(Banner by Neku)
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: Recombinant Advanced 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: Every Roserade Has Its Thorn (The Secret Shame of Rich's Roserade)
24: The Towering Inferno (Battle Tower's Dark Pinnacle)
25: Aura of Heartbreak (The Two Faces of the Split Heart)
26: Casino Knight, Zone 2 (Frontier's Conclusion! The Battle Casino!!)
27: Dialga is a Girl's Best Friend (Primal Dialga's Time-Rending Roar!)
28: Setting the Giar in Motion (Pokémon Contest Finale! The Grand Festival!!)
29: The Same Old Familiar Kricketune (Grand Festival Climax! Anabel VS. Nando!!)
30: War of the Roses (The Frontier Grand Championship!! Part One)
31: Where I Was Blind, Now I See (The Frontier Grand Championship!! Part Two)
32: Industrial Sabotage (The Northern Factory of Shadow Pokémon)
33: An Administrative Decision (Castle Shadow Invasion! Admin Battle!)
34: Clash of the Titans (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
featuring Emlyn Morinelli as Elita
Paul Dobson as Dr. Yung
Gordon Elliott as Gordor
and Frida Lyngstad as Maria
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?"
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."
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!"
"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!"
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.
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?"
"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,
"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.