View Full Version : Pokemon Crusaders

Emerald Queen
May 14th, 2005, 11:58 AM
I've been writing fiction for a long time, and fan fiction in another genre for three or more. I'm hoping you guys will enjoy this effort...

Chapter 1: Losing a Brother

It was crowded in Celadons Pokemon Cafe. The Pokemon Institute was hosting an international convention: all of Celadon was busy. Ailsa and Christian had secured a table and a third seat for Jenna, and Christian had already bought drinks, anticipating the confirmation of Jennas doctorate. They had also been meeting rivals, friends and peers all day, so they guessed that Jennas arrival would be delayed.
How long will it take? Ailsa asked, catching sight of a well-groomed Furret. Christian also looked at the passing pokemon.
As long as it takes, I suppose, he replied, Look, there she is!
Jenna was at the door, waving, her face flushed, and her eyes bright. Christian grabbed the bottles, and he and Ailsa abandoned the table.
Hi, Jenna, how did it go? Ailsa asked, once they were clear of the crowd. Jenna grinned.
Call me Dr. Rowan from now on, she grinned, I passed!
They eased themselves away from the crowd and went back towards the Institute Building. Jenna filled them in as they walked.
I was going to call you guys, but I had my new office and lab to set up, and Professor Laburnum wanted me to meet these people she sighed gustily, I did some trading: I exchanged my CV bugs for some Johto and Hoenn pokemon. Want a look?
Sure! Christian and Ailsa chorused. Christian continued, Wheres Jase? I thought he was coming, to. Jennas face clouded.
He got called to the Deans office her voice trailed off, I dont know whats got into him lately, Christian. Hes been I dont know. Not himself.
As she spoke, she unlocked the door and opened it. Then froze in the doorway. Christian and Ailsa peered round her to look at the chaos inside.
I didnt leave my lab like this! Jenna exclaimed, going in and picking up overturned stools, and scattered papers.
Some one broke in: look! Christian pointed to a shattered window. Ill go find Officer Jenny. You need to see if anything was stolen.
Where do you keep your pokemon? Ailsa asked, as she swept up the broken glass. Jenna stopped picking up papers, her face stricken.
Most of them are in storage, locked under a password only I know, but I left the new ones out, because I wanted you to see them. she dumped the papers on a nearby bench and hurried into her small office. She came out a moment later, carrying a handful of balls, her face deathly pale, Three are gone. I cant believe it: whod be nasty enough to steal three pokemon?
At that moment, Christian and Officer Jenny arrived.
Not here, too, Jenny exclaimed, Weve been getting reports of break-ins and pokemon being stolen all over the city. Do you know which ones youve had taken?
One by one, Jenna let the pokemon out.
My new Skamory, Meditite and Poochyena. She finally said, in a shaky voice, You know Ive been doing research into the Colour Variants? All of the missing pokemon were CV. Theyll be rare. You wont see many trainers with pokemon like that.
By now, a big crowd filled the doorway. It broke up when an authoritive voice told it to leave and let Jenny do her work. As it dissipated, Professor Laburnum walked in. I have some information for you, Officer Jenny. This involves you too, Jenna: Jasons been expelled.
Why? Jenna sounded stunned, I know he had issues, but
Your brothers been unapproachable for a long time. Laburnum said in a kindly voice, his recent behaviour, towards pokemon and his fellow students, has been appalling. He received a final warning this afternoon, and responded by threatening the Dean. Doing that earned him automatic expulsion. He turned to look at Officer Jenny, Im certain hed pass information on if asked.
I cant believe it, Jenna said, after Jenny and Laburnum left together, Jase wouldnt do anything like this!
Im not so sure. Christian admitted, You said something wasnt right with him. I also know how jealous he was of your rapport with pokemon.
Well, he never let on. Jenna shook her head, He knew how much pokemon and my research meant to me.
If he has fallen in with the wrong crowd, it might explain a lot. Christian replied, Look, we dont know anything for certain: lets clean up and hope Officer Jenny resolves this quickly.
When everything was back in place, Jenna went into her office and accessed her PC.
Im sure Jase doesnt know the passwords, but she paused as she went through the Pokemon Storage files, Nope, nothings been taken. She checked her stored items: that, too, was untouched: Jenna closed all her files, relieved.
Youve a new E-mail come in, Ailsa pointed out. Jenna frowned.
Its just arrived. She opened it and frowned, Hey, its from Jason!
Whats he got to say for himself? Christian asked, peering over the girls heads.
Im going to Hoenn. The message read, My new friends say Ill be happier with them. Things werent working out at the Institute: I need to move on and make my own place in the world, out of your shadow. I promise you, once Ive found my feet in Hoenn; Ill return your pokemon to you. Im sorry it had to be this way, sis: I hope you wont take it too hard. Jase.
So he did all this himself! Ailsa exclaimed. Jenna had slumped in her seat, looking faint. Christian sat back, scowling.
Now we know. He grated, Jason was the thief all along!

Emerald Queen
May 19th, 2005, 2:38 PM
The break-in at Jenna Rowans new lab quickly became hot news the next day. Christian was stopped five times by acquaintances on the way to Celadon Gym for training, commiserating with Jennas loss, and fishing for juicy details. His own Gym Leader, Sabrina, was intrigued when he called home, especially since one of the missing pokemon was a Dark type, and another was a dual Fighting/Psychic type. As hed promised Jenna, Christian said nothing about Jasons involvement in the robbery.
He met Ailsa and her brother in the Caf at lunch. Ailsa had spent the morning listening to a breeders forum: her blonde hair was scraped back and hidden under green silk scarf. She wore a matching pinafore of the same colour, with her badges pinned on the bib. She had two of her pokemon with her: a normal coloured Bellsprout, and a Colour Variant Bellossom, a present from Jenna, named Ruapehu. The Bellossom circled the tabletop in a slow hula, chirping to passing pokemon. Toby, Ailsas younger brother, sat next to his sister, watching all the pokemon that went by. He seemed oblivious to the conversation between his sister and her friend.
Jennas keeping a low profile today. Ailsa said, sipping her cola, the local reporters were all over her lab this morning, covering the story. So far, no ones got wind of Jasons involvement. I think Jennas hoping no one will think to ask about him. Christian snorted.
Small chance of that, he replied, biting into his sandwich, Sooner or later, some one is going to remember shes got a twin, and that hes also been studying at the Institute here. Or forget themselves and let the Delcatty out of the bag. What do you say to going over to the Institute and see how shes doing?
The corridor near Jennas lab was empty when they went in, but Jennas door was open. Jenna herself had one of her new pokemon out on a scanner, a CV Roselia, with a light green and gold body, and purple and black rose hands. Jenna was talking in a low voice to the pokemon as she taped on a keyboard nearby: the pokemon responded by chattering and twirling about on the scanner. Jenna glanced up and smiled as she saw her friends.
We came to see how you were doing, Christian said, glancing at the Roselia, And we wondered if youd heard any more. Jennas face clouded as she picked up a pokeball.
Nothing. Roselia, return! the pokemon went back into its ball, and Jenna nestled it into a pocket in a tray, theyve already processed Jasons room, and found nothing. He was long gone. His roommate didnt even know what was going on. She sighed, and selected another ball, Go, Torchic!
Do your folks know yet? Ailsa asked sympathetically. Jenna placed the bouncing Torchic onto the surface of the scanner: the pokemon skipped about, pecking at the glass, trying to reach the scanning light inside.
He mailed Mum before he left: just told her he was going away for a while, to sort his life out. He said nothing about being booted out, or what hed done. I decided not to tell her: shes upset enough as it is. I couldnt break her heart. She looked at Toby, who was staring at the Torchic in rapt admiration, You like him, Toby?
Him? How do you know its a him? the boy looked up at her, his brows scrunched up. Jenna grinned.
The trainer I traded with told me. His name is Chaco. The Torchic stopped pecking at the light, swung round to look at her, and cheeped, loudly. Yes, I know youre hungry. Ill get food in a minute.
Jenna scanned a couple more of her new acquisitions, and then put the tray load of balls back into storage. She then picked up a nearby great ball and opened it.
Wow! Toby gasped, as a silvery Ninetails materialised, Is that
Yes, its Silverfoot, who I beat the Johto League Champion with five years ago. Jenna replied, ruffling the Ninetails topknot. Youve not been so well of late, have you girl? Silverfoot yipped and Jenna petted her, You can scratch behind her ears if you like, Toby: she wont bite. She set out food bowls on her bench, measuring out the dried food, mixing some with water, leaving others dry. Then she reached for a rack of minerals, vitamins and other supplements, some liquid, some in tablet form.
Has anyone told your Dad? Chris asked, taking a nearby stool. Jenna shook her head.
Not all of it, no. I sent him an email last night. I said Id let him know when I received my doctorate. All I told him was that Jasons left to travel, and that Ive had some pokemon stolen. I kind of had to tell him that, since the news of the break-in is going global. She shook a bottle of zinc tablets, I havent got enough of these to go round. Ill have to go see Professor Mulberry and get more.
Can we come? Toby asked, looking up from Silverfoot to Jenna. Jenna laughed.
Sure, why not, though the Professor may not be in the dispensary. Its his lunchtime. Still, we can always pop into his office.
Id love that. The professors got some very interesting ideas about what vitamins to feed pokemon for improved breeding success. Ailsa grinned.
The door to the dispensary was closed when they got there, but this didnt seem to be a problem. Jenna fished a key out of her lab coat pocket and fitted it in the lock, then frowned.
Thats odd: its not locked. The door opened to pitch dark inside; the lights had been turned off and the blinds drawn. Muffled thumping and rattling could be heard coming from the back of the room, behind the racks of shelves. Jenna stepped inside and reached for the light switch.
I wouldnt do that if I were you, lady, a rough voice growled, move away from that switch.
Who are you? You shouldnt be in here without permission. Jenna squinted, trying to pierce the gloom, and gestured behind her with her right hand. Silverfoot padded forward on silent paws, waiting for her next command.
Theres a lot of places we shouldnt be, but thats never stopped Team Shadow before. You made a mistake, lady. Gloom, use poison powder!
Use Flash, Silverfoot! Jenna cried, covering her eyes. Her companions barely had time to cover theirs before. Silverfoot lit the whole room with a blinding glare. Angry cries told Jenna her ploy had worked. When it had dimmed sufficiently to see, Jenna went through the rows of shelves to find three men at the back of the dispensary. They had been raiding the high value medicines, to judge by the torn cartons, spilled bottles and loose pills their activities had left behind. Jenna stared at the men: all three were dressed in dark clothing, from stout boots, tight fitting trousers, black jumpers, black flat caps and domino masks that concealed the upper parts of their faces.
Sleep powder, Gloom, the biggest of the three shouted at his dazzled pokemon. This time, Jenna wasnt quick enough, and the Gloom pumped a cloud of thick, sweet smelling dust into the air. Jenna, Christian, Ailsa and Toby all tried to cover their noses and mouths, to no effect. One by one, they slumped to the floor, overcome.

May 19th, 2005, 3:10 PM
Aw right! Another shiny fic! And I thought mine was the only one! XP

Well, lessee what we can say here. I like your character development, although like me, it looks almost as though it was kind of rushed to make way for the action. But the action itself was very good. And the interaction between the pokemon and the humans was very nice too. I like the fact that you showed them in a more relaxed, casual atmosphere, rather than plunging us into a battle right away. That wouldn't have fit for this kind of story. X( Erm... what else... ? Oh! I did find the fact that her brother was the thief not all that surprising. I think you could have been a little more subtle about it. The email would have made a good shocker had we not been so bombarded with foreshadowing, lol. But just the same, since you intended to tell us from the beginning that it was him, it's not all that crucial. Anyway, all in all, I'd give you a 9, because it was a good story that kept me involved and interested, and there were only minor flaws and grammatical errors. Good job!

Oh, on a less important note, you might want to consider putting one more space in between your paragraphs. It's kind of hard to read with it all scrunched together like that. Reading on the internet isn't the same as reading from a novel, you know, ^_~

Emerald Queen
May 19th, 2005, 7:35 PM
Thanks for the comments, Shuko, I'll take them on board for the next chapter.

If things seem a bit rushed, it's because of the word count constraint. I'm used to rambling away at my own pace, without having to worry too much about how many words are written: do you know how difficult it is to pack any meaningful action into just nine hundred words? :D The spacing thing is down to a loss of format when I transfer the text over: rather than write directlyonto the post, I write each chapter on Word for windows, then copy and paste. Sometimes the formatting, like spacing and indents, comes over, sometimes it doesn't.

Anyways, I'm glad you enjoyed it so far!

May 19th, 2005, 8:23 PM
Thanks for the comments, Shuko, I'll take them on board for the next chapter.

If things seem a bit rushed, it's because of the word count constraint. I'm used to rambling away at my own pace, without having to worry too much about how many words are written: do you know how difficult it is to pack any meaningful action into just nine hundred words? :D The spacing thing is down to a loss of format when I transfer the text over: rather than write directlyonto the post, I write each chapter on Word for windows, then copy and paste. Sometimes the formatting, like spacing and indents, comes over, sometimes it doesn't.

Anyways, I'm glad you enjoyed it so far!

You know what I do when I write my chapters for the forums? I write 'em in wordpad. I don't even bother with formatting, either. Y'see, if I have to add formatting later, Word's find and replace option makes it so incredibly easy. Check this out: every time you want to start a new paragraph, just do a double space and begin the text. It's like a block style format, or something like that. Anyway, if you want to format it later, go into Microsoft Word and paste the whole thing into it. Then, just open Find and replace. Type this in the find part: "^p^p" Do it without the quotes. And in replace, type this: "^p^t" Again, do it without the quotes. What that does is search for every instance of a double return keystroke (a new paragraph) and replaces it with a single return, and a tab character. Now, that's just an example of what you can do. If you want more stylized formatting, why not take a look at Microsoft's help page and find some more goodies. Here's the link here (http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/assistance/HP051894331033.aspx).

Emerald Queen
May 24th, 2005, 3:48 PM
Chapter 3: Gauntlet down

Christian woke first, groaning as his head pounded. The dose of sleep powder seemed to have sapped all the strength from his limbs. He could hear excited yapping in the distance: as he forced himself to his knees, Silverfoot raced into the room, barking energetically, whirling around in a circle a couple of times before running over to her mistress and beginning to lick Jennas face. Jenna moaned softly, and her hand moved a little. The lights came on, causing Christian to groan and cover his eyes: sleep powder always made them light sensitive. By this time, the rescue party had reached the victims, and he found himself being helped to his feet and out of the dispensary.

Half an hour later, sat in the first aid room, all four friends were almost back to normal. Jenna had a small bump and cut on her head, where shed hit it on a shelf as she collapsed, and Toby had a few grazes, but apart from severe headaches, none of them had suffered serious injury.

Which is fortunate, Professor Laburnum said, as Toby and Jennas hurts were cleaned and bandaged, Had the poison powder attack worked, youd all be in critical condition. Jenna smiled and reached out to pet Silverfoot, who crowded close to her side.

Weve Silverfoot to thank for that. Shes still got the speed when it counts, havent you, old girl? she turned to her pokemon as she spoke. Silverfoot yipped happily and licked Jennas cheek, Is Professor Mulberry alright?

Oh yes, hes fine, and giving a statement to Officer Jenny, Laburnum replied, We found him in his office, tied and gagged, and highly indignant. The thieves made off with a large number of reformulated hyper and max potions, max revives and other developmental medicines, but they didnt get exactly what they were after. Mulberry wouldnt tell them where he kept his Active Heal, Recharge and Sustain Attack notes and first formulae, and your arrival prevented them from tearing the dispensary apart looking for them.

It has to be my brother again, Jenna said, her voice full of bitterness, Hed know Professor Mulberrys routines, and hed know what the old man was working on. He must have been with those creeps.

We dont know that, Jenna, Laburnum replied, startling them all, Your brother might have a grudge with certain members of the Institute, but he never had any issues with Mulberry, and I dont think hed be directly involved in anything which might have harmed you.

Once the Institute nurse discharged them, the four made their way to Officer Jennys incident room, and gave statements. Jenny seemed particularly interested to learn what this latest gang of thugs had called themselves.

Team Shadow? Weve been hearing whispers and rumours about them for some months now. My friends in Hoenn warned me about them. she said, first the Rockets, then Magma and Aqua, and now, Shadow. The names might be different, but theyre still the same kind of people. Begging your pardon, Doctor, the officer glanced at Jenna. She merely shrugged.

Back at the Lab, having obtained what she wanted, Jenna finished preparing pokemon lunches and fed her charges. The whole incident had put a dampener on the friends spirits.

Its hard to believe Jase would get involved in something like that. Ailsa said, watching Silverfoot bolt her food down. Jenna sighed, and mixed up a lemonade tonic for a sickly CV Weepinbell, which she dripped into the pokemons bell.

Right now, I dont know what to believe, she replied, glumly, I mean, twenty four hours ago, I couldnt believe hed steal pokemon from me. Now, Im not sure just what he wont do.

Team Shadow, huh! Toby broke in, I mean, how lame is that? Even I could come up with something better. Jenna looked at him sadly, and put the Weepinbell away.

The name isnt that important, Toby, she said, moving over to a tank and releasing a Corsola into it, Give them any name you want. Its their activities that are the problem.

So? Why dont you go after them, and get back the stuff they took? Youre supposed to be a hotshot trainer, right? Tobys eyes flashed a challenge as he spoke, I bet you, Christian and my sis would be a match for those dopes any day!

Well, its been a long time since I did any serious battling Jenna replied, but Christian cut across her.

Tobys got a point. He said, Even if we arent good enough to take all of Team shadow on, were more than good enough to find your brother and his cronies, and sort them out. And even if you cant, I bet I can talk some sense into Jases thick skull. What do you say, Jenna? Jenna looked away from his challenging stare to Ailsa.

Cant hurt to try, can it? Ailsa said, softly.

A cough coming from the doorway made them all start, and guiltily, they turned towards the new arrival. Laburnum walked in, his expression thoughtful.

I couldnt help overhear what you were saying, he said, In general, Id say, steer well clear of this. Fighting Team Shadow is Officer Jennys job, not yours. No matter how silly the name sounds, these are still dangerous criminals. He gave Toby a steady look, and the boy shifted uncomfortably, Still, theres no harm in taking a holiday now, is there?

Jenna gave her mentor a confused look.

But my studies she began, and Laburnum cut her off with a wave of his hand.

Youve just completed a long period of lab based research, Jenna. You need to take a break. Besides, youve never been to Hoenn, have you? If you must insist on study, why not make it a field trip? Im sure there are many CV pokemon over there for you to look at. He smiled benignly at them all. Christian returned the smile, he eyes bright, Now, if you would like me to, Ill contact my colleague in Newbark Town, Professor Birch. Im certain we can get something arranged within the week. Numbly, Jenna nodded her head, Very Well, Ill call him immediately, and Laburnum left the room.

Alright! Toby exclaimed, punching the air.

Emerald Queen
June 13th, 2005, 12:09 PM
Chapter4: Hoenn

Would all passengers disembarking at Littleroot Town, Hoenn, please make their way to the passenger departure ways, the captain of the S.S. Anne announced over the tannoy. Jenna looked at her companions and smiled.

OK, thats us, she said, shouldering her bag. The others picked up theirs, and the five of them moved towards the nearest departure point. They got through the passenger terminal quickly, and, once outside, looked around them, bemused. Littleroot port was bustling with activity, and, overhead and sitting on buildings, were bird pokemon unfamiliar to them.

Theyre Wingull, Toby announced, looking at a pamphlet on Hoenn Pokemon, This says theyre the un-evolved form of Pelipper. Just then, Jenna heard someone call her name, and she turned to see a man waving furiously at her, OK, it looks like our ride is here, she said.

The trip to the Littleroot Pokemon Research Lab was short and their driver proved to be Professor Birchs assistant, Fred Evergreen. Professor Birch was waiting for them in the Lab: it seemed that Professor Laburnum had briefed him thoroughly on the background behind their trip. They quickly laid out their general plans for their journey, including meeting up with Christians younger sister, Nita.

Last time I spoke to her, she was thinking of taking a sabbatical from teaching at the Rustboro pokemon academy and touring the Hoenn Gyms, Christian explained, Since I dont know if shes gone yet, or which gym she intended to visit first, finding her could take some time. Birch nodded sagely.

Then why dont you go make a call to Roxanne on my videophone, and find out if Nitas left yet? he asked. Christian smiled his thanks and let Dr. Evergreen show him where the phone was. As he left, Jenna asked if anything strange had happened in Littleroot recently. Birch grimaced.

Other than the fire at our pokemon centre, no. he replied, The centre was gutted, unfortunately, but our nurse Joy managed to escape, along with all the pokemon she had there. Im housing them all temporarily, until the new centre is built. He paused, frowning, Officer Jenny did remark that the fire may have been started deliberately. Ailsa and Jenna shared a knowing look, You can speak to her tomorrow morning: she may be able to tell you more. Just then, Christian returned, beaming.

Nitas at Dewford: shes doing some intermediate training with the gym leader there, Brawley. I told her wed meet her there in a few days. Guess youll want to do some snooping round here first?

Theres something we might want to look into here, Jenna said, From the sound of it, someone burned the local Pokemon Centre down. Christian shook his head in disbelief.

Then I guess our first call will be to Officer Jenny, he said.

They stayed that night with the Birch family: the professor, his wife, and the Birches two children, Brendan and May. Next morning, Toby was whisked off by Brendan and May to hunt Pokemon: Ailsa had given her brother some balls so hed have a chance to catch his very first pokemon. Jenna, Ailsa and Christian helped Professor Birch carry some donated equipment to Littleroots temporary Pokemon Centre: a porta-cabin, one storey structure housing the most basic things. A charity fund had been set up to raise enough credit to rebuild the lost centre: so far, most people had been very generous, and Nurse Joy was pleased to tell them that they were two thirds of the way to the target.

I can get the builders in to demolish the ruins of the old centre and begin laying the foundations for our new one, she said, as the four of them began setting up the equipment theyd brought over, At least we can replace our facilities, but well never be able to recover the archive.

Archive? Jenna asked, as she began connecting leads up to a scanner. Nurse Joy nodded.

Little root was one of five archives in Hoenn: the others are at Sootopolis, Pacifidlog, and Fallarbour, with a master archive at Evergrande, in the league building. She said, You know that Hoenn is the home region for the legends about Groudon, Kyogre, and Rayquaza? Were also home to the three Regis, and Latios and Latias, too. There are so many famous archaeological sites scattered over the region, it was decided that all the discoveries should be shared across the region. The irreplaceable finds are kept at Evergrande, but copies of regional discoveries are kept in the regional archives, along with less valuable objects. Im afraid we lost a lot of valuable research material in that fire.

They were testing out the newly set up machines when Officer Jenny arrived. She had very little extra to tell them: the fire that had gutted the centre had, apparently, begun in the archive room, and could not be attributed to faulty wiring or other structural fault. The investigation into the fire was still ongoing, but it looked at if human intervention had been the cause: whether accidental or deliberate had not been decided on yet.

We did find this in the ruins, Jenny said, holding out a small blackened object to Jenna. It was twisted, charred, but had a pin and clasp on the back. Its some kind of badge, but it isnt one from this region. Is it from Kanto or Johto? Even accounting for the damage, the design wasnt recognisable to her, so Jenna passed on to Christian.

It doesnt look like a league badge from either region: I should know, Ive got all sixteen. She frowned, Ive seen it somewhere, though: I wish I could recall where. she replied, Perhaps its one of those commemorative badges that pop up every now and again. Im sorry I cant be of more help. Jenny nodded, clearly disappointed.

Jenna might not remember, but I do. Remember those goons we confronted in Mulberrys pharmacy? They had this symbol on their caps and on their shirts. He handed the badge back to Jenny, Your fire was deliberate, officer, and it was set by members of Team Shadow.

Emerald Queen
June 16th, 2005, 2:28 PM
Chapter5: The Evergrande Enigma (Part One)

They spent the next two hours telling Officer Jenny all they knew about Team Shadow and their activities and, after a reluctant agreement from Jenna, about her brothers connection to them. Jenny was interested to know about the stolen pokemon.

Shiny pokemon are just as rare here as elsewhere, she said, so anyone with pokemon like that is under suspicion. Well try and locate your missing pokemon, Dr. Rowan. They rose to leave, Oh, theres something else you might like to know: five days before the fire here at Littleroot, someone tried to break into the Archives at Evergrande. They didnt get far; the security guards have some mean, tough pokemon, but they were dressed as you described, and they were caught trying to break into the South Eastern Archive. We didnt catch them, but at least they got nothing out of their crimes that time.

Thethree went to a nearby caf, as much to talk over their latest information as to get a drink.

Well, I dont have to be Officer Jenny to know that the Littleroot Archive had something that can also be found at Evergrande, Ailsa said, sipping her iced cappuccino, Or that theyve tried to hide what they took by burning the pokemon centre down. Jenna shivered

The idea that Jase could be mixed up in something like that makes me feel sick. She said, and then gave herself a little shake, What Id like to know is: what on earth were they after? It cant be artefacts to sell. The moment they tried that, everyone would know where the things came from, and who the sellers were. There was something in the archive they wanted, alright, something shared between the two, but not to steal for profit.

OK, so what would they be after? Information of some kind? Christian added, It would have to be, wouldnt it? The thing is, what were they looking for, and why were they looking? he took a swallow of his ice cream soda, I guess all our answers are at Evergrande. Ailsa and Jenna nodded.

Well go back to Professor Birchs lab and Ill make some calls and book our passage to Evergrande. You ought to call your sister and let her know were going to be a little later than expected. Jenna said, finishing her coffee, In the meantime, Ailsa, find Toby, tell him whats happened, then go get supplies for our trip. The others finished their drinks and the three went in separate directions.

Christian and Jenna met Toby and Ailsa outside the Birches house, where Toby was busy showing his sister the pokemon hed caught. Hed got four, a Poochyena, a Wurmple, and two Zigzagoons, one of then a Colour Variant. Jenna studied the two pokemon, making notes hurriedly. The Colour Variant was quite striking, with the normal dull brown striping replaced with a more vivid ginger colour. When Jenna had finished her note taking, she moved away from the pokemon, but Toby had other ideas. He put the pokemon back in its ball, then shyly handed it to her.

Its for you, he said, To start your collection off. Youve got to go home with some new pokemon, right? Besides, three is more than enough for me to start on. Four is just too much. Jenna glanced at her friends, saw their smiles and nods, and accepted the new pokemon. Then she let him out again.

Ill call you Runo, little fellow. She said, and saw Tobys jaw drop in surprise, Yes, he is male. Quite a big specimen, too. Lets go back to the lab and get all four checked out, shall we?

They said their farewells to the Birch family just after lunch, and, as he drove them to the ferry terminal, Jenna promised to keep Professor Birch updated on their progress. The ferry was one of the new Seagallop ships: a voyage of what would have been a week by traditional ship only took two days to complete: not enough time to get to know any of the other passengers, but more than enough to get Toby started off as a trainer, and for Jenna to begin training Runo. She quickly discovered the little pokemons special ability, Pick-up, the natural talent for unerringly finding and collecting lost or dropped objects. Quite swiftly, she got used to having Runo drop his latest discovery in her lap, for the Zigzagoon didnt seem to mind giving up the things he found.

They didnt need to ask for directions to the Hoenn League Headquarters, the massive building towered over the rest of the city in gleaming splendour. They took a cab to the building, and went in. For a moment they were overwhelmed by the Foyer, a large, well-lit hall, decorated with some sculptures, and a scale model of the Headquarters building itself. People were walking about; some hurried, obviously on business, others more casual, clearly tourists. Jenna and her companions went to the nearest desk where she quickly explained their business.

Ah, yes, here it is: four to visit the Archives. Ill just fill your pass badges out. The receptionist said, This will allow you access to the Archives only: thats floor seven. If you get lost, the security guards will show you the way.

Now that it had been mentioned, the four became conscious of the strong security presence in the building. The guards, and their pokemon, werent obtrusive, but they were there, and they were polite but firm in restricting access to those not authorised to go elsewhere. There was even a guard, with his Mightyena, in the lift as they went up to the seventh floor, and two more either side of the door, with a Manectric and a Machoke, when they left it.

Theyre taking no chances, Christian remarked, as they approached the entrance to the archives, and the guards that stood there. Toby snorted.

Bit late to throw the ball after the Rapidash has bolted, he replied. Ailsa sniffed and gave him a cool look.

They might come back later. She said, and fell silent as they showed their passes and went in. They were met by the curator, a Doctor Holly, a small, wizened old man, almost completely bald, but for a band of bushy white hair encircling the back of his head. He greeted them and led the way to the South Eastern Section of the Archives, listening to what Jenna had to say.

Its such a shame about Littleroot Archive, he said, I just hope we have what youre looking for. So much lost in that fire. He walked off muttering to himself, and the foursome went to work. Jenna and Ailsa began looking at the ancient texts, Toby and Christian at metal and ceramic artefacts. In places, the two teams overlapped, for some of the oldest texts had been engraved or impressed into metal or clay tablets. By common consent, they ignored all the stuff that didnt carry a copy mark: only the stuff shared by Littleroot was looked at.

Emerald Queen
June 16th, 2005, 2:35 PM
Chapter 6: the Evergrande Enigma (Part Two)

It was slow going at first: lots of boastful reports from ancient kings on how many pokemon theyd tamed, how big their Gyarados had grown, tributes and dowries paid in pokemon, herbal remedies. Then Ailsa found a single line reference to a spell that would enhance the powers of dark pokemon. Two tablets and one parchment later, Jenna also found a reference to a similar spell, this time, with a name of the wizard whod tried it.

Tomakai? I came across his name a while back. Ailsa said, shuffling through the stack of tablets in front of her, Here, look: Tomakai asks for one black diamond, or any dark crystal for his works. Send to the jewel mines on the Island of Mornings Tears for such a gem. And look its been marked with a royal seal. She passed the tablet to Jenna.

Yanush the Great. Yes, hes the first king to rule Hoenn Region as a whole, and did it by laying siege to and razing every town and city that opposed him. He was into dark pokemon in a big way: his army was made up of Dark pokemon trainers and their pokemon. He lavished more care and attention on his Absol, Mightyena, Cacturne and Sharpedo than he did on any of his wives or children. Ive come across a dozen or so references to him in the last half hour, and none of it was good. Jenna handed the tablet back, Ill go into the archive mainframe and look through the database, see what else I can call up about Yanush the Great. Carry on going through those texts, and see if you can find out anything more about Tomakai and this spell he was trying to cast.

By the time, the group gathered for lunch, each half had collected something of interest. Jenna had a huge stack of printout about Yanush, and the political state of Hoenn in his era. Shed even got an ancient map of the region, as it was known in the kings time: incomplete, since not all of Hoenn was known to the ancients, but it showed a good bit of the land, and listed both ancient and modern names for several places. None of the four were too surprised to learn that The Isle of Mornings Tears was now called Dewford.

Ailsa had learned a little more about the spell Tomakai was trying to cast. It needed a dark coloured gem, mined from Dewford; a rare herb found growing on the flanks of Mount Chimney, five pearls taken from live Clamperls fished from Shoal Island, a fresh tooth taken from the jaw of a sleeping dragon, berries of several different kinds, some of them extremely rare. How the ingredients were combined was a mystery, for all they had to go on were the royal orders demanding that the exotic ingredients be located and brought to Tomakai.

So weve a list of ingredients but no method, or even what Tomakai hoped to achieve with this, Jenna said, and looked at the two grinning boys.

This is where we come in, Christian said, and pushed some papers over to the girls, We got the old man to take some scans and print off copies for us. Toby found the first two: decorations on some old pots. The two pictures, of the glazed decorative bands surrounding the sides of different pots, were images of pokemon: as they looked, neither girl could identify what the pokemon were.

Thats what caught my eye, too. Toby explained, I couldnt tell what they were, not even when I looked up my Pokedex. Those pokemon arent found today, anywhere that I know of. But look again, Sis, at that one there, and tell me what you make of it. He tapped a particular picture, and both girls stared intently at it. Then Ailsa looked up, her expression puzzled.

Why, it looks like an Octillery, Mantine and a Sharpedo all got mixed up. She said, pushing the drawing back, I know were starting to delve into pokemon genetics, and pokemon breeding is highly advanced these days, but even we cant do anything like that! Jenna, however, was continuing to study the images.

They all look like fusions of some kind, she said, with at least one component being a Dark type pokemon. Did Dr. Holly give you any dates for these pieces? she asked. Toby grinned, sheepishly.

He said something about them being examples of middle to late Myoclastic III C and II A, and were not quite four thousand years old. I didnt understand that part, but he did say they were made in the reign of someone called Yanush the Great. He reported. Jenna pulled a face.

Him again, she said with distaste, What have you got for us, Christian?

Christian passed his own print over.
Some kind of ritual. He replied, Take a look. I did a little digging, and I can tell you that the location where this took place, or where it was supposed to take place, was Mount Pyre. See these two gems? Theyre meant to represent the Red and Blue Orbs. And the two pictographs underneath them are Groudon and Kyogre.

They look like theyre bowing or praying to that third image, Ailsa said, and whats that strange looking guy doing, waving a long stick at it?

Dont know, Christian replied, I cant read those funny marks at the bottom of the plate.

I can. Jenna replied, Its our old friend Tomakai. It says here that hes just created the Great Beast of Darkness, whom all others fear.

A new legendary pokemon? Toby asked. Jenna shook her head.

No, this was something Tomakai had made. From the text, it sounds like he took a pokemon and gave it enhanced abilities, or he fused several pokemon together, using a magical stone called Heart of Shadows.

Thats the name of the spell! Ailsa exclaimed. Jenna nodded.

Which is all very fascinating, but doesnt tell us if were on the right track, Christian said. The others shrugged
Well, the only way well find out is if we go back to work. Jenna said, gathering the papers up, The more we delve into this, the more of a mystery it becomes. Ok, folks, back to work, and the four got up and headed resolutely back to the Archives.

Emerald Queen
June 19th, 2005, 1:10 PM
Chapter 7: Trouble at Dewford

They spent one full day in Evergrande before they ended their search and booked passage to Dewford Island. They left with piles of printout to wade through, though really none the wiser to what Team Shadow was after. On board the Sea Gallop ferry, Jenna began ploughing through the printouts, trying to piece together what clues theyd already got with the odd one or two she came across in her reading.

Well, Ive combed those files, and this Heart of Shadows affair is about the only thing I can see might have some interest to Team Shadow. She said, over dinner the evening before they were due to arrive at Dewford, Unless there was something in the Littleroot Archive that wasnt deemed important enough to be sent to Evergrande she shrugged and helped herself to more stir-fry. Alisa picked up the sweet and sour pork.

So, what else did you learn about the Heart of Shadows? she asked. Jenna grimaced.
That it didnt work out or not the way they wanted it to work. That the fusion, or the enhanced pokemon, couldnt be controlled. It went on the rampage across Hoenn before falling apart. Again, I cant tell if they meant it lost its augmented abilities or if the different pokemon separated out and went their own ways. It cost Yanush his Empire: the cities he conquered united to drive him back to his home city, which is sited on one of the biggest islands off the south East coast of Hoenn. A line of watchtowers and beacons were strung out all along that stretch of Hoenns coast, to warn the mainlands people of another invasion attempt. Then the alliance fell apart and the ancient cities of Hoenn went back to fighting amongst themselves. Tomakai was exiled, and he falls out of the picture. About the only other entry I could find about him was a reported sighting of him near the jewel mine on Dewford. After that, nothing. Yanush spent the rest of his days invading the local islands on the south east coast, subjugating and oppressing the native peoples, and planning futile invasions of the mainland. He was eventually assassinated by a group of men that included his most trusted advisors and his eldest son, Muresh. Muresh was the founder of the Sea Isles kingdoms that became the ultimate ancestors of the Pacifidlog boat people.

Thats a chunk of boring history, Toby put in, grabbing the last handful of prawn crackers, and thats it? All youve found? he crammed the crackers into his mouth. Jenna nodded.

I think I can see why Team Shadow might be interested in this legend, Christian said, thoughtfully, If its true, theyd be able to create a very powerful pokemon indeed. Perhaps something strong enough to rival the Legendary Pokemon.

But why would they want to create something they couldnt control? Ailsa asked.

Because times pass and things change. Jenna said, The ancient folk didnt even have crude pokeballs to keep their pokemon in: they used cages, chains and collars. Im betting that Team Shadow is hoping to use a pokeball on this thing theyll make.

And if theyve got brains, theyll use a Master Ball. Nothing gets out of one of those unless you want it to. Christian added.

So, once we meet up with Nita, where do we go next? Ailsa glanced at Jenna as she spoke. Jenna pushed back from the table.

Id like to poke around Dewford for a while. Lets see if we cant find out more about Tomakai and the reason he went there. Someone might know some old folk tales, and there has to be some ancient ruins to look at. And Granite cave isnt too far out of town.
Yippee! Toby yodelled, Lets go catch some more pokemon!

The ferry made landfall shortly after nine oclock next morning, and stood blinking in the hot sun. There was a difference in the air at Dewford town: it was no less busy than the other towns theyd seen, but the activity seemed to have less urgency about it. The people were curious, friendly and helpful: almost before they knew it, they were ensconced in a lovely little bed and breakfast villa, overlooking a wide sandy beach, with the land lady bustling around them, helping them unpack and telling them about the sights.

Nita said shed be up at the gym all day today, Christian said, as they left the villa. He was looking at a tourist map of the town, Its not very far. He was right, it was just a five-minute walk, but when they got there, they found the door locked and one of the gym trainers, a black belted judo master, standing guard outside.

Im sorry, but the Gym Leader, Brawley, isnt in today. He said, eyeing each in turn, Therell be no gym challenges until he returns. The guy flexed his muscles and Jenna sighed heavily: some of the martial arts trainers liked to put on those they felt were weaker than them. Then Christian stepped up, subtly displaying the badge that showed he was a trainer at Saffron Gym. Almost immediately, the black belt deflated.

We dont want Brawley: were here to meet Nita Allerford. Shes my sister. He said, smiling. The black belt nodded and unlocked the door, looking somewhat relieved.

Go right in. Shell be on the third level, with the other Battle Girls. He said.

There were several girls in the third level: one of them immediately detached herself and came running over. Nita blonde hair was tied in two pigtails, making her look somewhat younger than she was. She was dressed in a tank top sporting the gym logo and bicycle shorts, all in Dewford gym colours. She gave her brother a rib cracking hug, said hi to the two girls, and then mischievously ruffled Tobys hair. Toby glowered at her and made a show of smoothing his hair flat again. Nita blithely ignored him.

Give me ten, and Ill be with you, she said, and dashed off.

When they met up again, Nita took them to her favourite caf, where they had cold drinks and caught up on news. They brought her up to date on the events so far, causing her to frown, and told her about their discoveries.

Funny you should bring Granite Cave up, she said, Thats where Brawley is. Someones been in and disturbed all the pokemon that live there: there are packs of rampaging Aron patrolling the tunnels, and all the rarer ones have gone into hiding. Brawleys called Steven Stone to try and calm things down.

Do you think they might like a helping hand or two? Jenna asked.

Emerald Queen
June 30th, 2005, 12:01 PM
Chapter 8: Casualty

They checked with Dewfords Officer Jenny and Nurse Joy before venturing up to the Caves. Jenny made out passes for Jenna, Ailsa and Toby: Nita and Christian, being gym trainers, only had to display their Gym insignia to get access. They were advised not to attempt to catch any pokemon they came across in the caves, unless it was necessary. Part of the problem at the Caves was that somebody had been chasing pokemon to catch them, with no thought to the pokemons welfare. Both Nurse and Officer were pleased to see Jenna on the scene.

We asked for Professor Birchs assistance, but hed gone on a field trip and would be out of touch for a week, Nurse Joy said, Gym Leader Brawley and Elite Four Champion Steven Stone are very good trainers, but they need someone whos studied basic pokemon medicine and psychology. Jenna blushed furiously.

Ive only worked on Kanto and Johto pokemon: Ive no experience with Hoenn ones, she said, Ill see what I can do.

The immediate area around the cave mouth was cordoned off, with security men patrolling the edge, and more stationed at a checkpoint and at the cave mouth itself. Despite their presence, there was a gathering of sightseers and pokemon fans around the taped area, wanting to know what was going on, or hoping to catch a glimpse of their idols. They werent the only people at the site: some way away from the caves, strung out in a ragged line along the shore, were a knot of fishermen. They seemed oblivious to the goings on at the cave, all except one, who kept turning and staring at the crowd. Ailsa, waiting to get her pass stamped, noticed him glaring at the throng, and wondered if the sea pokemon had been put off by all the noise and bustle. Then she was called up to the checkpoint, and forgot about him.

Once their party was cleared, Jenna and the others made their way up to the entrance. Christian stared at the bunch thoughtfully, and turned to Jenna.

Not one of them seemed to recognise you: fame is fickle, it seems. He teased her. Jenna appeared unruffled.

It was a good few years ago, she replied serenely, Besides, these are local people. They root for their own heroes. Im glad no one recognised me: have you any idea just how difficult it would have been to get in, if they had? her voice took on an arch tone, and Christian chuckled ruefully.
Ouch: Ill be good, I promise. He replied.

It was dark inside granite cave, very dark. The security man appointed to guide them to the two trainers offered them a flashlight: Jenna declined. Ailsa brought out Ruapehu, let him out and got him to light the cave using the Flash technique: though the light was very bright, for some reason it disturbed the pokemon less. Not that it made much difference: they avoided several Aron stampedes by the narrowest of margins.

They really are riled up, arent they? Jenna remarked as they all scrambled down the rock face that theyd climbed up to escape the pokemon, Its going to take them months to calm down. Granite cave may have to be shut up for some time.

They climbed down a steep ladder to the next level, and a little way along the gallery, they saw a light up ahead. They hurried towards it, and met up with two men and a brightly glowing Breloom. They were looking at a white rock on the cave floor.

The Aron down here are really wild, one was saying, At this rate, any Sableye that are left are going to get trampled. I wish wed caught those punks when we had the chance! the speaker was dressed in a surfing dudes outfit: brightly coloured tropical patterned shirt, Bermuda shorts, and flip-flops. The other was in some kind of suit or uniform. They were bent down to look at the rock more closely, and Jenna realised then that the rock was actually a pokemon. She automatically hurried up to take a closer look too.

What happened to it? she asked, gently rolling the pokemon over.

It got caught in an Aron stampede, the second guy replied, then peered closely at her, who are you and what are you doing here?

Jenna paused and looked up, then blushed.

Im sorry, I forgot. Im Dr. Jenna Rowan from the Pokemon Institute in Celadon City, Kanto. This is Ailsa Brendon, a Viridian Region pokemon breeder, her younger sister Toby, and Christian Allerford, a Gym trainer at Saffron. I think you already know his sister, Nita. She quickly made introductions and shook hands.

Well, Im Brawley, Gym Leader here at Dewford, and this is Hoenn League champion, Steven Stone. The surfer dude said. Steven stone, however, was staring at Jenna intently.

Jenna Rowan? The Jenna Rowan? Who took both Kanto and Johto Leagues by storm a few years back? Jenna nodded shyly, and was taken aback when he grabbed her hand and shook it vigorously, Oh wow, Im a big fan of yours. Ill never forget that final Flamethrower by that Ninetails of yours Silverfoot, wasnt it? Behind her, Jenna could hear Christian trying to muffle a chuckle, and felt herself colour again.
Im afraid Ive done very little battling since then, she responded, demurely, Ive been caught up in my studies. Now, you said that this poor little thing was trampled?

Sure was. Sableyes often try to hide, relying on their colouring to camouflage themselves against the rocks. Im sure this little one got missed by the pokemon snatchers because she isnt the usual Sableye colour. Brawley told Jenna as she gently probed the pokemons limbs and body.

Theyre mostly black or dark grey, though you do get an occasional dark bronze one, Steven added, crouching down beside Jenna. She nodded absently.

I know: I got a bronze Sableye amongst the pokemon I traded at the Conference a while back. Ive never seen anything this pale, though. She sat up, I can give her some medicines to keep her going for now, but she really needs proper care for quite a while. I cant find anything broken, but shes definitely bruised and battered. She looked at both men, Do either of you object to my taking her with me? Brawley made a face, and then looked at Steven.

Will she recover if you leave her here? he asked.

Possibly, if she doesnt get trampled again. But itll take her a very long time to heal, and shes in no fit state to dodge another stampede right now. She reached into her bag and pulled a number of small vials and an eyedropper, These will help her in the short term, but Id like to get her to the Pokemon Centre. Nurse Joy has the best scanning equipment, and we can treat the injuries more effectively once we know whats wrong. She began squirting the medicines into the pokemons mouth with the eyedropper: the little creature gave a squeak and wriggled a little.

Then catch her and take her up, Brawley said, Its better than leaving her here with those Aron tearing about. Jenna nodded, put her medicines away and brought out a master ball. Steven eyed her quizzically.

It catches everything its thrown at, and the last thing she needs right now is a long drawn out struggle to evade capture. She flipped the ball next to the Sableye, who vanished inside instantly. The ball snapped shut and remained shut: indeed, the ball barely twitched before the capture was registered. Jenna picked up the ball and put it into her bag, That wasnt too good a sign. Ill be happier once Nurse Joys looked at her. Now, what can we do about those Aron?

The words were barely out of her mouth when they heard an ominous rumble, a rumble that increased in volume rapidly.

Emerald Queen
July 2nd, 2005, 11:31 AM
Chapter 9: Solution

Back to the ladder, Brawley shouted, and they turned and ran. There wasnt time to climb up: just scramble up out of reach as the pack of Aron, growling ferociously, charged by, crashing into the walls, outcrops and the ladder with enough force to make it shake. Finally, the stampede cleared, and the party came down briefly to ascend the ladder in better order.

We dodged a few charges coming down, but nothing like that, Christian remarked, as they made their way out. Brawley nodded, glumly.

And thats not the biggest, believe me. He said, Granite cave is a true maze: all the passages are linked up. The ladders just make it easier and quicker to get to the lower levels: you could follow the passages down. It would take you a couple of days, though. The Aron live in small packs, and normally stay in one section, like a territory. The disturbances have riled them up so much that territories dont matter any more; the packs are meeting up, and merging. That makes them more aggressive and they charge round more You can see how it goes. Theyll eventually merge into one big pack, and anything that isnt able to leave or get out of the way will be mown down. His fists balled up, Id like to get hold of those who did this! My Hariyama would teach them! Steven laid hand on his shoulder and Brawley took a deep breath, Sorry for that, he apologised, Its just that Ive lived here all my life, and the whole of Dewford has been living in harmony, in balance. Thinking someone has come along and disrupted the place, for the sake of greedIt makes my blood boil!

You said the whole cave is linked up? Ailsa asked, Are there any other entrances or exits? Steven shook his head.

No, there isnt. he replied, fixing Ailsa with a steady look, well, apart from a couple of narrow cracks and holes that are too small for even pokemon to squeeze in and out. Youve come up with something? Ailsa nodded.

Part of the problem is that the Aron are exciting each other. Individually, they arent that intelligent: separate them and theyll soon forget why theyre rampaging. She explained, Since we cant cage them up individually, how about doing something else to stop them movinguse stun spore or something?

Good idea, Brawley said, but stun spore wont work. Thatll only paralyse them: when it wears off, theyre going to remember everything, and theyre going to be real peed off. Besides, stun spore wont travel far. How are you going to get them all?

Well use sleep powder instead then. Itll take them time to wake up from that. And if we pour enough in, any time one of them tries to charge, theyll stir it up again and knock themselves out. As for getting it down into the depths of the cave, use bird pokemon to blow it down. Put someone at each of the cracks and holes to watch for powder being blown out. Once all the holes report sleep powders coming out, youll know the entire caves been dusted. Any little bits wont matter because any Aron trapped in them are either going to stop stampeding, or theyll try charging and dust themselves. After a week or so, the powder will lose its potency, and itll be safe to go back in.

Thats perfect! Brawley exclaimed, None of the pokemon will be harmed, and by the time those Aron wake up, theyll have forgotten why they were rampaging. Well need to put a call out for pokemon that have sleep powder

The crowd out front will be a start. There were a lot of girls in that crowd: girls like grass pokemon Christian said, and then flinched as Ailsa elbowed him in the ribs. Both Brawley and Steven looked uncomfortable; Jenna knew how they felt.

We could start with Ailsas Bellossom, she suggested, and whilst Im at the pokemon centre with the white Sableye, I can contact Professor Laburnum and get him to go through my collection. Ive a number of grass pokemon back home, and some of them must know Sleep Powder. Ill have him send them to me.

It was quickly done: Brawley returned with Jenna to Dewford town, and there, he had his gym trainers go through their pokemon for Sleep Powder users, and then sent them down to Granite Cave to Steven and the others. Jenna handed the injured Sableye over to nurse Joy, and called Laburnum. She was still talking with the Professor when Brawley joined her. She had taken a pokeball out of the transfer system, and had opened it to reveal a CV Oddish.

Are all your pokemon colour variants? Brawley asked, as she finished the call. Jenna smiled.

The majority are, she replied, Im studying colour variance, after all, she re-balled the pokemon, Thats the last one. Ive got five Sleep Powder users. Lets go.

The dusting was well under way when they returned to the cave: Christian and Steven were using Christians Fearow, Ailsas Noctowl, Stevens Skarmory and a Swellow to blow the Sleep Powder into the cave. Jenna could see Oddish, Gloom, Vileplume, Bellsprout and Weepinbell, with a sprinkling of Bellossom, Bayleef and Roselia, clumped together and producing the dark green, sweet smelling powder. As one pokemon became exhausted, it dropped out of the ranks, and a fresh one took its place. They reached the party, and Steven reported that hed shown the gym trainers the cracks and holes, and left one at each, with a walkie-talkie, to let them know when the powder was coming out of the cave. It had been agreed that, once all the known holes were producing puffs of Sleep Powder, Granite cave had been completely fumigated.

It didnt take long. One by one, the watchers reported in, and, late in the afternoon, news came that the last, and furthest, hole had little wisps of powder drifting out. Steven, Jenna and the rest of the party donned filter masks and went in. Sure enough, the Aron they met were fast asleep, all of them. At that, Brawley seemed satisfied, and the group withdrew.

Right, I want this cave sealed up, and guards posted, he told the head of security, No-one is to go in until I say so. With the job complete, they went back to the pokemon centre, Where Jenna checked in on the injured Sableye. She was a little surprised to see the pokemon on its feet and running around: seeing her the pokemon gave a high pitched squeal, raced across the room, scrambled up her legs, and flung its arms round her neck, burying its head under her chin. She turned to look at her companions, astonished, as the Sableye began trilling happily.

It seems it likes you, Steven said, I think youll have problems releasing it. Brawley chuckled and nodded.

You might as well keep her. He added, Want to give her a name?

Jenna stared into the white Sableyes pastel coloured jewel like eyes, and then reached out to tickle it under the chin. The Sableye wriggled and squeaked gleefully.

I think Ill call her Alba, she said.

Emerald Queen
July 3rd, 2005, 1:29 PM
Chapter 10: Disclosure

Steven Stones way of saying thank-you to Jenna and her friends was to invite them all to dinner: he was due to return home the next day. He had a table booked at Dewfords best restaurant, one whose specialty was seafood, and they were quite happy for him to invite guests. This extended to Brawley and Nita, who were more than happy to accompany them.
Over the meal, which consisted of clams, crabs, scallops, squid, and the largest lobster any of the group had seen, they talked about Granite Cave, pokemon breeding and battling, the various leagues, and Jennas chosen topic of study. Christian was amused to see a pattern form: Toby, silent and starry eyed, and hanging on Stevens every word, whilst Steven, in turn, was spellbound by Jenna. Brawley, however, was far from star struck, and kept the conversation going.

Just before the dessert course came, Jenna broached a subject shed wanted to ask all afternoon.

You said you thought Alba was missed by the pokemon snatchers because of her colour. Is that what the disturbance was down to? she asked. Brawley pulled a face as he took a mouthful of lager.
A good part of it. He responded, A gang of no good punks were chasing pokemon about, and trying to catch just the Sableye. They arent very common and tend to be quite shy, so the louts were using techniques like Roar to flush them out of cover. Of course, doing that disturbed all the other pokemon as well. He looked at her shrewdly, Its odd, the way they targeted the Sableye like that. They arent the only rare pokemon down there, not even the rarest, either. Theres Mawile and Nosepass, too. Whenever we get a group on a pokemon hunt, they go for all the rare ones, and a thorough briefing beforehand lets them know not to be noisy. These guys simply didnt care. They just wanted the Sableye.

Dark and ghost type pokemon, Christian mused, It fits our pattern, doesnt it? he looked at Jenna meaningfully.

But chasing down pokemon was only part of it, wasnt it? she continued. Brawley gave her a very strange look.

They were also digging up the lower galleries, looking for rare gemstones. Steven added, You can get the odd Fire, Thunder and Water stone, along with ordinary gems, in that cave. Ive even found an Everstone, once. Yet they appeared to be looking for one type of stone: in one heap of spoil I found these: tossed aside as if they were worthless. He put two Fire stones and a Water stone on the table, there were more down there. I decided to leave them for anyone whos adventurous enough to go down that far and find them. What I didnt find were any dark coloured crystals. You know something about this, dont you? he too, looked at Jenna.

We certainly do, Ailsa joined in. Between the four of them, Jenna, Christian, Ailsa and Toby told Brawley and Steven about the events that occurred in Celadon, including a reluctant account by Jenna of her brothers misdemeanours. Then they spoke of the fire at Littleroot Towns Pokemon centre, the destruction of the Archive there, and what theyd then learnt at Evergrande. Both Brawley and Steven listened in astonished silence until Jenna finished speaking.

So you think its this Team Shadow whos responsible for the turmoil at Granite Cave? Brawley asked. Jenna nodded.

Without actually catching them in the act; yes, were reasonably certain its them. This spell, or whatever it is, needs a dark crystal and its designed to work on dark pokemon. And the name doesnt conjure up images of goodness and light. She replied, Whoever they are, it looks like theyre meddling with things best left undisturbed

There have been a lot of rumours floating around about a new Team Rocket style gang. Steven said, staring into his glass of red wine, Doing the usual Rocket style stuff: stealing important artworks, valuables, pokemon and so on. They even tried to raid my Dads company in Rustboro City, but didnt get very far. Hes strengthened security since we had all that trouble with Teams Magma and Aqua some time back. He gave Jenna a steady look, On the way home Ill use the ships broadband to email the rest of the Hoenn Gym leaders. I wont tell them the whole story, but I will let them know youre about and that youll require their assistance. In the meantime, what are you going to do? he asked.

Weve still got things to do in Dewford, Christian responded, I think weve no need to go to Granite Cave now, he glanced at Ailsa and Jenna, who both nodded, But there are some old ruins to the south of Dewford town wed like to look at.

Ill take you down there myself, Brawley promised, Dewford Gyms pretty quiet right now: Im not expecting any challengers for a couple of weeks. I train my Hariyama down there occasionally, so I know those ruins well.

Theres one thing you can do for me, Jenna, Steven said, folding his napkin and putting it on the table, Will you autograph this for me, please? he pushed the napkin across the table towards her. Jenna went beet red this time, and fumbled in her purse for a pen. Christian clutched at his sides as he tried to stifle a roar of laughter. Jenna turned to give him a steely stare.

Not a word out of you! she commanded.

Emerald Queen
July 4th, 2005, 2:21 PM
Chapter 11: Ancient Ground

They were up early next morning to say farewell to Steven, and then they got ready for the long day ahead. Jenna sent her grass type pokemon back, and had Runo and two others returned. Brawley was eager to see them.

Sorry, but Silverfoot isnt with them, she told him, guessing the reason for his eagerness, For one, if Team Shadow tells Jason that a couple of guys and girls from Kanto have been seen nosing about, hell automatically ask if one of them has a silver Ninetails. Shell give us away in an instant. Besides, shes getting on now. She deserves some time off. Perhaps, when this is over, Ill have Professor Laburnum send her over.

They caught up with the others as they were heading into town to buy food and drink for the long day ahead. Jenna was surprised to see that Toby wasnt with his sister.

Oh, hes itching to catch more pokemon, and didnt want to visit the ruins, Ailsa said, Nitas taking him fishing. Jenna nodded and kept silent. Ailsa had clearly persuaded her brother that the ancient ruins would be boring: by distracting him, she hoped to keep him out of trouble.

The four of them had finished shopping and were coming out, putting the stuff away in their backpacks, when Brawley suddenly laughed.

Whats so funny? Christian asked him.

That guy over there, on the docks. See him? Brawley pointed to a solitary fisherman, Hell be lucky to catch anything but Tentacool, fishing there. The best places are up the coast, by Granite Cave, or at Eastern Point. Hey, dude, dont bother casting there: only Tentacool in those waters, he shouted, waving his arms, You need to go out of town! the fisherman turned, gave a sort of awkward nod, and went back to his lines. Brawley shrugged and turned away, Oh well, cant say we didnt warn him. Ailsa stared at the fisherman thoughtfully.

You know, I think I saw him up near Granite Cave yesterday, she said, frowning slightly, He didnt seem too happy about the crowd. Brawley chuckled sheepishly and scratched the back of his neck.

Its a favourite fishing spot. I guess all those people frightened the fish away. He said, I do wish those girls would stay away some times. Jenna shared an arch glance with Christian: she knew how Brawley felt, all right.

The Dewford Gym leader took them south, out of town, and into mixed bush land. Here, Jenna let Runo out of his pokeball, and the little pokemon spent his time zigzagging about, often returning to Jenna to hand over things hed picked up. Brawley watched Runo for a while, and then laughed.
Hes a real perky little fellow, he said, as Jenna packed another potion bottle away, And not so little, either. How long have you had him?

Only a week, she replied, as Runo scooted off once more, nose to ground, Ive done a little training with him on the ferry to Evergrande. Toby gave him to me.

Where the bush became too thick to push through, they took to the coast. This was a fine, long sandy beach, the kind that was perfect for holidaymakers, but empty. Runo nosed through the strand line, coming up with more jetsam, including several pearls of different sizes, several brightly coloured pieces of pottery, two great balls, an ultra ball, and one smooth nugget of gold. The balls, pearls and the nugget, though valuable or useful, didnt catch their eyes: the pottery shards did.

Stuff like this washes up all along this part of the coast, Brawley said, turning a shard of scarlet glazed pot over and over in his hands, the ruins are just beyond the promontory over there. He pointed to a tree crowned headland a little further on, Its not far now.

They came off the beach and found a narrow path winding up the cliff face. The path wound its way across the headland until it came to the other side. Beneath the headland, on a small rocky plateau overlooking the sea was the ruined city. The party came to a halt at the tree line and stared down at the place in surprise.

I thought it was bigger, for some reason, Ailsa said, disappointment filling her voice. Brawley laughed.

Just about everyone says that. he remarked, I guess its because when we talk of cities, we think of places like Celadon, or Goldenrod, or Evergrande. Were used to cities being big. He waved his arms expansively, The ancient people who lived here would have considered it to be huge, in their day, too. He took a step down the cliff, Take care coming down: the footing is a little slippery.

As they descended, Jenna became aware that the way down was actually a series of manmade steps: these would have been smooth and even, once, but time and nature had taken its toll. The rock was worn, pitted, and dusted with sand that made the footing treacherous. They all slipped and slid several times before reaching the bottom. The entryway itself was framed by the remains of the outer walls: huge, sheer faced stones, fitted together tightly with no trace of mortar. The remains were impressive in their decrepit state: in their heyday, they would have been awe-inspiring.

This was one of three gates, at one time, Brawley said, leading them through, the archaeologists say the gate would have stood five metres tall, and the towers either side, half that again. He took them into the heart of the city, where he found a half-fallen wall that cast enough shadow for them to shelter from the sun and take a drink. As they rested, Brawley told them all he knew of the city.

You say this place was thoroughly excavated? Jenna asked, capping her bottle, What happened to all the finds?

Most were sent to Evergrande for studying: the important stuff stayed there. The rest was sent back to the regional Archive. He shook his head, Im real sad to hear about the fire at Littleroot: the loss of all those finds itll leave a very big hole in our understanding of the past. He sighed, Still, we wont have lost it all. There were some very big panels of stone they couldnt take out: part of the walls. Theyre still here. Ill show them to you.

He took them to a collapsed building on the western side, whose back wall had once been built up against the cliff. The wall was mostly tumbled now, buried under sand and fallen rocks from the cliff. Brawley went to the corner of the building farthest from the cliff and began sweeping the sand aside: he looked up and grinned at the three friends as he exposed the edge of a board.

The archaeologists wanted to come back and study the panels further, so they put a board over the stairway leading to the vault below. They never came back, for some reason. Dewford was full of rumours of a hidden room in the ruins when I was a kid, but no one knew where it was. I found it by accident. He continued to brush sand away as they bent to help. In a short space of time, the whole board was exposed, the sand heaped to one side to stop it cascading back.

Ok, you can stop now: well take over from here, a rough voice grated above them, Weve been digging through these ruins for ages: thanks to you nosy kids, weve got what we were looking for. Four dark shadows loomed over them startling them all. Jenna looked up and saw the four, dressed in dark uniforms, with Team Shadow badges glinting mercilessly in the midday sun.

Emerald Queen
July 5th, 2005, 2:54 PM
RATING WARNING- This chapter is rated PG-13 for violent content

Chapter12: Round One

You! Ailsa exclaimed, pointing at the leader of the Team, Youre the guy from the shoreline yesterday, and on the docks this morning! the man, big, brawny and black bearded, gave a chilling laugh.

Well, someone had to keep an eye on the meddlesome Gym Leader. he sneered, poking his nose in where it wasnt wanted. We didnt get nearly as much as we wanted out of granite cave thanks to him. Brawleys hands balled into fists and Jenna could see the muscles bunch along his jaw line. She laid a gently restraining hand on his shoulder.
And thats all you get, you slime balls! he grated, You went in and grabbed what you wanted, didnt think of the harm you might be doing to the poor pokemon inside. Well, you wont be going back in, not if I have anything to do with it.

Thats what you think, Gym-boy. The leader sneered, Sure, it was a neat trick, dusting the Cave with Sleep Powder and posting guards, but sooner or later, the cave will be reopened, and whose to stop us then? Not you. Oh, no, your little excursion out here is going to take you longer than you thought. A lot longer. His tone of voice made Jennas blood freeze.

Cmon, Simeon. One of the others said, Stop yakking and get on with it. We havent got all day: the boss expects a progress report this evening.

It didnt take long: there wasnt even time to toss a pokeball. They were wrestled to the ground and tied up, then dragged over to a nearby wall. Both Christian and Brawley put up a fight, which earned them some punches and kicks. The Leader, Simeon, seemed to take especial delight in laying into Brawley. He had a black eye and a bloody nose by the time he was tossed with the others. Once their captives were bound, the Shadows went through the packs, taking out and pocketing anything they found interesting. Jenna was glad shed left most of her medicines and other equipment behind. Simeon was quick to pocket the nugget and other things Runo had found. The groups pokemon were stashed as items for trading, nothing more. When theyd finished their pillaging, Simeon set one man to stand guard over the captives and loot, gave him a radio to report trouble and then had the others remove the board and begin clearing the steps of sand.

Wheres Runo? Ailsa whispered, eyeing the Shadow grunt warily. Hed put the radio down and was picking though Jennas pack once more, searching for valuable titbits the others might have missed. Jenna tossed her head to her right: sure enough, a little ginger and white head bobbed up briefly to survey the scene. The pokemon ducked down behind the wall, there was nothing for a few seconds, and then his head popped over the top again, closer, this time. He did this several times, and as he got closer, Jenna could see he was carrying something in his mouth. Eventually, he wriggled through a gap between the stones and sprinted over to where Jenna and her friends lay tied up. He quickly burrowed behind Ailsa and pushed his head out to glance at Jenna quizzically. Now he was close up, Jenna could see he was carrying another pottery shard: a piece glazed a bright jade green, this time.

Give the pot to Ailsa, Jenna whispered, urgently, glancing at their guard. The man was too busy picking over Christians pack to hear her. Runo looked at her quizzically for a moment, then disappeared. A moment later, Ailsa gave a small gasp.

Its got a sharp edge! she said, as Jenna glared at her, I might be able to cut the rope with it. Jenna felt Runo burrow behind her and grab at the rope tying her hands together. Then she felt him begin to chew. She flexed her arms regularly, feeling the rope loosen until, at last, the final strands parted. At the same moment, a low exclamation from Ailsa revealed that shed cut through her bonds, too. Runo stuck his head back out and looked up at her, wanting more instructions.

Take the pot to Christian, she said, and watched as the pokemon carried out his mission. Christian, whod been watching the girls, nodded as he received the shard. He began cutting almost immediately. Runo returned, and Jenna gave him his final instruction. Brawley started as he felt the pokemon go to work on the rope binding his arms, then glanced at Jenna, who nodded, her expression sombre.

By now, the other Shadows were out of sight, down in the vaults under the building. The solitary guard had his head almost inside Ailsas bag now, radio forgotten at his side. Jenna and Ailsa watched, tensely, as first Christian, then Brawley, indicated they were free. Brawley began groping in the sand with one hand until he paused and lifted it to reveal a small, rounded stone. He glanced at the others, smiled lopsidedly, then hefted the stone and took aim.

Hey, you! Christian called out. The grunt looked up from his inspection of Ailsas bag, startled. Brawley threw the stone and it hit the grunt on the side of the head with a dull thunk. The man instantly slumped over Ailsas disembowelled bag. Jenna moved quickly to check the man over; he wasnt badly hurt, but would be unconscious for a good couple of hours. Brawley rummaged around amongst the Shadows equipment until he came across more rope. Within a few minutes, Christian and Brawley had him tied up, with Christian adding a refinement in the form of a gag. When they were satisfied the man was secure, the four of them carried him, and the Shadow Grunts equipment, to the far side of the city away from the vault, to a shady section of wall. There, Brawley examined the radio, retuned it to another wavelength, and called Dewford police.

Itll take them a while to get here, he said, after hed finished, and taken the batteries out of the radio, Lets go deal with those other slime balls.

Hold on, Brawley, we need to make the most of our advantage, Jenna responded, They think were still tied up. They arent going to expect to be attacked. Theyll have mostly dark pokemon, perhaps some ghost and poison types, too. We ought to go through our pokemon and pick good matches.

When they were ready, they descended the stairs into the vault, cautiously. Brawley led the way, lighting the path with a luminescent light-stick, the kind used by campers. The stick cast a ghostly pale bluish white glow, barely enough to light the way, and produced eerie shadows on the walls. They moved quietly, without speaking, their ears straining to catch the slightest sound. Though there was no sign of the Shadow Grunts, the echoes of their voices could be heard: Brawley used this to zero in on the thugs. There were a large number of chambers underground: Jenna realised that most of them had been dug into the cliff. It would have been easy to get lost in the labyrinth, but Brawley knew where he was going. Not so the Shadows. A bright light, and bad language, indicated that theyd taken a wrong turn somewhere, and were now lost.

We should have brought that surfing punk down with us, Simeon, they heard one of their quarry say, Were going to bring the lot of em down here anyway. He knows where those rock carvings are.

If youre so sure about it, why dont you call Shaun and tell him to drag that beach bum Gym Leader down here? Simeon snapped back, We dont need Brawley to find a bunch of miserable rock scratchings! Brawley turned to the others grinning lopsidedly.

Thats what they think! he said. They edged closer and closer until Brawley was able to poke his head round the corner to see what was happening. He studied the situation for a moment or so, and then the group edged back. Even in the dim light cast by the light stick, Jenna could see he looked grim.

Theyre at the intersection just ahead, he reported, the passageway is blocked. Theyve got three Sableye busy trying to dig the sand out, a Gloom to illuminate the chamber, and an Ariados to drag rocks away. Theres a sixth pokemon there, but I cant make out what it is. Ailsa shuddered at his report.

I hate Ariados! she said, with another shudder. They quickly discussed tactics and let their pokemon out quietly: Brawley with his Hariyama and a Medicham, Christian with a Hypno, Ailsa with Ruapehu, and Jenna, who brought out a CV Magmar to join Runo. Brawley gazed at the burning hot fire pokemon with admiration. Then he edged back to the corner, peered round it, and began the countdown to attack.

If the Shadows were surprised by the appearance of the friends, it didnt slow them. Pokemon faced pokemon in the middle of the chamber, each pair backed by their master. Simeon glowered at the three friends.

I knew I ought to have wasted you the moment I saw you, he snarled, Shaun always was a dumb ***. Leaving him to watch over you was a waste of my time!

Its time to settle this, Brawley grated, Ill teach you to invade my patch and wreak havoc. Are you ready? the question was a formality, Go, Hariyama, go, Medicham! Go for the Sableye! Use body slam! the two pokemon leapt to obey, and, within a few seconds, two of the three Sableye were flat on their backs, paralysed or fainted, Jenna wasnt sure.

Hypno, hit Gloom with Hypnosis until it works, then use Dream-eater. Christian directed. The psychic pokemon sprang at the Gloom, swinging its pendulum happily.

Use leach seed, Ruapehu! Ailsa cried, pointing at the Ariados. Ruapehu twirled into battle and grass and bug pokemon faced off. Jenna winced as the Bellossom was swamped in a sticky cocoon as the Ariados got String Shot off first. Christian had fared better; the Gloom was down, a thin dribble of dust leaking from the buds on its head. It looked like Sleep Powder: not a good choice of move to use on the Hypno, whose special ability was Insomnia.

Scoria, use Flamethrower on the Ariados, and then bathe Ruapehu with Ember! she ordered the ruby and rose-coloured Magmar. The blast of flame caught the Ariados and sent it climbing the wall, shrieking in terror as the hairs on its legs shrivelled in the heat. The appalling stench of burnt Ariados filled the room. Scoria turned to Ruapehu and blew out a puff of glowing Embers: the coals struck the sticky Ariados silk and burned great holes in the web. Ruapehu shrugged the remains of the shroud off, squeaked happy thanks, and promptly leach seeded a Sableye.

Jenna blinked: hadnt all the Sableye gone down in the first wave of attacks? She felt a sense of confusion and defeat as she counted three fit and healthy Sableye on the battlefield. Scorias howl of protest focussed her mind: the pokemon had been wrapped in silk and was being drawn up to the ceiling, where the Ariados was waiting. She could see the bugs poisonous fangs gape for a bite: she couldnt let that happen.

Wait, Scoria. Waitwaitnow! Flamethrower! Scoria was within striking distance of those toxic fangs as she let loose a furious blast of fire: the Ariados lunged at the same instant. The flames obscured the view, so Jenna couldnt tell if the strike had gone home. Magmar and Ariados fell from the ceiling to strike the ground at the same time. Jenna darted forward as Scoria crawled away from the smouldering bug. Jenna didnt have time to examine her pokemon: she returned the Magmar to her ball and hoped the damage wasnt too bad. She brought another ball out.

Go, Spindrift! she called, and her royal blue Horsea entered the fray. The Ariados had gone: its owner had cleared it from the field to make way for the sixth pokemon: the biggest Muk any of them had seen. Before Jenna could stop him, Runo charged forward and Head Butted the sludge ball. He rebounded as if hed hit a rubber ball, his ginger and white fur smothered in a dark, oily, foul smelling gloop. Jena quickly recalled him before he could lick his fur: Runo was going to be one sick pokemon for the next few days as it was.

Things were looking bad for the four friends: the Hariyama was down, and Jenna saw Brawley recall it, his face pale. Christians Hypno was staggering and looked exhausted. There was no sign of the Medicham anywhere. Only Ruapehu seemed fresh and eager to fight.

Spindrift, use surf! she shouted. With a loud squeal of Hor-SEA!, Spindrift hit the Muk with a surge of white capped water. The poison pokemon caught the torrent square on: with a single wail, it teetered, and fell. Spindrift spun like a top on its tail, squeaking happily, and fired a volley of Water Pulses, taking out the five Sableye in the cavern, as well as Christians worn out Hypno. Brawley ducked a Pulse, and sent his final pokemon out; an Impressive Blaziken that had enough speed to dodge the erratic blasts of water. The spread of Water Pulses hit one of the Shadows, stunning him. He lay, senseless, next to the fainted Sableye. The other grunt, Jenna now saw, was struggling with the multiple vines of a successful Leech Seed attack.

There was only one Shadow left, now: Simeon, no longer laughing or sneering, but swearing, and bringing out Sableye after Sableye, as one by one, Spindrift, Ruapehu, and Brawleys Blaziken took them out. Finally, all the Sableye were down, fainted, paralysed, or sleeping. The four friends closed inexorably on Simeon, who glanced round wildly, looking for an escape route. There wasnt any, and Brawley dissuaded him from rushing the four with a single implacable shake of his head. Still sombre, Brawley continued to study the solitary Shadow, his face unreadable, waiting to see if the man would surrender.

This isnt the end of this, Gym scum! Simeon raved, coming forward with fists raised. Brawley stood his ground, Team Shadow will reach their goal despite your meddling, and once theyve got what they want, oh, youll pay. Youll pay for this in full! Simeon lunged forward, only to be thrown back by Blazikens Arm Thrust.

Ive heard enough of your talk. Brawley retorted, then looked at his companions Wholl do the honours and silence him? Ailsa, Jenna, what about you: Ladies first? he asked. Jenna and Ailsa looked at each other.

After you, Ailsa. Jenna said, giving way. Ailsa grinned.

I thought youd never ask, She said, mischievously, Ruapehu, use Leech Seed. Go! And the Bellossom complied, shrouding the Shadow with green tendrils, one of them neatly placed across the raging mans mouth.

Emerald Queen
July 9th, 2005, 2:53 PM
Chapter 13: The Vault

Brawley went up to the surface to fetch rope to tie the Shadows up, and returned with several police officers. Together, they got Simeon and his friends out: at one point, the police removed Simeons gag: after a few minutes worth of foul language, they restored it.

A police launch stood offshore to take the Shadows and the four friends back to Dewford, where they went through the tedious process of giving statements. Officer Jenny, heading the investigation, had laid the Shadows possessions out on the table, so that Brawley, Jenna and her two companions could reclaim their own.

Do the pokemon have to stay here as evidence? Brawley asked, looking at the balls that contained the Sableye, I mean, Id like to return the Sableye to their home. Jenny considered the matter for a moment.

I see no reason why they have to remain here. Take them, gym leader, and send them home.
Their next stop was the Pokemon centre, where all the casualties of the battle were treated. Scoria had been bitten: she was given a shot of Ariados anti venom, and allowed to recharge. Runo had to be bathed with a special soap. He liked that about as much as he liked the special potion Jenna made him drink. As he sat on the bench, scrunching his nose up, chittering in disgust, and pawing at his face, Jenna laughed at him.

Well, thats what you get for trying to Head Butt a Muk, she told him, It was very brave of you, Runo, but you need to think before you rush to the attack.

Speaking of attacks, what about your Horsea? Brawley eyed her shrewdly, He seemed a little wild back there. Jenna blushed and laughed sheepishly.

Spindrift gets overexcited, and when hes like that, I have a fight controlling him. I keep hoping hell grow out of it, but she shrugged and spread her hands. Brawley laughed.

Considering the situation, Im glad he got over excited. He can pack one heck of a punch with his Water Pulse!

They took the healed Sableye back to granite cave, going down to the second level before they released the pokemon and smashed the balls that had held them. Then they met up with Nita and Toby and went to the restaurant, where they brought the two youngsters up to speed on events.

Wish Id been there, Toby said, wistfully, All I got for todays fishing was a Tentacool and a Magikarp. Ailsa eyed her brother coolly.

Well, Im glad you werent there. She said, firmly, At least you were out of danger. And there isnt anything all that exciting about those ruins.

The next morning, they resumed their interrupted investigation, though Brawley said that he and Nita couldnt stay all day.

Ive been neglecting my duties as Gym Leader, thanks to Team Shadow, and I ought to get back to them. he told Jenna, as they all walked to the ruins, And Nitas due to complete her transfer papers today and move on to Mauville Gym. He glanced over at Christians sister, who was busy teasing Toby, her battling styles very much like her brothers. Every Gym I can think of would be proud to have her as one of their trainers. He scratched his nose, Dont tell her I said that, though. Shes cocky enough as it is.

Everything was more or less as theyd left it: sand piled up and board lifted. Some sand had spilled down the stairs so they spent a little while clearing it out, and then Brawley took them down into the Vault. He lead the way, and, as the party went, he marked each wall with chalk, so theyd find their way out, and back in, if necessary. Eventually, they reached the decorated chamber and Brawley shone the torch around so they could see the carvings better.

Oh, wow, Christian breathed, awe struck, this is really something! The chamber was about ten feet tall, and the upper half was decorated with almost perfect, brightly coloured frescoes, clearly telling some kind of story. Beneath the paintings were panel upon panel of carved glyphs, similar to the ones impressed or engraved on the tablets kept at Evergrande. Jenna took out her digital camera, and, with Brawley holding the torch, she took pictures of the frescoes. Then she paused to consider the glyphs beneath.

We cant photograph them, she said, I cant get a clear enough picture down here. Well have to take them with us. Brawley almost dropped the torch as he stared at her in horror. Jenna began rummaging around in her backpack.

How? Even if I were going to let you do that, which Im not, you wouldnt be able to get them to the surface. Not even the archaeologists were willing to try and remove them! Jenna grinned up at him.

Ever heard of brass rubbing? she asked, holding up some folded sheets of paper and a handful of wax crayons. Brawley visibly relaxed.

It was a long process, even when Jenna split the party into two. One person would hold the paper firmly against a section of the wall; the other would take the rubbing. Ruapehu provided enough light to for them to work by, and when a rubbing was finished, it was laid, face down on a pile of previous rubbings in the centre of the room. At the end, Jenna went carefully through the pile and numbered each sheet so theyd be able to keep them straight.

Well, what do you make of it? Christian asked, as she carefully rolled the rubbings and put them away.

Weve found our old friend Tomakai. Jenna replied, Or at least, a little more about him. Ill know more once I can get a good look at them. she straightened up and looked around once more, Thats it, lets go. she said.

They followed the chalk marks out, and very carefully, replaced the board and covered it with sand. When they finished, no one would have known anyone had been there. Jenna brushed the sand off her hands, satisfied. The party picked their way out of the ruins, and up the worn steps to the top of the cliff. As her friends disappeared into the brush before them, Jenna stopped, turned and gave the ruined city one last, long look, before she turned back and went after her friends.