Pokémon XD^3: The Waves of Truth

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    Default Pokémon XD^3: The Waves of Truth

    I've got to vomit the first lot of it in a hurry so I can synch up with where I am at SPP and I'm not writing seperate parts at the same time. Thank goodness I'm not 15 chapters into it like the last time.

    So anyway, after much long trial and tribulation, this was what 'Project: Genetic Manipulation' was leading to. "The Curse of the Terrifying Glitch Pokémon" and "Anabel's Dream" were the precursors to the actual XD^3 fic, as you may recall.

    Pokémon XD: Enigma Shadow was first. Pokémon XD^2: The Return of Shadow followed. And now, the final part of the trilogy.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------



    (Banner by Bay)

    PROLOGUE: Slipping Through My Fingers

    1: Crashed on Delivery! (Enigma Shadow Returns! Troublesome Package Delivery?!)

    2: Shadow Pokémon and All That Jazz! (Mysterious Laboratory! Lovrina and Shadow Styler?!)

    3: It Will All be Mine (Legend of the Crystalline Pokémon! Suicune Fanatic Enters?)

    4: It's Been A Banette Year (First Pokémon Contest! Return of Harley!)

    5: The King Of The Hill! (Go-Rock Frontier Begins! Epic Clash Atop Battle Mountain!)

    6: A Legend Forged in Iron (Roark and Byron! Legend of the Iron Temple?)

    7: This One's For Sweeps! (Second Frontier! Battle Studio!!)

    8: Honey, Honey, How You Thrill Me So! (Allergia Gardens Treasure! Rich and Paul Alliance?!)

    9: Go-Rock Around The Clock! (Tiffany's Solo Performance!)

    10: Like A Walk In The Palkia! (Palkia! The Gathering Darkness!!)

    11: Nightmare at the Museum! (The Legend Of The Two Moons! Enter Darkrai!!)

    12: Taking a Trip Back in Time (Battle Museum! Vs. Joe!!)

    13: Advanced Recombinant Generation! (Enter Mira! The Mystery of Mirage Town!!)

    14: Love Me, Love Me Not (Battle Hatchery! Attack of the Pokémon Hunter, J!!)

    15: Windtunnel of Love! (Evolutionary Showdown at the Battle Hatchery)

    16: The Wrong Arm of the Law! (Phantom Thief and the Renegade Swordsman, Satsukoro)

    17: Spiritomb Raiders! (Secret of the Soul-Stealing Odd Keystone)

    18: A Two-Ring Circus! (Auraline City Arrival! Entry of the Galactic Boss, Apollo!)

    19: Tag and Release! (Battle Court! Tag Battle Tournament! (Part One))

    20: A Red-Tag Sale (Battle Court! Tag Battle Tournament! (Part Two))

    21: The Tragic Pokémon Contest (The Tragic Pokémon Contest)

    22: ??? (Rich's Pokémon! A History Gathering!)

    23: ??? (The Secret Shame of Rich's Roserade)

    24: ??? (Battle Tower's Dark Pinnacle)

    25: ??? (The Two Faces of the Split Heart)

    26: ??? (Frontier's Conclusion! The Battle Casino!!)

    27: ??? (Sleeping Legend in the Fire Temple)

    28: ??? (Primal Dialga's Time-Rending Roar!)

    29: ??? (The Frontier Grand Championship!! Part One)

    30: ??? (The Frontier Grand Championship!! Part Two)

    31: ??? (The Northern Factory of Shadow Pokémon)

    32: ??? (Castle Shadow Invasion! Admin Battles! (Part One))

    33: ??? (Castle Shadow Invasion! Admin Battles! (Part Two))

    34: ??? (The Final Countdown! VS. Shadow Commanders!)

    35: ??? (Rich VS. Maria - The Waves of Truth)




    So it has come, the third installment in the Enigma Shadow series.

    I won't preface this with a huge speech or anything. I just want to say one thing: if you have anything to say, any comments, ideas, suggestions, please do post them. Do it respectfully, but do post them.

    Now with that out of the way, we shall commence.....
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------


    Butler Empire Films presents

    An Enigma Shadow Production


    Crispin Freeman

    Rachael Lillis

    Veronica Taylor

    Eric Stuart

    featuring Emlyn Morinelli as Elita

    Paul Dobson as Dr. Yung

    Gordon Elliott as Gordor

    and Frida Lyngstad as Maria


    "Pokémon XD^3:
    The Waves of Truth"







    PROLOGUE: Slipping Through My Fingers




    Four hundred ninety three.

    A seemingly normal number, but it holds a great significance.

    493 is the Pokédex number of Arceus, said to be the very first of many hundreds of wondrous creatures known as Pokémon. These creatures inhabit our Earth and share it with us.

    Different people interact with the world's Pokémon in different ways. Some people simply live side-by-side with Pokémon. Some raise their Pokémon for tests of showmanship and talent known as Pokémon Contests. They are called Coordinators, and their dreams all lead to one place: the Grand Festival and its prize, the coveted Ribbon Cup.

    But without a doubt, most people fall into the third category: people who collect, raise and train Pokémon as friends and partners for competitions against others known as Pokémon battles.

    They are the Pokémon trainers of the world. Always looking to gain strength and skill, they take on all kinds of challenges, from random street battles with other trainers to tournaments at the most posh arenas in the world. One of the biggest challenges for trainers is the finally-resurrected Battle Frontier, back several years after collapsing on the news that it was being used as a front to raise money for an evil organization's designs on world domination.

    There are seven facilities throughout the Houen Region, each with a unique challenge, in the Battle Frontier. Victory over a facility's leader, a Frontier Brain, earns a Symbol showing passage through that facility's test. Once six of the seven Symbols are collected, the challenger may take on the seventh and final facility: the Aeria Tower in high-tech Larousse City. Only the best of the best can make it that far, and awaiting them at the end of the road is the director of the Battle Frontier and its final Brain, the Tower Tycoon.

    This is where our story begins. This is the story of the Tower Tycoon and his family, and their being drawn into a wicked plot by a sickeningly familiar face who refuses to give up on her dream of forcing the entire world --- if not even more --- to bow before her domination........





    One could be blinded by the great sunlight glistening off the glass buildings making up the Houen metropolis of Larousse City. Not far from Slateport City and just a short ride from South City, Larousse was known as the place to go if you had any interest whatsoever in the highest of technology. The city's mayor, Prof. Lund, was the mastermind behind much of it---the city's transportation, security and sanitation systems all came from his mind.

    As always, Larousse was busy that day. The city's main transportation for those heading in or out was twofold: hydrofoil yachts could take small groups of passengers between Larousse, Slateport and South City literally in minutes, while a monorail train system served as a second direct link between the towns. While in town, Larousse citizens and tourists usually didn't have to worry about getting lost or tired as they traveled about the city, for many of the sidewalks were motorized. Red, double-arrowed paths were the express belts, yellow single-arrowed the slower ones, better suited to sightseers or those with a more laid back temperament. If food was what you desired, there was technology for that, too. Robotic vending machines filled with burgers, hot dogs and ice cream were scattered throughout the city, ready to serve anyone's hunger.

    Perhaps one of the more interesting things about Larousse was its great cleanliness. This too owed itself to Prof. Lund's mind: to solve the problem of littering, robotic trash pails were set up about the city, and with a simple scan, would dispose of your garbage. Of course, that doesn't cure all littering---and therefore, one more job for the main security system of the city: the Block Robots. These were flying robots made up of various interchangeable cubes, serving all kinds of purposes from punishing litterers (usually with a swift jolt) to displaying maps of the city for tourists. Tying it all up was the Passport system, requiring all tourists and citizens to present personal identification cards known as "Passports" to the Block Robots or certain places to gain access.

    Noone can argue what the centerpiece, the pride of Larousse City, was. Right in the center, dwarfing the rest of the metropolis, was the Aeria Tower. A gorgeous architectural marvel, a spear of glass and ivory scraping the heavens, the Aeria Tower served as not only Larousse's chief tourist attraction but as the seventh and final stop for those trainers taking the challenge of the Battle Frontier in the Houen Region. To those trainers who had claimed the other six Symbols by besting the first six Frontier Brains, the Aeria Tower was their final stop on the quest for immortality. Standing between them, however, one final knockout tournament, then a battle with the disco-star trainer Miror B. to warm up, and finally.....the Tower Tycoon.

    Reigning over the Aeria Tower, challengers knew what they'd be up against if and when they managed to face the Tycoon in a battle. After all, he'd taken down an evil organization that corrupted the souls of Pokémon to use as weapons---twice.

    But at the moment, he wasn't at the Tower. Instead, he was at his home: a humble yet elegant cottage in the woods just outside Larousse City. Its pale yellow stucco contrasted well with the blue window frames and blue shingles, as well as the heavy oak door.

    Inside the house, most everything was quiet.....save for one room, where a man with spiky bluegreen hair dressed in a matching blue sweater and pants sat on the plush orange carpet with a young girl whose purple, flipped-at-the-back hair matched her purple skirt. Also inside the room was a red-sheeted bed covered with Poké Dolls and green curtains covering the windows, but the only thing that mattered was the blue Nintendo Wii hooked into a small television that was sitting on the floor before them. Both of them held a Wii Remote, and on the TV screen, a Regirock and Flygon were facing off against a Raichu and Whiscash.

    "Go, Regirock!" the man shouted with a chuckle. "Bury them with Earthquake!"

    On the screen, the rugged, tall Regirock collected its energy and fiercely stomped the ground with its dots flashing. A shock wave penetrated the virtual earth, catastrophically damaging Raichu with a knockout blow as it hurt Whiscash. The words "FLYGON makes GROUND moves miss with LEVITATE!" appeared on the screen as well.

    "Raichu goes down! It's a one-hit wonder!!" an announcer's voice called as the Raichu's virtual trainer---a girl almost identical in look to the girl controlling her---recalled it.

    "Daddy, you won't beat me! Whiscash, Surf!" the girl commanded.

    On the cue from the Wii Remote, the virtual Whiscash swam over itself in a roll and opened its mouth wide, summoning a wall of harsh water. Whiscash rode the wave with the ease of a pro surfer as it smashed against Flygon and Regirock. The latter collapsed on the spot.

    "Regirock has fainted in one hit!" boomed the announcer.

    "You're a little toughie, aren't you, Olivia?" the man laughed. "This isn't---"

    A woman dressed in shades of purple and white with purple hair matching the young girl's stood in the doorway to the room.

    "You two having fun? Rich? Olivia?" she asked with a smirk.

    "Oh, Anabel, you better believe it!" the man, Rich, replied. "She's got battle skills from the both of us, that's for sure!"

    "Well, I'm going to have to interrupt your little game," Anabel said, her face suddenly becoming dim. "There's a call for you."

    "Okay." Rich stood from the carpet and turned to Olivia. "Daddy'll be back in a few, so don't cheat, ok?"

    "Ok!"

    Rich nodded and strode out of the room. There were several rooms between Olivia's room, where he'd been, and where the videophone was located. As he walked, Rich took summary of his domain: the dining room with its elegant woodwork, china and chandelier, the grand staircase at the entrance, and finally, the living room with its glass table, big-screen TV and black, cushy couch. It was here that the videophone was located, another big video screen with a keyboard in front of it. Rich walked up to it and pushed a button on the keyboard, activating the screen. On it appeared a beautiful blonde woman wearing egg-shaped glasses and a red business suit.

    "Mr. Mistbloom!" the woman greeted. "I trust you've been well."

    "Quite well, Jamie," Rich answered. "I was just playing some Pokémon Battle Revolution with my daughter.......what's up?"

    "Rich, you're needed at the Aeria Tower immediately. A challenger has arrived and he demands a match with you."

    "Tell him to put it off," Rich grunted, slightly annoyed. "I have a life outside of giving out Ability Symbols. When I have some spare time I'll do it, but right now I need to be with Olivia and Anabel."

    "Yeah, about that........" Jamie began to trail off, sensing that what she had to say wouldn't go over well. "The challenger is Brendan Birch of Littleroot Town. I know you've heard of him? The red-hot challenger who burned through all the other Brains like they were butter. We can't just deny him a match when he demands one."

    Jamie's earlier premonition about her news not going over well was right on the money. Rich turned for a moment, then turned back with fury in his eyes.

    "You're my manager, Jamie!!!" he shouted angrily. "It's your job to keep these greedy brats in line! If this kid can walk all over me, just waltzing into the Aeria Tower and getting us to swoon all over him like he's some movie star or something, they'll all be doing it soon enough!"

    "..................." Jamie was blank. "Mr. Mistbloom, sir.....I'm sorry, but I can't.....I just can't deny him his match when he wants it. This kid could be our biggest draw ever. People are talking about him like no other challenger. Have you been watching the Houen News Network? They've been following Brendan's Battle Frontier challenge like it was a Moltres sighting in Larousse City! This thing is huge, sir, and as regrettable as it is that I must tear you away from your family, there's nothing I can do about it. I'm sorry."

    "......fine. Tell the organizers I'll be over there in a few."

    Angrily, Rich slammed his fist on the hang-up button, turning off the screen and ending the call. Anabel had been watching from the other side of the room, and walked to his side as he held his face.

    "Now, Rich......it's going to be alright," Anabel said soothingly and comfortingly. "One battle. One quick battle, then you can come back here and play with Olivia all you want."

    "You don't understand," Rich replied, his voice split between anger and depression. "She's seven years old now, and I've barely been there for her. What's next? Next thing you know, she'll be going for the prom, getting married, having children, and at this pace I'll still not be there for her! She's slipping through my fingers, Anabel, and I want to catch as much as I can before it's all gone."

    "Rich...."

    Anabel could never finish her sentence, as Rich had stormed off in a huff. As he returned to Olivia's room, this time he didn't take note of the posh environment he'd surrounded himself in. All he could think about was how he was slowly losing his daughter to the merciless winds of time....and then, when he saw Olivia patiently sitting there in her room, waiting for his return to finish their game, he nearly broke down in tears.

    "What's wrong, Daddy?" Olivia could sense something wasn't right.

    "Olivia.....your father needs to go away for a battle in real life." Rich managed to choke out the words, though he was obviously struggling. "I'll be back soon...."

    Without another word, Rich simply left. Anabel had come into the room silently, and together with Olivia, watched him leave in shamed anger.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The Aeria Tower had many facilities including a shopping mall and a library in its massive structure, but of course, its main feature was the gigantic Pokémon battle arena on the top floor. The battlefield itself was circular, painted in a Poké Ball pattern, and had two smaller round holes for the competitors' elevators to come up from. Ringing the field was a pit several feet deep with lights shining straight up from it, and past that, stacked hexagonal video screens used to display trainer and Pokémon data during the battle. Past the screens, thousands of spectators cheered loudly from their seats. They wanted a battle, and a battle was what they were going to get. The referee, a man in a white and blue uniform that contrasted sharply with his long brown hair, flew in and over the arena in a zero-gravity booth.

    "Ladies and gentlemen!!" the referee called out to the cheering crowd. "The official Battle Frontier match at the Aeria Tower is about to begin! Introducing the challenger.....a young man who's shattered all matter of expectations and records on his way to the top, and now he stands here with Battle Frontier immortality just inches from his grasp! Hailing all the way from Littleroot Town, please welcome to the Aeria Tower our challenger --- Brendan Birch!"

    One of the circular, Poké Ball-painted elevators came up on its cue, and the crowd began to go wild. Standing on it was a boy with long white hair, dressed in a black and orange shirt, black and yellow pants, and wearing a black headband and black and orange shoes. He waved to the crowd and basked in the applause as the spotlights shone down on him, but after a moment the lights went out, and the crowd became dead quiet.

    "And now............here he comes!" The referee had barely finished one sentence when the crowd began to go wild again. "Now, let us introduce our champion, here to put Brendan's skills to the test! Here he is, the man of the hour! Your Tower Tycoon, Rich!!!"

    The elevator opposite Brendan rose to the arena floor, bringing Rich into the spotlight. Now dressed in his battle attire of a blue suit with a black undershirt, matching black pants and shoes, and a blue hat with a spiked back, Rich ignored the crowd and all the celebration for his presence and stared dead ahead at his challenger. This was unusual---usually Rich was loose and had a lot of fun during battles.

    "I certainly hope you're ready," Rich commented with a tone of great seriousness. "You may have beaten the other Brains, but that was just to get here. Nothing matters here except your own abilities, and if those are not up to snuff, you will fail."

    "No need to be so serious!" Brendan countered. "After I lost in the Houen League I got the same way, but now I just love to battle."

    "You have a good heart. Now let us see if that is enough for you to topple me and complete your belt with the Ability Symbol."

    "Ladies and gentlemen! The battle between Brendan of Littleroot Town and Rich, the Tower Tycoon, will now begin! Each trainer will use three Pokémon in a Double Battle, but only the challenger is allowed to make substitutions during the battle. Trainers, send out your Pokémon!"

    //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
    Tower Tycoon Rich ---vs.--- Pkmn Trainer Brendan
    //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    "Here we go.....Lucario, Porygon3, I choose you!"

    Rich plucked two red-and-white Poké Balls from his belt and gave them a mighty through. They burst open in flashes of light, revealing the purple-black-and yellow jackal-like Lucario and a red and blue Porygon3.

    "In that case, I'll go with.......Aggron! Shiftry! Let's do it!"

    On Brendan's side, out came his steely Aggron and leaf-armed Shiftry.

    "All right!" the referee called from his booth. "The battle is between Brendan's Aggron and Shiftry, facing Rich's Porygon3 and Lucario! Begin!"

    "Porygon3, use---"

    "Shiftry, Fake Out!"

    Brendan interrupted Rich's command, quickly prompting Shiftry to deliver a snapping blow to Porygon3's face with its leaf arms. The virtual Pokémon cringed as a result, unable to attack.

    "Hmph.....clever. Lucario, show him the way we do things 'round these parts! Blaze Kick!!"

    Lucario needed no more directions. With its gaze locked on Shiftry, the Steel and Fighting type lept up into the air on its powerful legs, which both became burning columns of fire as it plummeted down towards its target.

    "Intercept it, Aggron! Dynamicpunch!!!"

    With speed defying its heavy, normally sluggish bulk, Aggron moved into position in front of Shiftry. It drew back its right arm, which began to glow red---then when Lucario came close, delivered a punch attack of explosive force. Aggron did take a blow from the flames of Blaze Kick, but the hit it had landed on Lucario more than made up for it. Lucario crashed backwards onto the ground and quickly lept up.....however, it was not completely healthy. Besides the extreme damage it had taken, fury raced through Lucario's mind. Despite being an honorable fighter, the hunger for revenge held Lucario....a hunger not helped at all by the state of confusion Aggron's Dynamicpunch had left it in. Lucario stumbled about in a weak manner on its spot.

    "Lucario!!!" Rich cried out, startled by how quickly the battle had taken a bad turn for him. "Gah, this is getting us nowhere. Porygon3, use an Ice Beam!"

    Fresh and over its cringing, Porygon3 rushed to the attack by launching a beam of freezing-cold ice from its blue beak. Shiftry took this blow and took it hard, tumbling backwards. Some ice had formed on parts of its body too, distracting it with thoughts of unpleasant cold.

    "This isn't working out quite as I had thought. Shiftry, come back!"

    Brendan raised the Poké Ball and a red energy beam shot out of it, enveloping and pulling Shiftry back into the sphere's safety.

    "An early withdrawal from the challenger's side!" the referee announced. "What Pokémon will replace Shiftry?"

    Already prepared to answer that question, Brendan had his next Poké Ball ready.

    "It's time to rock and roll! Let's do it, Swampert!!"

    Much to the crowd's delight, Brendan's choice was his Swampert, a Water and Ground type Pokémon. It had evolved from Brendan's Mudkip, his very first Pokémon, and had become the star of his squad for the Battle Frontier.

    "It's Swampert!" cried the referee. "Swampert, Aggron, Shiftry: we've seen all three of the challenger's Pokémon now. From the Tower Tycoon's side, we've seen Porygon3 and Lucario with one more still in reserve. Continue the battle!"

    "Lucario, you can do it! Pulse Bomb now!"

    Unfortunately for Rich, Lucario couldn't do it. Still confused from Aggron's Dynamicpunch, Lucario slipped and fell backwards onto the floor, then rolled over and loosed a Water Pulse attack into the ground, hitting itself in the process.

    "Things are going quite well now.....Aggron, finish this up with a Brick Break!"

    Again targeting Lucario, Aggron simply dashed forward, wound up, and delivered a punch of crushing power. Lucario wilted and collapsed under its strength.

    "And we have our first knockout!" the announcer declared as the crowd cheered. "Lucario goes down, so what will we see next from the Tower Tycoon?"

    Rich had already recalled Lucario and had another Poké Ball ready.

    "You're not taking my Symbol that easily," Rich growled with a hint of frustration in his voice. "I choose you, Slowki......"

    Suddenly, and without much warning, a different Poké Ball still on Rich's belt burst open completely on its own. Out of it came his Roserade, an elegant Grass and Poison Pokémon.

    "It's Roserade that the Tower Tycoon calls out third! Can it and Porygon3 triumph over Brendan's tough team?"

    "ROSERADE!!!!" Rich screamed in anger. "I didn't want you, I was trying to call out Slowking! Can't you EVER behave?!! Gaaaaahhh....Porygon3, Tri Attack!"

    Rich was obviously losing his focus, the combination of Roserade's unexpected entry and the stress from his situation at home heavily weighing on his mind. Porygon3, despite being a bit confused itself about the command, attacked with a triple-beam shot at Swampert. When the beams hit their target, Swampert took several steps back but quickly recovered, its determination unfazed.

    "This isn't working at all, this indirect attacking. Roserade, use Giga Drain!"

    Despite its only having tiny legs, Roserade dashed bravely towards Swampert. Its goal: to latch onto Swampert and drain its energy, a sure knockout seeing how Grass-type Giga Drain was superbly effective on both of Swampert's types.

    "An easily countered tactic. Swampert, Blizzard! Let's go!"

    "Swaaaaaaaampppp......" the mud fish Pokémon opened its mouth wide. "Swaaaaaaaaaam......PERRRRRRRRRRT!!!!!!"

    When it exhaled, an icy blast of wind came out of Swampert's mouth. Roserade was caught right in this barrage and never stood a chance---it fainted instantly. Porygon3, despite hanging back near Rich, caught some of the attack's power as well, crying out from the pain it inflicted.

    "Roserade has gone down....!" The referee was almost stunned at what was happening. "What's gotten into our Tower Tycoon? If he doesn't capture lightning in a bottle with Porygon3, he's going to lose!"

    The crowd was going wild for the battle as Rich, frustrated and by this point rather upset, recalled Roserade. He said nothing as he and Porygon3 prepared to face the inevitable monstrous attack Aggron had coming.

    "Let's begin to put the finishing touches on this, Aggron. What do you think?"

    "Aggrrroooo!!!" the Steel and Rock type roared in reply to its trainer.

    "Great! Aggron, Dynamicpunch! Go!"

    This time it was Aggron who made the move with Dynamicpunch. Bearing down on Porygon3 with miraculous speed, Aggron drew its arm back and swung with cataclysmic force.........and missed. The crowd took a collective sigh after the high intensity of the moment.

    "We must get this together, Porygon3! Thunderbolt!!"

    At this point Rich was just sloppily and vainly ordering attacks, as he was completely unfocused and out-battled. Porygon3 knew this when it jolted Aggron---though its attack was quite potent and left some electrical burn marks on Aggron's steel armor, for all intents and purposes the battle was over.

    "Aggron, we're nearing the brink! Use Body Slam!"

    With a fierce roar, Aggron dashed again in Porygon3's direction and when it got close enough, simply fell forward and dropped its full weight onto the much smaller Normal type.

    "POOOOORRRRRRRRYYYYY!!!!!!!" Porygon3 cried out as it was crushed under Aggron's bulk.

    "Oh no!! Porygon3!"

    "Enough, Aggron. Let it go." Aggron did as Brendan commanded, standing back up and taking several steps back. Porygon3 lay prone on the ground, struggling to get back up. "Now finish it off, Swampert! FOCUS PUNCH!"

    Even though it was a Water and Ground type, Swampert's agility made it look like it actually was flying. As Swampert drew back its fist, it began glowing with a bright white light, and Rich could only watch in horror as Swampert descended on Porygon3 and loosed the catastrophic punch.

    When the dust cleared from the attack, Porygon3 lay bruised and battered on the ground. Rich had lost.

    "It's all over! The winner is Brendan, the challenger! Our Tower Tycoon has lost!"

    "........I lost......"

    //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    The crowd went even wilder than ever as Brendan and Rich stepped to the center of the arena, where all the spotlights were now directed. They shook hands.....but Rich seemed rather detached from the whole situation.

    "Congratulations, challenger......" Rich said spacily. "You've beaten me, so you have completed the test of the Aeria Tower, the seventh and final Battle Frontier facility. For your victory, you recieve this......." Rich took a gold token with a slightly oblonged pyramind shape on it from his pocket and handed it to Brendan. "The Ability Symbol. Congratulations again......"

    With that, Rich simply turned and stepped on his elevator to leave the arena. Even though the crowd was cheering for him, Brendan seemed confused.

    "That's.....it?"

    As for Rich, he had his face down to the ground as he stepped out of the elevator back down to the main lobby of the Tower. As he walked out of the Tower and into the sunlight, Roserade suddenly popped from its ball.

    "Rose, rossseeeh, roserade? Raderose, rose?" The small Pokémon was trying to comfort its trainer.

    "No, Roserade, it's your fault!!!" Rich screamed, snapping. "Had I won that battle I would've been home with Anabel and Olivia much faster! But no, you couldn't help yourself from coming out at a bad time and totally screwing up my strategy!"

    "Roseh.......raderoserose, roseradeeeee? Roserade."

    "I don't care if you saw Swampert and thought you could win against it!" Rich's anger wasn't cooling down, and Roserade slowly recoiled in upset fear. "Slowking could stand up much better against its water, ice and fighting attacks, and that's why I wanted it! Not you!" Still getting angrier, Rich pulled Roserade's Poké Ball from its belt. "You stay in your ball until I want you, you naughty thing."

    With great fury, Rich sent Roserade back into its Poké Ball and headed home.....

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------

    Anabel and Olivia were sitting at the heavy oak dining table, under the light of a grand crystal chandelier, playing a game of "Go Fish." Olivia was winning, too, her four rows of Bulbasaurs, Roselias, Sudowoodos and Regices a healthy lead over Anabel's two, Munchlaxes and Bonslys. Also on the table was a stack of white envelopes.

    "Got any.........." Anabel peered over her cards, assessing the game. "Dusclops?"

    "Darn! Three!" Olivia handed over her three Dusclops cards, which were promptly laid down by Anabel with her own Dusclops. Now the score was Olivia four to Anabel's three as Olivia examined her own cards. "Um........Rapidash?"

    "Go fish!" Anabel and Olivia shared a good laugh.

    That laugh didn't last long, though, as Rich came crashing through the door at that moment. He was clearly distraught and disheveled, causing Anabel to leap from her seat in shock.

    "Rich!!" she shouted with concern. "What's wrong? What happened?!"

    "I'll tell you what went wrong," Rich growled. He then clenched his fists, trying not to snap again......but failed to hold it back. "I have to face some kid when I don't want to, then I get humiliated by him, and now my daughter is slipping through my fingers while I waste my time screaming at Roserade for coming out when I didn't want it! THAT'S what's wrong!!!!!"

    Anabel had been tense, but she relaxed the muscles in her body as Rich finished shooting off.

    "Rich, let's go through this piece by piece, okay?" she asked comfortingly. "First, the battle. We all have bad days where battles go wrong, right?"

    "Right...."

    "So there's nothing to be upset about there. If you yelled at Roserade, though......" Anabel's expression changed to one of seriousness. "You owe it an apology. Right now. It did what it did because it wanted to help you."

    Rich was silent for a moment as he thought through what Anabel had told him. It didn't take long for the answer to dawn on him: she was right. He had acted stupidly and cruelly toward Roserade, and needed to make it right. Without a word, he released Roserade from its Poké Ball.

    "Roseeeeeeeeeh..............." Roserade was nervous, understandably so. It thought Rich was going to scold it again.

    "No need for that, Roserade." As soon as it saw Rich wasn't angry anymore, Roserade calmed down and relaxed. "I wanted to........I mean, I apologize for how I yelled at you at the Tower earlier. I understand you came out to try and help me win because you knew your Grass attacks would be lethal to his Swampert......you need to try working on your getting overexcited, Roserade, but I'm sorry."

    "Rosee!!!! Roserade rose roserade!!" the small Grass and Poison type said happily as it lept into its trainer's arms. Rich couldn't help but crack a smile.

    "Thank you, Anabel. I feel much better now." Rich then noticed the letters on the table. "Ah, I see the mail came while I was out. Anything good?"

    Anabel picked up the letters and fanned through them, eventually selecting one sealed with gold foil and setting the others back down.

    "Nothing," she answered, "except this. Here, read it."

    Anabel handed the letter to Rich. He read over the envelope to see who sent it, and his eyes widened when he discovered their identity.

    "Rosemary?!" he said in shock. "Prof. Willow's assistant?"

    "That's her handwriting," Anabel replied, confirming Rich's question. "I really wonder what it is, but I wanted to wait for you to open it."

    Without hesitation, Rich did just that, extracting the letter itself and discarding the envelope. He then unfolded it and began reading aloud in a clear voice.

    "Dear Rich and Anabel Mistbloom,

    Hi, how have you been? It's been so long since I last saw you! I bet Olivia's grown into a fine young lady, too.

    I've written this letter to let you know of something very exciting. Now that I am a Pokémon Professor in my own right without having to rely on cruel people like Willow, I have to have something to study, right? Well, I decided to move to the Aquane Region---which is paradise, by the way---and study its legend.

    You see, the legend of Aquane is quite complex. It falls into the ancient civilization of Pokélantis, which tried to take over the entire world using Ho-oh's power. Well, long story short, I've made an exciting discovery! The two Pokémon sought by Pokélantis's emperor for their powers of time and space---that would be Dialga of time and Palkia of space---were thought to have vanished into thin air, but I think they just might be located somewhere in Aquane in their dormant states!

    I can't tell you everything my research has uncovered in this letter. Therefore, I extend a most cordial invitation to you. Please come to Aquane at your earliest convienience and visit me at my lab in Floria Town.

    Looking forward to seeing you,
    Rosemary~"


    "How exciting!" Anabel exclaimed as Rich finished reading the letter. "I'm very curious to see what kind of discoveries she's made."

    "Me too, but.........." The thoughts going through Rich's mind were of the Aeria Tower. If they left on a vacation, a substitute Tower Tycoon would have to be named. That in and of itself wasn't a big problem, but it still was Rich's position. Then he saw Olivia, sitting at the table and looking up at him with those big blue eyes so reminiscent of his own, and decided. "Anabel, we leave immediately."

    "....What?" Anabel was taken aback by Rich's sudden decisiveness. "We can't. All the arrangements have to be made....."

    "I can do all that with one fell swoop. I *AM* the Tower Tycoon after all."

    Rich gave a wink to his wife and daughter, then strode over to the videophone. After entering a code into the keyboard, Jamie appeared on the screen.

    "Good day, sir. Has something come up? All the challengers for the day are done."

    "Listen, Jamie....I'm leaving on a trip with Anabel and Olivia. Since you're my manager, it's up to you to keep everything running smoothly while I'm away."

    "Okay, sir....." Jamie seemed confused as well, and adjusted her glasses before continuing. "This is rather sudden, though. Did something come up?"

    "An old friend sent us an invitation to go visit her in another region. Jamie, get our private plane ready for takeoff at once. After you do that, put Steven in my place as the Tower Tycoon until I return."

    "Very well. Have a good vacation, sir."

    Rich hung up, and the screen deactivated. He then walked over to Olivia and kneeled down in front of her.

    "We're going on a vacation, and it's going to be me, you and your mother. Nothing's going to interrupt us. We can spend all the time we want together."

    "Yay! Vacation!!" Olivia exclaimed happily. "Thank you, Daddy!"

    Unfortunately, not all was well........a tiny computer chip, unseen by all, had been recording the entire conversation. Outside the house, in a bush, there was a shady woman with curly blonde hair hiding and listening in with some sort of radio transmitter.
    Last edited by Nando; 26th July 2009 at 08:38 PM.

  2. #2
    追放されたバカ Nando's Avatar
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    Somewhere...........

    Somewhere far away, sinister events were brewing.

    It was a darkened chamber in some place of evil dwelling far from the glitzy world of Larousse City and the Aeria Tower. One would enter this chamber through a rainbow-colored pair of automatic sliding doors, reflected in the well-polished dark blue floor tiles. At the other end of the chamber, opposite the door, a wall of video screens provided running statistics and observations on the rest of the palace and beyond. Just a few feet from the video wall, at the top of a short flight of steps, there was a tall-backed throne of sorts that provided complete shrouding for its occupant. The only characteristics noticeable were slender arms on the armrests and long black hair curling out from the edges of the chair, enough to identify the person in the chair as female. Two men, one in a white lab coat with spiky gray-green hair and the other an old man wearing a blue parade leader's uniform entered just as a ringing sound indicated an incoming transmission. The sinister woman in the chair pressed a button on the armrest, causing one of the screens to shift to that of the blonde-haired spy.

    "Rogue Tulip to Shadow Leader," the spy whispered, obviously in code. "Come in, Shadow Leader."

    "Shadow Leader responding," the woman in the chair replied. "What do you want, Domino?"

    "Queen Shadow, our suspicions were correct," Domino explained. "I posed as the post girl and slipped a transmitter into the letter adressed to Rich and Anabel from Rosemary. Would you like to hear the recording itself?"

    "Play it from the top."

    "Okay, just a moment........" Domino fumbled for her transmitter. After she finally set it up, she clicked a switch to begin the recording.

    "That's her handwriting. I really wonder what it is, but I wanted to wait for you to open it."

    "Dear Rich and Anabel Mistbloom,

    Hi, how have you been? It's been so long since I last saw you! I bet Olivia's grown into a fine young lady, too.

    I've written this letter to let you know of something very exciting. Now that I am a Pokémon Professor in my own right without having to rely on cruel people like Willow, I have to have something to study, right? Well, I decided to move to the Aquane Region---which is paradise, by the way---and study its legend.

    You see, the legend of Aquane is quite complex. It falls into the ancient civilization of Pokélantis, which tried to take over the entire world using Ho-oh's power. Well, long story short, I've made an exciting discovery! The two Pokémon sought by Pokélantis's emperor for their powers of time and space---that would be Dialga of time and Palkia of space---were thought to have vanished into thin air, but I think they just might be located somewhere in Aquane in their dormant states!

    I can't tell you everything my research has uncovered in this letter. Therefore, I extend a most cordial invitation to you. Please come to Aquane at your earliest convienience and visit me at my lab in Floria Town.

    Looking forward to seeing you,
    Rosemary~"


    "How exciting! I'm very curious to see what kind of discoveries she's made."

    "Me too, but........Anabel, we leave immediately."

    "....What? We can't. All the arrangements have to be made....."

    "I can do all that with one fell swoop. I *AM* the Tower Tycoon after all."

    "Good day, sir. Has something come up? All the challengers for the day are done."

    "Listen, Jamie....I'm leaving on a trip with Anabel and Olivia. Since you're my manager, it's up to you to keep everything running smoothly while I'm away."

    "Okay, sir.....this is rather sudden, though. Did something come up?"

    "An old friend sent us an invitation to go visit her in another region. Jamie, get our private plane ready for takeoff at once. After you do that, put Steven in my place as the Tower Tycoon until I return."

    "Very well. Have a good vacation, sir."

    "We're going on a vacation, and it's going to be me, you and your mother. Nothing's going to interrupt us. We can spend all the time we want together."

    "Yay! Vacation!! Thank you, Daddy!"


    "Wouldn't you know it!" Queen Shadow spat angrily. "We've spent seven years reforming after the collapse. We can't let them ruin our plans this time. Domino, continue to monitor the situation."

    "Right away, Queen Shadow. Rogue Tulip signing off."

    Domino vanished from the screen. Exasperated, Queen Shadow rested her head of flowing black hair on her arm and began mumbling to herself.

    "Uh.......Queen Shadow?" the scientist suddenly asked.

    Queen Shadow lept up in a start then pressed a button to turn her chair around. Now fully in view, she could be seen as a very beautiful but wicked woman with a gorgeous face and deep blue eyes to go with her long black hair and virgin white gown.

    "Yung and Gordor, don't EVER startle me like that again!"

    "I do apologize," the scientist, Dr. Yung, answered. "It won't happen again. But we bring good news."

    "Ah! I've been looking for good news. You two better have something."

    "Oh, we do, believe me!" Yung had a lot of pride in his voice. "I believe my colleague Gordor here could explain the basics best."

    The older, blue-suited man known as Gordor stepped forward.

    "My Queen Shadow, a great leap forward in the technology available to Enigma Shadow has occured." Gordor's voice was even prouder than Yung's, something Queen Shadow quickly picked up on. "By combining my research into the Capture Stylers of the Ranger Union along with my own Power Styler design with the specs of Dr. Yung's Shadow System, we have created the ultimate Shadow Styler."

    "I'm listening........" For once, Queen Shadow actually was being honest. She really did seem interested in what Yung and Gordor had to say.

    "My system lends its power to the focusing of Gordor's Power Styler design," Yung proudly explained. In fact, he was so proud he sounded like a new father, his child being the wicked Shadow Styler. "It cannot capture Pokémon, I'll tell you that now. That function had to be sacrificed in order to accomplish everything else."

    "Actually," Gordor continued, "we prepared a demonstration. Could you call Brandon, Queen Shadow?"

    "Of course I can." Queen Shadow pressed another button on her armrest. "Brandon! Get up here now!"

    Almost like magic, a tall brown-haired man dressed all in green explorer's clothes entered the room. He approached the Queen and took a bow before her.

    "You request my presence?" Brandon's voice was indicative of his personality---serious and no-nonsense.

    "Yes, Brandon. What is your role in Yung and Gordor's little 'demonstration' you prepared for me?"

    "I'm glad you asked that," Brandon replied, stepping into position slightly off to the side. "As you know, Dr. Yung perfected a system to send more shadow energy into a Shadow Pokémon so it could use stronger attacks. What we have done is build this system into an efficient and simple way to use effectively: musical instruments, which we did with Gordor's help."

    "We've completed the first Shadow Styler," Gordor added as he took a small box with a red button on it from his pocket. After setting it on the floor, he pressed the button---causing the box to burst and transform into a golden gong suspended on a wood frame. "This gong is our very first outputted Shadow Styler. When it is played, by banging it in this instance, shadow energy shall surge through the body of the Pokémon it is programmed to affect."

    "I'm impressed so far," Queen Shadow praised---and praise was something rare to hear from her. "Now show me it in action."

    "Very well." Yung and Gordor took their positions next to the gong while Brandon stood opposite them. "Gordor and I shall control the Shadow Pokémon this gong is programmed to control for the test. We'll show how it can cause massive power surges like we explained by battling Brandon."

    ///////////////////////////////////////////
    Shadow Technicians Yung and Gordor
    ---vs.---
    Shadow Commander Brandon
    ///////////////////////////////////////////

    "I will send out the first Pokémon. Go, Aggron!"

    Brandon threw a single Poké Ball, calling upon his Aggron.

    "Queen Shadow, for this battle we're borrowing Brandon's Shadow Regigigas," Yung explained as he pointed up to the ceiling and banged the gong. "Regigigas, come!"

    On its cue, a massive monster dropped from the ceiling. It was very tall, with a white, black-striped body, yellow joints matching its yellow chest/head, and green fluff on its shoulders and feet. On the white part of its chest were three pairs of eyelike dots colored red, silver and green and on the yellow part, black dots going up like buttons then four more on its face in a diamond pattern.

    "GigAAAAAAAAHHHHHH!!!!!!" the beast roared, flexing its arms.

    "Impressive," Queen Shadow commented. "Now let's see this in action."

    "First we'll demonstrate the normal attributes of attack and defense," Brandon explained. "Aggron, Iron Tail!"

    Aggron's tail began to shine lustrously like metal as it rushed Regigigas. With a quick spin, the iron beast whipped its tail around and smashed it against its enormous foe. Regigigas stood unmoved, its weight keeping it down, but moaned in pain.

    "Now for offense." It was Gordor giving Regigigas the first command. "Regigigas, Shadow Rush!"

    "Regiiiiiigig.........aaaaaas......." Almost soulless, Regigigas simply dashed at Aggron as it gave off both a sinister black cloud from its body and yet another moan. This tackling attack knocked Aggron for a loop, but again, it wasn't severe. Aggron quickly recovered from the blow and forgot the pain it had caused.

    "Now, that was normal power," Yung said as he readied the red-tipped beater. "Watch as we now send Regigigas's power........UP! INTO! OUTER! SPACE!!"

    Spacing his words with a bang of the gong between each, Yung activated the Shadow Styler. With each note played, a visible surge of dark electricity shot through Regigigas's body from head to toe.

    "REGGIIIIIIIIII!!!!! GIGGGGGAAAAAAAA!!!!!" it screamed, violently lashing back from the massive energy flowing through its body.

    Then it happened. The miraculous power of the new Shadow Styler became apparent as a shady cloud began to emenate from Regigigas unlike any seen before......and then Regigigas completely changed color. Its body was now totally black except for the red dots that replaced its normal black dots.

    "Whaaaaa........." Queen Shadow was literally floored.

    "This is when what we can do really shows itself," Brandon said with a wicked smirk. "Aggron, use Focus Punch and aim straight for its face!"

    Without question, Aggron went immediately for Regigigas. However, when it swung its arm to deliver the powerful Focus Punch attack, it seemingly hit a barrier. Regigigas's shadow aura actually blunted the blow severly, leaving it to take the equivalent of a Scratch attack, nothing even remotely close to that of Focus Punch.

    "Fwahahahaha!!" Gordor spread his arms and laughed into the cold air. "Now, Regigigas! Our ultimate move---Shadow Break!"

    This Shadow Break attack started normally---save for Regigigas's increased shadow aura---as it dashed as quickly as its large bulk allowed towards Aggron. When it got within reach of its foe, things changed in a hurry---Regigigas drew back its fist, and focusing all its power, smashed Aggron with a massive punch. Not a lightweight---it weighs seven hundred and ninety four pounds average---Aggron was sent flying across the chamber and hit the far wall with a sickening crash. It literally peeled off the wall and fell to the floor, the attack having more than easily defeated it.

    Almost as magically as it appeared, the shadowy aura vanished from Regigigas and the Pokémon returned to its normal colors. Queen Shadow, meanwhile, actually stood up and applauded.

    "Bravo! I'm more than satisfied!" she praised.

    //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    Brandon walked over to his fallen Aggron and recalled it as Yung and Gordor stood before Queen Shadow.

    "So let us recap," Gordor said, taking a breath. "With each note played on a Shadow Styler, the Pokémon it is programmed to will have a surge of shadow energy sent through its body."

    "This shadow energy can be used two ways," Yung continued. "One, it can act as a shield to blunt attacks of any strength, and two, the next attack used will summon up all the shadow energy for one massive strike. The only problem is that we don't know how to make the Stylers maintain shadow energy levels after an attack, or how to make them control more than one Pokémon. We hope to work out those problems in the general output of....."

    "You fools haven't begun making more of these wonderful devices?!" Queen Shadow angrily interrupted. "What is wrong with you?"

    "Oh, uh, my queen.....we were waiting for your permission to go forward with production," Gordor offered meekly.

    "....fine. I authorize general production of Shadow Stylers to begin at once. When will the first one be complete?"

    "Not soon....." Yung replied glumly.

    "So we can't use it to stop Rich and Anabel......Yung, Gordor, Brandon, you three are excused."

    The technicians and Brandon took their bows before the Queen, and left the room. Once they were gone, Queen Shadow sat back down in her ivory chair, spun back around to the video screens, and pressed a button on the armrest. Quickly, a muscular, ape-like man wearing huge square work goggles, a red worker's uniform, steel boots and a tool belt with a wrench on it appeared on the screen.

    "Queen Shadow! What is it?" the man asked.

    "Gorigan. What is the status of........Project Genetic Manipulation?"

    "Oh, it couldn't be better!" Gorigan beamed. "Fine tuning is still being completed, but man, this thing is gonna be a beast when we finish it."

    "Say, Gorigan......what would you think of......." Queen Shadow's voice and expression suddenly changed, becoming even more sinister. "A test run?"

    "A test run?! On what? This thing's got so much power, it could easily crush a jet airplane!"

    "Heheheh.....a jet airplane, you say? Perfect. PERFECT. Prepare it for launch on my command.......don't let me down, Gorigan."

    "Hyahyahya! You won't be disappointed!"

    Gorigan vanished from the screen, and then Queen Shadow gave a sinister laugh that echoed throughout her chamber......

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------

    Quite a while later, a small white airplane sliced through the skies over the sea separating Houen from the Aquane Region. On its tail was the familiar emblem of four Poké Balls---the Battle Frontier's symbol. This plane belonged to Rich and Anabel.

    Inside, the three passengers sat in great luxurious comfort. Plush purple carpet lined the floor, and the windows on the white-with-purple-stripe walls provided a great view of the open ocean. A big, flat-screen television was mounted on the wall seperating passengers from cockpit, and on it was live coverage of a Pokémon battle somewhere being fought between a Gardevoir and a Sudowoodo.

    "Sudowoodo, Mega Punch now!" one of the trainers commanded. His Sudowoodo followed orders, rushing Gardevoir with its fist pulled back and ready.

    "Gardevoir, Psychic!" Almost immediately, the Gardevoir began to use psychic powers to lift the Sudowoodo into the air.

    "Bah, he walked right into that," Rich remarked. "See, Olivia? You don't do that against Psychic types. They can easily protect themselves from direct attacks."

    "I understand, Daddy."

    "Who's up for drinks?" Anabel asked, coming in from the back with a tray on which there were glasses of lemonade.

    "Me, Mommy!" Olivia was first to grab a glass.

    "I'll take one, Anabel." Rich took the second, leaving the last for Anabel, who sat down in her seat and took a deep breath in and out.

    "We should be there soon," she said. "Once we meet up with Rosemary, I'm sure the local Nurse Joy will----"

    Suddenly, a great crash shook the plane violently. Rich and Olivia fell from their seats, Anabel barely avoiding doing so as well.

    "What was that?!!" Rich shouted in panic.

    His answer came in a tremendous roar from outside the plane.

    "RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAIIIIQUAAAAAA!!!!!!!!" Whatever owned the ear-splitting roar shot by the plane's window, but only for a split second.

    "Daddy, I'm scared!" Olivia began to cry as Rich held her close.

    "I'm here, Olivia, everything's going to be---"

    Again, Rich couldn't finish his sentence as another violent tremor shook the plane. The pilot, a man dressed in a sharp blue uniform and hat, came into the cabin frantically.

    "Mr. Mistbloom, we're under attack by some creature! It looks like a Pokémon, and it's destroying the craft!"

    As if the pilot's summary needed its final point accentuated, a third tremor indicated that the mysterious monster was indeed attacking the plane.

    "Rich, Olivia." Anabel's expression became grim and serious as she pulled three backpacks from a chest in the back of the cabin. "Put on these parachutes. I have a feeling we'll need to make an emergency landing."

    Rich and Olivia did so with much haste, following Anabel's example. The plane continued to shake violently.........and then, the front end of it tore off and plummeted to the sea. Rich, Anabel and Olivia clung to the seats for dear life to save themselves from the vacuum pull of the wind, and the pilot tied one of the now-flapping-loosely seatbelts around his waist.

    "We're going to make.......an emergency crash landing!" the pilot screamed above the racket of the wind. "By the calculations we may be able to reach Aquane before crashi...........?!??!"

    As the plane continued its steady descent, the beast finally came into full view. It had the head and paws of a Raikou, but the long body of a Rayquaza and the tail of a red Gyarados.

    "What is that thing?!!" Rich exclaimed, fear shooting through his mind. "Whatever it is, I'll die before I let it get either of you!"

    "N-no!" The pilot stood steadfast between his passengers and the monstrous creature attacking them. "That's my job! Go, Manectric, Altaria and Dorapion!"

    The pilot managed to bring out three Poké Balls, releasing the yellow and blue tiger-like Manectric, a beautiful Altaria, and the large, imposing purple Dorapion.

    "Dorapion, Sludge Bomb! Go!"

    Struggling to maintain its footing, Dorapion did manage to launch a blob of purple sludge from its fanged mouth at the beast, which splattered all over its eyes. Now blinded, the monster roared in frustration.

    "RAAIIIIIIIIQUAAAAAAZZZZZZA!!!!!!!!!"

    "Get.....get back!" Anabel shouted to the pilot. "It's going to attack!"

    "I can save this flight!" the pilot exclaimed defiantly. "It's my duty to do so! Now, Altaria, Dragonbreath! Manectric, Thunder!!"

    With a thrust of his finger at the raging creature, the pilot ordered his attacks. Altaria and Manectric went forth with great courage to face the monster, and prepared to attack---but it was all too late. As its counter, the flying monstrosity positioned itself close to the plane and lashed out with its tail, slicing what was left of the plane away just before the seats---taking the pilot and his Pokémon with it.

    "Oh no!" Rich was the only one who could manage any words as the horror simply got worse, although Anabel and Olivia were watching terrified also.

    "QUUUUUAAAAAAAZZAA!!!!" The monster held the slice of the plane it had taken away in its coiled body and let out one of its deep, snarling roars to declare its supremacy.

    A catastrophic mistake on its part. The three Pokémon inside weren't dead.

    Without any warning, a sudden combination of attacks shot from the shard of the plane. First was a Hyper Beam, surely Dorapion's, that hit the beast right in the face. It was followed by Altaria's Solarbeam and Manectric's Thunder, the power of which combined to cause a large explosion, weakining the monster to a critical level and knocking it out of the sky.

    "RAAAAAAAAAAAIIIIIIIIQUAAAA........"

    Rich, Anabel and Olivia could hear the roars of the beast trailing off as it plummeted, then a heavy splash that surely indicated its landing in the sea. Even though that danger was now gone, they suddenly remembered that they were still in less than half a plane that was making an equally quick descent toward the ocean. Something hard to forget, but these circumstances weren't normal by any means.

    "Rich....." Anabel gasped, holding to her seat tightly. "We're going to have to let go."

    "Are you crazy?!" Rich was shocked. Again thoughts of home filled his mind....but this time there were his friends, like Anabel's parents Venus and Ein, Aeria Tower disco madman Miror B., and such. How would they all feel if such a rash act resulted in three deaths? "If we let go, the pressure will suck us out of the plane and out into the ocean!"

    "But if we don't let go...." Olivia was clinging to Anabel's midsection for dear life, making it difficult for her to talk. "Look! I can see land in the distance! If we let go and deploy our parachutes, we might be able to use the pressure as a catapult to fling us to land!"

    Rich opened his mouth to argue, but words escaped him. And as he thought about it, Anabel was right. Letting go was a risk, but certainly better than going under with the plane and drowning for sure.

    "We'll go......" Rich finally agreed, albeit reluctantly. "But one thing first.....Olivia."

    Olivia looked up at Rich with sad yet terrified eyes.

    "Olivia, whatever happens to you will not happen unless it happens to me, too. Please trust me."

    "I......" Speaking was hard for the young girl, as it would for anyone in such terrifying danger. Finally, however, she managed to put together the words. ".....trust you, Daddy."

    "That's my girl. On the count of three, we let go, and then when the air vacuum pulls us from the plane, we activate the parachutes. We either all make it, or we all don't. All or nothing............One. Two............" Rich almost choked on the last number. "........THREE."

    The family let go of their holds, and as expected, the pressure from the air vacuum pulled them out of the plane. After screaming, which would be expected, they activated their parachutes and began a slower descent in the direction of the landmass Anabel had spotted.....

    --------------------------------------------------------------------

    Meanwhile, things were much more peaceful out on the land. Nothing was about, the air was still and quiet. A man was running with his rainbow-winged Chatot on the beach, long blonde hair, red jacket and gray khaki pants waving in the wind. On his belt, a familiar egg-shaped device---the Capture Styler. This man was a Pokémon Ranger, someone who worked to protect nature through sense and justice. There certainly wasn't any trouble on this beach he needed to deal with, though.

    "Sure is a nice day for a run, eh, Chatot?" the man said to his Pokémon as he ran and it flew.

    "Chaaaatot!! Nice day! Nice day!" Being a parrot Pokémon, Chatot possessed the ability to speak in human language, even if that ability was rather crude and rudimentary.

    The man stopped running and looked around, sensing something odd. He didn't know why, but his Ranger instincts were flaring up---somewhere there was trouble. And it was nearby.

    "It's too quiet right now, wouldn't you agree?" he asked Chatot, who had landed on his shoulder.

    "Too quiet, Chatot! Chatot!"

    "Something's wrong, I can tell. It's too peaceful." The man unclipped his Capture Styler and opened it, activating its cellular phone function. "Ranger Jackie to Floria Town Base. Come in, Floria Base."

    "Mission Coordinator Judy clearing transmission," a female voice answered. "What is your report, Jackie?"

    "I was going to ask you the same thing, Judy. I'm on the coastline east of Floria Town on a run with my Chatot. Have you got any reports of things unusual in this area? It is far too quiet here. I think something's up."

    "Hmmm....let me check." The sound of a computer keyboard came through the Styler's phone as Judy searched the records. "Nothing.......except one thing."

    "What?" Jackie's voice showed extreme concern. He could tell something had happened.

    "A large piece of metal plummeted from the sky into the ocean about a quarter mile from your present location," Judy briefed, her voice flat and emotionless. "It is presently unknown what----"

    "Stop." Jackie cut Judy off in mid-sentence, as he had suddenly spotted something on the beach. It was a large white and blue sheet that almost looked like a parachute, and nearby was a hat lying on the sand.

    A dark blue hat with a spiked up back end.

    "Judy, there's something....or someONE here."

    "Wait......what did you say? SomeONE?!"

    Jackie ignored Judy's alarm for the moment and rushed to the scene, where he discovered two more similarly-colored sheets. He slowly and carefully lifted one of the sheets.......


    .......and found Rich, lying face down and unconscious, underneath.

    "Oh my Gablias. Judy, we've got three people here on the beach. One confirmed male, found either dead or unconsious."

    ".......it all makes sense!!" Judy exclaimed, nearly blowing Jackie's ear out through his Styler. "That wreckage that fell into the sea might have been an airplane, and those might be victims of the crash! Get confirmation on the other two!"

    Jackie had already set about doing that, quickly pulling the other two parachutes aside to reveal the unconsious forms of Anabel and Olivia.

    "Judy, the other two are confirmed to be both female and dead or unconsious. But......" Jackie choked up, and a tear came to his eye. "One appears to be a child. We may be dealing with the deaths of an entire family."

    "Oh, Jackie....." Judy quickly choked up in much the same manner as Jackie. "This is awful. If only there was something we could do...."

    Jackie spied something else washed up from the water onto the beach in the corner of his eye that moment. It was green, with a white top and what looked like flower bouquets of red and blue. It was Rich's Roserade.

    "We might just have a solution yet, if they're not dead...." Jackie said with a wry smile. He then hung up on Judy, closed the phone flap on the Styler, and activated its capturing function. "Capture ON!"

    A silver and blue top-like object---the Capture Disc---shot out of the top of the Styler and began circling Roserade. As it did so, an antenna extended from the Styler and Jackie began to move it around in a circular motion, making the Disc form a circle of energy around Roserade. Soon enough, the energy faded into Roserade's body, meaning the capture was successful.

    "Capture complete!" Jackie announced to himself proudly.

    "Capture complete!" Chatot comically mocked. "Capture complete, Chaaaatottt!!! Complete, Chatot!"

    Roserade stood up and shook itself off as it regained conciousness. It then looked around at its surroundings, confused.

    "Roooosseehhh? Roseradeeee?"

    "Hi, Roserade...." Jackie was careful to not sound threatening. "Think you could do me a big favor? Please use Refresh on this man here."

    Roserade cooperated, thanks to Jackie's skillful use of the Capture Styler. It walked over to Rich and placed its bouquets on his head, then began glowing a healthy green color.

    "Roooooooooooosssse.........roseh.......raade......." Roserade hummed calmly as it transferred energy to Rich. Finally, Rich sat up with a start.

    "Whuh?! Where.....where am I?" Looking around, Rich saw Anabel and Olivia, still unconsious. He ran to them quickly. "ANABEL! OLIVIA! Oh no.......my beloved wife, my dear daughter......."

    "Rosseh!!!!" Roserade shouted in excitement, leaping onto Rich's shoulder. It was quite happy to see him back.

    Rich quickly smiled at Roserade, but then collapsed to his knees before the still forms of Anabel and Olivia.

    "No....this can't be..." he thought. No, not after everything that had happened. He couldn't fathom the thought of being the only survivor of the attack. "A.....Anab...el.....Oliv...."

    Jackie knelt down next to Rich and put his hand on his shoulder to provide comfort. Chatot, meanwhile, perched itself on Jackie's head.

    "Sir.......they may still be alive..." Jackie said calmly, trying to encourage Rich and make him feel better. "They may just be unconsious like you were."

    "Just unconsious, Chatot!! Just unconsi...."

    Rich lept up in anger and grabbed Chatot right off of Jackie's head.

    "STOW IT, BIRD!!" he shouted in anger. "I don't need your parrot act right now!"

    "Whoa!" Jackie was rather shocked at Rich's sudden outburst. "Please, sir, calm down! Please, things are going to be alright!"

    After Jackie's urging registered in his mind, Rich calmed and let Chatot go. The bird flew to its keeper and hid behind his long hair.

    "I'm sorry. Was that Chatot yours?"

    "Yes, it is."

    "Oh dear. I'm so sorry, both to you and to Chatot.......did you help me? I see you're a Pokémon Ranger...."

    "Yes. Ahaha, that Roserade sure seems to like you very much." Jackie smiled as Roserade nuzzled Rich's neck. Suddenly, the truth dawned on the Ranger. "Oh, is it yours?"

    "Yeah, it is. How did you become familiar with it?"

    "Long story," Jackie chuckled. "I was running on the beach with Chatot when I came upon you three out unconsious. I then found Roserade washed up nearby, so I captured it and had it use Refresh to heal you."

    "Thanks, Roserade. Let yourself out when we were in danger again?"

    "Rosseh! Roseradeeeeeeehhhh!!! Raderade!" the flowery Pokémon replied.

    "Thank you! But now, what about......."

    "I was about to ask you that myself," Jackie cut in. "Do you own any other Pokémon with Refresh? Roserade might be able to heal the child, but it definitely doesn't have enough energy to heal the older one."

    "Hmmm....ah, yes, I do! Melodic, come on out!"

    Rich pulled one of his dripping-wet Poké Balls from his belt and popped it open, releasing the golden, serpentine Water type Melodic. It hummed in a beautiful voice as the sun glistened off its golden body and mirrored tail.

    "Melllooooooooooo?"

    "Melodic, use Refresh on Anabel. Roserade, you use Refresh too, but on Olivia."

    The two Pokémon followed directions, Melodic putting its tail on Anabel's face and Roserade healing Olivia similarly to how it healed Rich. For a few moments all were encased in a floating green aura, then finally, Anabel and Olivia sat up.

    "Ugh.....where am I?" Anabel wondered, dumbfounded.

    "You're alive!!" Rich's excitement boiled over, and he dove into a tight embrace with his wife and daughter.

    "Daddy! Mommy!"

    "Rich, I'm so glad we're all safe!" Anabel exclaimed. "But...where are we?"

    "I don't know," Rich confessed, "but we're alive and that's what matters. We owe a lot to this Pokémon Ranger for saving us."

    "Aww, you don't have to," Jackie replied modestly.

    "No, really, thank you, er........" Rich stumbled, realizing he never had asked the Ranger's name.

    "My name's Jack Walker, most people call me Jackie. This is my partner, Chatot. Say hello, Chatot."

    "Chattot!! Hello, Chatot, Chatot!"

    All four shared a good laugh at Chatot's verbal antics, but the mood quickly dimmed again. After all, Rich, Anabel and Olivia still had no clue where they were.

    "Thank you again, Jackie. I'm Rich, this is my wife Anabel and my daughter Olivia."

    "Pleased to meet you!" Anabel said with a smile. Olivia, meanwhile, just nodded. "Jackie, could you tell us where we are?"

    "Sure. This beach is the easternmost point of the Aquane Region. Not too far to the west of here is Floria Town."

    "Floria Town.......that's the place Rosemary said her lab is! Anabel, Olivia, let's get going. We need to let her know we arrived, even if not quite safely."

    "Ah, you know Rosemary?" Jackie said, slightly surprised. "She came to our city a few years ago to research the legends of Dialga and Palkia. I'd be more than happy to accompany you on your way, but first we should stop at my Ranger Base in Floria Town so I can give in my report on what happened here."

    "Fair enough. Come on, you two, we've got a ways to go."

    "Daddy, can I see Dialga?" Olivia blurted out. Her question was a bit silly, but perfectly honest and innocent.

    "Maybe Rosemary will show you later," Rich answered with a smile.

    Satisfied that all were safe and accounted for, Jackie led the three off the beach and westward, towards Floria Town......

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------

    "YOU CANNOT BE SERIOUS!!!" Queen Shadow roared at the on-screen Gorigan from her ivory throne. "Run that past me again!"

    "I.....I'm sorry, Queen Shadow, but...." Gorigan was speaking meekly, and for such a large man, was actually afraid of Queen Shadow. "We executed the plan perfectly. It......it....well, "It" failed. We only killed their pilot, the three of them got away. Radar shows they fell into the ocean and quickly washed up on Aquane's eastern beach."

    "You promised, no, you SWORE that Genetic Manipulation was finished save for fine tuning." Queen Shadow's voice was now dead calm, and this only made her even more menacing. "Gorigan, I trusted you to get rid of Rich and Anabel with it and you failed me."

    "I'm sorry, my queen! It was an unforeseen...."

    "SILENCE! Do not EVER answer me back! Right now you're on thin enough ice as it is, understand?!" Gorigan didn't even have a chance to reply before Queen Shadow continued. "If I must, I will remove you from Project Genetic Manipulation and appoint Gordor or Yung to oversee its completion. Am I making myself clear?"

    "Crystal." Gorigan knew he had to choose his words carefully.

    "Begone." With a slam of her fist, Queen Shadow disposed of Gorigan's virtual presence and left herself alone in the chamber. Soon, she was once again talking to herself. "Things will not be ruined again this time. Much has changed in these last seven years. Finally, Enigma Shadow will be able to rise from the ashes......."

    An image of a Pokémon appeared on another of Queen Shadow's video screens. It had a horselike white body, growing out of which were yellow spears which curved to appear similar to a net or a spider web. Its appearance gave it the air of something........legendary......

    ------------------------------------------------------------------

    Floria Town was a bustling small city, nestled in nature's wonders. There were no skyscrapers or the like, like what Rich, Anabel and Olivia were used to from Larousse---instead, the town was of small homes and shops, giving the place a very humble air. Trees lined the streets, and splitting the town down its middle was a beautiful creek.

    "This place is like paradise..." Rich thought as Jackie led the three Mistblooms into his Ranger Base.

    The Ranger Base stood out from the other buildings in Floria Town, if not for any other reason than that it was much more modern and sophisticated than them. Topped by a satellite dish, the steel building glistened in the sun. Inside wasn't too different, the yellow metal floor polished to a brilliant, reflective luster. Inside were several other Rangers wearing similar uniforms to Jackie's, but the important people were away, at a long red desk. Sitting at the desk with a complex computer before her was a woman with curled-at-the-ends red hair, square glasses on her face and a white uniform with a blue stripe. Standing nearby was a large, imposing man cloaked in a red, spiked-end cape and similar red hat.

    "You broke off communication with us before we had an idea of what happened," the man said dryly and gravely.

    "I'm sorry, sir," Jackie responded, "but the situation called for an immediate response."

    "Give me your report then. I can't know what you did going on just what you told Judy."

    "First......." Jackie turned to Rich, Anabel and Olivia, but continued speaking to the intimidating man in the cape. "Sir, this is Rich, his wife Anabel, and daughter Olivia. They were the ones I found washed up on the beach when I broke off communication. Chatot and I had to help them immediately and I couldn't do that while sending a transmission."

    "Chaaaaaaaatot, help, beach, Chatot!!!" the bird, now perched on the man's spiked red hat, squawked.

    "Very well then," the man answered, not changing his tone but brightening his expression slightly. "I am Mason, the Leader of this Ranger Base. That makes me Jackie's boss."

    "And I'm Judy, the Mission Coordinator," the woman added. "It's my job to keep organized our Rangers and their missions and Stylers."

    "Are you new to Aquane?" Mason asked in a manner far too dramatic for the situation.

    "Yes, we......" Anabel looked away for a moment, searching for the right words, then continued. "We kind of had a rough landing, if you will. Our plane was attacked by a mysterious monster, which caused us to crash just off the coast where Jackie found us."

    "It was scary......" Olivia added innocently.

    "Then I welcome you to the Aquane Region and to Floria Town. You see......" Mason turned away as he continued speaking. "......I've gotten personal notification of some kind of monster off the coast of this town myself. People who have seen it say it has the head and legs of a Raikou, the body of a Rayquaza, and the tail of a Red Gyarados."

    "That's what attacked us!" Rich exclaimed. "It matches the description perfectly!"

    "So it has attacked someone.......I suspected as much. Now that you're on land you should be safe from it for now at least. But why would it attack your plane? Did you perhaps.......provoke it?"

    "No way!" Anabel shouted, becoming angry. "Are you trying to blame us for the whole thing?!"

    "No, but...."

    "You think I would endanger my entire family including my seven year old daughter just to provoke some random monstrosity?!" Anabel just kept getting angrier, and Mason couldn't do a thing to stop her. "You accuse us of provoking that....thing.....one more time to my face and I'll......"

    "Rich!! Anabel!!!"

    Anabel stopped her tirade as soon as the familiar voice hit her ears. She and Rich turned around to see a dark-haired, bespectacled woman in a black sweater standing behind them.

    "Rosemary?!" Rich was rather surprised. "Rosemary, is that you? It's been so long!"

    "Indeed it has. The memories are flooding back to me.....ah, crazy old Professor Willow and his Glitch Pokémon. I wonder what happened to that miserable old coot."

    "Probably still in jail," Anabel ventured, albeit a bit cautiously.

    "Yeah, most likely. Probably still raving insanely about how he's going to take over the world by turning all the Pokémon into drained Glitches too......oh?! Is this little girl who I think she is?"

    "She is," answered a proud Rich. "Our Olivia....she's seven now, Rosemary. Probably doesn't even remember you."

    "Daddy..........?" Olivia's questioning tone confirmed Rich's statement.

    "Oh, no worries!" Rosemary replied in a jolly tone. "Hello, Olivia. I'm an old friend of your parents, that's all. Pleased to meet you."

    "Hi!" Olivia had regained her usual demeanor.

    "Ahaha, she reminds me quite a bit of you two. Anyway, I bet you all need a place to rest. I heard everything about the monster and all. I've got plenty of space at my lab on the edge of town."

    "Ah, thank you!" Rich said gratefully. After the entire ordeal, rest was just about the only thing he could think of. "Come, Anabel, Olivia. Let's get going."

    "Right." Before leaving, Anabel turned to Jackie. "Jack....Jackie, was it? Thank you for helping us."

    "You're very welcome. Do keep in touch if you're in town."

    Anabel nodded to Jackie in agreement, then followed Rosemary, Rich and Olivia out of the Ranger Base and down the road to Rosemary's lab. The lab was the only other really modern building in all of Floria Town, sporting automatic double doors, shiny metallic walls and a satellite dish much like the Ranger Base. As the Mistbloom family stepped through its doors, their minds were blank from overload---after witnessing their pilot's death and nearly being killed themselves, seeing a freakish monster unlike anything they'd seen before, and then being washed up on the beach and saved by a Ranger with a hyperactive talking Chatot had left them just burnt out. They sat down on the metal chairs in the lab's front room in exhaustion, nearly asleep, and tried to just rest and make sense of it all.

    Little did they know that their biggest, most dangerous adventure ever had already begun............




    END of PROLOGUE

  3. #3
    追放されたバカ Nando's Avatar
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    Let's dive into Chapter One.......
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    CHAPTER ONE: Crashed On Delivery!




    A gentle wind rustled the trees outside Rosemary's lab as the Mistbloom family awoke the morning after their crash-landing in the Aquane Region. The kindhearted Pokémon scientist had generously set up a more-than-accomodating guest room well in advance for them, with a huge inflatable bed for Rich and Anabel and a giant round Voltorb pillowbed for Olivia. Perhaps a bit crude, but certainly accomodating nonetheless.

    Rich got up out of bed and walked to a nearby mirror, rubbing his eyes as Anabel rolled over on her purple (surprise) pillow. He let out a yawn as she sat up. Olivia was already up and elsewhere.

    "Is it morning already?" she asked him, completely confused. "Where are we? I had this nightmare we were flying to----"

    "Stop right there," Rich halted, holding up his hand as he turned to face her. "I know where you're going with that. Yes, it all really happened, yes, we're at Rosemary's lab in Aquane already, yes, we were attacked by some monster...."

    "Ugh......" Anabel stood up and undressed from her purple nightgown, changing into her usual clothes. "Where's Olivia?"

    "I don't know," Rich responded as he switched into his usual suit from a blue robe he always wore at night, "but I trust Rosemary. She won't go off far."

    Rich and Anabel nodded at each other, then walked out of the guest room and down the hall to the lab's kitchen, their shoes clicking against the polished black floor. Rich seemed at ease, but the same couldn't be said for Anabel; she knew Rich was right, that Rosemary was someone worthy of trust, but after the near-death disaster just one day earlier, she wanted her eyes on Olivia without fail. Thankfully, as they entered the kitchen---high-tech and polished to a brilliant luster just like the rest of the lab---Olivia was right there, chasing a flying wormlike Pokémon around the room. When she spotted her parents, she ran right to them.

    "Mommy! Daddy!" The ecstasy in the young girl's voice was quite obvious. "You're up! You're up!"

    "Well, Rich, that's a load off my mind," Anabel said in relief. "I see you were having quite a bit of fun playing with Rosemary's Megayanma."

    Hearing its name, the Pokémon---a Megayanma---flew over and landed on Olivia's head.

    "Megggaaaaa!! Yanyanaaaa!!" it buzzed excitedly in its high-pitched voice.

    Hearing the joy-filled cries of her Pokémon, Rosemary returned to the kitchen from a side room. She was wearing a checkered apron and carrying a basketful of various ingredients.

    "Oh, good morning!" she greeted Rich and Anabel, pleasantly. "I hope you weren't worried about Olivia. She woke up before and wandered in, so I let Megayanma out to play with her while I prepared breakfast. I hate to say, but it's not ready........."

    "Oh, that's no problem." Rich didn't seem concerned. "In about three seconds....."

    After exactly three seconds had passed, Roserade burst out of its Poké Ball on its own, held its bouquets in the air, and shot shining leaves in the form of a Magical Leaf attack from them.

    "Roooosssseehhh!!!!!" the flower Pokémon exclaimed as it stretched its arms.

    "Olivia." Anabel knelt down in front of her daughter, who was now being nuzzled warmly by Rich's Roserade. "Go play with Roserade and Megayanma, but stay inside the lab. I'll call you when breakfast is ready."

    "Okay!"

    With her ever-present energy, Olivia skipped cheerfully into the next room, closely followed by Roserade and Megayanma. Rich smiled at the sight of his daughter's boundless cheer.

    "She sure does take after you two, that's for sure!" Rosemary said with a grin. "Breakfast's eggs and bacon, should be up in a little while."

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------

    Meanwhile, in the secret headquarters somewhere in Aquane, Queen Shadow was doing something she did often, making demands. This time her targets were, as usual, her direct goons---Snattle and Brandon, with Dr. Yung and Gordor cowering in the back.

    "You four are failures, you whole lot!" she raged. "I gave you a simple job. Yung, you and Gordor were supposed to oversee the production of Shadow Stylers, then you two, Snattle and Brandon---it was your job to program the Stylers to their specific Shadow Pokémon. Yet when I call for the first report, you've only finished and programmed ONE?!!!"

    "The kinks aren't all worked out yet....." Gordor's excuse was a feeble one. When Queen Shadow was angry at you, there was no way to escape.

    "SILENCE!! Not only have you produced only one Shadow Styler in the time you could've filled the entire quota, it was the weakest one. That is unacceptable......a SAXOPHONE?"

    "We made it for Lovrina," Yung offered, showing a bit of courage in his boldly facing the angry Queen Shadow. "We figured, make the weakest Styler first, give it to the weakest Admin, and then work out the bugs from how it works for her."

    "Pshh......fine." Queen Shadow wasn't actually conceding the point, she just didn't feel like arguing about it anymore. "The program, Brandon?"

    "Her Togekiss," the green-clad archeologist replied.

    "It'll work for now, I guess. You four better get your acts together, though, I mean it. There's going to be trouble if you don't."

    "I will personally see to it that these three heed your command, my queen," Snattle said in his deep, yet drama queen-ish voice. He was brown-nosing Queen Shadow to earn her favor---something he did quite often---then he turned to Brandon, Yung and Gordor. "Well, kick it into gear, you fools! Get going! Back to the lab!"

    And with that, Snattle was off like a shot. Brandon, Yung and Gordor followed behind him sullenly.

    "He's pathetic....." Brandon mumbled as they left through the psychadelic-colored door.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    None of this brewing trouble was known to the Mistblooms or Rosemary, though. Rich and Anabel were sitting at the silver table in the lab's kitchen as Rosemary brought out the breakfast she had prepared---steaming plates of eggs with bacon. Their mouths watered as she set the plates down on the table, then Anabel remembered one thing.

    "Olivia!" she called out. "Breakfast is ready!"

    "Coming, mommy!" the young girl announced from the adjacent room, from which she came bounding out with her Pokémon playmates a moment later. She sat down at the table while Roserade lept to Rich's shoulder and Rosemary sent Megayanma back to its Poké Ball.

    "You want to stay out, don't you?" Rich asked his Pokémon, even though he knew the answer. A vigorous nod from the flower confirmed his expectations. "Rosemary, I'm sorry to be a burden, but it looks like my friend Roserade is hungry too."

    "Oh, no worries! No worries at all!" Rosemary flung open a cabinet near her electric range, and Roserade's eyes went wide at its contents: special, homemade Pokémon food.....huge jars full of it.

    "Rooosssseeeehhhradeooo!!!!" it howled in joy before leaping off Rich's shoulder and rushing to the jars, which it promptly began nuzzling in its odd way.

    "Oh no!" Rich stood up in a jolt. "Roserade, stop that! That's not----"

    "It isn't a problem," Rosemary assured Rich. "There's plenty to go around. In fact, why don't you two let out all your Pokémon and they can have a breakfast meeting of their own?"

    "Good idea!" Anabel's hands immediately went to her waist, where she pulled off six Poké Balls. When she threw them, her Pokémon appeared---she had a green haired, white-bodied Psychic and Fighting type Erlade, a heavy and large Metagross, her purple Psychic partner Espeon, the slick red-and-black Scizor, a Water and Dragon type Kingdra, and her big, burly Snorlax.

    "Alright, seems good to me. Come on out, everyone!" Rich threw the remaining five Poké Balls on his belt, bringing out his other Pokémon: in addition to Porygon3 and Lucario there was his Dragon and Flying type Salamence, his vacant-looking-yet-intelligent-and-strong Slowking, and his partner Pokémon: the gorgeous, golden Water type Melodic which had been with him ever since the beginning. They all joined Roserade and Anabel's Pokémon awaiting the delicious food.

    "Now......" Rosemary brought out three of her own Poké Balls from her lab coat. "Wouldn't it be a bit rude if my Pokémon didn't join us? Come out, Megayanma! Metang! Subomie!"

    When Rosemary threw the Poké Balls, Megayanma returned along with the Steel and Psychic Metang---Metagross's previous evolutionary form---and a tiny green and yellow Pokémon that resembled a flower bud. This one showed an unusual interest in Rich's Roserade, waddling over to it on tiny legs and chirping curiously.

    "Subomie? Miebusubmo?"

    "Roseeeh? Roseh, raderose, rosreade."

    "What's that?" Rich had obviously never seen this Pokémon---a Subomie---before, so he brought out a gray Capture Styler-esque device from his pocket. It was his P*DA, a device able to report the data on any Pokémon it scanned through its comprehensive Pokémon Browser function.

    "Subomie, the rosebud Pokémon. Type is Grass/Poison. Subomie survives the cold of winter by closing its bud. When springtime arrives, it opens its bud to scatter pollen and absorb sunlight. Its habitat is usually near a freshwater pond, where it disperses strong sneeze-inducing pollen. When it evolves, the vines making up its bud turn into Roselia's roses and its small grass apron becomes Roselia's leaf skirt."

    "Oh! It's so cute!" Olivia was up from her seat in a snap, hugging Subomie. Roserade didn't like this, however, as it wanted Subomie's undivided attention---so it used a Body Slam attack to knock Olivia down and Subomie out of her hands.

    "Rosseh!!!! Raddeeee!!" Roserade screeched angrily, obviously not thinking of the consequences of its actions.

    "That's IT!" Rich flew up out of his chair furiously, drew a Poké Ball from his belt, and pointed it at Roserade. "You can misbehave all you want but you do NOT lay one finger on my daughter!"

    A red beam shot out of the center of the Poké Ball, enveloping Roserade and pulling it back into the red-and-white sphere. Rich just held it in his hand and stared, exasperated.

    "What am I going to do with you........." he said emptily, apparently speaking to the Poké Ball. "Whatever. Olivia, are you alright?"

    "I'm fine!" Even after being attacked, Olivia hadn't lost an ounce of her energy. She bound right back up into the chair as if nothing happened.

    "Things just keep happening one after the other....." Anabel seemed exasperated too.....but then turned her starving eyes back to the food before her. "May we?"

    "Of course! Dig in!"

    On Rosemary's cue, Rich, Anabel and Olivia attacked the plates of food while their Pokémon---minus Roserade---dug into their own, which Rosemary had been pouring out during Rich's confrontation with Roserade. The scientist then sat and began on her own dish, and for a few minutes, noone said a word. Finally, the silence was broken by Anabel.

    "So, Rosemary, about that letter. What kind of discoveries have you made?"

    "I thought you'd never ask," Rosemary answered, clearly eager to discuss her findings. "There is a legend throughout the world of two Pokémon: Dialga, the guardian of time, and Palkia, the guardian of space."

    "I still want to see Dialga, daddy!" Obviously Olivia hadn't forgotten her earlier demand.

    "Uh......Olivia, your daddy can't exactly make Dialga appear, it's a Legendar--"

    "I have a picture right here."

    Rosemary took a photograph out of her lab coat and handed it to Olivia. On it was the image of a monstrously large Pokémon, blue in color with jagged silver edges framing it. On its chest, just below its intimidating fang-filled mouth, was a huge diamond. Olivia fawned over the picture like it was a piece of gold jewelry, much to Rosemary's amusement.

    "You can keep that if you want, I've got plenty."

    "Thank you!" Olivia exclaimed, clutching the picture even closer.

    "So getting back to what you two asked about. Dialga and Palkia were said to have been resurrected from their dormat forms several years ago by the wicked Team Galactic in the Sinnoh Region. But my research.......indicates otherwise."

    "In what way?" Rich was enthralled with Rosemary's tale, having long forgotten the half-finished food before him.

    "Well, it seems that the Dialga and Palkia awoken by Team Galactic weren't real.....they were fakes, mirages."

    "Dr. Yung and his Mirage Pokémon?!" Rich and Anabel both shouted at the same time. Seven years earlier, Dr. Yung had actually been the leader of Enigma Shadow, but when Rich defeated him he had escaped to an unknown location.

    "Dr. Yung? Mirage Pokémon? I've never heard of either. The false Dialga and Palkia, I discovered, were manifestations of the powers of three other Legendary Pokémon that control the dimensions of past, present and future. I've discovered that those three, called the "Crystalline Legendaries" because of their crystal bodies containing their power, are actually hidden somewhere in this very region! Not only that, it would appear that the dormant forms of the real Dialga and Palkia are also here, explaining why the Crystalline Legendaries have a relationship to them. But that's a story in and of itself......do you two know of the ancient empire called Pokélantis?"

    "Pokélantis........." As the name fell from his lips, an unpleasant, awful memory filled Rich's mind......

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    "So what are you doing down here, then? Answer me!"

    "I wouldn't be making demands if I were you, Rich, but I may as well tell you anyway. Hidden in these ruins is an ancient artifact called the Emerald Rock. The Emperor has sent me to retrieve it, as it is an important part of his plan."

    "Don't you know that Rich and I will just battle you, defeat you, and stop you?"

    "Last time, at Diamond Rock, that was true. You caught me off guard last time. This time, however, things will be different. I've concocted a perfect plan, one that cannot fail."

    Brandon took a Poké Ball made of stone out of his pack and held it out. It had many different symbols carved into it, and in its center was a blue gem.

    "This Poké Ball is an artifact I collected during my research of the ancient civilization of Pokélantis. I came here not only to find the Emerald Rock but to continue my research, as this ruin is related to Pokélantis."

    "Fair enough, but what's inside of it?" Anabel asked.

    "Are you sure you want to know? It's the linchpin of my foolproof plan. Inside of it........is the soul of the evil Pokélantis Emperor!" Rich and Anabel stepped back in fear as a twisted smile took over Brandon's face. "Now! As your punishment for meddling in our plans so much, feel the wrath of the Pokélantis Emperor!"

    Brandon held up the Poké Ball, and it began to glow very brightly. A black cloud floated out of it and massed above Brandon, then took dead aim and dove towards Rich. He stepped forward to take the blow, away from Anabel so any kickback wouldn't hit her. The cloud absorbed into Rich's body, and he fell to his hands and knees.

    "Rich! Brandon, you creep! What did you do to my Rich?!"

    "Oh, I just made him pay for what he's done."

    A dark aura began to float around Rich's body, much like that of a Shadow Pokémon. He slowly got up, facing Brandon, and took a few long, deep breaths. He then turned around to face Anabel.

    Anabel recoiled. This wasn't the Rich she knew at all. His eyes had become maniacal, the expression on his face that of pure evil.

    "Wahahahahahahahah!!" he laughed. Even his voice had changed---it was now incredibly deep and evil-sounding. "So, Brandon, you've finally decided to let me out of that cursed trap. What have you summoned me for?"

    "Emperor, the body I have let you possess is that of my organization's top enemy. He owns powerful Pokémon. I think you will enjoy yourself."

    "Rich..........Rich, it's me! Anabel! Wake up!"

    "Now who is this little girl who addresses me as "Rich?""

    "The body you now own was married to her. Her name is Anabel."

    "Anabel......I like her. Come here!"

    Rich held out his hands, sending clouds of the dark aura at Anabel. They surrounded her and pulled the Poké Balls off her armbands. but she grabbed them back out of the air and put them back in their places.

    "Fool! You dare defy me, the almighty Emperor of Pokélantis?! Those Pokémon you have belong to me now!"

    "No! NO! I don't know who you are anymore! Bring my Rich back!"

    "Sorry, Anabel, no can do. Our leader wanted him dealt with, so that's what I have done. If you want to try and rescue him you could follow us deeper into the ruins.....but I can't guarantee your safety if you do. Come, Emperor, we must find that Emerald Rock now."

    Brandon and Rich fled back down the corridor, leaving Anabel on her own.....

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    ".........Pokélantis..." Rich repeated, this time with a strong tone of barely-restrained anger in his voice. "I will never forget how Brandon intentionally possessed me with the soul of the evil Pokélantis Emperor......."

    "He did WHAT?!!" Rosemary was startled. "I'm shocked, because that all ties into the legend!"

    "It does?" Anabel was obviously angry about the memory too, but was able to suppress it better. "You mean that this whole thing is all related to itself?"

    "Well, I'll tell you the legend and you decide for yourself. Pokélantis is rumoured to have been destroyed when it incurred the wrath of the Legendary Pokémon Ho-oh. That is not true. Pokélantis was an empire that spanned much of the world, and they DID capture Ho-oh, sealing it in a tomb atop Sulfur Rock in the Metalico Islands region. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

    Pokélantis began right here, in what is now Aquane. The evil Emperor ruling it sought no less than global domination using Legendary Pokémon, and to that end he captured three crystalline Pokémon---the Crystalline Legendaries I told you about earlier. Once he had control of them, he used them to capture two more Pokémon, a time-ruling diamond Pokémon and a space-ruling pearl Pokémon---those would be Dialga and Palkia. Now possessing five Legendary Pokémon he attacked other nations, easily toppling them like dominoes until the Pokélantis Empire fell mysteriously after its battle with Ho-oh. The timing is why most believe Ho-oh defeated Pokélantis, but in truth, it was a man. A knight in Pokélantis's service named Sir Aaron, along with his loyal partners Lucario and Pidgeot, realized that the Emperor was going to destroy the world and had to be stopped. Secretly, Sir Aaron began working against the Emperor.

    The first step in Aaron's plan to halt the mad aspirations of Pokélantis's Emperor was to eliminate his weapons. To that end Aaron sealed the Crystalline Legendaries in three secret temples throughout Aquane, but first used their powers to seal Dialga and Palkia. When the Emperor found out about this he decreed that Aaron would die by the hand of none other than himself, so the brave knight fled to the one kingdom that had resisted Pokélantis: the kingdom of Camaron in what is now Kanto. Rene, the queen of Camaron, enlisted Aaron, Lucario and Pidgeot to protect them from an imminent attack by Pokélantis's armies.......but it was too late.

    Not long after Aaron arrived in Camaron, the armies in pursuit of the renegade knight came. But by that time, the mighty Pokélantis Empire was splintering under its own weight, and the two armies turned on each other. This saved Aaron's life, but left Camaron to be destroyed in the civil war between factions of Pokélantis's armies. There was only one thing Aaron could do.......

    First he sealed Lucario inside his magical staff using Aura, an ability to control waves of energy that he possessed, a power that was also held by the Crystalline Legendaries. Once Lucario was safely protected from the war, Aaron went to a place known as the Tree of Beginning and met the Legendary Pokémon Mew. Aaron gave his Aura to Mew, resulting in his death---but at the same time, allowing Mew to use the crystalline structure of the Tree of Beginning to end the war and cause Pokélantis's fall.

    That's not where the story ends, though. When Mew released Aaron's Aura into the Tree of Beginning, it flowed back to Pokélantis and infused itself into the temples where he had sealed Dialga, Palkia and the Crystalline Legendaries. So while they were still sealed, at the same time they were active---using their powers of past, present and future, the Crystalline Legendaries created another Dialga and Palkia, which were the mirages awoken by Team Galactic. The real ones still sleep somewhere in Aquane to this day, which is what I'm researching.

    Whew, that was a lot. Did you get all that?"

    Rich and Anabel looked dumbfounded, but Olivia still had her cheery demeanor.

    "I did! I did!"

    Rosemary laughed as Rich and Anabel took their facefaults, then stood and brushed themselves off. Before another word was said, Rosemary's P*DA rang.

    "Hmmmm, it seems I've got an e-mail." Rosemary brought out her white P*DA and opened it, then mumbled to herself as she read the e-mail and put it away. "You three up for a little day trip?"

    Rich, Anabel and Olivia all nodded, so Rosemary continued.

    "I ordered a package of machine parts for my research....that e-mail was telling me that they've arrived at the shop in Okka Town, not too far from here. I wouldn't mind it if you'd......escort me there."

    "Okay, I think Anabel and Olivia wouldn't mind. I'll go." Rich did seem eager in his volunteering.

    "Well, thanks Rich!" Anabel added sarcastically. "I'll go too, but thanks for volunteering me anyway! Come, Olivia, we've got to get ready."

    Things seemed peaceful, but again, they weren't. That strange blonde-haired woman who was spying on Rich and Anabel in Larousse City was back, listening in from a bush outside Rosemary's lab......

    --------------------------------------------------------------------

    "I ordered a package of machine parts for my research....that e-mail was telling me that they've arrived at the shop in Okka Town, not too far from here. I wouldn't mind it if you'd......escort me there."

    "Okay, I think Anabel and Olivia wouldn't mind. I'll go."

    "Well, thanks Rich! I'll go too, but thanks for volunteering me anyway! Come, Olivia, we've got to get ready."


    "Is that it, Domino?" Queen Shadow seemed bored, and her voice reflected that.

    "That's the entire transmission," Domino replied from her hiding place.

    "So they're heading off to Okka Town to pick up a package of machine parts, are they? Domino, you're my best strategic commander, so I'm going to send some peons your way. Make sure they hassle Rich long enough that I can develop a plan."

    "A-OK. Agent 009, signing off." Domino vanished from the screen.

    "Hmmmmm......." Queen Shadow rubbed her chin in thought, then pushed a button on her armrest. "Attila, Hun, get in here."

    On the command from Queen Shadow, two people entered the chamber. One was a large, muscular man with wild yellow hair and hexagonal sunglasses, the other having her long bluegreen hair as one of the few indications of her gender. Both were clad from head to toe in jet-black uniforms emblazoned with the three-pronged Enigma Shadow insignia on their backs.

    "Yo, what's up? What did you call us for?" the man asked, rather rudely. This was met with a slap upside the head from his partner.

    "She is our leader, Attila! You NEVER address her with "Yo, what's up!""

    "Calm down, Hun. I've got a job for the two of you."

    As soon as he heard that they had a job, Attila smashed his left fist into his open right hand and smirked widely.

    "Awesome. I've been hungry to get going and squash some fools like baby Wurmples! Who are we going after?"

    "You two will like this. I'm sending you to Floria Town......for THAT."

    "That?" Hun was surprised, a rare emotion among Enigma Shadow's top members. "This job is the beginning of.....?"

    "Yes, it is, Hun. This is the beginning of the Fire Opal Project. I expect nothing less than total success. Those meddling fools have gone to Okka Town, where I've already headed them off, so you won't be dealing with them. Surely you can crush the feeble Rangers there if they put up a fight. Now get going."

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Rich, Anabel, Olivia and Rosemary arrived in Okka Town about thirty minutes after their departure, lending truth to Rosemary's earlier claim that it was a short trip. Like Floria Town, Okka was a place well in tune with nature. Its homes and shops were built of rustic wood---there were even some log cabins---and trees full of berries lined the roads.

    One thing was missing, though---people. The town was dead quiet, seemingly abandoned.

    "What's going on? What is all this?" Rosemary wondered as she stepped into town and looked around at the dead calm surrounding her. "I come here for shopping all the time, and I've never seen it this quiet."

    "Something isn't right....." Rich was taken aback by the odd situation too, and his senses were telling him there was a problem in town. "Anabel, wouldn't you agree that this seems awfully suspicious?"

    Anabel nodded, agreeing, then pulled Olivia even closer.

    "Listen to me, Olivia. Stay close by and don't go wandering off. Rosemary, is there anywhere in this town we could go to figure this out, like an information booth or something?"

    "I'm friends with the mayor, Harlan......maybe he could help us out. His home is right down this street, to the left."

    As the group walked towards the home of the Okka Town mayor, the dead quiet surrounding them enveloped them like a choking cloud of smoke. Not a single person was about---all the homes had their lights turned off, all the shops were closed and abandoned. But when they finally arrived at the mayor's home, this all changed. The front door had been left slightly open.

    "Hmmmmm......." Rich put his hand on the door, but hesitated and didn't push it open. "What do you think? Do we go in?"

    With nods of affirmation from Rosemary and Anabel, Rich pushed the door open and the group of four went inside. The office immediately through the door was lushly outfitted, with a grand rug surely from some faraway land covering the floor, plush velvet waiting couches near a large flatscreen TV, and a single leather chair sitting behind a wooden desk that was lined with pieces of paper, pens, books and other things. Another seemingly abandoned house---until some shouting could be heard from up the stairs. Rosemary immediately ran to the base of the staircase and shouted up.

    "Mayor? Mayor, are you alright?!"

    "Rosemary, is that you?!" a male voice replied from the above floor, seemingly pained to speak. "Help me! They're-----"

    The explanation didn't need to be finished, as Rosemary flew up the stairs like a shot, closely followed by Rich, Anabel and Olivia. Greeting them at the top was a panicked situation in a bedroom decorated much like the office---a slightly overweight, gray-haired old man in a red business suit and clutching a cane was on his hands and knees, and standing over him was another man, identity completely cloaked by the black armor he was wearing.

    "Harlan, what in the blue hell happened to you?!" Rosemary screamed, losing her composure.

    "I....I....." the old man was completely winded and could barely talk. "This coward just barged in and....started beating me up...."

    "Silence!" bellowed the mysterious crook towering dominantly over his hostage. "I told you what I wanted. Just hand over all of the town's money from the vault I know you have here, and I'll leave."

    "But.....I keep telling you, there's not a red cent on my person or in my home!"

    "Stop lying to me. It's your dishonesty that's causing your pain. We might be a big organization, but every dollar helps. Now give me the money!"

    Suddenly, and seemingly inappropriately, Rosemary began laughing.

    "Hahahah, you're a fool! Where are you from? If you'd spent any time in this town you'd know he isn't lying!"

    "How DARE you laugh at ------" The mystery man swung around angrily to confront Rosemary, but he quickly forgot about her when he spotted Rich and Anabel. "No! Rich and Anabel found us again?! Why can't we ever get away with a thing? But then again.....if I knock you out here and now, I can earn myself a promotion AND more money than hustling this pitiful old man would. Count yourself unlucky, but this has to be done!"

    ////////////////////////////////////////////////////
    Pkmn Trainer Rich ---vs.--- Hood Edward
    ///////////////////////////////////////////////////

    "Come on out, Muskippa and Keikouo! Time to rock and roll!"

    The crook pulled two Poké Balls from his belt and threw them, releasing a green, floating flytrap Pokémon with rootlike 'feet' and a huge-eyed goofy look, along with a small black and gray fish Pokémon.

    "Hm? Two Pokémon I've never seen before. Better check them out."

    Rich took out his P*DA, opened it, and used the Browser to scan his opponent's Pokémon.

    Muskippa, the flycatcher Pokémon. Type is Grass. Its saliva has a sweet smell, which it uses to attract prey into its huge jaws. Once captured, a Muskippa will eat the prey completely within 24 hours. It moves around by tangling its roots around tree branches, then hunts by opening its huge mouth and waiting for prey.

    Keikouo, the hop fish Pokémon. Type is Water. When a Keikouo is showered with sunlight, its fins glow with a deeper, sharper color. It swims by flapping its two fins in a wing-like manner, earning it the nickname Beautifly of the Sea."


    "Not bad, a couple I didn't expect. Unfortunately for you, they won't last long. Salamence, Slowking, let's go!"

    When Rich's Salamence and Slowking came out into the battle, Edward just laughed.

    "We'll be seeing about that. You wont be running us over easy this time!"

    "I don't know who this "us" is, but I've got a swift punishment coming to anyone who beats up an innocent old man for cash. Salamence, show him what I'm talking about! Fire Blast!"

    With an earth-shaking, mighty roar, Salamence launched a blast of fire from deep within itself out through its fang-lined mouth, a blast that quickly reformed and took the shape of some sort of Japanese symbol. When this blast hit Muskippa, it exploded. The sheer heat of tha attack caused the air around Muskippa to warp briefly, and covered the flytrap Pokémon with burns all over its body. Surprisingly, though, Muskippa survived the attack and seemed not only angry but hungry for more.

    "Told you. Keikouo, Ice Beam!!"

    Despite its tiny size, Keikouo packed a lot of power, a fact Salamence found out the hard way. It struck with a surprisingly strong beam of ice, which surely would have caused Salamence's temper to explode----had it not frozen the dragon in the process of doing all its damage.

    "No! Salamence!" Rich shouted, even though such shouting really couldn't help him.

    "Heheheheheh. Wanna give up now? Or must I.......Muskippa, use Energy Ball!"

    "Muuuuussssss......." The flytrap growled in a menacing manner, ready to strike back for its having been cooked by Salamence's earlier attack. It formed a ball of green energy within its roots, then swung its whole body forward, flinging the orb straight for Slowking. Upon recieving the explosive hit, Slowking stumbled backward---but having been trained well by Rich, did it in its own slightly dopey yet stylish way. Edward was amused, but it was Rich who would have the last laugh.

    "Not so fast there. Slowking, time to show him what a Water type.......wouldn't be expected to do. Flamethrower now!"

    "Sloooowwwwking~~~~~~" A simple yawn was all it took for Slowking---a Water and Psychic type---to actually use a fire attack, loosing a stream of white-hot fire from its mouth. Once again the target was Muskippa, and this time, the outcome was different; the flytrap fell to the ground, fainted as a result.

    "I think the score's evened up now!" Rich taunted as Edward sent Muskippa back to its Poké Ball, seething silently.

    "Nothing's set in stone....time for me to show you this awesome Pokémon I got from my boss. Go, Mitsuhoney!"

    The last Pokémon owned by Edward was a Mitsuhoney, a small, honeycomb-shaped yellow and black bug Pokémon with three smiling faces. Something was odd about this one, though.....its expression seemed empty, almost in an evil way. Nevertheless, Rich ignored that fact and scanned Mitsuhoney with the P*DA.

    [i]"Mitsuhoney, the baby bee Pokémon. Type is Bug/Flying. It is one Pokémon made up of three bodies, and diligently collects honey for a Beequeen. It carries all the honey it collects back to its living place. At night, many Mitsuhoney pile up and form a hive to stay warm while sleeping. Only female Mitsuhoney can evolve into Beequeen, and they are denoted by the red spot on the bottom face."[I]

    "Hmmm....I've battled a Beequeen before, but never a Mitsuhoney. Salamence, try an Aerial Ace if you can break out....."

    Rich's tone, however, told a different story: although he had commanded an attack, he knew nothing would come of it. Salamence stayed frozen within the block of ice from Keikouo's attack.

    "Heheheheh. Now, Keikouo, finish it off! Ice Beam again!"

    Rich already had the Poké Ball ready, for he knew Salamence wouldn't be able to stand another Ice Beam, even from the tiny Keikouo. He was right. After the hit, the ice shattered and Salamence fell to the floor, fainted.

    "Salamence, return. This game's nowhere near over yet. Porygon3, you're up!"

    Porygon3 replaced Salamence, and judging by the glint in its eyes, it was ready to fight.......but noone was ready for the next trick Edward had.

    "Mitsuhoney, Shadow Blitz! Go!"

    In a shocking turn of events, Mitsuhoney cloaked itself within a wispy cloud of dark energy and flung itself recklessly at Slowking. Slowking didn't react much, owing to Mitsuhoney's weak strength, but Rich instantly recognized the attack---it was a move used only by Shadow Pokémon, creatures with their hearts forcibly shut that Enigma Shadow had used as fighting machines to accomplish their goals. Everyone had thought all the Shadow Pokémon were gone, but here it was right before Rich's eyes. A Shadow Mitsuhoney.

    "A Shadow Pokémon?! But how can that be? They all were Snagged and purified seven years ago!"

    "Not so mighty without your Snag Machine, now are you?" Edward teased Rich, snidely. "You see my Shadow Mitsuhoney and you can't do a thing about it. HAH!"

    Rich's expression hardened. If he couldn't save the Mitsuhoney, he only had one other choice.

    "Slowking, take it down! We've got no other choice! Fire Blast!"

    Powering up from its past Flamethrower, this time Slowking loosed a Fire Blast from its mouth with another yawn. Mitsuhoney got hit dead-on.

    "Miiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii!!!!" the Shadow Pokémon screeched as the flames burned its body---then it fell, fainted by one strike.

    "Oh no! That can't be! How'd my Shadow Mitsuhoney......aww, forget it! Return!"

    "It's all over for you. Porygon3, time to lay down the law! Thunderbolt!"

    Sparks flew from Porygon3's streamlined body, and then a single bolt of lightning shot out to strike Keikouo. Just like that, the fish Pokémon fainted, and the battle was over.

    "Ack!! Tripped up on an easy job!"

    /////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    "Fine, I'll leave this stingy creep alone. What a pitiful town to elect him mayor. The others left me here while they went to fetch that package, and......"

    "Package?" Rosemary quizzed Edward, suspicious of his words. "What kind of package?"

    "Oh.....you'll find out."

    Edward was off in a flash, abandoning the scene as quickly as he appeared. Rosemary quickly went to the mayor's side and helped him to his feet.

    "Are you okay, Harlan, mayor, sir?" she asked with great concern.

    "I'm fine," the mayor replied angrily. "The nerve of that crook! He comes in here and starts beating up an old man? The NERVE!"

    "Uh, about that......" Rich had a dumbfounded look on his face, and his voice reflected it. "Rosemary, why did you laugh when that guy said he wanted all the town's money?"

    "That? Ahahaha, that's nothing. He was acting like a fool. Anyone who's lived in Aquane for even a short time knows that we don't use traditional money!! Thanks to our lush connection with nature, we have so many berries that we use Pokéblock as currency!"

    "You.....what?! Hah, what a fool he was, Rich!" Anabel found the whole thing rather amusing, but only for a moment. She quickly turned serious. "But, now isn't the time to be laughing, if there was one of those crooks in town there are probably more."

    "They're holding the whole town hostage," Harlan hissed under his breath. The old mayor clearly had paranoia clouding his mind, and thought more of Edward's comrades were in his home. "If they hear us they'll come and drag us all away. I think I heard him say that they went off to the Postmaster's Office......"

    "Of course! MY package is what they want! Thank you for the help, sir, we're in your debt." Rosemary swung around to face Rich, Anabel and Olivia. "Well, what are you waiting for? Those machine parts are very important, and if they fall into the wrong hands..."

    "We understand," Anabel said. "Let's go!"

    The group of four shot down the stairs and out of the mayor's home.....leaving the old man behind.

    "Wait! Wait for this feeble old man!" Harlan began tottering forward on his cane, slowly............slowly...............




    -------------------------------------------------------------------------


    It wasn't too far down the road from the mayor's home that the Postmaster's Office was located. It wasn't easy to miss, either---you'd probably recognize a giant wooden Pelipper standing out among normal buildings. The Pelipper's bill was propped up and open by a pair of thick wood poles, normally to allow the staff of mail-carrying Pelipper trained by the workers to fly in and out. But like everything else in the town, the office was dead quiet outside......and like Harlan's home, loud noises were coming from inside.

    "We've got to go in," Rosemary declared as she took a bold step toward the door of the office. "I'll explain later but those machine parts could cause total catastrophe if they fell into the wrong hands."

    "We've been in THAT situation before, Anabel...." Rich mumbled.

    "Don't you know it," she replied as she pulled Olivia close. "Time to knock up a few heads, I think. Let's do this!"

    On Anabel's cue all four shoved into the door of the Pelipper building, crashing through and into the office. Inside, a man and woman dressed in the same armor as Edward's were holding the workers---clad in blue and white uniforms with Pelipper caps---hostage along with the Pelippers themselves.

    "You know what we want!" the man shouted threateningly. "Hand over that package and noone gets hurt!"

    "Of course," the woman added with a smirk, "if you'd rather not, we could always take it by force. It's your choice."

    "You two!" Rich called out, taking a step forward to face the crooks. "What are you doing here?! You've no right to hold these people hostage and the package you seek isn't yours!"

    "Mufufufufu......" Even though Rich's group had broken in without warning, the shady man was calm as he turned around to face them, his female accomplice turning quickly after. "Ah, Rich Mistbloom and his little travelling show. We've been expecting you."

    "What do you mean 'we?' Who are you working for?" Anabel questioned pointedly.

    "Mommy, what's happening? I'm scared..."

    "It's okay, Olivia, nothing's going to happen. Daddy'll beat these two and we'll be fine." Anabel pulled Olivia even closer, and the young girl wrapped her arms around her mother's legs.

    "We could tell you," the woman said, "but that would ruin the fun, I think."

    "I concur. We came here to pick up an important package for our boss, so leave us be and we'll be out of your hair in no time."

    "That package is mine!" Rosemary countered. "You know that, so you just stand aside and give it over!"

    "Mufufufu..........fine, I see we'll have to play some games. Janie!"

    "Yes, sir!" the woman replied, standing at attention.

    "Crush him at once! We won't be having any more fools cutting in on our plan!"

    "Very well. Don't cry after I beat you, kid. It's your own fault for meddling!"

    /////////////////////////////////////////////////
    Pkmn Trainer Rich ---vs.--- Hood Janie
    /////////////////////////////////////////////////

    "Porygon, Unown, come on out!"

    Janie's selections were a Normal type Porygon---the rough-edged early form of Porygon3---and a black Psychic type Unown in the shape of the letter 'G.'

    "This one won't be too hard. Go, Lucario and Melo---"

    As soon as Lucario came out of its Poké Ball, Roserade released itself and entered battle instead of Melodic. Rich could only put his hand on his face in exasperated frustration.

    "Oh, what am I going to..........bah, forget it. Lucario, Hi Jump Kick now!"

    "LuCAR!!!" With its fierce battle cry, Lucario lept like a rocket towards Porygon with its right leg extended and ready to strike.

    "Porygon, dodge with Agility!"

    Just as Lucario's attack was about to make contact, Porygon began to use great speed in its escape attempt---but it failed and was caught on the foot by the Hi Jump Kick. Both Pokémon crashed into the tan-painted wall of the office with a sickening crunch. Porygon was injured but escaped, however Lucario fell to the ground clutching its leg and moaning in pain.

    "Oh no! Lucario, are you okay?"

    "He won't be for long. Unown, Hidden Power!"

    Janie's command was laced with verbal venom, and her tiny Unown recieved it perfectly. As the oddly shaped creature focused its mind and body, orbs of energy began floating around it---and they were red, meaning that this Unown possessed a Fire type Hidden Power.....the worst thing for a Steel type like Rich's helpless Lucario to take, especially when injured. Unown loosed the energy orbs, which exploded into fireballs when they hit their target.

    "Luccccaaaar......IIOOOO!!!!" Lucario wailed as the flames scorched its body. It couldn't stand up and defend itself thanks to its injured leg, and was breathing heavily in weakness.

    "Rich, do something!" Anabel shouted. "Lucario's hurt! Get it out of the battle right away!"

    "You're right, I've got no choice." Rich pulled a Poké Ball from his belt and pointed it at Lucario, who was pulled back in by the red beam. "Take a good rest, Lucario. Now......go, my friend! Melodic!"

    This time Rich was able to send out the correct Pokémon, his gorgeous golden Melodic. He wasted no time in going back into battle.

    "Roserade, this isn't the best situation but we've got to make it work. Sleep Powder, go!"

    "Rossssseh." With a gentle cry, Roserade lifted its bouquets and scattered a thick, pink powder from them. As soon as this powder wafted over Unown, the symbol Pokémon closed its eye and fell forward, dead asleep.

    "Aaah!!" Janie screamed, what was visible of her face reddening in anger. "Don't think you're getting away with it that easily. Porygon, Zap Cannon! It's all or nothing!"

    "Poooorrrry......." Porygon's humming got louder and louder as it charged, and a rapidly expanding ball of electrical energy formed before it. After a few moments Porygon let out one final cry and sent the crackling sphere thundering into Melodic.

    Obviously, since Melodic was a Water type it was hurt quite badly, also taking paralysis from the blast. For some time it simply held its head back, eyes closed, as sparks shot from its body. Oddly, however, it soon began to glow a tender yet powerful purple shade.

    "Huh? What is that?" Janie wondered, taken aback by this turn of events.

    "It's me about to pummel you. Paralysis activates Melodic's Coral Scale ability, making it more defensive than ever, and it also powers up this---Facade!"

    The purple turned into a red-green aura enveloping Melodic, and the beautiful Pokémon lunged forward with all its might to tackle its already-weakened opponent. Porygon reeled back, having lost its senses, then collapsed and fainted.

    "Bah! Useless thing. Return, Porygon! Go, Shuckle!"

    Like Edward, Jamie's third Pokémon was her last. Similar to his Mitsuhoney, Janie's Shuckle had an empty, soulless expression that gave Rich the impression that it was a Shadow Pokémon despite having no way of knowing.

    "Looks like you creeps made more than just that Shadow Mitsuhoney. Let's deal with them quickly, Roserade----Leaf Storm!"

    Suddenly, Roserade became almost hyperactive, leaping into the air with a shrill cry. It pointed its bouquet arms straight for the snoozing Unown opposite it, and launched a brutal blizzard of sharp leaves at its target. Unown did awaken as its body was buffeted by the attack---but just like that, it fainted. Janie recoiled in angry shock.

    "None of this is working, none of it at all! Return, Unown! Shuckle, use Shadow Half now!"

    "Shuckkkk......." With a dull cry matching its soulless look, Shuckle withdrew its wormlike head and legs into its shell, then began spinning around. This sent a wave of shadow energy floating sharply from its body and descending onto all the Pokémon in battle, halving their health.

    "Perfect, we can do this. Melodic, finish this up with Water Pulse!"

    Janie realized all too late that in her effort to weaken Rich's Pokémon, she had laid the groundwork for her own defeat---as Shadow Half cuts the health of its user, too. Despite its struggling with paralysis, Melodic managed to charge up and release a sonic wave of water in Shuckle's direction, scoring the super-effective hit necessary to defeat the Shadow Pokémon.

    "I fell too? What's going on?"

    //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    "This isn't over! We'll meet again!" Janie shouted curtly before running away.

    "Well good riddance," Rich said in the direction of the door before turning back to the remaining crook. "Now for you. Feel like giving up yet, or do I have to pound it into you?"

    "Whatever," the criminal answered, seemingly disinterested. "Since you've beaten Edward and Janie, I might as well tell you the truth. We're Enigma Shadow!"

    "You're WHAT?!!!" Anabel's face froze into a twisted expression of shock and fear.

    "You heard me, Enigma Shadow. Ever since the temporary boss, Dr. Yung, got wiped by you fools seven years ago, we've been in hiding, nursing our wounds and preparing for our big curtain call. And you know what, this is it! After seven years of hard work, we're on the cusp of a breakthrough and there's nothing you can do now to stop us!"

    "You'll be singing a different tune after a battle with me," Rich countered boldly. "Unless you're too cowardly."

    "Hmph. I don't think so. Let's see you put your money where your mouth is!"

  4. #4
    追放されたバカ Nando's Avatar
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    ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
    Pkmn Trainer Rich ---vs.--- Shadow Peon Larson
    ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    "Come on, boy, show me what you've got! Go, Naetle and Hikozaru!"

    The two Poké Balls Larson threw released a tiny green turtle Pokémon with a single leaf growing from its head, and a red-and-tan monkey with a flame on its tail---both Pokémon Rich had never seen before, so he immediately went for the P*DA.

    "Naetle, the young leaf Pokémon. Type is Grass. The shell on its back, made of soil, grows even stronger when it absorbs water. It lives in areas close to lakes. Using its whole body, it carries out photosynthesis, making oxygen with its whole body. If a Naetle becomes thirsty, the leaf on its head will wilt.

    Hikozaru, the young monkey Pokémon. Tyoe is Fire. It climbs up cliff walls agilely and lives on top of rock mountains. The flame on its tail goes out when it is asleep. The gas produced in its stomach acts as fuel to the flame on its tail. The flame doesn’t go out even in rain."


    "I guess since you're the new Enigma Shadow, new Pokémon are what you'll use. Melodic, Slowking, here we go! Take the offensive quickly with Hydro Pump!"

    Melodic uncoiled its long, golden, serpentine body, and focused on the Hikozaru seemingly cowering below it. It then quickly loosed a jet of pressurized water in an attempt to catch Hikozaru off guard, but at the last moment, the monkey Pokémon lept away and escaped harm.

    "Good work, Hikozaru! Now, use Helping Hand to power up Naetle's Seed Bomb!"

    "Hiko! Hiko! Zaaaaaruuuuu!!!!" With great energy, Hikozaru began jumping and clapping its hands. A red silohette of its form floated into the air and was absorbed by Naetle, who then used this red aura to power itself up and launch a bombardment of explosive seeds from its mouth. This attack caught Melodic---still in its attacking position---off guard, and pummelled it with hits.

    "Meloo......melooo......" When the Seed Bomb attack finally ceased, Melodic was bruised in multiple places on its body and breathing heavily.

    "I never thought tiny Pokémon could be so threatening....." Rich mumbled to himself as thoughts of anger over his partner and friend's pain filled his mind. He then thrust his fist forward to order his next strike. "Slowking, Surf! Wipe that monkey out!"

    Yet again, all it took was a yawn to trigger Slowking's attack. A wave of water materialized and flooded the area, hitting every Pokémon save for Slowking itself. Melodic just shook it off, not hurt much at all, while Naetle---though resistant to Water attacks---got battered around a bit. Hikozaru, however, got its flame figuratively extinguished, screeching as it stumbled back, then fainted.

    "Grrrr!" With a snarl Larson recalled his fainted Hikozaru, and threw a fresh Poké Ball. This one released another small Pokémon, a blue and white penguin with large, cute black eyes. "Pochama, go!"

    "Ah, so that's a Pochama!" Rich had heard of Pochama from his brother Wallace, who was the Gym Leader of a Water gym at one time, but had never seen one. He went right to his P*DA.

    "Pochama, the penguin Pokémon. Type is Water. Pochama have great pride and dislike having to take food from people. The long down on its body protects it from the cold. It is an excellent swimmer that lives in northern countries, on the coastline. To hunt, it can dive underwater for over ten minutes."

    "I'll admit, you've got me there. Melodic, come back!" Rich pulled a Poké Ball from his belt and withdrew Melodic, then threw another one. "Porygon3, you're up!"

    "It's too little, too late. Pochama, Brick Break!"

    It would take great courage to do what Pochama did---it rushed the much larger Porygon3 as if it was a match on equal footing, flailing its tiny front flippers about. Once it came within range it lept up and smashed against Porygon3, knocking the virtual Pokémon aback.

    "Naetle, Seed Bomb again! Aim for Slowking!"

    "Naetle!! Naaaaee.....tlleeeeeeeeee!!!!" The Grass-type turtle Pokémon loosed another barrage of exploding seeds, this one at Slowking. Strangely, though, Slowking simply sat there as it was hit.

    "Sloooooh.........." It almost seemed oblivious to the fact it was being attacked, causing Naetle to freeze in surprise. Rich smiled broadly at this, as it was a special strategy he had taught Slowking, using its naturally goofy demeanor.

    "A tactic of sheer brilliance, my friend! Now, go and show your true colors with Ice Punch!!!"

    The change was sudden and mystifying---in the blink of an eye Slowking went from vacant and disconnected to a battle-ready state. Defying its slow nature, the Royal Pokémon sprang forward and drew its right arm back. The same arm soon became like a bullet of ice, and finally Slowking swung it forth and smashed Naetle right in the face. There we no frivoloties about this strike---Naetle simply rolled over and fainted.

    "Yes! Great move, Slowking!"

    "Sloooooooww.....!!"

    Rich and Slowking high-fived as Larson pulled Naetle from battle and threw his last Poké Ball.

    "This is it, the final round! Doomirror, go!!"

    Out of Larson's final Poké Ball came a fourth tiny creature, about a foot and a half tall. It resembled an iron mirror of sorts, balls lining its circular body and two yellow eyes in the center---the empty eyes of a Shadow Pokémon.

    "Hm, so he's pulling another new one. Let's see here..."

    Out came the P*DA, and Rich used it to scan Doomirror.

    "Doomirror, the bronze Pokémon. Type is Steel/Psychic. Items bearing a great resemblence to that of Doomirror have been found in ancient graveyards, however the relationship between the two is unknown. Scientists have tried using X-ray imaging to examine the inside of its body. However, the exams found nothing at the end."

    Rich stared at the odd creature, trying to make sense of it, but no matter how long he looked, it just was too strange.

    "That's an odd one, all right. Porygon3, this battle's got to be drawing down now. Take aim with Lock-On!"

    "Poh, pory!" Porygon3's eyes flashed, and two red rings came out of them. These rings fused into one, then floated to Pochama and left the mark of an aiming sight on the penguin's chest.

    "Pochama, Brick Break again!"

    Following its trainer's command, Pochama again courageously rushed Porygon3 and struck with its tiny flippers. But once again, it couldn't do very much.

    "Doomirror, Shadow Rush!"

    Using its psychic power to levitate, Doomirror turned on its side before cloaking itself in the shadowy aura. It then spun like a ninja star into Porygon3, this time finally causing the Normal type to cry out in pain from the hit. A jagged line marked the place on Porygon3's chest where Doomirror had struck.

    "No more of these games! Slowking, take Doomirror out with a Fire Blast! Give it all you've got!"

    Slowking opened its mouth wide in one final yawn, and the telltale symbol of Fire Blast came jetting out with a mighty roar. The attack screamed like a jet plane as it flew through the air and enveloped Doomirror, burning it in the inferno it created. When the flames finally dissipated, a battered Doomirror with burn marks all over its body fell down face first, knocked out easily.

    "Waaahh........Doomirror, return!" Larson could tell he had no chance now, for he knew what attack was coming by simply reading the expression on Rich's face.

    "Time to take advantage of that Lock-On, Porygon3.....ZAP CANNON!! Let's go!"

    No matter how much effort it gave to dodging, Pochama couldn't escape. The effect of Lock-On made Porygon3's follow up attack---a large orb of electricity launched in a cannon-like manner---unavoidable. Pochama ran around the room frantically, the Zap Cannon tailing it doggedly, until it tripped on a curled up piece of carpet. It was then that the attack mercilessly assaulted it, finishing it off in an explosive manner.

    "Aw, dammit! We'll have to retreat!"

    //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    "You are good," Larson said, a twinge of sarcasm poisoning the comment. "But I doubt you're good enough. Take the package. It's not like we won't be getting it back.........farewell, until we meet again!"

    Larson fled, and as soon as he was gone, the workers crept out from their hiding places. Cautiously they approached Rich as he stowed the Poké Balls containing Slowking and Porygon3.

    "Is---is it safe?" one man ventured, clearly shaken.

    "Everything's fine now," Rich answered with a strong tone, aiming to reassure the workers. "Just tell us what exactly happened here."

    Another worker, this one a rather short woman, opened her mouth to answer but spotted Rosemary before she did.

    "Rosemary, I knew it!!" the woman screamed. "Those awful men came here looking for your package!"

    "They didn't get it, did they?" Rosemary questioned with great concern. "If those machine parts fell into their hands, time and space would....."

    Before Rosemary could finish her sentence, a third worker thrust a large box into her arms.

    "There it is. We were lucky you guys showed up when you did. We couldn't have held them off longer."

    Rosemary wiped her brow in relief. Clearly her mind was eased a bit by the fact her important package was safely in her possession. After nodding to the postal workers, she turned back to Rich, Anabel and Olivia.

    "Well, we'd best be heading back. Once we arrive at my lab I can explain wh----" A ringing sound interrupted Rosemary mid-sentence. It was her P*DA's e-mail signal. "Oh, excuse me.

    'Rosemary, it's Mason from the Floria Town Ranger Base.

    I know you went off to Okka Town, but I would like to see you right away. There is somet'


    ......huh?"

    "What's wrong?" Anabel edged closer to Rosemary, trying to see the P*DA screen. "Did something come up?"

    "Yeah, Anabel, something isn't right. Mason, the Ranger Leader, sent me an e-mail asking me to return and see him, but it cut off in the middle of a word. That's not like him... You don't think that those crooks are behind this, do you?"

    Rich's eyes widened. Time after time after time he had seen this scheme play out during his battles with Enigma Shadow: peons would be dispatched to one location to draw him there while a higher ranking member would direct an attack somewhere else.

    "Rosemary, we have got to get back to Floria Town NOW," he finally said, dubiously. "If my guess is correct, Enigma Shadow attacked Okka Town only to draw us away from Floria Town so the real attack could take place there!"

    "What?! It was all a ruse?"

    "Rich's right," Anabel added. "I've seen them do this before. We've got to get back there and stop whatever trouble they're causing."

    "I see, I see.......but how do we get back there fast enough? We can't make it on foot."

    "We don't make it on foot." Rich pulled out a Poké Ball. "We make it by air."

    When Rich popped the ball open, his Salamence appeared, took a deep breath, and let out an earth-shaking roar.

    "Yay! A ride on Salamence!" Cheerfully, Olivia climbed onto Salamence's back.

    "Anabel, Olivia and I will ride Salamence back," Rich explained. "Can your Metang carry you, Rosemary? Salamence can't support four."

    "Of course. Come on out, Metang!"

    Rosemary released Metang, lept aboard with her package, and rode the Steel and Psychic type Pokémon up and out of the open Pelipper bill atop the building. Rich and Anabel followed, getting on Salamence.

    "Hold on tight, Olivia."

    "I will, Mommy."

    "Here we go. Salamence, let's move!" On Rich's command, the dragon took to the air and followed Metang. "Floria Town, here we come! Enigma Shadow, you're going down!"

    Salamence flew through the open Pelipper bill into the open air. Just as it did, Harlan stumbled through the door on his cane.

    "I'm here! Those guys won't get away with it! Get them out of my---"

    "Sir, they've already been run out of town," a male worker said, sweatdropping.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------

    If Okka Town was the very picture of disturbing calm and quiet under Enigma Shadow's thumb, Floria Town was now the exact opposite. The citizens had massed in the town square in an uproar melding anger and fear, watching a horrifying spectacle. A giant, mantis-like silver and gray robot with thin legs was towering over the Ranger Base. It had six arms tipped with grabbing claws, and jet engine on its back. Piloting the robot from inside its glass-covered cockpit were Attila and Hun, both clearly enjoying terrorizing the town.

    "Hah! This dead-end place is like some of the redneck towns we ran over in Team Rocket!" Attila laughed cruelly. "I'm surprised the boss wanted us to do a job of such low caliber!"

    "It does bring back memories, yes," Hun replied coldly and calmly, "but whether or not it's 'high caliber,' it's a job Queen Shadow gave us. You know what we're supposed to do. Kidnap those Rangers and----"

    An electronic beeping noise from one of the robot's sensors interrupted Hun. She looked at the radar on the dashboard, and jumped in surprise. On the radar were two dots rapidly approaching their position.

    "We've got incoming intruders dead ahead!" Hun shouted, her calm replaced by a sense of severe threat. "Get me a visual NOW, Attila!"

    "Bringing up the visual......." Attila pressed some buttons on the control panel, but when the visual of the area where the dots were appeared, there was nothing there. "What? Must've just been a goof on the radar.."

    "Salamence! Dragon Claw and aim for the legs!"

    Attila and Hun looked around with the viewfinder, trying to find the source of the mysterious shout. Finally they found it in the form of Rich's Salamence, bearing down on them with its right claw cocked back and glowing red. Before anyone could react it delivered a crushing blow to the mech's legs, sending it stumbling back. When Salamence pulled back, Attila and Hun could see Rich, Anabel, Olivia and Rosemary on the ground.

    "WHAT?!" Attila smashed his fist onto the control panel in rage. "Rich and Anabel!!"

    "How did they.......grrrrr, those peons failed us! Attila, we're making land!"

    "Right away!"

    Attila pressed a large red button, causing the robot to bend down. The cockpit windshield flipped open, and he and Hun lept out to face their foes.

    "Well, well, well.." Hun rubbed her hands together with a sadistic smirk on her face. "We meet again, Mistblooms."

    "I was right all along!" Rich shouted back as he recalled Salamence. "You guys had us fighting in Okka Town hoping you'd pull off your scheme here before we returned!"

    "The kid ain't stupid, Hun. Looks like we'd better go into battle mode!"

    "There's no 'we,' Attila. I'll be facing him alone this time." Hun stepped forward, the cold look frozen onto her face as she confronted Rich. "Be honest with me. You steamrolled those peons, didn't you?"

    "If truth be told, I steamrolled them, mashed them, and shredded them. You're next."

    "Oh! I wouldn't be counting on that, boy. I'm under direct orders from the none other than Enigma Shadow's leader to wipe you out. You sure you want to push your luck and challenge me? You can still step aside and be spared." Rich shook his head vigorously, refusing Hun's offer. "Fine. It is time, then. In the name of the Fire Opal Project and the great Queen Shadow herself, you will fall!"

    //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
    Pkmn Trainer Rich ---vs.--- Shadow Minion Hun
    //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    "For this match, I shall choose ... Solrock and Glion! Go!"

    Hun drew out two Poké Balls from a pocket on the back of her uniform and flung them out, releasing an orange and yellow Solrock along with yet another Pokémon unfamiliar to Rich. This one looked much like a purple scorpion with sinister yellow eyes and a thin body, but also with batlike wings enabling it to fly.

    "Huh? Isn't that a Gligar? But it isn't......."

    As usual, Rich went right to his P*DA for information on the mystery Pokémon.

    "Glion, the fang scorpion Pokémon. Type is Ground/Flying. Evolved form of Gligar. Glion are predators with deadly accuracy and speed. They hang from tree branches with their tails to observe prey, and attack from the sky as soon as their chance appears. It is a species rarely seen in the wild."

    "Hm, an interesting one. Finally a challenge for once. Salamence, Melodic, I choose you! Let's go!"

    Most challengers would be intimidated by Rich's selections even with the amount of knowledge Hun had about him, but she stayed cool and calm.

    "I won't be as easy as those peons you beat. Show me what you've got!"

    "Alright, I will." Rich smiled and thrust his arm forward. "Salamence, Hydro Pump! Go!"

    Salamence let its head fall back, facing straight into the sky, then with a great roar whipped forward and fired the pressurized water jet from its mouth straight for Glion.

    "Use Agility into Ice Fang!"

    Just before the Hydro Pump hit, Glion managed to escape at blinding speed. It was moving so fast, in fact, that it couldn't even be seen. Salamence dropped its attack to try and refocus on its target, and this was Glion's chance---it suddenly reappeared and bit down on the dragon's neck with icy fangs. Salamence thrashed about in pain, finally throwing Glion off but not before suffering heavy damage indicated by a row of iced-over fang marks on its neck. The two opposing trainers reacted in natural ways---Hun smirked wickedly, and Rich clenched his fists in frustration.

    "So that's not going to work. I'd better try something else. Melodic, Iron Tail now!"

    As Rich's loyal partner whipped its long golden body towards Solrock, it accentuated a key difference between Melodic and its previous evolutionary form, Milotic. Milotic were known for their striking beauty and mastery of water-based attacks, but not for the weak muscles in their bodies that made any type of physical strike by a Milotic nearly a joke. The evolution, however, brought great strength to Melodic's muscles and fueled the fierce power of Iron Tail to a new degree. Solrock certainly found this out the hard way as the metallic glow of Melodic's tail filled its eyes just before smashing it in the head so hard it fell to the ground.

    "Sollllllllllll!!!!!!" Solrock moaned. Hun, meanwhile, tensed while still keeping her cool.

    "Very courageous. Solrock!"

    As soon as it heard its name, Solrock resiliently shot back up into the air with a look of fury replacing its usual dreamy expression.

    "Sol rock! Rock!!" it cried fiercely, much to Hun's delight.

    "Good show, Solrock. Sunny Day!"

    If Solrock had a trademark attack, this would likely be it. The sun-like Pokémon spun its body around and flashed its eyes, and on this magical cue, strong sunlight cut through the clouds and flooded Floria Town.

    "So she's going to weaken my Water attacks," Rich thought. "I'll have to alter my strategy a bit. Salamence, try Flamethrower on Glion!!"

    This time it wasn't water but fire that shot from Salamence's fanged maw, quickly engulfing Glion in its sun-drenched strength. The flames cleared fairly quickly, but Glion was left breathing heavily with burn marks about its body.

    "Time to take you to school," Hun taunted with an even more wicked look than ever. "Glion, Thunder Fang NOW!"

    Rich was clearly caught off guard---he had expected another Ice Fang directed at Salamence, not a Thunder Fang at Melodic, and as a result he had no time to prepare a defensive maneuver. Just like it had done icily to Salamence, Glion crunched down on the back of Melodic's neck as sparks shot from the bite area. When Glion let go, Melodic's entire body was shaking and occasionally shooting off sparks---it had become paralyzed.

    "No! Melodic, try and fight with an Ice Beam!"

    Melodic really did try its best, but it couldn't attack. The paralysis had the majestic Pokémon crippled.

    "You can weep if you want. Solrock ... SOLARBEAM!!!"

    Absorbing the sunlight like a shower drain taking in water, Solrock became a beacon of light so bright that Rich had no choice but to shield his eyes behind his sleeve. When the light faded into Solrock's body, it sparked for a split second before firing it all in a massive beam directed straight at Melodic.

    "MELLLLOOOOOOOO!!!!" Melodic screeched, the super-effective Solarbeam battering it as if it were a rag doll. "Mellllooodiccc!!!! Mel...melo..."

    ...And as soon as the beam faded, Melodic was out cold on the ground.

    "Want to cry yet, boy?" Hun continued to taunt Rich. "There's more of that coming if you don't stop!"

    Hun's taunting didn't intimidate Rich like it was meant to, though. His anger was clearly boiling, but he did well trying not to show it too much.

    "You haven't beaten me yet. Melodic, have a rest. Return! Now.. go, Slowking!"

    Anabel's jaw dropped when she saw Rich send out Slowking---another Water type.

    "What's wrong with him?!!!" she thought in panic. "Solarbeam will wipe Slowking out just as easily! Rich, what are you---"

    "Daddy, go! Beat that mean lady!"

    Stopped cold by Olivia's sweet display of support, Anabel decided not to yell at Rich and to support him as well instead.

    "Do it for Olivia!" Anabel shouted, a gesture met with a thumbs-up and a wink from Rich.

    "Salamence, we've got no more time for any of these games. Use Crunch to finish off Solrock now!"

    "Mencesalllllaahh!!!" In a flash Salamence bore down on Solrock and pierced right through its Rock type defenses using its sharp fangs. The sun Pokémon winced, then fainted even while it was still in Salamence's grip. The dragon dropped it shortly after.

    "So you do have some fight in you after all," Hun said, still calm, as she recalled her fainted Solrock. "This might just be fun in the end. Go, Forretress!"

    Next up for Hun was a blank-faced Forretress, obviously a Shadow Pokémon.

    "My Shadow Pokémon, in fact," Hun announced. "Glion, Ice Fang on Salamence!"

    Another Ice Fang from Glion was all it took to bring the mighty Salamence down. Rich didn't seem flustered, though.

    "So you beat Salamence. That's not a big deal. You did a good job, my friend, rest awhile. Go, Lucario! Let's hit this pairing right away! Slowking, use Ice Beam to take out Glion!"

    In a fit of poetic justice, right after Glion felled Salamence using Ice Fang, it found itself on the recieving end of an icy beam blasted at it by Slowking.

    "GLiiiiioooooooOOOO ---- Guh....gilonnn..."

    Rich's strategy paid off, as Slowking made Glion drop with very little effort by using Ice Beam. Now Hun was starting to show her anger, as she hadn't anticipated this much of a fight.

    "Glion, return! Clearly you don't value the well being of yourself, your friends and your Pokémon if you're going to resist us this much. Lunatone, it's your turn! Go!"

    "Now, you see, if I had the Snag Machine that Forretress would be a tempting target. But I don't, so like the other Shadow Pokémon I've encountered, it'll have to go down. Lucario, Blaze Kick! Let's go!"

    "Luluuuu..CARR!!!" After using its powerful legs to spring up, Lucario aimed its right foot at Forretress and came down hard and fast, said foot becoming like a fireball.

    "Forretress, use Shadow Shed on yourself to deflect it!"

    A whirlpool of shadow energy surrounded Forretress as it used the Shadow Shed attack on itself, only intending to try and deflect Blaze Kick. For a few moments this unusual tactic did work, sparks flying as Lucario's attack pushed against the shadow energy, but in the end it failed. Lucario broke through and hit Forretress with a catastrophically strong blow, taking it down instantly. Hun seemed to be reaching her breaking point, all her expectations of an easy win long gone.

    "My Shadow Pokémon was useless?!! Grr.....return, now! Aggron, I choose you!"

    "Feeling a little desperate, perhaps?" Now it was Rich's time to taunt, and he clearly got under Hun's skin easily. "I think we should offer her a little water therapy, Slowking. Water Gun, go!"

    Even though it had 'slow' in its name, Slowking was anything but. Showing great agility in addition to courage, Slowking got right in Lunatone's face before spitting up a stream of water, knocking the Rock and Psychic type for quite a loop.

    "Lucario, Pulse Bomb!" Rich wasn't letting up in his assault.

    Having just returned to its mark, Lucario took a moment to prepare itself, but fairly quickly managed to form a ball of blue Aura energy between its hands and fling it at Aggron. The orb exploded on impact, hitting Aggron hard and causing it to cough due to the smoke.

    "Aggr..! Gron!!"

    "We don't have to take that from him! Lunatone, Rain Dance!!"

    In the complete opposite of Solrock's earlier move, Lunatone spun around and flashed its eyes to cause clouds to gather. Soon, a steady rain began to fall.

    "Aggron, hit Lucario with Brick Break!"

    Lucario's limber form also could be a liability, as proven when Aggron lumbered forward and swung rather clumsily with its right arm. Somehow, under the comical air of this large beast tottering about, Lucario actually took quite a strong hit and was sent stumbling back a few steps.

    "Ah, clever. Playing off type weakness, I see. Unfortunately your time is up. Slowking, use Water Pulse!!"

    "Slooooooooow.........slowking!!!!" The rain, falling heavily at this point, fueled Slowking's watery assault. Sonic rings of water blasted out of its mouth and pierced through the air, striking Aggron square in the chest. The Steel and Rock type stumbled ... then fainted.

    "WHAT?!" Now Hun's cool facade was clearly cracking. "You insolent...RETURN! I've had just about enough of you and your fooling in our plans, Rich. It ends now! Steelix, destroy him!"

    Hun's sixth and final Pokémon was her strongest: a silver Steelix that towered over all the others with its angry, toothy expression.

    "I've got an ace up my sleeve, too." Rich stayed cool, with the ever-present grin still on his face. "Lucario, up the ante! FOCUS BOMB!"

    Lucario prepared to attack in a manner much like how it did for Pulse Bomb, but the orb that formed between its hands was red and much larger this time. The air crackled as the ball of energy flew from Lucario's hands towards Steelix ... however, the imminent strike failed to move Hun to any kind of concern.

    "Oh, please. Steelix, look alive!"

    With a deep, guttoral growl, Steelix simply moved its head to the right. The Focus Bomb sailed straight past and into the cloudy sky, useless.

    "AhahaHAH!! Now, taste my power! Steelix, Earthquake!"

    Steelix shifted its bulk upward, then using its entire weight slammed down into the ground. A seismic shockwave was produced that sailed cleanly under Lunatone yet shattered the ground beneath Slowking and Lucario. Slowking was knocked to its knees but managed to recover; however, being a part Steel type, Lucario collapsed.

    "Oh, my.." Rich was shocked by this turn of events, having been in control just moments earlier. He held up the Poké Ball so it could pull in Lucario, but put it away. He then helped Lucario to its feet and over to the side, where it would be safe. "You did good work, my friend."

    "Lucaaah...."

    "Don't you worry, we'll win this." Rich turned back to the battle and readied another Poké Ball. "I know I shouldn't be encouraging this ... but here's your chance to impress Lucario! Roserade, go!"

    Roserade came bursting out of its ball with a flair, noticed how hurt Lucario was, then turned to face Hun's Pokémon with an expression so angry it was nearly comical.

    "Hah! You think that little twerpy thing can beat me? Lunatone, drop that Slowking with Thunder!"

    Several bolts of lightning shot up from Lunatone's body into the cloudy sky. A few moments later they came crashing down as one focused blast on Slowking, completely overwhelming it.

    "SLOOOOOOOOOWWWW...ki--" Slowking collapsed from the power of the blast.

    "I do believe the score is even now," Hun taunted cruelly. "Ready to give up yet, or must I apply the finishing blow?"

    "Nothing's over yet. Return, Slowking! Porygon3, my hopes are on you now! Go and use Shadow Ball!"

    A ball of dark energy formed around Porygon3's body. It took careful aim then launched the shadowy sphere at Lunatone, happening to score a critical blow. In an amazing stroke of luck for Rich, Lunatone fell.

    "You've got to be kidding me..." Hun snarled as she recalled Lunatone. "Steelix, it's all up to you now! Don't you dare fail me!"

    "This is all over. Roserade, prepare for the final strike with Sunny Day!"

    Roserade waved its bouquets, ending the rain and bringing the sun back out.

    "It won't help. Steelix, Iron Tail!!"

    "Porygon3, use Protect!"

    Steelix's tail glistened with a metallic glow in the sunlight as the Steel and Ground type bore down on Porygon3 with it like a whip. To counter, Porygon3 formed a shield of green light around itself, and sparks flew as the energy from the two moves clashed on contact. Rich's grin became a smile---this was his opening.

    "Hurry, Roserade! Get in close while it's distracted and use Weather Ball!!"

    Steelix could've never reacted quickly enough. Roserade lept up from the ground and landed right on its nose, quickly powered up an orb of heat between its bouquets, and fired the super-effective attack at point-blank range. Steelix roared in pain, keeled backward, and fainted.

    "What?!! No! NO!!! This cannot be happening!!"

    //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    "This can't be right! No, it can't be right at all!"

    Attila steered the robot down and pressed a button on the control panel to open the cockpit.

    "You lost, Hun?"

    "Damn right I did! We'd better cut our losses and flee!"

    With great agility, Hun lept up all the way from the ground to the cockpit of the robot. Once she was in place, the window closed and Attila took control of the mech's claws.

    "One Ranger Leader, coming right up!" the muscular man laughed as he directed the machine to break a hole right through the roof of the Ranger Base. The claws reached in and fumbled around a bit, then pulled out --- with Mason in their grip.

    "Stop it! Let me go, you criminals!" the Ranger Leader was shouting, holding his hat on with one hand and flailing the other about helplessly. Attila and Hun ignored him.

    "This is all we came for anyway," Hun announced coldly. "We'll be back for the rest later. Attila, time for us to leave."

    "Right away!"

    With the press of another button, Attila sent a blast of smoke out from the jet engines on the mech's tail -- and when the smoke cleared, they were gone. Judy came running out of the Ranger Base in a panic, waving her hand in front of her face to clear the smoke. She was still wearing her headphones and transmitter microphone, the cords to which had been ripped right out of their ports and were trailing behind her on the ground.

    "Ma.....Mason!! Bring him back!!" Judy screamed naively. "Oh no...what's going to become of...?"

    Judy then began to fall, but Rich rushed to her side and caught her. As he held her up, she continued sobbing hysterically, saying something incoherently.

    "Those miserable crooks," Rich growled to himself. "Judy, where's Jackie? In fact, where are all the Rangers?"

    "They're all .. out on missions," Judy choked out. "We had no chance at all.."

    "We'll be doing something about that, don't you worry. Hello there, Rich."

    A tall man dressed in a sharp gray-and-blue lab coat arrived on the scene at that moment. His slicked-back hair of deep blue and its single jagged shock sticking up glistened in the sun, as did his rectangular purple glasses. Following behind him was a beautiful, orange-haired woman in a flowing pink gown.

    "Ein and Venus?" Rich was very surprised to see Anabel's parents, especially in Aquane. "When did you come here?"

    "Because of me," Anabel explained, stepping forward. "When we first encountered the Shadow Mitsuhoney, during that battle I borrowed Rosemary's P*DA and used it call my father so he could deliver the--"

    Without warning, Rosemary charged in, shoving Rich and Anabel aside, and got right in Ein's face.

    "Oh my!! Are you really the famous Prof. Ein of Larousse City?!" Rosemary had gone into complete fangirl mode and was speaking in a very hyper manner. "I've read all the papers on Shadow Pokémon purification you wrote with Prof. Krane! You're my hero!!"

    "Eheheh...." Ein sweatdropped, trying to hide his embarassment at the gushing adoration of his fan. "Yes, yes, I did write those papers with Krane. But that's not why I'm here. Rich, I understand you've seen Shadow Pokémon used by crooks bearing resemblance to Enigma Shadow?"

    "Unfortunately yes," Rich responded with a sad tone. "And they don't just resemble Enigma Shadow -- they ARE Enigma Shadow, which has revived itself yet again after Dr. Yung's defeat seven years ago. They must've been in hiding as they recovered. The Shadow Pokémon I saw were a Mitsuhoney, a Shuckle, a Doomirror, and a Forretress."

    "It's a sad world that this is all happening again," the woman, Venus, sighed. "It looks like we'll have to turn to you again, Rich."

    Venus produced a briefcase, which Ein carefully opened. Inside was a machine designed to be worn on the arm, with a round silver shoulder pad connected to the silver-and-black glove by several wires. Anabel's father took this device and handed it to Rich, who, knowing exactly what to do, fitted it on his left arm.

    "The Snag Machine is yours once again," Ein said to Rich.

    "It's so shiny, Daddy!" Olivia exclaimed from Rich's side. "Can I have it too?"

    "Hohoho, that's my daughter's child," Ein chuckled. "Sorry, Olivia, I can't give that to you, it is far too important and your father needs it. You know the mission, Rich: find all the Shadow Pokémon that Enigma Shadow has produced, engage them in battle, and take them from their criminal masters using the Snag Machine."

    "I'll do it. I'll do it, if for no other reason than that Enigma Shadow's ruined the vacation I took to try and spend more time with Anabel and Olivia."

    "Good." Ein turned to Judy, who had recovered a bit from earlier. "Now, I understand you're Judy, the Mission Coordinator of this Ranger Base, correct?" Judy nodded silently, so Ein continued. "The activities of the Floria Town Rangers cannot be interrupted by Enigma Shadow's heinous deeds. You should contact the Ranger Union at once and try to find someone to fill in as Leader until Mason can be rescued."

    "Actually, that's already been done." Judy's expression quickly brightened. "When Enigma Shadow appeared they said they were going to kidnap Mason, right from the start, so while Rich was battling them, I contacted Prof. Hastings in Fiore. He told me a Ranger Leader from that region would be sent right away. I think you might know them -- some woman from Wintown, I believe it was."

    Both Ein and Venus recoiled at the moment Judy mentioned 'a woman from Wintown.'

    "W-Wintown?!" Ein seemed a bit shocked, and suddenly became rather reserved and nearly silent. "Well... good luck with that," he finally said before walking away.

    "Rosemary, I hope you don't mind two more gate crashers at your lab. Ein and I will need a place to stay."

    "Oh, no problem at all--" Rosemary was still fangirling, but stopped as soon as Venus turned and left after Ein.

    "Anabel, what was all that about?" Rich asked curiously. "Why did he freak when Judy mentioned Wintown?"

    Anabel, however, just raised her hands and shrugged. She didn't know.

    "Oh. Well, now this thing's back on my arm again.." Rich took a long look at the Snag Machine. "Here we go .... again."



    Enigma Shadow has returned after seven years in hiding! Their attack on Okka Town ended in failure as Rich arrived just in time to chase off their members and make sure Rosemary's package was safe, but that attack was only a decoy -- on Queen Shadow's orders, Attila and Hun attacked Floria Town and kidnapped Ranger Leader Mason. At this point, there are more questions than answers. Why did Enigma Shadow want to kidnap the Leader of Floria's Ranger Base? Why is Ein so upset on the mere mention of Fiore's Wintown? What exactly is the intent of the wicked organization this time, what plans do they have for the Aquane Region? Stay tuned to find out!




    END of CHAPTER ONE

  5. #5
    Master of Butterfree
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    First, I would like to say I love you Fan fic, I just couldn't leave the computer!
    Now, onto the review!
    Quote Originally Posted by The Great Butler View Post
    ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
    Pkmn Trainer Rich ---vs.--- Shadow Peon Larson
    ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    "Hikozaru, the young monkey Pokémon. Tyoe is Fire. It climbs up cliff walls agilely and lives on top of rock mountains. The flame on its tail goes out when it is asleep. The gas produced in its stomach acts as fuel to the flame on its tail. The flame doesn’t go out even in rain."[/i]]
    ou may want to re-reads your work after you write it, and make sure you don't have spelling errors.
    Quote Originally Posted by The Great Butler View Post
    Salamence flew through the open Pelipper bill into the open air. Just as it did, Harlan stumbled through the door on his cane.

    "I'm here! Those guys won't get away with it! Get them out of my---"

    "Sir, they've already been run out of town," a male worker said, sweatdropping.
    I LOLed at that.
    Quote Originally Posted by The Great Butler View Post
    "Now, you see, if I had the Snag Machine that Forretress would be a tempting target. But I don't, so like the other Shadow Pokémon I've encountered, it'll have to go down. Lucario, Blaze Kick! Let's go!"

    "Luluuuu..CARR!!!" After using its powerful legs to spring up, Lucario aimed its right foot at Forretress and came down hard and fast, said foot becoming like a fireball.

    "Forretress, use Shadow Shed on yourself to deflect it!"

    A whirlpool of shadow energy surrounded Forretress as it used the Shadow Shed attack on itself, only intending to try and deflect Blaze Kick. For a few moments this unusual tactic did work, sparks flying as Lucario's attack pushed against the shadow energy, but in the end it failed. Lucario broke through and hit Forretress with a catastrophically strong blow, taking it down instantly. Hun seemed to be reaching her breaking point, all her expectations of an easy win long gone.
    Great description, much better then when you first started your first fic of the series.
    Once again, great work, I loved it!

  6. #6
    追放されたバカ Nando's Avatar
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    Thank you :D

    Expect chapter 2 fairly soon.

  7. #7
    追放されたバカ Nando's Avatar
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    Onward! Onward to Chapter 2!
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------

    CHAPTER TWO: Shadow Pokémon and All That Jazz!




    A gentle wind blew from the open window through Rich and Anabel's room the morning after Enigma Shadow's dramatic return. Anabel was already up and gone, leaving a rather disheveled Rich to be stirred by the breeze. He sat up in bed and yawned, his bluegreen hair a mess.

    Silently and almost sullenly he arose, shuffled to the mirror, and stared for what seemed like forever. After quite a while he quickly changed from his night robe into his suit and placed his hat upon his head to hide the mess atop it. His eyes then fell to the Snag Machine, innocently sitting upon the dresser.

    "Aw, hell no..." he finally grumbled. All night he had hoped, wished and dreamed that the previous day's events were a bad nightmare, Enigma Shadow wasn't back, and everything was okay. The Snag Machine's presence shattered that facade. With a groan of acceptance, he put it on and walked out of the bedroom.

    -----------------------------------------------------------------

    It seemed like forever before Rich made it to the lab's kitchen. Surprisingly, Olivia was the only one there, playing with Rosemary's Budew.

    "Oh! Good morning, Daddy!"

    "Subo!! Budewe!!" the tiny green Pokémon chirped.

    "Good morning, Olivia." Rich seemed uninterested in her and Budew, though. "Do you know where your mother is?"

    "I'm in here, Rich!" Anabel called out from a side room, hearing and answering Rich's question. He promptly left Olivia and Budew to see what was going on, and found Anabel with Ein and Venus. All of them were watching Rosemary, who was kneeling on the ground repairing some sort of machine.

    "Good day, Rich," Ein greeted, seemingly back to his old self after the Wintown oddity the previous day.

    "What's she doing?" Rich asked, gesturing towards Rosemary, who stood, finished with her work and knowing Rich was referring to her.

    "Good morning, Rich! I was just finishing installing the machine parts I ordered into this special computer."

    "I see. What do they do?"

    "Well, Rosemary explained it to us already," Venus said, "maybe if you woke up sooner, you'd know. But I guess I can sit through it again."

    "Thanks for your permission," Rosemary replied sarcastically before turning back to Rich. "This, my friend, is not just any normal computer. It can detect the wave frequencies given off by all matter."

    "That in and of itself is interesting, I think," Anabel added, "but the next part's the best."

    "Not only can my computer detect wave frequencies, if I hit just the right frequency I can detect precious gems like DIAMONDS and PEARLS. Do you realize what that means? This computer right here before you can confirm the theory behind all my research---once on the right frequency it can tell us the location of Dialga and Palkia!"

    "You can WHAT?!" Obviously, Rich was shocked, as anyone would be if they heard a machine could detect the locations of Legendary Pokémon.

    "That's right. Remember when I said my research indicated Dialga and Palkia may be in Aquane in their dormant forms? This is the answer! If I can find an area where the readings of diamond aura or pearl aura are greatly exaggerated, that's where they are!"

    Ein took a step forward and rubbed his chin in thought, an action he seemed to do more out of habit than actually needing to.

    "Naturally, this device holds untold promise for us Pokémon researchers," the former Cipher scientist said dubiously, "but at the same time, it is a dangerous risk. We dodged the first bullet in not allowing them to steal the necessary parts, but if this machine were to fall into Enigma Shadow's control at any time, it could spell catastrophic distaster."

    "If this thing could cause so much danger," Rich asked, slightly angry, "why did you create it?"

    "Listen, Rich..." Rosemary's voice became serious, which was unlike her. "There's something I need to tell you. For several weeks prior to your arrival, members of a strange organization were going around asking about Dialga and Palkia. I didn't know who they were then, but now that I've seen identified members of Enigma Shadow, I know it was them because they had the same uniforms. I sent you the letter because I knew something bad was going on, and that you could do something about it."

    "You know, Rich," Anabel cut in, "isn't it lovely she volunteered us for this without asking first?" Rich laughed, so Anabel continued. "Nothing we can do about it now though. We've got to work with Rosemary to keep Enigma Shadow in check."

    "Precisely," Rosemary confirmed. "I devised a plan as to what we'll do. Rich, you and Anabel will distract Enigma Shadow by continuing to battle them and Snag their Shadow Pokémon. Since their attention will be drawn elsewhere, that gives me, Ein and Venus time to find Dialga and Palkia. Once we do that, we all can team up to try and protect them."

    At that moment, Rosemary's P*DA rang. She took it out quickly, opened it, read her new e-mail, and stowed it with equal speed.

    "Come, we're wanted at the Ranger Base. All of us."

    --------------------------------------------------------------------

    Rosemary led the group through the automatic doors of the Ranger Base just a few short minutes later. She walked with a strong step, and behind her, Rich and Anabel---the latter holding Olivia's hand tightly---followed upright behind her. Ein and Venus brought up the rear.

    Inside, the wind howled through the huge hole that Attila and Hun's mech had left in the roof. Judy was sitting at her desk, plugged back into her computer.

    "You got my e-mail," the Mission Coordinator greeted coldly. "I hope you're up for a job."

    "I am," Rosemary answered strongly. "We all are. What's the word?"

    "We were doing surveillance, like we always do, and we happened upon something..."

    "Oh, come now, Judy. It was much more than just 'something.'"

    All turned to find the source of the deep yet female voice. It belonged to a rather tall woman who was wearing brown boots and black pants that were covered by a blue-and-white apron. Her top was of the same color scheme, white with a blue stripe running up the center. Purple hair---startingly similar, no, identical---to Anabel's stuck out from under her white hood. Perhaps her most striking feature was her pair of cold, piercing gray eyes.

    "YOU," Venus snarled, her face twisting into one of extreme anger. "I refuse to deal with....psssh, forget it."

    With that, Venus stormed out of the Ranger Base, leaving the others speechless. It was Anabel's older lookalike that finally broke the silence.

    "I see things haven't changed at all." The woman's tone stayed even. "Allow me to introduce myself to you who don't know me. I am Elita, the Leader of the Pokémon Rangers of Wintown in the Fiore Region, sent to hold this Ranger Base together after the kidnapping of your own Leader."

    "Hello, Elita," Rich greeted warmly if not with a bit of nervousness. "I'm Rich. This is my wife Anabel, our daughter Olivia, and our friends Rosemary and Ein."

    "I am pleased to meet you all."

    "Mommy, you look just like her!" Olivia exclaimed, pulling Anabel's hand.

    Both Anabel and Elita simply chuckled, though an odd look flashed in Elita's eyes for a brief second.

    "Working with you will be a pleasure, I can tell. Ein, it's certainly been a while since we last met."

    "Uh...yeah, yes it has. Quite a while, in fact."

    "You know her?" Anabel seemed surprised.

    "We're old aquaintances," Ein answered, trying to project an air of confidence. "Used to....go to school together. Yeah, that's it."

    Elita smiled---a smile that betrayed her otherwise cold look.

    "Still as much a ham as I remember. Ein, you've really got to shed that stuffy scientist personality more often and just enjoy yourself. But that's not important right now. What's important is the business at hand."

    "Right," Judy said as Elita walked around the desk to the computer. "As I was saying, we were doing surveillance when we spotted something unusual on the coast just south of Okka Town. Upon further observance, we discovered it is some sort of Enigma Shadow research facility."

    "And that isn't all," added Elita. "When Judy showed me the recordings this Ranger Base took, we were able to see Enigma Shadow's former leader, Doctor Mitchell Yung, delivering a saxophone to the head of the facility, a very tall and skinny young woman who had her hair down in two long ponytails."

    "That's Lovrina," Rich mused. "We've met her before, in the Shadow Incidents of the past. But a saxophone? I don't understand it."

    "We don't understand it either," Elita answered, "but it must mean something. I want you to go investigate the facility and find out what's going on there. I've already sent a Floria Town Ranger, he'll meet you there."

    Rich closed his eyes, immersing himself in thought. Could he do this all alone? An Enigma Shadow research facility was no big deal, he'd beaten a great number of them before... but it had been seven years. That, and he also couldn't bear the thought of putting Anabel and Olivia into danger again. His mind was completely deadlocked as to what he should do.

    "Rich, I know this is hard for you," Anabel broke in, "but we've got to do it. Olivia will be safe. If they wanted to get her, they'd have to get rid of both of us first."

    "Stop reading my mind." Rich opened his eyes, turned to Anabel, and smiled. "I forgot, you really CAN read minds. Heheh... nevertheless, you're right. We'll fly back to Okka Town on Salamence, then head to the Enigma Shadow facility from there."

    "Bravo! That's the spirit!" Rosemary cheered them on. "We'll wait here for word, so good luck!"

    "Thank you." Rich tipped his hat to Rosemary, Elita, Judy and Ein, then led Anabel and Olivia outside. As soon as the doors closed behind them, he took out a Poké Ball and threw it, releasing Salamence.

    "Salaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhh!!!" the dragon roared, happy to be out in the fresh air.

    "Listen up, Salamence, we're gonna need your help." Rich directed his Pokémon in a firm yet gentle and kind way. "Anabel, Olivia and I need to get to Okka Town---remember, where we were yesterday---and you're our way there. You up to it, my friend?"

    "Sala mennce!"

    "I'll take that as a yes. Come on, let's hit the road."

    Rich climbed onto Salamence's back, then offered a hand and helped pull Anabel and Olivia up. Salamence took over at that point, using its mighty wings to take to the sky.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------

    Elsewhere, some others weren't exactly having a good day. Those others would be Attila and Hun---cowering before Queen Shadow, who was completely outraged over their failure.

    "You two disgust me!!" the wicked leader thundered. "I sent you to do two things: kidnap Mason and stop Richard Wallace Mistbloom dead in his tracks!"

    "But, my queen..." Attila's voice, usually strong, was quivering in fear. "We did kidnap Mason."

    "IS MASON THE ONE SNAGGING OUR POKéMON?!" Queen Shadow roared in response.

    "If I may," Hun ventured, "why don't we just kidnap Rich and hold him here?"

    "Too blatant. If we tried that and failed, several top operatives might fall into the hands of law enforcement, and at this stage we cannot afford that. You've given me an idea though... I propose we strike him with something that'll break his spirit. It worked once, when I faked my death in the Wishmaker Tower bombing, it should work again."

    "That's a great idea, my queen! In fact, Hun and I could---"

    "Shut up, Attila. I'm not giving you two any assignments right now. Go and train so you might actually get something done next time. Begone."

    Attila and Hun saluted their leader, then left the chamber rather quickly. Queen Shadow slumped in her chair and sighed.

    "I'm surrounded by fools... if this plan fails I'm in a lot of trouble myself." The queen spun around in her chair to face the video screens, then pressed a button to bring up Dr. Yung's lab on one of them. The doctor and Gordor were busy along with several white-coated scientists building various musical instruments. "Yung, Gordor, what is the status of Shadow Styler production?"

    "It's coming along well," Gordor answered, looking up. "We're getting a good handle on what exactly these things can do and what we want them to do."

    "Has Lovrina reported in with the field test stats for her saxophone yet?" Yung asked.

    "Not that I've heard. Let me get into contact with Domino and see if she's heard anything." Queen Shadow pressed another button on her armrest, bringing up the blonde spy on another screen. "Domino, I want the latest report on the actions of Rich and Anabel."

    "Oh! Hello there, Queen Shadow!" Domino's cheery demeanor didn't score any points with her rapidly-souring boss, so she took the clue and became serious. "Yes, yes, the latest report. First of all, our predictions were right about Rosemary's little invention...listen."

    "Not only can my computer detect wave frequencies, if I hit just the right frequency I can detect precious gems like DIAMONDS and PEARLS. Do you realize what that means? This computer right here before you can confirm the theory behind all my research---once on the right frequency it can tell us the location of Dialga and Palkia!"

    "You can WHAT?!"

    "That's right. Remember when I said my research indicated Dialga and Palkia may be in Aquane in their dormant forms? This is the answer! If I can find an area where the readings of diamond aura or pearl aura are greatly exaggerated, that's where they are!"


    "Now that is something that I'm pleased to hear!" Queen Shadow exclaimed. "You better keep an eye on that and get me some readings as soon as you can."

    "Don't worry about it," Domino answered, "I'm working on a way to bug the machine as we speak. As for Rich and Anabel, they've left for Okka Town... it seems the Rangers found where Lovrina's lab is."

    "Well, there's your answer, Yung. We'll find out soon enough, when Lovrina gets into a battle with them."

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    It seemed to take awhile, but Salamence finally touched down in Okka Town right in front of the mayor's home. Rich recalled it, then started to approach the door when he heard shouting from inside.

    "Oh no, not again...Anabel, you hear that?"

    "All too well. Olivia, hold close."

    Anabel pulled Olivia close to her as Rich slowly put his hand on the doorknob. He took a deep breath, then shoved it open. Inside, Harlan was sitting at his desk, a Shadow Peon with a Chatot on his shoulder standing before him.

    "I'm telling you, Mr. Mayor, your cooperation is necessary in our tests." The peon seemed calm and cool.

    "I ain't cooperating with you thugs on anything!" Harlan spat back.

    Suddenly, the Chatot noticed Rich and Anabel.

    "Rich and Anabel, Chatot!!" it squawked. "Rich Anabel, Chatchatot!!"

    "So they've arrived," the peon said to himself in a startingly calm way. "Chatot, come! Back to the lab!"

    Chatot landed on its master's shoulder, then the peon flew out the door in a huge rush.

    "Has anything happened here?!" Anabel quickly asked the mayor, who was holding his chest and breathing deeply.

    "No, nothing," was the response. "That guy just walked in here and started blasting me with information along with his Chatot. Talked my ear off but didn't lay a finger on me, thank goodness. An old man like me can't take their nonsensical abuse!"

    "Did he mention anything about a research facility near this town?" Rich questioned, trying to get some information out of the mayor.

    "Something about a 'Styler lab' on the southern coast or the like."

    "That's all we need to know. Anabel, we've got to chase him, and Salamence can do the job. Let's go!"

    In a flash, Rich, Anabel and Olivia were outside the mayor's home, on Salamence, and flying off in the direction the peon had fled in.

    "Wait!" Harlan shouted after them, even though they were long since gone. "Stay awhile! I've got a bucket of fried chicken to share over some training stories!"

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------

    Up in the sky, Rich and Anabel were watching the ground closely from their perch atop Salamence, looking for signs of the peon's track. Olivia was safely wrapped in Anabel's arms as they flew.

    "See anything yet, Rich? We should be seeing--"

    "Wait, Anabel," Rich cut in. He pointed downward to the ground, where a trail of empty Poké Balls had been dropped in the woods. "Awfully suspicious, is it not?"

    "I agree. Salamence, follow it!"

    Salamence grunted in response to Anabel's command; even though it belonged to Rich, the dragon knew and trusted Anabel enough to listen to her as well. The trail started out promising and soon turned red-hot: the Poké Balls led a perfect path right to a cliff overlooking the beach, where a rusted metal building sat.

    "That's the lab, I bet. Salamence, land us here." When Salamence landed on the rocks, Rich returned it to its ball after helping Anabel and Olivia off its back. The three then approached the metal door marking the entrance of the facility. Rich pushed on the door and it gave way, having been left unlocked and open. Immediately greeting them inside the metallic gray room were the peon and his Chatot.

    "Rich and Anabel and Olivia too, Chat chatot!" the bird Pokémon squawked in its comical voice.

    "You followed me here?" Shockingly, the peon remained calm.

    "Obviously we did," Rich answered, "and you're cornered, so give up whatever Shadow Pokémon you have and stand aside. We've got business in that lab."

    "You're wrong on two counts, sir. First of all, I can easily escape like this." The peon turned to a digital number pad on the wall next to him and entered a passcode, causing a nearby door leading deeper into the lab to open. "That, and I have no reason to run in the first place."

    Rich was about to shout at the peon for his arrogance, but his enemy's next move shocked him silent. With a firm, two-handed grip, the peon pulled his helmet off to allow his long blonde hair to fall---it was Jackie, disguised as a Shadow Peon all along.

    "Jackie?!" Anabel screamed in shock.

    "Didn't Elita and Judy tell you they sent a Ranger ahead?" Jackie said with a wry smile. "I'm supposed to be accompanying you as you clear out this facility. The Ranger Union wants me to gather information on Enigma Shadow so we can predict their movements."

    "It'll be good to have you along," Rich answered, an answer that lifted a burden of sorts from his shoulders---after all, three was always better than two.

    "Olivia, stay close to us."

    "I will, Mommy."

    Anabel pulled Olivia closer than ever, then followed Rich and Jackie as they took the decisive step through the now-open steel door into the lab.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Elsewhere, deep in the bowels of the facility...

    The aforementioned thin, tall young woman stood at a large computer keyboard, monitor mounted on the wall. Her long pink hair was the only bright thing in the room, which was constructed of the same sickly orange rust-covered metal that the rest of the facility was made of. Certainly, it was obvious that Enigma Shadow had not spent much of its funds on building the lab.

    Displayed on the computer's screen was the saxophone-fashioned Shadow Styler, which was actually sitting against the wall nearby. Also on the screen was a picture of a Pokémon that resembled nothing more than a paper airplane, white in color with markings of various other hues on its body. As the woman read the statistics being run by her computer, a male scientist wearing a traditional lab coat and dark sunglasses rushed in.

    "Miss Lovrina, we've got intruders at the gate!" the man shouted, panicked. "Not only that, remember our new recruit, the one who called himself 'J?' He's a Pokémon Ranger from Floria Town and is helping Rich and Anabel break in!"

    "Oh, that is SO not what I wanted to hear right now!" Lovrina screeched in her high-pitched voice and distinctive valley girl manner. "Look, Tekot, you've been working for me for oh so long now, ever since we tried to break that awful Prof. Krane back in Orre, remember?"

    "Yes, Lovrina, but how is this relevant to Rich and Anabel breaking in?"

    "Do I have to report you for being so rude? Seriously, I am SO your boss! And I'm also so offended over the fact that Queen Shadow left us here with only two peons in addition to you and me, like they so needed to cut the budget and shortchanged us. So, you go do something about it! Like, NOW!"

    "But, Lovrina..."

    "No buts! I so told you to do something about it, AND I OH SO MEAN IT!"

    The exasperated researcher hung his head as he turned and left.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Rich was leading the way deeper into the lab, Jackie and Anabel with Olivia following closely behind. With each step they took, the metal stairs resonated with sound, which in turn echoed against the iron walls. The two men in the group had the mission of flushing Enigma Shadow from the facility on their minds, though Rich's thoughts were complicated by the fact he had to protect Anabel and Olivia from harm. In fact, Rich's thoughts so clouded his mind that on the fourth to last step, he tripped and fell. The others quickly rushed to him and helped him up.

    "Rich, are you alright?" Anabel was clearly alarmed. "You didn't hurt yourself, did you?"

    "That was funny, Daddy! Do it again!"

    "Olivia-!" Anabel was shocked at Olivia's remark and was clearly about to scold her when Rich held his hand up and smiled.

    "No need, Anabel, she's just a child. I'm fine, let's keep going."

    Rich took one step forward---and a female Shadow Peon jumped down from the ceiling to confront the group.

    "So, J, you're really Ranger Jackie, I hear."

    "You guys might be crooks, but you get info fast," was Jackie's response. He never lost his cool.

    "I'll be teaching you lot a lesson now for intruding on this Shadow Styler lab. Queen Shadow will be pleased to have the Mistbloom family AND a Floria Ranger in her collection!"

    ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
    Pkmn Trainer Rich ---vs.--- Shadow Peon Talia
    ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    "Starly, Minomutchi, it's time to go!"

    Talia's two Pokémon were a small black-gray-and white bird with a sharp yellow beak, and a bagworm-type creature with a pink body and yellow eyes. The headset device that came with the Snag Machine---known as the Aura Reader---activated as it detected Starly's being a Shadow Pokémon.

    "So it's a Shadow Pokémon. I'd better get my information on it first."

    Rich took out and activated his P*DA, then looked up the information on these two Pokémon in the Browser.

    "Minomutchi, the bagworm Pokémon. Type is Bug. To protect itself against the cold wind, it makes a coat from materials like twigs or fallen leaves to cover its body. After its coat is destroyed in a battle, a Minomutchi immediately creates a new one with the materials available nearby. Notable for its split evolution---male Minomutchi evolve into Garmeil, and female Minomutchi evolve into Minomadam."

    Starly, the gray starling Pokémon. Type is Normal/Flying. These Pokémon move in numerous flocks. Their bodies are small, but their wings are very strong. They usually live in flocks and are rarely seen alone. Starly are known for their high-pitched, loud cries."


    "Bug and Flying this time out, eh? Salamence, Slowking, I need your assistance! Go! Salamence, Aerial Ace right now!"

    Again, Salamence took to the air. It had Minomutchi in its sights, and bore down on the tiny Bug type without a shred of mercy on its mind.

    "Minomutchi, Harden!"

    "Mino... mutchi?" Minomutchi seemed completely oblivious to the command its trainer had given and did nothing. This allowed Salamence to deliver its attack unhindered, sending the bagworm flying across the room into a wall. It fell to the ground a moment later, easily defeated from the blow. Rich laughed as Talia recalled it in seething anger.

    "Is that the best you've got?" he teased as Salamence landed.

    "Minomutchi can only learn three attacks before evolution and no more," Rich's P*DA suddenly blurted out. "Those attacks are Protect, Tackle and Hidden Power."

    "Rich, do you realize what she did?" Anabel called out with a grin. "She ordered an attack it can never learn!! If that's the ignorance they're going to field as resistance, we should have no trouble. Mow her down!"

    Talia clenched her fists silently as Anabel and Rich laughed, but deep down inside, she knew they were right. Besides Minomutchi, her only other Pokémon was the Shadow Starly. Even as a new Shadow recruit she knew she had quite the tall order before her, taking down all six of Rich's Pokémon with one of the weakest Shadow Pokémon produced.

    "Starly, Shadow Wave!" Talia finally commanded.

    Shadow energy gathered in Starly's body. It glowed as the force moved to its wings, then let out its trademark piercing cry as it flapped about frantically. A thin, blade-like wave of the sinister purple aura floated out and struck both Salamence and Slowking, neither being hurt much.

    "Slowking, use a Thunder Wave!"

    "Slooooh ~ ?" Like it always did, Slowking just yawned as weak pulses of electricity came out of its body and shocked Starly into paralysis. The bird thrashed, but weakly and with half-movements.

    Rich took a deep breath, then extended his left arm out straight from his body.

    "Whew.. it's been seven years since I last did this, but..." A Poké Ball materialized in the glove of the Snag Machine. "Snag Ball, go!"

    Balacing himself with the deftness of a dancer on the front of his shoes, Rich spun around and threw the ball. Normally, if a Poké Ball was thrown at a Pokémon already owned by a trainer it wouldn't function properly, but the Snag Machine's purpose was to override this code, but only for Shadow Pokémon. The ball hit Starly and absorbed it, then fell to the floor and began rocking.




    After shuddering several times, the ball burst open, releasing Starly. The Snag had failed. Rich didn't seem worried, however.

    "No big deal, I guess I'm a bit rusty at it. Slowking, use Confusion to soften it up!"

    This time, Slowking's eyes glowed with a soft blue aura that quickly surrounded Starly. Soon enough, the bird was flailing about and striking---itself.

    "Oh no! Snap out of it, Starly! Snap out of it and use Shadow Wave again!"

    Talia's plea fell on deaf ears as Starly continued to batter itself with its wings.

    "This time it'll work! Snag Ball, go!"

    With much more confidence Rich threw another Snag Ball, which, after taking Starly in, quickly shuddered about and pinged---indicating that this time, the Snag had worked.

    "Ooooooh.. so much for that promotion I'd hoped for."

    ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    "You bunch don't know what you're getting into. Miss Lovrina's going to throw a fit if she finds you here, and trust me, you don't want to be around for that."

    "We've dealt with her before," Anabel replied, rather uninterested. "She doesn't scare us."

    "Well in that case you should be scared of what Enigma Shadow's got in store for the world this time!"

    Talia's plastic boots---standard issue for the Shadow Peon uniform---beat on the metal floor like a frantic drummer pounding his drums. She fled up the spiral staircase Rich, Anabel, Olivia and Jackie had just descended and out of view.

    "That was sad," said Rich. "If that's the best they've got to guard this lab, we might as well just walk right up to Lovrina and demand she give over her Shadow Pokémon voluntarily."

    "They've got another world domination plot." Jackie was stone-faced serious, ignoring what Rich had said. "Did you hear her? 'What Enigma Shadow's got in store for the world this time.' I think we'd best press on. There's no time to waste."

    "Right."

    With Rich leading the way, the group pushed across the room and eventually reached an elevator. Rich ushered Anabel, Olivia and Jackie inside, then entered himself and pushed the only button available---down. The elevator took them down a great distance, the screeching of metal rubbing on metal filling the shaft and causing all of the car's occupants to hold their ears. Finally it stopped, almost crashing against the bottom of the shaft, and the doors opened to allow the quite-shaken group to exit.

    The floor the elevator had stopped at was more like a giant central chamber of a sewer system than an actual room. Giant pipes stuck out of the walls on all sides, water flowing out into a pool far below the metal platforms connected by bridges made of thick wood.

    "Are we still in Aquane?" Anabel asked, however not allowing anyone to answer before continuing. "This looks like the halfway point between Brooklyn and the Mushroom Kingdom!"

    Rich and Olivia broke up laughing at Anabel's joke, the former actually having to lean against the wall to avoid falling over. Jackie didn't seem happy about this.

    "Come on, you three!" the Ranger scolded, a harsh tone adding to the cutting quality of his voice. "You've been in these situations before, you should know they're no time to be playing around!"

    "Sorry," Rich said, a single chuckle escaping before he regained full form. "Look over there---could that be where we need to go?"

    Rich pointed across the chamber, having spotted another elevator, this one an egg-shaped car in a clear glass tube shaft.

    "I'll bet it is. Come, Olivia."

    Anabel took Olivia's hand again, and together the group of four walked carefully across the wooden bridges toward the elevator. Just when they reached the metal platform on which the elevator sat, a male peon jumped out from behind the tube.

    "I'll stop you from getting to Miss Lovrina, you intruders! Wait... you're that lot who messed with us in Okka Town! You beat me at the Mayor's home!"

    "Oh yeah, you're that guy who had the Shadow Mitsuhoney, right? I guess I should be glad I get another chance to battle you so I can Snag it."

    "Not so fast there, pal. Who said things are gonna be the same way?"

    ////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
    Pkmn Trainer Rich ---vs.--- Shadow Peon Edward
    ////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    "Carnivine and Neorant, time to battle!"

    Carnivine hadn't changed any since Rich's last battle with Edward, but instead of Keikouo, a different fish Pokémon appeared. It had a rounded body with dark blue stripes running across its normal pale white hue. Its most notable feature was its pair of winglike fins sticking from its back.

    "A new Pokémon? Time to check it out."

    Of course, Rich went right to his P*DA and scanned Neorant.

    "Neorant, the neon Pokémon. Type is Water. Evolved form of Keikouo. It lives somewhere in the deep seas, luring its prey by flashing the patterns on its four fins. In order not to be spotted by its natural enemies, it uses the two fins on its chest to reach and move at the bottom of the sea."

    "Should've expected that Keikouo would've evolved. Porygon3 and Roserade, it's..."

    Roserade didn't even wait for Rich to call it, it just burst out from its ball and began giving its flaired poses. With a sigh, he just threw the second Poké Ball to release Porygon3.

    "Porygon3, use Discha--"

    And once again, Roserade began showing Rich why he needed to keep it on a tight leash. Without any orders, the Grass and Poison type simply shoved Porygon3 aside and lept at Neorant, latching onto the fish and using Giga Drain to sap its energy. Both attacker and target glowed with a green hue as Roserade viciously sucked energy from Neorant and Rich fumbled to try and find the Poké Ball needed to recall his disobediant Pokémon.

    "Roserade, return!!" he choked, having finally found the ball. The red beam of light pulled Roserade back, but not before it had completely finished off Neorant in its vicious attack.

    "And you say you fight fair?!" Edward spat angrily. "Neorant, return. You cheated!"

    "First of all," Rich answered with a condesending tone, "making and using Shadow Pokémon makes you unable to talk about fairness. And second, I didn't order that attack, Roserade completely disobeyed me---and that's why I recalled it as quickly as possible."

    "Whatever. I think it's time you learnt a lesson. Mitsuhoney, go!"

    The Aura Reader activated the moment Edward's Shadow Mitsuhoney entered battle. Rich tensed; he was prepared for it this time.

    "I won't be calling Roserade again. This time, it's up to you, Salamence!"

    Salamence came out with a roar to replace the misbehaving Roserade. It was so fierce in its entry, in fact, that Edward's Carnivine shrunk back in fear. Mitsuhoney almost seemed like it didn't care about its fearsome opponent, though, so Edward just ignored it.

    "Mitsuhoney, Shadow Rush! Let's go!"

    A dark cloud surrounded the tiny bee Pokémon as it boldly flew forth, rushing straight at and tackling Salamence. Despite the courage shown in this attack, it did very little.

    "Sludge Bomb!"

    Edward continued his assault... or at least attempted to. A normal Sludge Bomb attack would've packed much more of a punch, but thanks to its being intimidated by Salamence, Carnivine barely managed to loose a tiny blob of sludge let alone a full attack. Porygon3 became stricken by poison, however, and this made things a bit more difficult.

    ""Salamence, we needn't waste our time with this foolishness. Wipe Carnivine out with a Fire Blast!"

    If it weren't for the dark visor on his Enigma Shadow uniform's helmet, Rich would've seen Edward's eyes go wide as soon as the order was given. Edward actually reached to his belt in an attempt to recall Carnivine before it took the hit, but this was a futile effort. The huge flood of fire, shaped like some sort of Japanese symbol, swept over Carnivine and easily brought it down.

    Just a moment after, Edward found the Poké Ball he had been looking for and silently recalled Carnivine, leaving only Mitsuhoney left.

    "Thunder Wave!" Rich called out, making his play for Edward's Shadow Pokémon. Almost immediately Porygon3 let loose a weak electrical pulse from its body, which paralyzed Mitsuhoney as it flowed into its target.

    "Enough of this! Snag Ball, go!"

    Mitsuhoney flicked its wings weakly but put up no other resistance as the Snag Ball Rich threw at it absorbed it before falling to the ground. The ball wobbled multiple times....



    ...then pinged and locked, sealing and Snagging Mitsuhoney.

    "Gah! He's gotten stronger?!"

    ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    "No," Rich replied as he recalled his Pokémon, "I didn't get stronger, you just stayed weak."

    "Bleah! So you beat me again and took my Mitsuhoney. It doesn't matter. Miss Lovrina's gonna fix you good!"

    With no battle-ready Pokémon left, Edward fled. He dashed back across the underground chamber to the creaky elevator Rich's group had taken down, and escaped back up. Rich turned to go on, but Anabel put her other hand on his shoulder to stop him.

    "Rich, wait." Anabel pulled, turning Rich around. "You heard his threat, right? That Lovrina was going to 'fix us good?'"

    "Hmm, yes, I did. I think I see what you're getting at."

    "I think we're close to a battle with her. You'd better heal your Pokémon," Anabel advised as she opened her bag, which was overflowing with various medicines and cures. "Especially Porygon3, since it got poisoned in the last battle."

    "Good idea. Got an Antidote in there?"

    Anabel nodded, then passed Rich a spray bottle full of some sort of medicine. He sprayed it on Porygon3's ball, then returned the ball to its place on his belt.

    "I'm glad to see you're~"

    "Mommy, could I have some candy?" Olivia blurted out, having spotted a wrapped up sweet inside Anabel's bag. Jackie didn't seem thrilled that he had been cut off, but he held his tongue.

    "Sure, why not?" Anabel replied, handing the candy to her daughter. "You've behaved very well today, so you can have it."

    "A-HEM." Jackie almost lost his temper as he tried to restore his sense of order to the situation. "As I was saying, I'm glad to see you take important battles seriously. My Styler..." Jackie showed Rich and Anabel the screen of his Styler, on which there were rapidly fluctuating waves of black energy. "...is detecting high levels of the dark energy from Shadow Pokémon on the floor above us. Therefore, it's a safe bet that Lovrina is above, since an Enigma Shadow Admin would have stronger Shadow Pokémon that give off stronger shadow energy readings. Are you prepared to face her?"

    Rich and Anabel both nodded confidently.

    "We're ready," he answered. "Let's do this."

    With a strong and confident step, Rich and Anabel entered the elevator with Olivia, Jackie following close behind. The doors closed and the elevator went up....






    and finally stopped, dropping its passengers off in..





    an empty room. Absolutely nothing was in it, just another door immediately across from the elevator.

    "Wha?" Anabel was surprised, and thrown off a bit. "Didn't your Styler say..?"

    "It says that the shadow energy is coming from the next room now. Lovrina's past that door there."

    "Well then, let's go!"

    Rich charged ahead and through the metal door, followed closely by the others, who were a bit taken aback by his boldness. Of course, when they arrived in the next room, Lovrina and her scientist Tekot were there waiting.

    "Oh, the little pests that I so hate have arrived at last!" the valley girl scientist screamed. "You bunch have made me oh so mad, running about yet making me wait so long to crush you!"

    Rich took a step forward to respond, but Jackie cut him off.

    "The only crushing going on will be of you----" At that moment, Jackie noticed Lovrina's saxophone lying against the wall. "Why do you have a saxophone of all things here?"

    "If you really must know, that's prototype model of our oh so new Shadow Styler."

    "Shadow Styler?" Rich wondered aloud. "But isn't that---of COURSE! The Ranger Union's surveillance showed Dr. Yung bringing Lovrina a saxophone, so that was probably him delivering the Shadow Styler!"

    "How did you make a new Shadow Styler? I demand to know!" Jackie was getting angrier.

    "Oh, uncool! You shouldn't be so angry, Ranger boy, it's not like this Styler can actually capture Pokémon..."

    "Miss Lovrina..." Tekot interrupted. "Isn't that something we should keep a secret?"

    "DO NOT INTERRUPT ME!" Lovrina thundered in reply. "Oh, Tekot, you make me oh so mad! But it's okay. We'll see how that Styler works, then Yung and Gordor will take our data and use it to make stronger Stylers."

    "Gordor?" Now it was Jackie's turn to be surprised.

    "I've never heard that name," Rich said. "Who is that?"

    "Gordor was the leader of the Go-Rock Squad, a crime gang in the Fiore Region up to several years ago. Under his direction they made dark Stylers with the goal of creating a "Power Styler," a device able to capture Legendary Pokémon for Gordor to use in his evil deeds. I thought he vanished after the Go-Rock Squad's fall, but I guess he joined up with Enigma Shadow to continue his Styler development. That must be how they have all the technology needed to make Shadow Stylers like this."

    "You so know far more than we can afford for you to know," Lovrina continued. "Tekot!"

    "Yes, Miss Lovrina!"

    "We are so going to crush them, and we are so going to do it together! Get it together and help me win this!"

    "You mean, a tag battle?"

    "YES! Do I so have to spell it out for you?! Ugh, you make me oh so angry! But that'll wait until later. For now... we've got some meddling fools who so need to take a dive, like, NOW!"

    //////////////////////////////////////////////////////
    Pkmn Trainer Rich and Tower Maiden Anabel
    ---vs.---
    Shadow Admin Lovrina and Shadow R&D Tekot
    //////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    [Tekot simply steps forward and adjusts his metallic sunglasses, then puts his hands in the pockets of his white lab coat. Lovrina spins around with her hands clenched by her face, and somehow defying gravity, twirls in the air before winking and landing]

    "Mantyke, I choose you!" "Go, Chatot, my sweet! Go and wipe those oh so annoying losers out!"

    Lovrina sent out a Chatot, while Tekot released a small blue manta-ray looking creature with watery black eyes and markings on its back that looked like a smiling face.

    "Mantyke? I think I've seen that before, but.."

    Of course, before he could make a move Rich went to his P*DA.

    "Mantyke, the kite Pokémon. Type is Water/Flying. Pre-evolved form of Mantine. It uses its two feelers to catch plankton floating in the sea water. This Pokémon adores people. Scholars have discovered in their research that the special pattern on Mantyke's back varies with the region it lives in."

    "I thought so. Anabel, didn't Lovrina herself use one of those a long time ago, when we first met her?"

    "Under a different name, I think, but it does sound familiar."

    "Tamanta! Now you two so better stop wasting time and send your Pokémon out!"

    "Fine. Lucario, let's go!" "Go, my friend! Metagross!"

    Rich's Lucario and Anabel's Metagross burst from their Poké Balls and faced their foes. Lucario braced itself in a fighting stance while Metagross let out a low, guttoral growl to signal it was ready for battle.

    "Okay, Chatot, let's so demonstrate why Queen Shadow made us Admins! Blabber!"

    "Chaaaa...Chatotot!! Chatot laugh at funny machine on Rich's arm!" Chatot said comically. "Funny machine throw funny balls! Hahahaha, Chatot say balls! Chat chatot!"

    Even though this attack was completely over the top and ridiculous, it managed well enough to confuse Metagross.

    "Lucario, use Dragon Pulse!"

    Lucario cupped its hands above its head, and an odd whirring sound filled the room as a large orb of bluegreen energy formed. A moment later Lucario simply extended its arms forward at Chatot, and the energy did the rest---Chatot would have been blasted against the wall had Lovrina not used one of her long, thin arms to stop it.

    "Rich, mind if I give my commands telepathically this time?"

    "Not at all."

    Lovrina and Tekot seemed lost, having no clue who Rich was talking to and not knowing of Anabel's telepathy.

    "Metagross, overcome the confusion if you can and hit Chatot with Thunderpunch!"

    Telepathy couldn't help, though, as Metagross fumbled and hit itself in its confusion.

    "Rain Dance, Mantyke!"

    "Manta! Tata!!!" Mantyke flapped its winglike fins about and cast out a dark blue burst of light, which quickly turned into room-covering clouds that began producing heavy rain.

    "Hyper Voice, darling!"

    Flapping about in the pouring rain, Chatot let loose with a series of high pitched screeches and squawks. Neither Lucario nor Metagross seemed very affected by it, though, much to Lovrina's frustration.

    "And now, Mantyke, apply Hydro Pump!"

    The purpose of Tekot's calling for Rain Dance earlier became apparent - Mantyke's speed became greatly increased thanks to its Swift Swim ability, and with its new, blinding speed, struck Lucario using a rain-fueled water blast, its power defying the logic of Mantyke's small size.

    "Lucario! Are you ready?" Lucario grunted in response to Rich, so he thrust his arm forward and pointed straight at his opponents. "Then let it all go! Drop a Rock Slide now!"

    "Luluuuu....CARIO!!" Again using its fists, Lucario drilled into the ground with an earsplitting crack, sending large rocks flying at its foes. Both Lovrina and Tekot shrunk back, realizing too late their fatal error---both Chatot and Mantyke were Flying types, critically weak to Rock attacks. They were both defeated easily.

    "Ohhh!! Oh, Tekot, this is all so your fault!"

    "What?! Lovrina, are you serious?"

    "Don't you dare backtalk me! Ugh, this is oh so annoying! Chatot, return! Go, Beequeen!"

    "Sigh... fine. Mantyke, return! Next up, Raichu!"

    "Not so fast there. Metagross, Hyper Beam!"

    Upon hearing the telepathic command from Anabel, Metagross shook its head in confusion---then managed to return to its sense and lock its gaze onto Raichu. The orange electric rat shrank back in fear of the mighty iron beast bearing down on it, though it had not far to go and not much time to do it in as a huge beam of red energy fired out from the glowing steel cross on Metagross's face and hit Raichu with explosive power. Raichu flew across the room from the blast and smashed against one of the metal walls before falling down, defeated and fainted.

    "What?!! That... that power, it's unnatural! Come on, Raichu, stand up and fight!"

    "Tekot, you're just so wasting my time now!" Lovrina shouted. She didn't even notice Rich and Anabel snickering to themselves at the spectacle the two scientists were making. "Your Raichu, he's oh so weak, that's why it lost! Now send it back, I so haven't got all day!"

    "Are you kidding me, Lovrina? I mean it in all due respect, but what have we got to do but sit in this dank lab all day?"

    "YOU ZIP IT NOW!! If you insist on being oh so rude and butting into my business, I'll tell you---I've so got a manicure appointment after this battle. And after that I so need to go to the salon, because my hair has become oh so disgustingly drab from being stuck in this shed. IS THAT QUITE ENOUGH?"

    "Whatever. Raichu, return. It looks like my Shadow Pokémon is my last. Go, Metang!"

    Indeed, the Aura Reader went off and revealed the shadowy cloud around Metang as soon as it was released from its ball.

    "Beequeen, let's go and change it up oh so much! Somersault!!"

    On Lovrina's command, the honeycomb-bottomed bee turned into a sphere of deep green energy and threw itself at Metagross. Upon doing its strike---one that only inflicted slight damage---the sphere of energy that was Beequeen returned to its Poké Ball on its own, and a brown-and-white rabbit with long ears and fluffy fur around its arms appeared to replace it. This new creature was instantly identified as a Shadow Pokémon.

    "Oh?" Rich stopped for a moment in surprise at the effect of Somersault, then reached for his P*DA. "A new move AND a new Pokémon."

    "Somersault, an attack of the Bug type. When used, the Pokémon will strike against one opponent then withdraw itself from battle.

    Mimilop, the rabbit Pokémon. Type is Normal. Evolved form of Buneary. A very wary Pokémon. When it senses danger, it covers its body with the fur at the fluffy tips of its ears. Mimilop always tends to its fur at the tip of its ears. It loves tidiness and never neglects self-care. It jumps and runs with agility and grace."

  8. #8
    追放されたバカ Nando's Avatar
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    "Interesting, I'd never heard of that move before. Lucario, I think we need to lay into Metang a bit. What do you say?"

    "Cario."

    "I agree. Blaze Kick!"

    Lucario backflipped up into the air, then came down with its red-glowing right leg pointed straight for Metang. When the attack hit---right between Metang's red eyes---the Steel and Psychic type let out a sickly moan as it backed away to try and escape Lucario's fury.

    "I think it's time I made a change of my own." Anabel took out one of her Poké Balls and expanded it. "Metagross, you did well, come back. Now, go, my friend!"

    After Anabel threw a second Poké Ball, her Erlade---a human-like Pokémon with a white body, green hair and green blades on its arms---appeared. Like Metagross it was part Psychic type, but instead of Steel its second type was Fighting.

    "Mimilop, my darling, put that oh so annoying Lucario out of its misery and out of my hair right this moment! Shadow Rush!"

    After the shadowy aura surrounded its body, Mimilop carefully balanced on its toes and began spinning, making its long ears like whips. With all the grace of a ballet dancer it spun around and smacked Lucario right in the face several times; the first hit knocked it back, the second down, and the third out.

    "Hahaha!! I laugh at you, because I am so much stronger!"

    "We've got a long way to go, Lovrina..." Tekot warned.

    "SHUT UP! Every victory so begins with a first step!"

    "I guess that's true." The scientist gave up arguing and shrugged his shoulders.

    "Very good work, Lucario," Rich said as he returned his fainted Pokémon to its ball and readied its replacement. "Slowking, let's go!"

    "Ah, Slowking, and a good specimen too. Metang, let us not be bad hosts. Show it your Shadow Rush!!"

    Metang pulled back its right arm as the shadows cloaked its form, then thrust forward and punched Slowking. Unfortunately for Metang, however, its aim was off---it punched Slowking's crown of a Shellder, and therefore the attack did almost nothing.

    "We shouldn't have much trouble from here, Rich. Erlade, put Metang to sleep with Hypnosis!"

    Erlade focused its mind, and as it did, its eyes began to glow a soft blue shade. After a moment this same aura filled Metang's eyes, and the Shadow Pokémon drifted drowsily to the floor before falling asleep.

    "Thank you, Anabel. Snag Ball, go!"

    Because it was sleeping, Metang was a prime and easy target for a Snag Ball. Rich threw the ball, which quickly absorbed its target, rattled about on the floor three times, and clicked to indicate a successful Snag. Furthermore, it was Tekot's third and last Pokémon, so now Lovrina had to win on her own.

    "Your power defies belief! I can't win!"

    "What?! You'd so better be kidding me, Tekot! You are so not supposed to be impressed by them!"

    "But-"

    "No! No, no, no, no, NO! If I so have to do it myself, fine! Just prepare for a punishment when this is over! Mimilop, Shadow Down!"

    By clapping its furry hands together, Mimilop cast a cloud of shadowy spores at its enemies. When the cloud struck, the defensive capabilities of Slowking and Erlade were lowered.

    "Rich, we've got this in the bag. Follow my lead. Erlade, Hypnosis!"

    Erlade cast another Hypnosis attack, this one at Mimilop. Much like Metang, the spell took hold quickly and made Mimilop fall asleep.

    "I get it. Slowking, Dynamicpunch! Let's go!"

    "Sloooh~~?" Slowking's airy demeanor actually served it well as a weapon. Mimilop never saw the attack coming, and when Slowking's right fist connected with its face, Mimilop rolled across the floor--amazingly staying asleep despite it all.

    "M-Mimilop!! We so cannot lose! Shadow Rush now!"

    Nothing. Mimilop's snooze continued, the Shadow Pokémon totally oblivious to Lovrina's command.

    "Anabel, we've got this one wrapped up. Allow me. Snag Ball, go!"

    Just like Metang, Mimilop was an easy and inviting target---after the ball sucked it in and wobbled, it locked. Lovrina had lost her Shadow Pokémon as well.

    "Oh, boo! How dare you!! Beequeen, it's so about time we win this!"

    Lovrina sent out Beequeen again more determined than ever, but the wry smile on Anabel's face spoke of other plans for it.

    "I don't think I need to keep this one silent. Metagross, use Aerial Ace to finish this up!"

    Tucking in its legs, Metagross went into its hovering form then threw itself across the room and into Beequeen. The power of the hit propelled the two even further, stopping only when Metagross's iron bulk crushed Beequeen against the wall. Anabel's Pokémon then backed away triumphantly, leaving Beequeen to fall down fainted.

    "Oh! Oh!!! You---you two so will not get away with it!"

    //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    Lovrina began throwing a fit, stomping her feet against the metal flooring. As she did, Tekot slowly began to back away towards a previously-hidden door marked "EMERGENCY EXIT" in large red letters. Before he could escape, though, Lovrina became dead calm and closed her big green eyes.

    "Tekot." Her voice had suddenly become calm to a disconcerting level.

    "Y-yes, Lovrina?"

    "You take one step through that door and I will see to it that Queen Shadow has your head for it."

    As Tekot cowered in fear of Lovrina's threat, Rich and Anabel backed off a bit as well. Lovrina had become so serious that she lost the valley girl speech pattern she always had. After several tense moments, she opened her eyes and looked straight at Rich and the group.

    "It is so almost a shame I have to do this," she said, relaxing a bit and falling back into her valley girl style. "Your daughter is oh so adorable. It's so too bad that once I crush you all of you will be prisoners of Queen Shadow."

    "How can you fight us?" Rich answered smugly. "I don't know how you have a new Queen Shadow, but besides, we defeated all your Pokémon. You can't battle anymore, it's over!"

    "Wait, Rich, we forgot something..." Jackie added cautiously. "Her Shadow Styler. If it can't capture Pokémon, the only thing it can do is..."

    "Finally, one of you says something that so makes a little sense!" Lovrina was fully back in her hyper state now. "Tekot, pass me the Styler! NOW!!"

    Without a word, Lovrina's punching bag of a scientist sidekick lifted the saxophone from the floor and gave it to his boss, who licked her lips to prepare for a performance.

    "I so will now dazzle you with my starring performance! My musical talent combined with the raw power of Shadow Pokémon! Now, shine the spotlight on that brilliant star of shadows - Togekiss!!"

    As Lovrina began playing an upbeat tune on the saxophone, a hatch opened up in the wall and the paper airplane-like Pokémon flew in. It glided around the room, and as it did so it gave off sparks of shadow energy to the beat of Lovrina's music.

    "What is that thing?!" Rich shouted. "I--"

    "What is that thing is right!" Jackie cut in, holding up his Styler at the creature. "The readings are going absolutely wild! I've never seen a Pokémon give off this much dark energy in my life!"

    "It's pretty," Olivia observed innocently.

    "That's not the kind of pretty you want," replied Jackie, who then activated his Styler. "I'd better try to get ahold of it. Capture on!"

    The Capture Disk shot out of Jackie's Styler, followed by the device's antenna. Once the disk reached Togekiss's position he began spinning the Styler in circles to make it surround its target. A ring of energy formed, but Togekiss quickly dispelled it and broke the capture attempt with a musically-prompted blast of shadow energy.

    "I am so laughing at you! None of your feeble Ranger Stylers can stop our Shadow Stylers! Togekiss!" Lovrina took a deep breath then blew a long, drawn-out note from her saxophone, forcing terribly strong waves of energy through Togekiss's body. "Teach him a lesson!"

    "Tooooooogeeeeiiiiiiii!!" Togekiss squealed as the energy painfully coursed through its form. Something frightening then happened---its colors inverted, transforming the ordinarily white creature into a terrifying black hue with evil red eyes. All of Rich's group gasped in fear, and Olivia hid behind Anabel's leg---then Togekiss dove straight for Jackie in an absolutely frenzied state. The Ranger was only protected when his Chatot lept out and absorbed the instant-knockout blow. After it attacked, Togekiss reverted to its normal form as if nothing had happened.

    "Chatot!!" Jackie screamed, looking in horror at his battered partner on the ground.

    "I am oh so proud of my Togekiss. It does exactly what I want, and all I need to do is play this saxophone!"

    "But did you notice what happened when you did that?" Anabel retorted harshly. "Togekiss went through horrific pain as you forced the shadow energy through its body! That's awful!"

    "Duh, like I care? Pokémon are tools for battling, nothing more. That's so the mission statement of Enigma Shadow: take over the world by using Pokémon as our weapons! And it'll be oh-so-soon when the entire world is filled with our weapons, rendering us invincible!"

    "Disgusting," Rich spat as he stepped forward to challenge Lovrina. "You lot haven't changed much at all. I'll take you on."

    "You so only have five Pokémon with your Lucario being fainted," Lovrina reminded. "Knowing that, do you still challenge me?"

    "Yes."

    "Fine! Now I am so going to beat you into a pulp!"

    //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
    Pkmn Trainer Rich ---vs.--- Shadow Admin Lovrina
    //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    [As Lovrina plays a short tune on her saxophone, Togekiss glides around then cries out loudly]

    "Before I begin, I'd better learn about my opponent..."

    As always, Rich brought out his P*DA and scanned his new foe.

    "Togekiss, the blessing Pokémon. Type is Normal/Flying. Evolved form of Togetic. Togekiss's presence is a sign of happiness and peace, so it will not appear where there are disputes. There have been no documented sightings of it in the wild recently."

    "You must've had it captured before all this began, then. Slowking, get going!"

    Slowking burst forth from its Poké Ball with a fiery determination, but seemed to lose a bit of its will when it saw Togekiss being controlled like a marionette by Lovrina.

    "I so do not fear you, so you may have the first attack!"

    "Very well, it'll be my pleasure. Slowking, no messing around! Ice Punch!"

    Despite the fact it only had short legs, Slowking dashed forward and cocked its right arm in preparation to deliver an icy blow. Right as it lept into the air to reach Togekiss's position, Lovrina blew a few notes from her Styler.

    "Counter with Shadow Break!"

    The speed was remarkable. Literally in the blink of an eye Togekiss was cloaked in the shadowy aura and dove right at Slowking, hitting its enemy's attack head-on with its own. An explosion occured from the overpowering clash of energy, sending both combatants back.

    "Quickly, Slowking!" Rich's eye had caught a brief moment where Togekiss had fallen out of Lovrina's control, and he intended to capitalize on it. "Ice Beam!!"

    Slowking caught the same thing Rich had, so it didn't waste any time in firing an icy beam from its mouth. This time, Togekiss didn't counter, and therefore took the blow directly. It cried out in pain, the tips of its wings freezing over slightly. Lovrina did not seem concerned, though, as an evil look washed over her green eyes.

    "Feh, enough. I've grown oh so tired of these games. NOW!!" The Shadow Admin began playing a full song on the saxophone, and as she did, shadow energy forced itself into Togekiss's body anew. Clearly the Pokémon was suffering greatly, a fact made obvious by its pained whimpers and writhing, but when Lovrina hit the song's final note, it transformed into the Dark Togekiss form that Lovrina had used to attack Jackie. "Hit him with Shadow End!"

    A sound like a rocket filled the room---appropriate, as Togekiss recklessly dive-bombed Slowking at rocketlike speed.

    "Slowwwwlowwww!!!!!!" Slowking cried out, knocked down by the vicious attack. Nothing but pain was in its mind, and it almost wanted to faint so the battle would stop. Even as such, it managed to bravely stand up and continue to face Lovrina and Togekiss.

    "Slowking! Are you sure you can hold up any longer?"

    Slowking nodded in response, however its motions were weak. There was no denying that Togekiss had left quite a mark from its last attack.

    "We're going to need something more. Thunder Wave!"

    The electrical pulses were just as weak as Slowking itself, yet they still did the job of paralyzing Togekiss. Again Lovrina just snickered, then twisted out a few notes to prepare for her attack.

    "You are so going to be blown away when I do this. Shadow Purge NOW!!"

    Much to Rich's surprise, Togekiss seemed unhindered by the paralysis completely. It tensed up all the muscles in its body to gather power, then unleashed a blast of shadow energy all around the room. One wave nearly hit Olivia and would have if Anabel didn't push her out of the way; a second bounced off the floor right in front of Rich's feet. All the waves, however, hit Slowking - causing it to faint. Surprisingly, after it finished attacking, Togekiss seemed healed of paralysis. Reading Rich's shocked expression, Lovrina laughed.

    "Are you surprised? That is so what our Shadow Stylers can do now! Shadow Purge so not only causes more damage when the user's afflicted, it heals as well! Now what are you going to do?"

    "Grrr... looks like the only thing I can do is..." Suddenly, the solution became clear. "Of course, that's it! Slowking, take a break. Melodic, go! Hypnosis!"

    The moment it came out from its ball and entered the battle, Melodic locked eyes with Togekiss and cast the Hypnosis aura. Just like in the previous battle, as soon as the glowing blue wisps filled Togekiss's eyes, it fell asleep and crashed to the floor.

    "What?! That so isn't going to stop us!" Lovrina began furiously playing the saxophone, to no avail. "Shadow Purge, now! NOW!!"

    Nothing. Rich's tactic had worked, and with a smirk of his own, he readied the Snag Ball.

    "So much for your Shadow Styler, Lovrina. It can't save you now. Snag Ball, go!!"

    Rich flung the Snag Ball at Togekiss and hit the mark perfectly---the Normal and Flying type was absorbed into the ball, which then began tottering about on the ground. Lovrina stared at it, her green eyes practically burning through the plastic sphere.

    "Don't you dare, you little bra--"

    A click. Togekiss was Snagged. Not only that, Lovrina's Styler began sparking and malfunctioning.

    "You SO did not do that!"

    ///////////////////////////////////////////////////

    "I'll so have to get it back, then!"

    Lovrina tried to use her Styler again, but smoke blew out of it and it fell down, completely destroyed and useless.

    "Not so fast there," Anabel said smugly. "You lost, there's no other way around it."

    "Bah...I will so destroy you! You aren't getting away with---"

    "Silence, Lovrina. Accept the fact that you've lost."

    All in the room turned to Lovrina's computer screen. On it was none other than the terrifying visage of Queen Shadow, who had seen all the events unfold.

    "Q-Queen Shadow!" Lovrina screamed. "I am so sorry!"

    "Maria," Rich snarled, identifying Queen Shadow by name. "I guess you weren't satisfied with faking your death, coming back and nearly killing us all. How'd you get out of jail?!!"

    "That's for me to know and you to find out," Maria replied sarcastically. "Lovrina, I'm disgusted with you. You were supposed to defeat him and bring them to me. You have failed."

    "My queen..." Lovrina's long, spindly legs were buckling, indicating how afraid she was of Maria. "We weren't ready. The Shadow Styler, it was so not enough. Blame Yung and Gordor for making it oh so weak, not me!"

    "Oh, I am going to have a word with them, you may bank on that. HOWEVER, it was up to you to use it properly and you failed. I want you back at headquarters immediately for reassignment."

    "Yes, Queen Shadow." Lovrina hung her head dejectedly. She didn't even notice that Tekot had long since fled.

    "Now for you lot, Rich, Anabel. I see that your little Ranger friend is still hanging around you."

    "Who is she, Mommy?" Olivia screamed from her hiding place behind Anabel's legs. "She's scary!"

    "She's a bad, bad lady who tried to hurt me and your father a long time ago." Anabel tried to sound comforting, but couldn't do it.

    "Don't hurt my mommy and daddy!!" Olivia turned her fear into anger and directly addressed Maria.

    "So that's the little Mistbloom I've been hearing of." Maria seemed uninterested. "She's certainly got the spark, that's for sure. But I'm not concerned about that. Rich, even though you have beaten Lovrina you are nowhere near stopping our plans. Stronger Stylers and stronger Shadow Pokémon are being made, and you'd better be serious about training to face them."

    "Oh, you can count on that. Really, you should just give up and turn yourself in. There's no way you can win."

    "We shall see about that. I grow tired of talking... Lovrina, headquarters. Immediately."

    She had been relaxing while Maria spoke to Rich, but as soon as she was addressed, Lovrina snapped to attention.

    "Yes, my queen! I am so there!"

    With that, Lovrina sprinted across the room to the emergency exit and made her escape. Once she was gone, Maria bowed her head, and deactivated the screen. Now it was just Rich's group alone in the room.

    "That was Enigma Shadow's boss?" Jackie's jaw had dropped in disbelief. "How are you and her so familiar, Rich?"

    "It's a long story. Many years ago, Enigma Shadow existed but their operations were clandestine. What needed to be done in public was done through a puppet organization in the Orre Region called Cipher. I was young and looking to make my mark on the world then, so I joined Cipher, but once I learned of their plans I became horrified and fled."

    "I don't understand."

    Rich sighed, his hopes of not having to recount the entire tale to Jackie dashed. With a deep breath, he continued.

    "Enigma Shadow was working through Cipher to test the formulas for creating Shadow Pokémon, a fact I didn't know when I joined. Eventually I was assigned to work at a laboratory isolated in the desert, and it was there that I discovered their vile plot---from none other than Anabel's parents, Ein and Venus, who were founding members of Cipher. They stayed on, got knocked out, and have now reformed, but I fled immediately. I couldn't stay in Orre because Cipher's original boss, Evice, put a price on my head. I escaped to Hoenn while Evice, his chief executive Nascour, and later Cipher's Grand Master Greevil Verich were all arrested. Maria, the supreme leader of Enigma Shadow even then, swore revenge on me for abandoning them."

    "I see. Now I think I'm beginning to understand."

    "I found my place when I became champion of Larousse City's Aeria Tower, then known only as the Battle Tower, but this gave Maria the chance she wanted to get her payback. One night, she attended one of my battles and sought me out afterward. Since I had never met her before, I was receptive to her and bought her story about being one of my fans... but that wasn't what she wanted. As much as I love and cherish Melodic and all my Pokémon, what I really needed at that stage was a human companion---and that's what she did. We ended up becoming romantically involved..."

    As soon as Rich dropped those words, Jackie turned to Anabel in shock.

    "You know about this?!" the Ranger asked, his voice indicative of how surprised he was. "Are you alright with knowing that he had such a relationship before you?"

    "It's fine with me," Anabel replied, shrugging. "He was looking for love then, so I can't hold him responsible. Today, we've both found what we were looking for in each other and our love is strong, so what happened in the past doesn't matter."

    "She's right. Now, after a fairly short courtship Maria and I got engaged. I flew in my parents from our family's hometown of Sootopolis City to meet her, and they had several hours with her while I had a battle. That was the linchpin, the zero-hour for their plot. The tower the three of them were in was blown up by Enigma Shadow, and all of them died. Actually, only my parents died---the 'Maria' in the tower was a phony that the real Maria had created in another secret lab to fuel the illusion. She thought by breaking my heart and chasing me from the Battle Tower she could get revenge, and for a while she was right---I hid in depressed seclusion for four years. But she didn't count on me making a comeback at the Tower, uncovering their plot, and stopping it. In fact, I owe her a bit of a thanks because had it not been for me going on the adventure to stop her, I would've never met Anabel."

    Jackie nodded and motioned for Chatot to come, and it landed on his shoulder.

    "I get it now. I think we'd best be getting back to Floria Town, Elita is surely waiting on our report of what happened."

    "Sure. Let's go."

    With a surprising calm, Rich led the way through the emergency door. Past it was yet another spiralling metal staircase, the entrance chamber at the top. Rich, Anabel, Olivia and Jackie scaled it and left the building, walking back into the sun for the first time in hours.

    -----------------------------------------------------------------

    There wasn't much sun on Maria's face, however. She was sitting in her tall-backed throne furiously lashing Yung verbally for the failure of his invention.

    "You promised, PROMISED me that this Shadow Styler of yours would work, Yung! Explain yourself!"

    "My queen, that saxophone was only a prototype! It wasn't meant to show what a fully powered model can do!" Yung tried to shout with the goal of conveying some inner strength, but the shakiness in his voice combined with his buckling knees betrayed that facade to a painfully obvious degree. He was fearful of what Maria would do. "And besides, why am I the only one being punished? Gordor put just as much work into that Styler as I did, and it was Lovrina's fault she didn't use it properly."

    "Oh, they're gonna get major dressing-downs themselves, Yung, you can bet on it. But you're the head of the project because YOU invented the Shadow Pokémon System and YOU came up with the idea of combining your system with the design of Gordor's Power Styler! You had better get in that lab and produce something that actually works, or I will be forced to seriously consider firing you from the project and putting Gordor in charge. Do you understand me?!!"

    "Yes, but..."

    "DISMISSED!!"

    Realizing his situation was hopeless, Yung turned and stormed away, sulking to himself.

    "She'll see... nobody spits on the work of Dr. Mitchell Yung. When my own Styler captures that thing, together we'll make her pay..."

    ---------------------------------------------------------------

    As Rich and the group approached the gates of Okka Town on their way back to Floria Town, a pair of familiar faces were waiting for them: Rosemary and the mayor, Harlan.

    "My friends!" Rosemary called out on sighting them. "I'm so glad to see you back! How'd it go?"

    "There was an Enigma Shadow facility out there as we thought," Rich explained. "They were testing a Shadow Styler there."

    "We've heard," Harlan replied. "I must thank you sincerely for protecting our town from those crooks!"

    "Don't worry about it," Anabel said with a grin.

    "There was a scary lady there too," Olivia burst out in her usual habit of speaking suddenly. "She had scary blue eyes and black hair."

    "Well, there's nothing for you to be afraid of. Your parents will protect you. And look, I brought your friend!"

    Rosemary reached for a Poké Ball on her belt and popped it open, releasing Budew. The tiny Grass type lept right into Olivia's arms.

    "Budew! Dewdew!!" it chirped happily.

    "Now," the professor continued, "we should be getting back to Floria Town. The Ranger Base is awaiting us."

    With nods from the group, they all bid farewell to Harlan and began walking back to Floria Town, the memories of another Enigma Shadow encounter behind them but the expectations of even more awaiting them...



    Enigma Shadow's certainly been busy in the seven years since Rich last crushed their vile schemes. Even though it was only a prototype, the Shadow Styler used by Lovrina provided a frightening glimpse into what the organization plans to do. Our heroes managed to thwart the valley girl scientist's delusions of grandeur---at least for now---but Yung, Gordor and Maria are still hard at work improving the Shadow Styler, while Snattle and Brandon are ready to go at a moment's notice should Maria need their services in her attempts to stop Rich's quest. Can our heroes overcome the seemingly overwhelming odds to halt the wicked plot Enigma Shadow has cooked up? Stay tuned!




    END of CHAPTER TWO

  9. #9
    Registered User carnivine's Avatar
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    So, Butler, I hear you're not posting on serebii.net anymore. You might recognise me from there- if not, look at my sig1 You're the recomender! I hope you post the next chapter soon.

    Yay, my first post on Bulbagarden!
    I am known as masukippa on serebiiforums

  10. #10
    追放されたバカ Nando's Avatar
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    Hi. :)

    It'll be up soon.

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    I have to remember to come here more often so I can stillmread this fic.

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    THe king of the Darkness mythion251's Avatar
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    It's good and I can not what till the next chapter because your previous stories were amazing and so is this one.

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    追放されたバカ Nando's Avatar
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    ------------------------------------------------------------------

    CHAPTER THREE: It Will All Be Mine



    The rising sun indicated the dawn of a new day over the Aquane Region, but Maria would've never known that from her position at the nerve center of Enigma Shadow's headquarters. She was sound asleep in her throne, facing the monitors. Brandon was on one of the monitors, trying to wake her up.

    "Queen Shadow..." he said gently, but to no avail.

    "Queen Shadow."

    Still nothing.

    "QUEEN SHADOW!!!" Brandon finally shouted, his patience shot. Maria's eyes snapped open and instantly, she was in a rage again.

    "How dare you speak to me that way, Brandon!! It's the freaking crack of dawn and you're shouting at me?! I've got a good mind to demote you down to floor cleaning detail!"

    "I am sorry. We discovered the key relic to uncovering the Aura Crystals, Queen Shadow. Roark and I are preparing for an expedition there right now."

    "This sounds promising, Brandon. You'd better not screw it up!"

    "I don't think they even know about the relic, so there shouldn't be anything to worry about."

    "Are you sure you completely understand the magnitude of this?" Maria inquired further, her drowsy voice an indication of her boredom. "Those three Pokémon, their powers combined, would be able to pour strength of an unimaginable kind into Project Genetic Manipulation and eventually into every Shadow Pokémon we produce."

    "I understand, Queen Shadow. Queen....Shadow?"

    Maria had already fallen back asleep in her chair and flopped her arm onto the button to deactivate Brandon's screen, sending the archeologist away.

    ------------------------------------------------------------

    Later that morning, the Mistblooms were already up, out and about in Floria Town. Finally having found some time to spend for themselves, they were going about the various shops in town, looking at the odds and ends available for sale. Nothing had really appealed to Rich or Anabel just yet, but in one shop something caught Olivia's eye---a handbag designed to resemble a small, white hamster-like Pokémon with fluffy green fur and a flower on its back.

    "Oh! Mommy!" the young girl squealed in delight, pointing at the handbag. "Look at that, it's so cute!"

    Anabel took the handbag up and examined it. She tried to recognize the Pokémon depicted by the design, but none of the names in her mind were correct. She drew a total blank.

    "Uh...it is cute," Anabel was clearly feigning to cover herself, "but, I'll be honest, I don't know what Pokémon this is."

    A short but swaggering salesman approached the family. His green hair and matching green sunglasses glistened in the artificial light thrown by the shop's lights, and his distinctively jagged chin stretched down past his yellow undershirt and white tie to the tip of his purple business suit.

    "That, my cute lil' friend, is a Schoolgirl Shaymin Handbag." The salesman's voice reeked of sleaze---this one would do anything to make a sale, and it was painfully obvious. He made no effort to hide this fact. "Just $15.75 right now, so don't pass this deal up---"

    "FIFTEEN SEVENTY FIVE?!?" Rich shouted. "Are you kidding me? Come on, Olivia, we can find that for a better price somewhere else."

    The glint in the salesguy's glasses made it clear he wasn't about to give up.

    "Aw, come on now, son, can't you see that this lil' angel really likes it? Say, I'll do this just fer you---droppin' the price to $11.99!"

    Rich scoffed, but the big-eyed look Olivia was wearing broke him. With a sigh he took the handbag and reached into his pocket for a stack of bills.

    The greasy salesman let one last comment slip before leaving. "A wise choice, my friend. She will love it."

    "Weirdo," Anabel thought to herself.

    Without a word, Rich paid the bill at the register nearby, then walked back and gave the bag to Olivia. At first he felt he had been scammed, but Olivia's warm reception to the fuzzy object made him feel better. He smiled, but before a word could be said, his P*DA began to ring.

    "I wonder who this is..." Rich mumbled as he took the P*DA from his pocket and opened it, then read the message aloud.

    "Rich, I hope I'm not bothering you too much with this.

    Something's come up. I've been testing my Diamond and Pearl computer system and I got a strange reading on it. I doubt it's a glitch, so I'd like you to return to my lab at your earliest opportunity to help investigate.

    ~Rosemary


    Well, Anabel, sounds like we'd best be getting back."

    Anabel nodded and replied, "I agree. Come, Olivia, you got your handbag. We need to go."

    "Yes, mommy!"

    ----------------------------------------------------------------

    As Rich, Anabel and Olivia stepped into the room of Rosemary's lab where she had set up her system, they found not only the professor---who was sitting in her metal chair typing feverishly into the computer---but Jackie as well, both reflected in the well-polished floor. Rich was surprised to see the Pokémon Ranger.

    "Jackie?"

    Jackie's long hair breezed about as he turned his head.

    "Ah, Rich. Come and have a look at this," the Ranger said as he gestured to the computer, "Rosemary's made quite the discovery."

    "Dialga? I want to see it!" Olivia exclaimed joyfully.

    This didn't seem to make either Jackie or Rosemary happy, though. Dead serious---quite the change of her normal personality---Rosemary simply lifted a Poké Ball into the air and released her Budew.

    "Budd dewdewdew!!!" Budew chirped happily as it rubbed against Olivia's leg.

    "Go play with Budew," Rosemary commanded, "your parents need to see something."

    Olivia left the room with Budew, having understood Rosemary's order, then the professor motioned for Rich and Anabel to come closer. They did so, observing the readings coming out on the computer screen. Three bars---one red as flame, one silver as steel, and the third white as a cloud---were pulsing up and down violently. Next to them was a digital map of all of Aquane, with a pulsing circle surrounding something in the jungle just north of Floria Town.

    Anabel scratched her head and commented, "I don't understand it, Rosemary. What does this all mean?"

    "I don't understand it," was the answer. "I designed this machine to detect diamonds and pearls, but I'm getting ridiculously high readings of heat, metal and oxygen all from the same place!"

    "Do you know the legend of the three Aura Crystals?" inquired Jackie. "It is a legend passed down through generations of Aquane residents. My father taught it to me when I was just a child." Rich and Anabel shook their heads, so Jackie continued. "It goes like this:

    In the island land of the diamonds and pearls,
    there rests a great power.
    One with the Aura unlocks it.....
    Three Pokémon awaken in three temples....
    The guardians of fire, metal and air.
    Energy gathers in their crystal bodies....
    They hold power over the Aura of fire, metal and air...."


    Rich and Anabel stared, neither completely understanding what Jackie had said.

    Rosemary became annoyed and cut in. "What Jackie's saying is that there are three Legendary Pokémon in this region besides Dialga and Palkia, one representing fire, one metal, and a third air. What my machine is picking up appear to be high readings of those three elements all coming from the same place. In the Cocoa Jungle just north of here I have heard rumours of some kind of ancient relic, and that appears to be where the readings are coming from. I've surmised that perhaps that relic is the key referenced in the legend, and it is responding because someone with the power of Aura has come to Aquane."

    "Judy and Elita have assigned me the mission of accompanying you there," added Jackie. "I've already packed all the supplies necessary, so when you're ready to leave, meet me in the Pokémon Center so we can check in with Nurse Joy before departing for the Cocoa Jungle."

    After brushing a shock of his hair out of his face with the back of his right hand, Jackie walked out of the room.

    "I.. I don't understand it," were the words that broke the brief silence. All sorts of thoughts were racing through Rosemary's mind, but there was one emotion in particular that gripped her to the bone: fear. "What have I done? If I've set into motion events I didn't intend to, there could be catastrophic results! I am a shameful excuse for a scientist, that's what I am..."

    Rich set his hand on Rosemary's shoulder and said with a confident voice, "Please, try to relax. Anabel, Jackie and I will go there to investigate the strange occurances and find the answer. Please trust us."

    "Thank you, Rich.. you're awfully kind to say that. I feel bad for placing such a burden on you all."

    "It isn't a concern," Anabel reassured. "Rich, I'm going to get Olivia, so meet me at the front door of the lab."

    "Got it."

    --------------------------------------------------------------

    It wasn't long before Rich and Anabel, with Olivia (who was carrying Budew in her Shaymin Handbag) in tow, arrived at the Pokémon Center. The ever-present redheaded Nurse Joy was standing in her usual place, behind the shiny yellow front desk, chatting with Jackie. Many trainers and their Pokémon were in the glass atrium of a building, most notably a brown-haired man wearing a blue tuxedo and short white cape with his Alakazam near the desk.

    Rich approached Jackie, tapped him on the shoulder to get his attention, and said, "Well, Jackie, are you all set to go?"

    With a smile Jackie replied, "I don't know the meaning of the words 'not ready, Rich." He then turned to the door and added, "That relic's to the north, a ways into the Cocoa Jungle. I've packed plenty of provisions, along with a couple blades for us to cut through the brush."

    By this time, the conversation had attracted the tuxedo-clad man's attention, and he had approached after recalling his Alakazam to its ball. A signal shock of his brown hair hung low over his face in a style not unlike Ein's, and a red bow tie held his suit and cape together.

    "Excuse me, did I overhear you speaking of going to the Cocoa Jungle relic?" The man had a thick, exotic accent that added to his air of mystery.

    "Why yes, you must have," Anabel answered, "that's what we were talking about. We've been sent by the Ranger Base to investigate odd happenings."

    "Yet I only see one of you in a legitimate Ranger's uniform," the man said condescendingly, squinting at the badge on Jackie's shirt. "Jack Walker, is it? I'm sorry, but since you're the only legitimate Ranger of this lot, you are the only one I can allow into the Cocoa Jungle relic."

    Rich's and Anabel's faces both fell. It was like they had hit a wall.

    "You don't understand, this is a very urgent subject!" Rich struggled to explain. "There are crooks looking to unearth the secrets of the relic.....and who are you to tell us where to go anyway?"

    "My name's Eusine. I'm an expert on Legendary Pokémon, and I travel the world with the goal of seeing, battling, and capturing Suicune. Sorry, but I can't let you go into that relic and disturb the peace of the Aura Crystals."

    "Listen to me, Eusine, we have to go there! Enigma Shadow might already be there as we speak!" Anabel said with panic.

    "The answer is no! You are not worthy of standing in the presence of Legendary Pokémon!"

    "I've battled and captured a Suicune myself," Rich growled, "are you going to tell me that isn't enough?"

    "HOW DARE YOU! How dare you desecrate the name of the legendary and fantastic Suicune! I'm going to beat you into the ground in a battle to make you pay for that lie!"

    Eusine pulled out a Poké Ball and thrust it into Rich's face. He'd have likely sprung its occupant to attack Rich had Nurse Joy not lept between them and pushed them apart.

    "No! You two can take it outside, we don't have street battles in here!"

    Eusine stowed his Poké Ball, turned towards the door, lowered his head and snarled, "You stay out of my way, Rich. If I see you at the relic there will be a serious problem. Consider yourself warned." With that, the mysterious man left the Pokémon Center.

    "What was that all about?" Jackie stumbled. "I wouldn't take him too seriously though. Seeing as I'm a Rank 10 Ranger, I can authorize you to go and there's nothing he can do about it."

    Anabel wiped her brow. "That's a relief. Who did that guy think he was, ordering us around?"

    "It doesn't matter." Jackie unclipped his Styler from his belt, opened it, and showed Rich and Anabel the map on its screen. "See that mark there? That's where the relic is."

    "Not too far," commented Rich. "Let's get going."

    As Rich, Anabel and Jackie left the Pokémon Center, Anabel leading Olivia by the hand, a bush near one of the windows rustled---and a distinctive curl of golden blonde hair briefly appeared.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------

    "This is utter humiliation! I am NOT a foot soldier in this damn gang!"

    Yung was storming down the halls of the palace towards Maria's control room, past all the peons and scientists and their projects. He had been assigned a new mission, and he was extremely unhappy about it. Finally, as he bypassed yet another sliding steel door, he reached his lab adjacent to the control room---and Gordor was there.

    "Where have you been, Mitchell?" the old bandleader grunted. "She's been working me to the bone while you were out in order to keep production on schedule!"

    Yung shut his eyes, trying to hold back his rage. "You don't know the half of it," he finally snarled. "She's got me running all about on minor errands, next thing you know I'll be doing grocery shopping like a regular peon! Grrr...just...just get out of my way."

    Yung shoved past Gordor---who shot an unnoticed evil look at him back---and entered Maria's room. The Queen Shadow was, as usual, sitting on her floating chair, and as usual, she was upset.

    "It took you damn long enough, Yung. If you can't even do this I'll demote you to grocery duty without a second thought."

    "I knew it! I'm sorry, Queen Shadow. Here..."

    With a flick of his wrist, Yung tossed his important package to Maria---a pack of cigarettes. She immediately took one of the white, orange tipped sticks out of the box, lit it, and took a deep breath.

    "It's all your fault I've been driven to this. You fools are tearing me apart. Dismissed!"

    Yung turned and stormed out, his mind aboil still.

    "You'll be eating those when I'm through with you, just you wait.."

    Maria sat watching as the door slammed shut behind her angry minion, and now with the room all to herself again, she took another hit of the cigarette and let her mind wander as the tobacco's effects took hold. Her absentminded, incomprehensible mumbling was quickly interrupted when Domino appeared on one of her video screens.

    "Rogue Tulip reporting in!"

    Maria whipped around in the chair, took a third hit and replied, "I was resting, Domino. This had better be something important!"

    "Oh, it is, it is!" On the screen, Domino readied her tape machine. "Are you ready to hear what I've got?"

    "Let's go."

    "Gotcha."

    With a press of a button, Domino started the recording.

    "That relic's to the north, a ways into the Cocoa Jungle. I've packed plenty of provisions, along with a couple blades for us to cut through the brush."

    "Excuse me, did I overhear you speaking of going to the Cocoa Jungle relic?"

    "Why yes, you must have, that's what we were talking about. We've been sent by the Ranger Base to investigate odd happenings."

    "Yet I only see one of you in a legitimate Ranger's uniform. Jack Walker, is it? I'm sorry, but since you're the only legitimate Ranger of this lot, you are the only one I can allow into the Cocoa Jungle relic."

    "You don't understand, this is a very urgent subject! There are crooks looking to unearth the secrets of the relic.....and who are you to tell us where to go anyway?"

    "My name's Eusine. I'm an expert on Legendary Pokémon, and I travel the world with the goal of seeing, battling, and capturing Suicune. Sorry, but I can't let you go into that relic and disturb the peace of the Aura Crystals."

    "Listen to me, Eusine, we have to go there! Enigma Shadow might already be there as we speak!"

    "The answer is no! You are not worthy of standing in the presence of Legendary Pokémon!"

    "I've battled and captured a Suicune myself, are you going to tell me that isn't enough?"

    "HOW DARE YOU! How dare you desecrate the name of the legendary and fantastic Suicune! I'm going to beat you into the ground in a battle to make you pay for that lie!"

    "No! You two can take it outside, we don't have street battles in here!"

    "You stay out of my way, Rich. If I see you at the relic there will be a serious problem. Consider yourself warned."

    "What was that all about? I wouldn't take him too seriously though. Seeing as I'm a Rank 10 Ranger, I can authorize you to go and there's nothing he can do about it."

    "That's a relief. Who did that guy think he was, ordering us around?"

    "It doesn't matter See that mark there? That's where the relic is."

    "Not too far. Let's get going."


    By the time the tape ended, Maria had already snuffed out her cigarette in anger and stood up.

    "This is just LOVELY!! I guess I should thank you for finding it out, but..." Maria turned away, clenching her fists. "They don't understand what is happening, not one bit at all. If those fools knew the truth...yes, if they only knew the truth...if ANYONE knew the truth... forget it, it isn't your problem, Domino. Alert Brandon and Roark that they're heading to the relic."

    "Will do. Rogue Tulip, signing off."

    Domino disappeared, and Maria immediately flopped back in her chair and lit another cigarette.

    "If they knew... if only they knew... if only someone knew..."

    -------------------------------------------------------------

    It seemed like hours since Rich's group had departed for the Cocoa Jungle relic. Certainly the blazing hot sun and dense underbrush choking the terrain didn't help, but after much effort, the group with Jackie at its head finally cut through to a clearing. In the center of the clearing was a large, tall structure of gray stone with a staircase reaching inside. Lines forming all sorts of symbols were cut into the sides of the relic, and atop it, a crystal sculpture that the sun shined brightly through, casting a near-blinding glow through the clearing.

    Jackie, leading the group, turned back and nodded towards his companions, who nodded to him in reply. They approached the ruins, sized up the situation, and climbed the staircase. Once they were inside and out of the blinding sun, Rich rubbed his eyes.

    "Ugh!" he grunted. "I felt like I was staring into a Lanturn's light!"

    Jackie looked around and said, "It appears this is like a foyer-type chamber. We've got to find a way to get deeper inside, there aren't any answers here."

    "Something is suspicious here," Anabel remarked mysteriously. She then burst open one of her Poké Balls, releasing her Espeon. "Espeon, use Flash to light this room up."

    "Eeeefiii!!" Espeon focused its mind, then its body began to glow brightly. The light reached into the four corners of the room...then a female Shadow Peon lept out from a false wall covering a different staircase, frightening Olivia and Budew, who lept behind Anabel's legs in fear.

    "Mommy!"

    "Bud dew dewwwww!!!!"

    The peon rubbed the visor on her helmet then said with some surprise, "Wait, you're that lot who bothered us at the postmaster's office in Okka Town! Brandon never told us you were coming!"

    "Brandon, huh?"

    Turning to Rich in surprise, Jackie inquired, "You know of this Brandon she works for?"

    "I used to work with him back on the Battle Frontier," Anabel explained. "He's an archeologist and a top member of Enigma Shadow. He must've come here seeking the secret of the relic like we did."

    "That guy who came through earlier, do you know him? He wiped me out with his Alakazam. But that won't happen again!"

    //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
    Pkmn Trainer Rich ---vs.--- Shadow Peon Janie
    //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    "Porygon2 and Unown, let's go! This time we'll win!"

    Janie's Porygon had evolved since the last time she battled Rich, but her Unown G was still the same. The two looked eager and ready for battle.

    "Ah, so you've been training. Well done, let's have a good time! Lucario and Melo---"

    Rich released Lucario, but just like the last time, Roserade felt the need to burst out voluntarily and block Rich's deployment of Melodic.

    "Oh, Roserade, what am I going to do with you?!"

    "Rrrrrose, roserade raderossse!!"

    "I don't even want to know what you just said. Lucario, Shadow Ball!"

    With a grunt, Lucario cupped its hands over its head. A ball of dark energy formed between them, and when it was fully charged, Lucario pointed at Unown to fire it. The tiny symbol Pokémon took a devastating blow, flipping over itself many times before finally coming to a rest, slumped and fainted, against the wall.

    "Not exactly my plan. Unown, return! Shuckle, you're up next!"

    As soon as the Shuckle burst from its ball, the Aura Reader activated and scanned it. Of course, this was the same Shadow Shuckle that Janie had used earlier.

    "Let's show him we've got a few surprises up our sleeves this time, Porygon2. Psychic now!"

    The ducklike Normal type was surrounded by the eerie purple aura of a Psychic attack, and soon enough so was Roserade, gripped by the attack's power. Roserade flailed about, but this was in vain---Porygon2 used its power to fling the Grass and Poison type across the room and into the wall. Roserade moaned as it stood, injured yet not ready to give up.

    "You go for it, Roserade! Show her what we've got! Sleep Powder!"

    "Rrrosse!" Roserade crossed its bouquet-tipped arms and launched from them a cloud of choking dust, which floated over Shuckle and immediately sent the Shadow Pokémon into a deep sleep.

    "Sh-Shuckle!! Wake up and use Shadow Half!"

    There was no reply, as Shuckle simply continued to snooze.

    "Let's wrap this one up quickly, Lucario. Use In-Fight!!!"

    Lucario's body glowed with a bright silver light. It rushed forth, arms drawn back, and struck Porygon2 over the head with incredible force. Porygon2 fell out of the air and fainted, while Lucario began breathing deeply from exhaustion.

    "Porygon2!!! Oh.. return..."

    "This one was a joke, honestly. Snag Ball, go!"

    With a snap of his wrist Rich sent a Snag Ball flying in Shuckle's direction. Even while it slept it was absorbed, and the ball tilted three times on the ground upon doing so. It then pinged to indicate a successful Snag.

    "Not again! My boss will not be pleased with me!"

    ////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    Not another word was spoken. Janie simply escaped using the teleporting technology available to all Enigma Shadow members, even the peons. She left Rich and his friends slightly taken aback in the chamber, and a sudden chill blew through the room.

    "That was... different," Jackie finally ventured to break the silence. "Unfortunately it also means they got here ahead of us.."

    Anabel rubbed her chin in thought. "Wait. Didn't she say something about someone else defeating her, someone with an Alakazam?"

    "Yes!" Rich realized the truth as he smacked his fist into his hand. "Eusine must've come here as well!"

    "We've got to proceed with great caution," advised the Ranger. "Not only could Enigma Shadow trip us up, if we run into Eusine in the wrong place, he might present a problem too."

    --------------------------------------------------------------

    While Rich, Anabel, Olivia and Jackie were exploring the relic, Ein, Elita and Judy worked support at the Ranger Base back in Floria Town. Judy was at her computer, busily typing as always, when her phone began to ring.

    "Should I?"

    "No, Ein," Judy replied, "that's mine. Let's see here..."

    Judy pressed a button on the desk near her computer to turn the phone on.

    "Ranger Base, Jack Walker checking in."

    "Jackie, we expected a report sooner. You know better."

    "I apologize, Judy, but... P.E.S. is confirmed."

    "Pokémon Extra Special?"

    "Presence of Enigma Shadow. They made it in before us."

    "Oh dear... not good, Jackie, not good at all. I think you'd best prepare for possible mission failure."

    "I don't know the meaning of the word 'failure.'"

    "Fine. Just be careful." With that, Judy ended the conversation. She then announced to Ein and Elita, "Bad news. Enigma Shadow made it to the relic before they did."

    "That just complicates things even more," Ein grunted, turning away. "We've got to keep working on my latest upgrade to the Snag Machine if we're to keep up."

    "And didn't you say you had developed an upgrade for Jackie's Styler, Judy?" questioned the purple-haired Ranger Leader. "I apologize, I'm still a bit out of the loop after arriving from Wintown, but I'm trying."

    "Yes, that is correct. I was developing a device that would transfer certain Pokémon here if Jackie captured them. It isn't complete yet, but I have a feeling I may need to program it to transfer the Aura Crystals if they awaken."

    Just as Judy finished her sentence, Venus suddenly burst through the front door of the base. She had an enraged look on her face, one that easily gave away her fury.

    "I thought I told you to stay away from here!" Venus raged, not towards Elita or Judy, but at her own husband. "I forbade you to do anything here while she's around!"

    Ein tried to stay cool as he replied, "You don't understand. We all need to work together right now to complete the new Snag Machine for Rich..."

    "I don't care!" Clearly Ein's reasoning wasn't getting through. "You can do just fine working on it at Rosemary's lab as opposed to here. Now we are leaving. NOW!"

    "But-" Ein sighed, threw his hands up, and followed his raging wife out.

    "What in the world just happened?" Judy was shocked. "Why does she not want him around you?"

    "It's a long story," answered Elita.

    ------------------------------------------------------------

    As for the heroes, their trek through the jungle relic continued deeper and deeper underground. Jackie and Rich had long since found torches attached to the walls, taken them, and lit them to provide a source of light for the journey. Anabel, leading Olivia by the hand, followed, while Budew cowered in Olivia's bag, only peeking out periodically.

    "How far down have we gone?" Rich coughed as he spoke, the dew and dust from the rocky walls of the hallway burning in his throat. "Something's got to be ahead. Are we lost?"

    Just as the group finally found a chamber larger than the hallway, Jackie let out a chuckle. "See? I don't know the meaning of the word 'lost.'"

    Without warning, all the torches in the room suddenly lit on their own, filling the chamber with light. Waiting in the darkness for the group was a male peon, standing hands on hips.

    "Well, well," the grunt taunted sarcastically, "look what the cat dragged in. It's that sad Pokémon Ranger with Rich Mistbloom and the rest of the loser crew. Guess you bunch couldn't resist bothering us again after Okka Town?"

    "You're that weak peon I beat at the postmaster's office, aren't you?" Rich retorted, standing his ground. "Is Enigma Shadow in that bad of shape that it can only pay a low number of weak members?"

    "You don't even have the foggiest notion of what you're getting yourselves into. Maybe I should teach you!"

    ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
    Pkmn Trainer Rich ---vs.--- Shadow Peon Larson
    ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    "I came prepared this time. Grotle and Monferno, let's go!"

    Different Pokémon were in Larson's possession for this battle, a bright green turtle with four sturdy legs, a rock-hard shell, and green bushes on its back. Alongside it, a monkey with orange fur and a blue mask on its face, a flame on its tail as well.

    "I guess you did. P*DA time."

    To know what he was facing, Rich brought out his ever-present P*DA to look up the data on his new foes.

    "Grotle, the tree bush Pokémon. Type is Grass. Evolved form of Turtwig. It lives along water sides in forests. During daytime, it goes outside of the forests to let the trees on its shell take in sunlight. Its shell is strengthened by soil, therefore Grotle is known to roll in dirt and mud.

    Monferno, the naughty Pokémon. Type is Fire/Fighting. Evolved form of Chimchar. By extending the flame on its tail to make its body look bigger, it scares off its attacking foes. It saunters in midair using ceilings and walls. The flame on its tail is also one of its weapons."


    "Not a bad collection this time if I do say so myself. Unfortunately for you, it won't do much. Slowking and Salamence, let's do this! Salamence, we're looking like a bit of sun could help us out. Sunny Day!"

    Rich's immense dragon Pokémon stomped its left front foot down and turned its head towards the ceiling. "Saaaaaaaalaahhh!!!" it roared, shaking the room.

    In response to Salamence's cry, blinding light filled the chamber, glowing down from the top.

    "What is wrong with you?" Larson snarled. "To my advantage. Grotle, Solarbeam!"

    The bushes on Grotle's back began to glow as the sunlight was absorbed into them, then the turtle-like Pokémon fired a powerful beam of focused light to smash right into Slowking. Normally this was a slow attack to power up, but Rich's tactic of using Sunny Day had provided it an advantage.

    "Hang in there, Slowking!" Rich clenched his fists as he shouted encouragement. "You can do it!"

    The pain of the continual sunlight blast was definitely affecting Slowking, but nevertheless its trainer's encouraging words slowly seeped into its mind. It tightened up its muscles, then flung its arms out to break the force of the Solarbeam attack. Clearly Larson was taken aback by this, but he tried not to show it.

    "Grr... good move, but it won't help. Monferno, use Rock Slide!"

    Using its powerful fists, Monferno pulled up several large rocks from the ground and sent them flying at Rich's Pokémon. A few of them hit Slowking and did rather little, but when the others hit Salamence, the dragon thrashed about and roared in pain. After all, it was a Rock type attack on a part-Flying type Pokémon.

    "Now it's time for our attack. Slowking, do it now! Fire Blast!"

    The change couldn't have been more shocking. In literally the blink of an eye, Slowking's expression changed from that of its usually silly demeanor suffering a bit of pain to that of a warrior with nerves of steel. The fire in its eyes matched the burning flame that it exhaled, and Larson could do nothing but watch in horror as the fireball, fueled further by the sunlight, swept over his Grotle without mercy. Smoke from the attack obscured Grotle, but a pained cry could be heard---and when the smoke did clear, Grotle was long since fainted.

    "Aw no, Grotle! After I evolved you and everything! Return... I guess it's Prinplup next! Go!"

    The next Poké Ball released a penguin Pokémon, blue in color with a pink chest and yellow horns growing from its beak to wrap around its head. As soon as it appeared, Rich went right to his P*DA.

    "Prinplup, the penguin Pokémon. Type is Water. Evolved form of Piplup. Each colony is founded by one of its kind only. Each Prinplup considers itself to be the greatest one. A single strike from its wings can be deadly, and even big trees will be bent with a snap. It searches for prey in frozen seas."

    "Let's see how much that works out for you NOW! Salamence, Aerial Ace!"

    Rich snapped his fingers, and as if on cue, Salamence seemingly vanished. Larson, Prinplup and Monferno all looked around warily, waiting for it to reappear.

    "Stay on the ball," Larson hissed through his teeth at his Pokémon. "That thing could come out anywhere..."

    And Larson's prediction did come true---Salamence shot down from the ceiling with a fierce roar, but Monferno, its target, had no chance to block because it was blinded by the sunlight. Salamence crashed all its bulk down on the flaming primate with such force that Monferno actually stuck fast to its chest for a moment before falling and fainting.

    "What?! You've got to be cheating!"

    "Must look that way, doesn't it? Good work, Salamence."

    Salamence gave a happy grunt in reply as Larson recalled Monferno and prepared his final Pokémon.

    "It looks like I've got to rely on the power of my Shadow Pokémon, then. Bronzor, go!"

    Indeed, this was the same Shadow Bronzor Larson had used earlier, as confirmed by the Aura Reader.

    "You may have me down, but I'm nowhere near out! Let's turn the tide with Rain Dance, Prinplup!"

    Dark storm clouds gathered over the room, choking out the sunlight, then pouring rain began to fall.

    "Now, Bronzor, go for it with Shadow Rush!"

    Just like before, Bronzor cloaked itself in the shades then spun into Slowking's chest. Slowking grunted, the air having been knocked from it, but otherwise this attack was rather ineffective. It only left Slowking angered and spoiling for a fight.

    "I hear you, Slowking, I hear you. Water Pulse!"

    Slowking opened its mouth wide and yawned, "Slooooooh ~♪." Rings of water shot out, gathered power from the rain, and struck Bronzor. The Shadow Pokémon let out a high-pitched squeal---after all, it was injured rather badly. Surprisingly, Rich's next move was taking out a Poké Ball.

    "You've done all you can, Salamence. Return!" A red energy beam shot out from the center of the ball and pulled Salamence back in, then Rich stowed it, brought out another Poké Ball, and let it fly. "Let's see you in a real battle! Roserade, I choose you!"

    "Wow!" Anabel thought to herself in surprise. "It's sure been a long time since Rich chose Roserade without even a slight bit of trouble. I hope she can do it."

    "Go, Roserade!" Olivia called out in encouragement, Budew chirping from her bag. "You can do it!"

    Hearing all this encouragement (even Anabel's mental words), Roserade turned to Rich, nodded, and let out a thickly-accented "Rrrrrose!!" to show it was ready.

    "I'm sorry to have to disappoint your little girl so much," Rich's foe taunted wickedly, "but your time is up. Prinplup, Ice Beam! Let's go!"

    A blue energy ball formed in Prinplup's open beak as it drew in air to collect power for its attack, and after a moment a similarly-colored beam of freezing ice launched out and hit Roserade directly. Terrible pain wreaked Roserade's form with a cold tingle numbing the Grass and Poison type, but it would take much more to break the brash creature's will. As Prinplup dropped its offensive, Roserade managed to shake off the frosty hurt and regain composure.

    "Wha- what? That didn't do it? Bronzor, finish it off!"

    Larson didn't even need to give a command, Bronzor simply went into another Shadow Rush and struck Roserade forcefully. Even this failed to take Roserade down, and Larson's eyes widened in terror under his helmet.

    "About time to finish this up. Snag Ball, go!"

    The red-and-white sphere materialized in Rich's glove, and he threw it at Bronzor. It tapped against the Steel and Psychic type, popped open and absorbed it, fell to the ground, and began shaking. Not much time passed before it pinged to signal another successful Shadow Pokémon recovery.

    "Yes! Now to finish this up once and for all. Roserade, Solarbeam! Go!"

    The white rose on Roserade's head opened slightly as it began to absorb what sunlight it could in the cloud-choked, rain filled room. As it did so, Roserade crossed its arms and closed its eyes.

    "There's our opening! Prinplup, another Ice Beam and make it quick!"

    Prinplup charged and fired another Ice Beam, and it bore down quickly on Roserade as the latter continued charging its own attack. Just before it hit, however, Roserade finished charging, pointed its bouquets forward, and loosed a massive blast of sunlight from them. The Solarbeam blasted straight through, literally melting the Ice Beam away, then hit Prinplup and ravaged it with catastrophic damage. Obviously, Prinplup fell.

    "So you've beaten me again. My boss is up next!"

    //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    "You guys came way too late. I bet my boss has already disposed of that caped freak who beat me earlier, too, so you're about to find out what happens to meddlers!"

    Larson fled, heading back up the way Rich's group had come. Rich went to chase him, but Jackie held him back.

    "No, Rich," the Ranger advised, "not worth it. What we need to do is go forth and get the last of Enigma Shadow out of this relic."

    Anabel nodded in agreement and said, "At least we haven't got to deal with any more peons for now. I was getting rather sick of them. Let's go on."

    The two men of the group took their torches up again, and together, the team began heading even deeper into the ruins, towards the end.


    Soon enough, they reached a large, dead-end chamber. A small underground river flowed through it, carving patterns in the rock floor. Glowing white, red and silver crystals were everywhere, but there was not a single person to be found.

    "A dead end!" Rich gasped. "They tricked us into a trap!"

    "A trap, eh?" The voice from up above had a familiar exotic accent to it.

    "Wha?! Eusine, is that you?" Jackie raised his torch, revealing Eusine, clad in a purple cape, standing atop a nearby boulder.

    "When it's the legends you're dealing in, you can't get a better man than me! Think you know more? I'd doubt it! I'm the master of all things legendary! I'm Eusine!" Eusine threw aside his cape after finishing his motto, then lept down from his perch to confront Rich. His taunting continued, “So you came out here after I warned you not to. Jack Walker, you’re a disgrace as a Ranger.”

    Jackie, obviously offended, replied with a growl, “I’m rank 10, the highest rank of all in the Ranger Union! You’re just some fan of Legendary Pokémon, so I have the authority to allow them to come with me on a mission. You can’t stop me from doing so, and believe me, this concerns them just as much as it does me.”

    “You’re not convincing me of anything. Rich! Was that your name?” With rather violent force, Eusine pulled a Poké Ball from his belt and expanded it while holding the sphere right in Rich’s face. “Because you foolishly ignored what I told you and dared to corrupt this sacred place, I will now have to crush you as punishment...”

    “GOOD!” a loud, booming voice suddenly echoed through the room. “Wipe him out for us! It makes our work easier!”

    Everyone, even Eusine, looked around in confusion. Finally, the source of the threat appeared at the top of a short flight of stairs before the group---Brandon. Rich and Anabel easily recognized the familiar sight of the rather imposing archeologist, but the man next to him was a complete mystery. His long, messy, shoulder-length brown hair peeked out from under a red hard hat. Square glasses sat at the edge of his nose, and his look was rounded out by a white pair of gloves, a gray coat and pair of pants, a black sleeveless undershirt, and black boots.

    “Who are you? I demand to know, for you are intruding upon...”

    “Oh, shut up, Eusine. I’ve heard it all already.” Brandon was angry and impatient---his usual demeanor.

    “How do you know my name?”

    “We heard your entire rant!” Brandon’s sidekick shouted. “We heard it all while...”

    Brandon put his hand in front of his apprentice’s face and said, “Calm yourself, Roark. You asked why we are here?”

    “You’re damn straight I did! You are...”

    Having finally found his voice, Rich interrupted, “I think I know. They’re here because of the legend associated with this relic. They’re members of Enigma Shadow, the organization I told you was heading here. But noooo, you wouldn’t hear of it...”

    “Forget them!” Eusine countered. “I still warned you, so now we will battle!!”

    “NO!” the Shadow Commander’s booming voice echoed through the chamber. “You two will not battle. Rich, Anabel, meet my apprentice, Roark.” Brandon gestured towards Roark, then continued, “Rich, you will now battle him.”

    “Why should I?”

    “Because my boss said so!” Roark took over at this point, and with an angry look on his face, came down the stairs to confront Rich face-to-face. “You look here. Enigma Shadow got to this region long before you did. It’s your own fault for what happens, since you ignored that warning we sent to your plane...”

    “Warning?” Anabel gasped. “You mean...”

    “Whatever. Because we got here first these Legendary Pokémon are ours. You gonna try to do something about it? I can tell you’ll try. Fine then, just don’t blame me for what’s going to end up happening!”

    ///////////////////////////////////////////////
    Pkmn Trainer Rich ---vs.--- Shadow Admin Roark
    ///////////////////////////////////////////////

    [Roark takes a battle-ready stance by firmly thrusting his right foot forward, then he adjusts his hard hat and glasses. After pulling two Poké Balls from his pocket, he throws them to reveal a Kabutops and an Omastar]

    “Kabutops and Omastar, hm? I think I’ll take a more...methodical approach to this one. I choose you, Porygon-Z and Roserade!”

    Looks of anger were traded between Rich’s Porygon-Z & Roserade and Roark’s Omastar & Kabutops, but none of this even compared to the daggers being thrown between the two trainers. After a moment, Rich took the first move.

    “Porygon-Z, use Discharge to get them both!”

    The virtual Pokémon’s beak glowed a bright yellow as electricity gathered in it, then a number of lightning bolts shot out at Roark’s pair of Water and Rock types. Omastar couldn’t dodge, the weight of its shell holding it down, but the agile Kabutops lept up into the air and perched like a spider on the wall. It only got nicked.

    “Use that momentum for an Aerial Ace!”

    Kabutops flexed its spindly legs and launched itself like a bullet off the wall at Roserade. Before it even had a chance to realize what was happening, Kabutops struck at full force, sending pangs of throbbing pain through Roserade’s body. Rich tensed, but knew in a flash the counter.

    “Roserade, Giga Drain on Omastar! We can take it out and heal!”

    “Rrroserade!!” Roserade snapped to attention and lunged at Omastar, whose heavy shell once again proved to be its Achilles heel. The flower Pokémon latched onto it and began glowing bright green, draining Omastar’s energy. There was little Omastar could do, and it fainted fairly quickly.

    “Grrrr...well played, I admit, well played. Omastar, return. Bastiodon, I choose you!”

    Out of Roark’s next Poké Ball came an unfamiliar creature, a large triceratops-like Pokémon whose craggy yellow-and-black skin gave it an air of toughness. Its face only furthered that look, as it was a black shield covering everything except its yellow eyes, white horns and white teeth. As always with a new Pokémon, Rich scanned it with his P*DA.

    “Bastiodon, the shield Pokémon. Type is Rock/Steel. Evolved form of Shieldon. It can deflect any attack that comes from the front. It eats grass or berries, and has a gentle nature. Under the siege of enemies, it creates a defensive wall with the shield on its face to protect the children in its herd.”

    “That looks a little tougher...I think I should step up my tactics a bit. Porygon-Z, use Nasty Plot!”

    “Powering yourself up isn’t going to work with me!” Roark shouted firmly. “Kabutops, finish Roserade off! X-Scissor!!”

    Kabutops let out its distinctive, hissing cry as it lept at Roserade with scythes crossed. The agility of Roark’s fossil Pokémon was startling---even though it was totally alert and did try to dodge, Roserade’s efforts were in vain. It took a catastrophically strong, direct hit, and collapsed. Shockingly, Roark raised and pointed a gloved hand at Roserade’s still form, ready to order his attack from Bastiodon---on the fainted Pokémon.

    “Bastiodon, Iron Head!”

    Bastiodon’s shieldlike head began to sparkle like steel as it charged like a bulldozer towards Roserade, much to Rich’s horror as he fumbled for the appropriate Poké Ball.

    “What are you doing?! Are you insane? Roserade, return!”

    The red beam from the Poké Ball reached Roserade just before Bastiodon did. Roserade got away safely, while Bastiodon crashed into a wall and jarred several rocks loose.

    “Coward!” Roark spat. “Let your Pokémon take their hits!”

    Rich countered, “Roserade had its hits, it was fainted! You were attacking it when it was down! But... I get the feeling reasoning with you won’t work. Slowking, go!”

    “Reason? Hmph. Reason would be if you gave up.”

    “That’s what you think! Porygon-Z, time for Solarbeam!”

    A low hum filled the air as Porygon-Z looked straight up at the ceiling and began absorbing light. Thanks to the cracks in the ceiling, some sunlight did come through for it, otherwise this attack would have been fairly useless.

    “Unwise. Kabutops, Brick Break! Let’s go!”

    Again using its powerful legs to propel itself, Kabutops rushed Porygon-Z with sickles outstretched. Seeing as the Normal type was stuck in its own attack, dodging was impossible, and Kabutops scored a clean, effective hit. Porygon-Z stayed focused on its charging, though, and the effect of the attack seemed to wear off quickly.

    “I’ll break that concentration! Bastiodon!” Roark thrust his left arm forward. “FISSURE!”

    “Sttiiiii stiOOOOOO!!!!” Bastiodon roared, raising the front half of its massively heavy body up then smashing it down, creating a large crack in the floor. The crack slowly weaved its way through the ground towards Porygon-Z, but Rich was ready.

    “Protect now, Slowking! Shield Porygon-Z!”

    Rich’s scheme worked. Slowking lept between Porygon-Z and the ever-advancing crack, then formed a shield of green light around its body. The crack hit the shield and pressed against it for several moments, then deflected and ceased progressing.

    “Perfect! Time to blow that Kabutops away once and for all, Porygon-Z! GO!!”

    Porygon-Z cried out, then let loose with a cannon-like blast of sunlight. Kabutops lept for the ceiling again, but its agility failed this time. It took a direct hit from the Solarbeam, suffered incredible damage, and fainted.

    “This isn’t over yet!” Roark growled as he recalled Kabutops. “Rampardos, you’re up next!”

    Roark next deployed another new, unfamiliar fossil Pokémon. This one towered over the others, its mighty black body marked in places with blue stripes and sharp spikes of bone. Perhaps the strangest thing about its appearance was its head---the bottom half was round, but the top was completely flat save for a blue dome in the middle and more spikes around the edges.

    “Rampardos, the headbutt Pokémon,” the P*DA recited. “Type is Rock. Evolved form of Cranidos. Its fierce headbutt attacks have the power to shatter anything in one hit no matter how tough it is. Its skull is hard like iron. Rampardos is a mischievous being who catches prey by knocking down and flattening trees in the jungle.”

    “There! Now you see the kind of power I’m capable of? Let’s drive that point home, Rampardos! Head Smash!!”

    There was nothing spectacular about Rampardos’s attack---it simply charged at Porygon-Z with its huge head lowered. The crushing impact from the blow sent Porygon-Z flying back and crashing into a wall.

    “Finish it, Bastiodon---HYPER BEAM!”

    Bastiodon moaned as it opened its mouth. A red orb formed, and after several seconds of charging a massive red beam of energy shot out right at Porygon-Z, still just in front of the wall it had hit moments earlier. Rich’s Normal type had no chance to dodge, and got blasted into the wall by the amazing force of the attack. When the dust faded from the air, Porygon-Z literally peeled off the wall and fell.

    “That was painful... but it means he has to let Bastiodon rest now. Porygon-Z, you did well. Have a rest. Melodic, I choose you!” After sending out Melodic, Rich looked up towards the ceiling and the sunlight coming through the cracks. “Hmmm...I think that if I... yes! That’ll work! Rain Dance!”

    Mimicking its trainer’s actions, Slowking looked up and let out a deep, relaxed cry, “Sloooooooooooh~♪” On cue, clouds gathered---not only over the ceiling but outside the relic too, making the following rainstorm even stronger. Rich’s strategy of getting a stronger Rain Dance by exploiting the openings to the outside worked.

    “Good work, Slowking! Melodic, follow it up with Surf!”

    As it used its power, Melodic’s blue eyes began to glow like beacons in the dark. A wave of water formed from the raindrops and crashed down over Roark’s Pokémon, critically injuring them both.

    “Hrrgh... can’t hold up against that... Rampardos, Giga Impact! Give it everything you’ve got!”

    “RaaaaaaaamppppAAAAAARRRRDDD!!!!” Rampardos roared as its whole body began to shine a bright red. It then charged with brutally powerful stomps that cracked the floor, heading like a bullet for Slowking. Of course, Slowking didn’t earn its name by being swift, so it was hit head-on and collapsed as a result.

    “Slowking, return!” Rich sent Slowking back to its ball, then took a moment to look at it. “Well done, my friend. Now, it’s about time for us to finish this up. Salamence, I choose you!”

    Salamence burst from its ball with a roar, just as Bastiodon began breathing heavily to regain its energy after using Hyper Beam. The rain continued falling, drenching the battlefield.

    “Time to finish this, Melodic! Surf again!”

    Once again the raindrops fused into a sheet of water, which in turn became a huge tidal wave. Melodic directed it towards Roark’s team...

    “Bastiodon, dispel it with Fire Blast!!!”

    Bastiodon let out a flood of white-hot flame from its mouth, but it wasn’t enough. The fire simply steamed away to nothing against the water, then the wave crushed Bastiodon and Rampardos. Two fainted, drenched dinosaur Pokémon were all that remained.

    “A double knockout!” Anabel encouraged mentally. “You’ve got him on the ropes! Keep going!”

    “I have no other choice now. Rampardos, return. Bastiodon, come back. Finally, my Shadow Pokémon get a chance to shine! Aerodactyl, Sandslash, I choose you!!”

    Indeed, Roark’s final two Pokémon---a large, gray dragon-like monster and a much smaller orange and brown sand mouse---were both Shadow Pokémon.

    “It won’t do for this rain to continue. Aerodactyl, Shadow Sky!”

    Some shadow energy gathered in Aerodactyl’s body, and then as it let out a screeching cry the energy burst out and smothered the rainstorm, replacing it with shadowy rain and bursts of light falling from ominous purple clouds.

    “Now we’re playing on MY terms,” Roark said with a wicked smirk. “Sandslash, Shadow Rave, let’s go!”

    Sandslash lifted its sharp claws into the air. It then hissed, drew shadow energy into itself from the air, and jammed its claws into the ground, creating shadowy spikes that sliced through the stone like knives through butter and struck both of Rich’s Pokémon with ample force, leaving several scratches on their bodies. More pain came down in the form of the bursts of light from Shadow Sky, still raining down on the battle.

    “I think dividing and conquering might not be a bad idea here. Salamence, Hydro Pump!”

    Surprisingly, even though it was a dragon known for breathing fire, Salamence was able to fire a jet of water up from its mouth with Sandslash as the target. Unlike Rampardos and Bastiodon, however, Sandslash was rather nimble, so it was able to crouch near to the ground and avoid taking a direct blow.

    “Not good enough... Hypnosis!”

    Melodic locked its gaze with Sandslash’s, then its soft blue eyes began to glow hypnotically. Sandslash started to fall under its spell, but managed to shake it off and come out unaffected.

    “Your weak skills worked on Lovrina, but they won’t on me. Aerodactyl, Shadow Rush!!”

    Finally, some real speed was being displayed on the part of Roark’s offense. Aerodactyl clenched its wings and balled itself up then practically rolled itself through the air, all while giving off the shadowy aura. Conversely, Rich now had the power without the speed, much like how Roark’s situation had been for much of the battle, so despite its twisting around and attempting to dodge, Melodic got hit and hard. Rich’s partner was certainly showing the wear of battle, its golden body battered and scarred from Roark’s attacks. Unfortunately, he wasn’t done just yet.

    “Shadow Down!”

    This time Sandslash crossed its claws, then violently uncrossed them to send small orbs of shadow energy towards Rich’s side. This was an attack impossible to avoid, and the spore-like objects attached themselves to then absorbed into the skin of their targets, weakening their defensive capabilities.

    “Use Dragon Claw this time, Salamence! We’ve got to hit Sandslash NOW!”

    After nodding curtly to its trainer, Salamence turned and lunged at Sandslash, its claws sparking with deep-green energy. This time the attack hit directly, leaving a number of claw marks on Sandslash’s body.

    “Try Hypnosis again, Melodic! It should work!”

    Once again Melodic locked eyes with Sandslash, trying to work its spell. Unlike the last attempt, however, this one worked, and Sandslash slumped to the floor, sound asleep. Roark growled and clenched his teeth, frustrated at the way the battle was going.

    “Oh, it doesn’t matter! Aerodactyl, use your Shadow Rave!”

    The attack came forth swiftly, called by Aerodactyl’s screeching cry. Just like when Sandslash used the move, Shadow Rave sent spikes of energy shooting through the floor. This time Rich’s Pokémon were stricken with more force, though, owing to the effect of the earlier Shadow Down.

    “Salamence, Hydro Pump one more time!”

    Rich used a rather clever tactic this time. Salamence looked toward Sandslash and charged its attack, but suddenly shifted its aim and fired the jet of water at Aerodactyl, catching it off guard and scoring a heavy hit.

    “Now!” Rich extended his left arm and opened the fingers on his hand widely, cueing a Snag Ball to form in the glove. “Sandslash, you’re mine! Snag Ball, go!”

    With a spin Rich threw the ball, which had no trouble connecting with its snoozing target. Sandslash was transformed into red energy and sucked into the ball, which then sealed and began rocking back and forth on the floor. Roark stared at it intently, as if to will it back open, but it was no use. The ball pinged; Rich had Snagged Sandslash.

    “NO! This cannot be... well, you still have Aerodactyl to go. Shadow Rush!”

    “Salamence, use Protect!”

    Aerodactyl charged, but Salamence lowered its head, and just inches from impact Aerodactyl smashed head-first into the green wall of light protecting its target from harm. Sparks flew and then there was an explosion, pushing both Pokémon back. Aerodactyl glided back smoothly through the air, but Salamence’s claws caused an unbearable scraping as they dug into the stone floor.

    “Melodic, Ice Beam!”

    After uncoiling its long, sinewy body, Melodic fired a beam of ice from its mouth at Aerodactyl. Like earlier, it had feinted a bit to throw Aerodactyl’s dodge off, and therefore managed to strike with spot-on accuracy. Not only that, the attack completely froze Aerodactyl, its form dropping to the floor with a thud. Roark’s eyes went wide in horror.

    “No, Aerodactyl! No...”

    “It is over, Roark. Snag Ball, go!”

    There wasn’t anything Aerodactyl could do to resist the Snag Ball that Rich threw at it. The frozen Pokémon, like Sandslash before, got sucked into the ball, trapped, and sealed after three easy tilts, ending the battle.

    “Ugh...ugh....Brandon, I’ve failed...”

    /////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    “It’s no use!” Roark gasped weakly. “I cannot beat him!”

    With a smarmy grin Eusine said, “That’s what you get for crossing into this sacred place. Now give up and leave.”

    Eusine’s command was met by Brandon’s stomping forward.

    “NO!” the Shadow Commander shouted. “Roark, what is wrong with you? Have you forgotten....it?”

    “It? You mean...”

    “Yes, IT!”

    “Fine, Rich, now you’re going to get it!”

    “Bring it on, Roark!” Rich countered. “I’ve got plenty left of what you just saw!”

    From one of his deep pockets, Roark produced a trumpet whose golden shine only contributed more to its sinister air. He played a few notes, then a brand-new XD-version Shadow Pokémon appeared. It looked a bit like a Magneton, but definitely wasn’t---the center of its body was wide and flat, not unlike a UFO, and colored gray and silver with a red and black eye in the middle. Magnemite-like extensions, each with one magnet and their own eye, were positioned on each side, and finally, a yellow antenna up top and a third magnet on its rear. Whenever Roark played a note on the trumpet, his Shadow Styler, shadow energy surged through this creature’s body and transformed it to the black, white and red colors of an XD-version Shadow Pokémon.

    “Rich,” Roark said with an evil grin, “meet my Shadow Pokémon, XD Magnezone.”

    “Maggneeee........zoooone....” Magnezone droned menacingly.

    “You don’t scare me with that!” Rich held firm, then searched out his P*DA.

    “Magnezone, the magnetic field Pokémon. Type is Steel/Electric. Evolved form of Magneton. It evolved from exposure to a special magnetic field, and its three units generate magnetism. They are almost never found in the wild, and when they do appear, it is only at Mt. Coronet in Sinnoh. It feeds off of electrical charges, and they are known to gather at Mt. Coronet during lightning storms to absorb energy.”

    “Ah, a Steel type after all Rock and Ground? Clever, Roark, clever...”

    “Indeed it is. Let us begin!”

    ///////////////////////////////////////////////
    Pkmn Trainer Rich ---vs.--- Shadow Admin Roark
    ///////////////////////////////////////////////

    [Roark crosses his arms and grins evilly as Magnezone spins its three magnets, sparks, and gives a droning cry]

    “Why don’t we make this a duel of iron wills... with Steel Pokémon! Lucario, I choose you!”

    The match was set---Rich’s Lucario, the gaze of a fighter burning in its eyes, against Roark’s soulless Shadow Magnezone. Rich didn’t waste any time in ordering the first attack.

    “Lucario, Blaze Kick!”

    Swiftly, Lucario sprang up into the air and aimed its most effective attack squarely at Magnezone’s head. The Steel and Fighting type’s right foot began to spark with flames as it drew near, but Roark did not seem concerned.

    “Barrier, Magnezone.” He even sounded disinterested.

    “Genezzzzone......” With one of its haunting drones, Roark’s Pokémon encased its body in a shield of red light. Lucario hit a moment later, but it had little effect, then the shield absorbed itself into Magnezone’s body.

    “Now, use Thunderbolt!!”

    Electricity shot between the magnets on Magnezone’s body and the antenna on its head, then soon enough towards the still-near Lucario. Because of the close range, the attack’s full effect hit Lucario, and forcefully too.

    “We can pull this out still! Force Palm!”

    As soon as Rich gave the command, Lucario drew back its right arm and froze, unmoving. This was all part of the attack, a feint meant to throw off the opponent’s defense. After several tense moments of standoff, Lucario suddenly sliced forth.

    “BARRIER!!” Roark ordered immediately upon seeing Lucario’s attack begin.

    The results were similar to before. Lucario’s attack connected, but the shell of red light nullified much of its effect.

    “Now, Magnezone....” Roark smiled, then played several notes on his trumpet---sending shadow energy surging through Magnezone and transforming it into XD mode. “It’s about time we showed him a real atttack. Shadow Bolt!”

    The massive amount of shadow energy in Magnezone’s body flowed to its antenna, which sparked for a moment before a single bolt of black lightning shot out and zapped Lucario. Lucario stumbled back and fell, staying on its hands and knees for several tense moments as black sparks burst off its body while it trembled.

    “Go for it, Lucario! You can do it!” Rich’s encouragement brought Lucario back upright, ready for more. “Good work! Now, use Aura Sphere!”

    Quickly, Lucario cupped its hands to form a ball of blue energy between them. It charged up and then was launched at Magnezone, however Roark was ready.

    “MIRROR COAT!!!”

    Magnezone encased itself again, but not in the red light of a Barrier---this time its surface glistened like a mirror, and when Lucario’s attack hit, it was instantly reflected back and smashed into Lucario with explosive force. When the smoke from the attack cleared, Lucario was near fainting but not quite there.

    “Grrrrr....if I use any physical attacks, he’ll use Barrier to block them, but if I attack with Aura Sphere, he’ll use Mirror Coat and hit me with my own strike. There has got to be a way out of this... I haven’t got any other choice. Lucario, Force Palm again!”

    Resigning to the fact he couldn’t do much to Magnezone with what little Lucario had left, Rich simply ordered another Force Palm---which, thanks to all the Barrier moves, struck Magnezone with almost totally nullified damage. However, it did inflict paralysis on the Shadow Pokémon, indicated by its sudden, consistant slight tremble.

    “Time to finish him off, Magnezone!” A few notes came right before Roark’s command. “Shadow End!”

    Waves of shadow energy flowed into Magnezone’s body as it powered up into XD mode. Focusing this power led to its becoming cloaked completely in darkness, a black cloud that threw itself through the air at breakneck speed into Lucario.

    “Caario!!!” Lucario grunted, stumbling back violently before falling for good from the attack it had taken. Magnezone didn’t escape unharmed either, however, suffering severe backlash.

    “Lucario, return! Let me think. If I send out Melodic, he will use electrical attacks to strike hard and fast. Salamence, though...yes. I choose you, Salamence! Make me proud!”

    “Proud?” Roark mocked. “You cannot win. Give up.”

    “I don’t think so. This is gonna take a lot of luck...Salamence, Dragon Pulse!”

    Salamence launched several circular waves of bluegreen energy out of its mighty maw, but Roark just laughed.

    “Hah, pitiful. Have you forgotten this? Magnezone, Mirror Coa---wha!?”

    Magnezone was actually shaking violently and writhing about, desperately but vainly trying to break its paralysis. It was no good, however, so it couldn’t use Mirror Coat to block Salamence’s attack, which only inflicted a small amount of damage due to Magnezone’s natural typing.

    “Snag Ball, go!”

    Finally attempting to end the fight, Rich threw a Snag Ball at Magnezone. It was a risk because Magnezone still had a decent amount of fight left in it, but with every tilt Rich became more hopeful until finally, it clicked. Magnezone was Snagged, and Roark had lost.

    “The shame of losing feels like an avalanche of boulders on me....”

    ////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    “It...it can’t.....this isn’t possible...”

    Brandon walked down the stairs with heavy steps and grabbed Roark by the shoulders. Roark naturally recoiled, fearing what Brandon would do, but Brandon did nothing more than get in his apprentice’s face.

    “I trained you intensely for this moment, did I not?!” Brandon raged. “And then you just go and lose like Lovrina did! Not only that, you lost your XD Magnezone, which I had to fight to convice Queen Shadow to give you! What have you got to say for yourself?!”

    “I...I’m sorry, sir...” All of Roark’s cocky confidence was gone, replaced by sheer nervousness.

    Rich, however, was growing impatient after all the battling, and said, “End this nonsense already. We’ve all had enough.”

    “NO!” Brandon shouted, advancing on Rich. “He might be a complete and utter weakling, but when it is all said and done it’s all YOUR fault!”

    When he was done shouting, Brandon rushed forward as if to beat Rich up. Naturally Rich jumped back, even though Brandon was bluffing, but he stumbled and fell backwards---and when he did, his hand touched one of the crystals, causing it to begin glowing. Rich could only stare in muted shock as all the crystals in the room began glowing as well, followed by violent shaking.

    “What...what is happening?!” Anabel gasped in fear, Olivia and Budew holding her leg for dear life.

    Roark obviously didn’t know either, prompting him to ask with a quiver in his voice, “B-boss! I don’t... what’s happening?!”

    “The legend is coming true...” Brandon mumbled in reply, shielding his eyes from the bright glowing of the crystals.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Back at Rosemary’s lab in Floria Town, Ein and Venus had long since busied themselves again working on the upgraded Snag Machine for Rich while Rosemary herself tinkered away, typing in her computer, trying to find more leads on the mysterious signals.

    “How’s it going?” Ein finally broke the silence by saying. “Got anything yet?”

    “Nothing yet,” Rosemary replied, not turning her head from the screen. “What about the thing you’re working on?”

    Venus answered, “We’re coming along, but slowly.”

    “If we were still working with Elita, we’d have it done.”

    Venus turned to Ein with the fire of rage in her eyes.

    “What did you just say?! I HEARD you mumbling!!”

    “Errrr...nothing, don’t worry about---“

    Suddenly, a shrill sound filled the room. It was an alarm, and it was coming from Rosemary’s computer. She frantically typed in a command, bringing up the monitor of the Cocoa Jungle relic that Rich, Anabel and Jackie were at. The red, silver and white signals were going wild, as were the meters measuring the aura energy in the area. Rosemary’s eyes went wide behind her glasses, and her mouth fell open.

    “Something’s wrong at that relic!” she shouted.

    Ein and Venus dropped what they were doing and rushed to the computer.

    “What is it?” Venus wondered aloud. “I can’t tell what this means!”

    “Those strange auras I detected have gone wild,” explained Rosemary. “There’s a problem out there.... what have I done, sending them to that place...”

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The violent quaking continued for several tense minutes, causing Roark and Brandon to fall down while Jackie held Anabel up by pinning himself between her and the wall. Finally, though, it stopped, the lights faded, and everything returned to normal. Brandon got up, shortly followed by Roark, and looked around.

    “Whatever just happened, even I don’t know.”

    “You mean this is unknown even to you, boss?”

    “Cut it with the ‘boss’ nonsense, Roark. Rich! You’d better listen! Today’s victory goes to you. Don’t get cocky, though---Roark and I will both be training intensely for our next meeting. Farewell for now!”

    Brandon snapped his fingers, and by using some sort of advanced technology, teleported himself and Roark out of the relic. Now alone again, the heroes and Eusine recovered and began their own run of processing the day’s events.

    “Do you see now, Eusine?” Jackie said harshly. “I told you there were crooks out to cause problems here and I was right.”

    Eusine scoffed and replied, “Crooks? Whatever. You did a good job, Rich, I will admit, but you still are not worthy enough in my eyes. I’m leaving.”

    Turning on his heel, Eusine left the chamber through the way he had come in, leaving Rich, Anabel, Jackie and Olivia to themselves.

    “Good job, Rich!” Anabel said happily as Olivia and Budew peered out from their hiding place. “That guy... he really didn’t stand a chance against you.”

    “I wouldn’t say that. He put up a chall---“ Rich’s P*DA began ringing. “Hmm, I wonder who this is?

    Rich!!

    Are you guys okay? I just got completely out-of-control readings on the aura energy emenating from that relic you’re in! They’ve calmed down now, but I’m very worried about you. Please come back as soon as you can.

    ~Rosemary

    Hmmm. I guess that she got the readings mentioned in this e-mail when the crystals went crazy.”

    “I agree,” Jackie said with a nod. “We’d best head back. She might have a clue as to our next destination.”

    “Wait, what’s that?” Olivia had spotted something---a dusty object lying on the floor. Roark and Brandon had missed it on their way out, so Rich walked over to it and picked it up.

    “It’s a book,” Rich commented, dusting off the old tome. Its cover had five spheres on it, colored red, silver and white along with one a pearlish pink and the last a diamond-like blue. “I don’t know what it means, but let’s take it back to Rosemary. Maybe she knows.”

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Meanwhile, in Queen Shadow’s quarters deep within the palace...

    “You WHAT?!!”

    Maria had her floating chair facing the video wall, displayed on its largest screen were Brandon and Roark. Behind her were Gordor, Snattle and Yung---who was oddly clad in a wide-collared black cape, black medieval-like clothing with yellow edges and red cuffs, gray pants, and white gloves.

    “Run that past me again!” Maria sputtered angrily. “You went to the relic in the Cocoa Jungle like you said, and they were there?!”

    “Yes, my queen,” Brandon replied, “I’m sorry. We didn’t anticipate their presence at all. They had help from a mysterious man named Eusine, as well...”

    “Lovely, now we’ve got more people interfering with our plans. Roark, what have you got to say for yourself?”

    “Queen Shadow, I....”

    Obviously never really intending to listen to Roark’s excuses, Maria held up her hand to interrupt him. “Enough. You two are not here right now only because you’re the best archeologists I have in my service. Remember what your mission is: secure Dialga, Palkia and the Aura Crystals for Enigma Shadow WITHOUT FAIL. I expect better from you next time.”

    Maria slammed down on the screen’s deactivate button, making Brandon and Roark vanish, then turned around to face her other three minions.

    “You called us, your greatness?” Snattle ventured.

    “Yes, Snattle , I did. With the news of Roark’s defeat I needed to see all of...” Maria’s gaze settled on Yung. “Mitchell, why in the name of Rayquaza are you dressed like that?”

    Yung was enthusiastic with his reply. “I’m ready to move out, my queen! I’ve prepared myself in every way to face them, and I’ve even taken the time to prepare a very special surprise for them.”

    “You impudent FOOL!” Maria raged, sending Yung back. “Your mission right now is to fine-tune the Shadow Stylers with Gordor, not waste time cooking up ‘surprises’ in thinking you can go out without my command!”

    Clenching his fists, Yung tried to hold back, but he snapped. “Listen to me, Maria!” Gordor and Snattle gasped in horror. They knew that no minion, no matter how high in rank, ever called Queen Shadow by her name. “I can defeat them right now! What is wrong with you? Do you not wish to see the success of Enigma Shadow’s plan? When you act as foolishly as this I sometimes think you’re on THEIR side!”

    Maria’s eyes were wide, not in fear, but in utterly shocked anger. She set her heels against the ground and slowly rose, becoming suddenly even more frightening than before.

    “How DARE you, fool. You do not refer to me by name, and you WILL learn your proper place in this! Gordor!”

    “My queen,” Gordor replied with a bow.

    “Take this fool away and put him back to work. He will learn his proper place in this society.”

    “Right away, my queen.” Gordor turned to Yung and gestured with his finger. “Come on, you heard her.”

    Gordor walked out calmly, followed by Yung who was fuming and mumbling under his breath. When the stained-glass doors slammed shut, Maria’s eyes fell to Snattle.

    “Well, Snattle, I know I can trust you.”

    “I am honored, my queen. Any order you wish, I will carry it out.”

    “I wish all the minions were more like you and not that fool Yung. I want you to keep an eye on him. If his insubordination continues I will personally take disciplinary action to fix the situation.”

    “If I may ask, what of the project monitoring Rich and his movements?”

    “I will personally head that up for now. That is all.”

    Snattle bowed then left, his white high-heels clicking on the floor with each step. As soon as she was alone, Maria turned back to the screens and gazed up at them blankly.

    “Yes, we shall proceed as planned for now. But a storm rages on in my heart... I wonder if they are tough enough. My followers must be strong enough to truly prepare Rich for his battle with me....and his destiny...”

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Unbeknownst to all, Yung was hiding just outside the door to Maria’s quarters, holding his ear and listening to her musing via a wiretap device.

    “Hahahaha! My, our queen has such deep thoughts when she’s alone! I knew these teleportation devices and Wiretap Bugs I bought myself from Sigil Securities were a good investment. But for now, I must away to my work...”



    A mysterious legend has been set into motion. Could the book Rich found after defeating Roark and accidentally triggering some kind of aura energy overload in the Cocoa Jungle relic hold the key to it? Answers right now are few, but time is short---Maria’s plan is swiftly progressing even as we speak. Could there be something else festering under Aquane’s surface, however?



    END of CHAPTER THREE

  14. #14
    ^FEAR THE DITTO!!^ Morpher01's Avatar
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    Hi! *welcomes self to Bulbagarden*

    As one may know, I joined the forums a while back but didn't post...mainly because I was waiting for this chapter.

    And, now, here I am...along with our favorite Shadow Marowak, soon to make an appearance on these forums!

    Skull: For some reason, there aren't any of those...what do you call them? Smilies? Something like that.

    Me: Anyway...

    That was a good chapter. Roark is Brandon's apprentice, eh? Wonder if we'll see the other Sinnoh Gym Leaders under other Admins (maybe Crasher Wake will be under Gorigan?).

    Also...*feels urge to sick Skull on Eusine* *Skull goes anyway and Eusine dies soon after*

    Skull: I'm done.

    Me: ...right.

    Skull: Seriously...all the moron ever studied was a bunch of made-up crap about the legendaries. You want the real thing? Ask a legendary...if you actually bother to learn Pokemon language. If you can't, drop the whole thing, 'cause you won't get anywhere.

    Me: ...ooookay.

    Anyway...

    Please, keep it going!

  15. #15
    LA, LA, LA, IERUKANA! Bluntasaur's Avatar
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    Dec 2006
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    Well, here it is. My very first fanfic review.

    To be honest, I'm not sure how reliable my review will be, since.....

    1. I'm fairly new to the Pokemon fanfic community.

    2. I have the attention span of a rock.

    But I'll try to be as honest as I can.

    I read through the prologue and first chapter, and I like what I see so far. You've done a great job mixing the universes from the movies AND the games. Your characters have some real personality to them as well. And having Jackie in there with the Chatot was a VERY nice touch.

    All in all, good stuffs. In fact, you've even given me some ideas I could probably use in my fic.

    (Banner lovingly crafted by Kiruka.)

    Welcome to the world-renowned trainer's school, where today's dreams become tomorrow's legends.
    Think you have what it takes to make the grade? Click on the banner and enroll today!

    Newest Episode: DOUBLE FEATURE!!
    Episode 4: Cerulean Rhapsody! (Part One)
    Episode 5: Cerulean Rhapsody! (Part Two)
    Next Episode: To Be Announced

    I have a PM list to inform readers of updates! PM me for info!

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