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April 18th, 2006, 3:15 PM

Ch. 1


“What?” No respect needed.

“Will you quit taking field trips down memory lane?” The man in front of me snapped, pulling me up after him.

If scaling large cliffs without pokemon was hard enough, climbing it with HIM was even worse. Ever since I had become the fourth of their group, he had started to treat me more… differently than he had treated me as a grunt. When I had been a grunt, at least he turned to look at me and yell his orders. Now, that I was at the same level as he was, he paid absolutely no attention whatsoever, unless he had orders. I may have become what he was, but to him, I would never walk in the same plain as he would.

“Whatever.” I snapped back at him. He needed no respect. Neither did I. “Oh great Hokage-sama” I added sarcastically, my hand slipping into another groove in the rocks.

He kicked at the rock wall, sending a small yet annoying shower of chipped pebbles at my face. I took it, squeezing my eyes shut. I would not show any weakness. I would not let him have his satisfaction at seeing it either. One day, my sarcasm would probably cost me gravely…

Such as falling off a 100 ft wall of cliff.

Hokage reached the top first, as always. Pocketing his hands, he offered no assistance. Arrogant as always. Just turned around, and walked off as though I didn’t exist. With a final strain of muscles, I managed to pull myself over the side, and back on steady ground. I sighed. Why did Matsubusa have to choose his new base here?

“It’s about time” A large man with long black hair stated as I limped in. “Didn’t you fly?”

“On what?” I demanded, shooting a hostile glare at him. “On my Typhlosion? Or maybe my Ampharos???”

“Get a bird.” Was all that my companion retorted, walking off to face our leader.

I couldn’t help but admire his boldness, beautiful blonde hair, and perfect long hair. The bangs covering his left eye just added to his look. I turned my head away from his piercing golden stare. Why did I get a bubbly, uncontrolled feeling whenever I looked into his eyes? I felt my face sear a strange color of red… how unusual; after all, I was abnormally pale.

“Team Magma is about… 64% rebuilt, Matsubusa.” Kagari announced, joining up with Hokage.

“Good…” The red-haired man said, a cruel look glinting through his eyes. “Nyleve. Report”

“I’ve located the new location of the twin orbs. They lie in the heart of Sootopolis’s Cave of Origin, guarded by the slumbering titans.”

Everyone knew what I was talking about. After the last war, Team Magma had fallen, due to their unorganized ways of hierarchy, leaving only those loyal to Matsubusa. But even though Team Aqua was still around, they were constantly stopped by the two kids Team Magma usually had considered annoying pests. Ruby and Sapphire had finally proven themselves to each other, and accepted that neither battle nor grace was better; it depended on the trainer who executed them and his/her ways. Of course, after that fateful battle, Sapphire had left to Petalburg, in high hopes of collecting the Balance Badge from Ruby. She lost, and with that, her dreams of being the best.

“It’s a fool’s dream” Ruby stated, helping Sapphire by handing her another tissue. “You don’t need worthless badges to prove that you’re the best. It’s already in your name. And mine” He added with a smirk.

Sapphire lifted her head angrily. The limp brown soggy hair sagging around her shoulders, plus bloodshot eyes wasn’t helping her appearance. “IS THAT ALL?” She bellowed loudly, attracting several ears from across the pokemon center. “I LOSE, YOU GLOAT?”

“I’m not-“


“I said, I’m not!” Ruby shouted over her. “Look! You know why I didn’t have all the ribbons in the end?”

“The same reason I don’t have all the badges?” Sapphire sniffed, calming down. “80 days” She laughed a bitter laugh. “There was that old book. Around the World in 80 days. More like Around the Hoenn Region in 80 days, get stuck with a battle that decides the fate of the world, then lose to your rival!” her laugh turned into a harsh, almost crazy snarl.

The situation was quickly getting out of hand. Ruby tried to salvage it somehow. “By the way, we have an appointment this afternoon. Something about climbing a large cliff to meet up with people…”

“Tell them I’m not coming” came her sobbed response.


“Go away, Ruby”


“I SAID: Go away Ruby!”

“SAPPHIRE!” Ruby barked, and for the first time, his hand shot out uncontrollably and seized his rival by her collar, nearly tearing the fine white fabric he had made himself as he yanked her brutally to her feet. “Hiding. Will. Not. Make. Things. Any. Better.”

“You wouldn’t understand!” Sapphire protested, her hands flying instinctively to Ruby’s hands. “Have you gone insane, Ruby???”

“You think I wouldn’t understand?” Ruby demanded, shaking her around like a rag doll. People were all watching now. “I? The boy who hid all his power? I would not understand? I, who tried to hid, disconnect myself from the world???”

“Ruby…” These were words barely whispered by her lips.

“But I was wrong, wasn’t I?” He dropped her. “Juan showed me that. On Mirage Island. When I had to expel the Blue Orb from my body. I proved to him, and myself, that I WAS worthy of the skills granted to me! What about you?”

“I-I…” Sapphire looked at her feet miserably. “I tried to be someone I’m not. Tough and-“ she chocked on the last couple words.

“Your mission. Get those two kids, Ruby and Sapphire here.”

We didn’t dare to disagree. After all, whom else could we rely on? The world was nearly swamped with salt water, and the only two ‘heroes’ close enough to us were the very same that had nearly brought our total downfall…

I was sore. Sore and very, very mad. Because of the lack of flying pokemon on my team, Matsubusa had commanded that one of the Fireheads carry me down. Everyone present in the room just turned towards Hokage, and Matsubusa gave me a shove towards him, while everyone snickered behind my back. Once outside, without warning, Hokage seized me by my hood and grabbed his Swellow and ordered it to fly. I tensed up as he dragged me off into the air as I clutched onto his arm for dear life. I saw a smirk spread over his face as he taunted me silently.

Coward. Is this all you can do? Cling to me and cry? What on earth was Matsubusa thinking when he made you a Firehead?

We engaged in a small glaring contest, and finally, I averted my dry stinging eyes, but I relaxed slightly. Matsubusa wouldn’t be very happy if he heard that I had been killed. The same thought must have occurred to Hokage as he held me closer to his body.

He could probably feel my growing discomfort at being so close and intimate to him. The bastard. But at least it gave me a feeling of security, and not like some prey plucked out of the ocean by an eagle. I knew well enough that just becoming a Firehead meant nothing. You would have to prove yourself adequate of the position first. I gave a little squeak as his other arm wrapped around me. What was holding us up-?

His Swellow had obeyed invisible orders, and was grappling him on both shoulders while the wind supported it weightlessly. Mentally, I cursed. He was testing me again, seeing how aware I was of my surroundings. This ride was definitely not going to be smooth sailing.

“Powerful” Sapphire finished. “I liked to think of myself stronger than you were”

“And I let you.” Ruby said with regret. “Partially because I didn’t even want to be strong”

Sniffing, Sapphire allowed Ruby to rub away tears that streaked across her face. “When I first met you… in Route 101… you gave me such a PATHETIC attitude!”

“I wasn’t the one who lost to my rival’s father!” Ruby retorted, much lightened after seeing Sapphire smile again.

“Attacking your ‘savior’.” Sapphire continued, half wheezing on tears and choking on her laughter. “And then, insulting my looks”

“You started it all!”

“So you’re always telling me. But who was the one who ran off a cliff?”

Before Ruby could come up with a smart reply, Sapphire sprung to her feet with a forced smile. “There’s a buffet outside. Come on! This one’s on me!”

Ruby followed suit, feeling slightly lightheaded. Sapphire was nowhere to be found. Turning his head this way and that, Ruby groaned as he saw a figure wearing a red bandana sprinting away from him. “SAPPHIRE!!!!!”

What had only been… 20 minutes, seemed like an eternity. And what was a simple flight, turned out to be the worst kind of torture I felt I had ever gone through. By the time we landed in Petalburg, I was shook and pale.

“Quit thinking about it” Hokage snapped, bringing me out of my reverie. “Can’t you see we’re in a rush?”

“I can see that perfectly well!” I retorted back.

“Then hurry!”

“Alright, alright… in a couple seconds…” I paused to ready my pokemon, just in case.


Something, hard, struck me right in the back of my head. Acting upon instinct, I twisted my body, and barely missed a head on collision with another girl with chestnut brown hair. Unluckily, I had not chosen the best of dodging techniques, and ended up in an ungraceful heap on the ground. It was better than falling flat on your face, as the intruder had.

“Sapphire!” A boy’s voice.

“Oww…” The girl… Sapphire mumbled, giving me a fierce glare. “What are you doing? Can’t you see I’m running here?”

“What am I doing?” I shouted back. Sore and bruised from flight, I was in no mood to have petty talks. “Standing around minding my own business! What are YOU doing? Running into people?”

“What does it look like I was trying to do?”

By now, our shouting had elevated into a heated battle. “You’d better watch it, girl” I intoned, catching her fist as it came towards my face.

“It’s Sapphire!” She shouted in my face as she caught my other hand as we shoved at each other like bulls.

Hands… a pair of strong arms pulling me off the girl at the same time the boy who had been shouting yanked Sapphire away. I watched in amusement as his face went from pleading, to a mingled anger, shock, and surprise as he saw us.

“Team Magma” he hissed in distain. His hands immediately went to his Pokeballs.

Sapphire leapt up, eager to finish her battle with me. “Chaka! Go! Double Kick!”

I was dropped to the ground, but I recovered instantly as I blocked both kicks with my forearms. Angry burns stung my arms from a result of friction.

“Stop!” Ruby shouted, grabbing Sapphire back. “Your Pokemon are in no condition to fight! I did a number on them during our battle… you should let them rest…”

With a mean scowl on her face, Sapphire recalled her Pokemon. “FISTS! We fight with fists!”

I coughed slightly, raising my head in distain. Fist fighting, Karate, I had mastered them all. And this girl-? “Keh.”

“Is that a refusal?” She barked, bristling like an angry dog. “Coward!”

Coward. That word stung my inner being, deep. As I started towards her, he gripped my shoulder. “Stop. We are here to talk to them. No fighting.”

“Monster.” I retorted back at the girl. “Just a baby frog croaking off to the wide world how great it is.”

Sapphire winced. Apparently, I had hit a nerve there as well.

Hokage cuffed me by the neck. “That’s enough.” He said in a dangerous tone, leaving no room left for argument. “You, have a lot to learn.”

Ruby could not believe this, they had all survived. And they seemed to be just fine! When the rest of the entire region suffered, Team Magma was just waiting to rebuild, and then what? Major chaos and destruction once again?

Kagari had a sour look on her face as she seized Ruby by his arm. “Our orders were just to bring them along. Calm yourself, Nyleve.”

Homura took a struggling Sapphire in his arms and nodded to his Swellow. “Matsubusa will be expecting us soon”

I gagged as Hokage took off without warning. From the looks on their faces, I could tell that Ruby and Sapphire were not too happy with the flight arrangements either. To my own surprise, my body temperature raised dramatically, as he held me close.

“What’s wrong?” He murmured smoothly, tightening his vice-like grip around me. “Scared?”

I remembered his intense golden eyes staring in amusement at me, before going limp.

“Sleeping? Or have you fainted?”

“Go away” I responded to the voice I had grown to like, yet despise.

His grip on me slackened, and I seized up rigidly. I shot him a glare as I felt his deep chuckle. Toying with me like always. But nevertheless of my intense distrust, I lay my head down again. Dreaming dreams about the time before my innocence was so brutally taken.

Thrown into a harsh reality, far away from the peaceful childhood I had hoped to know. A fight to merely survive became my life.

She’s finally asleep… Hokage thought gratefully, while Swellow steered him over the cliffs. They were almost there, but it seemed that Nyleve was already tired out from all the side-along flights they were having together. He didn’t understand why everyone constantly pushed her towards him every single time she needed to fly. And the fact that she wasn’t adding a flying pokemon to her team was even worse. If things progressed like this, they would both be discontent. Stealing a glance down at his passenger, he noticed that she had willingly allowed him to hold her closer.

Several minutes later, all three landed simultaneously, and the impact jarred me awake from my peaceful slumber. As I wriggled free, I turned to give my all-famous death glare, but I couldn’t even get a chance to narrow my eyes before he grabbed me again and dragged me into the base. I didn’t know how, but somehow, his yanking and pulling, melted into a gentle sort of embrace.

“What are you doing???” I demanded. Oddly enough, I didn’t want him to let go just yet… It felt… strangely comforting. How odd.

“You say one thing, yet your body, tells another story” He smirked at me.

My eyes softened, and before I knew it, I collapsed in a heap in his arms. The stress of 5 days worth of side along flight had definitely taken its toll on my body. I fell into another dreamless sleep, with a content smile on my face. Perhaps the days I had valued, as a child weren’t entire gone yet.

My eyes widened in disbelief. Nyleve was the last person on earth I would have ever expected to faint at the worse times. Stubbornness, brashness, and competitiveness were all apart of her style, and she would have never let me get away with that phrase. It was then that I finally got a closer look at her limp form. Dark circles traced under her eyes, and she was badly bruised just about everywhere. Tired and exhausted, her body had just decided to give out. Giving a small sigh, I lifted her bridal style and carried her to my room and tucked her into the bed. Instinctively, she curled up like a small kitten, tangling with the blankets.

Her eyes flew open again, but this time, I could clearly see her worn out spirit. “What just happened?” she asked, with a grumpy look on her face. “I don’t recall walking into your room…” She struggled to get up.

As I made to push her back down, I found, to my greatest amusement, that she couldn’t move. She collapsed back on the bed, moaning slightly. “Perhaps you should’ve taken my advice about getting your own flying pokemon, Nyleve.”

She scowled at me, but gave me a near grateful sigh as she sunk back among the blankets and sheets. “What was that hug for anyways?”

“Why do you ask? If I remember, you enjoyed it.”

She opened her mouth as if she wished to argue, but thought better of it, before snuggling up among my sheets again.

“And, if you’re wondering, I do enjoy your company.” I slowly admitted, drawing my gloves off my hands. I briefly laid my hand on her forehead and drew away quickly. “And why won’t you ever admit your weaknesses?”

“What are you talking about?” Nyleve snapped, her eyes still shut tight.

“You’re burning.”

As if for a confirmation, she reached up and felt her forehead, before drawing away as well. “…Great…”

“You will stay here, until I throw you out, or…” I did not get to finish my sentence as Matsubusa called out for all three… no, four of us to reassemble in the main room.

Nyleve was struggling to get up again, to comply with Matsubusa’s orders, as I would have had. But not before she toppled over again. I already knew from her stubbornness, she would be up to try again, but she was in no condition to do so.

“I’ll tell Matsubusa.”

“No you won’t,” She snarled, pushing herself to her limits again.

Grabbing her for the 3rd time today, I shoved her back on the bed. “You’re not going anywhere… and you’ll like it.”

Her eyes widened, but she stopped struggling in my grasp, letting me tuck her back in. “Now stay here, and sleep. You need it.”

Before I could slide open the door, her voice stopped me in my tracks.

“Thank you.”

It seemed, that even the coldest of us all, could be gentle. But one would have to look deep into Nyleve’s soul to see her for what she really was. A child, buried under all her shields and weapons, locked away from the social life of the world, and knew only the will of battle.

The two children were in the main room, huddled closer together and glaring daggers at Homura and Matsubusa, who were readily returning the looks. Kagari stood off at the side, putting on a most serious of frowns. She only did that when she was going to fly into fits of laughter.

“Hee, hee. Ruby, you haven’t changed at all…” She murmured, loud enough for him to hear, as well as me.

Ruby started, but broke his glare to look at Kagari. “I don’t even remember you before now…” he complained. “It’s not fair that you should be able to say that, and I can’t say it back to you… onee-chan.”

This time, it was all their turns to jump at the two words. Onee-chan???

“H-how???” Sapphire blurted out, asking the question on everyone’s mind. “Sister?” But something in her eyes, told all of us that she had figured it out in that moment as well.

Kagari reached up and pulled back her hood, which was not unusual for us in the presence of Matsubusa. But at the same time, the boy, Ruby had also reached up, and pulled, what I had originally assumed to be his hair, off. All the while, he was looking down with a sad and sheepish look in his eyes.

A terrible, and probably deep, long scar ran down the side of his forehead. It had healed terribly, and was loose and jagged on all sides. But more startling to us than that, was the way his hair grew out. Compared to Kagari, they were almost identical, with bangs running down the side. As if for further confirmation, they walked towards each other and turned to face all of us, side to side. The resemblance was unmistakable. Their cool, glinting hard eyes, their battle styles… it was all so identical.

Homura was the first to break the stunned silence. “Why haven’t you told us!” he demanded, waving his fist about. “You should have recognized him on the Abandoned Ship!”

“Last time I check, neither you, nor I, caught my aniki’s face. The picture I burnt out, remember???” She returned, eyes flashing. She was, of course, referring to the horn firelighters on our hoods, which could easily burn out any picture, as long as we had seen it.

“I couldn’t help it” Ruby muttered. “Those Plusle and Minum were all over me and spraying berry juice everywhere…”

It was all so terrifyingly clear now. Kagari and Ruby’s way of battling were almost too identical. The ways they battled, infused danger with grace, with a blend of pure, harsh, power. Power nearly unmatched by anyone I had ever known… except…

Nyleve could match them…I thought to myself. Nyleve’s had no strategy or talents, except all out offense, just like Kagari. But she knew Pokemon like the back of her head. She could come up with a proper comeback without even trying. But her hardheadedness, and her inability to admit her flaws were her main downfalls.

I thought about the time I had proposed to Kagari, two years after we’d met in Team Magma. If she had accepted my proposal… that would have made me Ruby’s…brother. And if I wasn’t mistaken, the Sapphire girl would have grown up and married Ruby… making her my sister. I let an amused smile play across my lips. That family would have never worked out. Constant fights, nagging battles. And because of my special training with my Slugma’s, I never found time to train their endurance. There was no way I could win in an all out battle against Ruby or Kagari. The same thought process was probably also occurring to Kagari as she and I shared a knowing look.

”What are you thinking of now!” Ruby demanded, breaking up both of our daydreaming. “Kagari, why did you bring us up here???”

Kagari raised an eyebrow. “Aniki, I thought you would have noticed the sea, that is swamping the land.”

“You’re not planning to raise up Groudon again, are you?” He demanded, facing her aggressively. “Dad already died in that battle! Who will be next to sacrifice themselves to save the region? Me? Sapphire?”

Finally, Matsubusa interrupted Ruby’s tirade. “No.” he said, his voice burdening with exhaust. “That plan, we know now that it is impossible to hold Groudon down under us. They are too powerful for humans to control. But, we once wanted more land for all… it would be turned our back on this region, if we continued to allow the water to bury the earth.” He raised his glinting eyes to Ruby’s.

I was shocked into silence again as I saw that both of their eyes were hard and red. Two foes, who could probably understand each other.

Matsubusa pressed harder into Ruby’s will. “Despite what you did against us in the last battle, I don’t believe this is what you want our region to remain as.”

Ruby’s voice came out strangled and harsh. “I want it to go back to normal. I want what everyone wants. Peace. Half of Hoenn is submerged underwater, and the other half, baked and scorched. It will take a while for nature to balance itself and return things to normal…”

Sapphire stood up quickly from the ground. “Ruby! You seriously aren’t considering something dangerous, are you?”

He turned to her apologetically. “I’m sorry Sapphire. But… there’s something I have to do as well.” Looking at her clear blue eyes with regret, Ruby allowed himself a small smile. “You should listen as well, Kagari. 4 years after you left Johto, Dad joined the Pokemon Association. He and a team of scientists captured Rayquaza, and performed a series of experiments on it. Then Devon managed to use the energies of Rayquaza to create an artificial stone. The Green Orb, sister to the Red and Blue Orb. That was the gem to control Rayquaza, but it was still in testing stage…”

Kagari listened in silence, her stone face giving away nothing. But I knew her better. She was close to tears, just listening about her departed father.

“And” The boy continued, placing his hat back on his head. “The day he took the gym leader test in Johto. We were all so sure about him passing. He had studied forever for that day. But do you know? On that day, I met a girl. The daughter of Dad’s acquaintance, Professor Birch.”

Kagari’s eyes averted quickly to the girl standing next to her brother, who was busily determinedly glaring at all the occupants of the tepid room. “Sapphire.”

“Correct” Ruby confirmed smoothly, without even batting an eye. “Nearly everything that happened in the battle between Kyogre and Groudon, ties in with our family. On that day, while I was playing with Sapphire, a Salamence attacked us. I drove it away with Nana, Coco, and Ruru, but got that scar.” His eyes flew to the side. “On that day, I vowed that I would never use such brutal power again.”

“And on that day, I promised myself, that I would become stronger, so not to shame anyone else who tried to help me.” Sapphire interrupted, in a single hushed whisper.

“But that Salamence ran off, and broke into a building. Which now, I found out that it was the room that held Rayquaza down. With Salamence’s disturbance, Rayquaza escaped, and our father was blamed for it. He’s… been covering for me ever since. The Pokemon Association assigned him the duty to retrieve Rayquaza… that is why he wanted us to become strong enough as well to fight alongside him.”

“Didn’t quite work, did it?” Homura interrupted brusquely. “Get back on track. Matsubusa-“

Matsubusa waved his complaints aside. He seemed as interested as the rest of us to find out how much Ruby and Kagari’s family tied into Hoenn’s fate.

Seeing that all his listeners were still captivated, Ruby continued on. “That day, when our dad came into battle, from what Wally told me, Norman has a green gem in his hands. That’s how he controlled Rayquaza. And ultimately killed him”

“Then why isn’t Matsubusa dead yet?” I intruded, pressing for more details.

“Groudon is asleep. Kyogre is asleep. Rayquaza watches over Hoenn from the Sky Pillar. The Regi’s locations are currently unknown. But if we assume that the Regi’s are still awake, and Rayquaza is also awake after the battle…”

“The two who wakened Rayquaza and the Regi’s are dead.” Kagari finished.

“Daigo… and Norman…” Sapphire muttered in awe, blinking as if she didn’t believe a word Ruby had said. “Then it was our fault? That we angered a Salamence, and your dad pulled away from the family?”

“That’s not all.” All three Fireheads, and Matsubusa spoke up. We turned to Matsubusa, and allowed him to finish for us.

“Aside from the Creation legends based on Kyogre and Groudon’s epic battle in the past that created this world, a sister legend was also based off Creation.” Matsubusa recited, as if he had read this words everyday. “If the Sky God was to ever return to Hoenn, history would repeat itself. Somehow, Groudon and Kyogre would wake up, and repeat their battle again. That legend is obsolete now, since they have both wore down their rivalry with each other.”

“Then… in a way, what happened in Hoenn, is my fault” Ruby concluded with bitterness in his voice.

“Not just yours” Sapphire growled determinedly. “The Salamence was after me.”

“But I-“

Matsubusa had gotten up without any of us noticing, and stepped between Ruby and Sapphire “Enough. We called you two here for a reason, more than just undoing what has been done. Take a seat. You’ll be here for quite a while.” Turning to me with a sharp glare, he asked, “Where is Nyleve?”

I gave my usual careless shrug. “In bed. She’s exhausted from side-along flights.”

Giving a grunt, he waved me aside. “Fetch her. She has to hear this, considering that she will be playing a very important role in this.”

*Flames are appreciated. FRIENDLY flames, I mean. Reviews are also appreciated*