near the last known location of regirock's tomb, several trainers have stumbled across an ominous opening. inside, they will find the ruins of the legendary titan, riddled with traps, treasures, and the mystical unknown. no one knows what awaits them but one thing is for sure — a new arc begins. despite the thin veil of peace, the public still faces unease.
after the ultra beast war, hoenn begins to heal. the megalopolan invasion may have failed; however, it is clear there is much more at stake. a prophecy revolving around a cyclical meteoroid, the appearance of necrozma and a dangerous and viral alien threaten the safety of the region once more.
with rocket's new boss, the resurgence and reappearance of the crime syndicate's presence is imminent. the league has done its best to repair its reputation, and with the victory of a war under their belt, perhaps it is enough. but the seeds of distrust have already been sown in the ravaged land of this region, causing many to wonder what will grow?
He'd been sent out to Rustboro in order to investigate reports of a Pokemon obstructing the path through Rusturf tunnel; apparently an Onix had curled up to take a nap and was absolutely refusing to budge from it's position.
Only when he gets there, it's not an Onix that slumbers in the path.
"Uh, yeah," he mutters, over the radio. "It, uh, it's evolved. Yeah, I was just as surprised. I'll — I'll deal with it, I know we've got our hands full with the weather and all."
The radio goes silent and he stares at the slumbering giant with a sigh. He didn't want to harm the wild Pokemon if he could in any way avoid it. This was its home, inconvenient as it was for the humans that wanted to pass through unhindered.
So when he hears footsteps echoing from behind, he turns with an apologetic grimace. "I'm sorry, ma'am, but you'll need to find another route for the time being." He's sure she knows why, but he gestures to the metallic titan all the same. "Unless you'd care to help me move it out of the way? I'm looking to cause as little damage as possible — to the Pokemon and the tunnel."
notes: lmk if anything needs changing! figured steelix was a fun one; orion's got more pokemon with him, just didn't want to commit to which ones right off
Her footsteps don't echo quite as loud as they used to - maybe she's stepping lighter today. Her thoughts are jumbled, her mind is ticking but she can't seem to sit still. She's restless.[break][break]
And now frustrated and mildly annoyed to find that there's not just a person in her way, but a giant sleeping Steelix. It's body is completely motionless as it lays there, blocking the path. There's no way around it.[break][break]
The man speaks to her, throwing an apologetic frown over his shoulder. Her expression remains muted and moody and she offers no relief.[break][break] "Rangers asking random civilians for help? How short-staffed are you?"[break][break]
She says this mostly under her breath, a fleeting comment that she mildly regrets the moment she's said it. With a small sigh and a roll of her shoulders, she closes her eyes and shakes her head from side to side slightly in exasperation.[break][break]
The regular routes had been blocked up with terrible drivers and citizens desperate to get home for the holidays and the like - so she had stuck with using underground traveling routes and keeping a low-profile. She was listless, bored, anticipating something, anything. I guess this was her sign.[break][break]
"Fine, fine. I can't guarantee as little damage as possible - I'm no ranger."[break][break]
From her belt she releases a Noivern. The Pokemon's eyes adjust easily to the dim light and she crouches next to Emma, waiting for orders. There's a poise to her shoulders, a determination that is unlike a regular trainer's Pokemon. [break][break]
"Make that Steelix move."[break][break]
And so, Noivern begins to send supersonic noise bursts down the tunnel, her clicking impossibly annoying and hard on the ears. Her own ears quiver atop her head as she performs her duty.
The woman seems irate; Orion doesn't miss the muttered comment thanks to the quiet of the tunnel, and his eyebrows disappear beneath dark, disheveled bangs.
"Very," he replies, dry. "Between the freak weather patterns and the usual calls? Very."
They're doing what they can, and he resents the implication that asking for help is some sort of desperate measure. Which — fine, it kind of is, but what the hell is he supposed to do about it? This was his job, he couldn't just throw up his hands and walk away because the Pokemon had evolved to pose a much greater problem than the one he'd been called out to solve!
He bites back any further derisive comment he might have made if he wasn't on a job, telling himself that she's probably just frustrated by the inconvenience. It doesn't make him any less annoyed, but it helps to temper his reaction.
"I appreciate the help," he says, instead.
She sends out a Noivern, and Orion has the presence of mind to cover his ears before the supersonic shrieking echoes down the tunnel. Steelix, in its slumber, is not so lucky: it stirs with a grumbling akin to a rock slide, its massive metallic form slowly beginning to uncoil.
Any hopes Orion might've had that the creature would simply tunnel back into the earth and leave them be are dashed across the rocks that are suddenly hurled down the tunnel toward them. Orion's Absol detects the threat and leaps in front of the boulders heading for the Noivern, rocks breaking apart as they slam into the dark-types horn.
"Right, so much for peaceful resolution." He sounds more focused than upset, slipping into the confidence he can only possess under threat of death and grievous bodily harm. A flash of light illuminates the cave as his Swampert is released, snarling. "Looks like we're fighting."
Emma is quickly aware that Orion had heard her backhanded comment - but she offers him no apology or indication of remorse. Instead, she remains stone-faced and placid. [break][break]
It doesn't surprise her that the league is unable to hit all the bases. They've never been good at spreading themselves thin, never willing to ask for help. Perhaps that's why she reacted so coldly, she was surprised that he had even asked for help at all. It was very unleague-like.[break][break]
Which is probably why she agreed to help despite not particularly feeling generous. [break][break]
So when he accepts her help, she once again responds with silence, because she doesn't really care if he's grateful or not. She will do what she wants to do, and that's all.[break][break]
Noivern's boomburst seems to have been effective, and as the dragon reclines back and adjusts her wings, she stands stoically as the man's Absol leaps in front of her to protect her from the Steelix's retaliation. Emma feels gravel mark her cheek, a thin line of blood stretching across her cheekbone.[break][break]
Orion makes a comment that goes ignored, because she's already reaching for two more pokeballs. A Houndoom and Umbreon stand at either side, the demon dog's mouth froths with anticipation, his eyes wild as his wickedly hooked horns angle down, illuminated by the fire between his teeth.[break][break]
"Deal with it, quickly."[break][break]
Noivern sidesteps as the two canine Pokemon launch past the bat. Houndoom's howl reverberates the room and he slides to a halt before blasting an intense flamethrower down the tunnel, it's power boosted by some mysterious power granted by Umbreon's helping hand. The flames lick angrily up the side of the Steelix's metal hide, melting it.[break][break]
She's not much of a talker, and that suits him just fine.
Orion presses himself against the wall of the tunnel as a wave of intense heat and flame burns a path toward their foe. Emma's Umbreon reminds Orion of one of his own companions, and he recalls his Absol in order to send out an Espeon instead.
"Schism, Hydro Pump! Assist him, Del!"
As Swampert braces itself, the red gem upon Espeon's forehead gleams and flashes, bright in the sudden darkness that had followed the flame. Her psychic energies are transferred to the mud fish, whose entire body skids backwards with the empowered force of his hydro pump. Assisted by Delphi's helping hand, the torrent of water slams into the Steelix; it does not budge even under such force, its heavy metallic frame holding fast, but the snarl of pain assaults Orion's ears with a sound like grating metal.
Steelix lifts its massive tail before attempting to slam it down upon the offending Swampert, but a quick burst of psychic energy from the Espeon directs the attack into the ground, instead.
The Umbreon, following his partner's flaming attack, notices immediately the feminine and elegant presence of his evolution counterpart. For a moment the dark type Pokemon is distracted, intrigued. Emma's energy seems to radiate irritation or a warning, however, and her focus on his body forces the Pokemon to refocus and pointedly stare at only the Steelix.[break][break]
"Do not lose focus."[break][break]
Emma's Pokemon continue to repeat the same strategy because, despite the Steelix's attempts to defend itself and fight back, it has begun to retreat.[break][break]
It's impressive to watch the Espeon psychically redirect the wild Pokemon's tail into the ground instead of crushing the Swampert, and Emma watches cautiously as her Houndoom launches forward to snap his jaws tight at the base of it's tail - flames licking between his teeth as he contines to utilize his fire fang attack. Umbreon is focused only on his helping hand, it seems.
Orion's Espeon seems either oblivious to the presence of the Umbreon, or simple uninterested. Orion, however, does not miss the way the dark-type's attention shifts to his Pokemon, nor does he miss when it shifts away under his trainer's influence.
She hadn't even opened her mouth. Briefly, Orion hopes that she's kind to them... but only briefly, because the screech of the Steelix is loud enough to hurt his ears and draw his full attention back to the battle.
"There's your opening, Schism! Take it!"
Though his defences were lowered thanks to the grating sound, the Swampert doesn't hesitate to heed the command. He rushes the dual-type, throwing up a wide guard to protect himself and Emma's Pokemon from another rock slide. With the Steelix's attacks wasted, Schism attacks by hammering his arms against the body of the metal snake, pummeling it as it snarls and writhes.
Steelix digs itself into the earth, and for a moment everything is silent.
Was it gone?
Not quite. It erupts from the tunnel it had created, slamming into Delphi and throwing her against the wall. She does not get up from where she falls, but Orion is reassured to see her chest rise and fall with ragged breath. He clenches his jaw.
Emma is neither kind or unkind. Her Pokemon are assigned to protect her, and they know their jobs or she leaves them behind. There is no love from her, and whether or not they feel any emotion stronger than a desire to complete their task - is lost on her.[break][break]
The Steelix's screech is deafening, and for a moment Emma's ears ring terribly. Her jaw tightens as her posture crumbles, ears clasping to her ears as pain makes her entire body tremble. They needed to get out of this cave before their eardrums burst. [break][break]
Noivern seems even worsely affected by the noise, her gigantic ears swallowing the grating noise more effectively than most. She, too, crumples under the noise and cries out in agony, her ears shaking as she struggles to recover.[break][break]
Orion's command for his Swampert is muffled as the woman blinks her eyes open in time to watch the dual-type charge. She doesn't catch if the attack lands, but she witnesses the Pokemon disappear under the earth. The cave trembles for a moment before falling deathly silent. She can hear her own heartbeat pound in her ears, her breath slip past her lips. Emma sucks in a breath just as the Steelix re-emerges, and she takes a step back, arm rising to shield her face.[break][break]
Noivern has slapped her wings back, protecting Emma from debris that threatens to crush her, but the Steelix isn't interested in them. It's pinned and slammed the Espeon before retreating. Umbreon's ears flatten as he watches the Pokemon lay motionless. One paw moves forward, as if he's considering coming to her aid.[break][break]
His trainer misses this moment of hesitation because her focus is rattled. The ground is unsteady and she's overstayed her welcome. It's become dangerous and unstable and the Steelix has only grown more aggressive.[break][break]
"Drive it back, Noivern."[break][break]
Muscles are taut in the dragon Pokemon's shoulders as she drags herself foward. Her ears pivot to face the Steelix just as it acts out, preparing to slam and decimate the wounded Espeon in her vulnerable state. Moments before the Steelix could retaliate, deal what might have been the final blow, a flash of black and gold charges between it and the Espeon, his teeth sinking hard into her purple fur as he uses quick attack to grab hold of her and pull her from harm.[break][break]
Noivern has generated an incredibly hot and uncomfortable heat wave in that window, the powerful fire-type attack forcing its way down the tunnel and culling any oxygen. The air is tight, humid, painful.[break][break]
Umbreon breathes heavily, as does Emma and her Noivern. It's unclear in the mess if Steelix still moves.
Orion's ears hurt with the magnified screeching in the tunnel, but his concern is focused upon the Pokemon: his Espeon, collapsed and shaking, the Noivern whose own ears must hurt far worse than his own.
Steelix blocks Swampert's access to the violet-furred creature, and Orion knows better than to dash in front of the aggressive steel snake himself. He's lost track of what pokeball is hers in all the chaos, and sweating palms fumble the wrong one as his Absol remerges.
It's a different dark shape that saves the day, a blur of black-and-gold that rescues its psychic counterpart right before a wave of heat blazes down the tunnel and drives the Steelix back.
In the calm after the chaos, Orion coughing in the dry air, he forgets Emma and instead directs his thanks toward her Pokemon, his voice shaking with emotion. "You rescued her. Thank you."
Espeon stirs under her trainer's touch, Absol nudging her with his horn and helping to support her weight as she struggles back to trembling paws. She holds one paw up, having flinched when she tried to put her weight on it. Broken, Orion thinks, and presses a gentle kiss above the gem in her forehead in thanks before returning her to her ball.
"I need to take her to a Center," Orion says, this time directed at Emma as he straightens up and dusts debris from his pants. There is no sign of the Steelix; he thinks it must've fled down its tunnel to escape the heat, and it does not return. "Thank you for the help. Is your Noivern OK?"
He'd noticed her pain during the battle, and concern colours a tone that's otherwise reverted to its stoic, serious state.
Umbreon stands over the broken figure of the Espeon for a long moment, only moving when she seems to regain conciousness. By that time, he's retreated, eyes unreadable and posture stiff. There's the subtlest tail movement at Orion's thanks. [break][break]
The dark-type Pokemon nimbly crosses the tunnel to return to Emma's side when the Espeon is returned to her pokeball. He averts his gaze, staring down the tunnel after the Steelix that had since disappeared.[break][break]
At the mention of her Noivern, Emma glances at the Pokemon whose head hangs low - eyes dim with pain. Orion seems concerned, something that surprises her. Emma remains quiet for a moment. [break][break]
As she says this, she returns the Noivern to her pokeball and the tunnel seems to swell with more light from the other side. The dragon's body and wings had been blocking it. Umbreon remains a mere shadow at his master's heels. His glowing gold hoops blink softly.[break][break]
The woman watches Orion's face for a moment as if looking for something. It's unclear what her thoughts might be as she makes her way past him, following the direction she had previously come from. It seemed she had changed her mind on following the tunnel as she had originally intended.
She's a difficult one to read, this woman. Where Orion's composure had shattered upon seeing Delphi in agony, Emma seems to consider her Noivern's suffering as an afterthought. She'll survive.
She stares at him, and he stares back, gathering the words with which to confront her. Before they can form into coherent thought, the woman is gone; she disappears down the same path she'd came, and he finds himself more baffled than before. Had she not meant to take this route? Was that not the entire reason she'd agreed to help?
Disconcerted, Orion spends a quiet moment checking his Swampert and Absol over for injuries before returning them to their pokeballs and surveying the damage to the tunnel. It's more than he'd have liked, but it doesn't appear to be in any imminent danger of collapsing. He pulls out his phone to take pictures for his report, then heaves a long sigh and heads off in the direction of the Verdanturf Pokemon Center.