Groudon was supposedly deep in the tunnels of Terra Cave, slumbering in a chamber filled with molten lava, but Team Magma's expedition hadn't run across the legendary. Alex and a few other members of Team Magma, as well as their leader, had been searching through the caverns for almost two hours and still haven't found anything. After so long their leader ordered them to rest for a few minutes to catch their breath. Alex found himself grinding his teeth. They had come so far! He reached to his belt, pulling off the ball that held his most trusted Pokémon.
"Xanthe! Come out!" he called the Roserade, greeting him in their usual way.
"I need you to search a little further up ahead for us. We know Groudon is here, but we just don't know which path. Now go."
The red-clad Grass-type nodded, turning and going down one of the paths.
Team Aqua was having no such luck either. The search had lasted over an hour as of yet and Archie wasn't about to stop this soon. Kyogre was bound to be deep in these cold, damp caves, in a chamber full of saltwater, sound asleep, just waiting for him to catch it…
Unbeknownst to them, Team Magma was just up ahead.
Xanthe heard noise up ahead and sprinted a bit towards it. He realized it was the sound of humans and stopped, tiptoeing to the edge and looking around the corner. His eyes widened a bit at the sight of Team Aqua.
He was about to turn back around to warn everyone when he spotted Ferroco. The Dark-type was turned around, staring at a wall as he thought about something while waking at his trainer's side. He was close enough that if the Roserade made a noise he would turn around, but so would a few others. So instead he just threw a small pebble, successfully making the Cacturne turn his head.
Ferroco picked up the pace a little to round the corner before anyone else in the group… and for once was not at all thrilled to see Xanthe.
"What is Team Aqua doing here!?" The Roserade spat, not meaning to sound harsh. His eyes conveyed his concern, but before Ferroco could answer he heard footsteps coming from the opposite direction. Xanthe turned around just in time to lock eyes with Alex. The man gaped at him before glaring at the Spaniard.
"It's that Cacturne again!" He growled out, darting over to the two of them. The rest of Team Magma ran into the open cavern just as Team Aqua rounded the corner.
"Mierda…" Ferroco muttered under his breath, backing away to his trainer's side. He was already in more than enough trouble for refusing to battle Xanthe a few days ago; best not to make it worse…
"Hmph. Seems great minds think alike, Maxie," Archie came to the front of his group.
The leader of Team Magma did the same, his shoulder length red hair swaying as he stood firmly in front of the group. He growled a little under his breath, glowering at the man that called him out as he forced a smile.
The men behind him whispered around to each other.
"The boss's name is Maximillion, isn't it?"
"Do they know each other?"
He turned to face them, and the look on his face made them all straighten, silencing their murmurs. He then turned back to Archie, placing a hand on his hip in agitation.
"And what, pray tell, is Team Aqua doing here?"
"Intelligent question," Archie spoke evenly, though the sarcasm was clearly displayed in his tone. "If I'm not mistaken, we're both after similar goals. It is rumored that both Kyogre and Groudon visit these caves on occasion, and we're investigating that rumor to see if there is any truth to it."
Maxie scoffed. "We've been here for a while. If my men haven't found anything, I doubt yours can."
"Your doubts are a little misplaced," Archie smirked. "It seems we've covered as much ground as you have in roughly half the time, Maxie."
He balled his free hand into a fist, taking a step toward the other man. "S-stop calling me that!" A tinge of pink dusted his cheeks as he glared. He saw the man's smirk and turned toward his own men.
"What are you waiting for? Get them!" He pointed directly at Team Aqua and suddenly all the men that were behind him sprung forward, bringing out their Pokémon and getting ready for battle.
"You always did have a short fuse…" Archie grumbled. This wouldn't get either of them any closer to the legendary Pokémon that would help them obtain their goals…
"Team Aqua, hold your own!"
With that command, a huge free-for-all broke out.
Mightyena were at each others' throats, Sharpedo were burned to a crisp, Camerupt were knocked onto their sides, and the screeches of fluttering Golbat rung out in the air above them all.
Maxie glanced back at Archie for a moment before one of the burly man's henchmen challenged him. He gladly took him on, releasing his first Pokémon, a Crobat.
Suddenly loud roars could be heard, echoing from much deeper inside the cave. The men and women from each faction stopped, mid-battle, and ran further down the tunnels to see what was going on. Rocks and boulders fell from the ceilings and at the mouth of the cave, blocking their path. They backed away, gasping at the rubble.
Maxie's eyes darted around and he saw that all the paths leading to escape were obstructed. Water seeped through the cracks between the rocks, beginning to fill the cavern.
They were all trapped.
"Arceusdammit…" Archie growled. He turned back to face Team Magma, and noted that the floor of the cave was already covered by half an inch of water. "Well, Maxie, you started this, now how do you propose we get out of it?!" he demanded.
"Shut up! I'm thinking!" He snapped back, already walking toward the other leader. He noticed his men already trying to break the rubble by using their Pokémon and Archie's men doing the same. He looked back at the man, shifting his weight to one foot."We're not going to get out of here by fighting..." he admitted glumly. "We... we need to pull our teams together and use both our Pokémons' abilities to break through the barriers..."
He jutted out a hand to Archie, looking down at the floor of the cave to avoid eye contact. "So, truce?"
"…For now," Archie agreed, though begrudgingly, taking the other man's hand in his. "Don't think for one second our dispute is over because of this."
"Of course not." He grinned spitefully up at the man. "I wouldn't dream of it."
He shook the other's hand quickly before letting go and going over to his men, telling them of their need to work together with Team Aqua. They all gave him a look like he was crazy before nodding and joining the blue-and-white-clad group at the tunnel they were working on. With a good amount of attacks, the boulders on both sides were smashed.
Unfortunately, this freed up the flow of water.
Everyone was flooded out of the cave without warning, landing--miraculously unharmed--on a dry portion of land just out of the way of the impending destruction.
Maxie's eyes darted around in a panic, making sure everyone was okay before breaking out in a fit of hysterical laughter from the adrenaline. He had managed to land right next to Archie and the dark-haired man started laughing with him, realizing they had just made it out of that death pit alive. The men began joining them one by one until they were all chiding along at the odd circumstances.
But the laughter ended abruptly when the roars of the two legendary Pokémon echoed through the air, bringing their attention to the devastating scene directly in front of them.
The roars were coming from the distance, on the other end of the region. From the mountains, it could be seen that above Sootopolis City, the weather was beginning to act strangely. On one half of the sky above the city, it was pouring heavy rain, while on the other side, the sun burnt harshly. The phenomenon was growing rapidly, and soon encompassed the entire area surrounding Sootopolis…
In the center of Sootopolis, Kyogre and Groudon raged.
Citizens watched in fear and awe as the two clashed. Kyogre blasted a hearty Hydro Pump while Groudon countered with Fire Blast, creating a cover of steam that surrounded them and obscured them from view. Silhouettes in motion could still be seen periodically as both Pokémon blasted beams of light and energy at one another.
Above the roars that rung out and echoed off the rock walls surrounding the city, a shrill screech reminiscent of the sound of grinding steel broke out in the air. The cause: The Hoenn Champion himself, Steven, rode in on the back of his Skarmory and landed flawlessly on the sidelines, only a few feet away from Teams Magma and Aqua.
"You two really went and did it this time." The Steel-type trainer waltzed right up to Archie and Maxie, but somehow didn't seem at all angry. It was that kind of calm tone that let you know you were in serious trouble, like a parent scolding their child.
"You both finally got your wish. Now what?"
Maxie looked to the dueling legendary monsters, then to the soon-to-be-demolished town full of cowering bystanders, and then to the weather phenomenon above. At this rate, the entire region… no, the whole world would be destroyed within hours!
"I didn't wish for something like this..." he mumbled.
"You know damn well neither of us was aiming for this to happen," Archie wasn't so quick to apologize. "And playing that 'high and mighty' shit isn't going to fix it, either."
Maxie sighed tiredly at his old rival's behavior, stepping between the fuming man and Steven. "Look. You obviously have a plan of some sort, so what is it?" he asked, getting straight to the point.
"And here I thought you two already knew the full legend you've been messing with," Steven shrugged. "Countless millennia ago, when Kyogre and Groudon first battled and created the oceans and continents, a third legendary Pokémon came between them and made them cease fighting."
"We both knew that," Archie dismissed being patronized. "But Rayquaza flies in the ozone layer and rarely ever lands, and even when it does, no one knows where."
Steven and Maxie both looked up as an earsplitting roar rumbled through the sky. Steven smirked back at Archie.
"Looks like it's landing now."
"Yeah, right here!" Maxie exclaimed, turning to his men and calling them to flee the area as he, Steven, and Archie did the same in the opposite direction.
The colossal serpent lingered over the other two Pokémon, glaring at them and emitting an irritated screech. The effects of the abnormal weather dissipated as Rayquaza lifted its head up and roared out loud, causing both land and sea to tremble.
The other two ancient Pokémon both hissed at it, but began to back away on either side of the dragon.
Unsatisfied with this alone, the emerald-scaled legendary began to gather a Dragon Pulse in its gaping jaws. It fired the attack first at the land near where Groudon stood, then at the water beside Kyogre, threatening to hit them both.
This convinced the other two to leave altogether. Kyogre let itself sink into the ocean, and Groudon disappeared into a fissure it created, all while Rayquaza glared at the both of them from above, keeping a close watch.
The three men watched as Rayquaza roared once more, bringing normality and order back to Sootopolis before it flew back up into the sky.
Both Teams Aqua and Magma gaped at what had occurred, not noticing the officers headed their way until they were forced to put their hands in the air and kneel on the ground.
Officer Jenny smiled over to Steven. "We'll be taking these guys in. Thanks for keeping them here."
"What'd they do, Jenny?" he asked, his expression cool as ever.
"They brought out Kyogre and Groudon. And you saw that mess those legendaries created." She said it as though it were the most obvious thing in the world.
"These guys had nothing to do with the legendaries breaking free." The bluenette just blinked, but before she could say anything else Steven beamed, "And what mess?"
She pointed out toward Sootopolis. "That me-...!"
Steven just smirked as she realized there was nothing wrong with the town at all. Rayquaza had somehow fixed everything back to normal before it had left.
At her blank stare he just spoke up smugly, "Sooo, they're free to go right? There's no reason to lock them up if there's nothing to charge them with."
"R-right..." She turned back at the other officers with a glum nod. They released the teams, allowing them to stand before heading back to their vehicles. She turned to the leaders.
"Don't think this is over. We'll get you guys!" She said with her playful yet firm tone.
Steven laughed, watching the cars go back down the hill.
"Now that this is over, you two have no business here," Steven turned his attention back to the—luckily non-convicted—criminals. "I suggest you both leave, and take your followers with you."
"You can't tell us what to do," Archie countered calmly, although resentment was lacing his tone.
Maxie just put a hand on his shoulder. "C'mon, Archie. He's right. We have no business here anymore. Let's go."
Begrudgingly and wordlessly, the other gave a nod.
Xanthe fidgeted awkwardly. The air in the mess hall was stifling. Both Teams Aqua and Magma had gone back to Team Magma's hideout, seeing as their aims had been proven unsound by the destruction of Sootopolis. He looked up at Alex, noticing his twitching eye as a sign of irritation. He couldn't help but glance at Ferroco every now and then but for the most part he just kept his eyes glued to the floor directly in front of where he was sitting.
Ferroco remained almost entirely still at Kinsho's side, with his hat angled forward to cover his eyes. The mood in the room was already tense; best not to start anything by accident.
"Damnit, I can't stand this!"Xanthe jumped, looking at Alex as he stood with a huff. What was he doing?
"It's too quiet!" He started walking toward the exit but a member of Team Aqua blocked his way. She stood with her arms crossed, long, wavy, blonde hair swishing as she looked at him."And where do you think you're going? Our leaders told us to stay in here until they finished speaking with one another."
"I'm going to get my stereo. It's so uncomfortable in here and the air is so still that it's practically suffocating. Music may lighten things up. If anything it'll at least fill this empty silence."
Her eyes widened; she obviously wasn't expecting him to say he was trying to improve the situation. Xanthe hopped up, bounding toward his trainer and grabbing onto his arm with a grin. Alex smiled down at him, patting his head.
"You wanna help, boy?"
The Pokémon nodded and Alex looked up at the woman.
"How about you?"
"Do you want to come with? If anything you can just make sure I'm going to come back." He winked, walking past her and out the door. She looked back at her fellow teammates and sighed, following him.
After a little while they returned to the large hall. Alex walked in first with two large speakers in his arms, Xanthe had a crate full of CDs, and the woman ended up carrying the stereo itself. They walked to the farthest part of the room, all eyes watching them, and set down the equipment.
Alex turned to the crowd once he hooked everything up. "Anyone want to look through this stuff and pick the first song?"
Most of Team Magma stood up, knowing full well that Alex wasn't going to stop until everyone was having fun, and went over to the box immediately. The Team Aqua members just looked around at each other, questioning glances of 'should we?' passing by before some of them stood up, going towards the box and sifting through as well.
Only a few minutes passed before music was playing and the team members were talking over what sorts of music they liked. Alex grinned at his accomplishment for a second before Xanthe and a few other Pokémon of his pulled him out to the center of the hall, dancing around him to the music. He just laughed, looking over to some of his friends and motioning for them to join him. His friends laughed as well, letting their Pokémon out and joining the man and his Pokémon.
Xanthe looked up at the man after a few of the Team Aqua members joined them as well, smiling with admiration.
His trainer really was amazing.
In another, smaller room, the two leaders of the teams sat at opposite ends of a conference table, discussing what was to come next.
Maxie sighed heavily, resting his head in his hand. "There's not really anywhere we can go from here, is there?"
"Not that I can tell." Archie folded his arms.
The redhead examined his other hand for a moment, thinking back to when they were young. After a minute of the silence between them he just closed his eyes and set his hand on the table. "What happened to us?" He asked quietly. "We used to be such close friends..."
Archie raised an eyebrow at that question. He should've expected Maxie to bring that up."We had different ideals, I guess…"
Maxie kept his eyes closed, fiddling with his fingers on the hand that wasn't supporting his head. "Sometimes I wonder if that's really what made us split apart..."
"What do you mean? What else could it have been?"
"I..." Maxie stopped as he realized what he was about to say and stood up abruptly, his chair scooting across the floor with a loud screech. "I don't know what I'm talking about. Just ignore that."
"You're thinking the same thing I am, then," the other suspected.
"And?" The redhead paused, looking up at Archie. "What would that be?
"It might sound a bit weird being said out loud…" Archie started, straightening up a bit, "but maybe the reason we split up is because we're too much alike, not different."
"Ah," Maxie could almost feel the comical sweat drop sliding down his brow. "That could be it."
"Even if our goals were different, we went about obtaining them the same way, didn't we?" Archie pointed out.
"Huh," he thought about that for a second, sitting back down with a small chuckle. "I suppose you're right. We did."
"If anything else, we ended up in the same place." The Team Aqua leader leaned back in his chair a little. "Maybe things would be easier if it just stayed that way."
"Archie…" Maxie set his elbows on the table, crossing his fingers and placing his chin on them as he stared across at the raven. "Are you suggesting that Teams Aqua and Magma join?"
"I don't see why not," the latter shrugged.
Maxie gave up his serious face and grinned. "Sounds good to me." He got up, walking over to Archie and leaning on the table to the right of the man. "Our men might not be up for the idea though. The ideas of us pretty much being enemies has been embedded into their heads, you know."
"Too bad it's not up to them," the reply came as a snicker. "If they don't do as we say, they're out of a job."
"Eeh? So cruel!" the redhead laughed, waiting for the man to stand before going over to the door. "Come. Let's tell them of our decision."
Archie followed close behind.
They walked down the halls in comfortable silence beside each other before they stopped in front of the mess hall doors. Noises could be heard from the other side and Maxie arched an eyebrow, looking back at Archie for a second. The raven just shrugged and the Team Magma leader opened the doors, gasping.
Both team members were dancing with each other in the middle of the large room, their Pokémon joyously prancing around. The ones that weren't dancing were all along the walls, immersed in conversation or laughing. Once the doors opened all the way with a loud thud against the walls everyone stopped, looked at the leaders, and paled, straightening and saluting them immediately.
There would've been an awkward silence if music hadn't still been playing, but that only made it even more awkward.
"Well, I can clearly see you're all enjoying yourselves," Archie's tone switched from informal to commanding seamlessly.
Maxie put one hand on his hip, walking through the crowd. All the men parted as he passed, moving closer to the walls. He calmly turned off the stereo once he got to it, turning around on his heel."We have an announcement!" His eyes locked with Archie's, nodding once to let him give the actual announcement itself.
"From here on in," the raven's voice echoed a bit off the walls, "Teams Aqua and Magma are to be joined as one."
Of course, he made sure to say 'Aqua' before 'Magma.'
The members looked around at their newfound friends and gave looks of 'huh, that's cool' before saluting again.
Maxie just patted one of the Team Magma member's shoulders. "And what better way to celebrate than with dancing and music?" He looked to the other leader with a grin. "Right, Archie?"
"I don't dance," was his dry answer to that.
"Sour puss," the redhead grumbled.
"Gabriella?" He called, looking around the crowd. "Gabri-..." A small, dark-skinned woman walked up to him. "Ah, there you are. Why don't you choose a few sturdy men and go down to the liquor cellar?" He turned to the crowd, waving his arm in a ostentatious manner.
"Let's make this a celebration!"
Cheers were heard from all of them before someone turned the stereo back on. Maxie leaned down to Gabriella, cupping a hand over her ear. "And bring a bottle of 1892 to 1923 Chateau to my office." She nodded, going about the room to see who would go with her.
Maxie went over to the other side of the room, patting Archie on the back and leading him back through the doors. "You and I are going to have a little party of our own," he grinned, making a drinking motion with the hand that wasn't on the burly man's back.
"Fine by me," the former smirked. "Just try and keep up."