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Emerald Knights: A Pokémon Sword Story Chapter 18

Chapter 18: Wishing Plot

It took them half an hour before they finally arrived in Spikemuth Town.

The rundown town came into view as Celestia galloped her way across the icy waters, her psychic powers keeping her just millimetres above the surface. She truly looked like a unicorn in a fairy tale performing a true act of magic. Emerald and Sapphire held on tight throughout the ride with Sapphire holding onto Celestia's mane and Emerald holding onto her sister. Of course they weren't properly prepared for a real horse ride as Celestia didn't have the proper gear on so it was a bumpy ride with the two having to put in as much effort as possible just to hold on and keep themselves from falling. Once they arrived to shore, Celestia touched back down on the ground, panting as the effort of running and using her psychic energy to travel over the water had worn her out. Sapphire patted her for comfort.

"Thanks Celestia. You take a good rest now." she said as she returned her to her Pokéball.

The twins charged towards Spikemuth. The town's gates were open so they were able to go straight inside. Spikemuth was a town that lacked a power spot like all the other towns so their Gym was the only Gym in Galar that couldn't Dynamax their Pokémon during battles. This in turn had made Spikemuth largely unpopular with audiences and had left the place in financial troubles. Many places in Spikemuth were closed and the town looked as if it were on the verge of bankruptcy. That had all changed last year when Gym Leader Piers's little sister, Marnie, had entered the Gym Challenge. While she fell in the semi-finals to Ruby, she'd proven to be one of the year's most popular Gym Challengers and had garnered quite a fanbase outside of Team Yell. She'd won many people over with her sympathetic plight, interesting team of Dark-type Pokémon and her cute Goth girl appearance. Even the fact she barely showed any emotions didn't turn people off of her. This plus Ruby's generous donations by giving most of the money she won in her Pokémon battles to the town had slowly started leading towards improvement towards Spikemuth's upkeep. If Emerald and Sapphire had the time to stay and look around, they'd see that many repairs had been carried out to the town's more rundown areas and some of the abandoned buildings had even opened back up again. It was still far from restoring Spikemuth to its former glory but the changes were still evident for all to see and life was looking up for the people living in Spikemuth.

Emerald and Sapphire didn't take any notice as now wasn't the time for sightseeing. They had to deliver Ruby's message and fast. They charged towards the Gym at the end of the street. Marnie was supposedly in the middle of a Gym Battle, hence why Ruby hadn't been able to contact her, so the twins knew they had to go there to find her. They were about to go in until their entrance was blocked by a Team Yell Grunt. He was very fat, his stomach so large that his shirt couldn't even cover it all, and he had a flabby neck and several chins. He didn't look pleased to see the duo. If anything he looked more like he wanted to start a fight.

"Yo, no outsiders allowed. If you ain't a Gym Challenger, you ain't gettin' in here." the Grunt muttered, "And even if you are a Gym Challenger, you have ta wait yer turn cuz Marnie's already in a battle."

"Please sir, you must let us in!" Emerald begged, "We have an urgent message from Ruby and Marnie has to hear it now!"

"Do I look like a Slowbro to you?" the Grunt scoffed, "You must be outta yer minds if ya think I'm gonna believe that malarkey! If ya wanna battle Marnie, ya have ta wait yer turn, so beat it!"

Sapphire refused to budge. She grabbed the grunt by his shirt and gritted her teeth viciously.

"Listen here, fatty!" she snarled, "You are talking to none other than the Champion's little sisters! Do you really think we'd come here and make up some story about having an urgent message for her? You let us in right now or I'll call Ruby to give you a good thrashing for being rude to us! Got it?!"

"Wait, you're…" the Grunt stammered, unable to believe how Sapphire had responded to his rude behaviour and what she'd told him, "Oh heck, I'm so sorry about that! I had no idea! Please, go right in!"

Sapphire didn't even thank him, barging right past him without giving him time to move out the way. Emerald followed. It was useful to have a sister who didn't let anyone push her around! She wondered if the Grunt was only complying out of fear of being reprimanded by Ruby or Marnie for being uncooperative. The two were now inside the Spikemuth Gym, which still had its underground rock concert like appearance with its moody lighting, chain-link fences and aggressive rock music blaring out of the speakers. They could see that Marnie was still in the middle of a battle, but the biggest surprise came with who she was battling with. The twins stared as they saw a purple haired teenage boy standing opposite Marnie. The boy was clad in a Gym Uniform with the number 468 on the back of his jersey. They recognized him immediately. It was Paul! He was Marnie's current challenger!

Marnie too was wearing a uniform. After becoming the new Spikemuth Gym Leader, she'd exchanged her original clothes for the Spikemuth Gym Uniform. Her's consisted of a black and dark pink sports bra with the Gym Logo across her chest, dark pink holey trousers with black stripes and star patterns around and black sports trainers. The sports bra left her entire stomach exposed, which naturally had struck a chord with her male fans.

Emerald and Sapphire could see that Paul was battling with his Rillaboom while Marnie had a new Pokémon they'd never seen her using before. This Pokémon was the Dark/Ice type Pokémon known as Weavile, the evolved form of Sneasel and a species first discovered in the Sinnoh region. Weavile looked like a small feline-like creature that stood on two legs. It had huge claws, a red crown and collar made up of feathers with thinner red feathers on each ear, pale grey fur and a yellow oval marking on its forehead. Marnie had caught it sometime last year and had trained it to be on par with her other Pokémon. It had won her many battles since she became Gym Leader.

"Your Rillaboom's clearly well trained, mate, but it's not fast enough to keep up with my Weavile." Marnie boasted, "Why don't cha just give up now while you can?"

"Only a pathetic trainer gives up." Paul retorted dryly, "Speed isn't everything in a Pokémon battle. Rillaboom, use Frenzy Plant!"

Emerald gasped in amazement as Paul's Rillaboom glowed with green energy and conjured up enormous spikey vines that tore their way up through the ground and lashed out at Weavile. So Paul had taught his Rillaboom the strongest Grass move known to Pokémon kind. Frenzy Plant was a move only starter-type Grass Pokémon could learn and worked similarly to Hyper Beam in which it was very powerful and did a lot of damage but left the opponent vulnerable as they needed to recharge afterwards. To Emerald, it looked like a stronger version of Drum Beating, only it happened without Rillaboom using its drums to activate it. The Frenzy Plant vines shot towards Weavile but as Marnie had said, it was much too fast for Rillaboom and it effortlessly dodged out the way. Weavile smirked, taunting its opponent for missing. Rillaboom panted, feeling completely drained after the attack had missed. Paul gritted his teeth in annoyance. He'd been banking on finishing the fight with the power of Frenzy Plant but it had missed! Now his Rillaboom couldn't move until he'd recharged. Marnie gave a small smile of satisfaction. Even a year later, she still hadn't been able to do the real thing yet.

"Oh dear, now Rillaboom's all burned out." she purred, "What will you do now? Weavile, use Ice Punch!"

Weavile responded immediately. Icy energy surrounded its fist and it pounced towards the immobile Rillaboom. Emerald and Sapphire gasped as the mighty gorilla was punched by the small weasel Pokémon. Rillaboom staggered back, shivering from the Ice Punch but still far from down yet. Paul had raised his Rillaboom to take a hit, super-effective or not, so it would take more than an Ice Punch to take it down. The fight continued no longer as Emerald and Sapphire saw their chance to run in and call out.

"Marnie! Marnie! We need to talk to you right away!" they cried together.

Paul turned in surprise while Marnie looked over to see them running frantically towards her. The Yell Grunts cried out in anger and started yelling at the two to get out of the arena. How dare these brats interrupt an awesome battle that their beloved Marnie was currently winning?! Marnie held up a hand.

"Stop the fight!" she yelled.

The music stopped playing and the lights brightened up now that the battle was called off. Paul glared at the twins in annoyance.

"What the heck are you two doing here? You're interrupting my battle!" he growled.

"We're very sorry Paul! Honestly!" Emerald said apologetically, "But it's important! We have urgent news for Marnie!"

"And before anyone gives a smart-arse remark about "Well couldn't it have waited?", no it can't." Sapphire added.

"Ease off Paul." Marnie said firmly, "I know who these two are. They're Ruby's twin sisters, Emerald and Sapphire. It's nice to see you two again." she said, though her face didn't exactly suggest as such, "So what's so important that you need to interrupt my battle with Paul?"

Sapphire quickly showed her the message that Ruby had given her moments ago. Marnie scanned the girl's phone as she read the text. After she'd finished, all the colour in her face had changed to a boiling red. She looked furious, more furious than anyone had ever seen her look before. It was clear that she was going to explode and that everyone had to take cover before they got burnt by the erupting volcano that was her. Even Paul was unnerved, wondering what it was Marnie had read that had her looking so on edge. She handed the phone back to Sapphire, her face a mask of tranquil fury.

"Thank you for bringing this to my attention." she said coldly, "Oy you lot! Listen up!" she barked, turning to the Yell Grunts that had been watching the fight, "The Champion's got some important information out of Team Royal! She's discovered one of their hideouts is in Spikemuth so I want you all to search every inch of our town and find it right now! First person to find it informs me and my bruv straight away so we can deal with those criminals!"

Paul growled angrily. So Team Royal had reared its ugly head again and were hiding out in Spikemuth to cause MORE trouble?! Couldn't those pathetic losers just cut their losses and go away already?! Team Yell wasted no time in carrying out Marnie's orders, filing out of the Gym very quickly so they could start searching. No criminal chose THEIR town as a hideout and lived to brag about it! As soon as everyone had gone, Marnie turned to the twins.

"You two and Paul can help look too." she offered, "With three strong Gym Challengers helping out, Team Royal won't be getting away that easily."

"Gladly." Paul muttered, "I still owe them for threatening to kill me back in the mine."

Emerald cringed uncomfortably. She too hadn't forgotten about Henry's Gyarados threatening to constrict her and Paul to death just to get Sapphire and Ashley to stand down.

"We'll find them for you!" Emerald declared, "We'll teach those goons a lesson for thinking they can hide right here under your nose!"

"I know you will." Marnie agreed, "You two already have six Gym Badges so you're clearly very strong. And I also know you've been dealing with Team Royal plenty of times already so you know what we're dealing with. You have to admit, it was pretty clever of them to set up camp here. Who'd think to look for them in a ramshackle place like Spikemuth?"

"I thought so too." Sapphire muttered, "Too bad for them that Ruby knows how to make people talk. We'll find them and have everyone that's hiding here arrested before you know it!"

Everyone filed out of the Gym to find Team Royal's hideout. As a precaution, Marnie even ordered a couple of Yell Grunts to close the gates and seal the town off from the outside world. That way, Team Royal wouldn't be able to escape if they tried to flee. Nobody was getting in or out until the hideout had been found. Spikemuth wasn't a large place of dwelling so there wouldn't be many places to search. Still, it wouldn't be easy finding a secret hideout, even in a place like this, so nobody wasted even a minute as they looked. Marnie and Piers searched together with the two siblings using their Morpeko and Obstagoon respectively to try smelling the criminals out. Every Yell Grunt at their command divided themselves up to find the hideout with the strict order to search every corner from every height from top to bottom. There would be no stone left unturned during this search. Some of the civilians were indignant with people barging into their homes to have a nose around but they stopped complaining once they were told why this was happening. Some even offered to help in searching for the hideout.

Emerald and Sapphire were delayed in helping out as they needed to go to the local Pokémon Centre first. Their Pokémon were still exhausted from their friendly match earlier and they couldn't go looking for Team Royal with no Pokémon. Paul was already out on patrol. He still had some Pokémon that were fighting fit so he didn't have to wait. He had Rillaboom, Aggron and Corviknight out to help with his first two searching at ground level with him while Corviknight kept an eye up above. An hour passed by before Emerald and Sapphire's Pokémon were fully recovered and ready to assist them both. They left the Pokémon Centre and split up to cover more ground. Emerald had Kerchak beside her while Sapphire had James Pond. The Water Pokémon's slinky body and ability to scale walls would be useful in looking out for anything suspicious. The twins wished each other luck before disappearing down two different alleys to look for Team Royal. It was fine enough knowing that Team Royal's hideout was in Spikemuth, but the real challenge would be finding where in Spikemuth it was. Emerald eyed up every little building, street corner and rundown area she walked by from abandoned shops to closed garages and even houses that no longer had anyone living in them. How did she know if any of these buildings weren't where Team Royal were hiding right now? She imagined opening the door to one of the houses and finding them all gathered together plotting some foul and wicked scheme together. She couldn't help but smile at the thought. It'd be like she and Kerchak were police officers coming in to arrest the lot of them! Emerald had seen that often in cartoons and always laughed when the police burst in at the right minute to nick the criminals.

The duo spent a few minutes searching. Emerald looked in any place she could look in, going through old houses and abandoned shops. Kerchak did the same, though it was a little harder for him as he was pretty big so he couldn't look anywhere that was too small for him to peer in. He'd wait for Emerald to come over and look in those places. They found nothing so far. Emerald began to feel anxious. Had Team Royal lied to Ruby and Spikemuth had no hideout at all? No, Ruby would've known if the person she'd interrogated was lying! She'd have gotten Houdini to find that out. She'd gotten the right information, it was just a matter of finding where the hiding place was. They'd find it soon! Team Royal didn't have many places to hide in a town like this.

Another quarter of an hour passed until finally, Emerald spotted something. She beckoned for Kerchak to keep quiet as she peeked around a corner and watched something. The teen trainer had seen a man in a hoodie walking up the street and stop by a streetlight for a moment. If he'd carried on walking, Emerald might've dismissed him as some ordinary civilian. His next action told her to keep an eye on him. He'd stopped and turned his head, concealed by the hood, side to side a couple of times before carrying on. Emerald narrowed her eyes suspiciously. A man minding his own business and walking casually down the street does not stop suddenly and check to see if he's being watched. He HAD to be a Team Royal member! Emerald returned Kerchak to his ball. She reckoned she'd have an easier time following him quietly if she didn't have a Pokémon with her. She followed the man, making sure not to make too much noise, and caught sight of him slipping into a nearby two-storey house. The house was abandoned and had a dirty neon sign that would never light up again that said "Spikemuth Kebab House". The owners would've lived in the room upstairs while the kebab house below was the shop they would've run had they still been living here. That told Emerald even more she'd spotted the right kind of guy. Nobody goes into a kebab house that's no longer in service just like that! She ran on tiptoe towards the house and peeked around the door just in time to see the man lift up a pair of floorboards and slide down underneath them. There was something wrong about the floorboards that Emerald couldn't help but notice. They were brand new…and on hinges! The rest of the floorboards around them were dusty and rotten. Emerald shook her head in mock disappointment. If Team Royal somehow thought anyone would overlook a detail THAT obvious, they had rocks for brains!

Emerald crept up to the floorboards and opened them up. The hinges made it easy for her to lift them up. She saw at once there was a flight of stairs leading down to a door at the bottom. Team Royal must've constructed the hideout down here secretly some time ago. Given Spikemuth's rundown nature, they wouldn't have exactly had the resources or people to find out about this, or even notice in the first place, so it was no wonder nobody had spotted them or found this place. Emerald quietly lowered the floorboards and crept down the stairs towards the door. Her heart was pounding with excitement and also anxiety. She'd found the place but she was on her own so anything could happen at this point. The door had a keypad beside it with numbered keys to press. Emerald frowned. So the door needed a code to get in. Just her luck! No…wait, maybe Ruby got that information out of Team Royal too. Emerald took out her Rotom phone and quickly texted Ruby:

I've found Team Royal's hideout! There's a door I need to get through. Did you get the code for it?

Em X

A minute later, she got her response. Of course, Ruby had gotten Houdini to hypnotize Elizabeth into revealing the codes to get into Team Royal's hideouts and she passed on the one to the Spikemuth hideout now. She also added at the end of her message for Emerald to approach with caution and to take great care when she went in. Emerald put her phone away and keyed in the number 1965. The door opened and she let herself inside. The door led to a small corridor that turned to one side. She got down on the floor and pressed herself against the wall, edging close to the corridor. She tried to keep herself calm, worried that if she started breathing loudly she might give herself away. Emerald heard voices, none of which she recognized. She didn't want to peek around the corner in case she got spotted so she stayed still to listen in on the conversation. The voices were a mixture of male and female, and all of them unpleasant sounding.

"Hey Charles, you got back! Anything to report?"

"No Mary, everything's clear. We're safe still."

"Good. We just got here so we can do without having to move out again. Now we're here, let's get down to business."

Emerald heard chairs scraping across the floor and people sitting down at a table. So everyone was sitting down to chat. That was interesting. Emerald got her Rotom phone out and got up the voice recorder app. The possessed item floated up by the edge of the corner to record the conversation. Emerald listened as the woman, Mary, started to speak.

"OK, so Sordward and Shielbert have blown up the previous headquarters so nobody could snoop around and find anything sensitive. You all saw for yourselves the destroyed mansion. They tell us that while they have no idea, they hope that Champion Ruby was stupid enough to go in and look for them."

"I sure hope she wasn't. I ain't OK with killing children!" said one of the men, his voice nervous.

"Well George, you can rest easy knowing that if Ruby did die, it wasn't our fault." Mary replied, "They set the bomb just to get rid of the hideout. If Ruby went in and got caught up in the explosion, then she killed herself. Nothing to do with us!"

"If you say so." George muttered.

"Anyway, we're going to give it some time before we carry out our next scheme." Mary went on, "Our bosses want us to settle into our hideouts and hide away for a while. We'll wait until the people either forget about us or get tired of searching for us. Once they let their guard down, we'll strike!"

"And what exactly is the plan?" Charles, the man that Emerald had followed, asked.

"Gather more Wishing Stars." Mary explained, "Our bosses tell me they still have an agent in the Wedgehurst Lab on standby. She's been in contact with them and told them Professor Sonia's got a new delivery of Wishing Stars coming in soon. Once they give her the all-clear, she's going to steal them all once Sonia's back is turned. That ginger bitch won't suspect a thing!"

"Clever them to have a mole in Sonia's lab." Charles said darkly.

"You bet!" Mary cackled, "And best of all, our so-called "Champion" won't even see that coming! She may have suspected the power plant raid, but not this!"

"Are you sure stealing from Professor Sonia will be enough?" George asked, "I mean she may have a lot of Wishing Stars, but not that much."

"She's got plenty." Mary insisted, "The mole tells us that much. But of course, that's not all we're doing. Sordward and Shielbert have paid some men to dig up Wishing Stars in the Wild Area so we can at least keep a low profile by legitimately getting some Wishing Stars for now. No one will suspect that we're funding them."

"Not until it's too late…" Charles crooned.

Emerald surpassed a gasp as she took all this in. She grabbed her phone and stopped recording. She'd heard enough and had to warn the others about what she'd stumbled across. Once Marnie and Piers knew, they'd storm the place and have Team Yell surround them all so they could be arrested! Then they'd pass on the information to Sonia and her assistant Margot so they could try weeding out the supposed mole in her laboratory. Their plans weren't going to succeed! While it would be wise to send a text to Sapphire and let her know right away, Emerald wanted to leave quickly. If she stayed here to type a text, she only risked being spotted. She'd send the message once she snuck back out the hideout. Emerald got to her feet and turned to go…only to find a Team Royal member standing behind her. Like Charles, he'd been on patrol too and had just made his way back to the hideout, only to find Emerald spying on his mates. He was an enormously muscular man with bulging biceps, a thick neck and wide shoulders. His head was shaven close to his scalp and he had broken, uneven teeth. He looked like a freak and Emerald couldn't stop herself screaming in shock at him. The man lashed out with a huge fist that would've taken her head off if he'd managed to punch her. He missed as Emerald ducked and turned on her heels. She ran off with the man lumbering after her. The Team Royal members jumped to their feet in alarm, wondering what was happening, and saw that they had an intruder. Emerald tried to outmanoeuvre the man so she could run past him and get to the door but he was too fast. He caught her by the backpack and hauled her to him. He then clasped a hand firmly on her shoulder and slipped the backpack off to stop her using her Pokémon to help. He held Emerald out for the Team Royal members to see.

Now Emerald could see them, she saw that Mary, Charles and George were here with several other members of the organization. And most surprising of all…Oleana was with them too. She'd been standing in total silence the whole time Emerald had recorded them talking and her stoic eyes widened upon seeing her. Emerald was disgusted to see that Oleana was with Team Royal. As if trying to kidnap Ruby wasn't bad enough, she had to join these criminals in their petty schemes against her and Sonia?! She now wondered if Oleana had been responsible for Team Royal getting into the power plant last night. That would explain a lot. But Emerald couldn't think of anything other than how much trouble she was in. Mary approached her. Unlike Elizabeth, she wasn't attractive at all. She had a bulging figure that made her look like a walking sack of potatoes and her face was wrinkled with a few strands of hair sticking out in places. If she was in a beauty contest, she wouldn't even come second to a Purugly.

"Who the hell are YOU?!" snarled Mary, jabbing Emerald in the chest with a finger, "And how the hell did you get in here?!"

"P-p-please…f-forgive me f-for intruding." Emerald stammered, "I-I-I'm lost and I w-w-was just l-looking for Spikemuth Gym. I h-heard voices and w-wondered w-what was happening. I'm not doing anything wrong, h-honest!"

"Puny girl spying." the man said in a dopey voice, "Puny girl not here by accident."

"I'll say." Mary growled, "Our door is coded so you clearly couldn't have stumbled across us. You snuck in here on purpose to eavesdrop on us!"

She turned to Charles angrily.

"You stupid idiot! I thought you said the coast was clear!" she snapped fiercely.

"I had no idea I was being followed, much less by a kid!" Charles said feebly.

"Whatever, I'll deal with you later." Mary muttered, "Put that kid against the wall." she ordered, turning back to the muscular man.

The man obeyed, throwing Emerald against the wall. The terrified teen pressed her back against it as Team Royal surrounded her. Her heart was thumping wildly in her chest and her head rained with sweat. She was trapped with no way of getting out of this scrape! Her Pokéballs were in her bag so she couldn't call her Pokémon for help and the man had snatched her Rotom phone after he'd grabbed her so she couldn't phone anyone! Emerald whimpered as Mary glared down at her. Oleana watched on worried.

"Alright you little brat, tell me how you knew where to find us, how you got in here, how much you know and if anyone else knows we're here." she demanded.

Emerald gulped.

"W-w-why a-are you doing this? I-I-I'm n-not doing anything wrong! Th-this is all a m-mistake, I w-wasn't spying or anything!" she pleaded. She hoped if she continued pretending to be lost, they might back off and let her go.

"Lie to me one more time and I'll ask John to break both of your arms!" snarled Mary.

John was the muscular man and he looked disturbingly keen to do just that to an innocent teenager. Emerald whimpered, not wanting to experience what it would feel like to have her arms broken.

"N-n-no! P-please don't!" she begged, "I'm not lying, I swear! I don't know anything and I came here by accident! The only reason I got in was because the door was left open, that's all!"

"She's lying." Charles muttered, "I closed the door behind me when I came back. She clearly knew the code to get in, otherwise she wouldn't be here by now."

"I warned you what would happen if you lied to me again." Mary said crossly, "John, break her arms!"

John grinned malevolently as he approached the cornered girl. Emerald screamed, her eyes streaming with tears as John he reached out to grab her.

"Please, don't hurt me!" she sobbed, closing her eyes so she wouldn't have to witness what was about to happen to her.

"That's enough." Oleana said sharply, "We don't need this Mary. Breaking the poor girl's arms won't do us any favours as all she'll do is just scream and cry instead of answering us."

John stopped in his tracks and turned to glare at Oleana, clearly offended that she'd chosen to interrupt her. Emerald opened her eyes again, tears still rolling down her cheeks. What was going on? Why was Oleana suddenly standing in as if trying to protect her? She shouldn't give two figs about her! If anything, she should want to watch her get tortured instead of stopping John! Mary glared at Oleana.

"I don't recall asking for your opinion, missy." she said sourly, "Remember, Sordward and Shielbert don't exactly trust you given you tried to walk out on them so you better watch yourself."

"I know, I'm just saying that there's better ways of making her talk and breaking her arms." Oleana muttered, "In fact, we don't even need her to talk. You see, I know who this girl is. She is Emerald Silverlock, one of Ruby's sisters. You may remember that Sordward and Shielbert wanted us to kidnap her at one point."

"I thought she looked familiar…" George murmured.

"So if that's Emerald…" Mary mused, "…then it doesn't matter if she doesn't talk! We can give her to Sordward and Shielbert and they can carry out one of their original plans! They can force Ruby to dig up Wishing Stars in exchange for her safety!"

"My point exactly." Oleana said dryly, "It doesn't matter what she knows for she can't tell anyone about it. We'll give her to your bosses and that'll be the end of it."

"You know, you may have redeemed yourself." Mary purred, "They'll appreciate that very much Oleana. John, lock her up in that room! I'll call our bosses so they can pick her up!" she barked.

John grabbed hold of Emerald and hauled her away from the wall towards a door at the other end of the room. Emerald freaked out, flailing wildly but John took no notice. He had an iron grip on her and he wasn't going to let go. Oleana followed him. She smirked to herself as they took Emerald to the room to lock her up. Little did they know that the poor, gormless idiots had played right into her hands. They'd done just as she wanted and now she could help Emerald bring an end to their little operation. Before she'd spoken up, she'd taken one of Emerald's Pokéballs out of her bag. She had it in her hand now and as John opened the door and threw Emerald into the room, she threw the Pokéball in after her. Hopefully whatever was in there could do the job. Emerald didn't notice at first for she was too focused on the door closing in front of her. She heard the horrible sound of a key turning in the lock and John and Oleana walking away. The room she had been locked up in was very small with an opaque window that only offered blurry light through. There was nothing inside at all. This was probably a closest or some storage room. Emerald didn't care about that. She banged furiously on the door as if she was trapped inside with a bomb about to explode.

"YOU CAN'T DO THIS! YOU CAN'T DO THIS! LET ME OUT! LET ME OUT RIGHT NOW!" she screamed at the top of her lungs.

She couldn't be in a worse situation now. For a claustrophobic like herself, this was like a living hell for her. She couldn't be in any room at all unless the door was unlocked and just being in an enclosed area like this was enough for her to start panicking. Fear had overridden all her senses and all she wanted to do was get out. But the door wouldn't budge and Team Royal wouldn't unlock it. She was trapped! Emerald sat down on the floor, breathing so fast that she started hyperventilating. She gripped her chest, convinced that she was about to have a heart attack. The room seemed to be spinning in front of her.

"Oh no…oh no, oh no, oh no!" she babbled frantically, "This is horrible! They've locked me up and they're going to give me to Sordward and Shielbert! What will they do to me? Will they torture me? Will they hack me to pieces?! Or what if they just leave me here to starve to death?! OH RUBY, I WISH YOU WERE HERE!"

She tucked her knees up to her chest and wrapped her arms around her legs. She began to cry. She'd never been more scared and felt more alone and vulnerable in her life. Emerald wanted nothing more than for Sapphire to come in and stop everyone before they could do anything to her. She'd even be grateful if Paul came in and had his Aggron or Rillaboom to smash the place to pieces! Emerald spent a minute or two sobbing before she finally noticed the Pokéball that Oleana had thrown into the room with her. She saw it in the corner of her tear-soaked eyes and looked at it as if she'd been given the magic key to her freedom.

"Oh, a Pokéball!" Emerald exclaimed, "How long has that been there? In fact, is it one of mine?"

She thought for a moment. When John had shoved her into the room, she did hear a faint clattering sound. She'd just been too caught up to realize at the time. So had someone deliberately thrown the ball in here for her? No, that was crazy! Why would Team Royal give her a Pokémon when they wanted to keep her locked up? She frowned bitterly.

"I bet this is some sick joke and the Pokéball's empty or something." Emerald said with a scowl, "Just like those jerks to taunt me like so…"

She sighed heavily. The teen girl didn't have any other choice. She had no way out so the only thing left to do was to try the Pokéball and hope for the best. Emerald pressed the button to make the ball expand to its normal size. Then with baited breath, she threw it. The ball opened up and Kerchak materialized out of it. The Grass Pokémon looked around wildly, confused as to where he was. Emerald's eyes lit up with glee. Of all the Pokémon she'd wanted, it was Kerchak! Team Royal had made its biggest mistake in letting his Pokéball end up in here with her!

"KERCHAK! Oh thank Arceus!" Emerald squealed, "Team Royal locked me up in this room! They want to give me to Sordward and Shielbert so they can use me as a hostage! Please break the door down for me!"

Kerchak didn't need to be asked twice. Roaring angrily, he lowered his head and charged into the door. His enormous strength was all he needed. In one single move, he knocked the door clean off its hinges. Team Royal stared incredulously as this huge grassy gorilla came charging out and pounded his chest savagely. Mary had been on the phone talking to Sordward and Shielbert before Kerchak broke the door down. She couldn't believe her eyes. How did the kid have a Pokémon on her?! They'd confiscated her backpack! That didn't matter now, they had to get away and fast! Team Royal screamed and tried to run but Kerchak ran in front of them and blocked the exit. He bared his teeth and roared at them. He looked very much like an angry gorilla protecting his children and rampaging against anyone that dared to come near.


In a matter of minutes, he knocked down every single member of Team Royal before any of them could fight back. Swiping at them with his huge arms, he threw them across the room and sent them sprawling. Every blow felt like being hit by an iron bar to the criminals. Mary, George, Charles and all the others were down on the floor groaning in agony and before any of them could go anywhere, Emerald grabbed her bag and fished out the rest of her Pokéballs. She brought out Blue, Misty, Tybo, Vixey and Percival to keep the criminals down and stop them escaping. Her Pokémon surrounded them all and kept them close together. Kerchak turned to Oleana, seeing she was the only one left. Her was about to seize her until Oleana held up her hands defensively.

"Wait, wait! You don't have to hurt me! I'm on your side!" she shrieked.

Kerchak stopped what he was about to do and lowered his hand. He snorted, blowing Oleana's hair as air flared out of his nostrils. Oleana winced, worried that Kerchak might hit her anyway. Emerald approached her, her arms folded and a scowl on her face.

"On my side? Rubbish!" she snarled, "It was your idea to lock me up in the first place! You're the one that opened your big mouth and suggested you ship me off to your bosses so they could use me as a hostage!"

"And yet I'm the reason you managed to escape." Oleana retorted.

Emerald hesitated. What did that crazy woman mean by that? How had SHE helped? Then it dawned on her. Emerald's face softened as realization hit her like an ocean wave.

"Wait…it was you! YOU threw Kerchak's ball into the room with me!" she gasped.

"That is correct." Oleana answered, regaining her composure.

Emerald was puzzled. What was this woman playing at? Then she remembered. Mary had said something about her "trying to walk out on them" earlier. It was clear she was still feeling treacherous for now this had happened. Had Oleana been a double agent this whole time and was simply playing Team Royal for suckers? Nothing was making sense and it made Emerald's head spin.

"Why?" she asked curiously, "Why are you helping me now?"

Oleana sighed sadly. She'd been scripting what she was going to say in her head for a while and now she had the perfect time to say it.

"Because I was wrong to ever join Team Royal in the first place." the former secretary explained, "Sordward and Shielbert came to me in need of my services to which if I helped them, they'd help me get back at Ruby for what happened last year. I'd become so resentful towards her that I said yes immediately. But upon seeing that those two are nothing more than crazy terrorists with no respect for Galar, especially the former Chairman's hard work for the region…I came to regret that decision in the end. I was even against them trying to kidnap you and Sapphire as I was worried they'd do serious harm to you. It sounds ludicrous I know, but I'm not as heartless as you think I am. Hearing they'd threatened to blow up Mr. Rose's power plant was the last straw for me. How can I cast my lot in with people who threaten to destroy my former boss's life's work?"

"And so you tried to walk out on them?" Emerald put in.

"Yes. But they threatened to let their Golisopod slice me up if I tried to leave." Oleana said grimly, "I had no choice but to stay. However, I was plotting my escape the whole time and I just needed the perfect opportunity to get away. Thankfully, dear Emerald, you provided that opportunity for me."