"Wow, you could make a biography of your life right now and it would sell like a novel." Roxanne said after I finished explaining to her everything that had happened. "Are you really okay after all of that?"
"I'm fine." I assured her with a shrug. "A little shaken, I'll admit, but nothing physical. But didn't anything I tell you sound somewhat familiar?"
Roxanne shook her head as she turned around to face the chalkboard on the wall. We'd walked inside the Trainer School, a signature part of Rustboro, of which Roxanne had graduated as top student. She waved toward some of the children in the back to be silent as she began drawing on the chalkboard briskly.
"According to your story...this world is not the first, but the second of two, and the first one was destroyed by two of the three rulers. Regulator of space and guardian of time...Clearly Dialga and Palkia. Those are two legendary pokemon told in Sinnoh's legends that are as powerful, if not more so, than the three titans of weather told in Hoenn's lore. The third one you mentioned may be Giratina. I don't know if you've heard about it yet..."
"I have." The existence of Giratina wasn't a well-known fact, and only a few important people and scholars knew of it. The Pokemon Association's Director had told me himself not long ago. "It's the ruler of a place called the 'Distortion World' which acts as a mirror directly connected to ours."
"Exactly. There are only a rare few people who have ever been inside the Distortion World, but it is said that Giratina can bend it to its will absolutely and helps control the balance. It's a little different from what your story said, but the Distortion World and the first world may be one and the same."
I stared at her in surprise. Was that possible?
"But the Distortion World is just a mirror of our world, isn't it? The first world in the story is completely independent and was annihilated."
"Not really." Susana murmured as she fingered a small pencil in her hand, sitting at the desk behind me. I didn't think she'd been paying attention. "From what I've heard, the Distortion World is a place that follows its own laws of physics and is unfit for people to live in for a long time. Sounds just like another world to me. And if it really is the first world, it would make sense that it is still connected to this one in some way, since the ones who created this world came from there first."
Roxanne raised an eyebrow at me and I just shrugged in response. I didn't know what to say either.
"Then tell me this," Roxanne said as she set down the chalk, turning her back to the diagram of two earths beside each other with a rough sketch of Giratina between them. "Why do you think they are after Zane?"
"How the heck should I know? I just want to get to Lilycove, wait for the cruise boat to arrive, and take my stuff back so I can participate in the contests. What he does after guiding me there is his own problem."
"Leave it." I sighed when Roxanne opened her mouth to argue. "She has a point--I left a lot of stuff on the boat too. We don't have much time to waste. Can we go through the RusturfTunnel?"
"Of course." Roxanne said as she flipped her hair haughtily, giving Susana one last lingering look of dissaproval. Susana ignored it completely. "It's only been a three days since you were tossed from the boat, right? You should be able to beat it to Lilycove with plenty of time to spare if you take the sea route from Mauville. Come on, I'll show you there."
The route to Rusturf Tunnel was a grassy path with a scarce amount of trees that cut of abruplty as they reached the mountain ahead. It was possible to scale, of course, but it was a dangerous hike. Going through the tunnel that had been dug through the mountain's center was far safer. Rusturf Tunnel and its surroundings were known for its high population of Whismur, the whisper pokemon, which was ironic considering how deadly loud they became with training.
It was a surprise when we were intercepted by two men standing among the rocks laying at the foot of the mountain, staring directly in our direction. One had dark hair swept forward, much like a mowhawk, and wore a strange bronze visor that hid his eyes from sight under the glare of the sunlight from above. He wore dark robes and boots and had his sleeves rolled up past his elbows. A Breloom stood beside him, eyeing us with a completely neutral expression that I didn't understand.
Beside the first man was another with similar black robes, only with a belt tied around the waist. He had long white hair that reached his shoulders lightly and he wore a large brimmed hat with a feather from a Chatot's wing. Essentially, he looked just like a bard with a blue flute hanging from his belt. A Grumpig bounced beside him, hopping from one foot to the other.
And they were blocking our way into the tunnel quite obviously.
"Oh wonderful..." I muttered darkly as we came to a stop, my hand reached to the armband of pokeballs on my wrist. The one with the visor noticed this and smirked.
"Well, well, so you already know who we are?" He said as he stepped down from the rocks easily, heading directly toward us. "That makes it easy. Please come with us."
"Fat chance, Schola." I snarled. "There aren't any hostages for you here."
"You speak as if you have a choice." The man with the visor raised his head slightly and I caught a glimpse of his dangerous colorless eyes. "You will come with us, whether you like it or not."
"Don't be so rough, Quincy." The bard touched a hand to his companion lightly as he grinned at us. I disliked this one on sight. Something about that smile was entirely fake. "Let's at least introduce ourselves first."
The man bowed his head to us as he took his hat from his head politely. "I am Fonrose, one of the Schola's four advisors. My companion, Quincy, and I have come on official business. I apologize for Jasmine's sloppy job earlier--we do not intend to take any more lives than necessary."
"Sloppy was right." Quincy snarled as he continued to glare at me. "She should have taken care of her task quick and easy, just like Sir Xansa. It's shameful to leave your unfinished work to others!"
"Don't you worry," Fonrose chuckled. "We'll be sure to take care of the two of them."
"Pardon?" Susana blinked in surprise. "Did you just say 'the two of them'?"
"Though I ridicule Jasmine for her blunder," Quincy glared at Susana through his visor. "We may not have been able to identify and track our fifth and final elusive target."
"Me?" Susana looked back and forth between the two like they were crazy. Fonrose, the bard, sighed in exasperation.
"Feigning ignorance is homely. Grumpig, psywave!"
A beam of multiple colors bounced on the rocks around us and shot at us at an impossible angle. Susana and I threw ourselves to the ground just in time as it flew over our heads. I prepared to release one of my pokemon, but Susana grabbed my hand and pulled me to my feet, quickly running through the raised dust toward the tunnel.
"What are you doing?" I demanded in surprise. Susana grinned without turning back to me, her grip tightening on my shirt sleeve. She could run surprisingly well.
"A change of scenery." She replied as we ran through the tunnel entrance.
"Don't let them get away, Fonrose!" Quincy ordered as he spotted our backs dissapearing. "That tunnel is a straight path into the heart of Verdanturf! We may lose them among the crowd!"
"You needn't rush me." Fonrose replied serenely as his Grumpig danced strangely and the two teleported instantaneously. Quincy's eyes focused on the mountain's top. If he caved the tunnel in, he might strike lucky and get rid of them both without further trouble.
"Breloom, dynamic punch!"
Breloom darted forward to hop up in the direction Quincy pointed and rammed into an invisible wall of force that prevented the pokemon from advancing further. Quincy narrowed his eyes at the rocks shifting slightly where Breloom stood and understood instantly. Magnetic waves that are spread out to form a harmless, yet impenetrable, field to trap the enemy...The Nosepass standing before them with its stubby arms spread wide was clearly the source. Quincy focused his gaze on the grinning brunette sitting on a boulder nearby, having taken advantage of the raised dust to get behind him as well.
"Tell your Nosepass to drop its "block", gym leader." Quincy said warningly. Roxanne raised an eyebrow.
"You get an 'A' for observation." She congradulated. "But a 'D' for ettiquette. Until Nosepass is knocked out, he won't be dropping his "block"."
"None of this concerns you. The Pokemon Association has no right to intervene with the actions of the Schola without a formal excuse."
"Yes, I'd heard about that. But right now, I'm not acting as a gym leader. I'm helping out an old colleague of mine."
"So that's your pitiful reasoning?" Quincy muttered darkly. "Fine then, we'll just force our way through you! Breloom, get rid of the Nosepass with your mach punch!"
Roxanne tossed a pokeball in the air and her Cradily landed heavily in front of the charging Breloom as the mushroom Pokemon swung its fists out in rapid succession, so quick that it was almost invisible. The fists battered Cradily as it braced itself, but Cradily didn't give an inch against the attack.
"Stockpile may increase your defenses, but it doesn't stop Brelooms powerful attacks from being doubly effective." Quincy said as he patiently waited for Cradily to succumb to the attack.
"Sorry, but you'll have to hit harder, I'm afraid." Roxanne said without showing the least bit of anxiety. Cradily showed no signs of collapsing against the attacks whatsoever, to Quincy's surprise. "My rock types will only stand again and again until the enemy tires and falls."
Cradily's tentacles whipped out and entangled Breloom, throwing the attacker back with great strength. Quincy knew that Breloom could shrug off that blow easily, but why were Cradily's wounds dissapearing?
"You crafty woman..." Quincy murmured as he found his answer in the ground at Cradily's feet. Roots were spreading through the ground, anchoring the fossil pokemon deeply and sucking nutrients out of the earth to strengthen the user. "You used "ingrain" to hold your ground."
"What a well deserved 'A' for your observation! Yes, ingrain replenishes the user's energy and prevents them from being switched out by force, such as by whirlwind or roar. Along with the ability, Suction Cups, Cradily isn't going anywhere. You won't be able to even touch my Nosepass, let along the tunnel!"
"You want to draw this battle out, do you?" Quincy gave a heinous smirk that made it seem as if the temperature dropped ten degrees. "I am Sir Xansa's strategic advisor and most loyal subordinate! A lone gym leader won't be able to stop me from accomplishing the mission given to me!"
"Strategic advisor, eh?" Roxanne smirked. "I'm the top student of the Trainer School here and the best when it comes to using strategy to wear down your opponent. Let's see you try and get past me!"
"Prepare to have that arrogant smirk wiped off your face!" Quincy roared as Breloom shot forward, hands up like a boxers as it charged toward the awaiting Cradily.
The Schola vs. a gym leader! The battle of tactics begins! Meanwhile, Susana is not whom she appears to be?! Next time, Zane vs. Fonrose ?? More questions to be answered, while others to be asked! (next chapter will be up quicker than this one was)