I am very sorry all for the late arrival of this chapter! I began writing this in Feb and had 3/4 of it completed by the beginning of March so I have no idea why I suddenly stopped but I've got back into it again as motivation levels for work and writing have begun to peak once more! Lots of things happen in this chapter relating to the last chapter's conclusion with Team Rocket and Team Sukai so you may wish to refresh your memory... my fault though... sorry! Anyway enjoy what on the outside may seem like a filler episode
Chapter 26: Conclusion in a Solution
The glistening sphere shone remarkably in the morning light, the radiant dominant red absorbing all the attention of the brisk suns rays. Their surroundings were picturesque for a moment such as their current one, a freedom; tall canopies of trees ascending into the endless ocean of the sky while a moderately sized river full of sparkling clear blue water quickly passed through the cut of the clearing they had inadvertently wandered into. A few scraggy rocks hid them from the potential view of others; a step down it seemed from the secretive backstreets of Rustboro that were hidden from plain sight, but no matter that fact, this was the most serene and quiet that things had ever been like in a long time.
A rather buff male stepped away from the banks of the river, polishing off the last of his three PokeBalls. His companion, sitting with five PokeBalls on her lap, then proceeded to exchange places with him as he returned to her small hide out in between some well positioned boulders.
“You know Butch; sometimes you should take responsibility for Raticate’s PokeBall as well as me, considering she does belong to the both of us,” she hastily imposed, “Or if not that, then take care of this new one for me,” she continued to growl, immediately tossing the circular object directly at Butch who somewhat clumsily managed to catch the ball on top of his other three, “That way we equally share four PokeBalls between the two of us!”
“Humph, you don’t have to get aggressive Cassidy, think what would’ve happened if we broke this thing!”
“I’m not that much of an idiot, I know how precious that Pokémon is… to us and to the boss, who by the way is already getting impatient.
“It’s precious to us in a different way though and we’re going to have to think of something soon enough if we’re going to keep it from his clutches!”
They both remained silent after that, refusing to acknowledge the downright moral code that statement had carried. It wasn’t because of the high profile or huge price tag on the Pokémon that made it such a valued companion to them; somehow after first opening the ball to initially inspect the goods, they had bonded, and the idea of sending it off to the likes and ranks of Team Rocket seemed wholly an unreasonable justice to put it through. Besides, they both knew that they… loved the creature and that the feelings were reciprocated so in their eyes there was no harm in concealing it from Giovanni, if only for a short stage. Taking all that into consideration however, it was impossible for them to truly admit this outside of their hearts.
“Anyway Butch,” she awkwardly said, still trying to brush his last comments from her thoughts, “Do you think it had enough of a play this morning? If not then you best let it get some more now before we have to rendezvous with the arriving Kanto teams, we can’t let them witness that we actually have it.”
“It’s had enough I think, it was getting tired earlier on and almost fell asleep during Raticate’s and Shuckle’s battle, so letting it rest will do it some good.”
“Okay, if you’re sure because there’s no chance…”
Behind them, in a strategically positioned spot on one of the rocks, their mobile electrical system began to frantically beep, warning them of imminent communications that interrupted Cassidy in her speech. The monitor that was folded away into the metal body of the machine began to elevate out of its socket on small flimsy hinges, while the rest of the mechanism began to engage. Within a matter of seconds a picture had begun to materialise on top of the previously blackened screen, and a young lady wearing a teenagers outfit appeared in view. Butch swiftly moved into range of the microphone and imager.
“Nice cover clothes there, S1 Leader…” Butch tastily said, leaning back against the rock once he had properly examined the outfit, “I guess you can never be too careful when trying to blend in… so good job!”
“Butch!” Cassidy snapped, quickly returning back to their camouflaged spot to join in the conversation, “What a great way to start things off!”
“Yes… well… Butch, Sir, I thought it was what you asked for, something that matched our age and something that didn’t scream ‘Team Rocket’, which you two don’t seem to have grasped by the way.”
“Don’t mind us,” Cassidy replied, “We’ve been doing this for a long time now and we know how to cover our tracks. Just worry about yourself and your fellow colleagues,” she sternly recommended whilst Butch stood in the background, arms folded with strict authority giving a gently modest nod of the head.
“Okay…” the recipient paused, “Anyway… we’ve arrived at Dewford Airfield now; everyone is awaiting your orders, Sir, and if I must say so myself, we’re all rather impatient for some action.”
“Alright,” the blond lass responded twirling a little curl in her hair, “We’ll be on our way as soon as we’ve packed up here; all we need from you lot is to meet us beyond the borders of the Airfield and surrounding villages. If you keep following the paths to the South East then you’ll come across a giant picnic area where we’ll be waiting for you, and then you’ll be undercover in no time…”
With a simple press of a button located on the monitor head itself, the screen began to stutter with the reaming image of the girl’s respectful bow before reverting to its blackened dead state. This was finally it, the moment they had been waiting for. After all the years of hard work Butch and Cassidy had put into their jobs they were finally entrusted with leadership, albeit of a small segment of the organisation, nevertheless though, it was an instance of accomplishment for the duo. Being in charge of a new expansion of Team Rocket was bound to hold high regard with Giovanni, favouring them for future missions. Now they just had to execute everything with accurate precision and to the exact parameters that their boss had enforced, but that was the easy part.
An array of multifunctional complexes circled the Airfield’s main building that saw fluxes of bodies sweep in and out through the doors daily. In the centre of the building itself was a relaxing courtyard, paved with old fashioned cobbles that contrasted nicely with the more modern essence of the buildings. Towards the far left corner of this open space, sitting on a bench commemorated to the Weather Trio and surrounded by multiple species of plants and wide turfs of grass, was Max and Harriet, watching five playful Pokémon that accompanied them frolic about in happiness.
The past day seemed like years off to them now, like events that had occurred in the deepest darkest corners of childhood. They weren’t afraid of them, nor were they terribly angry, just relieved to have survived the ridiculous ordeals. A good night’s sleep had done wonders of good for this exact thing and they had woken up with a fresh and calm attitude. Although there was no easy way to completely erase their experiences from history, they felt there was no need to, accepting it seemed like the best option and turning the bad feelings into good ones was just as courageous as trying to take a stand and move on, if not more so. With this acceptance came great strengthening and new building blocks for them to add into their own developments, it all ended up working out for the betterment of their journey.
The young boy clasped his hands together, opening his eyes into the warm tickle of the morning heat as he sat up against the wooden back of the bench and tried to force energy into his body. He gazed over to his three Pokémon, his friends, as they were utilising their energy and enjoying themselves as if yesterday had never happened. They were always the ones to bring cheeriness and joy no matter what, to manifest feelings of love about his body although they hadn’t known each other for a lengthy period of time. Still, these were his friends for life with a true bond secured between each of them in their own hearts and he was ready, as were they, to progress forward. Just around the corner he was sure that more friends awaited their arrival!
Completely sitting up now, he turned towards his human companion who appeared to be rather comfortable curled into a firm a ball against the wooden panels, eyes tightly shut. It seemed a horrible act to wake her, or at least bring her back into the realms of the world, but he was too psyched about the prospects Dewford held not to.
Shaking her a little he began to gently whisper into her ear, “Harriet, Harriet, come on now, I think we’ve spent enough time here, Harriet.”
Stirring a little, and quietly muttering to herself, she sat bolt upright, looking directly into the wondrous complexity of the sky above them, “Hmm,” she yawned, “What a wonderful day it is, everything’s just contest perfect beauty!”
“You know, radiant and sparkling full of life!”
“No… but okay, I’ll go with it miss ‘I can wake up quickly’,” Max responded.
“Ha-ha, aren’t you a joker,” she smirked, “Anyway, we came to Dewford Island for one purpose only, to continue on with our adventures, so what are you still doing here Max?” she jokingly commented, turning to face her friend with a compassionate but cheeky smile, “So, what do you say Max, ready to start travelling together?”
“I sure am, but do you think you’re going to be able to keep up with me though?” he excitedly commented, leaping out of the seat before swivelling back around to face his travelling companion.
“Of course I can, I’m all ready to leave unlike you!”
“What do you mean… our Pokémon are still out…” he cautiously said, regretting having mentioned it when he already knew that this would blow back in his face somehow.
“Go on… look,” she prompted, her words seeming to control the movements of Max’s neck. He swiftly coiled his neck around to see the bemused smiles stretched from corner to corner on the faces his three Pokémon, yet Harriet’s weren’t there or anywhere else in sight.
Reluctantly turning back, he decided not to utter anymore words for thought; his joking glare seemed to say it all. He then bent down and retrieved his rucksack from the grassy patch that they had momentarily pitched up in, before he unhooked his PokeBalls in the process of slinging the bag over his shoulder and proceeded to recall his friends back into their homes by activating the red stream of energy that impacted the warm masses of the three. Within a flash of red light that had grouped its grip around the bodies, the three Pokémon had disappeared back into their safety and Max was ready to tackle his burning ambition to conquer all that Dewford was prepared to offer.
Everything was now packed up and securely placed in the correct holders inside the pair’s bags, and so they began to joyfully stroll out of the airports bushy courtyard and back into the bustling centre of travel where kiosks ranging from numerous airlines littered the halls. The exit sign was clearly marked and vibrantly stood out from the blends of colours that ranged across the airline stalls. It was emanating green amiability; the friend that was leading them onwards. Just to the left of this sign, however, was a gigantic electronic notice board that was strolling through numerous weather announcements for the upcoming week across the top banner, but below that Harriet noticed the dominant picture of the Hoenn Contests and her interests were perked.
“Max, look, over there,” she pointed, grabbing him by his hand and hastily trying to pull him in the direction she was heading, “There’re signs for the Dewnord Town contest tomorrow over on that notice board… come on I have to go take a look!”
Harriet quickly sped across the polished floor; her blurry reflection glistening off the ground where she passed and Max wasn’t too far behind either, his hand still tightly caught in her grip. With a few more staggered steps from Max he was facing the lush strands of Harriet’s silk brown hair as she closely inspected the notices.
“No way… a double performance!” Harriet solemnly cried as she reeled a little from the realisation, “I didn’t think we got them until the Grand Festival, in fact I was pretty sure we didn’t…”
Max now had ample room to greatly inspect the same poster that Harriet seemed to be turning a rather distraught blind eye too. He peered through his spectacles that rested at the highest point possible on his nose; once or twice adjusting them with the tip of his index finger. His heart, warming to her sorrow, slightly relished in the sneaky thoughts that Harriet, despite her constant mocking comments about his own actions, seemed to be the more inexperienced trainer in this situation and it was his job to finally become the teacher.
“Hey,” he stated whilst turning his body to face her solemn looks, “There’s no need to get panicked about this. All you need is a good old practice and where’s better than the great expanse that is Dewford Island?”
“But you don’t understand my limited knowledge; I’ve never once competed in a competition using two Pokémon, let alone commanded two at the same time!”
“Hang on! That’s completely and utterly wrong! Think back to when you were using Mothim and Chikorita against the Rhyhorn and Rhydon. That constitutes a double battle!”
“Hmm…” she pondered, twirling her hair subconsciously in her timid nature, “Even so, that was in the heat of the moment and I’m really going to need to practice commanding two Pokémon at once with more strategy!”
“Harriet, if you can command two Pokémon on the fly then you’re going to have no problem when it comes to a double performance. Strategy is useful but it’s not a set guideline, you have to adapt… but practice is always beneficial so while we have this open space right on our doorstep, I don’t mind helping you train a little with a quick double battle? It’ll still give us the rest of the day for travelling to Dewnord Town for your Contest.”
Harriet paused for a few seconds, her eyes trailing past Max and out into the fields of bliss that really showed a great separation from humans and nature. She pondered on the subject of a double battle a little longer, questioning her own capabilities a few times more. Battling the Rhyhorn and Rhydon seemed like a completely different feat altogether, mainly because there was a lot at stake, but in a relative perspective she could see that her first Ribbon was on the line here and in some twisted manner the situations could be merged. All the same though, Max was right about one thing, practice would help her gain the art of a double battle.
“Alright Max… I’ll do it then…”
“Good, then what are we waiting for? Let’s go!”
They both hurried out of the main terminal building away from the busy scheduling of human life. The gaping expanse of fields were enlarging the further the two progressed and the sounds of nature were beginning to drum themselves into the duos hearing. A splashing echo began resonating amongst the forestry calls of the Pokémon, and the whirling beats of brisk movement were coming from all directions around them. This was truly where a full essence of natural life was, where Pokémon were truly capable of being themselves without interference from human technology and development. This was the perfect spot to allow their Pokémon to combine in battle.
“Well Max, this seems like a perfect spot!” Harriet energetically spoke as she halted in her movements and grasped hold of the two PokeBalls that resided in the back pockets of her bum bag, “You know my two Pokémon anyway so Mothim and Chikorita, come on out!”
The two capsules flew through the air towards where Max had stopped. The streams of elegant white energy burst from the sealed balls as he reached towards his belt to unclip his two choices. As the beautiful images of Harriet’s well kept Pokémon emerged, the silky leaf and glistening wings being the first notable features, Max thrust his two PokeBalls into the air.
“Murkrow and Charmander, this should be an ease, let’s give them some practice of a lifetime!”
The balls cascaded a white wall of energy directly into the ground below where a formation process of the two beings began. The balls quickly snapped shut and withdrew along the same course thrown back into the palms of Max while the silhouettes of Murkrow and Charmander broke through the glistening white barrier that surrounded them. The fiery passion burnt in their eyes as the prospect of a heated battle quenched their first for fun!
“Alright then, Murkrow and Charmander we’ll continue a stream of the same attacks and see how they cope, use Ember and Shadow Ball continuously!”
Charmander inhaled a torrent of air that quickly was utilised in the propelling of the scorching balls of fire that leapt towards Chikorita and Mothim, both of whom seemed to have a nervous grimace on their faces. Quite close behind the Ember attack was the looming barrage of chilling Shadow Balls that were quickly fusing with the preliminary Embers to make flaming balls of dark matter.
“Dodge the first set of attacks eloquently and then Mothim catch Chikorita on your back and use Protect to shield the both of you while you fly in closer!”
As the fearsome bombardment was nearing, Harriet’s two Pokémon rapidly leapt into action, soaring above the first salvo of Embers and Shadow Balls. Chikorita then looked about her, noticing the rapidly enclosing Mothim who was ready to carry her weight on his back and get them in range for a retaliation strike. The moment her little paws touched down on the expressively designed wings, a swirling ripple of blue transparent energy fluctuated around the two, narrowly allowing the oncoming Embers to weakly deflect away and disperse while Mothim proceeded with his decent.
“Hmm, I’m surprised they managed to pull that off so quickly, I was banking on something going wrong there!” he directly spoke to Harriet, “Well then, Murkrow fly above them and wait for them to launch their attack, that’s when Protect will wear off! Then Charmander and Murkrow… proceed with another round of your attacks!”
Another wave of nervous grimaces gripped Mothim and Chikorita, but they continued to obey Harriet’s every word and waited patiently but hurriedly on her new commands. Luckily for them, Harriet wasn’t too nerved by Max’s comments and a faint twinkle of inspiration glimmered in her eyes!
“Don’t worry guys! I planned for this! Mothim charge up a Hidden Power and send it in every trajectory around you and Chikorita launch your Leech Seed along the energy stream that will erupt out of Mothim!”
Murkrow had already begun to circle round Harriet’s Pokémon and was preparing itself for the best opportunity to launch the attacks, primarily when the blue energy would begin to quiver signalling the changing attack. However, Mothim and Chikorita were both aware of the present lurking danger behind them and Chikorita was ready to deliver a blow.
That second, the transparent rippling ball began to vigorously shake and thin out before quelling completely and allowing the action to immediately resume. With the Protect completely gone, Mothim and Chikorita had to be quick with retaliations and they knew Charmander and Murkrow had already begun their new onslaughts.
With the growing rushing noise creeping upon the duo, Mothim began to flutter about in roughly the same position to try and make them difficult targets to aim upon. His body was already beginning to shimmer a captivating bright light whilst Chikorita had buds prepared and spouting form her collar; she was waiting upon the signal from Mothim before she let loose, and now Mothim was ready to give it. An enormous eruption of the stored energy sprouted from every exposed area of Mothim’s body, spurting in all directions with the hinting speckle of the green buds riding the velocity produced from the Hidden Power. Charmander and Murkrow cowered their faces in expectance, bracing themselves for a big blow as they could see the glinting energy from the corners of their eyes.
The whole clearing became cloaked in a smoky velvet dust that had been unsettled from the ground with the colliding force of the blend of attacks. The Embers and Shadow Balls had become entwined within the neat energy from the Hidden Power, and, combined together, causing a catastrophic explosion that even managed to knock Harriet and Max of their feet.
“Mothim, Chikorita, are you guys ok?” Harriet spluttered everywhere, whipping the resilient dust and dirt particles from her face to make her visibility more clear.
She scanned the area and noticed Max clambering to his feet also, and proceeding to wipe his glasses so that he could survey what had been quite a remarkable show of raw power. She then glanced at the gap between them where four rustling bodies were moving and stirring, two of which were picking themselves up from the wreck they had created.
“Thank goodness, you’re alright!” she excitedly said as she scooped them both into her loving, tender hug, “That was a superb effort guys and it really did pay off,” she pointed over to the sleeping bodies of Charmander and Murkrow who had both taken a tremendous hit from the sheer explosive force the combined attacks held and were whisked remarkably far from their original positions, “So I think it’s something we can definitely work upon and improve ready for our Contest… if we can manage to severely dent Max’s chances then we can surely dent others too! With your power, nothing can stop us!”
“I wouldn’t be so sure about that!” A soft little whisper emanated from the opposite end of the clearing, from the direction of the gushing river. Harriet looked up from her nurturing duties, and, with Mothim and Chikorita in both arms, proceeded to walk over to the new arrival, whose flittering short white skirt gently caressed the navy blue bag that was strapped around her waist, “I must say that was definitely powerful, but power isn’t always beneficial. Just look at what it did to your two Pokémon!”
“Well you might have a point there… but with practice we can only get better! Soon we’ll be able to incorporate that power and still successfully survive such a huge reaction.”
“If you say so, I guess I’ll just have to find out how well you actually perform in the Contest!” the young girl smirked, turning herself to one shoulder in an attempt to act aloof in front of a bewildered Harriet.
“So I guess that means you know who I am then?” she inquisitively asked, quite perplexed at this young girls in depth knowledge.
“Far from it, I just saw you using two Pokémon with Contest style moves and it wasn’t that hard to then deduce that you’d be competing in Dewnord Town’s Contest… by the way, I’m April and I’m the person who’s going to stand in your way of getting that ribbon… a pleasure to meet you,” the young lass once again gave a rather posh pose before twirling her lusciously cared for brown hair that seemed void of any sort of dirt or dust.
“… In that case then, consider yourself in for a tough time! I’m Harriet and I’m not letting anyone take that ribbon away from me! It’s mine, Chikorita’s and Mothim’s, and we’ll show you exactly who is boss in the finals!”
“Game on then,” April giggled, extending her bare right hand for a firm grip of friendship that was met with the same appreciation from Harriet, “I’d expect no less! Anyway, I guess I’ll be seeing you around then, I must be off to Dewnord now, I was only passing through when I heard the noises and now that that’s all over… well there’s no point in sticking around. Bye!”
April began to saunter away, still with the air of superiority surrounding her, and still with the capability of leaving Harriet rather baffled by their encounter. However, Harriet now eagerly awaited their next meeting in the finals; a start of their new rivalry.
Harriet now briskly turned to face Max who had already placed his Pokémon back into their PokeBalls and was now heading over to accompany her. Her eyes were twinkling still with a resonant delight; she finally understood what Max had been telling her back at the airfield and felt that this had opened a plethora of new experiences and opportunities, let alone all the new styles and moves she could create.
“Max… thank you so much for everything! That was such an awesome battle and it’s really given me a lot to work with,” she gently thanked, now glancing in the direction of the recent departed April, “I couldn’t be more excited for this right now, Dewnord Town, here I come!”
“Well I’m glad you’re buzzing and all, but considering we still have a whole day’s travel ahead of us, which will get us to Dewnord in plenty of time, I was wondering whether we could briefly return to the Pokémon Centre at the airfield so I can quickly get Murkrow and Charmander checked out before we travel… a precautionary action that’s all.”
“Yea, sure, no worries!” she ecstatically spoke, “Let’s go!”
A slim, tall woman entered the main terminal building from her back office, accompanied by her egg shaped companion Chansey, who was pushing the cart that contained Max’s two PokeBalls. The wooden double doors sprang open as the duo pattered across the white washed floor towards their desk, greeted by the beaming face of Harriet who had already flung herself towards the collection point and had neatly positioned herself amongst the bouquets of flowers.
The pink haired lady, with a slight smile plastered on her face, then turned towards the seating area where Max was leafing through an addition of Hoenn Monthly, “Max, you’re Pokémon are all fine, they just need a good rest and they’ll be fit and ready.”
“Thanks Nurse Joy, you’re a star,” he politely responded, edging himself of the seat while he flung the magazine down onto the table with little regard to its position, before proceeding to grasp hold of the two PokeBalls placed neatly in a mettle tray.
“I’m always here to help, and so is Chansey… oh and by the way we managed to connect through to Rustboro now, it seems like the lines are all up and running again and Nurse Joy located Roxanne for you. If you’d like to use terminal three it’ll hook you straight in.”
“Thanks a bunch Nurse Joy,” Harriet said, now moving away from the sweet smelling array of colours and activating the PokeComs on the wall where the gracious smile of Roxanne flickered into view.
“Harriet, it’s so great to see that you arrived safely! Thank goodness,” she happily sighed, clutching hold of her clenched fist as she breathed in relief, “Brock and I were worrying about you and Max the whole night, we couldn’t sleep… but the lines were down and power outs kept on occurring so it was impossible to contact the plane or any PokeComs in Dewford and there was no other way of getting a hold of you, at least you guys managed to stay out of Team Sukai’s control!”
“I think they were just boasting their power and never really intended any harm, or at least that’s what I’m telling myself. However, now Max and I are here we’ve decided to just push through the Rustboro ordeal and try and keep our minds set on our goals… and I must say it seems as if the clean up process was in due care with you in charge!”
Roxanne turned to survey the rather sparkling PokéCentre foyer that was crammed full of trainers lending hands in delivering supplies across the city to workmen and those affected. Wiping off some remaining patches of dirt from her clothes, she returned to face the screen where Max had finally joined in the conversation.
“Well, I don’t like to brag but I must admit sometimes there’s a real need for a women’s sense of tidiness when it comes to things like this,” she joked, greeting Max with a silent smile, “Anyway, I’m sure this will all be sorted shortly… hang on… what’s that…”
Harriet and Max watched in horror as a trembling rage began to shake the surroundings of Roxanne, with newly plastered pieces of wall and ceiling toppling away amongst the panicked hoards of trainers. Boxes and boxes of supplies ripped open from the shaking ferocity and piles of new building material began to topple too.
“Roxanne, what’s going on?” Max yelled in frustration, as he pressed his hand against the screen in a cold realisation of helplessness.
“I have no idea; it sounds like an army of helicopters arriving in the street and on buildings but… ca… ssi… e…” The connection began to crackle and fizz, while the picture became distorted with the fluttering speckles of black and white spots. Suddenly, Roxanne disappeared from view and Harriet and Max were left standing in a PokéCentre deep in horrified silence.