Out on the sea, some ways away from Canalave City, a ship swiftly cut across the water as it neared the end of its journey. On the deck of the ship, Hareta stepped outside and stretched out his arms while inhaling the fresh ocean air. "Mm
The air tastes good today. I can't wait to get home!" he said to himself. He let his arms drop to his sides and then made his way towards the bow of the ship, where he rested his arms on the railing while he waited for the ship's destination to show up in the distance.
It had been several days since he parted ways with Gold and Kotone back in Cherrygrove City and he couldn't wait to see everyone back home again. He and his Pokémon friends had managed to keep themselves entertained during the trip, but now they were ready to get back on dry land. Hareta had already gathered everything up in his backpack, which he was currently wearing, and now was trying to keep his patience in check until the ship reached Canalave City.
Soon enough, the port city appeared on the horizon, the sight of it exciting Hareta as he realized it wouldn't be long now. The ship passed under the drawbridge as it entered the canal, coming to a stop at an empty dock. No longer able to wait, Hareta dashed over to the right side of the ship and leapt over the railing, the gray pavement below rushing up to meet him.
He landed on his feet, stood up straight, and held out his arms as he said, "It feels so good to be back in Sinnoh again!" Aside from freaking out a little when he leapt over the side of the ship, none of the sailors near the ship really seemed to pay him any attention, but he didn't care. He left the pier as the other passengers began pouring off of the ship, trying to keep his excitement in check as he thought about seeing Mitsumi, Jun, Professor Rowan, and his parents again.
As he made his way through the city, Hareta noticed Byron's Gym off on the side of the road he was walking on. He came to a stop and said to himself, "It's been a while since I've seen Byron, come to think of it. I wonder if he's in right now." He walked off the main road and headed towards the Gym, only to be dismayed when he found a sign on the Gym doors saying that it was closed for the day. "Oh well, maybe next time," he muttered as he walked away, returning to the road and walking past the Canalave Library.
While walking towards the gate leading towards Route 218, Hareta noticed the drawbridge rising up and turned his head to watch a ship leave. While he was distracted, he accidentally walked into somebody in front of him, bouncing back a bit due to bumping into something that seemed to jiggle on contact. Hareta quickly turned his head forward and apologized, "Oops! Sorry
The man in front of him replied, "That's all right. Just watch where you're going next time."
Hareta immediately recognized that voice and took a second look, at which point he realized that the man had a swollen behind, sea green hair, and was wearing a futuristic-looking uniform. Even from behind, he knew who it was. "Hey! You're B-2!"
The man noticeably flinched at that and turned his head to look over his shoulder, saying, "What the
?! Hareta?!" He quickly spun around, revealing that he had been looking at a laptop in his arms, and said, "I wasn't looking at anything evil or suspicious, I swear! I've turned over a new leaf since we last saw each other! You've got nothing on me!"
Hareta looked back at him blankly for a moment before he said, "I just wanted to say hi."
B-2 straightened up, presumably because he felt relieved that Hareta didn't think he was up to something, and replied, "Oh. Hello. Did you just get back from Johto? Commander Saturn told me you beat him in the Silver Conference."
Hareta nodded, "Yeah. I didn't expect to see him in a competition like that." He then asked, "Hey, how's your butt feeling?"
B-2 answered, "Uh, fine I guess. It hasn't really changed much since you bit it."
Hareta nervously ran a hand through the back of his hair as he said, "Yeah, uh
Well, I was just thinking maybe I could do something about that. You know, try to get it back to the way it was for you?"
B-2 raised an eyebrow at that, "That would be nice, but I don't see what you could do to help. I've tried to do something about it, but nothing I've tried has had any effect."
Hareta said, "Well, let me try something I've been working on. If it does what I think it will, I should only have to do it this one time."
B-2 looked at him oddly for a few moments before sighing, "Okay, I'll give whatever it is a shot. What do I have to do?"
Hareta replied, "Nothing. Let's just go in the forest where no one will see us." Although he was now really suspicious of whatever Hareta was planning, he agreed and closed his laptop before they ducked into the line of trees along the side of the road.
A few minutes later, B-2 was squatting in the middle of a clearing with Hareta standing right behind him. The young Trainer was doodling with his fingers and hands while looking down at the former Galactic Grunt's hindquarters. B-2 once tried to look over his shoulder at Hareta, only to have the boy say, "Face forward!"
B-2 complied, but he asked, "Look, would you mind telling me what you're going to do? And why do I have to be in this position?"
Hareta replied, "Because this might be a bit sudden and I don't want you to fall over. Just relax; at worst, this'll only hurt for a second." With that, he bent his knees slightly, bringing himself closer to B-2, and held his hands over his buttocks. He then focused, blue flames beginning to envelope his hands as he projected his Aura into them.
B-2 gave a sharp gasp when he felt Hareta grab him and yelled, "Hey, what do you think you're
" He stopped in mid-sentence as he felt a warm heat begin to flow through his body, though it was mostly centered on his swollen rear. "Hey
that feels really nice," he murmured.
Hareta nodded, "That's good. That means I'm doing it right. Just stay put and it'll be over before you know it." B-2 nodded dumbly, his mind relaxing from the warm sensation he was feeling. About a minute later, Hareta lifted his hands off of B-2's butt and dashed away, calling back, "There you go! See you later!"
B-2 snapped out of his haze at that and turned his head to see Hareta running towards the line of trees that led to Route 218. "Hey, wait!" he exclaimed, standing up and running after him, albeit slightly awkwardly as he realized that something seemed to be off, but that wasn't important right now. As he stepped out onto Route 218, he looked to the left to see Hareta surfing away on his Empoleon. "Ugh! What a weird kid!" B-2 muttered, placing his hands on his hips. At that moment, he realized why he had felt so awkward running earlier.
Looking back over his shoulder, he realized that his swollen posterior was no longer swollen! It was back to the same size it had been before Hareta had bitten him! "I
I don't believe it! It's back to normal!" B-2 exclaimed. Before he could get too excited, he remembered that he had no idea what Hareta had done to return it to the way it used to be. He glanced to the east, towards Jubilife City, and muttered, "What did he do just now
After reaching the eastern end of Route 218, Hareta thanked Empoleon and returned him to his Poké Ball before moving onto Jubilife City. Although he took his time navigating the streets of the city, nobody offered him more than a passing glance as he walked past, which he was thankful for. He didn't win the Silver Conference just to get attention after all. He soon headed south out of the city, leaping down the ledges on Route 202 as he made his way to Sandgem Town.
As soon as he arrived in Sandgem Town, Hareta headed for Professor Rowan's lab. He knocked on the front door while calling, "Hey Gramps, it's me! I'm home!" He stopped knocking after a minute and got confused when it seemed like no one was coming to answer the door. He placed a hand on the doorknob and turned it, only to find that it was locked. Worried, Hareta walked around the lab while peering through the windows, but it didn't appear anyone was inside.
Hareta stood near the side of the lab that was closest to Route 201, scratching his head as he wondered, "Where is everybody? Mitsumi told me that Gramps sometimes goes out to buy sweets, but I thought he kept a bunch in his refrigerator." While he was lost in thought, he suddenly heard a familiar sound behind him and turned to see a group of Aipom and Bidoof coming towards him. He smiled and ran over to them, giving them all a big hug and saying, "Hey guys! It's so good to see you again!" After a minute, he let them go and asked, "Hey, has anyone seen Gramps today?"
One of the Aipom said, "(Ooh ooh! We saw him earlier! He was heading down Route 201!)"
A Bidoof nodded, "(Uh-huh! He was probably going to visit your parents! That was a while ago and he still hasn't come back, so that must be what he's doing!)"
Hareta smiled, "Oh good! I was starting to get a little worried that something bad had happened."
The Aipom tugged on Hareta's arm and said, "(Come on, Hareta! Come and play with us again and tell us about your newest adventure! Everyone's been waiting to see you again!)"
Hareta stood up and replied, "Okay! Just give me a second." He then backed up a step and stripped down to his shorts. He then took his Poké Balls out of his backpack and shoved his clothes into it for safekeeping. Hareta then called out his Pokémon while slinging his backpack over a shoulder and, after telling them what was going on, they all followed the Aipom and Bidoof into the forest. It was time to kick back after a long journey and have some fun.
Hours later, as the sun was beginning to set in the west, Hareta exited the forest fully clothed with Minun and Sneasel on his shoulders, the three of them waving to all of Hareta's forest friends as they headed for Twinleaf Town. It was a great time for everyone involved; Typhlosion, Sceptile, Scizor, and Sneasel were all happily welcomed by Hareta's friends and, along with Hareta's other Pokémon, got to have a little fun around the forest. Hareta had some fun too, though he spent quite a bit of time talking about his journey through Johto and Kanto, filling everyone in on everything that had happened. But now it was time for them to go and check in with the boy's parents and spend the evening with them.
Soon after reaching the town, Hareta broke out into a run as his excitement began to peak once again. When he reached the fence in front of his house, he found Kaisei, Plusle, and Johanna waiting out front. "Mom! Dad! Plusle!" he exclaimed as he leapt over the fence and ran over to them, Kaisei scooping his flesh and blood up in a big hug while Plusle and Minun hugged and Sneasel leapt into Johanna's arms, the mother squeezing Hareta into the hug after Kaisei set him back down.
"Hey, there's my boy! We heard from Professor Rowan that you'd probably be back sometime today!" Kaisei exclaimed.
After Johanna released him, Hareta said, "So you decided to wait out front for me!"
Mitsumi stepped out onto the porch, Jun, Professor Rowan, and Byron behind her, and spoke, "Well, the noise coming from the forest helped with the timing. As soon as it quieted down, we figured you would be showing up soon."
Hareta giggled, "You can read me like a book, can't you, Mitsumi?"
Jun grinned, "Heh, I wouldn't go that far, Hareta. If she could read you that good, nothing you do would come as a surprise to her. Still, she's got part of you figured out, and that's saying something."
Mitsumi glanced back at him and smirked, "Yeah, unlike you. You've got a long way to go."
Professor Rowan stepped forward and said, "Welcome home, Hareta. It's been so long since I last saw you. It's good to see you again."
Hareta ran over to him and gave him a hug, which the professor returned, saying, "It's so good to see you again too, Gramps!"
Byron walked up beside Hareta and slid a hand under the boy's hat, ruffling his hair as he said, "Ha ha! A real fighter when the going gets tough, yet a real softie when things are peaceful! You're still something else, Hareta!" After Hareta let go of Professor Rowan, Byron said, "I hope you brought your appetite! We've got steaming hot Chinese food in the kitchen, just like Mitsumi said you wanted!"
Hareta grinned, "Sweet! I'm starving!" As they went inside, everyone gave a laugh at that.
As everyone, along with their Pokémon, dug into their food, Hareta filled them in on what he had been doing with Gold and Kotone after parting ways with Mitsumi and Jun. He mentioned the little adventure they had had while climbing Mt. Silver, the Triple Battle in Cherrygrove City, and, of course, meeting Red.
"No way! THE Red? The guy who supposedly brought down Team Rocket and then became the Kanto Champion three years ago?" Jun asked.
"Uh-huh! I first met him after I won the Silver Conference. He told me that if I could earn the right to climb Mt. Silver, he'd battle me. And he sure kept his promise!" Hareta replied.
"So you got to battle a three year veteran Trainer and happened to get a chance sighting of the legendary Moltres
Hm, I'm starting to see why you wanted to stay in Johto for a little while longer," Mitsumi joked. Hareta nodded at that.
Jun asked, "So who won?"
Hareta looked back at him, confused. "Huh?"
Jun repeated, "Who won the battle? You or Red?"
Hareta looked back at him for a moment before saying, "Jun, don't sweat the details." The blonde Trainer raised an eyebrow at that, clearly confused.
Professor Rowan spoke, "I suppose who won or lost is not what's important in the long run. The point is that you got to meet and battle an exceptionally strong Trainer, correct?" Hareta nodded.
Byron grinned, "Hey, well said, professor! I know if I ever got the chance to battle a Trainer like that, I'd want to take it too! No matter the outcome, it would definitely be an awesome experience!" As everyone continued eating, the kitchen's air was filled with idle conversation, Kaisei and Johanna talking about what had been happening in Twinleaf Town lately, Byron mentioning how tough his Fortress of Steel was for challengers and that he'd like to see Hareta challenge it again, and Professor Rowan discussing some of his research.
At the end of the meal, Johanna said, "Don't forget your fortune cookies, everyone! And remember, it's not the kind of cookie you eat, Hareta." The raven haired Trainer just giggled at that.
While the adults simply read their fortunes with a mild curiosity, Hareta, Jun, and even Mitsumi looked a little more excited at finding out what their fortunes were. Jun broke his open first and read the slip of paper inside. 'Good things come to those who wait. Remain patient and you will find that which you dream about most.' Jun grinned slightly to himself at that. That had to mean good things for him and Mitsumi.
Unfortunately, Mitsumi's fortune didn't hold a similar message, at least not one that she was particularly excited about. 'The road that you face may be broken apart by unearthed secrets. Be patient and be willing to accept that some things are meant to change.' She glared slightly at the words. "What is that supposed to mean?" she wondered.
She looked over at Hareta a moment later. He had a worried look on his face as he read his fortune. 'Disharmony will reveal itself soon. A strong mind will be essential during dire times.' After watching him for a moment, Mitsumi reached over and took the slip of paper out of his hands, crumpling it up as she said, "Don't look so worried, Hareta. Whatever your fortune is, it probably doesn't mean anything."
Hareta started, "But it said
Mitsumi interrupted, "They all say something. But it's nothing to freak out over. Just because a cookie says something about your future doesn't mean it's going to happen."
Hareta protested, "But cookies are delicious! Why would they lie?"
Professor Rowan chuckled, then reached a hand over the table and placed it on Hareta's shoulder, saying, "Hareta, Mitsumi is right. There's nothing wrong with thinking that a prediction of the future may be right, but don't let it control your life. That can mean a lot of things for your future, and not all of them are particularly good possibilities to consider. The future is always in motion; what will happen is never completely set in stone."
Hareta gave a small smile at that, "Okay, Gramps. I won't obsessively worry about it."
Byron smiled, "That's the spirit, Hareta! Don't put all your faith in some scrap of paper that was probably picked at random from a barrel in the back of the kitchen. Make your own future!"
A man sat behind a desk in a room that had metal walls and a metal floor, examining a knife in his hands. He wore a lab coat over a Team Galactic Commander uniform, glasses that had red lenses, and he had mauve hair and brown eyes. It was Charon, a former commander of Team Galactic and the former leader of Neo Team Galactic before the International Police arrested him. At the thought of what led to his capture, he let out a yell and threw the knife towards the wall on the other side of the room.
The knife ended up hitting a crudely made 'WANTED' poster that had Hareta's picture on it, landing squarely on one of the boy's eyes. His was not the only poster on the wall; to the right of the poster were similar posters of Mitsumi, Jun, Koya, Cyrus, Saturn, Mars, Jupiter, Kaisei, and Looker. All Charon's enemies, all of them apparently having been used for target practice, though Hareta's poster was in the worst shape. It was amazing that it hadn't fallen apart yet, given the number of tears in the picture.
Standing up, Charon walked over to the wall and removed the knife from the wall, glaring at Hareta's picture afterwards. "Enjoy your 'fun' and 'friendship' while you can, Hareta. The day I take my revenge on you is coming soon," he scowled. Turning away a moment later, he headed for a pair of mechanical doors, muttering, "I need to get a status report from the doctor."
Dr. Mephiles' room
The doctor stood before his computer console, having a conversation with a mysterious contact in the pitch black room. "We shall see. What is your contingency plan?" the doctor was saying.
The one on the other end answered, "It involves the other god. And I do not believe it will be necessary. While there is one who seeks to stop this plan, his companion is lost and without his memories. In addition, it seems someone has followed them to preserve that which they originated from. I see no reason to intervene."
Dr. Mephiles replied, "Good. They are not like the ones I seek revenge against; they should be easily taken care of." After a moment's pause, he spoke again, "I must cut this meeting short. It appears I have a few matters to take care of." With that, he pressed a button, ending the conversation. The room returned to total darkness, which was interrupted a few moments later when the room's mechanical doors slid open. Dr. Mephiles turned to see Charon standing in the doorway and calmly said, "Ah, my liege. To what do I owe this unexpected pleasure?"
Charon reached over and flicked on the light switch, illuminating the room. He then walked towards Dr. Mephiles, looking up at him as he said, "Don't try to sweet talk me, doctor. What's the status of my new airship?"
Dr. Mephiles turned back to his console and pressed a few keys on it. Moments later, a large helicopter-like airship was displayed on the screen, Charon moving to get a better look at it. Dr. Mephiles spoke, "It is nearing completion, master. The workforce has already finished constructing it; all that remains is to make sure all the systems onboard are functioning properly."
Charon asked, "How soon will it be ready?"
Dr. Mephiles answered, "I would say within the next few days."
Charon nodded, "Good. I already have my revenge planned out and I want to get on with it as soon as possible. And you need to find time to take a shower; every time I see you, you smell like something that crawled out of the depths of the earth." Dr. Mephiles offered no reply to that, so Charon asked, "By the way, what's the status on my new weapon?"
Dr. Mephiles crossed his fingers together as, under his hood, he coldly smiled, "I'm so glad you asked, master. For all the difficulty it presented in being captured, it was surprisingly easy to create a binding armor to ensure total control. I have already finished construction on the armor and am ready to put it to the test. Perhaps you'd like to see it again?"
Charon glanced over at him and replied, "Yes. Show me!" At that command, Dr. Mephiles uncrossed his fingers and held a finger over a red button on the console. He pushed the button and looked to the side as part of the floor slid to the side and a large liquid-filled tube rose up into the room. Charon sported a wide grin as he looked at what it contained.
Floating in the light blue liquid in the middle of the tube was a humanoid, feline-like Pokémon. It had a grayish-purple body with a purple underside, a long purple tail, two short ears, three circular digits on its hands, and a tube extending from the back of its skull to its spine. It was one of the first Pokémon ever created by science: the Genetic Pokémon, Mewtwo.