AN: cred for the beautiful cover art goes to Antares25 over on DeviantArt.

(hello, this Alphy from 11-6-22. Yes, I am alive. I am in the process of light editing some of these old chapters- don't worry, I'm not making major changes, just cleaning the story up and updating the flow in some areas! I will update which chapters I have edited as I go)

Prologue: The Red Bandana

May turned in her bed, tangling her tiny body even further into her sheets.

The night was still, so very still. Not a single peep was audible from her parents' room down the hall, and the irrepressible darkness of her bedroom window mocked her. Instinct told her that the hour was late, the type of late that she always knew existed but her mommy and daddy never let her stay up to before.

May just wanted to go back to sleep. She clutched at her covers and faced away from the window. Slowly, she the comfort of her dreamland wrapped around her, a mystical place where she was bigger and braver and she could play with Brendan all day without getting tired.

"Betcha can't get this," Brendan cooed, grinning a feisty little boy grin and dangling a piece of familiar red cloth in between May's eyes.

It was one of her prized possessions, a red bandana she always wore over her hair when she went outside but didn't feel like brushing it. Her father had brought it back from some far away tournament just for her. May loved it, especially for adventure games. She thought it made her look like a daring pirate!

"Oh yes I can!" May scowled. She felt taller. Smirking, she reached for a pokeball, ready to unleash all of her might as the world's most powerful trainer on Brendan…

But something was stopping her. Suddenly, she couldn't move her arms, or her legs, and a huge weight pressed against her chest. Something dark loomed over her…

May jolted awake. But the something dark didn't go away, and she couldn't get up. Her nightmare had melted into a horrifying reality, one amplified by the eerie wind blowing in from her newly opened window.

The creature was long, thick, and disgustingly segmented as it towered atop her. A smooth gray chest led to a pointed, razor sharp magenta beak and a pair of piercing yellow eyes. Legs, too many of them, wiggled as it leaned in towards her. The thing, no, the monster, hissed, and its feelers glided over the soft skin of May's face.

She let out a bloodcurdling scream.

A hand clapped over her mouth, and a humanoid figure clad in all black entered her line of vision. The monster inched back, but its warning gaze never left hers.

"Shh, shh," the voice, that of a man, ordered. It was distinctly low and dangerous. "Wouldn't want to wake anyone, would we?"

May's eyes widened, the sapphire irises alight with pure panic. Yes, she did want to wake someone! She wished her daddy were here, here so that he could make all the bad monsters go away.

And then Norman came bursting in her door, his vigoroth roaring furiously in front of him. May had never seen someone look so powerful in only his pajamas.

The scary stranger prevented him from reaching her. He said something to his monster, and the bug's legs extended and wrapped around her, pulling her out of her bed and against its body. A white flash blinded May, and a giant spider was soon tumbling across the room with Vigoroth. Norman struggled to reach her, but he couldn't seem to get around the grappling pair. He shouted something nasty at the other man, but May's mind was too clouded by panic to really understand what he said.

The monster was surrounding her, and the air rushed out of her lungs.

The next second, the wall behind them exploded in a shower of rubble. The creature clutching at May screeched in pain, and its grip slackened enough so that she fell to the floor on all fours. As May struggled to breathe, she saw Slaking behind her, holding a death grip around the bug monster's neck. The bug's long body thrashed about wildly, but Slaking held tight with a determination May had never seen out of the normally lazy beast.

Both of Norman's pokemon were winning, driven by the raw desire to protect the people they loved. The strange man seemed to sense this, for he cursed and returned both of his defeated monsters. But then he pulled out another pokeball, one containing a purple moth-like pokemon.

The creature's wings glowed, and just as quickly as the man had arrived, he was gone.

May's bedroom was completely destroyed. Her bed was in splinters in the corner, and many of her toys lay in fragments around the room. Breaking out into a sob, May ran to her father and wrapped her arms tightly around his middle. Behind her, she could feel the powerful presences of Vigoroth and Slaking, but she only cried harder.

Something wet and salty dripped onto May's forehead. It felt like a tear, but she knew it was impossible for someone as strong as her daddy to cry.

"I'm so sorry, May, so sorry," Norman whimpered into her silky brown hair. "This is all my fault… I'm so sorry…"

Through her tears, May caught a glimpse of something bright red underneath the remains of her dresser. Her bandana.

Everything wasn't destroyed at all.

AN: I have been working on this story for months, and I finally decided to publish it today in honor of ORAS release (And I thought I should get this out there before the approaching influx of Hoenn fics). This story is going to be mainly based on Emerald with lots of my own ideas thrown in, along with some elements from ORAS. I'm super excited for it!

I'll update next Friday! Until then, please please please review. If you do, I'll try to return the favor for one of your stories.