Chapter 1: Premonition
An elderly lady is in the kitchen of her small, antique looking house. The soothing aroma of incense filled the living room, overpowering the smell of the hot herbal tea she had only just recently prepared for herself. She wasn't the tallest of woman but she made sure to constantly practice good posture, often reminding the youth of today of its importance. Her hair was grey like a cloud of smoke, and her weary brown eyes reflected the wisdom she had seemed to acquire through not only her age and experience, but through her unique talents.
Lavender Town was known for its connection to the spirits, with the Pokemon Tower housing the body and souls of many pokemon that had passed away. Within this small town there were a few people that had the ability to sense and talk to spirits, but old Madaline was different. Her gift went further than speaking to the dead. She had the gift of foresight. She was the town Seer, visited by many men and women wishing to hear what their future may hold. Today though, she was expecting one of her least favourite visitors. She took a deep breath as she sat down at a small wooden table not far from the kitchen.
"Who are we expecting today Grandma?" said a young, feminine voice. The girl was small and full of young, playful energy. The ponytail that her hair was in made it easier for the girl to clean, as her dark brown hair couldn't fall in front of her face and obscure her vision. Not that the girl cared, but Madaline would pester her about it if ever happened. Madaline had asked her granddaughter to help clean up the shop, hoping to put some of her energy to good use by sweeping the floors, which the girl only did so she would be allowed to go outside and play.
"Nobody you need concern yourself with. Now quickly finish sweeping and you can go play." With those words said, the little girl eagerly finished her sweeping; putting the wooden broom down in the first place she could before she rushed outside, yelling an excited "Thank you Grandma!" on her way out.
The young girl moved hastily out of the house and began to run across the adjacent road. In her youthful obliviousness she failed to see a sleek black car that was approaching. Once she had noticed the vehicle moving towards her she began to scream with fear, fear of a fatal accident that was a very real possibility for her at this moment. Luckily for the frightened little girl, the car slowed to a stop just in front of her. She stopped screaming once she had realised that the car had stopped moving and that she was perfectly fine. Her attention was then turned to the car once the doors began to open.
The black door on the driver's side opened, and a well groomed man dressed in a black suit emerged. He moved towards the back door, placed his hand on the handle and opened it in a manner that left the passageway out of the car clear and him on the opposite side of the door. The man that stepped out of the back seat was also well groomed, but carried himself in a different, more dominant manner. He carried not only confidence, but a sense of authority. With the driver obeying his every whim without question, it was obvious the man was of some importance. His attire was also a black suit but with no tie or belt. He wore a plain grey shirt underneath the black blazer that was buttoned up. The blazer had a symbol on the left side, a noticeable red 'R' barely fitting on a grey shield. His hair was short enough that it wouldn't need to be combed when he dressed formally. The driver closed the door behind his boss once he stepped out completely.
"Stay here. I will come out once I'm ready and no sooner." The man said in a demanding manner as he quickly fixed up his suit. "Do you understand?" He said without facing the man, expecting him to follow blindly as he usually did.
"Yes sir." The driver replied obediently. He looked towards the little girl who stood there watching them both intently. "And what of this little girl? Isn't she the granddaughter of the seer?"
"Keep her close. We may have use for her should old Madaline refuse to cooperate." He said unsympathetically before making his way to the old house, opening the door and stepping inside.
A rush of lavender incense hit the man's sense of smell like a powerful gust of wind, yet it did not seem to bother him as he had been inside this place many times before and was accustom to Madaline's abundance of candles. The house's dark green walls along with the dark brown curtains that covered the windows were too dull for his liking, but who was he to lecture an elderly woman about style. He visited this house a few times previously, as the old seer appealed to his superstitious nature. Many of his followers felt it strange that somebody of his stature would believe the words of a poor old lady, but none dared question him.
"Giovanni, back for another reading I see." Madaline said calmly, sitting at her round, wooden table decorated by half a dozen lit wax candles. She slowly raised her wooden cup up to her mouth to slowly drink the hot tea.
"Lady Madaline." he replied as he approached the table, taking his seat adjacent from her. "I knew you had the gift of foresight but I didn't realise you also had a talent for stating the obvious." She found it hard to work with a client such as Giovanni, but she knew of the consequences should she not cooperate. After all, he was the leader of the infamous Team Rocket, a secret the population of Kanto had yet to discover. She had only learnt of his true identity because of her power. "I'm a busy man and don't like to have my time wasted." he paused as he placed his hand at the centre of the table. "So if you would kindly proceed."
"Of course..." Madaline responded, her lack of willingness to help the crime boss was overpowered by her fear of disobeying. She reached out with a single hand to grab his, gently squeezing it as her eyes began to whiten. She began to breathe heavier, but not faster, taking in bigger breaths and exhaling an equal volume. The flames upon the candles began a synchronised dance that seemed to match her breathing. They intensified for a moment, the flames burned bright as Madaline continued her breathing. Images began flashing through her mind. Visions of a boy, a young teenager, opposing Giovanni. The images were flashing too quickly for her to make sense of them right away. She began to calm her breathing in order to better see the vision. A boy wearing a red jacket opposes Giovanni and his beloved Team Rocket, defeating him in a pokemon battle and forcing him into hiding. The vision skips further ahead, to another boy. This boy was different, as if he was the polar opposite to the young hero that would defeat Giovanni. All she could see was this boy, smiling a devilish grin before making out an army of silhouettes behind him, all bearing a red 'R' on their chest. A quick flash showed an image of sixteen metallic-like plates, all shining with a different colour and power. They spiralled around the boy as he began to laugh maniacally. Then it was over. The flames stopped dancing, her eyes faded back into their original brown as she hastily removed her hand from Giovanni's.
"Tell me. What did you see?" Giovanni asked, his eagerness well hidden. He could tell that the old seer saw something important. Normally when Madaline performed a reading she would be completely calm afterwards, but the way she removed her hand from his own, combined with a flicker of fear in her eyes told him that she had witnessed something significant.
"I saw a teenage boy in red oppose you. He will defeat you and your team of thugs." She said before pausing, not willing to tell him the whole truth of what she had seen.
Giovanni could see through her charade. "Do you think me a fool Madaline?" He asked as he stood up casually, fixing up his suit before reaching into his jacket and pulling out a pokeball. He opened it, releasing a quick burst of blinding light that revealed a thick, bipedal purple monster, standing a little over four feet tall, it's back covered in poisonous barbs that trailed down to its powerful tail. "Did you know that Nidoking are known for going on rampages for little or no reason?" he began to explain, his pokemon standing obediently at his side. Madaline knew of the reckless beast, and knew how hard they were to control. Yet this man had one on a leash. "I know you're not telling me everything Madaline. I'm surprised to be honest..." he said as he began to wander to room, looking over all of her possessions with fake interest. "... as a seer I would have assumed you'd be aware of what I might do should you defy me." He paused for a moment, a grin emerging on his face. "Your granddaughter is outside with one of my men. Should I provide you with a demonstration of Nidoking's power?" He clicked his fingers and the stocky purple beast whipped its powerful tail to effortlessly destroy the wooden table. The force of the impact sent the elderly woman to the floor.
"Please no..." Madaline said as she cowered against a wall.
"What a beautiful display of power don't you think? I'd hate to see a human face such an incredible beast."
"There were two..." she said in an outburst of desperation, the thought of his Nidoking being sent after her granddaughter broke her will to oppose him.
"Please continue." Giovanni said confidently.
"Youth... Youth may be Team Rocket's destruction..." she paused for a moment, collecting her thoughts. "...but so too shall it be its resurrection. I saw a boy leading Team Rocket to new levels of dominance."
"You see? This all could have been avoided had you said that in the first place." He stated as he returned his pokemon back into its ball. "I told you how I don't like having my time wasted." He placed the ball back in his jacket and began to walk out of the house. "Until next time, Lady Madaline."
Madaline could not move, the fear still gripped her tightly in place. Even though she told Giovanni of Team Rocket and their new leader, she was still haunted by the image of the sixteen plates and their connection to that boy. Something about that thought plagued her mind. She was glad Giovanni didn't find out about the plates, but that didn't make the images any less terrifying.
Stepping outside, the driver quickly opened the door for his boss before getting in the driver's seat and driving off, leaving the little girl to once again be free to play. Instead though she ran back inside her grandmother's house crying.
"She knows something." Giovanni commanded as he looked outside to the passing scenery.
"Why didn't you stay and get the information out of her?" the driver asked.
"Fear is a powerful weapon. Put enough fear in someone and they can tell you everything, but put too much fear in them and you cripple them, making them useless to you. We will return in due time"
"You're wise beyond your years sir. Where are we heading to now?"
"Go to Vermillion City. I have an errand to run."
"As you wish boss."
The smell of the ocean breeze travelled through Slateport city on a current of cool air, an air that comforted all the residents and visitors of the Slateport Market. The collection of shops was the only one in the region to locate itself outside in the open air, but that is what made it such a welcoming place to shop. Not only were the items and gifts to buy harder to find anywhere else in Hoenn, but the scent of the salty sea made these markets in particular a truly unique shopping experience.
A young boy wandered through the markets, his loyal pokemon resting on his shoulder. It was a small purple impish creature with pointed ears and eyes that resembled the gems that it loved to feast upon. It didn't sit calmly on the boys shoulder, its round head moving erratically in an attempt to absorb all the different shops and their selective goods. The boy wore a serious expression on his face, an unwelcoming look that the happy shoppers didn't really care for, too busy spending their money on rare goods.
"You there! Young man!" Said a loud voice demanding attention. The boy looked over to a market stall to see a tall and muscular man pointing at him. His expression remained stagnant as he turned his head in the man's direction. "I see you have a Sableye! You must be a pokemon trainer! Come over here I have something for you!" The boy looked at his purple imp before casually approached the muscular man.
"What do you want." The boy said. Now that he was at the stand he could see the kind of items the man was selling. Judging by the small brown bottles with labels such as 'Protein' and 'Zinc' he assumed that the man was selling some form of pokemon or human supplements.
"I can make that Sableye of yours into a real threat on the battlefield!" He said enthusiastically as he grabbed the boy with one arm and held him at his side as he began to wave his other hand in the air, as if gazing upon the stars. "Imagine having this small pokemon being stronger than a Machoke! Imagine it having more speed than a Manectric! Imagine defeating the Elite Four as your single Sableye takes them to school!" The boy broke free of the man's hold and took a step away from him.
The boy walked away from the stall, his Sableye no longer on his shoulder. This didn't seem to concern the trainer as he casually began walking through the markets once more. Suddenly a shadow began to move on the floor behind him, quickly travelling from shadow to shadow, getting closer and closer to the trainer until finally reaching him. A small black form appeared on his shoulder, slowly gaining colour until the small purple imp could be seen clearly again. In its hands it held a small collection of bottles from the stall they just visited, and the boy held out his own hands so the imp could hand over the stolen goods.
"What an idiot. That was almost too easy." He said, the imp nodding enthusiastically with a proud smile on its face. "Now quickly grab us something to eat and we'll have some lunch, alright Grim?" The Sableye clapped its hands in front of its chest, as if showing off the ruby he had there before disappearing into the shadows once more to fetch some food for him and his trainer.
They sat down under a tree on the outskirts of the city, eating the fresh bread rolls that Grimalkin had stolen for them. The boy ate his roll just as eagerly as the imp had, the hungry pair making quick work of their meal. The little imp let out a small burp as he finished. Then suddenly there were a few men standing before them, all wearing a dark blue uniform with a badge. Standing with the men in blue was the owner of the supplement stall.
"That's him! That's the thief that stole my stuff!" The man said angrily as he pointed an accusing finger at the young trainer.
"Have you been stealing from the kind folk at this market boy?" said one of the police officers, his hands sitting on his belt as be looked down at the boy.
"Wasn't me." the boy said.
"Something tells me it was you."
"I've received reports of thefts from other cities too. Verdanturf. Mauville. We guessed that you'd eventually show up here in Slateport judging by your movements. A teenage male and his Sableye. Not only that but this man is a witness." The policeman said to the boy as he held his arms out and looked at his fellow officers. "How dumb do you think I am kid?"
"Dumb enough." the boy replied, his tone never changing throughout the whole conversation.
"Enough of this! Arrest him!" The stall owner screamed. The policeman nodded and the other officers began to approach the boy, who immediately stood up and began backing up. He turned and began to run to the city exit but was blocked off by more men in blue.
"I'm not dumb enough to give you a way out kid. Now you're coming with us whether you like it or not." The police had the trainer flanked and were closing in on him. All of a sudden a pair of small purple hands reached up from out of the trainer's shadow and pulled him down into it, making the men in blue tackle each other instead of the boy they thought they were going to get.
"I guess we overstayed our welcome Grim." The trainer said as he crept around the buildings, trying to stay unnoticed. The purple imp on his shoulder was exhausted from dragging the boy through the shadows and moving him away from the police. Moving himself and other small goods through the shadows was easy for the purple pokemon, but a pulling a teenage boy through as well was something he had never done before, and it left him fatigued. The trainer took him off his shoulder and held him in his arms, not wanting his pokemon to fall off of him. "This is what we get for staying in one place for too long. We get noticed." Looking around the corner he could see some police closing in on him and he quickly pulled his head back out of view. His eyes darted around in order to try and find a way out of this situation, and noticed supplies being loaded onto the city's ship, the S.S. Tidal. "Let's get out of this city before they find us." he said calmly to his imp.
"I found him! He's over here!" An officer yelled as he pointed towards the wall the trainer was behind.
"Shit!" The trainer said to himself as he took a deep breath and ran closer to the boat entrance, sneaking passed a few of the labourers and inside the cargo bay, hiding behind some of the boxes that the men had just put on. He could hear the officers outside talking with who he guessed was the captain of the ship.
"The thief is in your ship! I saw him go into the cargo bay!"
"I'm on a tight schedule so take a quick look then i'll have to leave. I have a ship full of people that expect a great cruise, and tardiness is not part of my reputation. Make it quick boy!"
"There's nowhere else he could have run. It won't take me long to find him!"
He knew the officer was going to find him, as the choices of hiding places were slim to none, and running would only get him caught. He had to sit down in between the boxes and hope that the captain was going to kick the officer off the ship so he could make his shipment in time.
A few of the men in blue walked slowly and cautiously onto the ship, their feet creaking on the wooden floor giving away their position to the thief. One of them was getting closer to the trainer, looking around with his flashlight in order to eliminate the shadows that they had seen him hide inside before. His footsteps were getting closer and closer, and the trainer was trying to think of a way out, his eyes darting about frantically in the hopes of finding an escape route. He was sweating, his fists clenched as he realised his only hope of escape was through the men in blue. The Sableye in his lap was barely awake, seemingly unaware of the situation that its trainer was in. The boy knew the chances of escape we slim to none, but what other choice did he have. The man was at the box just before him, scanning the locations around before looking at what he guessed was the only place someone could hide properly. He slowly approached the hiding spot, creeping around the side of a box before quickly jumping out and flashing his light down at where the boy was.
The empty space left a disappointed look on the officer's face.
"Time's up boys I have to be off now!" The captain said. The men in blue began to head out of the boat. "Did you find the thief?"
"I could have sworn he went in here."
"Maybe you saw what you wanted to see. Now good luck catchin' the thief! I've got a ship full of paying customers eager to set sail!"
Out from the shadows opposite where he was previously the trainer appeared, his Sableye using the last of his strength to meld them into the shadows and move them behind where the officer stood and away from the light that he shone. The imp fell into unconsciousness in the boy's arms, which at first startled him, but after a few seconds of hearing the little purple imp snoring he realised that he was just sleeping. He rested against the boxes with a sigh of relief, not sure of where this boat would take him and his pokemon, but at the moment anywhere was better than Slateport City.
Driving up to plain looking house in Vermilion City was Giovanni in his sleek black car. Nobody knew it was him in the back seat due to the tinted windows but nevertheless all eyes were on the expensive vehicle, whispers of who could possibly afford such a luxurious car were passed around by the citizens, mostly from those of them who had never seen a car that looked as pristine as this one. When the car slowly came to a complete stop, the front door of the house opened and a man in casual attire stood at the doorway. By his side was a young red headed boy approaching his teenage years and his pet, an orange dog with black stripes on its back and cream coloured, bush of hair on it's chest, mouth and head. Giovanni stepped out of his car and began to walk towards the house. The red headed child began to rush towards him, the child's guardian commanding the dog to stay at the door alongside him.
"Daddy!" The boy yelled in excitement, always happy to see his hard working father. Giovanni leaned forward and picked up his son. If there was anything in his life that made his work seem worthwhile, it was his son.
"Hey kiddo! I won't be here for too long but I thought I'd stop by and see how my little guy was doing." The boy's expression saddened slightly. "Don't worry... I'll visit you again soon I promise!"
"You're always busy dad." The boy said unenthusiastically. Giovanni loved his son and did what he could for him, but as the leader of the infamous Team Rocket he was a very busy man. "What are you busy doing?"
Giovanni placed his son on the floor and dropped down to a single knee, looking his son eye to eye. "You know why I'm a busy son. I'm a..."
"Chairman at Silph CO. in Saffron City and Viridian City Gym Leader. I know." His son said as he finished his father's sentence. Giovanni just smiled in response.
"I work hard so that I can give you everything and anything you want son, you know that."
"I just want my dad." Giovanni couldn't help but lose the smile he had after hearing his son's wish.
"Well study hard kiddo and you can work with your old man one day. Eventually take over the family business!" he said as he rubbed his hand over his son's hair, messing it up. The boy didn't care. All he cared about was spending time with his dad, and every time Giovanni told him that one day they could work together, it gave him hope. "So study hard and we'll take over the world together!"
His son giggled at the metaphorical idea of 'taking over the world' with his dad. What he assumed was metaphorical that is.
After a hug goodbye, Giovanni sent his son back into the house with his guardian, who Giovanni gave an enclosed envelope to. He didn't have to say anything, as the guardian had been looking after the boy for years and knew that within the envelope was enough money to buy him anything he ever wanted. Giovanni could be a generous man to the guardian of his only child, but he could also be his worst nightmare should something happen to the boy. Giovanni's wrath knew no bounds.
Getting back into his car, the driver looked into his rear view mirror to see his boss looking back at the house as they drove off. He had the same look every time they left, but he knew Giovanni was a determined man and did what he had to do.
"Have you told your son what you really do sir?" the driver dared to ask.
"That's none of your concern. Just drive."
"So this is Vermilion City? Looks kinda like Slateport just without the markets."
The teenager from Slateport had made his way off the S. unseen and now began to blend in with the locals of Vermilion City. His imp pokemon was perched on his shoulder as always, seemingly recovered from the events at Slateport. They had enjoyed their time aboard the cruise ship, with Grimalkin blending into the shadows and stealing them some of the delicious meals the talented chefs had been preparing for the passengers. They had never eaten food of such quality, and had hoped that the cruise was going to last a little longer just so they could eat more.
Looking around for a place to go, the teenager and his pokemon spotted a nice black car parked by a house.
"There's gotta be something worth stealing in there! Let's check it out!" He said to his pokemon, who eagerly nodded in reply. They snuck over to the car, doing their best to keep out of sight. They heard a man talking to a small boy, and they assumed that the car was empty. Creeping quietly towards the drivers window, they heard the faint sound of music, muffled by headphones, or so they guessed. Peaking their heads into the window, they saw a man in a black suit listening to music on his headphones, energetically singing along. "That guy must be the driver, which could only mean that the passenger has got some serious cash to spend." He signalled for his pokemon to follow him to the back of the car, as they peered out from behind the car to get a glimpse of who the wealthy man could be. They saw a man in a black suit lead a young red headed boy into the house before handing over an envelope to another man. The teenager looked down at his pokemon and gestured at the envelope, and another gesture to meet him around the corner of the street. The pokemon melded into the shadows while the teenager moved away from the car, positioning himself further down the street.
As the car began to accelerate and make its way down the street, the teenage boy quickly ran out in front of the car, making himself seem unaware of the car's presence. The driver slammed his foot down on the brake, the tyres screeching on the road as they tried desperately to stop the car's motion. The teenager was hit from behind, propelling him into the front windshield. The car wasn't going fast enough to hurl the boy through the glass but it was enough to leave a huge crack in it. The driver quickly opened the car door and rushed out to check on the boy, who slowly got to his feet.
"Oh my god! Are you alright kid!?" The driver said in a panic, surveying the teenager for any serious injuries.
"I'm fine!" he said with a glare, forcing guilt upon the driver. "Lucky I didn't break anything or else I'd sue your ass!" He said aggressively as he began to walk off. The driver was stumped, unsure of what to do. So he just got back into the car to ask his boss.
"What should I do boss?" the driver asked Giovanni, who seemed a little lost in thought.
"What was he so distracted by that he couldn't see or hear the car coming? And why didn't he at least try to make us pay him for his silence?" Once again the driver looked unsure. That was until Giovanni's phone started to ring.
"What is it?... What!?... Stolen!? By a shadow!?" Giovanni started to yell as he looked out of the back window and at the house he son resided in. In the midst of shouting at his incompetent employees, he noticed the guard dog sniffing the ground for a scent like it was trained to, along with two glowing red eyes emerging from the shadows at the edge of the house. "Just look after my son until I have further instructions. Anything happens to him and you'll find yourself losing more than just a job." He hung up the phone and ordered his driver to reverse to the end of the street.
Giovanni stepped out of his car, reached into his pocket and pulled out a pokeball. He threw it onto the floor in front of him and out from the bright lights emerged a small group of beige heads. Three bald heads with rounded pink noses and black eyes, they seemed to appear from underground, small rocks and dirt moulded around its form.
"Dugtrio. Find me a boy and his small pokemon. They should be nearby and carrying an envelope that belongs to me. Go!" he ordered his mole pokemon, who replied with a "trio!" before submerging into the ground. Within a few moments, he heard the sound of a boy who had stumbled into a trap. His trap.
Walking around the corner and saw the trap he got his pokemon to set. Chunks of rock and pieces of the ground they were walking on had been positioned around the boy, trapping in within a tomb of rocks.
"Grim! Shadow Sneak us ...!"
"I wouldn't do that if I were you boy." Giovanni said, interrupting the command that was about to be given to the imp. "You may have the shadows on your side, but the very earth you walk on is on mine. Unless you can fly, which I highly doubt, then you are within my grasp." The teenager looked shocked. He'd been caught before, but never in a situation that he couldn't get out of. There was something about the man standing before him that sent a surge of powerlessness through him. And fear.
"What do you want?"
"I want what you stole from me. That envelope you tried to claim is not for your filthy hands. Throw it to me and I may let you leave." The boy saw no choice. He tossed the envelope on the ground before him. Before Giovanni could continue, he remembered what the old seer had told him earlier, of the future of Team Rocket. "Youth will be its resurrection..."
"Ressurection? Look pal I don't know anything about resurrection so let me go already!" Giovanni barely heard the boy, his mind was processing a flurry of thoughts and theories. Was she talking about my son? Or was it this kid? My son is too young to even consider. This boy was resourceful, I'll admit. Maybe I could take him under my wing and teach him the tricks of the trade. If he isn't the boy Madaline was talking about then I'll either have another member of Team Rocket... or another body to dispose of.
"What's the meaning of this? Messing up the streets with your pokemon!" A man in blue said as he rushed over to the tomb of earth that encased the boy. "It's against the law to use your pokemon to disrupt the city!"
Giovanni snapped out of his thoughts and noticed the oncoming policeman. "Do you not recognise the Viridian Gym Leader?" He said in a condescending tone, his eyes glaring at the man in blue, demanding respect.
"Gi...Giovanni?" The officer stuttered. He felt like such a fool for not recognising such an important man.
"This boy is a troublemaker and I plan on dealing with him personally. Any repairs to the city will be paid for by the Viridian Gym." Giovanni explained. He noticed people beginning to gather, eagerly catching a glimpse of the events that were transpiring. "Get these people away from here, unless you'd like them to see me doing your job." The policeman quickly rounded the people up like cattle and guided them elsewhere. It was common knowledge that Gym Leaders sometimes helped to enforce the law, but rarely Giovanni. He waited until the people had gone far enough away before ordering his pokemon to free the boy. He walked over to him, looking down on him as if trying to reinforce his authority over him.
"What's your name kid?" Giovanni asked the boy.
"Well Zak..." Giovanni said, returning his Dugtrio to it's pokeball. "...how would you like to join Team Rocket?"