PART 1 [6/2/12]
“Brock. Misty. You’ll have to stay here,” Michael says. “The bike is a two-seater only until Makan can get the Robo Metang finished.”
“Just how many Robo Pokemon are being built anyway?” Brock asks.
“Well this is the last one I think,” Michael replies. “Anyway, let’s go Ash.”
“Don’t worry about me. I’m fine,” Ash says. “I’m back where I belong. Saving people and Pokemon.”
“Good luck,” Brock says.
And with that Ash runs up to the hoverbike, jumps onto the back of it and it sets off. Driving through forestry, the two arrive at Gateon Port. Parking the bike and locking the controls, Michael then calls Ash to follow.
“You can only get to Agate Village by boat,” Michael says. “There is a special boat service to reach it.”
The two head onto a pier and fill up two seats in a boat. A few minutes later it sets off at a slow pace and glides over the water. Sometime later, Agate Village comes into view. Set on a hillside, a few buildings can be seen.
"Well here we are," the announcement system says. "Agate Village. Enjoy your stay and please feel free to look at the Relic Stone, a famous monument of Agate."
Michael and Ash leave the boat and walk off the pier. Up a hill, the two then turn right and across a bridge.
Halfway over it however, they stop.
A dozen Team Snagem operatives fill the opening of a cave which the bridge overlooks. To the right of the entrance, a slope can be seen with two Snagem operatives blocking the way.
Panting then alerts the two watching.
An old man wearing a purple cloak and glasses, he runs up to Michael and says, "Oh it's good to know you are here. When I found out that they were around I decided to take care of them myself, but they beat me in battle and snagged my Pokemon."
"Don't worry," Michael tells him. "We're here to stop them."
"You can't. They are too strong," the man says. "Just go back Michael. You won't even get past the guard."
"OK. OK. We're going. Oh, and if we ever do manage to beat them, we'll get your Pokemon back, Eugan. You can count on it."
"Yes. Yes." He then runs off.
"Eugan's not a great trainer, but even so, I do think he has a point," Michael says. "Let's go."
The two walk back to the end of the bridge and to the slope of the hill. Then they stop.
Running up the hill is a male who has similar clothes to Ash, but blue. He also has a Snag Machine on his left arm, but no Aura Reader. He stops at the top as well and opens his mouth.
"I know you!" both Michael and the other say.
"But who's this? He wears what I do, and an Aura Reader," the man says.
"Ash," Michael says, "meet Wes. He's the one from the first Shadow Incident. Wes, this is Ash. His region has Team Snagem crawling all over it too, so before we headed back there, we thought we'd uncover what was happening in Orre first."
"Hmm," Wes says. "So naturally you give him a Snag Machine and Aura reader."
"That was Professor Krane," Michael says. "But I don't doubt his judgment."
"Enough small talk," Wes says. "I've been wanting to meet up with you, and that reason is-"
"A battle," Michael confirms.
"Is this really necessary?" Ash pipes up.
"Yes," both Wes and Michael say.
"Fine," Ash says. "Er, let the battle begin."
The two combatants turn their backs on each other and take twenty paces. Ash backs against the nearest wall.
"Go! Umbreon and Espeon!" Wes says, releasing two Pokeballs.
Umbreon, a black cat-like Pokemon has yellow rings around its ears and tail and on each of its legs and the middle of its forehead. Espeon, a whitish-silver cat-like Pokemon, has a red spot on its forehead and a two-split tail. Both are released, and so Michael releases Flareon and Hariyama.
The Umbreon and Espeon work together as a team, but even so, they are no match for Flareon's speed and Hariyama's power.
Umbreon charges down Flareon, and Hariyama blocks the path. Umbreon gets knocked down and is called back to its ball. Espeon uses moves quickly and swiftly, stopping the Flareon for a while, but with its next attack it focuses on Flareon. But it doesn't see the Hariyama behind it.
Wes does though, and a quick call makes Espeon change targets, but that just plays to Michael's advantage. Espeon is knocked out mid attack by a Flame Charge from Flareon.
"Espeon, return!" Wes calls, bringing the Espeon back to its ball.
He then turns to Michael again as he returns his Pokemon to their balls.
"Wow. You sure have enough experience with battling," Wes says. "I suppose we are equals now."
"Yes, we are. And Ash has seen a great battle, haven't you?" Michael asks.
"Yes. It was great," Ash comments, walking forwards again.
"Anyway, as a present for beating me, I gift you with these two Pokemon," Wes says, pulling out two Pokeballs and handing them over. "Now, talk later!"
"Where are you going?" Michael calls as Wes starts running.
"Where else but to the Pokemon Centre to pull two more Pokemon from the PC Storage Boxes."
PART 2 [8/2/12]
"Wow. He sure seems to know what he's doing," Ash says.
"Yes," Michael comments. "He does."
A female then runs up the hill, with light brown hair in two pig-tails and light blue eyes. A light blue coat with white fluff ends covers a cropped purple t-shirt. White shorts fall to just above the knees, and pink boots with black inside webbing that rise to just below.
"Has he just gone off again?" she asks.
"You must be Rui," Michael comments. "Yes, me and him battled and then he ran off to fight Team Snagem. I thought you were always with him?"
"I was but I've never really liked boats, and always struggle to get out of that one in particular. Hold on. Did you say Team Snagem?"
"Yes. They're back in operation. I'm just heading to where Wes has most likely gone. Well. Me and Ash here are."
"Thanks for remembering me," Ash drily comments.
"We'd better hurry up though," Michael says. "If he's already there, he won't stand a chance. Come on!"
The three run back along the bridge, past the Pokemon Centre and down the slope at the side.
"Hey! Stop there!" one of the Snagem grunts calls. He then walks closer. "I remember you," he comments upon seeing Rui. "Where's your boyfriend?"
"I'm up here," a voice shouts. "And she's not my girlfriend. Umbreon! Espeon! Go!"
Again, the two cat Pokemon work together as a team. Again, Michael sends out Flareon, a fire feline fox, but this time uses the Metagross, a four-legged blue spherical machine which keeps its body low to the ground, that Wes gave him. Ash, undecided on what to do, picks out a Pokeball at random and investigates it.
"Fine," one of the Snagem grunts admits. "You've got us outnumbered."
"So..." Wes questions.
"You can go through," the Snagem grunt says. "Everyone out of the way. Let them pass."
The Snagem grunts move out of the way and lets Michael, Ash, Rui and the Pokemon through. Wes jumps from the bridge, using a Noctowl to glide down to the cave entrance. "I still don't trust you," he says as he walks past them.
Inside the cave, it is slightly dark. The waterfalls can still be seen, and the other entrance of the cave isn't far ahead. The path is lined by two rivers. Moss is growing on the rock, which is everywhere, even the path.
Outside the cave, a stone pillar is set into the middle of more rock. This rock is clean and white, and is in the shape of a circle. Surrounding the rock is trees, and-
"A Shadow enclosure!" Rui exclaims.
The Aura Readers of Ash and Michael activate and they look around.
"The whole place is covered with Shadow Aura," Michael comments. "But I don't see Celebi anywhere."
The fairy-like Pokemon then flies around the pillar. The green of its skin appears normal.
"Look at its eyes," Wes comments.
The eyes of the Celebi are red. Blood red.
"Meaning it's a Shadow Pokemon in our cause," a voice says, making everyone jump. "Yes. I knew that you two would want a look. Celebi is now in our power. Watch."
The Celebi then swoops down and captures Noctowl from Wes. Using its powers, it then turns it Shadow. Celebi then returns it to Wes.
"Oh, I knew this day would come. Wes has to come out of retirement from stopping the Shadow Pokemon doctrine. And Michael. Caught up in this mess again. And... Ash."
Everyone's faces are stunned.
"Oh yes. The lonely boy from far off Pallet Town. The boy who woke up late and was stranded with a Pikachu. The boy, who, at first, didn't know the slightest thing about Pokemon and who's first Pokemon capture was a Caterpie. The boy who then travelled to the regions of Johto, Hoenn, and Sinnoh after failing to beat the Kanto Pokemon League."
"How do you know so much about me!" Ash fires up.
"Well, that would be telling. But I'll say this. Remember the first who tried to stand against you."
"He told me all about you. Not knowingly of course. If he had really known who I was, he most likely wouldn't have said a word. But yes. It is I. Doctor Namba!"
PART 3 [10/2/12]
"Team Rocket!" Ash shouts.
"Formerly Team Rocket," Doctor Namba says. "Until about a year ago when Team Snagem approached me. They gave me my big break. The electric type Pokemon I have here are both Shadows. Capture them if you can! Go! Electabuzz and Manectric!"
Manectric is a blue wolf Pokemon with a peach-yellow mane. Electabuzz is a yellow human-like Pokemon with black patterns. Its head looks more like an ogres. The Aura Readers activate, meaning both are Shadow. Not that Ash and Michael needed the Aura Readers. The Shadow Aura can be plainly seen.
"Which two trainers will face me then?"
"Ash, hold back," Wes says. "We'll take him."
"OK," Ash says. "But I'll be ready for a fight if it needs one."
"Flareon! Metagross! Get them!" Michael calls out. The two Pokemon rush into battle.
"I said two trainers," Doctor Namba says. "Surely-"
"Umbreon! Espeon! Take them out!" Wes calls.
"Now. That's not fair," Namba says. "I thought the good guys always played by the rules."
"Well, times change," Wes retorts. "And the Shadow Pokemon have risen two times before. That means we doubly want to end it once and for all."
"Fine. Have it your way. Electabuzz. Manectric. Double team Shadow Bolt," Namba calmly says.
The two Pokemon fire a continuous bolt towards each other, which joins in the middle. Then they turn their heads towards the four Pokemon Michael and Wes have summoned, and the bolt, doubly bigger in diameter, charges to the four.
The bolt hits each of them and continues to. Ash, sensing the danger, gets onto a link with Professor Krane. "I don't care what you use, but we need evacuation now."
"OK," Krane says. "Hold on for as long as you can."
The link dies.
"Hold on as long as we can," Ash repeats. "Great."
The Flareon, Umbreon, and Espeon get roasted by the electric. The Metagross, while it could shrug off the electric, was faring almost as bad.
"Metagross!" Michael calls. "Hang in there and use Flash Cannon."
The Metagross uses its two front legs to create a charged silver beam, which it then unleashes on the Manectric. The link is broken between the Manectric and Electabuzz, and the three remaining Pokemon are freed from the electric currents.
Metagross is still the only one of the four that can still move though.
"Metagross! Bullet Punch!" Michael shouts out, realising that the current will start up again all too soon.
The Metagross' legs glow. It then rushes to the Electabuzz and Manectric, while spinning, and attacks each of them in turn. Both Manectric and Electabuzz crash to the floor.
"Pokemon. Return," Namba says dejectedly. "Fine. You are powerful. There is no other way of saying it."
As the Electabuzz and Manectric return to their respective balls, two Snagem grunts appear from the cave. One whispers something to Doctor Namba, who then smiles evilly.
"You have proved yourself against me, but what against the power of a Shadow Legendary?"
"Do you mean to say you've got another legendary Shadow apart from Entei?" Ash shouts.
"Pfft," one of the Snagem grunts says. "Do you mean to say you've forgot about it already?"
Forgot- What?" Michael blunders.
"Celebi," is all Wes says. And then shouts - "Umbreon! Espeon! Return now!"
The ball activates and the recall laser targets the respective Pokemon. However, they don't return when the laser hits them.
"What?" Wes wonders.
Michael looks around to see Celebi staring at all four Pokemon.
"Flareon. Metagross. Return," he calls hopelessly.
Again, the recall lasers hit the Pokemon, but they don't return. Michael looks back at the Celebi.
Which has disappeared.
Two thumps sound, then two more.
When Michael follows the sound back to the Pokemon, all four have been knocked out. Their balls activate automatically and recall them.
"Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha. Haa," Namba laughs. "Not even the legendary Shadow Hunters are able to defend themselves against the power of Shadow Celebi."
A crunch then echoes.
Everyone looks up.
PART 4 [12/2/12]
In the sky, a larger than life Metang grapples with the Shadow Celebi, crunching it between two arms.
"Oh great," Doctor Namba says. "Why didn't we make sure the Celebi was caught as well, so we return it to a ball."
"Because the move is Bind," a voice echoes through the forest. "And you can't escape from Bind."
"Absol! Go!" a Snagem grunt shouts.
The Absol charges the Metang down. It just rebounds straight off, however.
"There is no point," another voice shouts. A ramp lowers on the Metang, and Brock is standing on it. "It's a perfect Robo Pokemon."
"Shadow Pokemon versus Robo Pokemon. This isn't fair!" Namba says.
"Well it looks like Celebi has had the Shadow Aura squeezed out of it," Brock says. "Makan, release it."
The Celebi is released and instantly drops. A shadow aura starts to surround it again.
"Ha!" Namba shouts. "I don't think so."
"Ash!" Brocks shouts, and throws something towards him.
Purple in colour with a large red 'M' on one half of the upper semi-sphere, Ash catches the Master Ball in the Snag Machine, and focuses on the Celebi. He throws the ball which homes in on the Celebi.
But then bounces straight off.
"What?" Ash, Brock, Wes and Michael shout.
"Quick!" the voice of Makan echoes. "Run! We'll keep them here!"
The ramp of the Robo Metang closes and then it rushes in on Doctor Namba and the two Snagem grunts. Ash, Wes, Michael and Rui take the opportunity and run out through the cave. The other Snagem grunts are waiting outside still, and instantly release Pokemon out.
But too late, as the four have already ran up the ramp.
"Get them!" a shout echoes up to the village.
"Get to the boat," Wes says.
The four run to the boat, and quickly hop on.
"Just go!" Wes shouts at the captain.
"Bu-" the captain stammers.
"Stop that boat!" a Snagem grunt shouts, appearing at the end of the port. Two Mightyena walk up behind him, growling. The Shadow Aura surrounding them gives off a menace they wouldn't normally achieve.
The captain of the boat gets the message quick enough, and it starts to speed off.
"Where are you?" a voice emanates from Ash's wrist.
"On the boat back to Gateon Port," Ash replies, turning around. "If we make it."
Two Fearows speed towards the boat.
"We're getting there. We can see them," Brock's voice says.
Light spears home in on the Fearows, who then fall down into the water. The boat and the Robo Metang then speed towards Gateon Port.
"What was that about?" the captain asks when they reach the destination.
"Team Snagem," is all Wes and Michael say.
The captain doesn't say another word. Ash, Wes, Michael and Rui exit the boat, and head to the just landed Robo Metang. Inside, a green flickering ball can be seen, the size of a Pikachu's body.
"What's in there?" Ash murmurs.
"That," Makan says, appearing from a lift, "is all that is keeping Celebi from returning to its Shadow state."
PART 5 [14/2/12]
"So... We get it back to Professor Krane?" Wes asks.
"Yes. The Purify Chamber should cure it," Makan says, walking from the lift pod. "Anyway, come on up. Just walk into one of the lift pods scattered around the outside of the lobby."
Each person walks to a lift pod. There are eight in total, two on each quarter of the Robo Metang. It is the same colour on the inside as it is outside. A steel blue.
The pods rise up, and on the next level, Brock and Misty are waiting for everyone. Makan returns to the pilots’ seat and the Robo Metang takes off again for the Pokemon HQ Lab.
"Don't worry about the bike," Makan says. "I already loaded it on here."
"That's good," Michael says.
"What about mine?" Wes asks in a testing voice.
"If I'd have known you were coming, I'd have loaded your bike too," Makan says. "Don't worry, once I get these back to the Lab, I'll take you and Rui back."
"We just need to get it. We'll be straight back once it's safe," Wes comments.
"OK. Well we're almost here. I can see the building."
"Just how fast does this thing go?" Ash asks.
"Trust me, you don't want to know," Brock implies.
"We're only going at half speed," Makan says.
The Robo Metang then lands. Ash, Brock, Misty, Michael and Makan head down the lifts, roll the case holding the Celebi out, then bring the bike from the storage. Makan then rolls the encased Celebi to the lab.
Inside however, no-one is seen.
Michael walks to the Purify Chamber. That is destroyed. A single note lies on the table. Michael picks it up, and shows it to the others.
"The Professor is with us, and we trashed the lab," reads Ash. "Well, they certainly did a good job of that. But what about everyone else?"
"They were most likely taken as well," Makan comments.
"How could they do this?" Brock asks.
"Because," a voice from behind them snidely says, "we asked you to destroy the Purify Chamber. You fail to comply and stop us from destroying it ourselves. It was obvious what the next move was."
"But kidnapping the Professor?" Michael heats up. "And everyone else?"
"We've got no idea where everyone else is, trust me. We just wanted the Professor, so the Purify Chamber can't be rebuilt."
"Fine. Have him, until we can get to you," Michael retorts.
"Don't be so snappy, kid."
The Snagem grunt then leaves, dropping something as he goes. Ash runs to pick the paper up, then returns.
"It's five more cities. Zircon, Sarsen, Rutile, Jacinth and Carnelian. Five bases. But, they're north of MT Battle. Whatever that is."
"That's the mountain you can see when out in the wilds," Michael explains. "But five more cities, and each one a base? What are they planning?"
"Who knows," Makan says. "But come on, let's hunt them down."
Makan turns to leave, but Michael walks up some stairs. Ash calls out, but Michael doesn't reply. A chink echoes to the others, and then voices sound.
"Everyone was hidden in the secret soundproofed workshop," Michael shouts. He then starts talking to the people rescued. As they come within range, Lily says - "Of course we can fix it. We'll have this place cleaned up again in no time."
"It's so good to hear that," Michael then replies. "And don't worry, we'll get Krane back."
"I'm sure you will. Good hunting, but one thing. If we do get the Purify Chamber back, we have no Pokemon to work it. They stole all of them."
"Don't worry miss," Brock says, "me and Misty here will play bodyguard, and our Pokemon can purify the first lot to come back."
"Bu-" Ash starts to protest.
"Brock's right," Misty says. "What good are me and Brock going to be? You're the one with the Snag Machine and the proper experience. And anyway, Brock's right about something else as well. We need to purify Pokemon fast."
"It's settled then. Let's go," Makan says gruffly.
Makan, Michael and Ash walk back outside. Misty, Brock and Lily start making preparations to clean the lab back up.
PART 6 [16/2/12]
"Oh. So you're finally back," Wes comments. "But what are..."
"The lab was trashed, the Professor has been kidnapped, and we've got new leads to follow," Makan says. "Have you ever been to the north of MT Battle?"
"No. I haven't. Why. What's there?"
"Five bases of Team Snagem. Well, five cities anyway," Michael reports.
"Hmm. No-one's ever said anything about five cities to the north of MT Battle," Wes says thoughtfully.
"That's why we're going to check it out," Makan says.
In the bridge of the Robo-Metang, conversation then comes to a close. Heading back to Gateon Port, Wes' bike is loaded up and then Makan starts the drive around MT Battle, through the rocky hills, and out into the north plains proper.
Halfway around the north side, a red Pokemon stands guard. Black patterns and white claws, it stands tall. Shadow Aura can also be seen emanating from it.
"What is that?" Michael comments.
"Groudon," Ash says. "Makan! Land! You'll never get around it."
"OK! OK!" Makan does as he is commanded.
Everyone then exits down the lifts and through the extended ramp.
A Snagem grunt then walks to them. He wears an orange, red and yellow overcoat. His hair is spiky and orange coloured.
"Well," he says. "It's lucky Groudon is here after all. Allow me an introduction. I am Snagem Syndicate Fraiser. I only battle one trainer at a time. So, who shall it be?"
"We just want to pass," Michael says.
"You just want to find the secrets beyond this point," Fraiser says. "Entei! Pikachu! Go!"
"Pikachu..." Ash wonders aloud.
"Fine. I'll accept a challenge," Michael says.
Zangoose and Hariyama are then released.
"Oh," Makan says.
The Hariyama, no matter how hard it tries, cannot beat Entei. The Zangoose fails against Pikachu. Both return to their balls. Michael then picks out the only ball he has remaining.
Vibrava is released. Using quick speed and agility, it evades Entei's attacks.
"Pikachu! Shadow Storm!" Fraiser commands.
The Pikachu then whips up sand and turns it black. The whole area is then covered in a raging storm. No-one can see anything. The storm ends after a few seconds.
Vibrava returns to its ball.
"Who's next?" Fraiser calls.
Ash steps forward. Donphan, an elephant-like Pokemon, and Quilava are released.
The two Pokemon charge at the Pikachu, and while Quilava gets attacked, the Donphan charges through the electric and rams Pikachu. Entei, sensing the danger, uses Flame Charge and attacks the Donphan. The Donphan faints.
A Snag Ball then hits the Pikachu, and it is caught. The ball returns to the Snag Machine, and Ash calls the Donphan back. He then releases the Pikachu.
"And so its allegiance changes," Fraiser sighs. "Too bad. Houndoom! Go!"
The Houndoom is released.
"Uh," Ash says. He has no idea how to control a Shadow Pokemon.
"Just say use Shadow Rush. All Shadow Pokemon have that move," Michael comments.
"OK. Pikachu! Use Shadow Rush!" Ash commands.
The Pikachu does exactly that to the Houndoom. The Entei apparently scares it.
"Quilava! Go head to head with the Entei!"
The Quilava attacks the Entei with brute force, whipping up a sandstorm.
"OK! OK! Entei! Houndoom! Return!" Fraiser calls. The Pokemon return and Fraiser continues. "You have got to have strength to be able to beat me. There is no doubt that you'll be seeing me again. Now go, but be warned. We have the three legendaries. Not just Groudon, but Kyogre and Rayquaza too. Each of the other two also has a Snagem Syndicate as a trainer. Just don't expect them to do the decent thing as I did."
"So you just let us pass?" Wes asks.
"Yes. You have earned my respect," Fraiser says.
"Just answer this then," Wes challenges. "What lies ahead in the five hotspots? How come no-one has ever heard of them before?"
"I cannot answer," Fraiser says. "That answer must come as you journey deeper into Shadow County.”
Continue to Chapter 4, click here