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  1. #46
    Moderator harryheart's Avatar Moderator
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    Default Re: Max's Hoenn Journey

    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.

    “Roxanne?”

    “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.”

    “Finally.”

    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!”
    Credits to Sweet May and DanChimchar from Serebii
    For the Banner

  2. #47
    Moderator harryheart's Avatar Moderator
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    Default 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.

    “Yes?”

    “Sir, this is Tech 1 reporting in.”

    “Go ahead!”

    “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.

    “Apollo here!”

    “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.

    “Max?”

    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.
    Credits to Sweet May and DanChimchar from Serebii
    For the Banner

  3. #48
    President of everything. Headless Whoreman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Max's Hoenn Journey

    Very nice story, Harry. I'm currently on chapter five. I've only noticed a few spelling mistakes, but other than that, it's great.

  4. #49
    Moderator harryheart's Avatar Moderator
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    Default Re: Max's Hoenn Journey

    Quote Originally Posted by Best in the World View Post
    Very nice story, Harry. I'm currently on chapter five. I've only noticed a few spelling mistakes, but other than that, it's great.
    Thank you very much :D I hope you can make it through. There are a few early chapters that can be a struggle to get through but I hope that the later ones make up for all that. Thanks for taking the time to read!
    Credits to Sweet May and DanChimchar from Serebii
    For the Banner

  5. #50
    Moderator harryheart's Avatar Moderator
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    Default Re: Max's Hoenn Journey Chapter 26

    enjoy what on the outside may seem like a filler episode
    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!”

    “What?”

    “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.
    Credits to Sweet May and DanChimchar from Serebii
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  6. #51
    Registered User Chloboshoka's Avatar
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    Default Re: Max's Hoenn Journey

    I remember reading this story on SPPF. I'm C.Gholy over on that side. It's nice to see the fic is still going and I think you've improved since the last time I read the story. :D




  7. #52
    Moderator harryheart's Avatar Moderator
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    Default Re: Max's Hoenn Journey

    Quote Originally Posted by Chloboshoka View Post
    I remember reading this story on SPPF. I'm C.Gholy over on that side. It's nice to see the fic is still going and I think you've improved since the last time I read the story. :D
    Nice to see you again! I always loved your reviews. They were very helpful and constructive of steering my writing in the rigt direction. I've managed to now develop things a lot more. I hope you enjoyed the bits you'be caught up on and I shall hopefully resume writing past chapter 31 now exams are nearly over ready to publish more!
    Credits to Sweet May and DanChimchar from Serebii
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  8. #53
    Moderator harryheart's Avatar Moderator
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    Default 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.

    “Now Croagunk!”

    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?
    Credits to Sweet May and DanChimchar from Serebii
    For the Banner

  9. #54
    Moderator harryheart's Avatar Moderator
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    Default 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!

    *****

    Credits to Sweet May and DanChimchar from Serebii
    For the Banner

  10. #55
    Moderator harryheart's Avatar Moderator
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    Default Re: Max's Hoenn Journey

    Max's Hoenn Journey Intro 3


    Chapter 29: A Silhouette Backtrack (Part 3)

    The sheer noise of the crowd’s wondrous applause was still elevating on high levels in the stadium, raising every audience member to their feet with cries of encouragement and excitement. Max too was on his feet, civilly clasping his hands together in recognition of the two finalist’s achievements. Held on huge black pillars outside the stadium, large screens depicted the proceedings within the Contest Hall with the present picture being a close up of Mr Contesta, voicing his final opinions on the battle about to unfold.

    Everyone was captivated by this event, something that drummed up the entire town’s excitement and thrill drawing many a citizen into the depth of the action. The market stalls situated on the long stretch of dirt track that ran from the doors of the Contest Hall all the way through the winding streets of the town, were still packed with numerous Contest fans as they searched and scanned for epic bargains and cheap memorabilia to remember this particular contest. Other passer bys were quickly zipping through the automatic doors to reclaim a front row viewing and really feel the heat and excitement emanate from the battle, engaging with the raw heart of the event. All in all, emotions were very high and pounding their way through every fibre of all those involved.

    Harriet in particular could feel her nerves shooting about her body; from her skin to her bones and muscles. It was an indication, of some sorts, to the thrill soon to follow and the immersing of energy pumped by adrenaline. In many ways the nerves brought a calming to Harriet, as at least, somehow, she knew that she was filled with excitement and encouraging anticipation for the battle.

    She now deliberately, yet delicately, began shuffling her feet to try and distract her thoughts and stay focused on beginning the battle properly, as her eyes drifted towards the golden ground before her, layered with numerous natural resources to fill in the terrain. She had momentarily caught the watchful eyes of her opponent who had been glimpsing about the stadium from the opposite end of the spherical building as if searching… looking for something in particular. Harriet, however, hadn’t let this distract or concern her and continued to concentrate on the pure and blissful emotions of her two battle wins to bring her to this stage; they would be her driving force.

    Centre stage was the MC for the event, partially leaning over the judges table to hear the last few words out of Mr Sukizo’s mouth, although it was successfully following his usual generic statement. As he finished up with one or two more hints towards something being remarkable, she turned to face the cameras that were all fixed on her, and her pampered complexion once again appeared on the large screens.

    “And now,” boomed Vivian’s voice over the loud speaker system echoing about the spacious arena, “We’ve heard from all the judges, so that means our wait is over!” she cried, twirling unexpectedly which caused her light pink dress to easily flutter through the air. “Let’s welcome Harriet and April to the stage!”

    The two Coordinators shared one last look before they sprinted out onto the stage floor, under the constant cheers and applause from the crowd. Their eyes never failed to avert each other’s gaze, keeping the other in solid view the entire time as if watching keen prey. It was going to be a head to head battle, neither giving an inch; and it was sure to be an explosive finale to such a catalysing contest.

    Vivian, meanwhile, had sauntered out onto the giant circle that marked the exact centre of the battle field, passionately waving her left arm about as she began to explain the rules yet again.

    “Just to make things clear once more,” she frantically said, winking and holding up her index finger to the camera, “You both have a points bar with equal limits, and the clock is set to five minutes! Whoever has the most points or successfully knocks the opponent’s Pokémon out first…”

    She hesitated, quickly glancing at the faces of both Coordinators whose complexions were bleached with a slight trembling of fear. She hoped that her following words were somehow going to act as a build up and encourage the excitement and passion to be drawn out of both girls as she was also impatiently waiting for an unpredictable battle to begin.

    Placing the microphone in front of her lips she continued, “Will… Win!” At those words, ecstatic cries leapt from the stands where the crowd had yet to retreat to their seats, all eagerly waiting on the battle as well. Vivian acknowledged this and persisted through the formalities, “Five minutes is on the clock,” she cried as a ticking noise began in the background; the final countdown, “So begin!”

    Neither contestant hesitated as they both rapidly reached for their PokeBalls. April grabbed two purple tinted balls that sat neatly on her belt, which seemed to be the only thing holding up her thin blue satin dress that really showed the curves of her body. Harriet on the other hand had tucked her hand underneath the rim of her silky dress, flowing with elegance, and retrieved two small round objects as well. In sync, they both launched their Pokémon into the centre arena without saying a single command. Their Pokémon proceeded to appear in complete unison.

    Both Coordinators’ knew the Pokémon that were culminating in the material light and knew exactly what their first commands would be. On Harriet’s end of the field, a small, creamy coloured Pokémon emerged out of streams of crisp red ribbon, waving its large green leaf in a spiral around its head. Next to Chikorita appeared its four winged companion, bursting through the strands of ribbon at quick speeds. Facing them was a frisky little ice type, Snorunt, who was happily jumping in the air and waggling its two little black feet. Next to him was Bulbasaur, puffing air out of the green bulb on its back causing the edges of his green exterior to expand and contract.

    “Right!” cried both girls at the same time, slightly startling each other at the astonishing timing! Harriet however, was unable to reel in her thoughts in time and April snatched up the opportunity to the take the first lead.

    “Guys, we’re going for a medley long range attack to start things up, Bulbasaur, Razor Leaf and Snorunt, Icy Wind! Combine the two attacks together!”

    Bulbasaur bucked its back legs in the air, firing an array of spinning sharp leaves towards the opposition. Snorunt watched as the leaves stormed towards Chikorita and Mothim and proceeded to launch a burst of cold wind to follow from its mouth, tinged with a frosty blue colour. The icicle particles that were floating in the air current began to group around the leaves, adding a sharp gloss to them. Their beauty was radiated in the shimmering tones of its new texture, exaggerated by the sun light peering in through the dome windows.

    Harriet wasn’t quick enough to command a counter attack or evasion, and Chikorita and Mothim were struck with the powerful combination that broke against their bodies. The sharp coldness singed through their skin as the barrage continued to hit. Chikorita was eventually knocked off her feet by the repeated blows, tumbling a few metres across the floor covered in specks of sparkling ice dust. Up above, Mothim was attempting to avoid the last remaining lumps of ice but also succumbed to the salvo and was sent hurtling to the ground as one large lump clipped his top left wing.

    “Well, what a great way to start this battle off!” Vivian cried into the microphone, quickly glancing at the point’s board to get a quick update on the initial scores. “An interesting combination from April has resulted in her immediate lead as Harriet’s points have nearly dwindled by a quarter already… yet April’s are still untouched,” she spoke with an eeriness to her voice, “Harriet seems to be rather bewildered folks. Can she pull this one back?”

    Harriet’s mind was pounding, still unable to pull her thoughts back together. Her face displayed a horrified expression, and her body language represented this. Her fists were clenched and all her muscles in her torso were tense as a result of the nerves flooding her system. Why the unified comment had thrown her, she didn’t know, but somehow she had to get a grip and defeat whatever was causing this… for her Pokémon’s sake!

    Suddenly her pupils snapped and colour quickly engulfed her skin again, “Alright, that was just a little mishap April, you’re not going to get that chance again! Chikorita, let’s show them a real Razor Leaf and Mothim try combining your Hidden Power with that!”

    As Max heard Harriet cry her commands, a trickle of fear ran down his spine. He knew she could handle battles, but he had never once seen her attempt a combination move this intricate or risky. For starters, neither of them knew the type matching for Hidden Power, and that was key and central to the attack working. If it didn’t mix then she would inevitably lose more points. Instinctively, he closed his eyes and just waited, not wanting to see the possible damage caused by her recklessness.

    Obliged to follow Harriet’s set commands, Chikorita had released her own flurry of sharpened foliage absconding from her head’s leaf, and Mothim watched it attentively with what could have been noted as a look of concern set in his deep orange eyes. Rather hesitantly, he tensed his wings and began to feel a surge of brimming energy springing about the fibres of his body. To the audience, a golden glow was beginning to flow in a crisscross pattern and slowly formed into one spherical object slightly elevated away from his body. Immediately as this formed, he shot smaller balls from within the main hub of energy towards the leaves, intending to enclose Chikorita’s attack within. However, as the balls of energy mixed with the leaves, small sizzling reactions began to occur, which only left the charred remains of singed ash.

    The smell of smoke wafted into the stands, tickling the nose’s of those watching. Max’s heart dropped as he realised what must have happened, and he proceeded to remove his hands away from his eyes. As expected, Harriet’s face was taken with another expression of angst and surprise; the last thing she needed.

    “Come on Harriet!” he yelled, trying to feel like he was at least able to offer a hand in some shape or form, “You can do it! Just think; you now know the typing of Hidden Power! Use it to your advantage!”

    April had obviously noted this too, knowing that her Pokémon were both weak to fire attacks. Without wasting a single minute, she jumped into action again, realising that her best bet was to target everything on Mothim.

    “I’m not letting you get a foot hold Harriet, Bulbasaur use Vine Whip and hold Mothim in place, then Snorunt use your Headbutt on him as well!”

    “Not so fast! Chikorita, use your own Vine Whip to stop Bulbasaur’s in its track,” Harriet quickly stated, immediately snapping back into the battle herself, “And Mothim dodge Headbutt and use Hidden Power again on Bulbasaur!”

    “No!” April cried in shock.

    Bulbasaur had already launched its two vines that sprouted from the sides of his bulb into the air, sending them straight towards the unguarded Mothim. Within one split second though, they were tangled in the locks of Chikorita’s own vines; struggling to withstand the force. April’s points quickly retracted on the board as a result, but not nearly enough to compensate for Harriet’s failed combination.

    Snorunt had also launched its attack, springing off the ground with one giant leap. His spinning mass hurtled towards Mothim, who, with ease, drifted to one side and allowed Snorunt to continue directly into the wall. It recoiled immediately off the hard surface and plunged towards the ground, hitting that too with the same force. As it struggled to regain its balance and stand upright it looked up at Mothim who had already produced the central ball of energy. Before Snorunt or April could react, the coiling stream of fire power soared straight towards Bulbasaur, hitting him dead on. More points immediately dwindled away on April’s circle, now leaving both girls’ points almost even, and Harriet hoped that April’s Pokémon had taken more damage than hers.

    As the smoke began to clear, April was horrified to see that Bulbasaur was also struggling to stand up. Its hind legs were sprawled across the floor and it seemed to be using all its might to even attempt to lift its own weight. By now, Snorunt was standing upright again, yet barely able to hold its own weight, concentrating heavily on keeping his balance aligned and April was overwhelmed with a sense of urgency.

    “Bulbasaur! No!” she shrilled with the feeling of concern etched into her voice, “Snorunt, you’re doing well bud, but I need you to protect Bulbasaur with your Double Team while it tries to regain its balance!”

    “Sorry April, but we’re not going to allow that! Chikorita, Vine Whip Snorunt away and then Mothim use Bug Bite on Bulbasaur!”

    Snorunt had begun his skate across the floor, yet it was obvious that he was still struggling to keep his balance. Chikorita watched as Snorunt drew closer to Bulbasaur who was trying to still push himself up from the ground. Quickly though, she launched her vines from two buds that were pierced on her neck. They soared towards Snorunt and whipped him away, impacting his cone shaped shell with force. He bobbed along the ground before slowly rolling to a halt; his energy completely drained. Bulbasaur was now left open.

    Vivian jumped up, thrusting her microphone in front of her mouth, “Snorunt is unable to battle, leaving Bulbasaur on his own…” she cried, intensifying the crowd’s emotions while they watched a red beam of energy strike Snorunt’s body and suck him back into his PokeBall, “There is just over one minute left on the clock, can April pull this thing around?”

    A terrified squeal left April’s mouth as she saw the tide of battle quickly flowing away from her. Her horrified look said it all. Bulbasaur was still struggling to push himself up, his entire body shaking from the strain of his muscles and April could see the end drawing near. Her eyes drifted up to Mothim who had again produced the flowing golden energy to surge through his wings, but she knew there was no way for her to claw the battle back. As the spherical ball left Mothim’s body, instantly shooting a tunnel of glistening power towards Bulbasaur, she quickly withdrew a PokeBall from the back of her dress and pointed it directly at her friend.

    “Bulbasaur, return!” she cried, watching a red jagged line sprout from the circular button on the centre of the ball. Within an instant her grass type had moulded into energy and he’d retracted back inside the object, safe and sound.

    The white tinted stream of Hidden Power continued towards the ground, impacting the overlay and spurting dust around the stage floor. April instantly shut her eyes, lifting her arm to cover her face from the forceful particles as they kicked towards her. She was slightly thankful for the sudden shield from the crowd’s watchful eyes as a small tear trickled down her cheek; she had lost. As the dust cleared, her face turned towards the judges table while she clipped Bulbasaur’s PokeBall back onto her deep black belt. She noticed the electrical board behind them push her image out of view and the backdrop changed to the beaming face of Harriet and her two Pokémon with the bolded word Winner captioning their images.

    “Well folks,” Vivian gently spoke, a complete contrast to her ecstatic statements during the contest, “That is it! April has withdrawn Bulbasaur,” Vivian turned towards the devastated teenager, “Her kind spirit entered into play there, and so we now have our Dewnord Town winner, Harriet, Chikorita and Mothim, who will be awarded this beauty!”
    She ran into centre stage, holding up a light green ribbon with small faint mauve circles dotted about on the fabric while panning it from left to right for all the audience to see. Huge rounds of applause rose from the stands as everyone stood to their feet to congratulate the winning three. Harriet had done it!

    The young coordinator ran towards her Pokémon with open arms, scooping them both up with a loving embrace. She squeezed them with joy, giggling softly into their ears. After slightly over two months, they had finally climbed the first stair in her goal to becoming a top coordinator. Her Pokémon had worked so hard perfecting moves, riskily living on the edge with her commands, but it had paid off.

    “Thank you guys, thank you so much!” she softly whispered.

    As the cameras briefly captured the image of the joyous three, twirling around on the spot in one giant hug, they soon returned back to Vivian who was now surrounded by crewmen placing the awarding ceremony objects in place. The judges had joined Vivian as well; Mr Contesta taking the small ribbon from Vivian’s palm ready to award Harriet and her Pokémon with it.

    “Before we award our winners with the Dewnord Town ribbon, we just want to thank everyone for today’s gripping Contest…” Vivian now spoke, once again flowing with her brisk energy, “Firstly, April, you put so much effort into that last battle and you showed the crowd’s your soft nature and love towards your Pokémon! Well done for giving us an amazing spectacle! And also, if any Coordinator who participated in today’s contest is still around we’d love to have you back out on stage for a final applause to congratulate both Harriet and April!”

    As Vivian continued to drum up the crowd’s and offer encouragement to April who was now adorned with a flicker of a smile, Nurse Joy wandered over to Harriet, tapping her shoulder to get the young girl’s attention. She slid her arm under Harriet’s, drawing her over to the awarding proceedings centre stage whilst a few fellow contestants began to flood through the archways again. In the corner of Harriet’s eye, she noticed the familiar complexions of Jimmy and Henry as they both waved at the crowd. Harriet was slightly bewildered to see them again, but paid little heed to the notion, easily moving her attention back to the ribbon.

    “Well Harriet,” Mr Contesta spoke while Nurse Joy led Harriet onto a slightly elevated block, “I’m pleased to award you your first Hoenn ribbon!”

    He moved forward, gently placing the object in her outstretched palm. As he handed the ribbon over, he looked up at her energetic face, ablaze with confidence and excitement. She was brimming with clear energy, even shaking with delight. This was the start of her path to the Grand Festival, and something was telling him that Harriet wasn’t going to let anyone win ribbons away from her with ease. Her fight had only just begun!


    *****



    The atmosphere outside had changed since the morning, with a slightly orange tint in the air caused by the sun, which had begun its slow decline through the clear sky. The Contest Hall itself sat on the edge of the coast, next to the golden coated beach with rows of palm trees running along the cobbled street that connected it to the main town. Scattered across the beach were a few Wingull, sauntering to and fro.

    Along the street, the market stalls had almost nearly been packed down, with only a few people left to unhinge the remaining metal polls from one another. It looked like a completely different place to the morning; now filled with peace and quiet. The other people lounging around were mostly contest fans, still resting in the calm before they too headed on their way.

    Max was also part of this crowd, although he sat on his own away from the rest. The bench was close to the entrance of the Contest Hall, and he was waiting for Harriet to emerge after her final debrief and updates were given to her Contest Pass. Suddenly, a faint click engaged in the electrical system and the blue shaded doors began to slide open.

    “Max, Max,” Harriet cried as she burst out of the Contest Hall, almost too quickly for the automatic doors to open in time, “Look, look, look,” she continued to yell holding her ribbon outstretched for him to see.

    Startled, Max rotated his head to see the charging mess that she was approaching him, waving her hand frantically around almost as if to distract him.

    “Hold it, slow down a little,” he squeamishly stated, cowering a little from the thought that she may just run right into him, “I can’t see it if you don’t slow down!”

    Almost instantly, Harriet came to a halt, taking a quick breath before opening her mouth again, “And, and, and, and, and, and, and… oh… Ahhhhhhhhhhhh!” she energetically shouted, jumping up and down as if she had just seen all the presents on Christmas morning, “I’m so excited Max, this is it, this is the start of my Contest journey,” she said, this time with more calmness in her tone, while she indicated to the fabric in her hand, “I actually won! I actually won!”

    Max stood up, wrapping his arm around her shoulder to congratulate her, “You were awesome Harriet, you and your Pokémon, despite everything, pulled through in the end there and really proved to the other Coordinators why you deserve to be here!”

    She continued to bounce around, obviously fuelled by the intense emotions from winning. Suddenly, as if a switch had been pressed in her brain, she plunged her hand into her handbag and withdrew a metallic box. With one click of the metal, it slithered open and five ribbon slots were unveiled.

    “I had totally forgotten about this,” she remarked, eyeing up the different slots. Max then leaned in over her shoulder to get a better look at the object himself, reminding him of the box containing the present from his sister, handing him the other half of the mysterious pendant that was now secretly hidden under his shirt.

    “So, where do you think I should place this ribbon Max? Centre? Top right?”

    “Well, it’s up to you really, it is yours after all!”

    Again, she bounced from one foot to the other, happily thrilled by her achievement, “I guess you’re right, but the significance will be different depending on where I place it. If it goes in the centre then it shows the beginning of the journey, but I could always place my last ribbon there as a sign of my final win… So many possibilities!”

    As they both stayed in silence for a while, deeply engaged with different thoughts, Max’s mind slowly returned to the situation that had brewed in Rustboro, reminding him of what he and Harriet had left behind. At least Harriet’s ribbon was a show of how they were progressing; not letting anything stand in the way of their goals, but it was still tough to do.

    “Harriet, I just want to say well done again. Despite everything you may have been feeling about the past few weeks, you were still able to go out there and come out on top of all the other contestants, and that is saying something!”

    She looked up at him and simply smiled, gracefully nodding her head in thanks. She knew that they both owed Roxanne a lot, but no one was going to stop them from achieving what they wanted, especially because Roxanne had always insisted they keep perusing their dreams no matter the obstacles.

    Looking back down at the box she realised a new significance that this particular ribbon held; a special sign for Roxanne, and with that in mind she placed it firmly in the middle to act as a constant reminder. This was what her journey was made of, special friends and special times. A chance to keep growing and exploring and encountering what Hoenn had to offer!

    “You’re right Max, you’re right…” she quietly whispered, “There’s so much to keep motivating us to follow our dreams… which reminds me, I was surprised to see that Henry stuck around for a bit… and Jimmy… I was so sure that they’d both have continued on their journeys because nothing ever seems to stop them. It’s like they have an inner Roxanne who never lets them give up!”

    “Well, something kept them around, and who knows, we may well see them back at the PokéCentre if they happen to be staying there as well… talking of which, I really want to get back and contact the Nurse Joy from the airfield to see if she’s been able to connect to Rustboro yet. I’m really worried about Roxanne and Brock still; I just want to know.”

    “Ok.”

    The two proceeded to walk along the cobbled path, back into the main hub of buildings to return to the PokéCentre for their last night in Dewnord Town before heading off to Dewford Town for Max’s gym battle; another dream that was waiting to be chased. As they passed the remnants of the stalls, they heard a distant shouting coming from behind them. They immediately swivelled around to the delighted looks of both Jimmy and Henry running towards them. As they came closer, their speed began to slow and they entered a deep and loud breathing; puffing their chests larger with every breath.

    “Hey you two,” Henry panted, bending over and placing both of his hands on his knees.

    “Nice to see you both,” Harriet responded, “Oddly, we were literally just talking about you two… in a good way of course,” she chuckled, rubbing the back of her head as an instinctive response to her awkwardness.

    “Ah no worries,” Jimmy mentioned, now breathing normally again, “We know you couldn’t hurt a fly,” he smiled, trying to show a good sign of response to quell Harriet’s awkwardness.

    “So what were you saying exactly?” Henry interjected; now standing upright.

    “Oh, just about how we were surprised to see the two of you still here in the final applause bit! I just expected that you two would’ve left already considering you’re both the type to keep yourself on the go!”

    A small smile crept onto Henry’s face and he quickly glanced over at Jimmy who was doing exactly the same to him, “Funny you should say that, we were also just talking about it back in the foyer, because Jimmy said exactly the same thing to me!”

    “How funny,” Max responded, “So is there a reason to it?” he asked the both of them.

    “Well, in actual fact – yea there is!” Henry stated, looking up at Jimmy again to gage a response as to whether he could comment for the both of them. Jimmy gave him a little smile and Henry continued, “Well I’ve decided that contests may not be the best thing for me, and I’m going to train myself up on Dewford Island and try and catch a few new Pokémon to add to my Whismur and Mawile, and then I’m going to take on Brawly and win my first league badge!
    He now centred his attention on Max and his posture became eager and ready, illuminating an air of confidence about him, “So you best watch out Max, cos I’m going to be entering the league for sure, and then nothing’s stopping me from winning it! Not even you!”

    Max was slightly taken aback by Henry’s new found assurance, edging a smile on his lips as he realised that he had just obtained a new rival. It was very clear that Henry had a new passion driving him forward, and that was something that had been notably lacking in his contest entries. It was going to be a brand new start, a way of change; although Max knew it wasn’t going to be easy.

    “Well mate, I look forward to seeing you again soon! Next time we meet we’re going to battle and I’m going to show you why I’m not someone to be looked over for that title!”

    “I look forward to it! Till next time!” Henry didn’t wait for any responses. Within a minute he was buzzing off into the forests that spanned the outskirts of the town, heading into new territory and a new beginning. They all knew that the next time Henry showed his face he would indeed be a different boy, and Max was silently anticipating the arrival of his first rival battle with him.

    “Well he certainly has energy, I’ll give the boy that,” said Jimmy, still watching the small silhouette of Henry disappear into the momentously large expanse of trees, “And knowing him I’m pretty sure he’ll be making many a new friend in no time!”

    Harriet looked up at this comment, her heart beginning to thump as her thoughts centred in on the possibilities of a new Pokémon; the varying types and species all made way for such an intricate relationship.

    “You know what; I don’t think he’ll be the only one having something new the next time we meet! Since I saw a water type back at the Rustboro contest I was amazed by its power and technique, and then facing your Wingull here, Jimmy… well… it was just amazing! And so I think I want to capture a water type of my own, before we leave Dewford I say!”

    Jimmy laughed; rather amazed at the amount of excitement Harriet could hold onto herself, “That’s a goal and a half! You best keep it then! Next time I face you I want to go up against it!”

    “You’ve got a deal!” Harriet responded, clasping Jimmy’s hand with force as a sign of agreement.

    “Hold on, hold on… What?” Max remarked, his attention solely on Harriet, “Since when did you want a water type? This is the first time I’ve heard about this?” he cheekily chuckled, his face also showing signs of bemusement papered in his skin.

    “Well since when do I have to tell you everything,” she rather angrily spoke, folding her arms and giving him a cold shoulder, “It’s not like you tell me everything either!”

    “Hold up you guys, no need to bicker, we’re all friends here…” Jimmy reluctantly expressed, opening his arms up to suggest reconciliation, “We’re not in a battle you know!” he tried to joke, keeping the tones light hearted.

    “Talking about battles, how many badges do you have Jimmy?” Max asked, quickly diving his hand into his own pocket to withdraw his badge case. Flipping the top open he revealed his own set of two that were brilliantly shinning in the light, “It took me a lot of effort but I’ve managed to get two already!”

    “Nice one, I’m afraid though that I can outdo that with four myself, but no worries, I was travelling through the northern areas of Hoenn before I met up with you in Petalburg and so challenged a couple of Gym’s up there too!”

    “Oh… fairs… well I, well… soon I’ll have three and then I’ll only be one behind! You watch out ‘cos I’m coming for you!”

    “You’re on… But anyway, I best be heading back to the PokéCentre now, nice chatting and all but I have an early morning tomorrow… so I’ll see you guys around, yea?” Jimmy motioned, reaching in to shake Max’s and Harriet’s hands as a formal goodbye.

    “In actual fact, we’re heading that way as well,” Harriet quickly spoke, clutching Jimmy’s hand and dragging him along the path before them, leaving Max standing in the same place, rather startled and bewildered.

    “Alright then, we’ll all head back together, and if you guys want you can head out to the local Noodle restaurant with me tonight, I fancy giving it a taste over!” he laughed, managing to regain his composure before turning back to beckon Max to catch up.

    As Max caught up, hearing the remainder of questions surrounding the intricate details of a water type, his mind was only focused on one thing. Even though the day’s events had been awesome, inspiring and uplifting, and the talks with old friends had been a pleasant relief, there was still the present feeling of danger that gripped his heart. The three of them together, continued to walk back into town, away from the quiet beach that had been crowded with contest fans for most of the day, lavishing the sun’s rays whilst also eagerly watching the unfolding events on the large screens. The now tranquil setting was a fading reminder of what was to come and the many more exciting contests that were ahead for Harriet; the waves, a pleasant symbol of the ebbs and flows of battles; the excitement that brews and the lulls of evasion. Now Max and Harriet were eager not for battle but for answers that were hopefully to soon come.


    *****



    Lingering in the thick of the darkened forest, two shadowy figures ascended into the tree tops, hoisting themselves up along dangling rope like vines. The thicket of foliage brushed past their skin as they heaved their way up through tangling braches adorned with leaves and mossy bark that gripped their hands with loose ivy. They neared the top of their select tree, entering into what seemed to be a man made construction in the heart of the gigantic trunk and dense shrubbery. As they narrowly slipped through a crack, a number of small lamps instantly flickered on around the room, hidden in the hollow carved out bark.

    “You know what?” the young blonde woman spoke, adjusting a few objects on a shelving like contraption, “I think I’m starting to get use to this place!”

    Her companion looked up from his task, uploading the computer system that had begun switching on numerous other displays around the circular room, giving a small little deceptive smile. He proceeded to key in a few commands into the system which instigated a faint beeping noise from the main hub of connections.

    “Well Cassidy,” he harshly croaked, “Looks like we have a connection! I’ll begin sending a contact call to First Leader right away…”

    “Yes, and while you’re at it,” she interrupted, crawling over to Butch and placing her hand firmly on his shoulder, “Contact headquarters and ask them to send us another one of our Pokémon each, I feel we may need a little more help out here than we had first imagined!”

    “Sure thing, and who exactly do you want?”

    “Get Houndour, a fire type could come in real handy against these steal freaks out here! Trust me when I say they’re not going to get far with him back on our team!”

    “Sure thing… and I’ll withdraw Cloyster then – I’ve seen a number of their grunts with bird type Pokémon and having Cloyster’s ice type moves back on our team will freeze them in their tracks!”
    “Team Sukai won’t know what hit them!” Cassidy cackled causing her face to light up with a pleasant joy as Butch also joined in with his subtle laugh.

    As the continued to revel in their pleasantries, the screen before them suddenly culminated the pixels together and a hazy figure popped up shrouded in darkness. The only thing Butch and Cassidy could ascertain was the silhouette line that traced the image of a female.

    “Yes?” a voice questioned with tones of a solemn attitude.

    “Ah,” Cassidy responded, “First Leader, we have a mission for you and your operatives from Section 1.”

    “Go ahead,” she sighed.

    “We’ve received intelligence reports from Section 3 saying Team Sukai have captured Rustboro and are holding it on lock down, we’re unsure of their reasons for it but we are sending you and your operatives in to smoke them out. We can’t have them causing a commotion like this while we’re trying to bring small cogs into play ourselves. Your task is to destroy whatever strong hold they’ve set up and cause them to retreat.”

    “Ok! Section one over…”

    “Not so fast!” Butch sternly spoke, “We’ve also received reports from Giovanni about the status of each and every operative concerning their given task, and we understand that you have encountered a slight… hiccup, shall we say?” he rhetorically asked, seeing her body droop a little at those words, likely because she was afraid of the repercussions, “We just want you to know how pleased we are of your work so far and the achievements you made today. It may not have gone according to how you planned but it’s still working perfectly fine!”

    “Thank you, sir!” she nervously responded.

    “No problem, we’re here whenever you need our support…” He hesitated a little, pondering how to phrase his next statement, “But remember,” he firmly proceeded, “Everyone is watching you, in particular, attentively. Try not to lose any heart about this!”

    With those words, Butch quickly cut the connection leaving the young woman to her thoughts. He turned again to face his partner, nodding in gratitude. They had continued as planned and the dice had been rolled again. Now they were to wait as their plans slowly amped up. They were both aware how easily and swiftly things could turn for worse, but their faith rested in the grunts they’d assigned this mission too. Now they were to sit back and watch, yet they knew that eyes were on them too!


    *****



    The quiet subtlety of the PokéCentre was a welcoming embrace for any trainer that happened to walk into its comforting walls, normally a place of relaxation and rest. Yet, this normal atmosphere was quickly broken by a loud trampling sound of feet on the floor racing closer to the building. Suddenly, the doors burst open and the trio of friends sprinted through the doors of the PokéCentre, headed up by Max who was charging through the main reception area towards Nurse Joy. This was his moment to find out a little more, and he had to know!

    He raced up to the main desk, instantly slamming his hands down on the top as he quickly gaped for a couple of breaths. Jimmy and Harriet shortly followed him, each going to a different side of Max and resting against the counter, puffing away in exhaustion. Their energy had kept them going, constantly driven by their worry for Roxanne and Brock. Now it was time for them all to find out.

    “Nurse Joy,” Max panted, “Have you heard anything from your cousin at Dewford Airfield?” he frantically asked.

    She looked up from a pile of papers stacked in front of her, her face expressing solemn and unfortunate tones, “You’ve not heard?” she asked.

    Max’s faced dropped, he could tell something was wrong just by the simplicity of her look. His mind whirled away, analyzing everything that had occurred within the past seconds; her voice, her words, her tones; everything. All his analytical processing triggered a well of emotions to break forth and his only reasoning in this state determined that something was terribly wrong, even dangerously horrific.

    “What, Nurse Joy? What?” he snapped, fighting back the tears through sheer desperation, “Sorry, I didn’t mean to. Just tell me… please.”

    His voice withered away in a small trail of muffled noises. He slunk his head against his chest and braced himself, awaiting the news to slip through in some calm and caring manner. Harriet, also overwhelmed with a gripping fear of what was about to befall their ears, gently placed her hand on Max’s shoulder to signify their unity in the matter. Whatever happened, whatever may have transpired, they, in all realms of possibility, had to stay strong.

    Nurse Joy reached her hand across the granite top surface, clutching Max’s hand within hers. She apologetically looked into his eyes before opening her mouth, “I’m afraid to inform you that Rustboro is under siege from a group calling themselves Team Sukai…”

    There was a silent pause in the room, sending chilling reactions shuddering about the youngster’s bodies. Max was frantically shaking his head out of desperation. He longingly wished that he’d stayed behind after the initial attack even though it risked halting his league career. But that didn’t seem to matter to him right now.

    “No… No, it can’t be! This… It’s… it’s… Roxanne!” he almost wailed, clutching at the sides of his clothes.

    “Max…” Harriet softly spoke, “It’ll be ok, I’m sure the Police are handling the matter, and… and they’re not going to let anything happen to Rustboro or their citizens,” she slightly questioned, directing her final statement towards Nurse Joy.

    “Yes, oh yes, Officer Jenny and her teams are already on sight coordinating operations,” Nurse Joy hurriedly said, really trying to reassure Max, “My sister from Rustboro told me that the police plans are coming along smoothly and the latest report from Team Sukai proposed plans to release hostages.”

    “They’re releasing hostages? Do you know anything more?” Jimmy asked.

    “The only reports I’ve heard were something to do with some Rhydon and then these reports that were broadcast today… but I never thought… I never thought that they’d go to any extremes…”

    Her words echoed away into the currently silent lobby, now void of any usual bustle. A still quiet proceeded to creep into the group’s hearts as they heard the words repeat in their minds as if stuck on a cruel loop. It really was the case no matter how much their heads tried to twist the letters around or make clever comprehensions that didn’t actually exist. Team Sukai hadn’t gone; they were back and with crippling tactics.

    “Max,” Harriet once again spoke, pulling him around until he was face to face with her, “Think about what we said before we left Rustboro, there’s nothing we can do, and you have a third badge to get here on Dewford Island.”

    She paused for a few moments, seeing a brief flicker of excitement arise and instantly die within him, “Look,” she rigidly commented, “Why don’t we all go out and grab a bite to eat down at that restaurant Jimmy was telling us about earlier, there’s nothing we can do here and in all honesty food’s probably going to do us a world of good at the moment.”

    Max silently nodded in a distracted fashion, slipping his hand into his pocket and immediately turning away from the front desk without any words. He shuffled away from the other three, heading straight for the automatic doors. Harriet and Jimmy both watched him continue out of the doors where he abruptly stopped, just soaking in the scenery around him. Harriet looked over her shoulder at Nurse Joy who was bound with grave worry for the young trainer. She smiled at the caring nurse before pursuing Max out of the building, shortly followed by Jimmy. It was going to be tough, that was plainly obvious to Harriet, but she was going to have to be there for him no matter what.


    *****



    Max’s fork slowly picked away at the neatly presented food before him, mangling and fiddling with the plates of pasta and vegetables. He was resting his head in his hand, trying to avert his thoughts from the unfortunate news that Nurse Joy had broken to them. The sofas that they had been seated in just seemed uncomfortable to him, and he continued to fidget and slide his body backwards and forwards on the red leather. It was very clear that his mind was in no pleasant state, ridiculed with the horrendous information they had been notified with. He had already been a witness to some atrocities caused by Team Sukai and knew about others, such as their experiments on Humans and Pokémon alike, and now Roxanne and Brock were in the middle of it all again.

    “Max…” Harriet softly spoke, placing her fork neatly on her plate before stretching her hand over to his, “You’ve got to eat something.”

    He slowly looked up from the disjointed mess before him, making eye contact with the two youngsters that sat opposite him, but no one said a word, no one needed too in his opinion. He was happy just sitting in the other’s company, picking away at his food as the time ticked on.

    He returned his gaze back to his food, now swirling it around on the fork. He felt that one mouthful may just help settle things down a little, and in fairness he knew Harriet was correct, not eating was no good to him.

    As the silence continued, Harriet finished up her food and neatly pushed her plate away from her place, wiping her mouth with a napkin. Her emotions were different to Max’s, obviously concerned but also filled with excitement and joy at the same time from her win; even a thrill at witnessing all the different species of Pokémon. Her mind kept on wandering back to their conversation with Henry; his passion and excitement about starting fresh and catching new Pokémon. For her it was exactly the same and that exuberating feeling had also returned thanks to the day’s actions. Unfortunately though, things were now being overshadowed by Team Sukai.


    *****


    The shrouded figure wandered through the usually busy high streets that were now littered with vast amounts of rubble and debris caused by his commands. His looming presence caused a sharp and sudden response from all his followers that happened to be there too, carrying out their set tasks. A few subordinates were daintily leading a procession of hostages across the central area towards the PokéCentre located a few blocks away from Apollo’s position, but the instance they spotted their leader they saluted and stood firm and stout as if worshiping or idolising what they viewed as a deity.

    Apollo continued on past his devout employees, giving them small recognitions by the slight twitch of his head to at least adorn them in a sense of worth. His main goal, however, was locating the amulet he so desired, and if he had to show respect to those that were already in due awe of him then so be it. His main priority was to meet with his five Heads, all centred around the amulet’s last known location, for recon reports; then things could truly enter play.

    He raised his hand to tap a small device that looped around his ear and a crackling noise erupted in his hearing. He momentarily stopped, wincing a little at the scratchy noises coming from the ear piece, before he became accustomed to its wave length and preceded onwards. The next few buildings were oddly still standing, and so too did it happen that nothing in this area had even been remotely scratched. Apollo callously smiled as he noted the observation.

    “Open communications with Tech one from my capsule,” he suddenly spoke.

    The crackling noises now died down and were replaced with a low frequency humming; a voice then responded through the small device wrapped around the commander’s right lobe.

    “This is Tech one, how may I help you Sir?” he politely asked.

    “Good… I like someone who seems to try and please me!” he offhandedly commented, again chuckling to himself, “Anyway, have you reached any more conclusions about where my cherished prize is?”

    “In fact, we have. But I’m afraid to say it’s not good news.”
    “Just spit it out,” Apollo rudely ordered with an extremely aggressive tone to his voice, “I’m not here to waste resources on my Heads and Principals looking for something that may or may not be here!”

    “Yes, Sir, of course, Sir… well then, I regret to inform you that by our calculations and triangulations…” his voice shakily stated, “The pendant isn’t here, and our only logical conclusion is that whoever had it must’ve been aboard one of those planes we hijacked.”

    Only silence remained over the communications channel, engulfing the tech in a flurry of nerves. His fears rose and his adrenaline pumped harder, beating away in the inside of his ear drums. This was not a predicament he wished to find himself in, especially not with Apollo who was known to not only be ruthless in executing plans but also in keeping discipline.

    Suddenly, the tech’s nerves broke as the silent murmur of Apollo’s voice began distributing over the channel again, “Very well, I’m on route to meet with the Heads but recall all other teams to their base capsules, it’s time for us to retreat!”

    Apollo reached to the device on his ear again, pressing it gently and causing one last faint crackle before the noises went dead. He looked up ahead where the terminal entrance of the airport was, seeing the numerous hostages hoarded into set corners by his own Principles and Subordinates from his capsule. He sighed. All their efforts and time had been for nothing, the amulet had snuck out of his nearing grasp and it was time for him to regroup with his Heads and formulate their next course of action.

    He turned to look at the edge of the decorative square, adorned with a beautiful, stone water feature to mark the centre. It was finely carved and showed a true splendour of humanity. Apollo, however, looked at it in disgust, yet acting calmly and cool he reached for a small spherical ball that was dangling from the edges of his dark green uniform. He tapped the white button lightly with his thump and the ball instantly enlarged in his hand.

    “Metang, go!” he coldly cried, sending the PokeBall out of his hand with a gentle fling of his wrist.

    The PokeBall flew above the fountain where it quickly burst open in a flash of light, causing the five people also standing in the square to look up from an assortment of computer screens to see what was going on. Each of them instinctively reached for a PokeBall attached on their clothes as well. The blue tinted creature moulded together in the shimmering white light until it hovered above the stone carving. It rotated it s body around so that it could look at its trainer.

    Apollo chuckled a little to himself, excited about his destructive thoughts racing through his mind, “Good! Use Hyper Beam on that fountain below you, Metang!”

    The steel type hovered higher into the air while his front horn began to be overwhelmed with a vibrantly bright golden light. The light continued to grow in intensity until it was flowing with clear particles of energy. The Pokémon then locked its body in a diagonal stance so that his horn was directly pointed towards the stone feature. As soon as he had primed himself, the Hyper Beam expelled out of the metal appendage and soared in a straight and narrow line towards the clear cut object. The moment the two collided, fragments of the statue were distributed into the surroundings until they came crashing to the ground, scattering about the vicinity. Apollo’s only response was to stand there and laugh in utter joy.

    “Ahh,” he sighed, “Very good Metang, wonderful job,” he heartlessly remarked, obviously revelling in the destruction that lay barren in front of him, “I needed a good little stress relief workout and you certainly provided my friend.”

    He continued to chuckle to himself while he walked over the crumbling remains of the stone, indicating to Metang to begin following him. They both proceeded over to the table of computer screens, manned by the five people who had been privy to the demolition. All of them had, by now, removed their hands from their PokeBall’s the instant they recognised what was occurring, and as their leader approached they all welcomed him with a sly smile and a salute.

    “Orion,” Apollo grimly said, “I want you to coordinate removal operations of all our gear instantly, there’s no point wasting our energy on searching for something when it’s not here.”

    The stout man responded with a vigorous nod of his head before he began to depower all the monitors that surrounded them. Apollo seemed pleased at Orion’s work.

    “Thank you,” he gracefully said, “Now, the rest of you I want to head straight to my capsule and order the retreat of all your teams from my Bridge… oh and take all my Principles and Subordinates with you as well! They no longer need to be holding hostages. I’ll be with you guys shortly, and as soon as I arrive we’ll begin tracking the amulet again.”

    The other four Heads saluted their boss once more before they departed like darts away from the square, zipping away with speed. Apollo now turned his attention back to Orion, walking over to the Head’s side and placing his hand firmly on Orion’s shoulder. He then leaned in close to Head 1, allowing his mouth to nearly touch Orion’s ear.

    “I have a special mission for you,” whispered Apollo, “One which means you won’t be returning with us in the Capsule, but it is key and central to our overall goal.”

    “Ok Sir, whatever you ask,” Orion responded, stopping his present tasks to lean in closer and listen attentively.

    “Good! I need you to…”

    His statement was quickly interrupted by the roaring noises of chopper blades circling the sky above them. Both men looked up to find the source of the commotion. To their utmost disgust, they noticed a few blacked out helicopters with a distinct red R painted on their sides. They knew exactly who was sitting inside and they weren’t about to wait around to be greeted by a full on battle.

    “Hmm, so they really are here as well… Looks like we’re going to have to step things up then,” Apollo sneered, quickly slipping an envelope into Orion’s waistcoat pocket as he continued to fix his eyes on the helicopters, “Read that and report back to me as soon as possible. You know the communication signal. I’ll be expecting to hear from you soon!” Apollo finished, now turning to his Pokémon and pointing its PokeBall directly at it to recall it home.

    With those actions, Apollo then also slipped away into the shadows of Rustboro’s buildings, leaving Orion to make his own departure with the remaining gear. Their shadowy motives were attuning to the men’s visible features and soon they were both completely masked by a veil of deception. Even though things hadn’t gone as hoped for Apollo, he knew that everything was beginning to fall into place and enter the playing field. Dark times were beginning to brew.
    Credits to Sweet May and DanChimchar from Serebii
    For the Banner

  11. #56
    Moderator harryheart's Avatar Moderator
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    Default Re: Max's Hoenn Journey

    I'm glad to finally be getting Chapter 30 out. It feels like a long time coming, and with that that it's also great to be saying that we are *drum roll please* 1/4 of the way through the story. Yes that's right. We're nearly there.... ish..... but on a serious note, you guys have been dedicated, probably more so that I have, and I must thank you for being accepting and taking the time out to review and read.

    Thank you all!!!!

    Chapter 30: The Music Style

    The camera angle panned across the Rustboro shoreline, with the great expanse of water acting as a backdrop to the fine arts of a civilised world. However, the unnatural constructions were left in wreckage and rubble now, reduced to the ground after the horrendous terrors that had choked the city. The images being recorded showed the devastation left behind by Team Sukai. Their depictions were heart wrenching and caused lumps to emerge in the backs of people’s throats, but it was obvious that these pictures had to be broadcast for all those willing to see. People had to know the extent of damage caused and it was their right to find out just what the region of Hoenn was now up against; no-one was going to be able to conceal the sickening horrors.

    “And… as you can see by the images on the screen, Rustboro has been left in total chaos and mess, reduced to mere pieces of concrete in some places… Look, here we have a number of citizens braving the streets in clear up operations, and there appears to be the Rustboro Gym leader and her Pokémon, along with a Kanto Gym leader by the looks of things. These images truly capture what occurred here and show the strong willingness and the camaraderie of the citizens that were caught up in these terrorist attacks.”

    Sat comfortably in the warmth of the Dewnord Town PokéCentre, the young group of trainers listened to every horrific description that news reporter Kathryn King was reeling of her tongue, as if it was a machine filled with endless sentences of doom and gloom. More pictures continued to flash up on the screen and more words continued to echo out of the speaker system. The more Max saw, the further he reduced himself into the bean bag, slinking into its warm hug. If only he had stayed. That phrase continued to play backwards and forwards across his mind, as if it was some haunting slide show set to trigger some deep emotional cascade. Either way, it was doing that exact thing!

    “We’ve had the chance to interview some people about the events over this past week including the plane hijackings that seemed to mark the beginning of Team Sukai’s operations here in Rustboro.”

    Max had had enough. It was all too much to keep absorbing. No matter what they said nothing was going to change what had happened, nothing at all. It wouldn’t change the damage to the city, the terror instilled in people and Pokémon alike, nor would it add any satisfaction to all the people kidnapped by these people purely for their malicious experiments. Throughout his short journey thus far, Max had seen too much horror strike the region like a constant barrage of tactics set to destroy the community of Hoenn. It was unspeakable what they had done, tried to do and were doing, and now the news channels were milking it as if it was some celebratory event. He knew that it wasn’t their intention or even so, but with everything he had experienced it oddly felt good to place his blame somewhere.

    He turned towards Harriet, expressing his grief through the solemn look assembled on his face. Their moments of struggles had been jointly shared, and this left a mutual understanding and respect which Max could always feed off for support and help. Right now, as more reels of images scrolled across the screen, all he wanted was to rest in some comforting joy.

    “What powerful words… It leaves me speechless! But one thing we can all safely reassure ourselves with is the knowledge that Team Sukai have officially gone. There appears to be no real reason for their departure but we are informed that the investigation into the team’s operations has been amped up and we are exporting a report from the local Officer Jenny very soon. We also here that communications are slowly being restored and should be up and running within a few hours time. We’ll bring you more as and when it comes.”

    A wave of relief crossed over Max at the news. His previous down heartened attitude had quickly been replaced with an overwhelming sense of joy.

    “Yes,” he cried, leaping up from his seat, “That means we’ll be able to speak to Roxanne and Brock in no time!”

    *****


    The small lights gently flickered in the background of the circular room, hanging on the sides of the musky wooden walls. The electronic monitors were all actively churning out information on the screen. One of these devices was receiving input from a young man who was rapidly typing away at a keyboard, punching in numbers and figures from a sheet of scribbled down notes. His generally greenish coloured hair was littered with bark shavings and mossy foliage yet this hadn’t even risen to his attention because his work had gripped his entire concentration.

    “Cassidy,” he said, still lingering his eyes over the pencil marks, “I think we’re just about ready with our report data and findings. It’s time to patch us through to headquarters for our debrief and further assignments.”

    The young woman shuffled over to a view screen that was equipped with sound systems and cameras, turning every single system on with one simple push of a button. As the sequencing page appeared on the screen she hesitantly began to input the duos codes ready to connect them into the Rocket’s communication mainframe. With every tap of the screen her nerves continued to build.

    “Butch,” she hesitantly spoke, “What are we going to say?” she asked, fiddling with a few more buttons.

    “I… I don’t know… but we’ll think of something! Don’t worry…”

    He slid over next to Cassidy, gently patting her on the shoulder. They both looked at each other and nodded in unison. Their attention then rested on a shiny spherical object that lay in front of them, sitting at a slanted angle on a metallic plate.

    “If we send it, we both know what its future would be!”

    Butch reached over to the PokeBall and picked it up from the plate, reducing it to a smaller size by lightly pressing the central circular button. Effortlessly, he then placed it in his back pocket before turning his head to look at Cassidy.

    “Well the answer is; we don’t send it!”

    “Easy for you to say, your weren’t the one given this assignment as the First. My head’s on the line if we don’t deliver!”

    “We’ll think of something, trust me! We will benefit from having it so much more than any other Rocket agent will, so that’s valid reason enough for us not to worry about our decision!” Butch sternly spoke, portraying only an emotionless look at his partner to settle her down. He then immediately proceeded to lean over to the monitor and enter the contact key for Giovanni’s office. He hoped that his confident sounding pep talk would be enough to lift his optimism as well; now there was no turning back.

    Expanding lines began to trace across the screen as the connection was made. The multicoloured pixels then merged into one great image before splitting to reveal the calm and collected features of a young woman, dressed head to toe in a scarlet coloured robe. She finished jotting something down with her elaborately decorated pen and bunched the papers together in a neat pile before placing them back into a drawer. Until this point she had yet made eye contact with the camera or acknowledged the presence of Butch and Cassidy, but she finally looked away from the set of drawers attached to her desk and stared directly at the duo. Her fixation felt rather cold.

    “Yes, what news do you bring for Giovanni?” she monotonously stated.

    “We’re here to inform him of our operations in Hoenn and to deliver an update on the Team Sukai situation, Sir!” Cassidy briskly responded.

    “I expect that you also have news on the Pokémon acquirement as well?”

    “It’s only for Giovanni’s ears, Sir,” Butch interrupted.

    “Very well, as you wish… but don’t grovel to me for better missions other than the refurbishing of the storage rooms you’re bound to be assigned when he demotes you for not delivering the goods on time!”

    Butch and Cassidy didn’t respond. They stayed motionless with a complexion of respect etched into their faces. The woman stared back at them for only a few mere more seconds before she sighed and, seemingly with little excitement, hit a large button on the edge of her computer monitor. On Butch and Cassidy’s end, the screen abruptly blackened before returning with colour and the outline of a shadowy figure.

    “What news do you bring?” the voice whispered.

    “We have news on the Team Sukai operation, Sir; by the time we had mobilised agents and landed they…”

    “Yes I know, they had gone, what else is new?” the figure sighed, interrupting Butch with his comments as he lent forward into the light, “The spy agents from Section 3 that you mobilised in the organisation have already given me the update I need: the reasoning’s behind Team Sukai abandoning Rustboro, what they’re looking for, what their goals are! I know it all!”

    “Sorry Sir, we weren’t aware…”

    “No, no you weren’t…” He paused momentarily, leaning back into his tall black chair, “And if you want to stay in the loop you’ll deliver the required Pokémon I asked for!”

    “About that Sir,” Butch said, ushering Cassidy to stay quiet with the subtle flapping of his hand, “Unfortunately our run in with Team Sukai was less profitable than we had hoped!”

    “What? What are you talking about?” he rather aggressively asked, slamming his hands against his desk and thrusting his body in to assert his power, “I heard nothing about any engagement with Team Sukai! They left as you arrived!”

    “Ah. Well it seems someone has neglected to inform you that Cassidy and I took our own transport to Rustboro and arrived before the boarding parties. As we landed we were ambushed and attacked by some unknown mem…”

    “No!” Giovanni shouted, whisking his arm across his desk, knocking a load of files and objects all over the floor, , “I had heard reports about the Heads of Team Sukai as they’re called within the organisation, but none of our agents had even caught a glimpse of them. I assumed they were just a rumour started by the leader to hold his troops awe, but never did I expect to actually find them. Everything pointed to their existence being a bunch of lies!” He finished his statement and folded his arms, turning his back to the camera, “Very well,” he reluctantly sighed, “I guess we’re going to have to alter our plans then, anyway, proceed with your explanation!”

    “Well unfortunately the PokeBall ended up in their hands Sir, there was nothing we could do about it.”

    “It appears not, but it’s to be expected if you had to face the likes of the Heads. Very well, as much as I hate to hear that, the Pokémon was expendable, we can get another one. I’ll assign the mission to some of our agents in Johto; they can catch a native specimen for us. In the meantime, continue to gather all the data you can on Sukai.”

    “Yes Sir!”

    “Good!” Giovanni responded, now gently sitting back down into his chair, “And one last thing as thanks for your information. Team Sukai are looking for a particular object, a pendant to be exact, purple and oval shaped. They believed it to be in Rustboro but obviously it appears their calculations were wrong, so we’ve now got an opportunity to find it first! If you happen to hear anything about it contact me right away, for the time being send agents out to look for this pendant, get them searching for amulets too, you never know what it may have been labelled as!” He swivelled his chair around to gaze at a metallic segment of his wall that displayed a gigantic collection of data all merged together, “I’ll get new assignments to you within the hour!”

    Giovanni then slammed his fist against a touch screen inbuilt in his desk. Communications were cut short before Butch or Cassidy could say another word that may have potentially knocked another nail into their demotion caskets. They inhaled quickly and let out a long gasp of relief.

    “I don’t know how Butch, but you did it! You created a believably bogus story and he bought it!”

    Cassidy clasped her hands together in relief, leaning back on her knees as she let the calmness wash over her. The duo fell into silence with the room’s atmosphere changing accordingly. Small grins appeared on their faces.

    *****


    Max slammed his fist against the PokéCom monitor that was displaying only wavy black and white lines on the screen. In the top right corner, a small flashing box kept repeating the same words ‘No Connection’. Frustration continued to build inside the young trainer, the recurrent sign irritating him every single time it popped up on the screen. Harriet and Jimmy stood behind him, watching his shoulders shake at the frequent annoyance that was rattling his core. Harriet stepped forward and gently placed her hands on his torso, trying to guide him away from the machine.

    “Come on now Max, there’s no point in frustrating yourself. What’s that going to get you?”

    “But…” He simply sighed in disappointment, lowering his head and allowing his body to just flow and follow Harriet’s direction. They reached a row of lowered chairs fitted with padding to add comfort when someone slotted into the seat. Harriet placed Max down in one and sat on his left side while Jimmy sat on the other, his soft, caring face peering at Max.

    “Hey mate,” Jimmy spoke, “Look, we’ll hear more when the news reports are released. We heard Kathryn King earlier and she say’s things are greatly improving, so there’s no need to feel hopeless right now!”

    “I know, Jimmy, but I guess I just thought that I’d be able to speak to them by now,” he quietly said, staring at his twiddling thumbs on his lap. He then turned and looked at his two friends, thanking them with a graceful smile, “Don’t worry about me, I suppose I’m not that relaxed at the moment.”

    As if on cue, they all laughed in reflection of Max’s comments, particularly Max who appeared to find his own words rather infectiously humorous. Harriet looked at him; she was filled with an odd joy. If she could’ve awarded anyone with the ‘most obvious statement in the world’ trophy, then it certainly would’ve been Max for his last statement.

    Breaking the laughter, Max continued, “I’m probably not the best person to be around in this mood! Why don’t you two go off and do something? I’ll stay here and try and relax!”

    Jimmy’s face expressed a caring attitude, mustering a slight smile to show his understanding. He then looked up at Harriet and their eyes met. His one single look expressed an entire conversation which Harriet reflected with a plain nod. Jimmy then turned back to Max and smiled, withdrawing from his pocket three small, rectangular pieces of paper.

    “Well Max, you may not feel like you’re good company but Harriet and I have thought ahead. We wanted to do something to cheer you up and yesterday we heard about a Pokémon Concert that’s in town. Because of Harriet’s win yesterday in the Contest, she was able to get three tickets for us and we thought that it’d be a nice thing for us to do together and pass the time with! And it’s likely that when we get back we’ll have more news on the communication issue and maybe more reports from Officer Jenny. So, what do you say?”

    Jimmy handed his friend the three tickets for him to inspect. Max picked one of the slips up and began reading the small blurb that was printed across the multicoloured background with numerous shapes and swirls almost randomly thrown together on top. His face began to also display a sense of joy; his lips curling at both ends.

    “Thanks you guys. I… I don’t know what to say!”

    “Just say yes,” Jimmy joked.

    “All we want is to go have some fun with you Max,” Harriet interjected, placing her arm around the adolescent trainer, “And this will be a good place for us all to relax and let our hair down, so come on, go upstairs and get ready and we’ll meet you down here in ten minutes.”

    Max gave the pair one last warming smile, nodding in his satisfaction at their expression of love and kindness. He flung his arms round Harriet in a tight grip, squeezing her with his appreciation. Then, without hesitating or wasting any time at all, he bolted from his seat and scurried through a hallway that branched from the eastern side of the main foyer lacking even one glance back. He zipped left almost immediately as if about to collide with a wall, but instead he disappeared from sight and his footsteps were the echoing remains of his excitement. Harriet slightly chuckled, pondering the intricacies of Max’s personality; how he could bounce from one extreme to the next! At least this would take his mind off the Rustboro predicament for a few hours, she thought, and thus give her a break for her own worrying too.

    *****


    The noise of the crowds carried into the heights of the stands, rising with the tiers of cramped people eagerly awaiting the performance. For the young group it felt exactly the same as when the contest was in action, the same hall, same stage and same noise levels! The whole arena was packed out and the excitement had become contagious.

    The lights in the open room had been dimmed to an incredibly low level, and the blacked out windows retained the darkness. Only small silhouettes were visible on the dried stage and to Max it seemed as if they were aimlessly walking about without a perpetual purpose.

    “So, when’s this meant to start,” he asked Jimmy, turning his attention away from the shuffling below.

    “It said that it would start on the hour, but that was five minutes ago. I guess they’re just running late though; they’ll be on soon!”

    “I hope so,” Harriet responded, “‘cos I’m getting hungry and I want those lovely hot dogs you get at events like these! Where are those vendors?”

    Harriet’s wale’s caused a number of spectators around them to turn and stare, but the group just laughed it off. Luckily for Harriet, the stadium presently was darkened so no-one could see her reddened face, deepening in colour with her embarrassment. She shrugged off the attention and returned her gaze to the dimly lit stage.

    The speakers gently crackled as a voice system was connected into the output, “And now ladies and gentlemen,” a mysterious voice spoke, “Please put your hands together for tonight’s first band, ‘The Fire Fighters’ here to perform their set of water music!”

    The lights all around the arena abruptly brightened; their spotlights centring on one point. The illuminated beams strung across the hall onto one direct point, beginning to spiral in unison around the pivotal section. The dancing glows were alluring, and the crowds fell susceptive to this. Their eyes focused on the patterns leaving five shadowed figures to slip between the curtains hung over the arena archways.

    A loud screech echoed off the metallic lined walls causing the beam spotlights to immediately brighten the entire room. As they did so, a plethora of large bubbles became unveiled that were almost touching the low lies of the crowd. The outer skin of each was clearly vibrating.

    “Listen. Can you hear that?” Max asked, leaning in close to Harriet, “That’s coming from the bubbles!”

    Harriet squinted, initially confused until she also came to the same conclusion. The bubbles harmonic resonance was creating a subtle undertone that was gently changing in pitch according to their respective heights. The higher they rose, the higher the tone, and the Pokémon seemed very capable of producing the large ripples of water at the exact height.

    “You’re so right Max! Wow, that’s wicked. I wonder what else they can do.”

    They were eagerly anticipating more to come, noticing a Squirtle and Psyduck veer towards the centre of the arena floor. The two Pokémon began charging at one another before they opened their gaping mouths letting torrents of water burst forth. The second the two streams impacted, the duo were held in their spot, unable to move any further forward due to the resistance created by the Water Guns. The continual impact, however, began to add a rather heavy thump into the previous quiet waves of sound as ripples of larger gulps soared out of both Pokémon’s mouths. The piece of music was now slowly forming layer by layer.

    “This is absolutely amazing!” Jimmy said, boasting a huge grin on his face, “How they do it I don’t know! They have to get everything perfect and correctly placed to produce the noises.”

    “Practice makes perfect,” Harriet added.

    “Yes, well… Still, it’s very impressive and I can only imagine what else we’re about to see!”

    “I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re able to create sounds similar to musical instruments we have,” Max said, “I wonder whether this stuff sells on the music market?”

    Harriet jovially smirked at Max for his response, giving him a slight tap on the back as a sort of big up to his statement. She then turned back around to see a Mudkip encased within one of the floating bubbles. Out of its mouth, small streams of water spurted against the barrier and on each impact a synthetic sound was created resembling the usual sounds of a Keyboard. Depending on its position, again, changed the key.

    Harriet chuckled to herself, “This is honestly so inspiring! There’s so much we can learn from this, so many Contest moves I can do! We so have to try it!”

    “Well I’d certainly be up for it, considering I need some new ideas for my appeals.”

    “Alrighty then, tomorrow morning, let’s set it! Take as much inspiration as you need from this Jimmy as we’re going full out tomorrow morning!” Harriet eagerly said, turning to Max, “Can you judge it for us?”

    “In actual fact I was thinking something far from it. You both need practice in double battles for contests right, well how about I hitch up on one of your teams and give it a go myself. I’m sure I can take a lot from this as well for my own battles!”

    “Sounds like a plan.”

    *****


    The dawn light had only been shining for a mere few minutes before a hub of life began to erupt inside the group’s bedroom. A bubble of noise was faintly noticeable through the thick plastered walls that separated each bedroom. The bathroom was whirring a cocktail of sounds too, a loud dryer that was whizzing away over Harriet’s damp hair, a trickle of water still dripping from the recently used tap, and a shower that was warming up ready for Max to use. Each young person was raring to go!

    Harriet marched out of the bathroom and signalled over to Max with a nod of her head, causing her slightly curled hair to gently bob.

    “It’s all ready for you to use Max.”

    “Cheers Harriet,” he said while collecting his towel and shampoo from his bed, “See you guys in a few minutes!”

    Harriet smiled back and returned to her own collection of things, sorting each item out in rank of relevance and need. She tucked her bath products in a neat side pocket of her bag and zipped all its contents up. Turning around, she clasped two PokeBalls in her palm and clamped it shut before looking over at Jimmy with a generous grin on her face. The excitement pumped round her body.

    “I’m so excited to give all this a go in a real battle!” she said.

    “And you’re not the only one! After all our practice yesterday afternoon I’m so hyped, it’s going to be such a good learning curve for our appeals and also our battles. The way Max is using it can also be incorporated as a defence into our own battles and damage the opponent’s points. This has real potential to be a winning combo!”

    Jimmy hoped off his bed and headed towards the large mirror hung over a dresser in the PokéCentre room. He nonchalantly began fine tuning his hair while Harriet continued.

    “You’re so right! There’s so much that we can take away from this, no matter the outcome.”

    “Uh-huh!”

    “So now all we have to do is wait…”

    Harriet let her words trail off as the bathroom door spat open and a rather drenched Max wandered through while rubbing the towel through his hair. He looked at Harriet and grinned, throwing the towel away and grabbing his usual t-shirt from a heap on the floor. He pulled it over his head and gave his hair one quick run through with his fingers.

    “Well I’m all ready to roll now! Breakfast can wait, I’m eager for our battle!” Max said.

    “Alright then, let’s get this started!”

    *****


    The line of trees scattered the horizon in front of them, popping up in pockets of concentrated heaps along the water, relative to the locations of small and isolated islands. Harriet had, clasped in her hands, two PokéBalls that glistened in the rising sun light. Her eyes twinkled in awe as she gazed out across the ocean’s surface; and the numerous little islands, some surrounded by larger, populated land masses, captured her attention as she could see a great quantity of Pokémon skimming between them. Her desire to catch another Pokémon was becoming more and more intoxicating.

    “Harriet, snap out of it. We’re ready now!”

    Harriet spun round, rather bewildered by Max’s sudden yell. Her thoughts rushed together and the cogs of her mind actively rotated once again.

    “Oh, sorry about that, but isn’t it just wonderful?” She gestured behind her at the rolling waves of the sea and the beautiful reflection of the dancing light skating across the surface, “This, I guess, is what we miss when we’re in such a rush… But anyway,” she snapped back to and forced an intensive glare at Max, “I’m ready!”

    “Alright then, how about I join your team then and we hitch up against Jimmy? Sound good?”

    “Certainly! I’m up for it if Jimmy is!

    “Count me in!” He eagerly said, clasping his hands together in excitement, “Well I’m going to get the ball rolling then and call out my two!”

    He flung his bag down against the ground and rummaged through the top compartment for only a few seconds before he withdrew two small circular objects.

    “Ok then, Geodude and Beedrill come on out!”

    The two balls spun through the air towards Max and Harriet, who by definition had now chosen their marker point for the battle. They seemed eager and ready, just waiting for the amalgamation of white energy to meld together and form the two opposing creatures.

    A rugged rock bodied Pokémon appeared only moments before a buzzing striped Pokémon; the pair were effortlessly floating in mid air.

    “Well then, you’ve seen my two so it’s now up to you to choose!”

    “Ok!” Max turned to Harriet and gave her a convincing wink, “I’ll choose first I think, Budew let’s go!”

    “I’m not far behind you, Chikorita go!”

    The two balls almost instantaneously burst open releasing the spiral of energy. Soon the two Pokémon stood side by side facing up the opposition. A big glimmer of hope flashed across their faces, likewise on their trainer’s as well. They had a definite type advantage when it came to Geodude, and both Max and Harriet, and, Chikorita and Budew knew they were capable of formulating some way to tackle Beedrill.

    “Alright Jimmy, you can go first and get the ball rolling!” Max shouted with pure anticipation.

    “Ok then, let’s start things off with a bang! We’re going to jump right in there guys. Geodude begin with Rock Throw but withhold your power and just let it grow inside you, the same goes for you Beedrill, store up your Poison Jab, let’s see what this can do!”

    His two Pokémon responded effectively, gathering energy inside their respective bodies and creating an inviting glow. Max was impressed with the marvel that these two were forming, it was impressive to see an expansion of energy, and yet niggling away in his mind was its purpose, its strategic value within a battle. Could it hold? Would it be suitable? Only time would tell.

    “Alright, Budew, let’s jump in on the act, we’re used to this sort of thing with Water Sport so try it again but this time hold it a little longer, we’ll see whether that makes any difference at all!”

    Harriet listened to her friends call their own commands, interested to see the effects from the Pokémon’s work, but now it was her turn and she didn’t want to lag behind in the battle. Somehow she had to turn what could be a wave of havoc into something beautiful and alluring that would aid her own points in a Contest battle. This would be a tricky feat.

    “Chikorita, let’s do the same thing, but try out your Leech Seed!”

    Jimmy’s stance slowly began to change as he saw both grass types begin to enact upon their commands. He nervously clicked his fingers as a way to try and help him collate his thoughts for his next move.

    His agitations weren’t a surprise at all, however. He had feared that the two would bring out their grass types and he felt it was a just worry. He had seen what ferocious power a charged grass move could do before, and with something untested such as Leech Seed, in the process of being formed, about to be unleashed, he feared for his Pokémon.

    “We’ve not got time to waste guys. So… Beedrill unleash your Poison Jab now on Chikorita!”

    His Beedrill tensed her entire body and raised her bubbling stingers, which were resonating with such a high density mauve colour, above her head. She was just about ready to unleash it when Jimmy quickly interjected another few words.

    “Actually Beedrill, let’s try and make it a far distant move. Draw your stingers together and then try and expel the energy instead of using it as a physical attack. See if it works!”

    She nodded her head and murmured a few sounds. Then, without hesitation, she clanged her two stingers together ready to cause a rippling stream of something or other. However, to her uttermost surprise, she was sent soaring backwards and crashed into the tender outstretched arms of her trainer, knocking him to the ground. She collapsed on top of him too, looking slightly dazed from the recoil.

    Jimmy looked at his Pokémon lovingly and softly giggled.

    “I guess we’ll have to work on that one then, but nice try! Are you up for getting back out there?”

    She vigorously nodded her head again and muttered her name in a repetitive cycle.

    “Ok then, let’s just deliver your normal Poison Jab this time. We have plenty of time to perfect this new type of battling! Meanwhile, Geodude I still want you to give it a shot, so you ready bud?”

    Geodude softly grunted in response and targeted his eyes upon his confident target. She was ready to take anything he had to throw at her.

    “Well we’re not going to hesitate ourselves. Max you ready?”

    “Sure am!”

    “Ok, well Chikorita…”

    “… And Budew…”

    “Go!” they both cried in unison.

    Geodude had already raised both his hands in the air when the command was cried, and his whole body shimmered with a magical clean warmness. Unfortunately, the two grass types were quick and both their attacks leapt across the crispy morning grass. A torrent of water swept across the uncut tops of the foliage, while a rather odd looking Chikorita had extended a giant hollow sphere at Geodude.

    The water struck first and toppled Geodude before he was bombarded by the large object that appeared to do nothing except evaporate on impact. He was, however, still slightly taken aback by the attack and hesitantly rose off the ground. He shook his body all over to shake some of the water off him while he tried to stop his head from spinning. It had been an odd mixture but seemed to have some lasting effects.

    “Oh no, my word that was weird! Geodude mate, are you ok?”

    Jimmy gave his Pokémon an empathetic look as his Pokémon’s eyes were still rolling around a bit from the sheer shock.

    Meanwhile, Beedrill, who was momentarily in awe at her opponent’s great show of power, had begun her charge towards Chikorita, causing Harriet to brew panic inside. Her mind had been elsewhere watching the onslaught on Geodude and Chikorita was now defenceless.

    “No! Chikorita!”

    “Don’t worry! Budew, jump in and help by trying the same thing again, but this time store your grass energy that you use for Synthesis and Bullet Seed.”

    Budew’s small stomach began to glow green as she concentrated the energy in one area. Chikorita glanced over at her team mate as she tried to way up dodging options; she would have to time this right.

    Beedrill, though, was too quick for either of them to counter and landed a critical impact to Chikorita’s front, sending her toppling backwards along the ground. She rolled to a halt where she sprawled her body out on the dusty ground, deeply sighing. She quickly wagged her head and leapt up on all paws.

    “Good one Chikorita, way to hang in there!” Harriet cried.

    Her Pokémon smiled back and trotted back out to Budew, who had by now nearly collected enough energy to give the attack a go, admittedly though, it had been slightly slower than her water energy attack due to her lack of practice.

    “Well Budew you might as well go for it. Launch the energy!”

    Budew leapt into the air and pushed all the muscles in her body at once, forcing the energy to slip outside of her body in one giant sphere. It shimmered brightly for a few seconds where a few strands of purple and orange shot through it, before the energy blew up mid jump and hurtled the small grass Pokémon straight into the ground.

    Max seemed horrified and let out a high yelp, terrified that his thought had backfired.

    “Budew, no! Are you ok?”

    She popped her head back up again and coiled her two head appendages together again. She mustered a weak smile and clambered to her feet again, eyeing up Beedrill with great respect.

    “Well guys, isn’t this heated” Jimmy said, ushering his two Pokémon to his side, “What a lot of hit and misses we’ve had… Although I must say impressive work from Budew there learning Energy Ball like that!”

    “What?” Max asked, puzzled by Jimmy’s hypothesis.

    “Well yea, that’s what it looked like to me, isn’t that right Budew?” Jimmy said, motioning to the small bud Pokémon. She turned to face her trainer and happily nodded in agreement, excited by her new move. She gave a small little cry and then turned to face Geodude and Beedrill yet again.

    “Wow Max, that’s just wonderful! Congratulations Budew,” Harriet said, “But this battle isn’t over yet, and I’m here to win it with this new style, so let’s get back into it! Chikor…”

    Harriet abruptly stopped mid sentence as her eyes fixed upon Geodude. Both Max and Jimmy too swivelled their attention onto the rock type as he became encased in a fascinating white energy. His body then began to expand at all corners, most notably were the two protruding features that began to grow from the bottom of his spherical shape.

    Within a few seconds the light passed and burst from the Pokémon’s skin, leaving a different looking Pokémon standing in Geodude’s place.

    “Well… you were talking action packed, Jimmy, and it looks like there’s another segment added in: a nice little evolution!”

    Jimmy energetically smiled and bent down next to Graveler, embracing him tightly.

    “Congratulations there Graveler, I suppose that couldn’t have come at a better time really?” Jimmy joked, “Nice to have you evolve. Pleased for you!”

    Harriet seemed rather fidgety now and tightened her right fist. She turned to Max who seemed very eager to meet the new arrival and then opened her mouth.

    “I’m very pleased for you Jimmy,” she said, “but we’ve still got a battle here, so if you wouldn’t mind?”

    “No, not at all,” he delightfully said, standing back up and patting his Graveler one last time,” I think I’d just like to try out a new move now anyway! So Graveler, use Earthquake!”

    Graveler began to bounce up and down causing the ground underneath everyone to start violently shaking. A few cracks began to form in the grass, leaving the muddy interior vaguely visible, when suddenly a bright and painful flash of light appeared in the centre of the arena, filling up the entire area that surrounded them, including illuminating the PokéCentre. The stain on their retinas began to subside and they all looked towards where the light had originated. In that place sat a small white bodied Pokémon with a drooping head; its eyes peering from underneath a green helmet that rested on its head as if integrated as part of the Pokémon’s overall physiology.

    It looked up at Max and their eyes met.
    Credits to Sweet May and DanChimchar from Serebii
    For the Banner

  12. #57
    Moderator harryheart's Avatar Moderator
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    Default Re: Max's Hoenn Journey

    Max has undergone a lot in this chapter, I can't think of a more character centred chapter really. I'm hoping I've done it justice too as this is very pivotal to Max's history and where he's going, and his reactions are hopefully realistic. It will really help shape him and where he's going!!!

    This is the start of a new phase in the story where Max and Harriet are hopefully heading into new directions and growing into more mature and well rounded people!

    But I'll wait and see what you have to say about that:

    This chapter links back to an episode in Hoenn, but it doesn't rely on the fact that everyone will have seen it and hopefully it is still enjoyable nevertheless.

    As per usual:

    Max's Hoenn Journey Intro 3


    Chapter 31: Don’t Forget Me

    Max was suddenly and overwhelmingly filled with an inundation of emotions. His eyes became fixated on the small creature sat only mere metres away and they began to fill with a brewing liquid that spilled down his cheeks. It was joyous emotion though, and he was thrilled to look upon the Pokémon.

    Jimmy could see something different in Max; he knew that this one moment had suddenly changed everything. A deepening silence replaced the hard thumping sounds of a raging battle, and though he knew nothing about the importance of what he witnessed, that didn’t seem to matter.

    Both Budew and Chikorita were also amazed at the sudden appearance of the new Pokémon, which had also appeared to dampen the effects of Graveler’s Earthquake. They merely became weak little tremors, which the two felt relief about. But presently, it was the last thing to cross anyone’s mind. Graveler on the other hand had already become distracted and began to concentrate on kicking a few pebbles about the ground.

    Max continued to gaze out towards the white skinned Pokémon, his eyes expressing complete and utter awe. It had been so long!

    “So…” Max’s voice nervously shook as he fumbled his hands through his hair in an awkward fashion. It was obvious that he had no idea what to do or say. “This… I… I’ve never stopped thinking about this moment… And after all this time… It’s really happened!”

    His words seemed to filter through everything like sharp razor blades that cut right into the Pokémon’s heart. It had been a number of years since their last meeting, and now here they stood; this was how they were brought back together and neither of them cared for formalities. The Pokémon too began to tremble in the eyes

    Max began to rub his arms and allowed a guilty expression to creep onto his face. He paused; totally unsure about what he even wanted to say let alone how to say it. The creature didn’t seem to mind though, and he eagerly looked towards Max with a deep, sentimental welcoming love.

    Suddenly, Max thrust himself out into the field and charged towards the Pokémon with outstretched arms. Both Harriet and Jimmy were almost bowled off their feet by this abrupt alteration in Max’s actions. It seemed rather unprecedented, but that’s what they loved about Max, the fact that he was full of new and unexpected things.

    Max scooped the young physic type up in his arms, kneeling down to the ground and snuggling his head against its pure white body. He was a delicate little creature, light and seemingly fragile, yet there was so much energy coursing through his body, radiating so much heat through his skin. Max lovingly pressed his face deeper into the warmth allowing more joy and happiness to well up inside, which in turn seemed to increase the warmth that the creature emitted.

    “Ralts, I’ve missed you bud!”

    The two just sat there in each other’s embrace as if time itself had stopped. Hours felt as if they flew by, and years, especially the years apart. They seemed to merge together forming a brief, fleeting second. It was as if eternity had suddenly begun.

    Ralts then slowly edged his head away from Max’s shoulder, his eyes still sparkling with so many different emotions. Max lifted his head up too and allowed their gazes to match.

    After a few more moments of ‘eternity’, Max bowed his head a little in a reflective state, readying a question in his mind.

    “How… Ralts, how did you find me?”

    His friends looked on with astonishment abound in their faces. It was obvious that the two had a deep connection that went way back, and also obvious that Max held a great deal of grief about it. So in turn, they could see where the question came from. But it still stumped them, even the Pokémon. Max had never usually been on to explore his emotions, and although they could see the turmoil of feelings cascading in his eyes, as well as Ralts’, it seemed unusual for him to act upon them.

    Max continued to keep his eyes squarely centred on Ralts’ loving complexion, unsure what its subtle complexities were saying. He didn’t want to repeat himself, no, that would be too unbearable to reproach, but even so, he had to know. He felt he needed to ask again, to somehow rephrase the question, but as he did Ralts raised both his hands and planted them on either side of Max’s temple. There was suddenly a flash of light, and then it all became clear!

    It was like a rollercoaster of colours, swirls and vivid flashes of images. Everything seemed to fly by at great speeds, yet Max could picture it all so clearly and he understood the story that it began to depict. Indeed, it was apparent; Ralts had been a true friend. He had kept to his promise and his end of friendship.

    Max could see the trail that led up this point, the journey that Ralts had taken. The loneliness, the twists and turns, the ups and downs, he felt the pains of them so deeply in his heart. But through all that he also knew, and could sense all the love possible in it, that Ralts still missed him and wanted to partner up no matter how far the distance or how long the wait.

    Finally, as the outpouring of emotions began to disperse, Max glimpsed the last leg of the journey that spanned from a seemingly coincidental event; Rustboro. Ralts had seen the new displays scattered across Hoenn. He had seen the aftermath of the rampage, and the works of Roxanne and Brock. A familiar face had appeared. And in the background of those images had been another, Max, tireless helping too, unaware of the media coverage around him. Too concerned on the benefit of others, on being a servant hearted helping hand. All that had given Ralts enough clues to detect and a path to follow, a road that lead him towards Max. Ironically, something so terrible had reared a tremendous blessing. There was reunion.

    The vivid images then stopped. Absolute blackness shunned its way into Max’s sight and he recoiled backwards but with such eloquent grace. Ralts appeared to be guiding him; letting him down gently after such an explosion of high emotions with the simple recline of his hand.

    Harriet and Jimmy, along with all the four Pokémon rushed over to Max’s side. Chikorita and Budew nudged the sides of Max while Harriet and Jimmy stooped down and comforted him, allowing Ralts to shuffle onto his lap. Jimmy beckoned his two Pokemon over too who had thus far kept their distance, and they hovered next to him; Beedrill slowly descending to the ground.

    A jolt seemed to strike through his body and he bolted upright, a gigantic grin spread across his face and ablaze in his eyes.

    “Wow!” he simply remarked.

    He was ecstatic; full of life again all within the space of a few seconds. Somehow his need for rest, a longing for not only emotion and physical rest but also inner rest had just been imparted in him. It was a gift that up till now hadn’t found the time or capabilities to be accepted.

    Max looked down at his old friend with such overwhelming joy. He took Ralts into his arms and hugged him so tightly. After a few moments he gently released his grip and clambered to his feet.

    “Thank you, Max gracefully said, “Thank you so much. I’m so sorry that I hadn’t found you sooner, but I’m so glad we’re finally together again here and now.”

    Max then turned his head to gaze down at his other companion that was still so full of surprise and bewilderment that she didn’t know what faces to pull. He smiled at her and beckoned Budew forward with his open arms.

    “Sorry for all the confusion Buddy, but I’d like to formally introduce you to Ralts, one of my old friends from the last time I travelled through Hoenn.”

    The Pokémon took a few steps forward, as did Ralts, and they began their introductions. Still with the same smile on his face, Max turned and in silence nodded at both Harriet and Jimmy, his signal to say everything was ok. He then reached to the other two PokéBalls on his belt and unclipped them, feeling their smooth and cool surface on his palm. With one simple push of the white circular buttons on the front, the PokéBalls enlarged in Max’s hand and he instantly chucked them in the air.

    “Murkrow and Charmander, come and join us. I have someone for you to meet!”

    The two Pokémon shot out of their PokéBalls with utter speed that it almost made Budew jump as each one simultaneously appeared on either side of her. Ralts also turned around with surprise, but more so because he was intrigued to meet Max’s new friends.

    He walked on over to them and greeted them with a giant smile and a warm cry. Murkrow cautiously rotated its head, half closing one eye to, and tucked its wing over the front of its body. Charmander on the other hand grabbed Ralts by the hand and vigorously acknowledged its arrival.

    “See,” Max said to Ralts, still crouching beside him, “Here I have my starter, Charmander, another friend, Budew and my first capture, Murkrow.”

    Max ushered Murkrow to join in the pleasantries but he still sat there with a cautious appeal in his eyes. His head was cocked back a little and his eyes were fixed on Ralts as he continued to scan the little Pokémon. With a nervous expression in his body he hopped towards Max and the others and hesitantly approached the side of Ralts who lifted a hand in reassurance. Murkrow then responded by lifting its wing and clasping it against Ralts’ hand, and suddenly all his muscles seemed to relax.

    “Ralts, wow! Are you passing on your emotions again like you did with me?” Max asked.

    Ralts looked up with a soft look and nodded.

    “That’s absolutely amazing,” Jimmy remarked, bending down to Ralts and placing his hand gently on the Pokémon’s shoulder, “May you show me something too?”

    Ralts placed both his hands on Jimmy’s face, one on each cheek. Jimmy relaxed his face and shut his eyes as he began to allow the feelings of Ralts to wash over him. There were beautiful rays of colour soaring past his mind’s eye, pinks and reds and yellows, all warm colours. They physically felt like they were giving off an aura of love and warmth, something that warmed even the deepest parts of his being.

    He opened his eyes and gazed down on Ralts, but with different eyes and a different look that he had done so before. Even though Jimmy hadn’t appeared nervous, tense or anxious, he now seemed as if he had been completely released from any binding ties of worry. It was as if that moment had just changed him with a peaceful atmosphere.

    “Thank you Ralts,” Jimmy remarked, “Thank you!”

    “You’re certainly an exceptional Pokémon Ralts,” Harriet stated, bending down to the small psychic type herself, “I’d certainly love to battle you!”

    “What!” Max said.

    “Yea actually,” Jimmy jumped in, “That’s not a bad idea. You and Ralts obviously go back quite far, so you could easily pair up with him, and I’d certainly love to have a double battle on Ralts’ team.”

    “See, it’d be great for all of us Max! I can practice battling a wild Pokémon too so that the next time I encounter a water type I’ll be ready to catch it!”

    “Well... I’m not sure about that guys, I mean, Ralts and I haven’t exactly battled with each other before!”

    “Wait, that doesn’t matter right now,” Jimmy said, now turning to Harriet with a very perplexed face glaring at her, “What does is your ridiculous idea that battling a psychic type will help you in any way when facing a water type. It’s not that simple!”

    “Yes it is! It was the case when I caught Burmy! I had only battled Johto Pokémon and it still helped me capture a Sinnoh Pokémon!”

    “You so have this totally backwards Harriet!”

    “Well whatever! Just as long as I can capture a water type then I’ll be fine. They have such amazing moves that I won’t be able to lose my next contests because they have amazing appeal yet awesome strength!”

    “I can’t believe you think it’s all that easy! Just because they appear eloquent doesn’t mean they start out that way. You’ve got to have the talent and skill to be able to perfect contest style moves in a battle anyway... And maybe this double battle will be a great place for you to develop that!”

    “What? You don’t think I can already do that?”

    Max stood up, still looking uneasy about the challenge that had been proposed earlier on, but this little spat had gone on long enough and it was his turn to chime in.

    “Harriet, I’m afraid Jimmy has a point. Look at your last few contest battles, you sorta did struggle with the contest elements to them. Admittedly you did win, but it’s a contest, and so, maybe if we did battle this will be great practice for all of us!”

    Harriet reeled back a little bit. The words cut deep, but she knew them to be true. In fact, Max and Jimmy hadn’t been alone in their thinking, she too shared their same concerns but had feared to vocalise them.

    “Alright then, but Max, I’ll do it only if you battle with Ralts. He looks like such a tough opponent and I know it’s what I need to... well you know!”

    Max looked down to Ralts and then back up to his best friend, knowing too well that she was right. He needed to battle with Ralts; in fact he needed to do a lot more than just battle with him.

    Ralts could sense the unease in his friend, knowing full well that he feared to confront the issue that was currently straining his thoughts. Yes Ralts was powerful, and that terrified Max. To be in control as such a novice trainer of a Pokémon who had so much more experience than him frightened his core to bits.

    The small Pokémon leapt up onto Max’s shoulders and peered round the corner of his face into the boy’s eyes. They made contact and Max had to quickly flick his head away. He picked Ralts up and placed him down next to his other friends, looking at the four of them standing together.

    Jimmy bent on down to Max’s three Pokémon, giving Charmander a little pat on his head, stroking Murkrow’s soft feathers and also giving Budew a little tickle under the tips of her buds. He looked over at Ralts, and then back to the other three. It was so obvious that Ralts fitted into the group; in fact they appeared to almost expect him to be there now with the way they flocked around him.

    Jimmy could see it, and he knew Max could too. And the long drawn out silence was such a dead giveaway to the how Max was feeling about the whole situation.

    Jimmy looked back up towards Max with the largest calming smile he could muster. Max again had to shy away from another gaze.

    “Max, it’s alright you know,” Jimmy said as he stood up and wrapped his arm around Max’s shoulder with a tight squeeze, “You’ll learn just how best to work with Ralts... and anyway you’ve both already shown how deep your bond together is and that at the end of the day is the most crucial part of any relationship. No trainer and Pokémon relationship ever works unless they form a trust that comes from a friendship.”

    “Jimmy...”

    This time Max stared straight into the eyes of his friend, denoting the fear and apprehension emanating from his thoughts through the power of his eyes. This time, Max wasn’t afraid to confront it.

    “I don’t know. Ralts is a brilliant Pokémon and a great friend, but I don’t know if I’m the one to help him grow, or even if I’d be able to learn or the others. What if we just get completely stomped and lost... What if I become lost?”

    “Max, it’s understandable you feel this way. You have so much history, so many emotional tugs that it’s ok to be feeling this way. Don’t be bea...”

    The whole while Ralts and his new fellow friends had been watching the conversation, all of them growing worried for their human friend. Ralts glanced over at Max’s backpack that was propped up against a few large rocks, along with another two of different designs and colours. Max’s bag was partially undone and Ralts could see a red glint shimmering from one of the pockets. With a loud crackle and a blinding flash Ralts disappeared. Everyone snapped their heads around and placed their attentions towards Ralts last position, where the noise had originated from.

    Max noticed a crinkling and rustling from his back and quickly scooped down next to it, pulling back the two pieces of fabric separated by a metal zip and noticing the prominent white and green colours of a spherical head. Max was very puzzled.

    “Ralts, what on earth are you doing?”

    Ralts made a few remarks and thrust his clasped hands towards Max’s face. Concealed in his grasp was a small round ball; one half red, and one half white. Right in that moment, Max’s faced dropped and terror bounded into the muscles on his face.

    “No! What if we’re not... what if it’s not right?” Max stuttered.

    It was too late though, as quickly as Max spoke Ralts moved faster. He squeezed the centre of the PokéBall and it instantly enlarged in between his two paws. Within seconds, Ralts tapped the circular button in the middle and it sprang open, soaring a little into the air and sucking his energy into the small capsule. Everybody’s faces were left with astonishment and anticipation, and Max in particular was stunned to silence.

    The PokéBall closed up and sealed shut with a blue tint evaporating from the metal around the brim. It shuddered and shook for a few seconds until the round centre popped with another blue sparkle and the PokéBall simply remained still. Ralts had just been caught...

    Max remained motionless, unable to comprehend what had just happened, or even what he should now do. Harriet looked over to Jimmy, expressing her concern with her uneasy stare. They both nodded and walked on over to Max, placing a hand on his back in support.

    “Max... Congratulations. Whether you feel comfortable with it or not, Ralts just chose you, and he is your friend. It may not be ideal, and may well be terrifying, but can I assure you that after seeing you battle I know you can handle yourself, your other three partners, and now your new capture too. You have it in yourself mate, and I think that actually what may be best would be to use Ralts in a battle with me against Harriet. What do you say?”

    Max turned to face his friends, and glanced over to his other three pals that had been unusually but respectfully quiet throughout the capture. He nodded at Jimmy, grabbed the PokéBall and ran over to Charmander and the others.

    Stooping down, he beckoned the three to clamber onto him. Murkrow perched on Max’s left shoulder, while Charmander leapt onto the other, and Budew rested neatly into a cradle Max created with his elbow joint and his torso.

    Turning back around, he motioned to Harriet and Jimmy, “Well guys, if I’m going to battle with you, I’m not going to do it alone. I have my friends with me, and we’re all going to support each other in this, so let’s get this started...”

    Max looked back down at the PokéBall, running his fingers across the smooth surface. He looked out over the grass and tossed it into the area.

    “Well then, Ralts, I choose you!”

    Jimmy gave a brimming smile and let out a chuckle, “Alright then Max, let’s get going, Wingull, come on out and join us!”

    The two balls burst open and released the remarkable flow of white energy that quickly jumbled together to form the two creatures. They stood in unison on the field, with Wingull stretching its wings out and releasing a piercing cry.

    “Ha yea! We’re so ready for this!” Jimmy eagerly shouted, “Bring on your two Harriet!”

    “Well alright then, I’m so going to prove to you just how much I want to grow and just how much I want another capture! Don’t go easy on us, as we definitely won’t on you!”

    “You’ve got nothing to fear, we won’t be losing our first battle together!”

    “Bring it! Mothim and Chikorita, let’s show them what we can do!”

    Chikorita came running into the battle area from the side, where she had been patiently waiting with the bags next to Beedrill and Graveler. Her legs carried her with tremendous force, while above her came another flash of light. A dancing energy flew through the air, centring together and dissipating with a twinkle. In its place was Chikorita’s partner and friend, Mothim.

    “ Let’s not give them a chance to counter, Chikorita launch in with a Razor Leaf, and Mothim use Hidden Power!”

    The two Pokémon leapt straight into action as they launched their attacks towards Ralts and Wingull. The moves soared fast towards their targets, but even so neither Pokémon feared what was about to come. There was a gentle glint in their eyes as if they knew what was about to come next.

    “Wingull fly up high!”

    “And Ralts, Teleport!”

    Harriet gasped. She had completely forgotten that both Pokémon were agile enough to escape and had ample speed and technique to dodge. She looked up at the attacks she had just commanded as she watched them reach the supposed target area, only to keep going and collide with a mantle of bushes behind both her opposing trainers. She had commanded two attacks without even considering a contest style arrangement, and that would’ve cost her points in an actual contest battle.

    “Harriet, you can do better than that. Well you missed an opportunity there, and we’re not going to let you get another one! Wingull, launch into a Wing Attack...”

    “And Ralts...”

    Max paused, he had been so caught up in the concept and hype of the battle that he had completely forgotten to check what moves Ralts knew. The only reason he had chosen Teleport was the simple fact that Ralts had already shown his command of such a move.

    “It’s alright Max, quickly check your Pokédex to see what attacks Ralts can use, I’ll cover your back in the meantime,” Jimmy quickly said as he realised the predicament his partner was in as well. How could either of them have forgotten such a basic thing?

    Wingull’s wings began to throb with a white energy that flowed through its feathers. It circled Ralts to gain some momentum before speeding towards its targets.

    “Well I guess that gives us a quick window for now, target all your attacks on Ralts now guys; we can’t let this opportunity go! Repeat your previous moves but this time aim them in a foray of movement around the area Ralts is in, that way we have to hit one of them!”

    “Darn it!” Jimmy cried, “You really are thinking now, good on you! But hopefully that’s not enough, Wingull keep going and get to them before they have any chance of...”

    Harriet’s two Pokémon had reacted fast enough, however, and had already begun to bombard Ralts with the multitude of colourful beams that shot from Mothim’s wings, along with fast spinning leaves that twirled in a circular fashion towards the psychic type. Jimmy now looked very worried.

    “Max?”

    There was a moment’s silence as everyone partially turned their attention towards Max. He seemed vacant and pale, but very suddenly that began to change. Max’s face began to glow a vibrant red as he ecstatically began to bob on the spot. He then unexpectedly punched the air before turning to Jimmy!

    “Right, got it... Ralts, use Double Team to evade!”

    The Pokémon’s body began to rapidly vibrate as its cells became dramatically charged with movement. In the next moment it was as if he was splitting in two, and then four, and then suddenly eight. Multiple copies began appearing around the battlefield, confusing even the likes of Wingull who had now stopped its attack to watch his partner’s spectacular abilities.

    “Good one Max!” Harriet yelled, “But not good enough. Chikorita, fire your vines towards each copy until you hit your target, and Mothim take care of Wingull with Bug Bite!”

    *****


    Their footsteps echoed amongst the trees as the two people breathlessly pattered their way through the woods; their boots rasping against the crisp, hard ground with force. The duo seemed immaculately clean for people that had spent their previous few weeks living in the forest’s groans and moans.

    They continued to whistle their way through the foliage until they saw a brim of light enter through a few cracks from the branches. They halted in their movement, gazing towards the bright sunlight as they rapidly inhaled and exhaled. Their faces pulsated with a red liquid and their bodies crept with the trickle of sweat.

    The young male adult looked at his companion.

    “It’s time. We’re nearly there, and then we can see just how this new addition handles himself.”

    “Are you sure the reports were correct, Butch? Are we going to find them here?”

    “Our data appears sound...”

    The duo’s ears pricked up as a fierce whistling sound propelled towards them. A loud crash sounded and the light suddenly faded under a cloud of dusty haze.

    “I think they’re already here!”

    The Rocket’s leapt back into action as they sped towards the clearing, bursting through the forest brim and flying into view. Yet, what they saw was most definitely not what they had been expecting.

    “What?” exclaimed Cassidy, “Where’s Team Sukai?”

    Butch glared out into the opening, staring at the figures of three humans and a number of Pokémon.

    “No... It can’t be! Cassidy, look, it’s those annoying kids again.”

    She peered into the distance, seeing the image of an engaged battle brewing. Her heart dropped and the tension left her body, but in its place emerged devious thoughts.

    “Butch, you know what we should do! Let’s pay ‘em back for all the hassle that they’ve caused us. They’re nothing against the power we now have!”

    Butch met Cassidy’s cunning look with a sly smile of his own. It was perfect, and that way they would have something else to suck up to Giovanni with. A bunch of Pokémon would likely put a smile on his face.

    “Alright, but let’s not waste the surprise to begin with. Hitmontop, come out and have some fun!”

    “You’re right, this is going to be great, Granbull, you too!”

    The two Pokémon emerged from their PokéBalls with sly looks on their faces too. It was as if the emotions and feelings of their trainers travelled into the Pokémon from the skin through to the balls. They were ready to flex their battling muscles too after some time without fighting the slightest Pokémon, not even measly wild Pokémon as training practice.

    Granbull punched its right hand with its left first, rocking it too and fro in its powerful grasp. Hitmontop looked on up to its companion and eagerly smiled; awaiting its commands seemed like an intense ordeal. Both were ready to get back into action.

    “Right, Hitmontop jump into your Rapid Spin!”

    “And Granbull, use Headbutt!”

    The two Pokémon immediately burst forth, Granbull charging ahead on its powerful leg muscles, and Hitmontop spinning across the grass on its head, churning up a load of grass and mud with it. All the while, the three trainers were completely oblivious to what was occurring.


    *****



    Chikorita’s vines spliced through every silhouette of Ralts, cutting and chopping them to bits as they made their way ever so closer to the target. Mothim too had got the better of Wingull’s speed closing in on the water type with its gnashing jaws.

    “Wingull, use your Hydro Pump on the ground and get above Mothim, then knock it to the ground with Wing Attack!”

    “And Ralts, grab Chikorita’s vines with Psychic and send her flying back!”

    “Chikorita, withdraw your vines quickly, and Mothim watch your back and counter with Protect!”

    Just as they called their commands, they all heard a loud growling noise growing closer. All the Pokémon continued to follow their orders, but Max, Jimmy and Harriet turned their attention to the forest line about a few hundred metres away from them.

    “What’s that?” Harriet yelled.

    “I’ve got no clue, but I’m not waiting to find out! Wingull, use Hydro Pump against the oncoming Pokémon! And Graveler and Beedrill, I need your help too, use Rock Throw and Pin Missile!”

    “Hmm, alright then, Chikorita, Razor Leaf and Mothim, Hidden Power too, let’s stop them in their tracks!”

    “Wait a second,” Max suddenly shrieked, “Is that Team Rocket standing over there?”

    Jimmy and Harriet continued to allow their Pokémon to proceed as commanded, but turned their gaze over to the plush green foliage that shrouded the dense forest. It seemed Max was spot on. Dressed head to toe in complete black were two very astute people, watching the oncoming Pokémon with a keen eye. Their fists were clenched with a PokéBall in each, ready to introduce reinforcements as and when necessary.

    “What are they doing here?” Harriet commented; concern and fear blazing in her eyes, “Well whatever, I’m not letting them get any closer! Chikorita and Mothim, keep it up!”

    Butch turned to Cassidy, prompting her to release another Pokémon alongside him.

    “Cloyster come and join us and target the three humans with your Water Gun!”

    “And Tentacruel, use Hydro Pump!”

    The Pokémon instantly burst forth from their PokéBalls, almost with no time lapse between beginning their attack and leaving the white energy. Cloyster eerily opened its shell and the water came pouring out.

    The initial run of Water Gun intercepted the barrage of attacks that headed towards Granbull and Hitmontop quelling them on impact. In the same instance, Wingull, Beedrill and Mothim were knocked out of the air, along with Murkrow whom Max had just sent up to join in with the fighting. His Shadow Ball’s faded as he plummeted to the earth.

    Chikorita began to grow restless and attempted to launch another whirl of Razor Leaf towards the Pokémon. Her body was gripped with fear as her adrenaline coursed throughout every fibre within her. But to her dismay she watched on as her attack was crushed by the follow up Hydro Pump, which continued on and impacted the three youngsters. All the Pokémon were left with horrified looks.

    Harriet attempted to duck beneath the torrent of water, but was caught off guard and toppled over, flung into the air by the sheer force of the swirling water. As she flew backwards, she saw Jimmy thrown to the ground as the water took his legs out and he flopped against the soggy terrain. Finally, as the water struck Max, it sent him flying to one side, his head tilting down and allowing a chain to come flying off, while his remaining Pokémon were caught up in the stream and flung towards Jimmy.

    Max looked up and noticed his pendant lying on the ground, a few metres away from where he had crashed into the dirt. His hand quickly massaged his neck as he tried to feel the tickle of the cold chain against his hand out of habit, but it wasn’t there.

    Butch and Cassidy watched with glee as they saw the trainers lose their balance, and the Pokémon become even more fearful. But the most cheering thing of all was seeing the purple glint that lay on the ground, which had been ripped from Max’s neck in an instance, and now delicately awaited its retrieval.

    Ralts watched the entire proceedings, worried for everyone’s safety. His mind flicked back to his initial encounter with another similar group of people when he first met Max. The thoughts raced through his mind as he geared himself up for dealing with this issue.

    He peered out from underneath his cap, and his eyes began to glow a powerful sky blue. The colour grew more and more intense and suddenly waves of energy radiated from his body.

    Granbull and Hitmontop were instantly stopped in their tracks, their bodies concealed by a powerful blue force that surrounded them. They couldn’t move an inch, and terror shocked them to the core.

    The large Pokémon let out a terrifying cry, full of fear, pain and worry, alerting its trainer to a serious problem.

    “Butch, what do we do?”

    “It’s time Cassidy, get ready...”

    “Alright, Tentacruel return, I don’t need you getting in the way!”

    “The same with you, Cloyster,” Butch cried.

    Chikorita, Mothim, Wingull, Beedril, Graveler and Murkrow received a boosted thrill from the sudden turn of events, releasing another barrage of attacks at the Pokémon buying time for their trainers to clamber to their feet.

    The Razor Leaf, Hidden Power, Pin Missile, Rock Throw, Hydro Pump and Shadow Balls finally collided with their targets, and Ralts released his grip on the two Pokémon with a gentle push too. Granbull and Hitmontop flew back a fair distance and collided with Butch who had just finished placing Cloyster away in his pocket. Cassidy just managed to escape the pile up as she replaced one PokéBall with another.

    “It’s not over,” she shouted, finally clutching the other capsule tightly in her grasp, “We’re not going to let you win this time!”

    Jimmy glanced over at Max who was still busy trying to brush large clumps of soggy mud from his clothes. He quickly gave him a nudge in the arm to prompt him to react.

    “You have to do something, mate. Ralts has already shown how capable he is, now command another attack and send them away. We won’t stand a chance if they pit more Pokémon against us!”

    Max was terrified at the prospect of controlling that much power, he knew that Ralts concealed a great deal of psychic energy but using it was a different matter. The fact he was terrified of even being the trainer of a Pokémon like that freaked him out, and this was another step too many. However, he had to disregard all his senses and thoughts, and rather use instinct instead of mind. It was time to finally merge in trust with Ralts by doing this one thing, and truly begin their journey together.

    “Ralts, brilliant work my friend and thank you all for giving us time to get back up! Now let’s finish them up and knock them back one last time. Use Psychic on all four of them and send them far, far away!”

    Ralts began to levitate off the ground, his two legs flowing like a silky dress over the trampled grass. His eyes continued to glow as they let forth a powerful ripple of energy that shot across the field like a gigantic gust of wind moving everything and anything in its path. The grass bent completely against the ground and the air separated with force, and then it collided.

    Team Rocket were lifted off their feet with a giant blow, as if someone had taken a swing at them with a humungous bat. Their bodies coiled over their torsos as the blast propelled them away, pushing against the one spot on their bodies. With a blink of the eyes, they were gone.

    Harriet erupted with overbearing joy, dancing about as she welcomed her Pokémon into her arms. Jimmy did the same as he sped over towards Wingull and embraced his Pokémon with a deep and intimate hug. He looked over at Beedrill and Graveler who had slumped down next to his backpack, almost faint from the exhaustion the battle brought.

    “You guys were amazing,” Jimmy remarked, “Take a nice long rest.”

    He held the two PokéBalls out, watching the red beams impact the creatures and suck them back into their cocoons.

    Max looked around at the remaining four Pokémon; his friends and partners for life. They had just worked as a team to save one another, and successfully used their instinct and capabilities to protect everyone else. With a precarious grin, he bent down to scoop Charmander and Budew up, both of whom had taken a large beating from the giant force of the Hydro Pump. He squeezed his face against their bodies and held them close. He was so relieved for their safety.

    “Never again, I won’t let it happen again. I’m so sorry you even got hurt!”

    Both of them shuffled up his arms and onto his shoulders with loving smiles that brought warmth to Max’s soul. He smiled back and then ran on over to Murkrow and Ralts who were busy celebrating themselves. He picked both of them up as well and held them close to his heart.

    “Thank you guys, you were so amazing and showed just how great you two are!” he said while ruffling Murkrow’s head, “You were brilliant and knew exactly what to do and when, without me having to even tell you anything. You really do know how to handle yourself. And Ralts, my word... you are powerful, more so than I ever imagined.”

    He paused and smiled individually at each of his companions.

    “Look at us all,” he finally said, “We are a team... and that’s what counts! So Ralts, welcome to our family!”

    By now, Harriet and Jimmy had rejoined Max, standing side by side with their friend. They looked down at their own companions with the same love in their complexions that Max had in his words.

    “Well Max... that was simply amazing! What better way to introduce Ralts to us than that, eh?”

    Jimmy chuckled to himself as he shot Ralts a large thank you smile, nodding his affection towards the small creature.

    “You truly are powerful my friend,” he continued, “And I look forward to many future battles with you!”

    “The same goes for me, Max. I can’t wait to see more of what Ralts can do, but more importantly I must say, it’s great to have him with us. You two were brilliant in our little battle, and then against Team Rocket...”

    Harriet paused and she pondered her next words carefully.

    “And I guess I should also add that I completely understand where you and Jimmy were coming from earlier, and if you guys don’t mind I’d love it if you can help me more often to perfect my skills! Our battle was so educating and I really got to see where I could begin to improve and think in an appeal mindset, and I just want to keep learning!”

    “Sounds good to me,” Max responded, still gleaming with excitement about everything, “I think it’ll be great for all of us! And I must admit it gives us all some great practice in the long run. If we begin to learn how to counter moves and techniques we’re not used to then I think this’ll really prepare us for our eventual gym battles and contest battles.”

    “I have to agree,” Jimmy added, “It’ll be great to fully flesh our own styles, but I’m afraid I won’t be able to keep to my end of the bargain until our next contest Harriet...”

    “What?”

    “Well, you see, I’m actually heading to Fortree city now, to go and challenge Winnona for my next badge, but trust me when I say; I look forward to facing you in our next contest together.”

    “Well if you must,” Harriet cheekily said; tutting a little as she shook her head, “But rest assured, the next time we see each other again, I’m going to be so much stronger and I’m not going to let you get the best of me. And you can also guarantee that firstly, my Pokémon will be so much more powerful and skilled too, and secondly that there’ll be a surprise Pokémon waiting to battle you!”

    “Well I like the sound of that!”

    Jimmy clasped Harriet’s hand and rigorously shook it before doing the same with Max, who very cautiously responded as he tried not to lose the grasp on his Pokémon.

    “And the same goes for you too buddy. I look forward to our next battle, and seeing just how much stronger you all get, and just who else may have tagged along with you as well!”

    With those words, Jimmy shuffled over to collect his backpack, launching it over his shoulders while Wingull positioned itself neatly in the crevasse between the fabric and Jimmy’s hoody. He readjusted his clothes and patted himself down, knocking some of the dried mud off his thick yellow garment. He twisted around and gave one last wave.

    “Until next time!”
    Credits to Sweet May and DanChimchar from Serebii
    For the Banner

  13. #58
    The Dimension Wizard Flaze's Avatar Moderator
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    Default Re: Max's Hoenn Journey

    Following on the review game, which is good for me since I was reading this before xD

    I read past the first chapter so I'll give a review up to chapter 10

    I first read this fic back in Serebbi and I thought it was really interesting due to Max being one of my favorite characters in the anime. The fact that you took the risk of focusing on his story was something that intrigued me, unfortunately I wasn't able to keep up reading the fic and I eventually stopped reading.

    Anyways the first ten chapters are years old, like what 4 years since they were first written and I know that you must've gotten a lot better from them. Even so it was still pretty good. The description is good though the paragraphs are kind of big at some points xD but one can always bear with it at the end of the day.

    I liked the way you portrayed Max, though one complain I have is that at least in the first chapters he seemed a little less knowledgeable than he did in the anime, plus he acted a little bit silly at times but he's still likable.

    The first ten chapters is too soon to judge a plot but the first few chapters did show that there was a bigger scheme in this fic than it just being a journey fic with the hooded figures and such.

    A chapter that confused me was the one where Jimmy and his friend (I forget his name but I know he's based on Silver) were introduced because I kept getting confused during their introduction about who was who, do both of them have a Typhlosion? cause that's what got me in a loop.

    The battles are pretty good, though sometimes they kind of go back and forth but once again it's still too soon to judge, though I did like the second battle between Norman and Max quite a lot.

    Finally Roxanne, so far I'm curious about her situation because she seems to be filling the role of the Brock/Cilan in this fic so I wonder if she'll keep being part of the cast or if she'll leave once they reach her gym.

  14. #59
    Moderator harryheart's Avatar Moderator
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    Default Re: Max's Hoenn Journey

    Quote Originally Posted by Flaze View Post
    Following on the review game, which is good for me since I was reading this before xD

    I read past the first chapter so I'll give a review up to chapter 10
    Thank you!!! :D

    Quote Originally Posted by Flaze View Post
    I first read this fic back in Serebbi and I thought it was really interesting due to Max being one of my favorite characters in the anime. The fact that you took the risk of focusing on his story was something that intrigued me, unfortunately I wasn't able to keep up reading the fic and I eventually stopped reading.

    Anyways the first ten chapters are years old, like what 4 years since they were first written and I know that you must've gotten a lot better from them. Even so it was still pretty good. The description is good though the paragraphs are kind of big at some points xD but one can always bear with it at the end of the day.
    Thank you very much, I really do hope that the concept of why I started writing this does get through as well and that the whole journey will be an interesting one to follow. I also hope that the latest few chapters have improved as well, and I think sometimes the pacing has become more stable which I hope helps with the description and length of paragraphs too so that it's not bulky and choppy in some areas but provides a clean read. Thank you for bearing with it : D

    Quote Originally Posted by Flaze View Post
    I liked the way you portrayed Max, though one complain I have is that at least in the first chapters he seemed a little less knowledgeable than he did in the anime, plus he acted a little bit silly at times but he's still likable.
    I have to agree... lol. Looking back over those chapters I really can see his almost 'stupid' nature in the way he behaves and portrays himself. My goal within the latest chapters as well has been to retrieve some of that and bring his knowledge back, but also keep his child like nature that was created as I think that can lend hand in hand to maturity and strength.

    Quote Originally Posted by Flaze View Post
    The first ten chapters is too soon to judge a plot but the first few chapters did show that there was a bigger scheme in this fic than it just being a journey fic with the hooded figures and such.
    Oh yes lol! There's a lot to come and (I hope) some interesting plot points and ongoing storylines that will hopefully be true to characters and provide an interesting read. A lot of that starts in a much bigger way as we enter towards the 20's (chapter number wise) but some things from before carry over big time!! I'm excited to get writing this stuff.

    Quote Originally Posted by Flaze View Post
    A chapter that confused me was the one where Jimmy and his friend (I forget his name but I know he's based on Silver) were introduced because I kept getting confused during their introduction about who was who, do both of them have a Typhlosion? cause that's what got me in a loop.
    Sorry about that. Yea the guy's name is Mark and he was largely based on Silver actually so you got that definitely right haha. They both have a Typhlosion so that's probably why that seemed confusing, and he appears a few more times and becomes a bit more regular as well so hopefully his character and nature will come through a bit more.

    Quote Originally Posted by Flaze View Post
    The battles are pretty good, though sometimes they kind of go back and forth but once again it's still too soon to judge, though I did like the second battle between Norman and Max quite a lot.

    Finally Roxanne, so far I'm curious about her situation because she seems to be filling the role of the Brock/Cilan in this fic so I wonder if she'll keep being part of the cast or if she'll leave once they reach her gym.
    I hope the battles have improved too! Especially when heading into more Gym battles and larger/longer battles with more Pokemon. I really wanted to get into a style of flow and movement but also where you can picture the battles and I hope that I've grasped that just that little bit more.

    Roxanne definitely fills that role in that situation for a time, and my plan with her will also hopefully be a journey in speaking but one that is clear and readable too!

    Thanks for the review!!
    Credits to Sweet May and DanChimchar from Serebii
    For the Banner

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