"Look! I am trying very hard to be nice, but why can't you do this?" A young crude voice echoed through the building. The words escape through clenched teeth, as if the young man was attempting to hold back fire from blasting into the older woman's toad like face.
"Sir, this is not a passenger plane. It's a cargo plane. We don't bring passengers abroad. Why don't you take a boat to Hoenn?" The woman said rather plainly, with a sly smile.
"Because boats. Take. Too. Long," the young man responded slowly, emphasizing every word of his sentence. The frustration was mounting.
"Well it's not my fault you waited till the last minute to take a trip over to Hoenn."
"Look you old hag! There is a very good reason why I need to get on the next plane to Hoenn and even if I tried to explain it to you, I am sure you wouldn't understand! So how about you ask whoever is piloting that piece of crap if he or she could squeeze me on the next flight instead of being nothing more than a useless obstacle in my way of saving this god for forsaken world!" the young man roared with such fervor that he ended up losing himself in the moment. It was only after the fact he let a few too many details slip.
The woman could only gasp in response before composing herself and grabbing the phone, of which the man could assume was a desperate plea to call the local police force. The man gulped, swallowing his freedom. Just as he imagined the handcuffs wrapping around his wrists, an older tall man with a full gray bread appeared and forced the woman's down, hanging up the phone in one bold motion: "That won't be necessary, Dolores. Tell me, son, what's your name?"
"Lyle. Lyle Murphy. And this is Jewel," he motioned to his Espeon who stood next to him with eyes glaring at Dolores.
"You can call me, Howard. Odd name, I know, but my parents were odd people," he laughed. "Now, tell me Lyle, why do you need to get to Hoenn so badly Do you really need to save the world?"
"It's, uhhh, complicated. I just really need to get there," Lyle said avoiding contact.
Howard chuckled before laughing again. "Ha! I see. Come on, son. You are a lucky man. I am about take the plane out to Slateport shortly. Get on board. I can make room. Hope you don't mind sitting in the back with some nasty smelling crops," Howard said motioning Lyle to follow him.
Before he knew it, Lyle was bound into a cramped seat, buckled in while Jewel was forced into a Pokeball (an unnatural position for her). Still, he couldn't complain. He was in a rush and had half a world to overcome. A small window was perched by his neck and he looked out when he felt the plane starting to move, watching Mistralton City shrink in the distance. Before long, it was the size of a speck of dust on a dirty floor. Preparing for a long trip, Lyle lost himself in the maze of his thoughts trying to sort out the past few hours.
Lyle awoke in the bright hours of the morning. For the past few months, Lyle had lived in a small apartment building in Driftveil City working in the Cold Storage district as a laborer. It was not necessarily his choice. Refusing to accept money from his relatively rich uncle, Lyle set out to be as independent as possible. Using the money he saved up during high school, he trekked across Unova with glee and experienced things he could only dream of. It was a truly eye-opening adventure, seeing the world in something other than a low quality photograph in a textbook or a screen. But all good things come to end, just as his bank account. Surprisingly, Lyle did not have too much difficulty finding a few part-time jobs to build a resume on his way across Unova, so grabbing this low-pay full time job in Driftveil to fill his coffers with minimum wage money wasn't too hard. It was everything attached with this responsibility that made it a challenge.
Lyle's life was set on a routine. Each day he would wake up at the crack of dawn and make his way to the kitchen and in daze he would feed Jewel and himself cheap local brand food. It was cheap, but somehow filling enough for the both of them. He would clean himself in his mold ridden bathroom before putting on his uniform and make his way to work. He usually let Jewel wander the city during the day to keep her sane, while he did the exact opposite. Each day at work was in a frozen wasteland fit only for morbidly obese eskimos whose layers of clothing and fat would protect them from the unforgiving landscape. He spent 9 hours in this tortuous depiction of hell doing Satan's work. It was tiring and brutal and required two cups of coffee after his shift to warm his body up to natural temperatures. Lyle would then return home and cook Jewel and himself a more substantial meal. All things considered, he was a good cook and was able to work with cheap natural ingredients to make a decent meal. Lyle was forced to do so, working on a low budget in a town with accessibility to resources. He and Jewel would usually eat over a movie on the local channels on his 10 year old television that would break out in static at least once during the programming. It was annoying, but manageable. Bed time would follow his evening hygiene in which he and Jewel would cuddle up due to the lack of heat in his bedroom. This was a regular day.
But this day was…different. It all started with the morning ritual. Jewel, his Espeon, was a morning bird. She would never be in the bed by the time Lyle woke up, making her away outside to absorb the morning sun. This morning, instead, she stared at Lyle with her small beading eyes.
"What…?" Lyle asked with a gasp. Jewel's full body weight was crushing Lyle's lungs, but she didn't seem to notice. Annoyed, Lyle forced himself up and went on with his morning rituals, Jewel puppy dogging him the whole way with more zeal than normal. She rarely did this and Lyle took notice. The two had bonded greatly throughout their respective lives, especially after the moment when he was younger. He would never forget that vivid experience in the realm he called "The Void." That cold, lifeless domain where sound, thought and hope died with the color. It was gray and dismal and Lyle took enjoyment in residing in such a place. Originally, he had enjoyed the silence but everything excess becomes undesirable. The only positive result was the developing relationship with Jewel. Since then, he felt that their bond had strengthen to the point that they could communicate without words. It was a pleasant feeling having that relationship.
Therefore having Jewel behave like a suppository constantly following him without giving him any room to breathe was worrisome. The only time she ever acted like this was when Lyle was in danger, or when he forgot something vitally important. Jewel nudged him several times in the legs, tripping him twice.
"Fine! What do you need?" Lyle asked with impatience. Jewel sat in front of Lyle and stared him. With a sigh, Lyle knelt down in front of her and stared back: "Well?" In that moment, Lyle lifted a paw and smacked Lyle in the nose.
"To any who receive this message, my name is Anthony Stagg and I am a Shifter like you. I'm not going to sugar-coat it, but I need your help to save the world. Please meet me at Mirage Island in Hoenn, as a Shifter you should have no trouble getting there."
When that brief…message…was done, Lyle took a few steps back and violently shook his head.
Save the world?
That was a lot to absorb. Shifter probably referred to his ability to step into the Void. It was the only that was worth bestowing a name to, as otherwise Lyle was fairly unremarkable. Mirage Island was a place that Lyle heard of in his history of Hoenn class. It was a hard to reach island in proximity to Pacifidlog Town, which some math genius said that finding the island was harder than finding a shiny Pokemon. There is a fun fact for you. Save the world? Well that's just ridiculous. Who would need Lyle's help in saving the world?
Lyle laughed off the elaborate joke from Jewel and waved her off, going back to making breakfast. Jewel didn't like being ignored. She nudged him more violently this time, as if she understood what he was summoned to do. Lyle, wanting nothing more than breakfast, did his best to ignore it. What a foolish young man.
"Look, it doesn't affect me! Whatever that was couldn't have been real. Why would anyone ask me to help them save the world? Plenty of better candidates out there. Like Neil, for example. Arceus knows he is up to the task," Lyle said with a grumble.
Jewel, with a small display of physic prowess, had caused Lyle's breakfast cereal to explode in his face as he finished mumbling his final words.
"I always wanted to go to Hoenn."
"And we are here!" A older voice rung in his ears and slapping him in the face. "Wakey, Wakey!"
"What…what's going on?" Lyle asked with a yawning groan.
"Welcome to Slateport City, Hoenn," Howard said, helping the half awake Lyle unbuckle himself. They walked out of the back of the plane into the bright sun, Lyle's eyes instinctively half closing themselves to adjust to the changing light. Making out the outlines in the distance, he could see a small city. "It's a fine place. If I wasn't such a lover of the skies, I would probably live here. The sea brushing across your face with enough city life to distract you till you pass out on your couch. It's perfect!" Howard laughed. It was readily apparent that Howard was not a sane man and it was nothing short of a miracle that Lyle was still alive.
"Thanks…Howard," Lyle said offering what little money he had left in his wallet.
"Bah! Don't worry about it, son. You'll need the money to get anywhere here."
"But…the plane ride..."
"Do you really think that was such a big deal? Dolores is just a little witch. Nobody likes her," Howard winked.
Smiling, Lyle shook Howard's hand and made his way to the docks knowing his epic commute was not quite over.
Aside from paying a great deal of money, the boat ride to Pacifidlog Town was not bad. In fact, it was far more enjoyable than the plane ride but to be fair, he barely remembered that. Lyle struggled to find his land legs as he made his way to the other side of the town. He wanted to stop for a meal, so he gave in to his desire and got a local bite to eat. Fittingly, most of the menus offered nothing but fish of which Lyle was not fond of. But it was cheap in comparison to what one would find ashore, especially in Unova. Satisfied with his decision, Lyle walked to the eastern edge of town and stared into the horizon.
"Well, how the hell am I supposed to find Mirage Island?" Lyle said scratching his head. Jewel placed her paw on the surface of the water and mimicked a walking motion. Lyle smiled a bit before mumbling something like "you are a genius" to his Pokemon. With that, Lyle said 'hello' to the Void once again.
Lyle had not grown accustomed to the Void quite yet. Every time he stepped in into that parallel dimension of lifeless silence, Lyle realized how apt the name truly was. It was void of sound, void of color, void of emotion, and void of life. It was the ultimate zone of suffering for someone could never articulate how depressing the world was. Lyle found the Void useful at times, primarily that the plane was also void of sense, as natural law appeared to be thrown out the window. Following the shift, he stepped down onto the water and much to his surprise it was solid. Smirking to himself, Lyle trekked across the water with great ease, as if the water was a well paved sidewalk.
After no more than an hour of walking, Lyle found the island. Following his arrival onshore (and return to the living plane), he saw a gathering of people. None of them looked familiar, so it was best to go with neutrality as his greeting.
"You must be the shifters."