Chapter Eighteen – Revelations


Grovyle leapt into the air, looking both as flexible and graceful as a ballerina as the grass typed Pokemon tightly grabbed onto the Magma Grunt’s Zubat before sinking sharp claws deep into the creature’s rough purple skin.

“Keep it up!” Cecilia roared to her Pokemon in encouragement, appearing to be loving the fierceness of battle. The Institute technician alongside her was faring a little worse, his Shroomish had been thrown into the glass wall next to Erik as he had entered the building, cracks appearing in the pane from the force of the attack. The technician’s next Pokemon, a Breloom, was barely holding its own against a Magma Mightyena.  

“Cecilia?” Erik asked, unable to believe his eyes that this was the woman who had offered him shelter in her treehouse a few weeks ago. Each previous encounter with the Pokemon researcher had led him to believe she was sweet, innocent and kind, but seeing her now in the heat of battle brought a new side of her to his attention. She combined passion and fury into a seamless blend of fuel for her Pokemon to feed off.

“Finish this!” she bellowed, too ingrained in the fight to notice Erik behind her. The Grovyle, who had been a Treecko the last time Erik had seen it, obliged without hesitation. It was loving the conflict almost as much as its trainer was, as the researcher’s Pokemon leapt into the air again, grabbed the Zubat and threw it into the Mightyena. Grovyle landed gracefully, before firing a barrage of razor-sharp leaves at the duo of opponents, cutting the two to shreds and defeating both of the Magma grunts at once.

“Cecilia,” Erik said again as he approached. The woman tensed and spun around on her heel as if she expected another Magma grunt, but relaxed herself when she realised that it was Erik behind her. “Sorry to startle you,” he added.

“It’s okay,” she smiled sweetly, as if the fiery lady brimming with passionate rage had vanished and the other half of Cecilia had returned.

“What’s going on?” Erik enquired as he scanned the room. They were in the reception area, a desk with an accompanying computer that greeted anyone who entered the building as the pinewood object rested against a thick wooden wall. To the left was a metal door, a sign reading “Staff Only” placed in the centre, and to the right of the room lay a set of stairs, scorch marks ascending them like a burnt snake.

“Team Magma and their boss Maxie are here,” the technician replied. Both his ripped labcoat and the cuts on his face made it look like he was attacked by a Pokemon. “I tried to stop them but there were too many. Luckily Cecilia was here otherwise I would’ve been captured and tied up along with the rest of the tech team.”

“I was here for research purposes,” Cecilia added, her voice taking a more serious tone, “I wanted to write a paper on the effects different types of weather has on certain Pokemon, when Magma suddenly raided the place. Maxie has taken the Institute’s director hostage, but I have no clue as to their intentions.”

“Let’s find out,” Erik said sharply, leading the trio up the stairs and into the next floor, an office-laboratory combination lined with desks and technical equipment.

Immediately two more grunts charged at them, brandishing Pokeballs from pockets in their crimson cloaks. Cecilia’s Grovyle sprang into action, with the technician’s Breloom lagging behind.

“Erik, go to the top! We’ll hold them off,” Cecilia bellowed, with Erik duly obliging. He trusted her to win the fight down here whilst he took down Maxie at the top, it would not only be rewarding to put the Magma leader in his place once more, but to find out his side of the story with Team Rocket.

Erik reached the top floor, a roof of solid aluminium hovering over his head giving the reasonably spacious area a strangely claustrophobic feel, despite being surrounded by glass walls which peered out into the sky which slowly turned to darkness as the sun set. The stairs had led him to a single room filled with a blood-red carpet, with two leather sofas both facing towards a coffee table, sat on a circular rug, lying in the room’s centre.

Shifting his gaze from a mug of spilled tea which was now soaking into the oaken table, Erik eyed a thick wooden door suspiciously. Behind the sofa on the right hand side lay another room, with thick wooden walls and a large door, there was no doubt in his mind that the director and Maxie awaited beyond.

Storming through the first room, he shoved open the door to the director’s office so aggressively that it slammed against the wall and almost fell off its hinges, Erik was met by two familiar faces who had stood guard on the other side; Mylos and Grant.

“Ahh, if it isn’t Erik,” Maxie said coolly as his Koffing menacingly taunted an elderly man in a lab coat. The director looked as if he had seen a ghost, shaking like a leaf in the wind as he cowered behind another coffee table, this one having been tipped on its side and now being used as a shield by the office’s owner.

“We’ll deal with this one, boss,” Mylos said in his usual gruff voice, as if gravel was lodged in his throat.

“No, Erik’s mine,” Maxie ordered, to which the hulking Admin immediately backed down. Grant had remained motionless the entire time, seemingly unsure of which person in the room he feared most as his wide eyes flickered from Erik, to Mylos, then Maxie, before finally returning back to Erik.

“I know you’re just a puppet of Team Rocket,” Erik half-laughed as he uttered the powerful words to Maxie, causing his two minions to cast cautious glances back to their leader. “Giovanni told me everything.”

“And you still refuse to join them?” Maxie smirked. “Good.”

“Good?!” Erik growled.

“Yes. Good,” Maxie repeated, “I wish for you to join us, not them.”

“You’re the same organisation, Maxie.”

“We were,” Maxie replied, remaining as calm as ever, “and they think we still are. You see, when Magma first started out, it was just Mylos and I, along with another gentleman named Tabitha, and a lady named Courtney.” Mylos seemed to tense at the mentions of the other two names, and although Erik did not know why, he assumed he was about to find out.

“We saw humans living in a region ruled by Pokemon,” Maxie continued. “Hoenn was raw and untamed, full of uninhabitable rivers and lakes, seas and volcanoes, mountains and deserts. Pokemon could live there, but we couldn’t, so the four of us made a pact to change things.” The Magma boss stopped to clear his throat, as if speaking of such things was forbidden, but carried on regardless. “We started out by collecting powerful artifacts like precious stones which could forcefully evolve or strengthen Pokemon, to help us overpower any who would eventually oppose us.”

“The four of us had strong enough Pokemon to challenge gyms,” Mylos added, before Maxie shot him down.

“A fair few gyms,” the leader interrupted. “We were never violent however, we were seekers of knowledge, wanting to know how to make the land inhabitable, but had no idea of how to do so.”

“It was Tabitha’s idea to get help,” Mylos spoke again.

“Yes, external help, and as we were at a dead end, we agreed,” Maxie continued. “A month later a man named Giovanni found us at Courtney’s house, my fiancee as it happens. Tabitha informed us that he was a very powerful man looking to expand his enterprise into Hoenn, and was also very much interested in our ideas.”

“But I knew who he was,” Mylos said, sounding regretful, “I’m from Kanto myself so I know all about Team Rocket, and that they were headed by a man similar to the one who came to us that day. I told the rest of the guys he was in charge of a criminal gang.”

“So we declined his offer. But Giovanni is not a man you say no to.” Maxie dropped his head in shame as he forced the words out of his mouth. “He just looked at us and said that if we comply, we will have unlimited resources and backing in order to achieve our goals and put us on the map. If we refuse, he will find other ways of getting us on board. But we remained stubborn in our refusal.”

“We didn’t know then that Tabitha had betrayed us,” Mylos added. “When I moved from Kanto I worked as a security guard for a research institute where Tabitha and Maxie worked, we were all like brothers.

“Two weeks after the visit of Giovanni, Courtney disappeared,” a sorrow had now taken Maxie’s voice whole. “After a further week of no contact from my wife-to-be, nor from Tabitha, a letter arrived in the mail. Tabitha had tricked Courtney into getting on a ship to Kanto, saying the vessel would only take her a short way to the other side of Hoenn where he had made a discovery. My fiancee had been kidnapped and Tabitha given a nice cushy job as a reward, and now if Mylos and I didn’t join forces with Team Rocket, then I’d never see Courtney again.”

“Team Rocket will never give her up, you do know that, don’t you?” Erik said, trying to sound sympathetic. Maxie and Norman seemed to be one of a kind, forced into service to Team Rocket in order to protect those that they love.

“I can only hope, but a contingency has been put in place. We will feign service to them for now, then if Courtney is not returned to my side, we will take Hoenn for ourselves and use it as a base to destroy Team Rocket in Kanto.”

Erik considered informing Maxie of Team Rocket’s true intentions, to bury Magma, but before he could say anything the crimson leader continued.

“I have always been honest with you Erik, join me as my right hand man and help we can take down Team Rocket together.”

“Honest? Then tell me what you’re doing here.” Erik demanded, a slight rage clouding out his other thoughts. Maxie instantly told him the truth.

“We wanted to investigate the effects the legendary Pokemon, Groudon, had on the weather thousands of years ago, and see if we could control it the same way. We could dampen desserts with rain or boil lakes with heatwaves. Humanity would prosper.”

“So what do you say, Erik,” Mylos extended his hand out for Erik to shake as he spoke.

“Controlling the weather, forcing Pokemon out of their homes for us to live,” Erik thought to himself. “Maxie’s motivation is understandable, but his goals are not, and Team Rocket won’t allow Hoenn to fall into the hands of anyone else.” Erik had made his decision. He shook his head solemnly before saying in a voice barely above a whisper, “I’m sorry, Maxie.”

“Then you leave me no choice!” Maxie roared uncharacteristically, speaking of Courtney had caused him to lose his usual calm, collected persona and now he was about to unleash his fury on Erik. “Koffing!”

“Horde, it’s your time,” Erik shouted as he threw his Tentacool’s Pokeball. He now felt more determined than ever to take both Giovanni and Team Rocket down.

The Tentacool stood tall on its makeshift legs, before launching a pulse of water at the Koffing which sent the foe rocketing through the glass, causing shards to scatter everywhere. The Koffing was unable to stabilize itself in time, the force of the blow rendering it senseless as it crashed into the ground many floors below.  

“Watch the glass!” the director screamed, peeking over the coffee table now that the Koffing had stopped taunting him, but he was quickly silenced by a quick slap to the back of the head from Grant, who had remained silent until that point.

A Mightyena was Maxie’s second choice, Erik responding with Dive. Maxie’s new Pokemon faced as much luck as his last, the Wailer hitting the dark-typed foe with a pulse of water much like Horde before her, and just like before, the Mightyena was sent through the now open hole where glass used to be.

Maxie’s Pokemon suddenly shot out a paw and clung onto the edge, but as quickly as it had grabbed the ledge, Dive bounced up and slammed down on the paw, forcing the Mightyena to let go and fall down to the surface, landing directly next to the Koffing.

Two down with ease, and four to go for Erik and his team. A Golbat stood no chance against Dancer with the Pikachu zapping it out of the air as it swiftly attacked her, Erik’s Pokemon taking some mild damage, a couple of faint scratches appearing on her skin. But Dancer remained strong to send a fatal bolt of electricity at her foe.

“This is too easy, and Maxie won’t be going easy on me this time, he must have some sort of trick up his sleeve,” Erik thought to himself.

He remained perplexed as a Numel was washed away easily by Horde, the Tentacool slotting into Erik’s party with apparent ease. Dancer then took down another Golbat even more easily than before, not even taking a hit this time around, leaving Maxie down to one Pokemon, his favourite, Camerupt.

Erik sent Horde out again, the Tentacool’s water type having a double advantage over the fire and ground dual type. Horde moved with surprisingly speed, aiming a violent pulse of water towards the holes in Camerupt’s back, causing Erik to briefly remember that Tentacools are deceptively intelligent creatures, using terrain to their advantage and making use of their opponents’ weak points.

Maxie’s Pokemon responded instantaneously, launching itself into the air and stomping down so powerfully the whole building shook, causing cracking noises to surrounded the room as the glass splintered and smashed with the sheer force of the attack.

Erik kept his focus firmly fixed on the battle, with Camerupt keeping his rear foot powerfully lodged against its opponent, trapping it underneath and choking the life out of Erik’s Pokemon. He had forgotten Horde was also a dual type, with his Tentacool’s secondary poison type weak against ground moves.

Erik grabbed Horde’s Pokeball and moved to recall it, but was unable to aim the device directly at his Pokemon. The Camerupt had placed his body over the Tentacool like a shield, leaving Erik with only one choice, he would have to enter the battlefield himself to save his Pokemon. He stepped forward, but a huge roar from the Camerupt stopped Erik in his tracks as it shattered the glass around them, a blustery wind forcing its way through the gaping holes the glass had left in its wake.

Horde was lost as the life was suffocated out of him. Erik slammed his eyes closed as frustrated tears filled his vision; it seemed to him that each time a new Pokemon was set to become a strong part of his team, they’d be defeated before he could fully establish a bond with them. He had lost so many friends now.

“Please, survive this Horde,” he whispered, feeling a fire rising inside of him as he spoke the words, holding on to a small sense of hope within himself.

An overwhelming brightness engulfed his closed eyelids, like sunrays suddenly bursting through dark clouds, followed by a groan of disbelief by Maxie across the room. Erik threw open his eyes to see the Camerupt thrown onto his back, before a dozen long snake-like tentacles constricted themselves around the Pokemon and threw it effortlessly out of the room, the huge beast crashing to the ground below.

“Horde..” Erik whispered delightedly to himself, his Pokemon had evolved into a Tentacruel at just the right moment and had won him the duel.

He withdrew Horde but instantly felt like releasing the newly evolved Tentacruel and celebrating with his Pokemon, or throwing a taunt in Maxie’s direction, but was interrupted by a loud crashing sound from behind him. The whole battle had proved to be a mere distraction as Grant loomed over the freshly fallen bookcase which now blockaded the only exit from the room as it sat neatly below the handle, leaving the door unable to be opened from the outside.

As Erik pondered why Grant would topple a bookshelf to barricade the quintet in a room, Mylos grabbed him with both arms. Erik felt helpless as the Magma brute dragged him through the room as easily as a Slaking would carry an Oddish.

“Over the edge,” Maxie ordered to his admin.

“You deserve this,” Mylos growled at Erik, as he threw the young trainer over the edge of the building, where the glass once was.

Erik gasped in horror as the ground below stared upwards at him like a death sentence, before feeling a strong grip grab him by the wrist; Mylos had caught him.

“What’re you doing?!” Erik squeaked, unable to speak clearly through the immense fear he now felt as he dangled over the edge, rain battering his face. The wet weather caused Mylos’s grip to weaken.

As Erik slipped slowly to his doom he threw up his free hand, grabbing the Magma admin’s wrist and clinging on for his life.

“Join us or fall,” Maxie hissed, his usual calm and collected persona had vanished into the wind, to be replaced by something demonic. The boss’s voice was almost lost in a blur of rain, wind and fear, as Erik felt his heart beating rapidly, like it wished to punch its way out of his chest and escape the perilous situation.

“He’s not saying anything!” Mylos shouted to his leader. “What do I do?!”

“Drop him,” Maxie replied casually as Erik felt his own grip slipping.

“What?!” Mylos roared back indecisively.

Erik’s hand slipped off Mylos’s arm, the only thing now keeping him from a fatal fall was the admin’s weak grip on his other hand.

“Do it,” Maxie ordered, he sounded as if the decision was as simple as choosing what to have for breakfast.

“I…” Mylos replied, but the choice was taken from him. Erik’s rain soaked hand slipped out of the Magma member’s grasp, faintly hearing the admin shout “NO!” from above.

Erik dropped at pace, the ground below becoming larger and larger as he neared it. He closed his eyes as he accepted the fact it was the end for him. Friends he had lost along the way flashing before his eyes, favourites like Gully, Ziggy and especially Ice stuck in his mind longer than the others as he braced for an impact that never came.

“Follow them!” came a voice that sounded distinctly like Maxie’s.

He felt himself soaring through the air at a fast pace. “Is this what death feels like?” he asked himself, before carefully opening his eyes, only a little, to see Steven staring straight at him; they were on the back of Latias.

The crimson and white creature let out a huge screech as they soared through the skies, through the lands of Hoenn at a casual pace.

“Latias hasn’t really been tamed, so we can only take it slow,” Steven shouted across to Erik, his voice almost getting lost in the wind. “So outrunning those guys won’t be possible,” he followed, pointing behind Erik.

Erik spun his head to see both Mylos and Grant riding atop Golbats as they trailed the duo. He was in a state of shock, feeling his eyes wide open and finding himself unable to speak.

“It’s alright,” Steven chuckled, “you’re safe now. Got yourself in a bit of a sticky situation back there I see. Don’t worry, Latias and I watched it all unfold, you were never in any danger.”

“You could’ve come sooner,” Erik finally managed to say, but Steven just laughed his words off.

“Then you wouldn’t owe me another one!” he joked in response. “You owe me two favours now, and it’s time I took you up on the first!”

“Which is?” Erik enquired, speaking more effortlessly now. He felt fatigue settling in, the events that had transpired at the institute had taken their toll on him, and he now worried if Cecilia and the director had managed to get out of Magma’s grasp in better shape than he did.

“We are going to a small unnamed island in the ocean, off the coast of Hoenn, where Latias and Latios call their home. I believe meteor rocks fell there during the shower that created Meteor Falls, and these space rocks may contain answers I’m looking for about a newly discovered phenomena, ‘Mega Evolution’.”

“‘Mega Evolution’?”

“Some specific Pokemon are capable of harnessing the power of certain meteor rocks, temporarily absorbing the energy stored within to enter a new form. The effects aren’t permanent, however, and the Pokemon reverts to its original state after a short time, and must wait for the power within the meteorite to recharge until it is able to mega-evolve again.”

“What are the side effects?”

“Unknown. As I said, we have only recently discovered the phenomenon.”

Latias landed softly on the island, which was more akin to a huge piece of rock jutting out of the ocean. The land rose sharply towards a square shaped summit at the island’s highest point, the grass covered pathway that led there clouded by thick oak trees. A Latios could be seen nesting at the island’s peak, the creature looked almost identical to his sister, apart from a palette swap. Where Latias was crimson and white, the Latios was aqua and silver.

Erik and Steven silently climbed the pathway, unsure of what to expect. They pushed their way through thickets and low hanging branches from menacing looking trees, the climb to the top was short, however the journey upwards wasn’t as quick as they would’ve hoped.

Steven reached the summit first, waiting a moment for Erik to catch up then proceeding ahead to the Latios. Erik noticed the peak of the island was littered with meteorite, from small powerless brown stone to huge hulking black rocks almost the size of himself.

A sudden screech from behind caused the duo to spin around, as the Magma Golbats landed behind them, Mylos and Grant leaping off in unison. Latios instantly flew away startled, unused to visitors; the beast seemed to Erik to be a powerful Pokemon, so he was unsure why it would flee instead of protect its territory.

“Why’d you do that?!” Steven groaned to Mylos, who had stepped forward ahead of his comrade. “We landed down there so we didn’t scare the Latios off!”

“Oops..” Mylos muttered sarcastically, before turning to Erik. “Err, yeah, sorry for that back there.”

Erik felt an anger surge within him. Mylos had almost killed him, and would have if Steven hadn’t saved him, but the admin just seemed rather bemused by the whole situation. He made sure to keep his cool, but what Mylos said next really shocked him.

“So,” the admin started, “you’re the Pokemon Champion of Hoenn,” he chuckled to Steven. “Not quite the Pokemon World Champion, mind, but impressive anyway I guess. What’re you doing helping this runt?” he asked, pointing to Erik.

“None of your business. Leave this island at once,” Steven demanded. Even when he raised his voice, he still seemed so calm and in control.

“How about we make ourselves a little deal,” Mylos countered. “A double battle, and the loser must leave this island never to return. We will see what little stunt you’re pulling here.”

“Are you insane?!” Grant shouted, before straightening suddenly. “Err.. sorry boss, it’s just.. that’s the Champion, and Erik has beaten both of us before, more than once.”

“Didn’t Maxie give you some new Pokemon?!” Mylos roared. Unlike Steven, you could feel the admin’s fury when he raised his voice. “Besides, I’ve bought my A-Team, just follow me.”

“Deal,” Steven interrupted the duo, speaking for both himself and Erik. The Latias and Latios both hovered above the island, out of range of any wild attacks, but close enough to watch the battle unfold on their home island.

Grant threw a Koffing into the fray, Mylos beside him using a Camerupt. Erik sent Pip out for a taste of battle, with Steven using a Pokemon that he had never seen before, Metang.

Steven’s psychic and steel dual type beast destroyed Koffing with ease, using psychic mind waves to fry the poison type from within. Pip tried to follow up by aiming a water pulse down the hole at the top of Camerupt’s armour, using the same method Horde had shown her in the fight with Maxie.

The Wingull glided towards Mylos’s creature, hovering just above the slow moving beast to launch liquid, but she had underestimated the Camerupt. The fire and ground type Pokemon leapt into the air and grabbed Pip in its jaws, before crushing the life out of Erik’s Wingull with ease. Another friend lost caused Erik to tear up once more, but this time there was no evolution to save his Pokemon.

Dive was out next for Erik, with Grant only left with the Golbat he flew atop of.

“Don’t use that to battle you fool, that’s our only way out of here!” Mylos roared, with Grant immediately stopping in his tracks, a weak “sorry” squeaking out.

Erik’s Wailmer didn’t have to move as the Metang zoomed over to the Camerupt and picked up the beast with surprising ease, tossing it over the edge as if it were a small boulder. Leaving Mylos with only his Golbat, which he also declined to use.

Upon seeing their defeat, the two Magma members recoiled. But Erik wasn’t about to let them leave easily.

“You tried to kill me!” he roared, charging towards the defeated duo. “Do you just do what Maxie tells you?! Are you just puppets?!”

Grant slipped over as he retreated, but Mylos merely held out a hand. “You got us wrong, kid.”

“How?! You dropped me!”

“It’s Maxie, he’s not right. He’s getting paranoid, thinking there’s a traitor in our midst, telling Team Rocket everything that we plan. But he’s wrong, they are one step ahead of us because they have more resources, more manpower, they have Tabitha telling them all about our ways. Maxie is losing his mind, he realises more and more every day that he’ll never see Courtney again, and it’s killing him.” Mylos’s head dropped lower and lower with every word, as if what was occurring to his best friend was tearing him apart internally. “Come on Grant, let’s get out of here.”

Without a word the grunt followed his superior as the two mounted their Golbats and flew from the island, Latios and Latias landing softly back on their homeland as the threats disappeared into the distance.

“I know you’re the Champion, but I didn’t expect you to be that tough,” Erik said in wonderment to his battle partner.

“No Erik, you’re the real star,” Steven replied as the Latios crawled over to Erik and began rubbing his nose against him. “And Latios knows it!” Steven laughed. “The emotion you show when losing a Pokemon is commendable. Usually when a trainer gets a few badges and loses many Pokemon, they become hardened to it, or they begin to see their Pokemon as just tools used in battle. You, however, really do care for yours, like they’re your friends. No wonder Latios wishes to fight for you, he senses your inner strength.”

“He does?!” Erik blurted, before locking eyes with the psychic and dragon dual type. He realised that the two had bonded already. “You do, don’t you,” he whispered lovingly whilst stroking the creature with both hands. “I’m going to name you ‘Soar’.”

“Here,” Steven followed, strolling over to one of the huge hulking black rocks, and ripping out a strange coloured circular stone which was lodged within, handing it to Erik.

The stone fitted neatly into the palm of Erik’s hand. It reminded him of an eye, clear all the way through apart from the centre containing an aqua and silver iris which matched the Latios’s skin. Steven ripped a second stone from the rock, this one featuring a crimson and white centre, before attempting to search for more.

“The stones are usually clear all the way through,” Steven shouted to Erik as he ran his hands along the rock, feeling for any loose parts. “But as soon as a Pokemon absorbs the energy within, part of them enters the stone, creating a link between the two. Because the meteorite landed here, I guess Latios and Latias absorbed the power themselves unknowingly.”

“How do I get it to work?” Erik asked, rolling the stone around in his hand as if it would reveal the answer.

“Just direct it at ‘Soar’, he’ll absorb the energy and mega evolve. As I said before though, the effects are only temporary and you’ll have to wait for the stone to recharge before using it again.” Steven circled the rock once more, but was unable to find any more of the special stones. “Must’ve just been those two, come on, time to go.”

Erik had no clue as to how to fly atop a Pokemon, so he watched Steven do so on his Latias instead, taking lessons in between some much needed sleep as they returned to the Weather Institute. The two had parted ways with a smile and a thank you, leaving Erik facing the Institute Director at the bottom of the tower.

“Where’s Maxie,” Erik asked first.

“He left with Mylos and Grant,” the director replied in a more assured tone than Erik had heard previously. “I think they gave up when they realised we had no information on what they were searching for.”

“And Cecilia?” Erik asked, noticing she was not present.

“She has already left, said something about dropping the paper she was writing as all her notes had been destroyed in the fighting, and taking a new direction in her life.”

“Did she say what that may be?” Erik asked with genuine intrigue.

“Nope, just said something about this whole scenario showing her that she can actually make a difference, whatever that means.”

“Maybe she plans to become a trainer?” Erik thought to himself. “Or maybe take the fight to Magma? Interesting.”

“I must thank you,” the director continued, noticing the silence. “We here at the Institute all keep a Pokemon named Castform to study because of their ability to change with the weather and absorb its effects. I’d like you to have one, as without you, I don’t know what Magma would have done to me,” his voice trailed off as he handed over a Pokeball.

“Absorb? Then I’m going to name you ‘Sponge’!,” Erik whispered to the Pokeball, before seeing it zap off to storage, now that Soar was his sixth Pokemon. “Thank you Director, I suppose I should now continue on the road to Fortree City and the sixth gym!” he barled in excitement as he spoke about the next destination on his journey.

The director smiled back at him as he began his trek towards the next city, the journey wasn’t far at all. So much had happened today but he still had more questions than answers: What next for Magma? Had Maxie really lost his mind? What’s Cecilia’s “new direction”? Along with many more.

He was snapped from his thoughts as he reached the edge of the city, firstly by the entire place being atop trees. Secondly, by another familiar face standing on a wooden pathway between a couple of the treehouses, as May caught sight of him.

“Erik!” she screamed with genuine joy, rushing towards a ladder before descending to greet him.