And so it has come. I’ve promoted it for a long time, and worked hard on it....

The events in this story take place after the events of Chapter 16 of Pokémon XD^3: The Waves of Truth.



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PROLOGUE: Cube


Pokémon.

The mysterious and wondrous creatures that fill our world.

Over five hundred known species exist, and more are being discovered every day.

There are those that are known by many....

[Several Pikachu run next to a stream, where a number of Marill swim. Some Kirlia and Nosepass lounge in the grass nearby, while Aipom and Ambipom hang in the trees]

...and those that are known by few.

[A sinister shadow appears before statues of Dialga and Palkia, then rises out of the ground to reveal Darkrai. In the sky, Rayquaza flies past, followed by Ho-oh. Mewtwo watches, arms crossed and cape blowing in the wind, from the top of a nearby cliff]

People interact with these Pokémon in various ways, from the Pokémon Trainers who train them for battles...

[A stadium. A boy in a red beret and blue striped shirt throws a Poké Ball, sending out the Scizor within. His opponent, an older purple-haired woman in red, wearing dark sunglasses and knee-high boots, responds by sending out a Porygon-Z]

...to the Pokémon Coordinators who participate in Contests.

[A tall man, sporting long black hair beneath his green wide-brimmed hat, golden shoulder armor, a green cape, black boots and holding a golden harp shaped like two Mews accepts a red-and-white ribbon while standing next to his Kricketune and Roserade]

However, not all intentions are pure. Many people exist who would take advantage of the rarest, strongest Pokémon to fufill their selfish desires...

[Two helicopters, one red and marked with a mountain-like “M” and the other blue with a skull-and-crossbones style “A,” fly over a tall skyscraper with a big red “R” logo. They are soon followed by a UFO with a sharp-edged yellow “G.” Out on the nearby ocean, a cargo ship bearing a mark of two triangles sticking out of a curl sails by]

And that is where this story begins. A story of long-obscured secrets, a story of a troubled young man seeking to find the truth behind both those mysteries and his own broken identity...





December 23, 1994



Frosted from the frigid cold outside their boundaries, the snow outside the log cabin’s windows could barely be seen. Of course, for Snowpoint City, this was an everyday occurance.

The room was small, yet packed full with a computer on a desk, several dressers, and a bed. In the bed sat a young boy with sandy yellow hair and thick-rimmed glasses, while a much older man sat next to him. The older man’s hair was a steely silver-blue, and a beard of the same color hung from his droopy, wrinkled face. He wore a blue suit jacket with giant red, silver and gray buttons and green cuffs, shades of green and brown on top, and gray pants ending with black shoes. Finally, he also possessed thick glasses.

“Matt, before I leave, would you like me to tell you a story?” the old man asked.

“Yes, grandpa!” was the young boy’s enthusiastic reply. “I love your stories!”

The old man smiled wearily. “Well then, this is one your old grandpa loves a lot. It’s about a legendary city made entirely of solid gold.”

“Solid gold...”

“Yes. Long, long ago, some say five hundred years, there were a group of settlers in a far-off land. These settlers had departed from their kingdom in hopes of establishing new land for it. However, they were beset by trouble when a group of one hundred and eight evil spirits attacked them.

Weeks turned into months as the settlers suffered under the cruel spirits. Just before they gave up, however, a savior appeared. A savior in the form of a noble masked knight with a Rampardos. This brave knight, whom they called the ‘Azure Angel’ after the flute he carried, crossed the ravaged land and fought the spirits. For forty days a great battle raged on but in the end the knight used his holy powers to bond them into a keystone, which he then buried.

Rejoicing, the settlers decided to lead the knight to their kingdom---a lush, verdant city built entirely out of gold. With the approval of the Pokémon they worshipped, Shaymin, they showered the knight in the bounties of their kingdom for forty nights, one night for each day he spent fighting the evil spirits on their behalf.

On the forty-first day, he departed... however, when he attempted to return one month later, the kingdom had vanished. Not one trace of the great empire remained, only the verdant land it once stood on.”

“There was no answer to what happened?”

“No, my grandson, nothing. The kingdom simply disappeared. Nobody to this day has been able to discover the answe...”

“Sutter, get out of there!” a deep male voice screamed from outside the door. “I don’t want you planting that golden city crap in my son’s mind!”

“Oh, relax!” Sutter called back. “It’s just a story!”

“One that made you neglect me all those years! Leave this house now!”

Sutter stood. “Matt, I’m sorry that your father wishes me to leave. But before I do, let me give you something.”

Reaching into his briefcase, Sutter found and handed to Matt a golden cube. One side had seven dots arranged in an H shape, another with seven dots in a sideways cross, and a third with the dots in a circular pattern.

“Grandpa, thank you! What is it?”

“This is an item I discovered during my own hunt for the Golden City. I now pass it to you... perhaps you will be the one to discover its secrets.”

Bowing politely to his grandson, Sutter then walked to the door, passed through, and gently shut it behind himself.

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


April 20, 2006


Sutter sighed as he shut the drawers of his fine maple desk for the last time.

Having served on the board of the Rustboro School in Houen for decades, Sutter had rightfully earned his retirement, but as he looked over his dark maple Victorian office, over all the photos of himself with his colleagues, achievements and discoveries, and at his beloved floor-to-ceiling painting of a Togekiss with Lileep, Aerodactyl and Shieldon, he couldn’t help but feel down.

Just when he was walking over to his bookshelves, though, there came a knock at the door.

“Come in!”

The handle turned, and in stepped a finely tailored---albeit masked---man. His yellow top hat was immediately striking, while his black-and-gray suit gave him the appearance of a Dusknoir.

“Dr. Sutter Chiaki, I presume?” he said calmly.

“That’d be me. What is it?”

“I’d like to speak to you regarding an old project of yours. Specifically, La Ciudad Dorada.”

The mere mention of this name filled Sutter’s heart with startled fear, and his eyes widened. “La...Ciudad ... Dorada?”

“Yes. The legendary Golden City. You spent fifty years seeking it, as I do recall.”

“...Yes. That is true. However, I didn’t find anything after those five decades. It’s probably just a fairy tale.”

The man raised his voice. “Don’t lie to me, doctor. I know you are in possession of a puzzle cube bearing the markings of Regirock, Regice and Registeel that is relevant to the Golden City. I have come here to obtain it, as I am now taking up that hunt.”

“Are you threatening me?” Sutter snapped as he turned back to the bookshelf. “I’m going to ask you to leave. I’m not even in possession of such a thing anyway.”

“Very well, doctor.” Out of Sutter’s sight, the man had a Poké Ball armed. “I regret our meeting had to go this way. Dragonite, Horn Drill!”

As soon as the man threw the ball, a Dragonite burst out and immediately lunged head-first for Sutter with the horn on its head drilling rapidly. Sutter turned, and seeing the Dragonite approaching, gasped in terror as his face turned white as a sheet.

Then the Dragonite struck, just above Sutter’s heart. Blood flew everywhere, staining the office, as he fell to the ground.

“I bid you good evening, doctor. Please say hello to King Fernando VII for me.”

As the man left, Sutter weakly dragged himself towards his desk, and pulled down a sheet of paper and a quill, with which he wrote his last words...

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

That evening was a pleasant one in Rustboro City, and Matt, now grown and looking sharp in his blue school uniform, was enjoying it at an outdoor café with a girl a few years younger than him, who was red-haired and wearing a green top and blue pants.

“Anything good on your computer, Matt?”

“Nah, not much, Cassy,” Matt replied, typing leisurely. “I’m still having a look at that data that was presented in class the other day. It’s quite fascinating.”

“Bah. I’m bored. Maybe I’ll order another tea.”

“You could order two. I’d like one.”

Cassy turned and raised her arm. “Waiter, two teas plea---“

Just then an alarm sounded on Matt’s computer. The image of a male police officer appeared in a window on the screen.

“Matt Chiaki,” the officer said blankly, “we obtained your contact information from the school. Come to your grandfather’s office at once, and hurry!”

“What was that about?”

“Cassy, we have to go. Something bad happened at the school.” Despite his even tone, Matt was panicking inside.

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

Matt and Cassy ran through the hallways to Sutter’s door, which they found already open. However, when they entered and saw about six officers standing around Sutter’s blood-stained body, Matt nearly doubled over and collapsed.

“G-Grandfather!” he screamed in horror.

“Oh my...my....Garchomp! What the hell happened here?!”

The officer who had contacted Matt approached the pair. “We’re conducting an investigation. From what we determined so far, an unknown assailant with a Dragonite---which we identified from these footprints---came in here. There does not appear to have been an altercation. It’s likely the assailant used Horn Drill to kill your grandfather.

However, the reason we called you here is because we found this...”

The officer handed Matt a note half-drenched in blood. Seeing it instantly caused all manner of feeling in Matt’s body to vanish, and he turned ghastly white.

“What?” Cassy inquired. “What’s it say?”

“Grandson, someone’s after the cube. Protect it...

That’s what it says. He used his... last words... to warn me of this danger....” Finally the emotion overwhelmed him, and he lost composure as he bound towards Sutter’s body with tears flooding from his eyes. “Grandfather, no! No! This can’t be... this can’t be happening! Not after your long life!”

Two other officers had to restrain Matt while the first turned to Cassy. “I’m going to have to ask the two of you to leave now. We can’t have him interfering with the investigation.”

“I understand.”

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


Present day



Click-click.

Click-click.

Click-click.

The sound of the train’s wheels coursing over the rails it rode on provided a hypnotizing distraction for Matt, sitting in its exquisitly-furnished dining car and staring absently out the window at the rolling landscape, his computer open but shut off and sitting on the table in front of him.

“Having fun?” Unnoticed by Matt, Cassy had returned from the other car---where their cabin was---and was sitting back down. “Staring that long will make you fall asleep.”

“Oh, oh yeah. I just kinda drifted off. Sorry about that...”

“Let me have a look at that letter you got again.”

“Oh? Yeah, that.”

Matt reached into his brown shoulder bag, which was resting on the seat next to him, and took out a piece of paper which he then handed to Cassy. Upon having it in her hands she began to read it aloud.

“Greetings, Mr. Chiaki,

My name is Fernando, the eighth Count of La Ciudad Dorada. Our kingdom is in dire straits right now. Two years have passed since the mysterious disappearance of King Fernando VII and Queen Cassandra, my parents, and owing to the fact I cannot claim the throne until that case is solved, we are suffering without a ruler.

Furthermore, a terrible drought has recently stricken our land. The once-verdant land has become ravaged, and our people are suffering.

Mr. Chiaki, I know of your deep connection to our city. Please, I implore you, come at your earliest convenience. You can catch a train here from the station in Passho City.

Please, come and help us. I will be waiting.

Yours,
Count Fernando VIII”

“Did you have to read it so loudly?” Matt hissed in annoyance.

Cassy shrugged. “Sorry.”

“Oh, I guess it doesn’t matter. I’m bored.”

Pressing a button on the side of his computer, Matt turned the power on, and by entering a sequence of keys, he made several windows appear on the screen along with nine symbols in circles---a green leaf, a red flame, a blue water drop, a yellow lightning bolt, an orange fist, a purple eye, a white star, a black semicircle, and a silver triangle. Once the computer was booted up, Matt removed the cube from his bag and set it before the computer, making it appear in the windows.

And then it happened.

“Isn’t that the grandson of that crazy old archeologist?”

“Yeah, that Chiaki guy. I thought he looked familiar.”

“That guy who wasted fifty years of his life hunting for a fairy tale? This is funny! His grandson’s gonna waste his life the same way!”

Desperately, Matt tried not to let the whispers and comments behind his head get to him, but that didn’t work, and he visibly began to tense up.

“What was it? Something about a city made of gold?”

“Such a thing doesn’t exist. He’s just some foolish idiot trying to live up to his grandfather’s fame. What a loon.”

“Hah! You couldn’t be more right. He’ll get his soon enough, and go back to being a dead-end scientist in Sinnoh.”

Finally, Matt snapped, the humiliation and rage overwhelming his mind and erasing his better judgment. He lept up from his seat and turned to face the group who had been whispering.

“Listen to me!” he yelled. “It’s not a fairy tale! It’s real! My grandfather was a great and brilliant man, and he’d never make this up. If it was a fairy tale, he would be the first to not believe it!”

“And we should listen to you why?” countered one of the people, a brown-haired businessman in a dark suit. “He was just a crazy, senile old man, and you’re gonna waste your life away following his fallacies. Grow up.”

Left at a loss for words as his own anger and shame completely choked him, Matt finally just turned around, snapped up his things and left the car.

“I guess....I guess I’ll be going too,” Cassy said, following him.

When Cassy got back into their cabin---furnished with blue carpet and cushioned chairs, two oak end tables, a wide window with red sash curtains and a pair of bunk beds all surrounded by fine maple walls---she found Matt staring out that window, his computer and bag thrown on the bottom bed.

“They think I’m mad,” he said with a sad tone while not removing his eyes from the window. Clearly, just hearing what the people in the dining car said was tormenting him. “I can’t take this anymore. I’m so ashamed of myself and no matter where I go, people remind me of it.”

“You still say you can’t just go hom...”

“NO!! Absolutely NOT! You know that’s impossible! And I can’t go to any school, I’ll just be bullied out like I was before. Where can I go?”

“Well, you’ve got me, I guess.”

“And I hope that at least stays constant...”

Matt trailed off as the train vanished into the darkness of a tunnel, heading rapidly towards its destination: La Ciudad Dorada, the Golden City....





Pokémon
Diamond – Pearl – Platinum
XD


[View flies through a great garden of flowers and into a cave, where two vertical rows of lights flash rapidly, then up and through a fountain with fire raging around it. A red flower appears atop the fountain and releases a green pulse, turning all the fire into verdant flowers]


Pokémon Ranger
~and the~
Gardener of Gratitude






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


In a land far away, large numbers of people had gathered in the square outside a great palace. All the earth in the area looked burned and ruined, as if a great fire had gone through. Statues of the bell Pokémon Bronzong surrounded the square.

Up many stories above the square, two young women stood in a window of the palace, dressed in rather revealing Bronzong-themed uniforms and each carrying a silver staff with a Bronzor shape on top. Red curtains hung just above the window and a well-designed wood room could be seen behind them.

“And now,” one of the guards announced, “the one you have all gathered here to see! Ladies and gentlemen, Count Fernando VIII!”

The two guards stepped aside, and a stylish, bright-yellow-haired young man stepped into view, to the immediate pleasure of the crowd. His ponytailed hair’s vibrance contrasted with the dull light green large-buttoned shirt he wore, as well as his blue pants, but from where the guards could see, his red boots were quite loud. Briefly, he looked down at the crowds and smirked, then began talking.

“My loyal subjects! My people!” he boomed in a deep, powerful voice. “I come before you today to address the subject of your recent suffering. I promise you, the dawn of a new day is not far off! This terrible drought will soon end, as I, Count Fernando, have begun the process of making just that happen! I have called in assistance from a fine young scientist who will aid me in that endeavor. And once the disaster has finally passed, we will be able to resolve the issue of who will succeed the throne after my father’s disappearance. They say the night is darkest just before the dawn, but I promise you, the dawn IS coming!”

While the crowd went wild for Fernando’s bold declarations, he turned, shut his eyes, and smiled before walking away from the window.






END of PROLOGUE