A lot happens in this chapter so I hope it's not too lacky of description or just boring in my writing style. Enjoy!
Like usual, the opening - Max's Hoenn Journey Intro 2 - made by DanChimchar and is just a bit of fun : )
Chapter 24: A Rampaging Solitude of Rock
The peace and tranquillity that rested over Rustboro was a delight to all; everything was calm and quiet, in a relaxed lull. Nothing was scheduled to happen for a few months; the recent Contest was over and the next one wasn’t programmed in until the beginning of summer, and there were no upcoming festivals, no celebrations or holidays… just life. The residents could rest and do daily routines again like popping down to the local battle fields to watch excited trainers practice for their nonstop journeys while they could just stay put. It was a time when shopping and all those malarkeys came as a luxury. Businesses could enter their own relaxed break, shortening opening times, stocking less; even restaurants were able to cut back a little. All in all this was a rather perfect time to live in the City. However, for Max and Harriet, all that awaited them were the excitements of the nonstop journey, and it was time for them to head back into the unknown thrills that hovered just around the corner.
“I’ve got it sorted, they had a few spaces left… and we’re booked in for the 1900 flight tonight!” Harriet cried; her feet carrying her all the way down the flight of the stairs at such a pace that her voice even struggled to be the first thing noticeable.
She rushed into the kitchen and smacked the confirmation document rather aggressively against the table top. Max looked up from his mauled sandwich that was the only remnant of Brock’s exquisite cooking. His eyes sparkled with a picturesque delight as he stared at the piece of news. It was real, no doubt about it. A whole afternoon spent planning destination routes based on upcoming Contests in line with the cities and towns that held badges had been tiring, but their final decision had paid off, and luckily they now had their flight. Their travels were once again about to progress, and for Max, his next badge was no longer stuck across a vast swaying ocean but finally a wings leap away.
“You are so the best Harriet, cos this time tomorrow we’ll be on Dewford Island, and then there’s nothing stopping me from beating Brawly!”
“Hang on Max, you must…” Brock was sorely interrupted with the upbeat tones of Harriet, who now possessed the unique ability to quickly and efficiently cut people off in the middle of their sentences.
“Well yes… but more importantly, there are a few contests coming up in a couple of towns there and I’m definitely going to be entering one and earning my first ribbon, this time I won’t let anyone get in my way!”
“You’ll definitely be more…” Roxanne now suffered the same fate as the other Rock Gym Leader; neither kid was willing to let them interfere by adding their insightful comments full of wisdom and encouragement.
“True, true, you most certainly won’t, so I guess we need to start training and preparing then, and you need to decide whether to enter the Dewford Town Contest or the Dewnord Village Contest. Dewford Island holds quite a lot of opportunities for us… I can’t wait!”
Roxanne quickly caught eye contact with Brock, appealing to him for freedom from the duos fiery and complimentary comments. They both knew that neither budding trainer was in the mood to listen to advice at the moment, and they also figured that it was time for them to acknowledge the difficulties themselves, without assistance. So, with agreeing nods, they stepped out of the hustle in the kitchen produced by the rapid and frantic trainers, into the suburbia and quietness of the lounge; the lulls of Rustboro.
“How wonderful, peace and quiet for a change, I seem to have vaguely forgotten this feeling thanks to my little siblings back at home… who can complain though, they’re cute little scampers.”
“Exactly, and I guess Max and Harriet too will one day revel in the tranquil moments life can offer, but you must admit though, being a Gym Leader and having a busy schedule…” she momentarily turned around and looked back through the doors which they had passed through, “And having excited trainers like that is what we’re made for. I’d hate to give up any day soon… no offence.”
Brock placed the intricately designed pottery down, which he was swift to leap upon and scan elaborately, whilst responding with a light hearted chuckle, “None taken, I guess the life of a Gym Leader does still compel me, but nowadays it hasn’t got as much power over me as a the idea of being a doctor does. Saying that though, I am grateful for the little taster I’ve had this past month, and I’m always here to oblige any future requests.”
“I don’t plan on taking you up on that any time soon, but I most likely will one day, and don’t forget that you’re always welcome to come and visit even if this Gym does have its usual Gym Leader present. Remember, I do have a school to run to, and we are always looking for people to come and give additional talks and classes, and from an ex Gym Leader, slash breeder, slash doctor, everyone’s going to love you!”
“Stop it,” he joked, “You know how to excite a guy!”
Laughing rather intensely, both Roxanne and Brock nearly collapsed against the soothing fabrics of the sofa as their amusement took hold. Brock was surprised that he almost bowled himself over at the inappropriate, yet accurate description; he was even more puzzled about his use of language, but time around his mother and father often left that residual lingering language.
“Well… anyway, putting that delight behind us,” Roxanne pleasantly said, “I think it’s time we turn our attention back to the noisy duo and finally escort them out of here! I need more peace and quiet!” she joked.
The late afternoon had finally kicked in, with the shimmering warmth slowly losing its grip and the light beginning to retract back into a blissful glow. The streets began to fill with the awakened residents, all burrowing out of their hibernated state to enjoy their cities relaxing pleasures. The beaches were also beginning to become crowded once again, to the surprise of many, but the seas beckoning call was holding no-one back from the licking water’s edge. The buzz and thrills of joy had reopened its hidden box of enjoyment to all residents.
“I’m nearly there, just got a few last things to pack and then I’ll be raring to go!” Max over excitedly stated as he hummed with the sheer anticipation of his ongoing journey.
“We know,” Harriet remarked, looking through the glossed kitchen windows towards the sound of air traffic gliding gently down from the horizon.
Her own journey had brought her so far from home, from a small dusty Pokémon Ranch in the quiet rolling mountains of Johto; a small town where everyone knew everybody else. That was her home, her stability, a place where she could relax amongst her families Pokémon, amongst the Pokémon whom trainers entrusted to them for care and raising. Her passion for Pokémon received its ignition there; the spark that had delivered her into the companionship with Max and friendships with Mothim and Chikorita. Now her home was on the move, day by day and step by step, but that was the kick that kept her motivated.
“Right, well if everybody’s packed we might as well make a move, we have 3 hours before the flight so if we leave now you guys can do any last minute shopping you want to do,” Brock knowingly stated whilst placing a couple of bowls brimming with food on the floor for his and Roxanne’s Pokémon.
“Sure that sounds like a plan; I’ve been looking at a couple of Contest accessory stores anyway,” Harriet said, turning her attention away from the glistening metal machines out on the horizon and securing her belt bag back onto her pink frilly skirt and slinging her navy coloured handbag back over her shoulder, “Besides, there’s no harm turning up to the airport early either, that way we can be sure we’re not going to miss it… which I feel is a sensation I’m going to miss out on travelling around with him.”
“Hey! I’m not that unorganised,” Max frantically spoke, managing to gleam a scowl in Harriet’s direction.
“Says the person whose backpack is beginning to overflow…”
“That’s not my fault, these clothes just won’t stuff!”
“How did you do it before then? My, my, you boys really don’t understand anything about packing now do you?”
“I’d like to retract my name from that account please,” Brock finally interjected, feeling it necessary to hone the two back into perspective thinking so that they’d at least make it out of the door without ripping each other to shreds, “Anyway, you have an hour’s flight where I’m sure you can discuss this matter further, but first can we at least make it out of the door please.”
“Yup, just a few more seconds…” Max said with a strain, managing to finally push the spare pair of trainers into the top most section of the bag, “There – now I’m ready!”
Not many cobbled streets lay between the airport and the progressing band of four anymore. Max and Harriet were marching forward like there was no tomorrow, making sure that their furthering goals were rapidly becoming closer with every long stride. The further they ventured, the more they could hear screams of excitement and thrills amongst the amusements that dotted themselves about the City. They, however, had no time for amusement and the two Gym Leaders that accompanied them were finding it near enough impossible to keep up with the budding, eager young trainers.
“Guys… Guys… Guys!” Roxanne bellowed, following with a huge pant that allowed her to momentarily withdraw breath to continue talking, “Come on now, slow down, we have 2 hours before your plane leaves… there’s no need to rush!”
Max hastily turned around right at a cross section between busy shopping roads, apologetically changing his composure and blending a repentant look upon his face in the hope that Roxanne would understand. “Sorry about that, but we’re just excited. There are so many things to do on Dewford Island and we just want to be able to make the most of it. I suppose we’ve just allowed our excitement to overiddle us.”
“Overiddle?” Brock questioned, “What on earth’s that suppose to mean? …Anyway you might want to think about toning down your stamping, you’re making an awful noise and sometimes it seemed as if I could feel your hefty movement! Slowing it down’s not going to hurt anyone!”
Harriet looked back in confusion, glancing around as if seeking the answer amongst the numerous streets that branched from the pivoting point they were standing in. “Okay, I can understand how walking slower is beneficial, but that noise wasn’t us! I… I thought… well to be honest it didn’t really bother me.”
“That’s odd then, I could’ve sworn it was coming from you – but if it wasn’t…” The noise echoed again, this time feeling a lot closer and more proximate to their position and halting Brock in his speech as he turned around. “Then…”
He had no chance to finish his statement, for the very reason for the commotion had just emerged at the far end of the wide extending shopping street they had just hurried down. Crowds of people flocked in their direction, away from the large, grey creatures that scurried towards them with remarkable speed. They seemed intent on creating mass damage, with a growing anger and rage shining deceitfully in their eyes. Some were unable to swerve along the right angled bend in time and collided straight into buildings; their rocky plates aiding in ripping shreds of the thick walls out of the sockets as the Pokémon easily barged right through. Both sets of Pokémon were equipped with their own unique horns: one with a dull coloured, short horn that protruded from its triangle shaped head, and the other with a very unique creamy coloured drill horn on its snout. But these weren’t the only menacing features! It was now very clear why there was a sudden large increase in screams.
“I don’t know, they certainly aren’t the School’s or Gym’s, and they don’t look tame… but there’s no time for this right now, we have to stop them!”
“Alright then… Chansey use Secret Power, Swampert use Water Gun and Ludicolo use Bullet Seed, we need you to stop the Rhyhorn and Rhydon!”
“That’ll be useful, some type advantages – shame we left the others eating though, I could really use them right now… oh well, my two will have to do as well. Nosepass fire your Zap Cannon to keep them at bay and deter them, and Rhyperior use your Hidden Power against the oncoming Pokémon! Go!”
The five streams of light erupted from the confines of their PokeBalls, dancing elegantly though the air as they sought for placement upon the ground and finally a formation into their particular shapes. The lights themselves momentarily stunned the charging collection of Rock types, and the dazzling sense veered them a little off course allowing the two Gym Leaders to quickly launch their first attacks to begin slowing the Pokémon down.
The mixture of attacks flung from the line of defence that was now constructed, and the Pokémon readied themselves for the possible impact that was looming ahead. Their initial attacks struck the first row of tempered Pokémon, only seeming to anger them more, but the Pokémon weren’t going to let the rampaging solitudes of rock destroy any more of the City. It was now or never, and so their flurry of attacks continued.
“I’m going to help out too! They’re not going to let up that easily and there’s no sense in letting you two take all the credit! So… Mothim use Hidden Power and Chikorita use your Razor Leaf!”
“Don’t leave me out of this either, Charmander use Ember, Murkrow use your Shadow Ball and Budew use your attacking Water Sport!”
Their five balls span into the air, whirring into the direct approach of the Rhyhorn and Rhydon, but this time though they weren’t nerved by their advancing opposition. The same process of formation began as the light burst out of the sealed balls and started moulding the forms of the Pokémon, who quickly emerged from their casing of white energy. They then wasted no time in leaping straight into action and so the array of attacks multiplied and the surplus of attacks increased with the new additions.
Harriet briefly looked upon the heated battle before her, marvelling at the wondrous combination of colours and moves that were bombarding the stampeding troops. The mixture of white beams from Hidden Power, along with streams of a physical substance such as Water Sport and Water Gun were majestic and beautiful putting it simply. And not only that but they were awe inspiringly powerful, now effectively decreasing the speed of the resilient rock types and causing some notable damage as a few dropped out of ranks. Somehow they were successfully tiring the Pokémon down and creating a strong defence, whilst reflecting the Pokémon’s magical nature. She guessed that their solid exterior wasn’t holding up as much as it seemed capable of doing.
“Okay you three, we’re going to need to draw them away from this city and head them off into Petalburg Woods; it’ll be there that we can finally put an end to this all and hopefully find out the cause. The best route for them to take, with least possible damage, would be up past my Gym. That area’s quiet and very sparse in properties, and who knows we may be able to acquire a few additional trainers in the process, so it’s a win win situation really, and this means Brock and I can grab a few extra hands for the task ahead from my home too!”
“Right, well Charmander and Budew we’ll cut off their right hand turn down that street,” Max shouted, immediately indicating the position he wanted by thrusting and pointing his finger at the spot, “And then continue your stream of attacks… hopefully this will deter them from heading down there!”
His Pokémon momentarily ceased their attacks, and scuttled over to their new positioning. Fear dripped from their bodies and accumulating amounts of worry began to flow throughout them because of the different circumstances surrounding this battle. It was not an ordinary or common familiarity and so much rested upon their actions; it was like nothing ever experienced before, but they had to be brave not only for their trainer but also for the millions of civilians that lay in the path of these beasts.
“Good Max… now everyone else we need you to connect the line and form a bend so that they follow your positioning round and head up Bay Street, but be prepared for any loose cannons and round them up quickly, we can’t have them heading further into the commercialised district.”
Their plan was efficiently falling into place, their objective becoming ever clearer as the progression marched closer. The Pokémon obeyed their orders, and swiftly created the barrier described, ready to tackle just about anything that tried to break loose. However, although everything was working smoothly, Roxanne hoped for a miraculous event to occur such as the Rhyhorn and Rhydon instantly being defeated by all their Pokémon or just simply that the rock types would give up and retreat back. But they were hopes beyond any other at this point.
Out of the corner of Harriet’s eye, she noticed a concession of shoppers, lined neatly – but trembling – against a wall, nestled in the small cut out foyer of one of the large department stores, normally used for window browsing. Luckily, they were hollowed out in a mild safety, and she knew that as long as they didn’t move and stayed as calm as possible that they’d be alright… but, she still felt sickened with the thought of what could be.
“Roxanne, hang on a second, what about all the people stuck down there. We have to do something,” Harriet pleaded, fighting with her utmost courage to resist the swell of tears, “Especially because we don’t know how many more Pokémon are yet to come and those people are scared stiff!”
“I know… but there’s nothing we can do yet, we can only wait for Officer Jenny and her team to turn up… followed by medical crews,” Roxanne attempted to reassure, her voice wavering a little, likely because Harriet had obviously hit a nerve with her emotive statement. But unfortunately, Roxanne was right… Without endangering themselves and risking injury there was nothing they could as of yet; it seemed practically impossible to even get near the people trapped. Harriet, although extremely reluctantly, nodded her acceptance and returned her attention to controlling her brave friends. However, above, something started to stir that was ready to distract the young girl, and every citizen of Rustboro.
The overhead television screens began to crackle their soft whisper and the frantic dotty pattern began to display across all monitors throughout the vast city. A blurred figure slowly started to peer through the hazy static and came forcefully into focus. As the silhouette emerged, and gradually walked towards the camera that was starring at the inside of a metallic office, void of windows and outside influence, the destructive force that was ripping the city to shreds immediately halted. Now the four trainers were filled with great confusion.
The shadow continued forward, placing the outline of their upper body in clear view of the camera. A few seconds past before the figure began speaking, still clouded within his mask of secrecy, “Citizens of Rustboro, Hoenn and the World…” The moment he spoke those utterances, the noises of the city fell dead and an eerie silence followed. Nothing remotely squeaked or rustled, it was as if civilisation had completely been eradicated.
“I understand your bewilderment, but things will increasingly grow clear. Today marks an auspicious day: a day of good change, remarkable enhancements and the chance for better for those supporters of Team Sukai. I strive as their leader for the best possible future for this planet and I will achieve it. All the people of Rustboro now know my capabilities, and the capabilities of those who work for me, and I think I’ve made it exceptionally clear that I do not like disobedience. Those events, that I’m sure will become known to the rest of the world within hours of this, are just a taster of what I can do! The city is completely dead, nothing moving, no electrical appliance working, not even your PokeBalls. Do not fear though, for the Rhyhorn and Rhydon are also under my control, and as you can probably witness with your own eyes they are now advancing slowly to their new home in Petalburg Woods. Once they reach there I will release them from my power and return them back to their natural state, and once I finish this broadcast, so too will your city… but this goes as a warning to everyone out there! I do not stand those that oppose me. If you get in my way… you will be crushed!”
The TV screens flickered once more, blurring the silhouetted image again before dissipating the static entirely and shutting off. Just as the man had promised, once this occurred the city sprang back into life. Rolling electrical billboards started flashing their advertisements, motorised vehicles rekindled the spark into their engines, and even the Theme Park began faintly playing its accustomed music. Everything was normal again, filled with life. But for Max and the others, things didn’t seem to leap back into normality; in fact it was completely the opposite. All this man had done was simply ignite their burning passion for justice and instil a harboured feeling of anger.
“That’s… that’s just not right…” Brock muttered, remembering the organisations that he had once helped bring down, thwarting all their dangerous and evil plans, “I thought the world was finally rid of those kinds of scum…”
“It will be when I’m finished with them. I can handle the likes of foolish kids misusing Pokémon, they have yet to learn, but those… those people utilise them for greed. How dare they attack my city!”
Max was still lost within his own thought trail to even notice the uncharacteristic anger bubbling away in Roxanne’s words. He was busy witling his own memories of Team Aqua and Magma through the play button in his mind, however, not only did those memories resurface, but so too did his more recent memory of Oldale Town and the torments they experienced there. Something about this man was too recognisable for his liking.
“Roxanne… umm… doesn’t that guy strike you as oddly familiar, and doesn’t the situation also seem vaguely familiar too,” he finally stated, the corners of his lips quivering with the thought.
“Max, what do you… oh…” Just like with Max, something seemed to click in Roxanne’s thoughts and the ordeals that she had so ingeniously pushed back flooded out of their locked box. The ghastly smells throbbed in her nostrils, and the damp taste rattled her throat. If these were the people behind their nightmare, and the kidnapping and torture of Tim, then she feared for every creature, both human and Pokémon, that roamed the Earth.
“I guess we might as well put our flight off for today then and start helping you guys clear up, in actual fact it’d be good to help a little and I’d probably be no good moving on right now, I’m too freaked out!”
“Max!” Roxanne immediately yelled, for the first time showing authority through her voice over the boy, “There’s no sense worrying about that now,” she frantically spoke, fumbling about in her speech as she anxiously began suppressing her experiences again, “I’m afraid that there’s nothing we can do about that yet, but I’m sure the Hoenn tactical force will be on it immediately. In actual fact, everything around here is going to be pretty much looked after. I think Brock and I can deal with the mess here and get a team of people to begin any structural repairs, and we can manage escorting the Rhyhorn and Rhydon to their new home too. So why don’t you guys continue on to the airport, there’s no point missing out on your journey and I’d hate to think that you were putting it on hold because of a little mishap here. You’ve come so far Max, battled so hard, so forget today’s events and carry on forward, head held high. And Harriet, you really have the talent for Contests and there was a real flare in your eyes when the Pokémon unleashed their true beauty today. So both of you… go and capture your dreams!”
“Max…” Harriet added, “She’s right. It’s time we let go of Roxanne and her helping hand and meet our own challenges… on our own. If we stay here for much longer then we’re never going to be able to leave this place, especially after today as well – its best we go now, and I mean now.”
“Roxanne… I… I can’t… I’m not going to be able to make it without your guidance… think about it… today you showed us what to do and then we just followed, how am I meant to think of that myself?”
“Max!” Again her intrusive parenting voice spoke, “I did nothing, you called the commands and executed smooth transitions… and the ideas do come to you… think back to your win against your Dad and all the training you put in to win the rematch! That was all you buddy, so go get the world!”
Max starred at the craggy Rustboro ground once more, slightly blackened with ruffled dust and flakes of paint and rubble. Today was definitely a huge surprise, and exceptionally tough, but Roxanne was right just like always. Life was going to be hard, there was no matter about it, but what happened along the way was up to him. It was time for him to make his own decisions.
“Alright… to the airport it is!”
A stout green haired man began unpacking numerous networks of cables from a bulky silver briefcase that he had planted on top of an ally dumpster. His accomplice, a formidably tempered blond haired lady retrieved a laptop sized screen from hers and immediately connected it to all the wires.
“Butch, begin connections, we need to get in contact immediately,” she snapped, almost biting a clump of his hair from her proximity to him.
“Alright, alright, be patient just a little while longer… look, there we go.”
The screen instantly began projecting an image of a darkened room, ordained with a long wooden table plonked in the expanse of the space, and one plant pot that rested just in front of it. Behind the desk was a towering black chair with, in comparison, a smaller figure sitting on it.
“This is Giovanni, with who am I speaking?” his cold muscular tones daintily expressed.
“Boss, it’s Cassidy and Butch reporting in from the Hoenn region, Sir.”
“What news do you bring?” he exquisitely questioned, allowing a large white polished creature to pounce onto his lap.
“It’s about Team Sukai, Sir, that team which recruited us last month to acquire the item Protector from a man in Oldale Town. They seem to have gone rogue, Sir, and broken away from their original agreement and have now made themselves public on Hoenn television.”
“Ah yes, we did pick up unusual electronic interference on our machines. Luckily I’ve had a contingency plan in place for this very outcome… Stay put in Rustboro and we’ll have Rockets flying to your position in a matter of hours from across Kanto, Johto and Sinnoh, our team in Unova cannot be rivalled with or disturbed at this present time. I need my plans to work accordingly in Unova, and if that means destroying Sukai and gaining control of Hoenn so be it, it’s not the way I’d have liked my takeover to occur but it’ll do.”
“Yes Sir, we’ll be waiting for their arrival.”
“Good, I’ll send with them more instructions for the both of you… oh, and one more thing, how’s your other little project going, the one involving that boy Mark?”
“Ah… that Sir,” Cassidy quickly gulped, madly thinking of something to say, “Well, so far it’s not gone great, he’s struggled to acquire what we need and we’re waiting on him to obtain it.”
“Well, make sure he delivers, it’d be a very useful addition… Giovanni out!”
As the screen switched back into its initial black state, no longer having pulses of energy burst through its systems, the two Rockets casually leaned back against the parallel dumpster, progressing to wipe the worried sweat from their faces. Never before had they lied to their Boss like that, and never would it have occurred to them to lie about something as trivial as a Pokémon, but the Pokémon inside wasn’t an ordinary one, and it certainly wasn’t ready for the Rocket headquarters yet. The PokeBall that had cost them so much shone vibrantly in Butch’s hand.
The room was dark and cold, reflecting the material characteristics of metal. A buzzing ring echoed through the sturdy walls, as they gracefully soared through the white puffy clouds that were papered onto the glistening blue screen of the sky. Inside however, were the ruthless monsters and their masks of silence, of mystery, scowling intensively at all the monitors displaying results of their ongoing tests. Cooped up at one end of the busy Bridge was the same shady figure that had delightfully produced his atrocious speech riddled with threats, yet he sat comfortably against the stone desk.
“Sir, we’re receiving more data as we go. The Pendants location seems to be in Rustboro and not in the Petalburg Woods as we initially thought.”
“Good… this is progress… we might as well keep to our word and release those Pokémon, do be kind and grace that Gym Leader of theirs with our action of gratitude.”
“Yes, Sir, on it right away.”
“Now I want someone to activate our lockdown mechanism, if the Pedant is in Rustboro then that’s where it’ll stay until we come and get it!”
“But Sir, the machines are as of yet untested, and our control of the Pokémon was derived from that Pokémon Rangers Capture Stylus, we don’t know what it’ll do!”
“Well then this is a good chance to experiment, I want all outward flights under my control within an hour’s time, the same goes for ships and all land vehicles in the vicinity of the City. Then lockdown all computer systems and send in our teams to create the blockades, I’m not letting it slip through my fingers when I’m this close!”