in.
He quickly bolted out of his own thoughts, rapidly switching from his more predominant sleep mode over to his active brain functions while attempting to wrestle his eyes open.
“Err… yea Harriet, what’s up?”
Her response wasn’t immediate, and it was very clear through her actions that she was hesitant about asking, but her open nature wasn’t letting her conceal her slight lapse in reasoning.
“Do you think we’ve made the right choice leaving Rustboro and all at a time like this?”
“Yea, sure, of course we have,” he mulled, taking time to conjugate in his head his next response, “I must admit… I was a little resistant about leaving but it’s very clear that if we’re ever going to succeed in our own dreams that we must persue them with PokeBalls at the ready. There was no point us staying behind to help clean up or tend and care for Pokémon. Yes we would have loved that and we want to have done something, however, Roxanne and Brock weren’t going to just let us throw our futures away, even if it was just for a couple of days!”
She sighed, acknowledging his comments, before attempting to further settle herself into the chair with a few toss’s and turns. After a few more rolls she finally ended up in the comfiest position on her left hand side, which gave her a wondrous view over the scenery below. And then… it became obvious.
A huge puzzling complexity struck her. She knew something wasn’t right. Their positioning in the sky, the course of the plane… all of it resembled the earlier postures of the four planes they had seen circling Rustboro… but why?
“Max, Max! Stop falling asleep,” she squealed whilst vigorously squeezing and shaking his arm to boldly get his attention, “Look!”
He sheepishly arose from his solitary meditation and blindly gazed along the trail her finger was depicting. At first he just shrugged the situation off as Harriet wishing to show him something exquisite and elegant; a view from the heavens, but then his brain began to notice the odd signals too.
“Hang on a second… woh, what’s going on?”
“Exactly, that’s why I woke you up.”
“I wasn’t asleep I’ll have you know… just… dozing.”
“Ok, whatever, we haven’t got the time to argue now cos… well, do you think we should say something?”
“Umm, I don’t know. Surely they must know exactly why we’re doing this. We can’t have come full circle for nothing.”
“But look Max, the other planes… we’re all evenly distributed along the Rustboro skyline and we’re all going round in circles. Max, nothing about this situation is right… or normal!”
By now the other passengers were also scrambling around the windows making the same observation as Harriet. The shining objects were spiralling in unison along a predetermined path that seemed to follow the line of the outskirts of Rustboro, from the sea right up to the Petalburg Woods. No-one was the least bit sure what was going on, and Harriet even noticed confused and panic expressions beginning to override the normally calm nature of the airhostesses. Her thoughts now started to lead her to a nerving conclusion: if the airhostesses were perplexed then something was indeed dire and potentially unsafe.
As the passengers panic was beginning to rise and all their attention returned to the inside of the plane, now flooded with constant screams of questions that had the airhostesses consoling the phones with the captain, Harriet took one last look outside. To her horror their conditions had quickly worsened. No longer were they rotating around the city, stuck on what seemed to be an endless loop. No, instead, all of them had changed course, wings levelled out and noses headed right for each other over the heavily populated shopping area.
The earlier terror that rang through the streets had finally dispersed, along with the disappearance of the Pokémon and most of the rubble they had caused. Things seemed plausibly better now and on the verge of reaching a sensible realm of normality, and Roxanne thought that at least this would bring a little more interest to their city and hopefully a few more busy days at her Gym and school. Standing opposite her in the thicket of the remaining bustle of the workers was Brock, attempting yet failing to successfully impress a Nurse Joy. At least something was vaguely normal.
“Brock, get over here for a second could you,” she called, noticing a thankful sigh erupt from the Nurse Joy as she was able to return back to her duties. Brock then quickly excused himself from her company, still filled with bucket loads of infatuation, and headed over to Roxanne.
“Everything okay?” he asked once he arrived next to her.
“Yea, of course… I just thought maybe that Nurse Joy could use a little break from you, you know,” she timidly stressed, deciding to give him a little pat on the arm as a forewarned comforter, fully well expecting imminent denials from him.
“Oh, well, yea you’re right, she’s probably got a lot of work to do and I suppose my charms just add as a distraction,” he spoke with clear sincerity.
“Right… of course,” she chuckled, “Anyway, I suppose we had better head back to the Gym now, everything’s sorted here and the work crews have their schedules so we can join them bright and early tomorrow morning after a good night’s sleep.”
“Hmm, very true, and a very good plan too,” he kindly said as his gaze wandered into the atmospheric dimming lights of the sky, “There’s no point trying to help when we can’t actually be of assistance here!”
His eyes continued to survey the wondrous emotions of colour dancing elegantly in the slithering heat, all radiant in their beauty. Nothing could have been more calming than the dreamy sights of a setting sun after such a hectic day, and the five small shimmering beacons in the sky just added to that splendour. Suddenly though, something logical seemed to click in his thoughts. What objects were often present in the skies… planes? That was definitely it, but why then were these five planes all heading straight for each other right above Rustboro? Was their day really over?
“No! It can’t be!”
“Huh? What’s the matter Brock?”
“Look up, look directly up, now!" With no hesitation, she immediately acted as asked.
At first she couldn’t notice anything out of the ordinary and just supposed Brock was referring to the delectable sights of the blazing orange sky, but then, just like Brock, she spotted the strange shiny beacons, all seeming to slowly be nearing each other.
“Oh… no… that can’t be planes, no… no way!”
As complete confusion and panic started to gain control of her for the second time that day, the television monitors, just like before, sprang to life as a blurry image began to fade into view. Everyone that had remained in the streets now instinctively stopped their current jobs, all turning to glare towards the screens. Their eyes were yet again pierced with the cold and chilling silhouetted image, now hidden by the dimming light that was clearly visible inside the metallic hulk he was in. Somewhere above them was this monster, infiltrating their homes from the skies with whatever gadgets he had at his disposal. And now, he was back again.
“Welcome citizens of Hoenn, and more specifically those of Rustboro, to another announcement from Sukai,” his words seemed to fill him with absolute pleasure. “It has only been mere hours since I last spoke to you, but some interesting factors have come to light since then. I know exactly what I want and where it is now, which means I no longer need your cooperation, although if you wish to oblige then things will be so much swifter and easier on your part. Today will mark the beginning of something more amazing than any of us can imagine… more amazing than anything God can imagine, for those believers out there. Arceus will even cringe when he realises Team Sukai’s true potential, our true power! Nothing can stop us! So… we’ll be in touch later with updates on our progress… and… oh, while I still remember, for those of you in Rustboro I have one last gift to give. If you would be so kind as to look above then there may be a spectacular show for you tonight. Though, I would like to point out, it’s out of my hands now and up to those on the planes as to whether or not you’ll receive a fantastic display tonight, if they can’t solve the riddles I’ve given them… then… boom!”
The displays all immediately switched off as the cackling croak of his voice was the last thing to be heard. The noise lingered in the speakers until the monitors had completely retracted back into the seat rest in front and the soft leather lid had hidden the screen from view. The plane was entirely hushed, encompassed within tight pockets of silence.
The speakers then began to buzz again, and the moods of those on board began to decrease even more, until a familiar voice began to speak. “This is your captain again. As you have just witnessed on our monitors, our planes are no longer under our control… and… and… we’re on a collision course with four other planes. As that man rightly said, we’ve just been sent an electronic riddle that requires us to input the answer before the controls are returned to us, and if we input the wrong answer then we’re completely locked out… for good…”
The monitors then started to withdraw from their sockets in the head rests in front, this time with poignant green words written all across the black void.
“But luckily for us, we have 200 heads on board that can all think about this, and then the most common answer can be submitted. Hopefully… no that’s the wrong word… We are going to get out of this situation, as are the other four planes!”
Max was chilled at the silence that still loitered in the plane. He doubted that anyone’s spirits would have lifted even if the Captain had walked out here with some sort of device that could have magically transported them to safety. The shock levels and the flowing stream of fear was all that was probably capable of occupying their minds right now, not a bunch of green pixels.
Somewhere down the opposite aisle to where Max and Harriet where sitting, a man leapt up with great enthusiasm and courage. He quickly and expressively made sure that everyone noticed him as if this was his shining moment in the spotlight, although it was likely to be due to the ever shortening time they had left. Without so much of a word, others followed in his footsteps and began to stand, metaphorically standing against the immoral actions of Team Sukai.
Finally, after a few more moments of pausing, the first man began to speak, “The Captain’s right everybody! We’re the ones that have to do something here, to show that guy that thinks he can do whatever he likes with us just who he’s messing with. We’re no ordinary bunch of people folks; everyone here is unique so we can all bring something unique and different to this puzzle here. There’s no point in us waiting on the other planes to figure their puzzles out… so… let’s get to work eh?”
His encouragements seemed to have paid off and the effortless bodies were now beginning to do something productive by reading the writing before them. Max took one last look out of the window that Harriet had so kindly left vacant while she leaned forward in her seat to scan the words more closely. Everything was now shrouded by darkness; the day’s end. The only visible things were the bright circles of danger that indicated another close presence that at any minute could easily whisk itself off to safety. Now he needed to be whisked off to safety, and so he rejoined the challenge ready for just about any believable solution to become clear.
Royal in ascent, its flowing majesty rests. Above is the electric green; an Apollo in itself. With yellow like red it’s decorated and with purity it reigns. A distant watcher never interfering with its Subordinates.
“This has to be a description of some sort, a Pokémon maybe?” Max quickly noted, turning to Harriet for a little guidance on the subject.
“My same thoughts exactly, and because of the constant references to royalty do you think it’s a Legendary Pokémon?”
“Yes possibly, or perhaps a flying type, the reference to Apollo, then above, and then a distant watcher.”
“I suppose that narrows it down a little then, but still I don’t get what significance this has, if you think about it Max, Team Sukai are likely to have picked descriptions of Pokémon that are related to them… their goals… something like that.”
“Wait… maybe you’re onto something here. Sukai sometimes takes the meaning of Sky, so Team Sky perhaps. I’m so glad I paid attention at school, I knew being a nerd would pay off at some point. This is just brilliant! And it now makes sense why there’s possible hinting about a flying type then, and royalty, perhaps they deem themselves as royalty?”
“Or like I said earlier, a Legendary maybe… or a flying Legendary Pokémon?”
The two continued to bounce ideas off each other, staying utterly aware of the planes situation in the process. Just by taking a quick glance out the window it was clear that they had probably about ten more minutes left before any form of dodging the other planes would become incredibly hard. It was also obvious to Max that one set of lights had vanished higher into the atmosphere, already having unlocked the answer to their riddle and begun the accent into the thrills of safety. Now it was down to four!
As their voices sustained the frequent chattering, a couple of people in close proximity began to stray from their own thinking to listen more attentively to what these two were saying. It didn’t seem to matter to them that the two were just young infants in comparison to their own ages, in actual fact, as Max had rightly pointed out, they were practically hot off education and bustling with all the Pokémon knowledge they could dream of. Max and Harriet were probably the gold mine of information.
“Hey, these kids are onto something everybody…” the man in the row in front said, turning around in his chair and clearly showing them off to everyone else on the plane, “Go on…” he instructed the two youngsters, “Tell them what you’ve just been discussing!”
The plane once again fell into quietness as the passengers perked up their interest. Max took a heavy gulp before attempting to assert some authority and begin drilling those on board with the ideas that Harriet and he had discussed. After a few coughs to clear his throat, he hesitantly stood up and turned to look at the majority of faces.
“Umm, well… we were… umm…”
“Get on with it mate, we don’t have much time!” the man in front respectively said.
“Okay… well… we were thinking… throughout the riddle there is constant references to royalty which Harriet deduced as referring maybe to a Legendary Pokémon, and alongside that there is also nods to the sky or being above which could well link with a flying type as the word Sukai from the team’s name can also mean Sky… but we haven’t been able to come up with any solutions.”
“That doesn’t matter; we have something to base our thinking off now and…”
“Rayquaza… yes Rayquaza,” this time a woman quickly leapt out of her seat, taking up position in the aisle and gracefully apologising to the man in front of Max for her rude interruptions, “Think of the Hoenn legends about the weather trio; Kyogre, the keeper of the sea, Groudon, the protector of the land, and then finally Rayquaza, the Weather Trio master and the master of the Sky.”
“We don’t have anything else, I say yes that has to be it,” one of the airhostesses now agreed, proceeding to advance towards the phone that linked through to the Captain’s Cabin, “We’re going to have to go with it, we’re running out of time and this is the most plausible and best answer we have… if not the only answer. So who’s in agreement?”
A vast wave of hands flew into the air, creating a sea of anticipating movements. As the airhostess scanned across the hands that she could see, it seemed apparent that everybody had raised their hand… so it became final… Rayquaza was the answer.
“Captain, this is Angela speaking… we’ve come to the conclusion that the answer is Rayquaza, everybody is in agreement.”
The loudspeakers once again activated, this time with the sound of faint beeps over the other end, “Good, I was hoping something would happen soon, we’ve had no luck in here so we’ll go with that and hopefully join the other three planes that have pulled away… Z… A…”
Another flow of hushed silence swept through the aisles, no-one dared make a sound. Every single person and Pokémon alike were holding their breath. Nothing was happening and no-one wanted to jinx their chances. Suddenly the crackling of the speakers roared with triumph as the Captain and his co-pilot shouted with happiness.
“It’s worked, it’s worked. The controls have been returned to us!”
The shuddering motions of a quick accent instantly took hold of the plane and they began to soar into the vast expanse, home to their riddle, in time to avoid the remaining plane as it too began to swerve left of its position. Every plane was free from Team Sukai, free from terror and free from captivity. Everything was vaguely returning to normal again in a repetitive feel of déjà vu, but at least some warm relaxations of security were washing through the torment.
“Well… you all did it,” the Captain proudly thanked, “I can’t thank you enough, and so I think it’s time we’d best make our way on over to Dewford Island before anything else happens here, no point hanging around anymore.”
As the plane circled round Rustboro for the final time, gauging its bearing on the way, the cheers on board continued to sprout from wells of freedom and hope. Those on the streets below began to dance with joy as Rustboro had narrowly escaped terror for the second time that day, and this time a bright prospect hovered on the horizon… but only for those on the planes.
The darkness filtered into Capsule 1 as it menacingly hovered in a cloud layer above Rustboro. The flashing lights were still whizzing away and the main principles were busy with their last preparations for landing. At the forefront of the bridge stood Apollo, lowly watching as his little game disbanded and the flying machines began to head out of reach of his control. How fun it had been, watching them trying to decipher his little cryptic puzzles, failing to grasp the true serenity of the creatures he had described. One day very soon though he knew they would witness the true power of those Legendaries first hand, under his own control… but only once the Pendant had become his.
The backstreets of Rustboro were the perfect staging area for their meet, quiet, blackened and inconspicuous. Most citizens by now had returned to the comforting pulls of their homes, where their own keep sake feelings of security were, and this left the usually quiet streets even more attractive to Butch and Cassidy.
The portable electronic machines were already set up from their earlier conversation with Giovanni, a conversation where their own moral ethics had, for some unknown reason, decided to activate. Nevertheless, ignoring the lure that their new PokeBall had acquired, they had a job to do, one that didn’t seem to conflict with their attitudes; destroying Team Sukai was a relishing thought and they were finally ready to begin operations.
The imaging system kicked into action and the monitors began displaying the image of a metallic building, filled to the brim with Rockets all being allocated sectional teams that would deploy around the region of Hoenn. After a few momentary pauses, a small face popped into view.
“This is the Section 1 Leader with the Kanto Troops, what is your current situation Miss Cassidy?”
“Glad to finally meet you, I’ve heard a lot about your politeness, it’ll be a good disguise while you’re out here,” the blond lass responded, “Anyway, onto the important matters, we’ve sent the location spots of deployment over to your systems now and assigned the different Sections certain tasks.”
“Right, I’ll get out tech teams to begin encoding it right away.”
“Good, now, Section 1 and 2 will head to Dewford Island where we will meet them in a couple of day’s time. Your missions will become clear then, and we need you to deploy as soon as possible… which means now! As for the other Sections… some have been assigned to filter operations and others undercover operations. Each will know what to do and each Section Leader should begin preparations as soon as they board their designated flights. Remember though, we have to stay subtle which means no uniforms and no outlandish, unwarranted behaviour like the trio of Jessie, James and Meowth did the last time they were out here. We can’t have Team Sukai aware of our presence like Aqua and Magma were.”
“Understood, Kanto over and out!” the young female said, immediately disconnecting all communications. Everything was now moving along nicely.
Re: Max's Hoenn Journey Chapter 26
enjoy what on the outside may seem like a filler episode :-D
Like usual, the opening - Max's Hoenn Journey Intro 2 - made by DanChimchar and is just a bit of fun : )
Chapter 26: Conclusion in a Solution
The glistening sphere shone remarkably in the morning light, the radiant dominant red absorbing all the attention of the brisk suns rays. Their surroundings were picturesque for a moment such as their current one, a freedom; tall canopies of trees ascending into the endless ocean of the sky while a moderately sized river full of sparkling clear blue water quickly passed through the cut of the clearing they had inadvertently wandered into. A few scraggy rocks hid them from the potential view of others; a step down it seemed from the secretive backstreets of Rustboro that were hidden from plain sight, but no matter that fact, this was the most serene and quiet that things had ever been like in a long time.
A rather buff male stepped away from the banks of the river, polishing off the last of his three PokeBalls. His companion, sitting with five PokeBalls on her lap, then proceeded to exchange places with him as he returned to her small hide out in between some well positioned boulders.
“You know Butch; sometimes you should take responsibility for Raticate’s PokeBall as well as me, considering she does belong to the both of us,” she hastily imposed, “Or if not that, then take care of this new one for me,” she continued to growl, immediately tossing the circular object directly at Butch who somewhat clumsily managed to catch the ball on top of his other three, “That way we equally share four PokeBalls between the two of us!”
“Humph, you don’t have to get aggressive Cassidy, think what would’ve happened if we broke this thing!”
“I’m not that much of an idiot, I know how precious that Pokémon is… to us and to the boss, who by the way is already getting impatient.
“It’s precious to us in a different way though and we’re going to have to think of something soon enough if we’re going to keep it from his clutches!”
They both remained silent after that, refusing to acknowledge the downright moral code that statement had carried. It wasn’t because of the high profile or huge price tag on the Pokémon that made it such a valued companion to them; somehow after first opening the ball to initially inspect the goods, they had bonded, and the idea of sending it off to the likes and ranks of Team Rocket seemed wholly an unreasonable justice to put it through. Besides, they both knew that they… loved the creature and that the feelings were reciprocated so in their eyes there was no harm in concealing it from Giovanni, if only for a short stage. Taking all that into consideration however, it was impossible for them to truly admit this outside of their hearts.
“Anyway Butch,” she awkwardly said, still trying to brush his last comments from her thoughts, “Do you think it had enough of a play this morning? If not then you best let it get some more now before we have to rendezvous with the arriving Kanto teams, we can’t let them witness that we actually have it.”
“It’s had enough I think, it was getting tired earlier on and almost fell asleep during Raticate’s and Shuckle’s battle, so letting it rest will do it some good.”
“Okay, if you’re sure because there’s no chance…”
Behind them, in a strategically positioned spot on one of the rocks, their mobile electrical system began to frantically beep, warning them of imminent communications that interrupted Cassidy in her speech. The monitor that was folded away into the metal body of the machine began to elevate out of its socket on small flimsy hinges, while the rest of the mechanism began to engage. Within a matter of seconds a picture had begun to materialise on top of the previously blackened screen, and a young lady wearing a teenagers outfit appeared in view. Butch swiftly moved into range of the microphone and imager.
“Nice cover clothes there, S1 Leader…” Butch tastily said, leaning back against the rock once he had properly examined the outfit, “I guess you can never be too careful when trying to blend in… so good job!”
“Butch!” Cassidy snapped, quickly returning back to their camouflaged spot to join in the conversation, “What a great way to start things off!”
“Yes… well… Butch, Sir, I thought it was what you asked for, something that matched our age and something that didn’t scream ‘Team Rocket’, which you two don’t seem to have grasped by the way.”
“Don’t mind us,” Cassidy replied, “We’ve been doing this for a long time now and we know how to cover our tracks. Just worry about yourself and your fellow colleagues,” she sternly recommended whilst Butch stood in the background, arms folded with strict authority giving a gently modest nod of the head.
“Okay…” the recipient paused, “Anyway… we’ve arrived at Dewford Airfield now; everyone is awaiting your orders, Sir, and if I must say so myself, we’re all rather impatient for some action.”
“Alright,” the blond lass responded twirling a little curl in her hair, “We’ll be on our way as soon as we’ve packed up here; all we need from you lot is to meet us beyond the borders of the Airfield and surrounding villages. If you keep following the paths to the South East then you’ll come across a giant picnic area where we’ll be waiting for you, and then you’ll be undercover in no time…”
With a simple press of a button located on the monitor head itself, the screen began to stutter with the reaming image of the girl’s respectful bow before reverting to its blackened dead state. This was finally it, the moment they had been waiting for. After all the years of hard work Butch and Cassidy had put into their jobs they were finally entrusted with leadership, albeit of a small segment of the organisation, nevertheless though, it was an instance of accomplishment for the duo. Being in charge of a new expansion of Team Rocket was bound to hold high regard with Giovanni, favouring them for future missions. Now they just had to execute everything with accurate precision and to the exact parameters that their boss had enforced, but that was the easy part.
An array of multifunctional complexes circled the Airfield’s main building that saw fluxes of bodies sweep in and out through the doors daily. In the centre of the building itself was a relaxing courtyard, paved with old fashioned cobbles that contrasted nicely with the more modern essence of the buildings. Towards the far left corner of this open space, sitting on a bench commemorated to the Weather Trio and surrounded by multiple species of plants and wide turfs of grass, was Max and Harriet, watching five playful Pokémon that accompanied them frolic about in happiness.
The past day seemed like years off to them now, like events that had occurred in the deepest darkest corners of childhood. They weren’t afraid of them, nor were they terribly angry, just relieved to have survived the ridiculous ordeals. A good night’s sleep had done wonders of good for this exact thing and they had woken up with a fresh and calm attitude. Although there was no easy way to completely erase their experiences from history, they felt there was no need to, accepting it seemed like the best option and turning the bad feelings into good ones was just as courageous as trying to take a stand and move on, if not more so. With this acceptance came great strengthening and new building blocks for them to add into their own developments, it all ended up working out for the betterment of their journey.
The young boy clasped his hands together, opening his eyes into the warm tickle of the morning heat as he sat up against the wooden back of the bench and tried to force energy into his body. He gazed over to his three Pokémon, his friends, as they were utilising their energy and enjoying themselves as if yesterday had never happened. They were always the ones to bring cheeriness and joy no matter what, to manifest feelings of love about his body although they hadn’t known each other for a lengthy period of time. Still, these were his friends for life with a true bond secured between each of them in their own hearts and he was ready, as were they, to progress forward. Just around the corner he was sure that more friends awaited their arrival!
Completely sitting up now, he turned towards his human companion who appeared to be rather comfortable curled into a firm a ball against the wooden panels, eyes tightly shut. It seemed a horrible act to wake her, or at least bring her back into the realms of the world, but he was too psyched about the prospects Dewford held not to.
Shaking her a little he began to gently whisper into her ear, “Harriet, Harriet, come on now, I think we’ve spent enough time here, Harriet.”
Stirring a little, and quietly muttering to herself, she sat bolt upright, looking directly into the wondrous complexity of the sky above them, “Hmm,” she yawned, “What a wonderful day it is, everything’s just contest perfect beauty!”
“You know, radiant and sparkling full of life!”
“No… but okay, I’ll go with it miss ‘I can wake up quickly’,” Max responded.
“Ha-ha, aren’t you a joker,” she smirked, “Anyway, we came to Dewford Island for one purpose only, to continue on with our adventures, so what are you still doing here Max?” she jokingly commented, turning to face her friend with a compassionate but cheeky smile, “So, what do you say Max, ready to start travelling together?”
“I sure am, but do you think you’re going to be able to keep up with me though?” he excitedly commented, leaping out of the seat before swivelling back around to face his travelling companion.
“Of course I can, I’m all ready to leave unlike you!”
“What do you mean… our Pokémon are still out…” he cautiously said, regretting having mentioned it when he already knew that this would blow back in his face somehow.
“Go on… look,” she prompted, her words seeming to control the movements of Max’s neck. He swiftly coiled his neck around to see the bemused smiles stretched from corner to corner on the faces his three Pokémon, yet Harriet’s weren’t there or anywhere else in sight.
Reluctantly turning back, he decided not to utter anymore words for thought; his joking glare seemed to say it all. He then bent down and retrieved his rucksack from the grassy patch that they had momentarily pitched up in, before he unhooked his PokeBalls in the process of slinging the bag over his shoulder and proceeded to recall his friends back into their homes by activating the red stream of energy that impacted the warm masses of the three. Within a flash of red light that had grouped its grip around the bodies, the three Pokémon had disappeared back into their safety and Max was ready to tackle his burning ambition to conquer all that Dewford was prepared to offer.
Everything was now packed up and securely placed in the correct holders inside the pair’s bags, and so they began to joyfully stroll out of the airports bushy courtyard and back into the bustling centre of travel where kiosks ranging from numerous airlines littered the halls. The exit sign was clearly marked and vibrantly stood out from the blends of colours that ranged across the airline stalls. It was emanating green amiability; the friend that was leading them onwards. Just to the left of this sign, however, was a gigantic electronic notice board that was strolling through numerous weather announcements for the upcoming week across the top banner, but below that Harriet noticed the dominant picture of the Hoenn Contests and her interests were perked.
“Max, look, over there,” she pointed, grabbing him by his hand and hastily trying to pull him in the direction she was heading, “There’re signs for the Dewnord Town contest tomorrow over on that notice board… come on I have to go take a look!”
Harriet quickly sped across the polished floor; her blurry reflection glistening off the ground where she passed and Max wasn’t too far behind either, his hand still tightly caught in her grip. With a few more staggered steps from Max he was facing the lush strands of Harriet’s silk brown hair as she closely inspected the notices.
“No way… a double performance!” Harriet solemnly cried as she reeled a little from the realisation, “I didn’t think we got them until the Grand Festival, in fact I was pretty sure we didn’t…”
Max now had ample room to greatly inspect the same poster that Harriet seemed to be turning a rather distraught blind eye too. He peered through his spectacles that rested at the highest point possible on his nose; once or twice adjusting them with the tip of his index finger. His heart, warming to her sorrow, slightly relished in the sneaky thoughts that Harriet, despite her constant mocking comments about his own actions, seemed to be the more inexperienced trainer in this situation and it was his job to finally become the teacher.
“Hey,” he stated whilst turning his body to face her solemn looks, “There’s no need to get panicked about this. All you need is a good old practice and where’s better than the great expanse that is Dewford Island?”
“But you don’t understand my limited knowledge; I’ve never once competed in a competition using two Pokémon, let alone commanded two at the same time!”
“Hang on! That’s completely and utterly wrong! Think back to when you were using Mothim and Chikorita against the Rhyhorn and Rhydon. That constitutes a double battle!”
“Hmm…” she pondered, twirling her hair subconsciously in her timid nature, “Even so, that was in the heat of the moment and I’m really going to need to practice commanding two Pokémon at once with more strategy!”
“Harriet, if you can command two Pokémon on the fly then you’re going to have no problem when it comes to a double performance. Strategy is useful but it’s not a set guideline, you have to adapt… but practice is always beneficial so while we have this open space right on our doorstep, I don’t mind helping you train a little with a quick double battle? It’ll still give us the rest of the day for travelling to Dewnord Town for your Contest.”
Harriet paused for a few seconds, her eyes trailing past Max and out into the fields of bliss that really showed a great separation from humans and nature. She pondered on the subject of a double battle a little longer, questioning her own capabilities a few times more. Battling the Rhyhorn and Rhydon seemed like a completely different feat altogether, mainly because there was a lot at stake, but in a relative perspective she could see that her first Ribbon was on the line here and in some twisted manner the situations could be merged. All the same though, Max was right about one thing, practice would help her gain the art of a double battle.
“Alright Max… I’ll do it then…”
“Good, then what are we waiting for? Let’s go!”
They both hurried out of the main terminal building away from the busy scheduling of human life. The gaping expanse of fields were enlarging the further the two progressed and the sounds of nature were beginning to drum themselves into the duos hearing. A splashing echo began resonating amongst the forestry calls of the Pokémon, and the whirling beats of brisk movement were coming from all directions around them. This was truly where a full essence of natural life was, where Pokémon were truly capable of being themselves without interference from human technology and development. This was the perfect spot to allow their Pokémon to combine in battle.
“Well Max, this seems like a perfect spot!” Harriet energetically spoke as she halted in her movements and grasped hold of the two PokeBalls that resided in the back pockets of her bum bag, “You know my two Pokémon anyway so Mothim and Chikorita, come on out!”
The two capsules flew through the air towards where Max had stopped. The streams of elegant white energy burst from the sealed balls as he reached towards his belt to unclip his two choices. As the beautiful images of Harriet’s well kept Pokémon emerged, the silky leaf and glistening wings being the first notable features, Max thrust his two PokeBalls into the air.
“Murkrow and Charmander, this should be an ease, let’s give them some practice of a lifetime!”
The balls cascaded a white wall of energy directly into the ground below where a formation process of the two beings began. The balls quickly snapped shut and withdrew along the same course thrown back into the palms of Max while the silhouettes of Murkrow and Charmander broke through the glistening white barrier that surrounded them. The fiery passion burnt in their eyes as the prospect of a heated battle quenched their first for fun!
“Alright then, Murkrow and Charmander we’ll continue a stream of the same attacks and see how they cope, use Ember and Shadow Ball continuously!”
Charmander inhaled a torrent of air that quickly was utilised in the propelling of the scorching balls of fire that leapt towards Chikorita and Mothim, both of whom seemed to have a nervous grimace on their faces. Quite close behind the Ember attack was the looming barrage of chilling Shadow Balls that were quickly fusing with the preliminary Embers to make flaming balls of dark matter.
“Dodge the first set of attacks eloquently and then Mothim catch Chikorita on your back and use Protect to shield the both of you while you fly in closer!”
As the fearsome bombardment was nearing, Harriet’s two Pokémon rapidly leapt into action, soaring above the first salvo of Embers and Shadow Balls. Chikorita then looked about her, noticing the rapidly enclosing Mothim who was ready to carry her weight on his back and get them in range for a retaliation strike. The moment her little paws touched down on the expressively designed wings, a swirling ripple of blue transparent energy fluctuated around the two, narrowly allowing the oncoming Embers to weakly deflect away and disperse while Mothim proceeded with his decent.
“Hmm, I’m surprised they managed to pull that off so quickly, I was banking on something going wrong there!” he directly spoke to Harriet, “Well then, Murkrow fly above them and wait for them to launch their attack, that’s when Protect will wear off! Then Charmander and Murkrow… proceed with another round of your attacks!”
Another wave of nervous grimaces gripped Mothim and Chikorita, but they continued to obey Harriet’s every word and waited patiently but hurriedly on her new commands. Luckily for them, Harriet wasn’t too nerved by Max’s comments and a faint twinkle of inspiration glimmered in her eyes!
“Don’t worry guys! I planned for this! Mothim charge up a Hidden Power and send it in every trajectory around you and Chikorita launch your Leech Seed along the energy stream that will erupt out of Mothim!”
Murkrow had already begun to circle round Harriet’s Pokémon and was preparing itself for the best opportunity to launch the attacks, primarily when the blue energy would begin to quiver signalling the changing attack. However, Mothim and Chikorita were both aware of the present lurking danger behind them and Chikorita was ready to deliver a blow.
That second, the transparent rippling ball began to vigorously shake and thin out before quelling completely and allowing the action to immediately resume. With the Protect completely gone, Mothim and Chikorita had to be quick with retaliations and they knew Charmander and Murkrow had already begun their new onslaughts.
With the growing rushing noise creeping upon the duo, Mothim began to flutter about in roughly the same position to try and make them difficult targets to aim upon. His body was already beginning to shimmer a captivating bright light whilst Chikorita had buds prepared and spouting form her collar; she was waiting upon the signal from Mothim before she let loose, and now Mothim was ready to give it. An enormous eruption of the stored energy sprouted from every exposed area of Mothim’s body, spurting in all directions with the hinting speckle of the green buds riding the velocity produced from the Hidden Power. Charmander and Murkrow cowered their faces in expectance, bracing themselves for a big blow as they could see the glinting energy from the corners of their eyes.
The whole clearing became cloaked in a smoky velvet dust that had been unsettled from the ground with the colliding force of the blend of attacks. The Embers and Shadow Balls had become entwined within the neat energy from the Hidden Power, and, combined together, causing a catastrophic explosion that even managed to knock Harriet and Max of their feet.
“Mothim, Chikorita, are you guys ok?” Harriet spluttered everywhere, whipping the resilient dust and dirt particles from her face to make her visibility more clear.
She scanned the area and noticed Max clambering to his feet also, and proceeding to wipe his glasses so that he could survey what had been quite a remarkable show of raw power. She then glanced at the gap between them where four rustling bodies were moving and stirring, two of which were picking themselves up from the wreck they had created.
“Thank goodness, you’re alright!” she excitedly said as she scooped them both into her loving, tender hug, “That was a superb effort guys and it really did pay off,” she pointed over to the sleeping bodies of Charmander and Murkrow who had both taken a tremendous hit from the sheer explosive force the combined attacks held and were whisked remarkably far from their original positions, “So I think it’s something we can definitely work upon and improve ready for our Contest… if we can manage to severely dent Max’s chances then we can surely dent others too! With your power, nothing can stop us!”
“I wouldn’t be so sure about that!” A soft little whisper emanated from the opposite end of the clearing, from the direction of the gushing river. Harriet looked up from her nurturing duties, and, with Mothim and Chikorita in both arms, proceeded to walk over to the new arrival, whose flittering short white skirt gently caressed the navy blue bag that was strapped around her waist, “I must say that was definitely powerful, but power isn’t always beneficial. Just look at what it did to your two Pokémon!”
“Well you might have a point there… but with practice we can only get better! Soon we’ll be able to incorporate that power and still successfully survive such a huge reaction.”
“If you say so, I guess I’ll just have to find out how well you actually perform in the Contest!” the young girl smirked, turning herself to one shoulder in an attempt to act aloof in front of a bewildered Harriet.
“So I guess that means you know who I am then?” she inquisitively asked, quite perplexed at this young girls in depth knowledge.
“Far from it, I just saw you using two Pokémon with Contest style moves and it wasn’t that hard to then deduce that you’d be competing in Dewnord Town’s Contest… by the way, I’m April and I’m the person who’s going to stand in your way of getting that ribbon… a pleasure to meet you,” the young lass once again gave a rather posh pose before twirling her lusciously cared for brown hair that seemed void of any sort of dirt or dust.
“… In that case then, consider yourself in for a tough time! I’m Harriet and I’m not letting anyone take that ribbon away from me! It’s mine, Chikorita’s and Mothim’s, and we’ll show you exactly who is boss in the finals!”
“Game on then,” April giggled, extending her bare right hand for a firm grip of friendship that was met with the same appreciation from Harriet, “I’d expect no less! Anyway, I guess I’ll be seeing you around then, I must be off to Dewnord now, I was only passing through when I heard the noises and now that that’s all over… well there’s no point in sticking around. Bye!”
April began to saunter away, still with the air of superiority surrounding her, and still with the capability of leaving Harriet rather baffled by their encounter. However, Harriet now eagerly awaited their next meeting in the finals; a start of their new rivalry.
Harriet now briskly turned to face Max who had already placed his Pokémon back into their PokeBalls and was now heading over to accompany her. Her eyes were twinkling still with a resonant delight; she finally understood what Max had been telling her back at the airfield and felt that this had opened a plethora of new experiences and opportunities, let alone all the new styles and moves she could create.
“Max… thank you so much for everything! That was such an awesome battle and it’s really given me a lot to work with,” she gently thanked, now glancing in the direction of the recent departed April, “I couldn’t be more excited for this right now, Dewnord Town, here I come!”
“Well I’m glad you’re buzzing and all, but considering we still have a whole day’s travel ahead of us, which will get us to Dewnord in plenty of time, I was wondering whether we could briefly return to the Pokémon Centre at the airfield so I can quickly get Murkrow and Charmander checked out before we travel… a precautionary action that’s all.”
“Yea, sure, no worries!” she ecstatically spoke, “Let’s go!”
A slim, tall woman entered the main terminal building from her back office, accompanied by her egg shaped companion Chansey, who was pushing the cart that contained Max’s two PokeBalls. The wooden double doors sprang open as the duo pattered across the white washed floor towards their desk, greeted by the beaming face of Harriet who had already flung herself towards the collection point and had neatly positioned herself amongst the bouquets of flowers.
The pink haired lady, with a slight smile plastered on her face, then turned towards the seating area where Max was leafing through an addition of Hoenn Monthly, “Max, you’re Pokémon are all fine, they just need a good rest and they’ll be fit and ready.”
“Thanks Nurse Joy, you’re a star,” he politely responded, edging himself of the seat while he flung the magazine down onto the table with little regard to its position, before proceeding to grasp hold of the two PokeBalls placed neatly in a mettle tray.
“I’m always here to help, and so is Chansey… oh and by the way we managed to connect through to Rustboro now, it seems like the lines are all up and running again and Nurse Joy located Roxanne for you. If you’d like to use terminal three it’ll hook you straight in.”
“Thanks a bunch Nurse Joy,” Harriet said, now moving away from the sweet smelling array of colours and activating the PokeComs on the wall where the gracious smile of Roxanne flickered into view.
“Harriet, it’s so great to see that you arrived safely! Thank goodness,” she happily sighed, clutching hold of her clenched fist as she breathed in relief, “Brock and I were worrying about you and Max the whole night, we couldn’t sleep… but the lines were down and power outs kept on occurring so it was impossible to contact the plane or any PokeComs in Dewford and there was no other way of getting a hold of you, at least you guys managed to stay out of Team Sukai’s control!”
“I think they were just boasting their power and never really intended any harm, or at least that’s what I’m telling myself. However, now Max and I are here we’ve decided to just push through the Rustboro ordeal and try and keep our minds set on our goals… and I must say it seems as if the clean up process was in due care with you in charge!”
Roxanne turned to survey the rather sparkling PokéCentre foyer that was crammed full of trainers lending hands in delivering supplies across the city to workmen and those affected. Wiping off some remaining patches of dirt from her clothes, she returned to face the screen where Max had finally joined in the conversation.
“Well, I don’t like to brag but I must admit sometimes there’s a real need for a women’s sense of tidiness when it comes to things like this,” she joked, greeting Max with a silent smile, “Anyway, I’m sure this will all be sorted shortly… hang on… what’s that…”
Harriet and Max watched in horror as a trembling rage began to shake the surroundings of Roxanne, with newly plastered pieces of wall and ceiling toppling away amongst the panicked hoards of trainers. Boxes and boxes of supplies ripped open from the shaking ferocity and piles of new building material began to topple too.
“Roxanne, what’s going on?” Max yelled in frustration, as he pressed his hand against the screen in a cold realisation of helplessness.
“I have no idea; it sounds like an army of helicopters arriving in the street and on buildings but… ca… ssi… e…” The connection began to crackle and fizz, while the picture became distorted with the fluttering speckles of black and white spots. Suddenly, Roxanne disappeared from view and Harriet and Max were left standing in a PokéCentre deep in horrified silence.
Re: Max's Hoenn Journey: Chapter 27 Part 1
I apologise firstly for the long hiatus. That was mostly due to the fact I've been trying to finish the chapters in the early 30's but have been so caught up in others stuff it hasn't happened.
You are loyal, amazing readers and your feedback and support helps me so much!
A little info about this Chapter... It was originally one chapter but as you can see by the title I've now split it up! This continues right where we left off and goes into the Contest which I hope isn't too boring as it entertaining just like the last one was, but the reason it's so long is we get to see two new Contest rivals make way so I felt they had to have their first performance detailed in the full.
So without further ado, enjoy! And also this is the last time Max's Hoenn Journey - Intro 2 applies, from the next chapter we get a new one!
Chapter 27: A Silhouette Backtrack (Part 1)
The bleakness swept through the creamy, usually pleasant PokéCentre foyer where the enjoyable mood had quickly been sapped from the peaceful room, leaving only blank expressions of fear on Max and Harriet’s faces. Nurse Joy was also in shock, airing her cautious feelings as she approached both trainers from behind her desk accompanied by her habitually boisterous and happy Chansey who was now trembling with a slight edge of fear from viewing the live images streamed through the PokeComs. Everyone, including the Pokémon, had the same trickling thoughts of confusion that persistently rattled their minds, unsure of what had just occurred in Rustboro.
The pink haired nurse, now directly behind the two youths, placed both of her hands on the pair’s shoulders in an effort to sooth their fears. Finally, after a few more moments of echoing silence, she opened her mouth and allowed her tranquil voice to calm the duo.
“Max… Harriet… I’m, well I’m afraid that all PokeComs devices seem to be down, and… and I can’t even contact any of the surrounding cities. I’m truly sorry.”
An angry flare flickered in Max’s eyes at this, as his pondering thoughts began to overtake his natural collected nature; his fists clenched and his eyes grew cold. He quickly thrust Nurse Joy’s hand from his shoulder, frantically storming to the other end of the foyer where he proceeded to rasp his fist against the wall in frustration. Everything seemed completely impossible to him, even in some essences pushing the natural order of reality; he only expected these constant chaotic events to occur on the big screen in a big budgeted movie…
“Nurse Joy… it’s not your fault at all,” Harriet whispered, wondering whether to ignore the distraught Max or attempt to cool him down from his rage, “Thank you for trying as well, I guess these events over the past day weren’t just on the spur of the moment but were in fact planned…”
She was quickly interrupted by Max who seemed to engage with what Harriet had just said, “Exactly what I was thinking… it’s all been planned and this means Team Sukai are deadly serious, and dangerous…” he screamed, allowing his fuming energy to be propelled by his voice as his fists slammed yet again against the ceramic tiles on the wall, “They seem much worse than Team Aqua or Team Magma were a couple of years ago… in fact I suppose they could be classed as terrorists with the violent acts they’ve now committed!”
“Come on Max, shouting’s not going to help…” Nurse Joy soothingly suggested, proceeding over to Max who was nearly balling his eyes out with tears, yet his anger was successfully suppressing them, “My suggestion to the both of you would be to carry on going to wherever you were headed and then call me later this evening for an update ok, there’s no point staying here and putting your journey on hold…”
Harriet, agreeing, nodded, now also standing side by side with Max who had finally stopped trembling because of his anger. She wrapped her left arm around his shoulders and delightfully smiled into his gaze, hoping to add some sense of hope to his depression that had quickly and overwhelmingly swamped his body.
“Do Nurse Joy’s words remind you of another wise person, Max? Roxanne wouldn’t want us to waste our time here either, and I’m sure the contest tomorrow will help us to stay focused.”
Max gulped away the brewing tears and embraced Harriet in a grateful hug, filled with his expressions of thanks and love at her ever brightening kindness. He knew he was lucky to have acquired such a joyful and caring friend as Harriet and he also knew it wasn’t fair on her if he robbed her of the chance to compete in the Dewnord Village contest. If anything could really help cheer him up, besides being able to know Roxanne and Brock were fine, it would be watching her passionately win her first ribbon.
A giant chasm of wind repelled off the ever nearing ground, spraying the surrounding foliage with great quantities of dust and lumps of dirt as the final Capsule, with Apollo triumphantly watching his plans unravel from the Bridge of his descending vessel, was nearing the completion of its landing decent right into the middle of a circular creation of five other Capsules. Finally, all movements ceased and noises faded as Capsule 1 was securely rooted on its stabilising gear that had retracted, along with a hatchway, when the decent had begun. Team Sukai’s Rustboro assault team were all now mobilised.
The silence continued to hold its lingering grip in the clearing from Petalburg Woods that neatly distributed a clear view of the city, brimming in its own confusion as the preliminary tactical assaults had begun. The sun’s rays were mightily beaming across the reflective tower blocks, a busy shopping centre that was now filled with the numerous citizens attempting to rebuild after their previous attack, and hoards of broken streets, but yet again terror now gripped their hearts.
As the horrors began to pour out of the initial helicopters, where the specially trained agents who were kitted from head to toe in a full camouflage outfit and armed with numerous PokeBalls and high yielding explosives savagely began their hostage campaign; calmness and purity only loitered amongst Team Sukai’s most top ranking officers watching from afar. Their own missions didn’t begin until the city was in complete lockdown, making their tasks fluently easier.
Apollo, who was now effortlessly strolling out of the hatch from the Capsules Delivery Bay, followed by his Principles and Subordinates to meet his five Heads and their teams, was ready to lead Team Sukai to their first victory! Hoenn was, in his eyes, ensured to his control and ready to face the wrath of his plans; following suit would be the world…
With a resounding sigh, Harriet lent against the smooth edges of the Contest Hall, patterned with splashes of colour here and there depicting images of Dewnord Village’s most iconic Pokémon, Sableye, who had been a wandering spirit amongst the town for numerous years. Accompanying him, however, were other Pokémon all in victorious stances, a Lileep, an Aaron and plenty of others, and so she presumed that these had just been a few dazzling winners of the sought after ribbon, but today it didn’t really tickle her interests to enquire any further.
She had been waiting on the announcement from Vivian for the Contest to begin for what seemed to her to be hours, and now her mind had successfully begun to worry for the millionth time about Roxanne and Brock, stuck in Rustboro amongst all the ongoing confusion and terror. Nurse Joy still had no success in reaching any communication devices in the vicinity of Rustboro, including the cities of Verdanturf and Petalburg, and this had worried Harriet even more. This led her to believe something dark was preparing to reveal itself in a disastrous way and she knew no-one was ready to deal with the consequences.
As her own feelings brewed, she scanned the perfect horizon, where brisk water was lapping the edges of the sandy, golden stained beaches, and she noticed some calm and tranquil Pokémon floating gently through the air, allowing themselves to travel wherever. The Hoppip seemed wondrously at liberty; peaceful and laid back allowing the wind to guide them. Their freedom and serenity was undoubtedly something she envied, yet just by watching them feel content amongst the relaxing sea front it brought some essences of peace to her own thoughts. Somehow things were going to work out; she truly had to believe that.
As she continued to stare into the clerical void, the overhead tannoys began to crackle, and Harriet knew, automatically out of instinct, what was about to follow: “Would all contestants please report to the waiting room, the Contest will begin shortly!”
Somehow the comforting words from Vivian soothed the inner most demons that had set about to rattle around inside and shake fear into her core being. The prospect of allowing her Pokémon to extravagantly shine was a calming remedy to her angst and for the time being she had to place worry aside and concentrate on securing her first Hoenn Ribbon. Chikorita and Mothim deserved that.
After a brief reflective time of thinking, she slithered away from the wall and proceeded towards the open archway that only moments ago had born witness to her berated sobs. Now, as she re-entered the stadium, a faint flicker of glee was apparent upon the tear stained cheeks and a brewing fire of passion was evidently present.
The stadium hall was packed with fans, all buzzing with excitement at the chance to witness another Contest in their home town, and finally after months of preparation from the Contest committee, the stage was set. The crowd overlooked the bustling, dirt covered battle arena, where a panel of three judges sat with awaiting eager plastered on their faces. The contestants were also brimming with emotion as they awaited backstage, comfortable sofas adorning the room to help keep all nerves down. The giant screen, placed centrally on the far wall, was beaming with multicoloured light as it portrayed the images of Vivian making her final pre-contest performance before she announced the start of the preliminaries.
One of the vibrant red sofas was fully covered by Harriet and her draping cerulean dress with emerald coated beads that exquisitely matched the heat of the red colour. She lay listening to the commentary, eyes shut, half day dreaming and half tuned in. She did, however, recall noticing a rather handsome looking boy, tailored with the most heart throbbing muscles and garnished with a wonderful head of navy blue hair. His presence commanded power, and she knew all that just from her glimpses of his dreamy look. Luckily for her, his red fleece was strewn across the back of another sofa and the black top underneath was quite a close fit and neatly introduced his six pack to her eyes. Yet, somehow it didn’t quite shape up in the same extent to Curtis, who had literally (to Harriet) run off with her heart back in Rustboro.
She slowly sat up; allowing the extravaganzas of the excitement to filter back into her head. She contemplated drifting back outside until her announcement was called, but that seemed like too much effort. Right now she felt content gazing upon the attractive boy that was still oblivious to her sparkling gawk.
Before she had any more time to dream about prince charming fairytales, he quickly sprang to his feet as the number 13 flashed up on the Coordinator monitor. Within a split second he was out of the room, fleece flung back over his head, and he seemed quite prepared for what was about to come.
“Now that we’ve seen all the Coordinators for today’s Contest, we can begin with the preliminaries,” the young lady, decorated from head to toe in vibrant pink colours, cheered, “Each contestant must use two Pokémon in their performance. So, without further ado, please welcome Jimmy Kenta, all the way from Johto, on his debut performance to the Contest stage!”
The young lad leapt through the violet velvet curtains, kitted with a PokeBall in each hand and his iconic yellow and black striped hat. It was carefully rotated on his head to allow a tuff of his navy blue hair to poke through and keep it from draping over his red fleece. He wasted no time in finesse or elegance and proceeded to fling the two PokeBalls into the air in a rather untidy fashion, which neatly fitted in with his scruffy look that he had mastered so delicately.
“Croagunk and Wingull, it’s time to show them how much we want this!”
As his command hurdled from his mouth, the two circular objects burst open with a crackling noise and a radiating white light that beheld two unique creatures; one slouched over the ground and the other one hovering elegantly above its trainers head.
“Wingull, fly to the top of the stadium, go! And Croagunk stand directly below!” The two Pokémon moved with lightning speed; the Croagunk springing from location to location and spewing dust beneath its webbed like feet, before even one cycle of his contracting orange pouches had been completed. The Wingull, on the other hand, delightfully twiddled its three part tail along the crease of the blue strip of feathers as a show of excitement. It was obvious that these two were full of energy.
“Wingull, it’s time for you to use Gunk Shot directly on Croagunk below!” Jimmy cried, alleviating a lot of his built up thrill through his commands.
His bird Pokémon responded by rapidly opening its yellow and black beak, where a hidden bulge of purple goo had been spawned into Wingull’s throat. The build up continued to increase until little droplets of this acidic attack were gently falling onto the golden coloured floor below, and this was Jimmy’s next cue.
“Now Wingull, tilt yourself upside down and spin… but retain your height and Croagunk spin on the spot while launching a Poison Jab at the oncoming Gunk Shot!”
The two acted as commanded by controlling their bodies, with precession, the way their trainer had asked. Neither flinched at the possible dangers that faced them, nor did they attempt to go leniently on each other. It was time to put all their practice efforts into this one stunt and make perfection.
The spiralling goo of spitting violet’s and mauve’s began its decent out of the now blurry white and blue mass that was spinning uncontrollably in the air; the crowd overlooked with amazement at the accuracy and positioning of Wingull. Somehow it hadn’t moved its position in the air at all!
The bubbling gunk was now nearing impact with Croagunk, who had also begun his own spiralling antics with one of his arms stretched higher above the rest of his body. The tip of his fist was now emanating with a fantastic vibrant purple light that glowed so beautifully amongst the rays of yellow sunshine quietly creeping into the room. However, the crowd didn’t have long to marvel at this spectacle as the gunk quickly made impact with Croagunk and he was shrouded with a veil of poison goo.
There was a rapid fire of hushed gasps as the onlookers leapt to their feet, anticipating the worst for Croagunk. The only visible thing in the whole routine was the torrent of Gunk Shot that seemed to keep continuously spouting from the speeding Wingull. The crowds’ eyes turned towards Jimmy, expecting to see shock horror spreading over his face. Yet, to their amazement, he still had his expanding grin growing over his complexion.
With a blinding flash of harsh lavender coloured light coming from inside the surge, the surrounding veil of gunk that had piled up around Croagunk’s last known position burst into the air in a huge coiled mass. It quickly rose, as if on hinges, away from the Poison type, who had, through all the turmoil, managed to keep to the commands of his trainer. His spinning body was creating a wind that repelled the goo upwards until it met with the downwards resistance from Wingull’s own air force, and this combined energy created a barrier across the stadium that separated the two Pokémon. The colours were exquisite too, blending nicely together and forming bubbling sparks of energy that were able to float away as if they had no care in the world. It was symmetrical beauty.
Jimmy grinned with amazement, in awe at his Pokémon’s wondrous power. He had wished on many an occasion to show the world that his Pokémon weren’t only tough, and this was finally his moment. Now it was time for him to give his Pokémon their grand ending!
“Time for our finale guys, Wingull stop spinning and begin to flap your wings and mould the remaining Gunk Shot into a ball and surround Croagunk, then I want you, old boy, to use Endure!”
The duo once again responded accurately and swiftly to their trainers’ words, no hesitation and no fumbling about. Croagunk immediately resonated to an abrupt halt, slowly letting his pulsating wrist quell and the astonishing light to fade, leaving his usual black and orange, three fingered hand in its place. Floating gently above his head was his partner Wingull, who had begun frantically flapping both its wings to create a moulding wind that would shape the remaining Gunk Shot around the Poison type below.
Before anyone could fathom a blink of their eyes, the command had been accomplished. The harsh liquids were spiralling with grace around a pivotal point, Croagunk, as Wingull continued to flap both its wings and continue to create mirages of colours and patterns in the twirl of goo. Inside the swirling mass, a distant and faint white light began to illuminate the wondrous shapes that surrounded it in the gunk, continuously growing brighter and brighter with every second that past on the clock. The intensity grew ever stronger for the naked eye to behold; everything was undergoing radiating enlightenment, until…
“Right, Croagunk break through the barrier and enter the finishing pose with Wingull, begin!”
The veil of goo shattered to pieces as shining fists burst through the sides as if it were feeble and fragile glass, splintering the mass along the bubbling creases that had formed. The scarred remains were gently glowing in the intensity of the sparkling and heavenly light that had encompassed Croagunk’s entire body. None of his original body colours remained.
As the fragments soared through the air and flopped onto the floor below, Wingull swooped down from its height and perched on top of Croagunk’s head, which was now regaining its original blue colour. Their routine was over; finished with utter perfection. Jimmy had just set the marker extremely high for all candidates to follow, in fact, the bar seemed practically impossible to leap over.
“Wow, what a way to start of our Contest! Just… unbelievable!” Vivian cried through her microphone whilst performing a hand gesture for the spot lights to centre in upon the judges, “And now we’ll go to our judges for comments and scores!”
As the Coordinators sat backstage, they could hardly hear Vivian’s next few comments over the loud, intense roars emitting from the crowd. Everyone was stunned, bowled over by the clumsy boy everyone had witnessed enter the stage. His combination had been executed to the letter, there appeared to be no faults at all! Even Harriet had to re-think her initial thoughts about that man, maybe he wasn’t just a looker, and maybe he packed quite a punch!
“We’ll first go to Mr Sukizo for our opening comments and scores!”
“Well, absolutely remarkable if I may so, just plain and awesome remarkable! I’ll be awarding an 18.”
Plastered with a huge grin, Vivian turned back to the crowd, attempting not to let any fighting chuckles fleet through her mouth, “Well… very insightful words there, now onto Nurse Joy!”
“Wasn’t that just a show of raw imagination and talent put together?” the young lady said, while stroking one of her pink curls that ran down the side of her face, “I must say, I’ve never witnessed something quite like that before, never has anyone attempted something quite the same, so I feel originality points must be awarded as well so here’s a 19 from me… almost a perfect score!”
“And that gives Jimmy a score of 37 so far, let’s see what his final scoring will be after talking to Mr Contesta!”
“I feel there’s not much else to add comments wise, your execution was perfect and your Pokémon just delivered in every area! You’ll have a lot to live up to in your next performance young man, that’s for sure… but here and now I’ll be awarding you an 18 as well!”
“That gives Jimmy a total score of 55, everyone! That’s a fantastic way to start any Contest, and now let’s put our hands together once more for Jimmy, before we welcome our next Coordinator, Henry Bronlyn!”
A cold shiver entered the colourful backstage area, dampening the previously energetic mood. Everyone seemed to have forgotten that somebody would have to eventually follow this act, and now all eyes rested on Henry… and everybody knew that this could easily set him up for failure.
The fortified lump continued to bounce off the silver coloured arena walls, leaving deep and dark lacerations in the paint and brick work. This golden coloured body, rotating on its axis as if it was a spinning top, was also firing numerous purple spikes in all directions at the glistening sharp leaves that were being sprayed into the spaces around it, piercing them to small fragments and allowing the green waste to cover and decorate the usual dusty floor.
The small reptilian creature that was centred in the middle of this display, resembling that of a plant bulb, was standing on its two hind legs whilst it used its front two as a mode of balance. Its bulb had tilted at a rear angle, a few inches above his ivory back, and in the gap left towards the shoulders of the Pokémon, the sharpened leaves spouted out like fighter pilots launched from base, soaring as salvo into the air.
“Brilliant you two, this is just as I hoped!” the strong woman remarked, stuffing another lock of her brown hair back into the pristine white beanie resting upon her head, clearing her vision for Pokémon’s finale, “Now, Bulbasaur, grab Sandshrew with your Vine Whip in mid air, but Sandshrew, keep using your Gyro Ball but lay off the Poison Sting!”
The crowd were once again gripped to the edges of their seats, captivated by the young ladies commands and her elegant Pokémon that were swiftly enacting upon their trainer’s words. Two long, sturdy vines extended from the base of the bulb on the reptiles back and stung into the air, quickly latching on to the spinning golden glow right above his head. April stood with confidence, one hand clasped on her hip with the other packed neatly into a pocket on her also pristine white short skirt. She was basking in the greeting cheers of the crowd, overflowing with pride as she watched her Pokémon’s magnificent display of brilliance.
“Great work, now play Tennis with Sandshrew to wrap this up, Bulbasaur, and Sandshrew I want you to finish just like we practiced!”
The walking plant flicked the tip of its right vine and hurled the Sandshrew against the already scarred wall, creating a catalyst of energy to surge in the small ground type’s body as it was repelled back towards Bulbasaur. The extra energy stored from the impact with the wall allowed Sandshrew to expel it out of its dry hide as it burst from its circular shape, using all the force as an instrument to aid in gliding. It pricked its tail up on edge and began to rotate it in a clockwise motion to give it the little extra push towards Bulbasaur, until it had clasped one of the vines in both its upper and lower paw. Holding on tightly, she then spiralled down to sit nicely upon the contracting bulb of her cohort, and as instantly as that had occurred, so too did the erupting applauses breach the lips of the fans.
“That was another incredible debut here today folks with our seventeenth candidate, April!” the booming squeals resonated, blasting through the speakers that surrounded the entire Contest Hall, “Her Pokémon showed us the uniqueness of their own bodies and how it’s not all about those special attacks, what did our judges think of it though? Nurse Joy, would you like to start us off!”
Vivian’s hand gestured back over to the committee of judges, waving the spotlights back onto their beaming faces. The young nurse leant forward across the elongated table, allowing her curls to drape onto the metallic surface, and drawing in the attention of the entire crowd.
“This just goes to show you that a trainer always needs to know the capabilities of their own Pokémon, no matter what that may be…” Nurse Joy then paused, clutching the side of her face gently in her right palm whilst also regaining her posture and inhaling another take of breath, “And I do feel that the use of rare Pokémon in Hoenn was a great opportunity to grab everyone’s attention, such a superb attempt! I’ll be awarding them a 16.”
The crowd once again burst into grandiose ovation, applauding April for the great scoring she had just been awarded. Their attention then quickly flittered back over to Vivian, “And now let’s hear from Mr Contesta!”
The old man stayed seated, arms folded and a subtle smile etched into his face, “I felt that it was a definite glimmer of this young woman’s potential. Her Pokémon were synchronized and capable of coordinating their attacks in sequence yet with style… I’ll also be awarding a 16.”
“With a total so far of 32, let’s see how the scores will bear after we hear from Mr Sukizo!”
A tremendous applause flew into the stands yet again, raising the roof off the stadium with the sheer volume of noise that was being produced. Everyone was overexcited and ecstatic to be witnessing the marvellous routines that had been constant crowd pleasers, and even though they knew what words were about to befall their ears, they were still filled with utter enthusiasm.
“I’d just like to say remarkable, I shall give April an 18 for her remarkable efforts and remarkable elegance and remarkable Pokémon.”
“Well there we have it, a nice round and solid 50! A great start to her Contest career as well,” Vivian shrieked, waltzing over to April’s side and clasping her hand in a solid grip of congratulations. Still holding onto April’s hand, she turned towards the crowd, microphone pressed harshly against her lips, ready to blast them with more pep! “Let’s give it up for April as we welcome on our next Coordinator, Harriet Shelby making her second ever Contest appearance!”
The roars of ecstasy reached new pivotal levels; the men and women that had flocked into the seats in the stands were now levitated on their feet, fist punching the air and screaming adoration for April as she and her Pokémon performed one final bow before they fled out through the purple drapes pulled over the giant archway at the back of the hall. Max was also advancing his own hollers of enjoyment, rasping his hands together repeatedly as a sign of his best wishes for April, whilst also eagerly anticipating the arrival of Harriet and all she had to offer.
Meanwhile, amongst the deafening shrieks of delight blasting through the television set secured on the wall, Harriet quickly bolted from the comfy sofa that had barely seen anyone else lay rest on it at all during the first half hour of Contest Preliminaries. This time though, it was her time to allow others to marvel at what her Pokémon could accomplish and nothing was going to stand in her way.
She spent no time bursting through the double doors that cordoned off the backstage area from the main corridor. It had been designed to resemble some exquisite royal palace, or that was the excuse used for the overuse of swirls and ribbons and the vibrant attire of sky blue paint. The long passageway to the echoing applause was all that was left now; she always took it to be like an ascent to royalty, it made the most sense somehow considering the over lavished corridors with Contest memorabilia and photos of winning Coordinators in posh poses that littered the walls… and of course the double doors!
Whisking herself towards the entrance to the stadium hall, where the cameras were awaiting her entrance, another girl burst towards her, only visible to Harriet in a black silhouette because of the intense beams of light that radiated from the arena behind her. Instinctively this other girl stopped, placing a hand upon her hip and flicking another loose curl away from the corner of her eyes.
“Well, Harriet…” her soft tones entered the void of silence, “Who would’ve guessed that you’d have to follow me?” she chuckled, now resuming her movement and running towards Harriet, arms extended for an embrace, “Good luck out there, ok? Don’t mess this up! I plan on meeting you in the finals!”
Harriet only smiled in response, slightly taken aback by April’s extravert behaviour; she was slightly unsure of how best to answer her retorts.
“Well, I best not keep you… go get them girl friend!” April kindly spoke, winking with her right eye and signing a thumbs up before grabbing Harriet by the shoulders and pushing her towards the raging sounds of excitement. Surprisingly, the encouragement from April seemed to revitalise some of the lost sparks that had died away with the previous day’s news and Harriet was raring to go. This was now her moment to show Hoenn why her Pokémon were going to win!
As Vivian now introduced Harriet with a little more detail to the crowds, describing the mountainous village from which she originated, she stormed through the slight gap etched into the two velvety fabrics hanging across the archway. For some reason this time felt more nerve racking than her debut had actually been. The intensity of the cheers, the glancing eyes of the judges and the dawning light that fell upon her all added up to some subconscious poker that was jabbing her insides with forceful heat like never before. But… she wasn’t ready t give in, and she was here to prove her worth!
“Alright, Chikorita and Mothim, take to the floor!”
Her PokeBalls whizzed into the basking golden light that was illuminating the sparkling dust particles that were ascending into the heights of the stadiums top. Her PokeBalls hovered in the same light too, their purplish aura glimmering amongst the dust that were like small stars swirling around two powerful planets, ready to burst at any moment. With a noise resembling a cracking whip, the two spheres split along their joint, sending both parts as far away as feasibly possible from each other. From within the capsules erupted bouquets of roses tinted with a lingering sweet perfume that scattered across the floor staining it with the colours and fragrance of love. Soon after, they were followed by a white shimmering beam that jangled together to create the figures of Chikorita and Mothim, both whom were planted centrally upon one rather overgrown rose petal that gently unfolded to reveal the two stars of the stage ready to captivate the audience over their routine.
“What a magnificent entrance ladies and gentlemen! Already Harriet and her two Pokémon have us eagerly awaiting their spectacle, let’s see what they have to offer,” Vivian cried, her voice exploding through the enormous speakers that received the signal from her radio mic.
“You heard our cue guys, so let’s kick it up! Chikorita jump onto Mothim and then Mothim, fly into a central position and begin charging a low powered Hidden Power, whilst Chikorita, I want you to fire numerous amounts of Leach Seeds into the air surrounding you two, but be careful… we don’t want to impact him!”
Mothim began to energetically flap both of its wings, soaring into the heights of the stands in a tunnelling spiral while the edges of its body began to energize a spectacular, shimmering golden light. The small particles of this beautiful sight then merged together, forming a trail of fine and delicate light mimicking the similarities of very tender string. Whilst the crowd watched in awe at the splendour surrounding Mothim, attracted to his beauty, Chikorita stammered a barrage of small seeds from its own small necklace of green plantings to create a spherical radius around them.
“Now Chikorita, grip on tightly as we practiced, and Mothim release your Hidden Power, but only from your front!”
Instinctively, Chikorita curled the edges of its small paws around Mothim’s cylindrical, deep black spinal body. This was the moment where things could easily go wrong, and Chikorita knew that it’d most likely involve her if it were the case so the tighter she held on, the tighter their clench was around victory.
The minute Mothim felt the deeper grip on his body he utilised his wings as a utensil for spiralling that would allow the discharging Hidden Power to impact a greater area in a shorter space of time. As they both entered into the twists, their vision became blurred and heads became dizzy, incapable of really hearing anything over the intense pressure upon their bodies. These was the prompt Mothim was looking for and needed to then release the energy that had now encompassed his entire frontal body, leaving none of his original markings on display. In the blurry images that their eyes were frantically attempting to distinguish, a sudden blinding glow erupted into their surroundings, quickly engulfing every Leach Seed around them, all of which had begun to descend to the ground below.
For them, it was hard to see exactly what had occurred, although because of their practices they knew exactly what the outcome looked like… For the crowd, however, it was an entirely different story, even Max was left looking greatly shocked, captured by the magical explosion of life before them.
The small round seeds that had previously been so insignificant that they appeared harmless were now shooting stems of foliage from within their miniscule vessels. The occasional one connected with others in the sphere and intertwined and merged to create coils and twists, small works of art. On each of the elongated vines, the onset of spouting leaves and small buds began to appear in a huge variety of colour ranging across the rainbow spectrum. Some were a beautiful deep blue, others a shy and blushing violet. It was amazing!
“Look at that power… the nature… it’s… it’s just jaw dropping! Pokémon truly withhold immense natural beauty in them and this shows just how one with nature they are!” Vivian quivered, her face enriching a red as a few speckles of small rainbow petals dropped onto her brow.
Harriet’s eyes dazzled with joy and love that was enhance by a swirling pool of liquid skating across the white surface, shimmering the intricate emotions into the public’s own vision. She was overwhelmed by her Pokémon, amazed at what they could accomplish. She wished she could raise them higher on her pedestal of praise than they already were.
“Brilliant guys, absolutely superb work! And now it’s time to lavish the crowd in our floral creation! Chikorita, use Razor Leaf to split the Leach Seeds up, and Mothim create a gust of wind with your wings to blow it into the stands!”
The sharp edges of the leaves, that seemed set on a continuous mode as they were launched from the gigantic leaf planted on the tip of Chikorita’s head, sliced through the tangled vines with such ease, as if a knife was being driven through soft, fresh doughy bread. The falling, intact flower heads soon became caught in an updraft circulating the lower half of the stadium that pushed the luscious commodity into the seats, where the crowd greeted the delight with exuberant smiles. This was when Chikorita immediately stopped its Razor Leaf and leant over the edge of her partner to grab a pink flower within its teeth, ready for their final stunt. Mothim, on the other hand, continued to beat its wings against the air until every last petal had been sent, colour and all, into someone’s gracious lap as a sort of token of thanks for the ongoing applause and cheers. The two Pokémon then gently hovered to the ground where they perched on either side of their trainer, beaming with a huge and thankful smile. Chikorita then gently placed the flower that was still secured in her teeth upon Harriet’s head, delighting her even more. It was over.
“There we have it folks, and what a brilliant way to end that show of nature! I think we can all say we were showered with elegance today, and let’s see how Harriet’s points reflect that. Mr Contesta, if you will do the honours of starting us off…”
“That routine was obviously thought out in such depth and detail that I doubt any flaw could’ve occurred. Congratulations on behalf of the planning and also congratulations to Mothim and Chikorita as well, who elegantly and professionally delivered, what I think has to be called a stunning and flowery show of perfection. I look forward to your future appeals… now onto your scoring. I’m going to give you an 18!”
“A great way to start things off; now let’s see what Nurse Joy has to say!”
The fresh skinned lady sat for a moment, a big smile etched onto her face and an air of content surrounding her, “I feel that any comment I have to say won’t do your Pokémon justice…” she softly spoke, “All I will say is do come and share with me the way your brain comes up with these!”
The crowds, previously silenced in anticipation, burst into wondrous laughter that was oddly pleasing and soothing to Harriet’s nerves. Somehow, if a judge was capable of joking around it had to mean that she had done something right, and by the looks of relief on her Pokémon’s faces it seemed they felt exactly the same way.
As the volume of laughter decreased, all eyes fluttered back across to Nurse Joy who seemed to have words sealed in her lips, ready for the best moment to speak, “So for your ingenious ideas, I’ll also be awarding you an 18!”
“A solid 36 so far Harriet, well done, and by the sounds of those cries up there it seems like the crowd thoroughly agree with your high score… now lastly we’ll turn to Mr Sukizo for the final comments.”
“Remarkable, I think it was a brilliant display of remarkable attitude and perseverance… 17 from me!”
“There we have it, another high scorer with 53 points ladies and gentlemen… this could mean that selecting our final eight for the battle rounds won’t solely be on scores this time round, but only time will tell! Now give it up one last time for Harriet, Mothim and Chikorita, and welcome to the stage Ruth Taylor!”
Harriet enlarged the two PokeBalls, rid of the capsules now, in the palm of her right hand. She turned to her two Pokémon, a graceful smile speaking justice to the both of them who were also reflecting joyous smiles. Without any words, the red beams shot from the balls striking the Pokémon’s bodies and sucking them back into the warmth and comfy energy streams. They had accomplished their double performance without a hitch, and for that they deserved a peaceful rest before the results.
Silence. Pure, lonely silence. It lingered in the room, struck the depths of hearts and quivered the strongest lips. Everything was tense and nerve racking, out of place and uneven… and the silence only adhered to that. The faces of all Coordinators were solemn, inconstant – scared even. Everyone’s scores had been so close, many even matching others entirely, and this meant that the judges then had to sift through the many names and faces of those with equal scores to try and evaluate… gage who was the best, who had the best ability.
The lights of the main arena suddenly vanished, leaving only four spotlights open, shining upon the judges and Vivian. It was time. Now everyone would be put out of their misery, sweat ducts would dry up and colour would return to everyone’s faces. The final eight had been decided.
Vivian grasped a sheet of paper from the judge’s desk and slowly paced into the centre of the dusty stage. Her presence seemed commanding and justified and attracted the other three spotlights to whisk away from the metallic table and home in on her.
“Thank you for waiting so patiently, I have to apologise that this process took slightly longer than usual but it’s only because of the amazing performances each and every Coordinator has displayed here today. The final eight have been entered into the computer system and their faces will now appear behind me on the big screen… good luck everybody!”
Eight blank photo frames magically materialized in the pixels on the screen, illuminating the arena a little more from its own light. As this occurred the yellow streams originating from the four spotlights then dimmed and fizzled out and the main stadium lights began to faintly glow again. Suddenly, eight images flashed on screen and slotted neatly into the ruby and sapphire coloured frames, decorated with studded jewels. This was the moment… Who had made it?
Re: Max's Hoenn Journey Chapter 28
Just a titbit, we are basically 1/4 of the way through the entire story with this chapter which is.... pretty amazing.... or at least that's how I see it :P Here's to many more chapteres lol!
With this chapter comes a new intro... so that might be exciting to some:
Max's Hoenn Journey Intro 3
And without further ado, here's the long awaited chapter!
Chapter 28: A Silhouette Backtrack (Part 2)
Blank expressions of horror and sadness gripped most of the Coordinators that had been hesitantly sitting on the coloured sofas that littered the backstage room. Some of them, with trembling hands and legs, dared not stand amongst the blue colour scheme of the area, while others turned to a member of the lucky eight and congratulated them with a tight and respectful handshake. One small girl, who seemed as if she was even too young to know her own alphabet, very graciously peered round the corner of her lunar glasses and extended a hand of adoration to give thanks to a startled Jimmy. Another girl at the opposite end of the room had also begun congratulating Henry Bronlyn on his performance before turning to a gleaming April, decorated from head to toe with an ecstatic glow, and congratulating her.
While all this occurred, Harriet, sat in a posture of unique stillness, still seemed to glare at the electric notice board in front of her. It was rather hard to tell exactly what emotions were drifting through her body and mind and what thoughts had begun to stir in the depths of her head, but one thing was certain, she appeared paralyzed by shock.
Being beaten with numerous remarks of praise, Henry looked up from the other Coordinators that had uniquely surrounded themselves around him and gazed through the room to search for the other lucky seven amongst a crowd of smiles and sobs. As his eyes continued to scan the room he noticed a rather astonished stricken Harriet, fixated upon the images on the screen. Pushing his way out of those that surrounded him, now moving on to congratulate the other ones, he quickly wandered over to her and proceeded to sit, with quite a force, on a patch of sofa next to her.
“Hey there Harriet,” he remarked, glancing another look at the board while a simple image of confusion seemed to creep onto his expression, “Everything ok?”
As he looked at her, awaiting a response, he noticed the faint twinkling of delight and hope burst into her eyes and now his own perplexed smile seemed to fade into one of glee. She seemed quite overwhelmed with a coursing flow of happiness ebbing throughout her. What he had mistakenly thought was shock horror was actually just the response to so much joy and she had no other way to show it.
With a sudden flash of movement, she leapt from the couch, eagerly anticipating who her first opponent would be. She smiled warmly at Henry reaching down to his now lowered position to grasp his hand in a tight feeling of mutual respect. They had both accomplished it, somehow.
The talent that had most defiantly shone here was overwhelming to all the Coordinators, as well as the hyped up crowd now eager to watch the certain feisty battles from the first stage battling. It was sheer shock to Harriet, as shown by her previous look, and she felt privileged to have somehow, in some way been a noticeable figure amongst all the others backstage. In some respects, it felt, to her, as if she had been a prized needle found amongst the plentiful numbers of hay stacks. Now it was time to beat all those that stood on her path to her first ribbon!
“Well Henry,” she now spoke, attuned with an air of excitement, “You best hope that you’re not my first opponent because I’m not going to let anyone get near to beating me… No way!”
“Hah,” he chuckled, standing up to look her eye to eye, friend to friend, “Now you’re back!”
“Indeed I am, and I’m…”
A metallic clunking descended from the speakers that were picking up sound from the main stage arena. Everyone immediately stopped what they were doing, ready to look and listen as they awaited and expected an announcement.
In the dimly lit corner by the judge’s stand, a figure proceeded forward into the greater light to make her presence better known. With a microphone in her hand, this time without its stand which seemed to be stuck in a pile of cabling, probably the source of the hard sound, Vivian stepped forward with a gleaming smile, addressing the crowd with her noticeable aura.
“And now ladies and gentlemen, fans at home, it’s time to shuffle our eight candidates on the board and match them up for their first stage battling! Begin!”
Her hand shot upwards with her index figure stoutly pointed to make a greater impact with the swish movement, to alert all eyes to the busy whirring screen. And they followed. Each and every person was instantly in anticipation, on the edges of their seats as they watched the backs of the photo frames begin to initially appear, a way to add to the hyped suspense. Now that each section of the screen was filled they rotated to display the faces of the Coordinators, and that’s when Max reeled with shock. Not only was Harriet up first but she was also up against Jimmy, someone he knew to be truly experienced and tough when it came to battles from his own attempts at battling him.
“Well there we have it folks! Our first battle to start things off will be between Harriet and Jimmy, let’s put our hands together as we welcome them out to the stage!”
Backstage, Harriet, seemingly unbeknown to the reasons surrounding the horrors that rested with Max, was prepared, ready and up for her first challenge. She causally pushed her way out of the room, brushing past the two gigantic marbled pots peppered with an array of bluish colours that contrasted with the deep green of the small palm trees sprouting over the tops. She didn’t take long to camber down the corridor and out into the open, where Jimmy was already handsomely waiting to face her, one hand tacked onto his left hip and a gigantic yet charming smile spawned on his face. Although he was her opponent, she still felt the radiating charisma and allure he seemed to produce, but she wasn’t going to let that stop her, and this young man, of whom she knew nothing about, was about to understand the full complexity of her battling prowess.
“Now each Coordinator must still show the elegance of their Pokémon’s moves but in a battle setting, you have five minutes on the clock as your timer… and begin!”
“Okay then,” Harriet quickly responded with a swell of force behind her voice, “Well you already know what my two are, Jimmy. Mothim and Chikorita, rest is over, now time to get our battle on!”
Harriet lunged her two PokeBalls into the middle of the arena before her, thrusting as much excitement as she could into her throw to elegantly allow the balls to twirl in movement. They continued forwards, Jimmy still lingering a pleasant smile, and burst wide open allowing petals of magnificent colours to erupt in a continuous flow around them. With two sharp, lively and determined looks, Chikorita and Mothim were present and equipped to show the crowd their battling techniques.
“Hmm,” Jimmy seemed to ponder for a few seconds, “Well in that case…” He unhinged two PokeBalls from the waist belt strung across his middle, enlarging them with delicacy in the palm of his right hand, “I’ll use Wingull and Geodude; let’s teach them a whole new lesson about typing matters in the process!”
He gently flung his two PokeBalls onto the stage floor as well, seemingly frozen in his posture while he carried out the act. They too burst open with a wondrous energy, yet without any addition of a capsule to aid in their entrance. Just like the PokeBalls, Jimmy was also not wearing any extravagant attire for the event, just his usual casual clothes which he neatly topped off with a yellow and black cap plonked in any old fashion over his night blue coloured hair. Although he didn’t outwardly look the part, he was certainly ready to detail his Contest debut in a heroic fashion.
Now, presently facing each other with sheer excitement ebbing through their bodies, the Pokémon attentively listened for their trainer’s commands, wishing to execute them precisely and with the utmost speed they could muster. They wanted to deliver the first blow and take a quick lead in the battle.
“I hope you don’t mind but I’m going to be taking the first move!” Jimmy cried, now engaging his body with the energy of the motion by hunching into a tough posture, “Geodude, Rollout on Chikorita, and Wingull, use Water Pulse to drive Mothim into the air, let’s separate her Pokémon up!”
The two energetically engaged their commands, joyously charging into an instant and active tactical assault. Geodude had quickly tucked both its sprouting arms, which were rigidly attached to its rocky yet circular body, around his exterior shape while his partner was busy plaguing Mothim with repeated shots of Water Pulse to lure him away from Chikorita. Although both wished to stay and fight side by side, they knew their battles were materializing into different agendas and they had to stay focused on their own opponents before they could offer any assistance to each other.
While Mothim darted away in the air, constantly twisting and turning to avoid the fateful Water Pulse’s that zoomed on by, occasionally coming in close proximities to the extremities of his wings, Chikorita faced her own problems. The floating mass of rock that now sped delightfully towards Chikorita with great force was overwhelmingly accompanied by sheer elegance that uniquely appealed his uneven, jagged edges to the audience because of the odd light reflections that now bounced off his body. Chikorita timidly watched him keep approaching with the trailing winds rapidly following him behind, yet she stood her ground awaiting her own trainer’s commands knowing that letting fear get the best of her in this situation would prove untimely wise and also be unhelpful to Mothim.
Harriet’s own attention to the battle became rather strained as her eyes swiftly shifted between Chikorita, plastered to the ground, and Mothim who was steadily increasing in height. She could tell that Wingull was launching attacks that weren’t intended to strike, although it wouldn’t have been a problem to Jimmy if they did. The longer her Pokémon were on the run or facing a difficulty the more her points would decrease, and she could clearly notice, behind Mothim, the slowly depleting circular bar underneath her name.
“Ok, we have to do something! So Chikorita, launch your Razor Leaf in an attempt to stop Geodude for as long as possible, and Mothim, let’s show them our counter to spam attacks, Protect!”
The two Pokémon were extraordinarily eager to resist the onslaught of attacks they were facing in an effort to regroup and launch their own offensive strike. Mothim contracted its body in a tight focus before a spherical force engulfed it, glistening with a blue tint in the skin of the shield. The Water Pulse’s were now officially beat, at least for the time being, as any greatly aimed spherical ball of water would bounce right off the tight protection and cascade to the ground below, which inevitably Jimmy didn’t want. Chikorita on the other hand leapt into action by showering the oncoming Geodude with a plethora of razor sharp leaves that began to strike the coarse body of the Rock Pokémon. Now they just had to wait and see which attacks would win over the other and which Pokémon would suffer and tire causing the trainers points to dwindle.
Mothim was managing to keep the barrier brimming with life, now flapping its wings to drive Wingull back down towards the fight between Geodude and Chikorita, which Wingull was so obligingly complying with. Meanwhile though, the look of fear gripped its tight grasp around Chikorita, causing a few drops of sweat to run down her brow. Her rapid fire of Razor Leaf seemed to do nothing to prevent Geodude as he just blasted his way through the barrage. His spinning mass was now inches away and he could almost smell the fear and unwilling anticipation expelled from her. With one mighty impact, Chikorita was sent soaring across the hall until a wall kindly met her path and she slammed into the solid side.
“No! Chikorita! Are you ok?” Harriet cried, horrified by her failing tactics. She was so sure that they’d work; she had seen it emulated somewhere else and it had been performed without a hitch. Now she was going to have to switch things up and draw Mothim in to help, but first she’d have to deal with Wingull!
“Chikorita, get back up and use Leech Seed on Wingull, we need to incapacitate him if we’re to get an edge in this battle, and Mothim handle Geodude for the moment by firing bursts of your Hidden Power at him!”
Out of the corner of her eye, she noticed her dwindling point’s that were now down to half of the total in comparison to Jimmy’s which had only budged by a few inches. She really had to pull something out the bag if she was to win and succeed into the second stage battling and hopefully her sudden idea would be all she needed.
Around the pale soft neck of Chikorita, lined with spouting buds, erupted a few pellet like seeds pulsing with some mystic crimson energy. The tips of these brandished a distinct leafy hook that seemed sharp enough to stick to anything. Chikorita tilted its head back, glaring at its opponent before it launched the Leech Seed with a forceful thrust of her head. The erupting seeds seemed like bullets fired from a powerful and devastating gun because of the speed they were gathering and they quickly impacted Wingull with utter ease. The seeds then rapidly began to sprout vines that wrapped themselves tightly around Wingull by linking between the pulsing capsules that were already sapping energy from him, increasingly making it harder for him to stay afloat in the air.
On the ground Geodude was also being edged into a corner, trying not to be struck by any streams of Golden Light that was pouring from Mothim’s elegantly decorated wings. Now Harriet had successfully, if only briefly, turned the tide of the battle and had also managed to impact Jimmy’s points in a bigger more profound manner than before. Her face began to glow with a hint of joy as his bar of points was on a steady decline.
Jimmy was gripped with a nervous air, his face now brimming with a few drops of sweat as he fumbled over a few quick thoughts. He was, however, finding it increasingly harder to establish what action to take, and oddly the Contest Battle seemed like a far off world compared to his regular Gym Battles. So much more precision and elegance was needed from his Pokémon, now he just had to deliver.
“Okay Geodude, we’re going to need to do something fast so use Rollout to get away from Mothim’s attack and charge Chikorita again, let’s get this thing back on our turf! And Wingull, use Wing Attack to try and cut the binds around you, we need you back on your fighting feet as soon as possible!”
Wingull’s complexion had already drooped and it was notably beginning to tire under the strain of the constant zaps. The deceiving little seeds were draining Wingull slowly of its energy which left it more vulnerable and open to attack and also meant that its own talents were starting to weaken. However, it knew that its trainer was right to call the next course of attacks and so proceeded with all its might to engage a powerful Wing Attack. It now slowly beat its wings against the tensed vines that encompassed it inside and he hoped that with repeated hits the vines would begin to become delicate and tear.
Beneath him, his partner had already entered into the rapid spinning motions as his body was rotating with tremendous weight and force. With elegance he was cleverly evading the showering beams of Hidden Power that narrowly missed his rocky armour, impacting the ground and creating small yet noticeable cracks to weave in the dirt battle field. His movements edged him closer to Chikorita who was showering away in fright, but ready to quickly act if her trainer required her too.
Harriet looked rather worried, her mind creating numerous scenarios that could occur and different possibilities, but she knew she had to try something risky if Chikorita was going to survive the battle and if her points were also going to stay intact!
“Alright, Chikorita, grab hold of Geodude with your Vines and lift him off the ground. Try and resist him breaking free! Mothim, then target your attack on Geodude! We need to be quick if we’re going to take Wingull before he breaks free as well!”
Two elongated vines spouted from Chikorita’s pale neck as soon as Harriet commanded the words, not stretching too far before each vine impacted the spinning body. Chikorita began to push into her vines with all her body mass as well, trying to slow down the speed and release Geodude’s arms from his coil so that she could hold him still, and it seemed to be working. His rotations were becoming increasingly unstable and offsetting his balance causing his arms to flail in the air. As soon as the slight glimmer of his fists appeared, Chikorita quickly moved her vines to wrap around his fists and firmly lock him in place; ready to face Mothim’s powered up Hidden Power.
Mothim was again glowing in vibrant golden light that had engulfed the usual patterns adorned on its body. As soon as it noticed Geodude tangled within Chikorita’s vines it released the energy in a spiralling and explosive beam that flowed through the air. Geodude, horrified, stared at the tip of the awesome sparkling power that was inches away; delivering what he knew would be his final blow.
Dust quickly distilled the arena and nobody could tell the outcome from the Hidden Power. Harriet attempted to open her eyes but rapidly blinked a number of times to clear the sandy particles from her vision. Amongst the greyish coloured cloud that had sucked in most light, she could still see the ebbing colour emanating from the Leech Seed which Wingull was obviously still wrestling with. If she was quick she could end the battle now, but only if the Hidden Power had gone to plan.
“I’m just going to have to trust,” she muttered as a comment to help lift her up and instil confidence in her, “I have to trust in them…” her voice echoed, trailing off to add in one last moment of thinking, as a sort of risk assessment, although she knew it was all going for broke. “Ok, Chikorita, fling Geodude at the red pulsing light in the air, I trust and believe in you! I know you can do it Chikorita, just aim and you’ll be fine!”
Amongst the dust cloud, a rustling of movement could be heard. Chikorita was ready to act upon her final commands, knowing that Harriet had full confidence in her and knowing that Harriet believed in all she could achieve. Using her vines like a lasso, she swung Geodude around a bit causing a disturbance in the dust cloud that was beginning to clear. Chikorita kept her full attention on the red pulsating light in the right hand area of the stadium. Now, with enough momentum, she released Geodude hurtling at its friend who was unable to move out of the way due to its present restrictions. The light then quickly began to fall, producing a big thump as it impacted with the floor.
Jimmy’s face tightened and his eyes squinted as he feared the worse. Deep down he knew it was all over, but he desperately wanted to believe otherwise. Peering through what seemed like fogged out glasses, only making out a small section of the scene unfolding before his eyes, he noticed two heaps on the ground. One a grey colour, with jagged edges to it, and the other an elegant white with streaks of a bluish haze zipped across its body. His heart sank.
“Geodude, Wingull… thank you so much my friends,” he softly spoke, running over to their sides as they began to stir, “You both performed amazingly and I have to say that it was a brilliant first attempt, wouldn’t you say?” he joked, picking them up in his arms and giving them an affectionate squeeze before recalling them both into their PokeBalls. “Take a good rest now…”
The stadium lights began to glare through the remaining tint of greyness and the screen board began to flash. The two pictures and points bars faded, leaving a grand sign next to the picture of Harriet and her two partners; ‘Winner’ was the label branded next to them.
“Well what an amazing first battle folks, Vivian quickly and enthusiastically spoke, “I am pleased to announce Harriet as our first Coordinator proceeding into the Second Stage Battling, who will she face, well we’ll find out in a short moment as we welcome Henry and Christie to the stage!”
Harriet’s face shone with excitement as the crowd’s applause sent her emotions on a grand high. She looked up from her jolly Pokémon who were dancing around at her feet in happiness… and relief; and her eyes met those of Jimmy who was warmly smiling at her in a sign of congratulations. Although it was obvious he was filled with despair at his loss, he kindly accepted his defeat and retreated from the stadium floor. Now she turned her gaze to scan the awarding audience and then scooped up her Pokémon before trotting off stage with an edge of glee.
As she half skipped half marched down the long blue hallway, a figure began approaching her from the opposite end, walking towards the tunnel of light. As they stepped closer she could tell from the clothes and hair that it was Henry about to step out for his first battle of the day. He paused next to her, not saying anything but instead shuddering. His face was fixated on the ground below where his feet were treading.
Harriet looked at her Pokémon giving them a reassuring smile, before placing them on the ground and proceeding to put her hand gently on Henry’s arm. She didn’t know the words to say, and her face expressed that quite well, but instead she quickly embraced him.
“Whatever is to happen out there… just go out and enjoy yourself…”
As she made her comments, she cut the hug and just gave him an understanding smile. It was now his time to show the crowd’s what he could do.
Harriet calmly lounged on one of the big sofas in the backstage room, slightly relieved that she wasn’t presently in the spotlight. The numbers backstage had already decreased a great deal as most Coordinators had proceeded on with their journeys, not wanting to wait or hesitate for one second. Her own road was soon to be travelled again, but first just lounging seemed fine to her. The pairings for the second battling stage were soon to be posted as soon as the present battle ended and then it’d soon kick off again. Soaking the remaining essences of peace for the meantime seemed like a luxury.
A loud eruption echoed over the speaker system, causing Harriet to bolt upright the minute she heard the ghastly noise. She stared at the screen eagerly, hoping that the smoke would clear and she could see what had occurred. Obligingly it began to do so, and just as in her battle, one opponent’s Pokémon were completely knocked out.
Vivian rushed into the middle of the floor, stepping inside the spherical shape used as an indicator to the battle surface. Her face shone with brilliance, an expressed amount of excitement coursing through her.
“Well ladies and gentlemen, here we have it, the first stage battling is over and the results are in! April has joined the other three Coordinators in the pot for the Dewnord Town Ribbon! Now it’s time to shuffle the remaining Contestants and see what the pairings will be! Computer, begin!”
As on cue, her hand leapt to introduce the screen as the main focus again and all eyes enthusiastically waited to see what all the flashing colours and spiralling shapes would produce. As the splodges culminated, the faces of the remaining Coordinators began to assemble and it became clear who Harriet was facing next.
“So there we have it guys, our first second stage battling match will be between April and Tuk, and then we’ll be welcoming Henry and Harriet to the stage!” At her remarks the crowd almost instantaneously leapt to their feet to cheer the final four, repeatedly clapping and cheering at the top of their voices. “So if our first two Coordinators could get in place we’ll begin…” Vivian painfully squealed, attempting to be heard over the radical noise of the audience.
April skidded across the floor, narrowly dodging the high flying Hyper Beam that had swept on by. Both her Pokémon were also near to receiving the brunt of the attack but just as their trainer had commanded they had swung out of the way. Things weren’t going terribly well for her in the battle, yet her points were remarkable high due to the amount of dodging that Snorunt and Bulbasaur had been doing.
The pyramid like Pokémon was an extremely nimble creature; able to zip about at the greatest of speeds, but even it was beginning to tire from the numerous bursts of power that were leaping from the opponents Rock Type Pokémon, airing a hard and hench quality to them. The large dinosaur like Pokémon, tipped with a shiny and spiky horn, didn’t seem to be all that tired and was quite happy with releasing numerous bursts of Flamethrower and Hyper Beam, all of which were narrowly being evaded. The other, a small Pokémon equipped with two brown little feet attached to its body that seemed like a jigsaw puzzle ball stuck together awkwardly, was happy to bounce between the two walls while pelting its opponents with a barrage of Rocks. April, looking a tad concerned, was now ready to try something new to counter the onslaught.
She hesitantly weighed up her options but decided it was indeed the best course of action to take, “Bulbasaur, hide behind Snorunt now, and Snorunt use Double Team as a sort of shield while Bulbasaur sends up a continuation of Razor Leaf into the air, let’s get them on the move in the final 30 seconds so we can win this down to points!”
Both Pokémon were already in position before their trainer had finished talking, their eyes noticing the decreasing numbers listed on the digital clock, 27… 26… 25. It was up to them to hold out for the remaining seconds.
Snorunt’s body quickly duplicated and began to spiral around Bulbasaur creating a cloak to offer protection. Roggenrola and Rhydon bewilderedly took a few steps back, confusion etching its way onto their face. Their gaze then darted from Snorunt to see a wave of leaves come soaring down towards them from the ceiling, and all they could do was brace the attacks while they streamed down; 13… 12… 11.
Tuk watched his Pokémon suffer, but was speechless and startled by April’s sudden grip of the battle. He looked up at his points and could see how low they were, worryingly low, somehow he had to pull it back. Just as he was about to open his mouth, however, the clock began to beep and enlarge on the screen, flashing in a grizzly mauve colour. Tuk’s picture now faded away to be replaced with a congratulatory message for April, the first of the Dewnord Contest finalists.
Vivian once again ran out onto the field, her energy and thrill apparent in her body language. Swinging the microphone stand around so that the pickup was pressed against her lips, she began to speak into the system, clasping both hands around the metallic stand tightly due to the sheer excitement running through her. Although it was a regular occurrence for her, considering it was her job, she always felt the same delight every time as if it was all a brand new experience and adventure. Each time someone else’s life was changed for the better, whether it was by learning ways in which to improve or by obtaining another symbol of their progression, it all added to their character and personality – their being.
“It is with great pleasure that I can announce our first finalist here this afternoon! Everyone put your hands together for April!”
The roars weren’t silent, as expected, and the crowd were dancing and ecstatically applauding both Coordinators for the show they had graced the audience with. The crowds that walked through the doors to the stadium always loved and enjoyed the experience of Contests; the camaraderie between contestants no matter what an outcome was. That, to them, was what made a Contest, a Contest.
“Wasn’t it just an amazing display of talent from both our young and aspiring Coordinators! Now… while April returns backstage to watch the next match which will determine her opponent, let’s put our hands together once more for Tuk!”
The small rodent like Pokémon sped on towards Chikorita, twirling in between a spread of Razor Leaf that had been targeted upon him. His purple exterior and droopy ears gave him a soft and cutesy edge, even teddy like in some respects, but he certainly wasn’t a pushover and when it came to battle he put his all into every command Henry gave him.
“Okay Whismur, you’re doing brilliantly! Now use Pound on Chikorita,” Henry confidently commanded, watching with eagerness as his Pokémon gained proximity to its opponent. On the other side of the pitch, a yellow skinned Pokémon with a large jaw and mouth attached to its head was battling with Mothim, attempting to pin it against one half of the arena floor so that Harriet’s Pokémon couldn’t combine in a joint attack like he had previously seen in her battle against Jimmy.
“Mawile, this is brilliant work, keep up your Slam attack!”
The Pokémon continued to swing its large appendage around, leaping off the ground to stop Mothim from fluttering away. Although not a naturally air born Pokémon it was successfully gaining significant height with every attempt which introduced a slight fear to run through Mothim as he realised he was in dire need to respond and free himself from the situation. He knew that evasion wasn’t solely enough this time round and if he didn’t retaliate soon it could all be over. He glanced over at Harriet who met his gaze, trying to show courage to inspire her Pokémon; it was now her time to try and take control.
“Mothim, don’t worry, you’re doing fine,” she yelled as the inspiration took hold of her as well, “Let Mawile get close, and then use Bug Bite! And Chikorita switch up tactics and fire Leech Seed!”
Mothim gave a recognised nod and snapped his gaze back onto Mawile who was still progressing towards him, keeping her eyes heavily fixated on him. He then began to contort his body in a rippling effect so that he could evade the swinging jaw yet still draw her closer so that he could deliver his blow. Meanwhile, the pale four legged grass type began to fire a salvo of Leech Seed’s at Whismur who now faced a harder challenge. The Razor Leaf was easier to see because each leaf was relatively large to spot, but the pellets that were now being aimed at him were a lot smaller and more discreet than Chikorita’s previous attack. If he made any wrong move whatsoever, their dream of reaching the finals could soon be over.
A determined look overcame his face and he soon regained his mental composure. Henry hadn’t seemed worried by the sudden change up, especially considering he had yet called any new commands for them to follow so Whismur trusted in his trainer’s decisions. He had to keep pressing forward and deliver the Pound.
Chikorita was leaping from foot to foot, trying to cause a distraction for Whismur by making him lose his concentration and also make her more capable of evading if he did succeed in getting closer. She tucked her head down, as if preparing to charge, and seemed to strain all her muscles. The small seeds were now racing from her bud necklace at a greater speed and with more force, littering the dirt arena with dangerous traps. Whismur unfortunately stepped on a pre laid Leech Seed, causing him to lose his balance and fall into more small innocent looking buds. Within seconds his body was covered in atrocious vines that were sucking energy from his body. Each morsel of energy corresponded with a flash of red light that flowed through the green veins, replenishing the main hive that was situated in Chikorita’s bud collar. Every single time Whismur was zapped, Chikorita replenished some strength and energy.
Henry’s face suddenly dropped, realising the detriment caused by Leech Seed, and this was what he had been aiming to avoid the whole way through the battle. He was riddled with panic, unsure and hurting inside. His brain was whirring too fast for him to comprehend anything and he couldn’t restrain the numerous thoughts whizzing around his head, but he had to at least rescue Whismur’s chances.
He looked up from glaring at the ground, his eyes conveying his bafflement, “Mawile… Mawile… You… you have to… Mawile… help Whismur!”
Adding decision and precision to his last two words, he flung his fist into the air in front of him, punching it to release his frustration and clear his mind. He looked over at Mawile, who instantaneously stopped her incessant attacking and quickly darted across the floor to her team mate by hopping from one foot to the other. Chikorita had already stopped her attack by the time Mawile arrived, instinctively grabbing hold of the vines with her large jaw to rip them from Whismur’s body. Unfortunately, Harriet noticed Henry’s grave mistake by leaving himself clearly vulnerable and open to a joint attack; something she knew he had been trying to prevent by instantly splitting her Pokémon up the minute Vivian shouter begin. Now was the time to secure her place in the final battle.
Without any words, solely pointing at the duo offset from the centre of the battle pitch, she glanced at her Pokémon, making herself known in the corner of their eyes. They immediately knew what she was informing them, and they just had to wait for her final commands to say so.
Before Harriet opened her mouth, she gave one last look at Henry who wasn’t paying the slightest of attention towards her or her Pokémon, but who was instead extraordinarily occupied by his Pokémon’s troubles.
“Chikorita, Razor Lead and Mothim, Hidden Power!”
The moment Harriet cried her commands; Henry quickly became alert, tilting his head to look over in her direction. In the corner of his eyes he could see a golden light that was beginning to encompass Mothim, formulating into a spherical ball centred at the tip of his skin. It burst away from his body and spiralled down towards the Mawile and Whismur, who only now looked up from their present tasks. From the ground, a sheaf of Razor Leaf charged through the air to collide with the duo as well, reducing their possibility of escape. No matter which way they flung themselves now, they were bound to get hit by one of the attacks. With gracious acceptance, both Pokémon bowed their heads as the attacks gathered upon them colliding with their bodies in a great ferocity.
The initial dust spurt cleared from the air, settling neatly back down on the unearthed floor. Henry didn’t bother to hesitate as soon he saw the two bodies of his Pokémon unveiled on the ground, lying side by side. He whipped their PokeBalls from his left side trouser pocket and quickly withdrew them back into the soothing comfort of the objects.
“You guys were so amazing my friends… You truly have shown me the reasons why I love you both with all my heart. Hanging in the fight for each other was noble… You deserve a good rest!” He softly spoke, collapsing the two balls and placing them neatly into a hold on the inside of his trouser pocket. Four small, metal pincers clasped the outside of the two objects as they retreated into a locked mechanism. Henry then zipped up his pocket and, taking a few seconds to pause, looked up at Harriet.
Vivian had wandered over to her, ushering her off the stage floor by flailing her two arms wrapped in a white silk cloth. Presumably it was to allow Harriet to get the final needed checks for her Pokémon before she could return in a few minutes to begin the final stage of battling, but Henry wasn’t concentrating on the words that both people were exchanging, instead his own future began to flash in his mind’s eye. His heart was tugging inside his chest, beating heavily. His deep breaths were becoming more and more noticeable to his hearing that seemed to only presently pick up his own noises. Thoughts were racing around his head. Everything had suddenly become puzzling, and he felt that he wasn’t even using the right puzzle pieces to fit every detail into place. He knew that some serious rethinking was soon to follow.
Harriet now vanished through an archway leading off the arena to wondrous crowd applause. She quickly tucked herself away behind a corner of a wall to take a few seconds to catch her breath and enjoy the sensation of winning. Her mind filtered back to thoughts from Rustboro, but she knew she couldn’t ponder over her loos there and she had to rectify it here today. She was more than ready!
Back in the stadium hall, Vivian had approached Henry, offering him an admiring smile and wrapping her arm around his shoulder. She twisted him around to face the crowd, who once again drummed themselves into another round of applause.
“Let’s give it up for Henry everyone!” she joyously yelled, turning to once again smile at him, “Henry, you have shown us today how much you have improved since the last time we saw you back in Rustboro and we look forward to your next challenge. The judges have a few words to say to you before you disappear, however.”
From the wings, April looked onto the proceedings on the battle floor, sneakily sn-iggering as her mind raced back to the day when she had accidently stumbled upon Harriet and Max. As predicted and agreed on that same day, Harriet and her were about to have their first battle, a battle to determine a victory for their futures, but for April there was a great deal more at stake. A very particular set of eyes would be on her, and her performance and act would mark a great deal more than just a ribbon.
April quickly snapped out of her wandering mind and noticed Harriet appear in the archway on the other side of the arena stadium, her dress’s jewels sparkling in the soft light. In her hair was a pink bow tie that pushed the draping strands out of her eyes to reveal a very determined look. She was standing firm and strong, her hip slightly offset with a hand placed forcefully on her side. April could easily tell that Harriet was ready for this next challenge and wasn’t going to lay down in simplistic defeat. The battle was most definitely going to be stripped right down to raw and bare skill that was about to push both contestants out of their comfort zone and test them to a new level. If April was able to survive its challenges with determination, some hidden prying eyes were going to be very happy.
“And now… the moment we’ve all been waiting for today… the grand finale of the Dewnord Town Pokémon Contest!” Vivian ecstatically shrieked, “Please warmly welcome our two fantastic finalists, Harriet and April who are ready to prove to us just why they’re here and why they want to win the ribbon! But first, we’re going to turn to the judges for a few insightful words.”
As had become a particular habit for the audience to watch, Vivian outstretched her hand to wave attention over to the judges, beckoning the spotlight to drift on over. Max, surrounded by excitedly happy Contest fans, was gripping the edge of his seat tightly, unsure what to expect from the soon to be battle. He knew Harriet would give it her all, undoubtedly, but what she was up against was hard to tell. Even April’s battles hadn’t been enough to inform him about what character she was while battling.
While his concerns rattled through his head, the big screen lit up with the charismatic face of Nurse Joy, the first judge to be interviewed about the upcoming battle. With all ears, everyone attentively listened to her gentle voice while the silent nervous heartbeats of the two contestants beat harshly in their chests drowning out any encouragement she had to say. Everything was set for the perfect battle, and now the details were about to unravel!