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~Aldon Charlton, June 8th, Alph Ruins...~

Going further into the ruins, Aldon wondered if he would bump into anyone, but seeing how he solved one of the ruin puzzles it seemed unlikely he would stumble across anyone down here now. Though he didn't expect to meet anyone down here from the get go. Luckily he had Skol to keep him company. Step after step after step, he went further down the stairs leading deeper and deeper into the ruins. It was another good thing his flashlight worked, and that he had spare batteries just in case.

Eventually he reached the bottom of the stairwell. Some dust here and there. Nothing too bad. markings covered the walls, and rows of stairs wrapped around the room with stone benches here and there. This room were like a gathering place of sorts. At the far end of the room was a pedistool with an old tattered piece of cloth that looked faded and had various holes. Atop it sat a rather curious orb with a strange symbol in the center. Aldon wondered if anything would happen if he lifted the orb, if anything would happen. Aldon stood next to the stone, and reached into his bag, pulling out a small sack filled with sand. He slowly poured sand onto the floor until he believed the sack of sand to weigh roughly the same as the orb. He then carefully extended his hands out. One ready to snatch the orb, and the other ready to place the sand. He did so in a quick and relative awkward motion. Nothing happened.

Aldon had the orb in hand, and that was it. Just a feint screeching sound in the distance. Nothing too unusua- wait. Screeching sound? That's definitely not good. Aldon knew he probably shouldn't stick around. He began speed walking when he saw it. A bunch of eyes in the distance. Oh you best believe he started sprinting.

"Run Skol run!!! You too

The A unknown went down and the A unknown didn't look so good. The A and ! unknown both used hidden power which launched green orbs in all directions. Skol and Wunder taking damage.

"Skol, use water pulse!" Aldon said pointing at the A unknown.

"Use air cutter, Wunder!" Aldon said pointing at the ! unknown.

The weakened A unknown went down, and the ! unknown was pretty hurt. Aldon threw a pokéball at the weakened ! unknown. One tick. two ticks. Then the third tick. Ding!

Aldon walked towards the pokéball, and picked it up, "I'll name you shout, I guess" Aldon said moments before the putting the pokéball on his belt.

"I got one. Though we should probably leave before these two wake up. Hopefully the can open the door and get back to their buddies on the other side or whatever"Aldon said before leaving, and making his way out of the ruins. Not too much happened. Wunder went back in it's pokéball, and now Aldon and Skol we're headed towards the route ahead. Though first they may need a good night's sleep. Maybe grab something to eat in the next town first.
June 9, Wednesday - Azalea Town, Johto.
Reina, current rank, 51,541.

"Um, whatever you're having." Reina replied sitting up and feeling relieved she didn't wake up her traveling buddy. "I'm gonna take a shower and then we can go wherever you think it's best."

While Penny went to get a quick breakfast, Reina took a shower, getting her traveling outfit, doing her bed and making sure everything was packed and ready to go. After a small meeting with her team, it was decided her Lombre, Chente, would be the one to accompany them into Ilex Forest and around Azalea Town. She took a sit on the floor next to the bed with Chente looking at her phone while she went online to check other information regarding the town.

"Hey check it out, there's a gym here! The walking bug Pokemon encyclopedia?" Reina looked up at the Lombre giving her a blank look. "You're right, you're right. IF we are to get stronger, THEN we have to try taking on gym leaders." She began to register her information in the Johto League and then request a gym battle that same day, during the evening. Her plan was to practice or get information on bugs in the Ilex Forest before facing the gym leader. Once Penny entered the room again, Reina held up her phone, showing the registration page. "I got a gym battle! I figured you must get tired babysitting me all day, so if you want to do something else after Ilex Forest, I can go to the gym on my own. Unless you want to go watch, which would be great because I would get nervous doing it alone, but that's only if you want to."

Wednesday, June 8 – Mt. Coronet Sinnoh Region

To Pichu’s fortune, her attack landed squarely; to her misfortune, the first of her blows triggered Magmortar’s ability—flame body. It was truly a fateful misplay as even the boost electric terrain wouldn’t make up for the reduction to her damage caused by the burn. As Volt Tackle slammed into Magmortar’s body, Flint made a call! “Lean into it! Then Lava Plume!”

Magmortar would allow Pichu’s volt tackle to curl its body a near fetal position and would play off it excellently by using its much larger body to pin down or simply corral Pichu to prevent an easy escape.

Suffering from a burn, recoil, her unwieldy surfboard, no more water, still at point-blank, corralled by a body 10 times larger than she was and, well—the point was made; an escape, if one was even possible, would prove quite difficult and would be made even more difficult by the choice of a wide-spread move in Lava Plume.

The flames on its body blazed, even hotter beneath the sunlight. Magmortar ignited like a flashpoint engulfing the entire area around itself with smoke and billowing flames.

Acacia grimaced in pain as he watched the inferno engulf his tiny Pichu. It was a miscalculation on his part, he knew the risk of flame body but in his gambit to end things quickly had forgotten to consider the attack drop a burn could cause, lowering the payoff of the following volt tackle.

“Sorry girl, that’s on me. But don’t worry, we’ll get him back soon.” He spoke into the cherish ball as he returned the electric mouse, quickly exchanging it for a premier ball with an inverse color scheme.

It’s just you and me buddy, no more dumb mistakes.

“Come on out Windie, Extreme Speed!” For a brief moment after the flash of the pokeball one could make out the lustrous orange fur of the legendary Pokémon, but the Arcanine disappeared in a flash of its own, only reappearing again directly behind Magmortar.

“Now, Scorching Sands!”

With a quick swipe of a blazing paw that melted the snow below, Windie launched a wave of burning sand at the back of the blast Pokémon.
Penny Lepiter; Trainer Ranking — Unranked
June 9th. Azalea Town.
"I don't think I'm going to the Ilex Forest with you," Penny said bluntly, dropping Reina's coffee and bagel off by her bed before moving over to her own to reach for the textbook on her nightstand. Coffee and bagel precariously in her grip, she opened the book to its section on the Slowpoke Well, and she used a single, pointer finger to gesture toward the small (but detailed) photograph in her book. "I've been there before and it's not really my style. "I've been there before and it's...not exactly my style. I think I'm gonna check out this Slowpoke Well instead. I'll head over to the Gym when I'm done and look for you there! I'm not much of a battler myself but it'd be cool to cheer you on, at least.

Cobel Timpinia; Trainer Ranking
June 8th. RKT Johto Distribution Warehouse.
"-we've got security on the premises 24/7, you see, since we've got trucks loading in and loading out from as early as 2am to as late as midnight, hell even 1am," Foreman Poole explained to Cobel as they walked the cold, concrete floor of the warehouse in a slow, tour-like manner. Though suspicious of the suddenly-appearing investigator, Poole didn't seem to care enough to hide what seemed to be truthful thoughts and insights; a classic middle-management type — just innocent enough to not give any good leads, but just knowledgeable enough to work with in spite of that. "It seems like every month we gotta be hirin' new people because management don't wanna pay OT for the staff they got. And there's always more bulk. RKT numbers, well, they're skyrocketing, ya know what I mean?"

"Precisely." Cobel replied; he didn't, really, but anyone with eyes on the market could tell RKT was selling almost more than they could produce — and they could produce a hell of a lot, crap or not.

"So we gots the intake over here, by the docks," Poole pointed to a quintet of open bay doors, each with a truck backed up to a fold-out ramp, though each with a varying degree of merchandise inside. A larger bay door hung open to let in fresh air, with several workers outside taking a quick smoke break while colleagues handled the current trucks. "If you're gonna find anything, likely gonna be here. Outtake, well, we'd-a found somethin' suspicious and reported it before we let any trucks leave the premises. That's just us tryna do a good job. Not to mention the stake security would drive up our asses if we did let any dodgy shit outta here."

"Your intake, it's all from the Olivine dockyards?" Cobel asked. "And the RKT cargo ships that unload there, all come from a factory in Kalos?"

"Majority of it," Poole shrugged. "Round maybe 75 percent? RKT got some independent manufacturers and distributors in Kanto, Hoenn, Sinnoh, wherever. But Kalos is the main factory, yeah. And their shipments come through Olivine."

Pausing to take a good look around him, Cobel noted the stacks of pallets all saran-wrapped with wooden or cardboard boxes of every form of RKT product: PokeBall variants, Potion variants, Repels, Status Items — even specific computer hardware not easily found fresh on the market. RKT took health and safety codes to utmost extremes, everything looking or smelling as though it'd been cleansed twice-over with chemicals. Other than that, it was all the guards Cobel saw; for every safety-vest-wearing dockworker donning a yellow hardhat, he saw the red polo-wearing, black hardhat-sporting security that Poole mentioned RKT took pride in.

"Lotta security," He pointed out. "Problems with the like before?"

"Precautionary," Poole shrugged. "RKT is a multi-billion dollar company. If you ask me, security is lacking."

"Oh?" Cobel responded simply, raising an eyebrow and letting the foreman continue.

"Well we've had guys steal here and there, but that's just classic worker shit, ya know," The foreman laughed, awkwardly, trying to brush that off with a worried shrug. "But sometimes we fire guys and they try and break in. One guy got in, tried to get his Koffing to use Self-Destruct — did a shit tonna damage, but didn't do nothin', 'cept get that poor sucker killed."

Though the two had been casually walking along the aisles of the warehouse, Poole's casual mention of an ex-employee death caused him to stop in his tracks.

"I've lived in Ecruteak almost the last decade," Cobel said simply. "I don't remember hearing about that on the news."

"Oh yeah?" Poole asked, laughing awkwardly again. "I...I coulda sworn that one made the news. You know, the-the thing and all."

"That one?" Cobel asked. "I know you said employees break in but was there another deadly attempt?"

A whistle sounded from a third-story catwalk, piercing through every side of the large, open warehouse; both Cobel and Poole, caught off guard, winced and covered their ears before looking up toward the whistler. An older man - bald, hunching, with wisps of facial hair, but otherwise a sharp three-piece suit - motioned toward Poole that said, 'Here. Now.' The Foreman looked to the detective with pleading eyes, as if Cobel could atone for his sins. Cobel shrugged, and let Avram Poole skulk away like a dog about to be punished.

The detective looked up to the well-dressed elder, as if waiting for indication as to whether he should scram or not. But once Poole was out of Cobel's sight, the old man spun on his heel, opening a door and stepping into what looked to be an office. Was that an implicit approval to keep on snooping? He'd like to take it as such; during his initial look-over, Cobel hadn't seen any obvious cameras, but the old man had to have some set-up — likely with audio as well. No way it was just the security guards eavesdropping as they patrolled.

'Well that conversation turned out far more interesting than I expected,'
He admitted to himself with a happy grin. 'Now, I want to take a look inside one of these trucks...'
Volcarona took lead on looking around, as Emma stayed back with Desmond.

"Look, Caterpie, Weedle," Emma called out, pointing to the trees, "Pidgey, Pikachu, Minun and Plusle!"

To be honest, she had only seen Plusle and Minun in any amount, and that was when she Journeyed through Hoenn. The two, particularly Minun, were annoying to face, and even though Larvesta fought his best, Minun still won, but Duskull dealt with the Electric Type.

"So, what brings you here to the national Park," Emma asked, "I came here to see the park, I've known about it since I was a kid, my parents got married in Goldenrod City, if you are wondering, i am not from around here."

Emma felt this guy could be trusted, unlike the last one she encountered. She's also wanting to learn about the Region, she doesn't know too much except around Goldenrod City. She came here because she was looking for a Region that wasn't too far from home, yet was far enough away to not go back whenever she wanted, also her sister Laura was seen in the Region. She's seen Violet City, and The National Park so far, but she's never had a companion for even a short time.
June 9, Wednesday - Azalea Town, Johto.
Reina, current rank, 51,541.

"Oh right, makes sense." Reina tried her best to avoid showing any sign of disappointed as she nodded and took her bagel. "I heard Slowpokes are great, I've seen some, never encountered much of them though, there's plenty of them outside actually." She kept her eyes on her phone while she reached with her left hand and grabbed Chente's arm, who was trying to dip his claw into the coffee. "Maybe you can find a special Slowpoke or something." She took a bite of her bagel and tossed a piece to the Lumbre, the piece of bagel bouncing of his face and on to the floor, that didn't stop Chente from eating it though. "So you got like a boyfriend or something?" Reina said suddenly, looking up from her phone while reaching for her coffee. "Sorry for the sudden question, just curious."
National Park, Johto

Politoed had kept close to Desmond as the pair walked along the national part. Each time Emma mentioned a new Pokemon with visible excitement, Desmond had felt that shiver as a new and to him unsettling creature had come into view.

"D-does have quite the uh, v-variety..." Desmond said, which had been a compliment even if his tone had not fully shown it.

Still, he had appreciated Emma's keen eye as it allowed him to set up some shots. He worked to snap pics of the Weedle, Pidgey, Pikachu and the Plusle & Minun. The Pokemon here had been quite the collection and that had only served Desmond well as he managed to get steady hands long enough to get good shots as several photographs had rolled off his camera and he scanned his set with a slight touch of pride within that look in his eye.

"Oh uh, this is a stop gap for me. I came to Johto cause I wanted to visit the Ruins of Alph, but this place was along the way and I heard it had a wide collection of Pokemon..." Desmond explained as he took a need and placed his new photos in his book as he had began to label them. "...I am a photographer, I want to visit the sights and take pictures of as many Pokemon as I could for my collection. A personal project if you will..." Desmond explained, though as he had said that he paused and took a moment to clutch the silver locket in his neck before he closed his book and set it back in the bag.

"Politoed~!" Politoed cried happily as it clapped, as if it agreed with Desmond's comment. Both seemed to be a bit more comfortable, well least in Desmond's case as Politoed liked her from the start, around Emma and far as travel buddies she had been pretty chill.
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June 8th, National Park, Johto, Trainer: Emma Argentston, Rank: 48,679

Emma looked around, spotting Volcarona flying around some of the bug Pokémon, even spotting a Larvesta.

"A Larvesta, that's odd," Emma responded, still in her excitement of finding Pokémon she doesn't see often, "They're found in Unova, and even then, they are rare, I've seen exactly six Larvesta, and other than my own Volcarona, exactly three, none were like mine, but all the normal variety. One is so strong, unless you're Bertha, you don't want to mess with it, the other two were still tough to battle."

The Sun Pokémon looked at the Larvesta, as it looked back at Volcarona with a confused look. The small Bug and Fire Type Pokémon then calmed down.

"It seems like it doesn't remember how it got here, I would advise keeping Politoed back, I've got Togekiss's pokeball ready if things go bad." Emma told Desmond.


Motostoke City, Galar, June 8th, Trainer: Firey Argentston, Rank: 20

Firey Argentston had taken a couple hours to rest before he went out to see what was around the area. He walked through Motostoke, with his Absol at his side and Drapion's Pokeball in his hand just in case more reporters and such would ambush, he figured he'd get target practice on Drapion's Fell Stinger, as he found a good spot.

"Alright, Drapion," Firey called out, "Use Fell Stinger on that Tree!"

The Ogre Scorpion Pokémon fired a stinger at the tree, it left a hole about one third of the width of Drapion's claws. The Poison and Dark Type looked back at his trainer.

"Nice work on Accuracy, let's make sure you hit the same tree, keep the move up!"
National Park, Johto

As Desmond and Politoed followed Emma and her Volcarona before the group came into what seemed to be a Larvesta. Nautrally Desmond and Politoed had opposite reactions: as while the Politoed seemed excited and even bounced a bit at the typically Unova-native Pokemon, Desmond felt the impulse to jump back as his heart raced at the sight of it.

"Well, knowing my luck this is probably the one Larvesta in Johto.." Desmond said as he figured that'd be the kinda luck he had, but once the initial shock passed he took out his camera as he position himself to take a shot...once he had placed his Politoed in position to "protect" himself as Emma advised they kept away.

"B-believe me, I have no intention letting Politoed get close..."Desmond assured, and Politoed almost seemed to be disappointed by that as a frown came on its face. "Politoed?"

"Hey I came here for photos, not a fight. So just keep back."
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Volcarona continued negotiating with the Larvesta. The small Bug and Fire Type figured it would be best not to bother the Volcarona as it figured his power to be too much. Volcarona gave the Larvesta a small nod of understanding, as it walked off back towards its nest.

"That was odd, there are more Pokémon to see around here," Emma looked at Desmond.

The Fire and Bug Type kept overhead as Emma led the group. She spotted several other Pokémon, like Burmy, Wormadam and Mothim, Surskit, and Masquerain.

"I've seen Surskit and Masquerain before, they're from my home region." Emma explained, "The others I've never seen, since they weren't in Galar as well."

Emma looked around to see more Pokémon, mostly water types that looked sad.
Desmond had been as unsure of what that little conversation had been about, but he just had been thankful that the Larvesta. And with a nod, he had again followed Emma's lead once he placed his new photo inside as he and his Politoed followed suit.

"Yeah, I imagine there are a lot..." Desmond said, though he had not sounded as excited on that as one'd expect.

As they passed by, Desmond swallowed one shiver after another as he none the less snapped pics of the new Pokemon as they passed. From the Burmy to the Masquerain to the Mothim to a Surskit & then a Wormadam.

Course, he needed a second pic of the Wormadam. As his Politoed had jumped to pose in the frame with it, which caused Desmond to scowl as Politoed rubbed his head sheepishly.

"I-I see...anything on your travels teach you how to deal with a camera-happy Politoed?" Desmond asked with sarcasm as the Politoed rubbed nervously while it walked besides its partner.

Politoed seemed to notice the sad Pokemon, which Desmond had not looked too long to note, and wondered why.
Penny Lepiter; Trainer Ranking — Unranked
June 9th. Azalea Town.
Amused by the concept of a special Slowpoke, wondering if any kind of Slowpoke was special at all to begin with, Penny set about slowly getting herself ready for the day; a perpetual night-time shower-taker, she combed and brushed her hair wondering if she should take an early one just for the sake of cleanliness. Eventually she decided the Well would just get her all covered with muck and dust anyway, so she could take one before heading over to the Gym to meet with Reina.
Her routine carried her from the bathroom back beside her bed with a thoughtless pacing maneuver, a toothbrush poking out the corner of her mouth even as she carried her to-go cup coffee in one hand and dug through her bag for this or that. Reina's question surprised Penny enough for her to audibly gasp, only to choke in bits of toothpaste and the brush itself; standing frantically, she rushed over to the bathroom sink to rinse her mouth with cold water and gather herself.

"I see people here and there," Penny called back casually, as if she'd reacted to the question normally in the first place. "Only boyfriend I had was back in Unova. We...haven't spoken for a while, though."

Penny wanted to shoot back some sort of quip, but it got caught in her throat. It'd been a while since she'd thought about Cade at all — and for good reason.

Cobel Timpinia; Trainer Ranking Unranked.
June 8th. RKT Johto Distribution Warehouse.
The whole warehouse was about as clean as a fresh-dug grave. Nothing Cobel's sharp eyes could discern stood out of place as potentially illicit or incriminating. Of course, that was always the most suspicious thing — warehouses weren't meant to be squeaky clean down to the last drop of dirt, with duly dedicated workers. Aside from the infrequent smoke break the docking receivers stepped out for, Cobel hardly even saw a wandering eye or a bored yawn, let alone slacking off or committing an egregious error. He couldn't smell smoke, but he could taste the ash of burnt evidence.

Any attempt to speak to the workers was as listless as he'd expected: they gave their names, how long they worked at RKT, job descriptions, etc. Some of the longer-tenured employees complained that they hadn't gotten a raise or Christmas bonus in two years. Younger, newer employees complained about inflexible hours and harsh tardiness policies. Helpful as Foreman Poole had been, his slip of the tongue had left Cobel without a ladder to climb up; instead he clung to a fraying rope, slipping further down an answerless chasm. A lead was a lead, but his gut told him that lead was directly into a concrete wall.

Looking up toward the office Poole had been recalled to, Cobel cupped his bearded chin in his hand and sighed, wondering which direction to follow the thin thread laid out before him. Olivine seemed the safe bet; as clean as RKT could keep their warehouses and even docks, the closer he could bring himself to the source, the harder the mess became to mop. However...

Knock, knock, knock! Having made sure to pass by the large, office windows overlooking the warehouse floor as he crossed over to the door and delivered a thunderous knock, Cobel ignored all attempts of the well-dressed manager to intimidate through eye contact. All he could see, however, was that the man was alone — Avram Poole had been taken away, and quietly.

"Come in." The man's voice slipped under the door with a frustrated tone attached like a kidnapper's ransom note.

Turning the handle and pushing the door open, Cobel stepped just a short foot past the doorway, hands coolly in the pockets of his coat as he did so.

"Ah, detective," The warehouse manager's voice was pleasant, but his face twitched into an annoyed snarl for the briefest of moments. "Mr. Timpinia is it? Working...with the State of Johto, so we're led to believe? Then please, take a seat, sir. I'd love to help however I can."

"I shouldn't get to comfortable," Cobel hand waved away the offer to sit. "Mr-?"

"Yadier Alimar," He replied, smiling like one would expect from an introduction. "Please, please, sit. No one follows a schedule better than I. If you've a place to be, I won't hold you up. I would like us to meet...on the same level, yes? And I must sit! A working man can never escape his fate, whether it be to work on foot or ass. At least, that's what my father taught me."

"Is Mr. Poole okay?" Cobel asked, cutting their early pleasantries short. To punctuate, he relented, sitting in the uncomfortable, metal chair sat directly in front of Yadier Alimar's fancy, wooden desk and cushioned, computer chair.

"He was feeling unwell," The warehouse manager's face twisted into a grieving frown. "We sent him home to rest and make an appointment with a professional. Full day's pay, of course. For today, and whenever he gets the help he needs."

"I wasn't aware he needed help." Cobel crossed one leg over the other, folding his hands into his lap.

"I'm aware he told you of the...incident here at our warehouse," Yadier's frown turned to one of pure, sinking despair. "We've had a dozen HR meetings and we've paid for hours of therapy and other forms of mental wellness. Some of our employees are doing great. Avram...Avram was close to the...person."

"How long ago was this incident?"

"Almost a year and a half ago now," Alimar shook his head. "Amazing, in a way."

"Why did the police never report on it?"

"I ask myself that quite often, you know," Yadier sighed, looking out his office window down to the warehouse. "We all thought it was an isolated incident. The...perpetrator...his work had dipped for quite some time, you see. He was an employee of mine almost five years, but he was dealing with marriage issues, kid issues, alcohol issues, the works. We helped as much we could, but it affected his work. And we let him go. The police said they suspected...further radicalization. They considered it, well, a true-blue terrorist threat. So they decided to keep the details confidential."

"What about the news? Didn't they try to report on it?"

"They did," Alimar sighed again, shaking his head. Like he felt some real sort of guilt about the whole thing. "We reported it as an equipment malfunction-"

"An equipment malfunction that claimed the life of an employee," Cobel nodded, finally remembering the official report as it had come out at the time. "RKT claimed liability and offered full-pension payments to the family of the deceased if I remember correctly."

"That was at my insisting," Yadier pointed out, as if he were proud of something amidst the whole, dirty affair. "He was only fired for a day or two at that point. It was simple enough to just...make that disappear. It made it easier for his wife and kids at least."

"Ecruteak Police were all okay with this?" He asked to follow up, all the pieces not quite fitting together to form a pretty puzzle just yet.

"What the police are okay with and what they're willing to tolerate aren't always the same," Yadier Alimar pointed out, his gaze returning to Cobel with a devious, furrowed brow and grin. "Isn't that true, detective?"

"You get the positive PR of looking like you didn't just have an ex-employee suicide bomb your warehouse, and the police get the added advantage of their investigation being kept under wraps," The pieces fit together, but he needed glue to get them to stick. Things felt...odd. "Avram told me it wasn't exactly isolated, however. He said you've had problems with ex-employees before?"

"Vandalism, thievery, even attempted assaults — these aren't the same thing as trying to blow up my warehouse, detective." Alimar said through grit, frustrated teeth.

"True enough," Cobel nodded. "But this wasn't out of nowhere. Just because this person escalated the situation doesn't mean it's not connected to those who came before."

"I'd have said the same thing a year ago, detective, but if the police want to call it terrorism I'm not going to argue with it — even if they drag their damn feet with the investigation." Alimar waved both of his hands, as if Cobel's prodding were getting under his skin.

Standing from his seat, Cobel took hold of his trench coat's collar and tugged on it, as if the action set his affairs in order.

"Last thing: I presume RKT had every employee sign an NDA?" He asked.

"Of course," Yadier confirmed with a nod. "I know you're concerned for Mr. Poole. Don't worry — he's been an employee here for almost a decade. We know he needs help, and he'll get it. Nothing he said here today will be held against him."

With a skeptical scoff, Cobel turned face and left the office, the swath of information buzzing about his head like flies around a roadside carcass.

Montagne Khastil - Unranked - June 8th, 5:50 AM - Lumiose City, Kalos

The trek from the brothel's concealed entrance at the southwestern end of Hibernal Avenue to Prism Tower was geographically short, but it felt like an eternity as Montagne hastily stomped his way through the crowds of people swarming the cobbled streets in the early morning light.

The young man checked his watch, with its simple silver analog face and black leather strap, and upon realizing it was already 5:50AM he quickened his pace. Monty practically bowled people over in his haste as he barked commands to, "Get out of the way," at the ever-growing throngs of Lumiosians.

Street vendors bustled around their stands as they set up umbrellas and filled ice chests in anticipation for the summer sun and its modest heat, salarymen and part-timers alike hustled to reach their places of business before their shifts started, and Monty pushed through them all as he hustled to make his meeting with his, no, the Boss.

If asked who among Lumiose City's population held the honor of being feared by him, Montagne would answer with, "Not a damn soul." In reality, however, there was at least one man who held that honor; the man whom Monty was about to be late to his meeting with.

Monty crossed the Prism Tower courtyard, hardly taking a moment to admire the glimmering testament to mankind's engineering and artistic prowess that the monument represented, and entered through the automatic glass doors.

Ugh. Trainers, he thought as he entered the pristine lobby and glimpsed its occupants. There were already a few people milling about the lobby as they waited for the gym to open, all either accompanied by a Pokémon or laden with typical trainer accoutrement.

The backpacks, Rotom Tech, and ubiquitous fingerless gloves were dead giveaways, but more telling was the look in their eyes. "I'm untouchable," they gloated at Monty, "My Pokémon can back me up." The criminal despised the way trainers could go anywhere they had no business going, do anything they had no business doing, and beat opponents they had no business beating through no strength of their own, but through the strength of their Pokémon.

They're all weak, Monty reflected as he entered an elevator and pressed the button labeled TOP to reach the open air overlook
where he was meant to meet the Boss. I never needed a Pokémon. I was always able to get the job done without one.

The elevator lurched upward as it began its climb, and after a minute Monty stepped out onto Prism Tower's top platform overlooking the city. The young man scanned the balcony until he spotted the Boss, a tall, lanky man with thick salt and pepper hair and a beard to match, a dark purple suit, and an air of authority that demanded the attention and respect that the head of the Old Guard deserved. The Boss leaned on the balcony with his back to his subordinate, facing the slowly rising sun as it crested over the Lumiose skyline.

"Mr. Cormier!" Monty called out as he approached, removing his flat cap and clutching it in his scarred right hand as a sign of respect.

The Boss turned to face him, and Monty was struck by the image of this man whom represented the pinnacle of power being framed by the burning sun. Cormier waved the young man over before turning back to overlook the city, and when Monty appeared at the taller man's side Cormier clapped him on the shoulder in a familiarly jovial way without taking his eyes off the skyline.

"Look at it Montagne," Cormier began through his thick Kalosian accent. "Is our city not magnifique?"

"It is, sir," Monty replied. The Boss' eyes gleamed as he admired the view, but Monty couldn't help not seeing it the same way. Lumiose City was home, sure, but to Monty it was no more than that; a city and home.

"You don't have to tell me white lies," Cormier said jovially, chuckling as he stood up and faced Monty. "If you were around for the glory days, you'd know exactly what I mean."

More talk about the glory days? Monty scrutinized. He had grown up hearing about how back in the day, many years before even his mother was born, the Old Guard controlled the whole of Lumiose City from the lowest thieves to the most self-righteous police officers. "Those glory days were a long time ago," Monty reminded Cormier, and the latter laughed and clapped the young man's shoulder again.

"You're quite right, my boy." Cormier's smile settled into a more serious expression as he continued, "But we aren't here to reminisce. No, we're here to discuss the future." He extended a long arm and poked Monty in the forehead, adding, "Your future specifically."

"My future, sir?" Monty echoed. "I thought I'd go back to my job."

"Your job has changed," Cormier notified matter-of-factly. "Your arrest saw fit to that."

Monty was instantly irate as he began to say, "I was only caught becau-"

"Because the police cheated?" Cormier interrupted. "Because they used their Pokémon?" The Boss straightened up, towering over Monty by nearly half a foot and using his size to command attention, and continued his lecture. "You were caught, Montagne, because you're just like the fools who let our organization crumble all those years ago." Cormier looked out over the skyline again, taking a deep breath and letting out a heavy sigh.

Monty's blood began to pulse as Cormier grew sterner, but he stayed in place and kept his mouth shut as the Boss resumed with, "Fool is the wrong word for it. Stubborn is more like it. Unwilling to change. To adapt. To rely on more than the strength of your fists." Cormier softened for a moment as he locked his calculating chocolate eyes with Monty's steely-greys. "I've given you difficult tasks, sure. But I've never thrown you to the 'Yena. It's a failing on my part as your leader."

What's he talking about? Monty thought, dumbfounded. Never thrown me to the Mightyena? He had me fighting men twice my size for protection money when I was fifteen. "Sir, with all due respect I-" Monty started before being interrupted again.

"Just listen, Montagne." Cormier said with the same tone as a father lecturing his child. "And you can drop the sir. We're well past that, my boy." Cormier paused for a moment, as if in deep contemplation, before quietly sighing, "You really are like that mother of yours. So stubborn." My mother? Monty's brow furrowed at the mention, though he held his tongue.

"Regardless," the Boss continued, "It's about time you learn to put that stubbornness to use. It's time you adapt." Cormier reached into his suit coat pocket and pulled out an black sphere with gold and red spirals running across the circumference. "In other words, I'm throwing you to the 'Yena." He tossed the ball to Monty, and the younger man caught it in a single hand and inspected it, realizing it was some sort of Poké Ball.

Is this a joke? Monty thought skeptically, eyeing Cormier with raised eyebrows. "You're giving me a Pokémon?"

Cormier smiled and shook his head, replying, "Now where would be the fun in that? The ball is empty-" Upon closer inspection it expanded and opened only for nothing to appear. "-but you'll fill it soon enough. Tonight in fact."

"What's happening tonight?" Monty asked, still skeptical. Over the years he had grown used to Cormier putting together outlandish plans, but this was already starting to cream the Alcremie.

Cormier's eyes gleamed as he informed Monty, "Tonight we're getting a new shipment of Pokémon into our dock in Coumarine."

The young man's ears perked up at the prospect of a job between the four months of sitting around his cell doing nothing and the week of sitting around his room doing nothing. "It'll be a small crew, you and four other beaux voyous. You'll drive up to Coumarine, unload the cargo, and bring it back to our warehouse off Estival Avenue. You'll have first pick of the spoils before we offload them."

Cormier grinned after expositing his plan, and added, "Oh, and you'll be in charge of the operation. You didn't go soft after four months in the slammer, right?"

Monty rolled his eyes and shook his head no, replying, "Only as soft as you'll be after I'm running things."

Cormier chuckled again and his eyes sparkled with something more sinister than before. "That's my boy. Now get going. This is only the start of your journey, Montagne." The Boss turned away from Monty again, returning to his admiration of the Lumiose City skyline as his subordinate stalked back towards the elevator with more than just the light load of the Luxury Ball weighing him down.

My journey? The young man thought as he rode back down to the trainer-ridden lobby. He really has finally lost it.
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"Politoed, no, but I've met an attention seeking Masquerain." Emma responded, "The Masquerain ended up ticking off my Drampa, and that didn't end well, as Drampa can go berserk, literally, as in that is his ability."

Emma held Drampa's pokeball at that time, but kept her calm. She then saw the water types, like Azumarill. The Azumarill looked angry, but saddened at the same time. The water and fairy type fired off a Hydro Pump.

"Desmond, stay back, I've got this handled, but have Politoed ready if it doesn't work out," Emma responded, "Drampa, Let's do this!"

The Normal and Dragon type appeared in front of Emma.

"Volcarona, Return!" Emma pulled out a Net Ball, which was a gift for the road before Volcarona joined the team, and returned Volcarona, "Drampa, Hyper Voice to calm it down!"

The Placid Pokémon gave the loudest calming yell as he could. The Azumarill stopped firing Hydro Pumps as Drampa approached. It looked a bit apprehensive, but it realized that Drampa was not a threat. The Azumarill pointed to the Fountain, then started crying in sadness. Some other water types followed, approaching Politoed to hopefully explain what happened. Water types such as Krabby, Azumarill, Marill, Psyduck, Golduck, Starmie, Staryu, Seel, and even a Dewgong all were pointing at the Fountain.

Shen: King of Digimon

Previously Shen: King of the Mist
"Mhm! Now that all that's done, we better be thinking if our next evil scheme before we hit Goldenrod- huh...?"

Charade was about to leave when his avenue of escape was covered by some rather angered water types pointing in his direction. He gave a sheepish smile as he stepped back in the opposite direction.

"Oooookay they took that a bit personally. How about we tiptoe over- AGH! Not Bug Girl and random civilian!"

This avenue was cut off by them, weather it be intentional or accident. Wait, he was a villain, of course this was intentional! These two must be heroes that are trying to thwart his plan! Awww sweet, my first good guy encounter! Better make it stick!

"Ahem...AHEM! Well now, that just sucks! ...For you! Looks like you just got caught up in..." He snickered. "...A Crimson Crew Scheme!"

He and Croagunk put a hand on their respective hips as the pointed with their other hand. This was their now signature Crimson Crew pose! Flipping his cape back to flow in the wind, it instead got wrapped around his neck and draped awkwardly in front of him. Though he was going to dig it like he meant to do that.

"Ah...yes! Now, if you don't mind stepping aside, we might not thrash you today!"
June 9, Wednesday - Azalea Town, Johto.
Reina, current rank, 51,541.

"Really?" Reina munched on her bagel and took a sip from her coffee before continuing her conversation. "That's sad. I imagined it must feel awful when you end your relationship in terms when you don't even talk to each other anymore. I say I imagine because I'm still not allowed to have relationships, my dad says "Mija, primero que sepan limpiarse la cola y luego piensan en esas cosas." Which I don't think it's literal, but I guess he means I should mature first." She tossed the last remaining part of her bagel to her Lombre while getting up and putting her backpack on. "Thanks for the food by the way. I'll be heading out, catch you later?" She shot Penny a smile, hoping the girl caught her pun as she waved and left the room with Chente running quickly behind.

June 9, Wednesday - Ilex Forest, Johto.
Reina, current rank, 51,541.

"Welp, here we are." Reina looked around at the quiet, green and never ending forest in front of her. "There's supposed to be a shrine to the guardian of the forest, which I wanna take a picture of and also a lake somewhere. What do you say Chente? Wanna take a swim? Maybe we can find some Pokemon unique to the region here." She looked down at the empty minded Lombre and nodded. "Okay, you seem excited as usual."

The two began walking through the woods, staying in the path marked by generations of other people going the same way, not wanting to get lost and was possibly the best way towards the shrine. The trip wasn't just walking though, they had a short encounter with a Metapod, a pack of Weedle and a Psyduck that Reina failed to catch, since she had forgotten to buy any Pokeballs. Lombre was having fun though, it was hard to tell since he hardly showed expressions, but Reina could feel how eager and excited he was to join battles. The fun continued though as the famous shrine came into view.

"Wow..." Reina let out a small whistle as she approached the monument made for the guardian of the forest, filled with letters, notes and all kinds of crafts around it, mostly wishes from the people who visited the place. "This is nice, we should make a wish, huh Chente? How about... a trip filled with lots of amazing memories!" Reina knelt down as she ripped some paper from the back of her guidebook and wrote down the wish. "Aaaand a water stone for Chente." She place the paper under a rock, near other offerings that had been left at the shrine.

"Pretty nice huh?"

Reina turned around, there was a buy with greenish hair, wearing a red track suit. He was standing a few feet from Reina, brushing his hair back with his hand as he smiled towards the foreign girl.

"Yeah, I can't believe how old it is, according to the guide-" Reina stopped as she noticed a Rotom drone floating around the two.

"Sorry, didn't mean to interrupt, just saw on my phone that you're in the coronation series and figured I would challenge you, feel kinda bad though after I saw you writing your wish." The trainer held up his phone to show he had issues his challenge and was pending to be accepted.

"Oh! Of course!" Reina stood up and quickly accepted the challenge on her phone. "Oh my name is Reina by the way, I guess you're Nick?"

"That's me, two on two is fine with you?" The trainer walked away, making space for them to battle. "Seems you're a beginner so I wouldn't want to have you lose all your Pokemon and get stranded here."

Reina's jolly attitude went away, her eyes glaring her opponent down as she moved away from the shrine and took her spot on the made up battle field. "Yeah, two on two is just fine. You shouldn't be so confident against your opponent though." She reached towards her backpack and grabbed King's Greatball.

"I just beat my second gym yesterday and according to the ranking, I'm three thousand points above you, I honestly don't see why I shouldn't be confident." Nick reached down towards the side of his pants, where three Pokeballs were attached, and grabbed the top one. "Ready."

"Te voy a partir la madre." Reina said in a low voice before calling out, "ready!"

"Coronation series battle between Nick, rank 48,356 and Reina, rank 51,541 is now underway, begin!"

"Vullaby go!" Nick tossed the Pokeball with little effort while the sphere opened up in mid air and revealed the first Pokemon, a Vullaby.

"King, go!" Reina, unlike her opponent, basically smashed the Greatball on the ground, busting it open and letting out her Tauros. The Pokemon roared loudly as he stomped the ground several times with his two front legs, moving his long horns widly in the air.

"Oh shit." Nick's face went pale as he watch the enemy Tauros getting ready to attack.

Montagne Khastil - Unranked - June 8th, Evening Time - Estival Ave., Lumiose City, Kalos

For the first time since his incarceration, moonlight flooded through the barred window of a young Kalosian man's cramped cell as he made his best attempt at sleep. The gentle light reflected off of his pale skin with a radiance betraying his relative youth, illuminating his tall and bulky frame even through the blankets with which he endeavored to bundle up, and revealed the even rise and fall of his chest as he breathed in the cool air.

The gentleness of the light was a gift compared to the harsh fluorescents that dominated every dank grey inch of the prisoner's new home, and if he were awake it would have brought him great comfort to bask in its glow. Alas he had long since drifted into fitful sleep, and the moon was shrouded by Kalos' thick winter clouds once again as the cell was plunged back into an oppressive darkness; an omen of what was to come.

The cell was cold, as usual, and the paper thin blankets provided to prisoners did little to help warm the world-weary young man as he lay on the hard mattress. His slumber was uneasy, as though his body refused to comply with his mind's signal to relax, and he tossed and turned at regular intervals in search of a comfort he wouldn't find for another four months.

A sense of dread wormed its way into the man's dreams as his subconscious screamed out a plea to rise, to fight, to do anything but lie in utter ignorance of the danger mere moments away from arrival, yet his uneasy slumber continued as the shadows on the opposite wall began to twist and writhe.

Suddenly, the faint wooshing of wings began emanating from the window. The sound seemed to bring the sleeping man a small comfort, as his body finally started to relax, but it also began to rouse him from his slumber. The room began to fold in on itself, seeming to dissipate into a thick smoke, and through his quickly dissolving slumber the prisoner swore he could hear his name being called.



Monty snapped awake, lurching forward in his seat and bringing his hands up to protect himself but smacking his face into the bed truck's steering wheel in the process. The young man's head swiveled in a post-nap delirium, searching for a threat that wasn't there, until his job partner, an older and far more experienced beaux voyou named Michel Boulet, grabbed one of his wrists and asked in a half-joking manner, "You didn't snap while you were in there, right kid?"

The young man regained his composure swiftly and withdrew his hand, replying with a dry, "No, just remembered who Cormier stuck me with for this ride." Michel grinned and feigned offence, quipping, "As though I don't have the best music taste in the Guard! You should be happy one of your elders is taking the time to serenade you!"

"Is that what you call it?" Monty asked wryly. The young man grabbed his phone from the cupholder, a basic non-Rotom Tech phone, and checked the time, marveling aloud at how late in the day it already was. "That's why I woke you up," Michel explained. "The other three just got here. Cormier said you're taking charge?"

Monty nodded as he wiped the last of the sleep from his eyes and prepared himself to go into work mode, requesting a run-down of what still needed doing. The older subordinate reported fueled trucks, all the straps they needed to hold down their cargo, and a cleared warehouse space for when they got back. "All that's left is to leave then," Monty said. "Thank you Michel."

The beaux voyou clapped a hand on Monty's shoulder in much the same way as Cormier did that morning, and he said warmly, "Anytime, Montagne. New blood has to start flowing eventually." They shared a handshake and Michel got out of the truck to inform the other three crew members, leaving his younger "superior" to contemplate his earlier conversation with their Boss.

'It's time you adapt.' Monty mentally echoed, slipping a hand into his inner pea coat pocket and feeling for the dormant Luxury Ball. All because I got myself caught. The young man's mind drifted to the night's secondary task as he drew the Ball from his pocket, rolling it's smooth black-and-gold surface in his fingers.

I don't need a Pokémon. He thought indignantly, clutching the Luxury Ball tightly in irritation. Even after coming to the decision, memories of the night he had been arrested began worming their way into his head. Cormier was right when he said Monty had gotten caught because he didn't have a Pokémon to fight back against the police. He started to mentally excuse the defeat by reasoning that the police cheated by using their Pokémon, but even Monty could admit that Cormier was right about that, too.

The young man's continued to ponder the question of whether he needed a Pokémon as Michel climbed back into the cab, and he even thought of it as he started one of the two trucks and led the second truck out of the inconspicuous warehouse, out onto Estival Avenue, and out the Lumiose gate toward Courmaline City.

And the whole way there, it didn't even cross Monty's mind that if he had a partner he still could have lost.

Wednesday, June 8 – Mt. Coronet Sinnoh Region

Flint gave a low whistle, appreciating the swiftness and power that emanated from Arcanine. In the blink of an eye, it had taken Magmortar’s back and landed a powerful Scorching Sands. Coming off its battles against Pichu and Blastoise, Magmortar had reached its limit.

“This is heating up! I’m blazing now!” Flint returned Magmortar to its Pokéball. “Good work, leave the rest up to us…” Next, his hand went to Infernape’s Pokéball; already it was warm to the touch.

“Let’s heat it up, Infernape!”

With a howl Infernape took the field, its aura blazing. Its presence alone melted the snow in its vicinity, revealing Mt. Coronet beneath. Flint immediately took action.

“Alright Infernape, Earthquake then Power-up Punch!”

Infernape slammed a fist against the ground, sending out resounding shockwaves in all directions. As they raced outward the shockwave threw the fallen snow into the air, obscuring vision. Next, its fist was glowing golden, preparing its follow-up.

The powerful aura that echoed out with infernape’s roar caused Acacia to surge with excitement. This is why he battled: to be pushed to the brink. His heart raced, his fists clenched, and he almost began to salivate as he jealously craved Windie’s center position fully engulfed in the heat of battle.

Plumes of snow bursted from the ground as the super effective attack neared the Arcanine, but for a moment, Acacia closed his eyes and experienced an isolated eternity in his head.

Gather the kindling…

He took a deep inhale, remembering his years of traveling. Every night spent training, every battle, every hard fought victory, every crushing defeat. Everything. All he and Windie had been through together was just fuel for this next step towards the top.

Light the flame…

He pulled a silky black headband from his pocket and wrapped it over his messy brown hair, making sure its orange kanji logo for “fire” was facing outwards. The day he received it was the day he had learned battle bond.
His mind drifted to three years prior, sitting around the campsite in Galar’s wild area after what felt like his millionth loss to Alder.

“Why do you think you lost?” His mentor asked him the same question he always did after yet another defeat, only this time Acacia was at a loss for reason.

“I don’t know!” He snapped. “We’ve been doing this for three years and I’ve barely made any progress with that form. All my other Pokémon have gotten so much stronger, but every time Windie and I get in that flame I just can’t control him.”

“Maybe that’s the problem.” It was Niko, an old traveling companion who had made a name for herself as a top coordinator yet still made time to stop by to check in on her struggling friend during his training. “If there’s all that power why are you trying to fight it? Why not just go with it?”
He smirked as he reminisced. The thought had seemed overly simplistic at the time as she munched on a spoonful of curry, but it didn’t take long for him to see the wisdom in her simplicity.

Acacia tapped in to his most carnal desires. He let his craving for battle course through him. As a trainer he was beyond a desire for victory or a fear of defeat, all he wanted was to be unleashed: to be pushed to his limits and then exceed those. Windie felt the same, and its conquering nature began to pulse as he resonating with his trainers feelings until their hearts were aligned with one single notion: to be uninhibited.

Now… BOOM!

Acacia could hold back their strength no longer. An inferno of golden flames swirled around he and Windie. Without need for command the blazing orb leapt into the air and evaded the earthquake just in the nick of time.

Acacia slipped the ends of his headband together, pulling it tight, and when he opened his eyes again they radiated gold and he saw through both his own eyes and Windie’s.

“COME ON!” He roared as Windie did the same. The cloak of fire dissipated with a powerful surge, evaporating the scattered snow intended to obscure their vision. And as Windie emerged, he was no longer a normal Arcanine, he had become one entity with his trainer.

He took on qualities of his trainer, growing flowing eyebrows, guards around his two front legs, a black X marking beneath his left eye to match his trainer’s scar, and a black stripe appeared on his forehead in an exact replica to Acacia’s headband. His pelt turned white: a reflection of the pure and unrestrained animalistic instincts that had been released from their shackles. With almost too much power to contain, flames leaked from his mouth and his fur grew thicker, moving like flames as the white turned to orange and gold near their ends.

There! The canine’s eyes locked onto infernape from their elevated position, and eager to test their strength Windie went straight into offense. A pink aura coated and extended from his claws as he activated play rough, and he dove directly at the monkey to meet the attack with his own.

Let’s have some fun!

Wednesday, June 8 – Mt. Coronet Sinnoh Region

Play Rough and Power-Up Punch collied with Infernape losing out to Arcanine’s new power. The nimble ape wheeled away with a short of acrobatics, disengaging with a few scuffs while Flint whistled. “You’re packing some serious heat, huh?”

“Well, we’re not slouching either, Infernape—Flamethrower!”

Leaping backward, the flame Pokémon swept the battlefield with scorching hot flames, aiming to pin down Arcanine.

1:37 P.M. June 8th, Wednesday - Rouge Plaza, Lumiose City, Kalos

"Wow! It's such a beautiful day outside today! Would love to take Carla and the kids out for a picnic right now."

Chuckling slightly to himself as he admired the sunny, cloudless skies above the city was a young police officer. The man, who was probably in his mid to late twenties, currently patrolled Rouge Plaza and the surrounding area. It was the middle of another hot, summer day. There were kids running around, playing, without a care in the world. Family and friends walked alongside Pokémon as they strolled the streets to pass the time. The young officer couldn't help but find himself getting a little bit lax as he took in the comfortable atmosphere. Life was good to him too. He'd recently gotten hired as a full-time member of the Lumiose City police force. That was on top of getting engaged with his longtime girlfriend and now the mother of his two children. He wanted to instill the same pride he felt about protecting the people into his kids as well as be an example to them and even his peers. Unfortunately, just standing around and enjoying the weather wasn't going to cut it. The good thing was, he had happened to run into none other than the Commissioner of the Lumiose Police, Charles Thayer.

"Oh, yeah, I heard you recently got twins. Congrats Louis!"

With the hearty voice of a good natured, older man, Charles gave the officer a sturdy pat on his back. Commissioner Thayer had held his position in the police force for quite a long period of time. It wasn't too shocking, though, considering how old-fashioned the man was. He still wore the same old Navy Blue uniforms from what was like ten years ago. At least two new iterations of the uniform had come out after than. Furthermore, unlike Louis, the Commissioner didn't have the common Pokébelt around his waste for easy access to his Pokéballs. There was just a holster for the black handgun on his left side. Of course, being a newbie in the department, Louis didn't feel comfortable enough to question his decision yet. He could only assume it was because the Commissioner wasn't required to be on the field very often. That was why it felt like almost an honor to be walking side-by-side with him.

"Haha, thanks, Commissioner Thayer. I'm sure you must've been enjoying yourself out here. Sorry if I intruded on your free time, Sir."

The officer lifted his cap up briefly to run a hand through his blonde hair as he tried to apologize once more for having interrupted the commissioner. To be honest, Louis was surprised the Commissioner even cared enough to remember a new officer like him had just become a father. The man must've been so busy, but the fact he even recall this information showed how big his heart was. He shouldn't have been when the Commissioner waved off his apology once more with a warm smile on his lips.

"Again, Officer Darrell, no worries. It's a pleasure to walk alongside this new generation of Officers from time to time. Justice is something that transcends generations, but in different ways. Seeing how you young lads operate gives me a glimpse of the future. A chance to see where justice is by the time I'm finished. You see, I have a dream, that maybe one day in the future, we won't have to rely on Pokémon to do our dirty work for us. The citizens can only rely on us to protect them..."

Although it was subtle, Louis could make out the fervour in the voice of the Commissioner. This seemed like something that was important to him. He hadn't expected to hear the Commissioner something personal like that to someone like him, so Louis only viewed it with enthusiasm. The young officer looked up to him after all and didn't find much reason to think about what was said any further. Since he hadn't been prepared to respond to something like this, Louis only spoke his honest thoughts to his superior.

"That would be nice, but I can't imagine working without my Growlithe though. Flare and I make such great partners. Maybe it would be better if Pokémon and us could coexist perfectly together. That way we can protect everyone. What do you think?"

Looking at Charles with a look that was practically begging for approval, the Commissioner could only let out a burst of laughter. Of course, that was enough to frighten the young officer. Charles could imagine he was probably thinking if he said something wrong. Something stupid perhaps. Fear was a funny thing. It could appear when you least expect it. Like right now for the wide-eyed officer. Not wanting to leave Louis in a state of panic, Charles took a breath before grinning at the officer.

"Maybe, maybe. Haha, sorry about my rambling. I'm still just an old-fashioned geezer living in the past, aren't I?"

The older gave an awkward chuckle as he apologized. That just made Louis feel a bit guilty for responding the way he did. However, before Louis could tell the Commissioner he didn't need to apologize, the Rotom phone issued to him by the police force began to vibrate in his pocket. Immediately, Louis shifted gears as he pulled out the phone to respond to the call. Charles could only watch as Louise responded with some nods and words of understanding to Dispatch as they provided him with some information. Once the call was over, Louise looked back at him with a much more serious expression than he had on earlier.

"Just got a low priority call from Dispatch to go investigate something about some decomposed bodies being found in the Lumiose Badlands by Route 13. Apparently some kid stumbled upon them out there."

Louise didn't have to explain this to the Commissioner, but could tell the wiser man appreciated the knowledge. He'd probably hear about this sooner or later anyways. From his perspective, the Commissioner held a more stern expression as it seemed like a flurry of thoughts must've been going through his head at the moment. That must be how it was for a man with so much experience. Considering all of the possibilities before even on the scene.

"The Lumiose Badlands, eh? Kids these days just going anywhere. Must be some newbie trainer. But if there really are bodies out there, then that could be something..." Charles thought aloud while stroking his brown beard. Whatever it was, Louise was more driven than ever to get to the bottom of this. Some of that came from the Commissioner being right there, but that couldn't be helped. Trying his best to limit some of that entuisiasm from revealing itself in his tone, Louise bid farewell to the Commissioner.

"I'll be on my way then, Commissioner Thayer. It was a pleasure." With that said, the officer turned around in a hurry, ready to head out to the Lumiose Badlands. However, before he could even take a step, Louise heard something he never thought he'd hear anytime soon.

"Hold up lad, I'm coming with you."

"Wha- really?!"
"Vullaby return..." Nick held out his Pokeball as the red beam connected with the unconscious bird and absorbed him back into the sphere like object. "I was going to use you to get some free points, but looks like you're making me go all out." He grabbed the third Pokeball attached to his leg, for some reason it seamed cleaner than the other two he had with him and as he held it up to his face, a small bean of sunlight made the Pokeball look even better. "Go Charmeleon!"

The red lizard like Pokemon emerged from the Pokeball, his claws making sparks as he smashed them together to sharpen them while glaring at the Tauros across from him. The two growled at each other, both Pokemon seemed ready to tear each other apart as the forest around them went silent. "Dragon Rage!" Nick broke the silence with his command. The Charmeleon took in a deep breath, puffing his chest, before shooting a massive energy ball directly at the Tauros.

"King, Work Up!" Reina called out, her eyes set on the battlefield as the Dragon Rage collided with a direct hit against her Tauros, causing a cloud of smoke spread out after the explosion caused by the impact. "Zen Headbutt!"

The Tauros roared as he emerged from the thin smoke and charged towards his opponent, his head gaining a purplish glow as he galloped onward. Once again the Charmeleon shot a Dragon Rage, which hit the incoming Tauros straight in the face. The bull Pokemon pushed through colliding head first into the fire type Pokemon, sending it flying past its trainer and smashing into a tree. King let out a loud roar before slowly collapsing to the ground.

"Charmeleon! You okay?" Nick called out, watching his Pokemon struggle to its feet and stumble a few steps forward before passing out.

"Return King." Reina looked at her opponent with a confident smirk on her face, "Thanks for the free points." She said as she returned her Pokemon back to his Greatball.

Nick brushed his greenish hair with his hand as he put his Charmeleon back to its Pokeball and on strapped it to his leg. "Yeah yeah, I wasn't expecting you to be packing a Tauros like that. Sorry for being rude, I guess I was being cocky."

"The winner is Reina, new rank calculated, 49,425. Lose, Nick, new rank calculated, 49,532" With that small announcement the Rotom flew off into the sky just like when it had arrived before.

"Well I was planning on trying out another Pokemon, but you kinda forced my hand." Reina shook Nick's hand with an apologetic smile. "I hope we get to battle again soon."

After Nick's departure, Reina stuck around the shrine taking some pictures and having a quick lunch with her team. They all watched as a young man chased a Farfetch around the forest for a while, until he finally cornered it and took it with him. There was also a guy going around offering to teach Headbutt, which Reina took up on the offer. They practiced a few hours, King getting the basics of the move, but was still struggling to cause a flinch on his opponents. However, he was really good at headbutting trees, which was bad news for the Pokemon sleeping in them. Unfortunately King, couldn't progress much, tired out after his battle, he just gained the idea of the move, hit stuff with your head, but was still lacking the mastery of it. The gang continued on with their trip in the forest, checking out the lake in the center of it, taking on some wild Pokemon, including a nest of Kakuna and some Pineco that almost blew them up.

June 9, Wednesday - Ilex Forest, Johto.
Reina, current rank, 49,425.

3x Super Potions
2x Antidotes
3x Full Heals
Oran berry,
Sitrus Berry
Rotom Phone
Tour Guide - Johto
Battling for Dummies book
Sleeping bag
Small cooking equipment and some ingredients
“There’s more where that came from!”

Beyond the clear power buff battle bond provided, there were two other advantages that the general public was fairly unaware of. The first being the ability to command attacks without the need for speaking, and the second being provided with vantage points of both trainer and Pokémon allowing for a more complete understanding of the battle field.

Acacia watched as the wave of flames rushed towards him, traveling in a sweeping arc that would make it near impossible to dodge unless he went for the jump once more: a tactic he feared a veteran trainer such as Flint would not allow to work twice.

Guess we’re gonna have to go through it. Fire Blast!

Opting to fight fire with fire, a golden blaze formed in the Arcanine’s jaws and he fired a powerful blast in the shape of kanji. Since Flint had opted to go for area instead of concentrating the full power in one spot, the Fire Blast tore through the sea of flames and barreled towards the Infernape, while strayed embers singed Windie’s sides.

“Ahhhh.” Acacia hissed, feeling the sensation of heat burn his torso. He had avoided the brunt of the attack, but against high level opponents even a fraction of their strength hurt his comparatively feeble human body.

Nevermind that, we gotta follow it up. Thunder Fang!

Using the Fire Blast as cover, the beast ran close behind, coating his teeth with crackling thunder as he prepared to counter whatever Infernape’s response would be to the initial attack.

Montagne Khastil - Unranked - June 8th, Night - Courmaline Docks, Kalos

Between the fleets of boats constantly coming in and out of port and the armies of sailors, laborers, and merchants loading and unloading their cargo, the Courmaline docks were gripped tight by an organized chaos during the day. Come nightfall, however, the docks became practically deserted, and the chaos was replaced with a juxtaposing tranquility as the moonlight glittered off of Azure Bay and the waves gently lapped against the wooden supports and cobblestone walls.

Monty couldn't help being enthralled by the sound, almost falling into a trance as his mind wandered while the crew waited for their shipment to arrive. They had arrived to the meeting point, an Old Guard-owned dock on the outermost edges of the sprawling rows of cobblestone platforms, nearly twenty minutes early, and while the other crew members grew impatient quickly their leader felt as though he didn't have enough time to think.

I don't even know what kind of Pokémon to look for, Monty thought as he rolled the Luxury Ball between his fingers. "Something strong" was all that came to mind, but the young man was at a loss when it came to every other aspect of what he should keep an eye out for in a potential partner. He shifted around in the bed truck's driver seat, unable to get comfortable.

"Something the matter, kid?" Michel asked from his spot in the passenger seat.

"Never better."

"That bad, huh?" Michel joked. "It's none of my business anyway."

The younger man rolled his eyes and shifted in his seat again, and the pair simply watched the moonlight shine off the lazily churning Bay through the windshield until Monty broke the silence. "What do you think of trainers?" He inquired.

"Trainers, eh?" Michel echoed, thinking for a moment. "I think it takes a lot of strength to be a Pokémon trainer-"

"Strength?" Monty interrupted incredulously. "It's the Pokémon that are strong, not the trainers."

A look of annoyance briefly flashed across Michel's face, but he continued. "Not strength of body, my friend, but strength of character. Sure a trainer could never lift a boulder, or swim across the sea, or soar among the clouds-" The older man picked his hand up and pressed it against the windshield, and for a moment a look of deep admiration passed through the lifelong criminal's eyes. "-But they have the courage to find a partner and try with their help." The look of admiration was replaced by a pang of regret as he added, "I never had that kind of courage. Sometimes I wish I found it, but if I wanted to live in the past I'd join up with the Ruin Maniacs, eh?"

Another moment of comfortable silence passed between the two, and Monty mulled over the more experienced beaux voyou's words as he watched the waves. 'The courage to try', he thought. Is that what Cormier wants me to find on this journey of his?

Monty studied the older man in the passenger seat, thinking about the look of regret which passed through his eyes when he mentioned the courage it takes to be a trainer. A lifetime of experiences, hardships, and successes existed in the decades of age between them, yet they were both sitting in the same truck, doing the same job, and getting the same cut. He's been doing the same thing for so long, Monty contemplated, And what does he really have to show for it? A lifetime of regrets.

Monty looked back out over the Bay as a small dot appeared on the moonlit horizon. I won't end up like him, he decided.

A relatively small ship, hardly fifty feet in length, pulled into the dock after another few minutes. Monty got out of the truck to meet with the captain before the rest of the crew boarded, crossing the dock and alighting onto the deck of the ship as a sea-hardy man emerged from the wheelhouse. "Captain Wabash," Monty called out in greeting, shaking the Galarian sailor's hand.

"Montagne, good to see you again," Wabash replied with an anxious smile, accentuating the crow's feet earned from year after year of squinting out at the horizon. "I trust they treated you well in the brig?" The young man grinned and said, "They were too scared for anything else."

The sailor let out a hearty laugh, animatedly slapping his knee and cackling, "I'm sure they were, me boy!" Wabash regained his composure and his expression shifted again to a strange anxiousness, and Monty felt the hairs on his arms begin to stand on end. "You know what we're carrying, then?"

"All Cormier said was a shipment of Pokémon," Monty informed him. "But he didn't say which, or from where?"

"Aye, they're Pokémon." Wabash confirmed, stooping down to open the massive cargo hold hatch. "We picked up these beauties from Sinnoh, but things got...eh...hot before we left port." The doors opened to reveal a substantially fewer number of crates than were meant to be delivered.

"What the hell is going on, Wabash?" Monty asked as he turned to flash a fist at Michel; the signal to stay put. "The hold is supposed to be full." Come to think of it, where's the rest of his crew? Not only was the hold practically empty, but so was the deck. "You were supposed to have two other shiphands, weren't you?"

Wabash extended the ladder down into the hold. "Aye, lad, I was." The sailor ran a hand through his greying hair and confessed, "For these kinds of jobs, I like to hire hands on location. Only the pair I hired this time never told me they were former Galactic."

When Monty failed to react to the name, Wabash shook his head and commented, "I forget how young you are lad. Team Galactic was a terrorist group from Sinnoh years back, sort of like Team Flare here in Kalos." The sailor's face took on a grim expression as he added, "The kind of people the International Police like to keep track of."

Monty's mind raced at the mention of the International Police, the very agency that was partially responsible for his four month imprisonment. The young man had a dozen questions, but the most important one came first. "Were you followed?"

Wabash shook his head no, explaining, "The grunts turned out to be pretty serious trainers, so I left them behind to deal with Interpol so I could at least get these Pokémon here." The sailor pulled the cord on an old, gently swinging lightbulb, illuminating the hold and its cargo. "Take a look for yourself."

Monty surveyed the cargo, noting that even fewer Pokémon were in the hold than he initially thought. Cormier is going to be pissed, he mentally lamented, crossing the hold to more accurately survey the contents of each crate. The young man recognized some of the creatures; a pair of Vulpix, a Bidoof, and even an Electrike. Others Monty didn't recognize, and he stooped down to get a better look at one of a bigger cage's inhabitants.

Is this thing sick? Monty thought as he examined the Pokémon. Its dull white fur clung tightly to its frame, and he could clearly see each of its ribs through its coat. It lay on its left side, with its four limbs splayed out awkwardly underneath it, and its sharp black claws curled inward as though tense from its long journey. A single short horn grew from the side of its head, jutting upward and curving like the blade of a scythe; a sight that struck Monty as particularly sinister for such a pitiful creature.

The Pokémon's eyes suddenly snapped open, startling Monty, and it fixed its large, menacing red eyes on Monty as its body language changed from that of sickly prey to an apex predator. It shifted its weight to the right, rolling over onto its paws, and it attempted to rise to its feet only to be stopped by the cramped confines of its cage. Its claws curled inward again, scraping them against the metal floor, and though it didn't so much as growl at Monty he could sense its rage at being trapped through its venom-laden glare.

Monty couldn't help but think it was wrong for this Pokémon to be here. It seemed impossible that a creature with such clear and overflowing pride could be reduced to the pitiful sight before him, and that it held enough energy to make so evidently clear how much it hated him, the captain, and the cage was something that resonated with Monty on a deeper level than anything before; it was, after all, the same look he wore every day of his four month sentence.

"He perked up a bit, eh?" Wabash joked. The captain kicked the cage, the bars reverberating with a loud CLANG! as the cage rocked back a little. The Pokémon didn't so much as flinch, maintaining its glare into Monty's eyes without so much as acknowledging the captain's presence. "You little bugger," Wabash said under his breath, picking his foot up for another kick.

Monty's hand shot out to his side, grabbing Wabash's ankle to stop him from further disrespecting the proud caged creature. "This one's off limits," he declared, fixing Wabash with a glare of his own that dared the captain to say something to the contrary. A moment passed until the captain rolled his eyes, pulling his boot from Monty's grasp and stalking back towards the cargo hold doors.

Monty turned back to face the Pokémon, extending a hand to rest it on top of the cage. The feline creature blinked once, slowly, and though it bore the same glare it seemed less intense as before. A somber look passed through Monty's eyes as he said, "You'll be out of there soon. I promise."

The criminal stood up and followed Wabash out of the hold, signaling for the rest of his crew to come aboard and start loading up the trucks. They were back on the road a few minutes later, having only been able to fill one truck, but one cage still rested in the bed of Monty's truck as they drove. And though Michel's constant teasing that he finally found a partner was annoying, Monty couldn't help checking its position in his rearview mirror every chance he got.

Wednesday, June 8 – Mt. Coronet Sinnoh Region

The raging flames swept over the mountainside and Flint shielded his face from the heat. The Sinnoh Elite Four hadn’t missed Arcanine’s form charging Infernape with Thunder Fang. It seemed Acacia almost had the same idea…almost.

“Weather it Infernape, then ThunderPunch on the ground!”

Electricity would crackle to life along Infernape’s paw after it had weathered the Fire Blast and then it would punch the ground, where its fist could connect with the shallow pools of water that had been created from all the melted snow. Now the slick, sleety ground acted as a conductor for the electricity and Arcanine would be just in time for an electrifying splash.

Of course, Arcanine could always jump once more—but that’s what Flint was counting on, in the air it would be open for another blow.

“Then pin it with Power-Up Punch!”
It’s working!

Moments after the Fire Blast connected, Acacia could nearly taste victory. Just a stride away from landing a shocking attack to lead into a winning combo, the trainer could feel metaphorical electricity coursing through his veins, but a second later he felt the sensation of literal electricity actually shocking him.


It was a cleaver plan on Flint’s part, and Acacia wasn’t even angry that he suffered the damage. No, he was just frustrated and jealous that he hadn’t come up with it.

“Nice mo-“ He wouldn’t even get a chance to finish his compliment. Moments after recovering from the shock of the previous attack, Acacia felt the impact of a powerful fist slamming downwards on his skull. While he had discovered the pain induced on the trainer from battle bond was purely psychological with no physical ramifications, that didn’t mean it felt any less real. If it wasn’t for psychological conditioning from taking countless head charges from Alder’s Bouffalant in which he had to repeatedly remind himself he wasn’t actually dying, Acacia would’ve passed out from the pain assuming he, at the very least, had suffered a concussion and fractured his skull.

Damn, this guy doesn’t let up…

He grit his teeth as they weathered the brute force of the attack. The ground gave way below Windie, creating a small crater, but even while suffering the crushing pain of impact the stubborn dog’s knees never buckled.

But neither do we!

His clenched jaw transitioned into a smirk. The second Infernape’s attack ended and there was a moment of reprieve from the pain was the moment the duo would strike.

This is nothing! He lied to himself, forcing his determination to overpower the torment he was in. Through his years he had learned high leveled battles were often decided by single moments, and one of his greatest weaknesses of being too dazed to counter after suffering a strong attack in battle bond had turned into their greatest strength. A moment of pure willpower after enduring a hit meant he could always turn the tides.

“Time for Reversal!!!” He roared and a veil of orange energy cloaked Windie, fueling itself with all the pain the Arcanine had endured before concentrating itself with an excess of power on his head.

Windie’s golden eyes shone brightly and rammed his head straight into the exposed gut of the ape, shooting it backwards with a powerful slam.

Way to go! Acacia’s head cleared as the shell bell buried beneath the tuft of fur on Windie’s chest took effect to alleviate a fair amount of pain. While it seemed like a well crafted ultimate gambit strategy, the reality was Acacia had developed the tactic as a counter measure for his overly aggressive nature while using battle bond that tended to put him into a lot of dire situations. He would take damage, increasing the power of reversal, which allowed for increased recovery from his shell bell in a self fulfilling cycle. He didn’t even have to think about the next step as they instinctively activated morning sun. Boosted by the effects of Sunny Day, a white light cloaked Windie and soon enough Acacia could feel his Pokémon was basically back to full strength; however, he wasn’t ready to relax just yet.

It may have looked, and even felt like they had come out of that exchange looking pretty good, but with his enhanced Pokémon-like perception in his battling form Acacia could palpably feel the strength emanating from Infernape as a consequence of its two power up punches. It may have taken some damage, and Windie may have recovered health, but with Infernapes boosted strength Acacia knew defeat and victory were both equal distance away.

He pondered what to do. If he tried to draw the fight out Windie’s better ranged attacks, speed, and recovery might give him an advantage, but one slip up or a clever counter could end things. And even if it did work, at this point Acacia felt a chipping a way tactic would tarnish the purity of what had been a perfectly thrilling and aggressive battle.

The heat of the attacks, the exhaustion of battling, and the shining sun caused a bead of sweat to roll down the side of his face, and as it curled into his lips the salty sensation reminded him of the offensive benefits of a fire type clash underneath a blazing sun.

This is gonna be awesome! Excitement coursed through him as he got the idea to end their fight with the next move. Two of the strongest fire types colliding with their strongest moves boosted even further by external effects. The idea almost seemed romantic to him.

“We had a good battle, but let’s end it here!” He shouted over to his opponent, confident the fiery elite four member would share the sentiment. Out of courtesy he would wait until Flint made his move, but Acacia had already decided what he would meet his attack with.

Extreme Speed
National Park, Johto

"Well, that isn't the least bit concerning..." Desmond had spoken with a slight sweat drop as the idea of her having a Pokemon on hand that had the capacity to go berserk did little to quell his general worries around Pokemon.

Course, focus shifted to what seemed to be a rather emotive Azumarill. Naturally, Politoed sensed trouble and considered stepping in to speak to the wild Pokemon, but the Azumarill quickly struck with a Hydro Pump which caused both trainer and Pokemon to dive out of the way.

"No no no no mercy!" Desmond cried out as the panic kicked in, though as he had heard Emma's request and his Politoed jumped in front of its partner to protect him, Desmond had a sheepish nod as he tried to choke out a response.

"Y-yeah..." Desmond had began to answer, as Emma prepared to battle the wild Azumarill, but it seemed to calm down as it pointed towards the fountain. Suddenly though Desmond had become aware of a flood of water Pokemon who went to speak to Politoed as Desmond sheepishly shuffled backwards to gain distance.

"Eeep!" Desmond called out, though it seemed these Pokemon had meant no harm and like the Azumarill had been troubled by the fountain. This caught the Politoed's curiosity as it tried to discern what was wrong.

"Poli? Politoed?" ("Is something wrong? Why are you sad about the fountain?") The Politoed asked its fellow Pokemon in that famed Poke-Speak.

However, they seemed to get a partial answer when another figure appeared. A man and his Croagunk who seemed to have an...eccentric energy to them, as it seemed Emma was a touch familiar though Desmond had been rather clueless of the curious duo.

The hell are these guys....
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Name: Emma Argentston, Trainer rank 48,679, National Park, Johto, June 8th.

The Azumarill heard the Politoed and gave.

"Zu azu Azumarill (the fountain was our favorite spot, it got messed up)," Azumarill told the Politoed.

The other water types nodded in agreement, Especially Dewgong.

"You," Emma practically snarled, she was not in the mood, "Drampa, calm the water types, and Cinderace, you know what to do!"

The Galarian Fire Type starter appeared in front of Charade, and started kicking around a fire ball, allowing Emma to slip away for a moment. In that moment she hid behind a tree, reversed her cloak so that the black side of the cloak was showing. She then put on the Duskull Mask. Togekiss popped out of the pokeball as Cinderace kicked backwards into where Emma was, he was returned before he could set the National park on fire. Drampa had seen Cinderace leave and took his place. One could see a feminine figure standing on a Togekiss, and two pokeballs opened to reveal Volcarona and Dusknoir.

"This is over, what did you do!?" The Masked Skull responded, "Whatever it is, I will find a way to make sure it doesn't happen again."

Dusknoir appeared in front of Charade, the Ghost type kept an eye on the suspected criminal. Togekiss looked at the person, but kept an eye on the Civilian.
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Sam Flune - Hearthome City (June 8th)

Sitting alone in Hearthome City Sam relaxed. Turtwig, Sam's trusted partner was by their side relaxing into the pets Sam provided for their Pokemon, "Hmph!" Sam huffed standing up, "Never going to win if we're just standing around here right?" Sam smiled as they jumped up from the bench and dusted themself a bit. Having arrived in Hearthome about 2 days ago Sam was on a journey to catch Pokemon and get stronger in the World Coronation Series. Turtwig smiled and stretched nodding as he jumped off and followed Sam.

Sam slowly began walking around seeing all the different trainers with their Pokemon Sam paused in front of the large contest hall seeing a demo reel of Fantina, the cities local Gym Leader giving a performance alongside her Mismagius and Driflim.

"Some day we'll be strong enough to battle like that!" Sam stated as Turtwig jumped with excitement. However, before they could keep watching Sam heard a shout from down the street. Sam quickly turned to see a local food vendor chasing a small clown-like Pokemon that was running down the street.

"Hey you kid! Stop that thief!" the vendor shouted.

"Uh, right!" Sam snapped back kneeling down to catch the Pokemon only for Sam to see a sandwich flying at their face. With Sam blinded the Pokemon jumped, bouncing off of Sam's head to get away. Sam got up quickly and pulled the sandwich out of their face looking around, "What was that?"

The vendor stopped as he reached Sam, "Ugh, that little thief's been nothing but trouble," the vendor complained.

"What Pokemon was that?" Sam asked.

"Huh? It's called Mime Jr." the vendor replied, "It's known for being quite the thief around town, using it's psychic attacks to steal food away, then it always flees away to Mt. Coronet's mountain range."

"Hm, I'll see if I can catch up to it for you!" Sam stated, returning Turtwig back to his Pokeball, "I'll be back!"

"Ugh no that's not necessary-" the vendor stated but didn't get a chance as Sam was already gone.
June 9, Wednesday - Ilex Forest, Johto. Reina, current rank, 49,425.

"Como la flor, con tanto amor, me diste tu... se marchito...me marcho hoy, yo se perder..." Reina's voice sounded clear as she made her way back to Azalea Town, with Chente listening to his trainer's song while looking around the small trees around them. "Can't believe we won that with just one Pokemon." Reina interrupted her own singing to start a conversation with the always attentive Chente. "Makes me kinda of regret it, even if we get to the Pokemon Center, I feel bad using King again in the gym battle, you know? Diva isn't a battler, you have a type disadvantage, which leaves me with Peque, Blue Demon and Maya. Now that I say it out loud, it doesn't sound like a bad matchup." She unbottled her water bottle and took a long drink from it. "But we should have King ready just in case."

The two made their way back to Azalea, feeling accomplished having won a battle and survived some encounters with wild Pokemon, had given Reina and her team a small confidence boost. "Alright, should I call Penny? Is it too soon? How long do you call someone after you sleep in the same hotel room without making it awkward? I know in Mexico... actually no I don't know, never heard what the proper behavior is. How about, Pokemon Center, Costume Pokeballs place and then gym? She said she was going to be there, no need to call right?" The Slowpoke that Reina was talking to yawned back at her. "You guys really are a mysterious bunch." She petted the pink Pokemon before continuing her way.

After a quick visit to the Pokemon Center, Reina and Chente found themselves at the home of the famous Pokeball craftsmen, Kurt. However it wasn't how the guide showed it was, probably because it was about eight years old, instead there was a shop at the front with a young lady polishing some costume made Pokeballs. Reina walked up, looking around at the apricorn trees with all different colors and sizes. "Excuse me, is there where I can find Kurt?" Reina said as the approached the wooden counter the young girl was leaning on.

"That's right, but you can't see Kurt, he's busy, I can take your order here, just let me know how many apricorn you brought." The girl prepared a small notebook and removed a pencil from the back of her ear.

"Oh I didn't bring any, I was just curious about how to make an order."

The girl looked annoyed as she shook her head and crossed her arms. "We grow our apricorns for our own need, we can't just give em out to trainers, if you don't have an apricorn, I can't help you. This isn't a charity you know?"

Reina looked a bit surprised by the girl's attitude, but in a way it made sense. "You don't have anything for sale?"

The girl seemed more interested in Reina now. "Well, I do have a Moonball nobody ever claimed, give me 1,500 for it.¨

¨Sure!¨Reina didn´t think twice upon taking the opportunity to get herself a costume Pokeball.

With the a nice souvenir in her possession, confidence and her team healed up, she was now ready to take on the gym. Reina made her way across town, walking proudly and ready to take on the gym. As the glass doors slid open and the giant forest inside came into view, Reina´s heart sank. Her confidence seemed to be replaced by a completely opposite feeling. She smiled weakly at the receptionist, announcing her arrival and was given permission to head to the battlefield. With her heart in her throat, Reina made her way to the arena, taking her spot on her side of the battlefield and waiting for the match to start.
Regina Aspis
June 8, Violet City, in front of Sprout Tower, Johto

"And that's why I am banned from swimming pools across Hoenn." Regina said, skipping stones across the pond in front of Sprout Tower as Proto swallowed down the last of Regina's gyros. The serpent lazed around one of the lanterns as her trainer retold the tale of her first time in swimming pools. It wasn't her fault that no one seemed to be able to see the fun of a Seviper swimming among humans.

"So what's your untold story? Running from the law, your parents, crazy fiancé? I'm interested in the man that hides behind the letter Q!" The girl said before throwing another stone, skipping five times before sinking. "Aha, beat that!"

Ezio Farello
June 8, Nacrene City, Unova

Ezio read through report after report on the couch as he scratched Erebus behind her ears, causing the Fire type to roll on her back as her trainer scratched her chin. Sunlight filtered through the window and landed on the report he was reading, a steaming thermos of tea on the table. These were peaceful moments, and they were getting more and more common the more he aged. He knew that he was old, there was no denying it. Still, there were some places he wanted to explore. For example, the Oblivia region. He heard so many stories about that place and its many ruins, yet he never went due to monetary concerns.

As the man mulled over his thoughts, his fingers frolicked with the short fur of his Typhlosion. He had quite a decent amount of money, he had no running excavations and Lenora had a rare moment of peace with the lack of paperwork to work through. If there was any time to go, it was now. Taking a sip from his tea, his mind wandered to his colleagues. In particular, a woman called Leanne. She lived in Oblivia if he recalled correctly, so she might be his best lead for anything worth researching.

Throwing back the last of his tea, the man put down the report he was reading and put on his old hat. "Erebus, I believe it is time for us to go on an adventure." The Typhlosion perked up before jumping off the couch and following her trainer, earning some pats on the head before getting recalled into her Pokéball. Sending a message to Lenora, Ezio released his Aerodactyl to fly towards Mistralton City. Eviscerate could fly across the region, but even she couldn't fly to Oblivia. They'd be stuck with public transport for now. Oblivia had no airstrip, so they would have to travel via boat. First to Sinnoh, then they would take a boat to Almia and from there, convince the Ranger Union to give him permission to enter the ruins of Oblivia. How hard could it be?
June 9th, Azalea Town Gym.
Bugsy. WCS Rank 119(?).
The gym itself was a forest, much like the Ilex nearby. Clusters of trees forming a narrow line to the battlefield, with patches of wildgrass inhabited by bugs like Caterpie, Weedle, Wurmple and the like — but even other Pokemon like Cherubi or Sunkern, owned by Bugsy's interns and left to their own devices in the gym when time was free.

Bugsy had spent most of his morning - after getting everyone fed and exercised of course -observing a rather large and violent Beedrill he'd caught in forest just a few days prior; people in Azalea and Goldenrod alike had complained the past couple months of a particularly hostile nest of the suckers. Finally given enough time to get away from the gym, he'd located and caught the rabid Beedrill — but cracking that cookie was a whole different affair. No matter the approach Bugsy took, the Beedrill did not seem to want anything but to stab its stingers right through Bugsy's buggy, little eyes.

"Sir, you've got a challenger approaching," His receptionist - Beth - called through a hazy intercom system to where he had briefly sat down in his office to take a rest. No sooner than he'd gotten settled, Beth's call had buzzed for him. "Sub-50k ranked trainer, Gym Challenger Reina, will be at the battlefield in just a minute."

"Thanks, Beth." Bugsy replied simply, nodding as if she could see him. He hung his head back briefly and let out a tired groan.

Standing, Bugsy turned to the back wall of his office. On the wall, a pristinely-cleaned glass window, where his PokeBalls were aligned in neat order of low-rank challengers in the top-left, to high-rank in the bottom-right. Sliding the the window to where he could reach in, Bugsy grabbed three he often went to for such situations. Mostly, he tended to get trainers with a rank of 50,000+, which tended to get boring, whether he lost or won. With a hesitating hand, he hovered over his newly-acquired Beedrill's ball, wondering...and with a hunch and a whim, grabbed it as a fourth in case he felt like changing something up.

With a light step, the Azalea gym-leader left his back room office and walked the straight line to his spot on the battlefield. The battlefield itself was WCS-regulation in parameter, with a touch of tall grass spread across the ground, the edges of the field punctuated by thick fir and pine trees — just enough visibility afforded to the battlers outside it to see the scoreboard, and anyone in attendance, if there was anyone.

In between Bugsy and his challenger, a referee in zebra-stripes holding the standard green and red flags blew a whistle between his teeth.

"Challenger Reina vs Leader Bugsy," The referee announced with a shouting formality. "This match will feature the use of three Pokemon on either side. Pokemon can be switched out at any time, unless they are pronounced unconscious. The match will be declared over once one trainer is out of useable Pokemon; the trainer with Pokemon left standing is judged the winner. Use of a fourth Pokemon will result in instant disqualification. Upon defeat of the Leader Bugsy, Challenger Reina stands to be awarded the Hive Badge. As Gym Leader, Mr. Bugsy, please give the signal that you are ready to begin; I will then count down from 3, and on Go, both trainers release your first Pokemon."

"I hope you're ready, Reina," Bugsy called out to his challenger across the field with a giddy grin, one hand falling to a PokeBall at his belt. "Because I know I am!"

The referee held the green flag high up into the air, counting:

"3. 2. 1, Go!" Waving the green flag down low as he shouted go.

"Time for you to meet one of my favorites," Bugsy announced, his hand gripping at the PokeBall right on the word go, flicking it from his waist directly in front of him with a quick, intentionally unimpressive toss. "Go, Shedinja!"

From the bright red beam of its second home, the Shed Pokemon emerged, buzzing above the ground with an erratic vibration.

Shen: King of Digimon

Previously Shen: King of the Mist

Dusknoir manifested right near Charade, it's menacing aura and single unblinking eye gave the villain a chill down his spine.

"Ah! Erm-ehm! Aha...! You can't scare me with your do-gooder threats!" He proclaimed with a sweat. "Besides! We have this entire place...surrounded...yeah! My grunts are swarming around the perimeter! If you don't want to fight an army of my best boys, you best be lettin' me past. After all, I AM the leader of the Crimson Crew! Even fighting me alone might be too much for you two combined!"

He bluffed. Hard. Croagunk went along with this by getting into the fighting stance, his right hand smugly shooing the two away in an act of 'mercy'. It ain't lame to retreat if I LIE to them, only evil people lie! Ha! And I could get them sooo intimidated too! Should I ask for their wallets? Is it too late for that? DANGIT! I should have asked for those!
June 9, Wednesday - Azalea Town GYM, Johto. Reina, current rank, 49,425.

Reina gripped the Pokeball in her hand, feeling nervous as the leader took his spot across the field from her. She took a quick glance towards the bleachers, no Penny. With a loud gulp, Reina tried to convince herself that she didn't need someone watching her, she could do it just fine on her own. Could she though? The last league she attempted to challenge basically stomped over her, what was going to be so different this time? She said she was going to show up, what if something happened to her? Like a gang of Slowpoke took her prisoner? Poor Penny! Reina needed to win fast, to make sure to check on her friend and save her from any danger she might be in!

"Peque!" She called out, with a new found determination inside her.

The Marshtomp emerged from his Pokeball with a Marshtomp expression, he looked at the Shedinja and fixed his eyes on it.

"We'll start this off if you don't mind, Water Pulse!" Reina had no idea what her opponent could do, she had never faced one before or seen it. She had to plan out what the bug type was capable off before building a strategy to take it down, meanwhile she would rely on the basics, stab moves and trying to lower its stats or confuse it. "Follow up with Supersonic!"

Peque nodded, inflated his chest before shooting a bullet like blue sphere made of water towards his opponent. He then stood his ground while his orange cheeks began to flow and started to transmit odd sounds waves across the field.
Shiro suddenly saw as the big dog pokemon and his Trainer suddenly approached him. She didnt seemed like a bad person which caused Cubchoo to quickly take interest in people that Just approached and hoped from his Trainer shoulder, approaching Scoutland without fear. Then he lifted up his Little paws and tried to boop his nose.

Shiro chuckled seeing his pokemon like this and then his attencion turned back to female Trainer "I actually wanted to find a hotel to book a room then go try to catch my second ever pokemon.. But yea, I agree it is one big maze here.. Who needed all of those buildings here" Then he seemed to think for a bit and suddenly answered "Thanks, but I dont really want to take it away from you as you still may need it, right?"

Wednesday, June 8 – Aqua Resort, Sophian Island, Oblivia Region​

“ARE YOU SURE THIS IS SAFE?!” The raging winds threatened to whisk the girl’s voice into oblivion, forcing her to yell despite how close she was to her brother; and she was very close. In fact, she couldn’t possibly be any closer. Esther’s arms were wrapped around Shayan tighter than a Komala’s around its log.


“You lied to me…”

“I didn’t… lie.”

“You said nothing bad would happen!”

“And nothing that bad happened.”

“I almost fell off!”

“Just Almost; you’ll get used to it.”

“Used to it!?”

“C’mon Essy, it wasn’t that bad.”

“I have Spearow shit in my hair.”

“Way to draw attention to it, now people are staring.”

The people in question scampered off as Esther whirled on them, muttering something about Team Yell as they threw furtive glances at the girl.

“What’s their problem…”

“It’s a Galar thing.”

After several hours on wing, they had finally arrived in Galar. Despite it being early summer, Esther found herself shivering. The temperature, while not cold by any means, wasn’t too warm either. With the sun setting, the chill from their aerial flight clung to her body much longer than she’d like.

“…I need a warm bath.”

“Budew Inn is up ahead, we’ll rest there for the night and then head to the Boutique tomorrow.”

“Where are we anyway?”

“Oh, we’re in Motostoke.”
National Park, Johto

From an outsider's perspective, the signs of a possible bluff might've been obvious to those who seen it. And indeed if it had been just...this character, perhaps Desmond would've been of the same mind. However, the second that Dusknoir appeared from Emma's call a chill had been sent not just up the criminal's spine but one of his own.

"Oh Arceus!" Desmond cried out as he jumped up to his feet, before he tried to clear his throat as he hoped that had not been noticed by either this assumed "criminal" or his current travel aid. Though their foe tried to talk up having the place surrounded as this threat seemed to extend to possible battle which Desmond had practically paled it. Course, battles had been an expected part of the Pokemon world, and if he needed money he had to develop the skill but one who seemed to be perpetually paranoid around Pokemon in peaceful circumstances of course had reservations about them in a fight near him.

"N-now guys do we have to do this. T-this is a Pokemon park, fighting is well...uncivilized in this context. No reason we can iron this out like adults." Desmond said sheepishly as it seemed evident he wished to avoid conflict, however the same could not be said for his Politoed as it stepped ahead of him and faced the "evil" trainer with a more serious expression than usual as it seemed prepared for a fight regardless of his threats. "Politoed!"

"...you are killing me." Desmond said with a pained whisper and an almost comical look of defeat, but sighed as it seemed this maybe one battle he'd be unable to avoid.

Shen: King of Digimon

Previously Shen: King of the Mist
National Park

Charade was digging how this was going. The civilian was scared! How all they had to do was- wait. The politoed stepped up to confront him. Blinking twice, Charade stepped in.

"Wha- hey, that's not how it's supposed to work." Charade interrupted. "Your supposed to cave to my demands and gimme what I want. Urgh! It's like you don't know how to be a civilian!"

he looked over at the intimidating Dusknoir for a second second and having his breath escape him at the thought of facing it before stuttering to a solution.

"H-Hey, though, if I quash that toad, that'll prove my might!" He said, pulling his collar. "Then, all of you will have to let me pass! After all, I kinda already cornered the frog market, ain't that right?"


Croagunk hopped between them, flashing some custom Crimson Crew gang signs before smirking at the Politoed, like it was prepared for a brawl.
June 8th, Motostoke City, Trainer Firey Argentston, Rank 20.

Firey had been training his Drapion when he figured that it was getting close to Sunset and he knew he needed Dinner, and to make a phone call to his wife. He then walked out of the outskirts, looking around the town, with his Absol, as he returned Drapion, knowing full well that if any paparazzi followed him, he will pop out of his pokeball. Sharp looked around as her trainer did as well, he was hoping to snag something small for his wife and his kids when he gets a better view of things after tomorrow. He knew that finding food and making the phone call were the two things he needed to do.

"Sol!" Sharp called out.

Firey walked into the inn, as the two went to get food, he sat down with his Absol. The two waited for someone to take their order.

"Hello, how can I help you today?"

"What is something that you can recommend," Firey asked, "I came in from Hoenn earlier today, and need something to eat."

The waitress pointed out the daily specials, and he ordered one of those.

"Such a cute Pokémon, is this Pokémon one of yours?"

"She is, and a lot stronger than you think." Firey's cloak was hanging on the back of his chair, as Sharp gave a bark.

"Is that the Symbol of the Battle Maze?" A random trainer a table behind Firey's asked, "I've fought two of the Frontier Brains, and they toasted me."

"Which two?" Firey asked

"Noland and Lucy."

"Even I have trouble with her Seviper from time to time, and Noland's a tough fight." Firey responded.

"You fought Pike Queen Lucy?" The trainer asked.

"Of course I have, for Training purposes," Firey responded, "Her, Noland, and Anabel are colleagues of mine."

"Wow," The trainer responded, "I've got to go, it was nice meeting you, Mr. Maze Guardian."

Firey looked over to the Trainer's table, "Nice meeting you too, and good Luck."

Firey had seen another person at the random Trainer's table. He then prepared to eat dinner.

"Your order is ready." The waitress had gone back while he was talking to the random trainer, and got his food, "Here it is."

Firey recognized the dish, it was normally made by his wife on special occasions. He ate at a normal pace while Sharp had a stock of berries to eat. After a bit of eating, he had finished, and the waitress had handed the bill, which Firey put around fifty pokedollars on it and headed to the phones. He then called his wife.

"Hello, Ari."

"Hi, Honey, Is everything alright?" Ariana asked.

"Yes, I trained Drapion before eating then calling you." Firey explained, "I'm headed around the town tomorrow, maybe get Metagross and Aggron Trained."

"Please keep in mind about poachers, I worry about Drapion, from time to time." Ariana responded.

"I know, I don't think poachers want to mess with someone of my caliber."


June 8th, National Park, Trainer: The Masked Skull, Rank: Shares with Emma Argentston.

"I'm hoping he just realizes how outmatched he is going to be," The Masked Skull told Desmond, having read his bluff, "Dusknoir prepare to Intercept if Politoed goes down. "

The Ghost type watched the Croagunk, as she gave a look at Charade, "Are you trying to Scare me or worse, the one not involved, what did you do, Charade?"

Volcarona hovered around, looking at the water types, attempting to calm them down. The figure hopped off the Togekiss, preparing to protect Desmond as he is considered a civilian if something goes wrong, the Jubilee Pokémon kept in the air. Dusknoir found a good spot that he wouldn't be discovered.