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As the deadly battle between Groudon and Kyogre ensues at Sootopolis, the earthquakes and floods created begin to ripple across the entire Hoenn. At Slateport, the damaged buildings which swimmerboy Jack and the blind boy take shelter under begin to crumble and fall following a mighty tremble, and Jack urges the blind boy to hold on tight to his Gyarados. He states that it is not safe for them to stay under the half collapsed buildings anymore as they might tumble any moment, but the blind boy refuses to leave as he needs to keep his promise to wait for the Champion's return.

Suddenly, the cement ceiling above them completely crumbles, and the two cry out in horror. Fortunately, a shadowpunch blasts away the falling blocks and boulders just in time, and swimmerboy Jack looks over to see a young lady riding on a Metang with a Dusclops. The girl explains that she is there to help, and wonders if the blind boy is the kid with the stone plate whom Steven talks about. The boy hesitates for a moment, and the young lady reaches out to shake his hand, introducing herself as Phoebe of the Elite 4. She then contacts Steven via her Pokégear which is decorated like a flower, and informs him that she has found the boy.

Back on the rooftop of the Lilycove Department Store, Torkoal and Metagross continue to wrestle each other down. Wallace overhears Steven's conversation with Phoebe, and demands to know what is going on. Steven states that the great battle between Groudon and Kyogre has already commenced at Sootopolis, and suggests Wallace head over there as soon as possible. Putting on a bitter smile, he urges the Sootopolis gymleader to trust him, and Wallace hesitates for a moment, still baffled over Steven's actions but knows he has no choice but to believe the young man. He then grabs the champion cape Steven hands to him, and takes off on his air-car.

Once Wallace is gone, Steven resumes contact with Phoebe, and greets the boy warmly, thanking him for working hard on the stone plate all this time. When Steven met the boy earlier at the hospital, he knew that the boy would have an extra sensitive touch perception due to his loss of vision. He has thus taught him the code of the braille, and bestowed upon him the task to translate the ancient message carved on the stone plate, which in fact held the key to awaken the three Hoenn legendaries, Regirock, Registeel and Regice, the powerful fighting force they could depend on to stop the battle between Groudon and Kyogre.

Phoebe holds her Pokégear in place while the blind boy places his finger over the carvings on the stone plate, and Steven listens intently as the boy begins to decode the message:

'In this cave we have lived. We owe all to the Pokémon. But, we sealed the Pokémon away. We feared it. Those with courage, those with hope. Open a door, an eternal Pokémon waits. First…'

Suddenly, the boy stops. Steven wants to know what is wrong, and the blind boy shakes his head in defeat and frustration. He blurts out the last lines 'First comes W…' and 'Last comes R…', and apologizes that he could not read more from the broken portion of the plate. It turns out that part of the stone plate was broken off when it was unearthed, and Steven has hoped that with the boy's sensitive touch perception, he could perhaps read the subtle carvings left behind. However, it seems that Steven has been too hopeful all along.

At about the same time, on the eastern coast of Lilycove, Flannery, Wattson and Winona have arrived at what's apparently the headquarters of Team Aqua. Winona looks around the empty place, and believes that it has already been abandoned since it serves no purpose anymore now that Kyogre has been awakened. Flannery carefully searches every room, and soon comes across the chamber where Prof. Cozmo is held captive. She and Winona quickly untie him and peel off the tape on his mouth, and the man recognizes Flannery as one of those who tried to thwart Team Aqua at Mt. Chimney. He blames himself for being oblivious to the team's evil acts, and even agreed to help them, but Winona says it's not entirely his fault, and urges him to come with them to the Pokémon Association's airship.

Once on board Ba.Goon, Prof. Cozmo's three assistants and Wallace's four cheerleaders are glad to see that he's alright, and Winona wants Wattson and Flannery to stay behind on the airship as well. Flannery wishes to know where Winona is going, and the Fortree gymleader explains that she shall head over to Sootopolis where Groudon and Kyogre are facing off.

Flannery voices her desire to come along, but Winona points out that she and Wattson are both too injured to continue fighting, and says they must comply as it is an order from the gymleader supervisor. Left with no choice, Wattson and Flannery could do nothing but pray for the best as they watch Winona take off on her Altaria with Sapphire's Wailulu sailing beneath her.

On her flight to Sootopolis, Winona contacts the Pokémon Association Chairman via her Pokégear, and reports that she has left Wattson and Flannery on Ba.Goon as the two are in no condition to fight further. The Chairman feels troubled, as Wallace has called in earlier informing him about Roxanne and Brawly's forced withdrawal from the battle as well, meaning that the only ones left standing are Wallace and Winona.

Still, he points out that the current emergency level has reached maximum, and urges whoever's still capable of fighting to head over to Sootopolis as soon as possible. Speeding across the skies in his air-car, Wallace wonders just how much the few of them could achive. On the other hand, Winona clutches tight to her Altaria, and is determined to fulfill their duties as Hoenn's protectors even if she's down to herself alone.

Meanwhile, at Sootopolis, the two energy spheres created by Maxie and Archie, bringing along Ruby, Sapphire and all the fallen Team Magma, Team Aqua members, have finally reached the city. Hovering above the rampaging titans, Archie tosses Sapphire and the Team Aqua members to the eastern shore behind Kyogre, and lands on the sea titan himself. Maxie, on the other hand, hurls Ruby and the Team Magma members to the western coastline behind Groudon, and stands on the head of the land titan.

With their minds possessed by Groudon and Kyogre, Archie grins that it has been long since they met, and Maxie laughs that it is time to put an end to their long rivalry. The two titans immediately clash against each other again, and their fury quickly generates a powerful surge of energy that ripples across the city.

On opposite shores, Ruby and Sapphire watch as the mighty battle unfolds, and know that they must do something to stop it. They call upon Chaka and Zuzu to attack Archie and Maxie, but the two men create a powerful energy field around themselves, and instantly throw the two Pokémon back. Archie states that they will not allow any intruders in their sacred fight, and Maxie laughs that they should consider themselves lucky to be able to witness such a historical moment.

Just then, Gabby and Ty arrive with Absol at the scene, and are horrified by what they see. Kyogre swings at Groudon with its giant flippers, but the land titan blocks the attack with its claws and hurls the sea titan back. It then digs its fangs into Kyogre's left flipper while Kyogre retaliates by biting hard on Groudon's shoulder. Their struggle stirs up giant waves and flying rock boulders across the entire city, and the buildings closest to the central lake have already been turned into rubbles.

Gabby looks around for Ruby and Sapphire, and spots them on opposite shores behind the titans. She sees that Chaka and Zuzu are protecting the two from the energy blasts sent out by the titans, while the other Team Aqua and Team Magma members are thrown helplessly across the area. Gabby urges Absol to help them, and the dark blade on the disaster Pokémon's head begins to glow. Thrusting its head both ways, Absol creates two crescent shaped barriers to shield Ruby and Sapphire, which Gabby recognizes as the attack magic coat.

Feeling pretty sure that Absol is on their side, Gabby begs it to help stop the fight, but to her surprise, Absol turns its head away, and simply watches the battle silently. Ty lets out a sigh, and tells Gabby that his suspicion was right afterall, that Absol is neither their foe or ally. Being the disaster Pokémon which forsees catastrophies, it stands neutral, representing nature to witness the battle until the end.

Just then, Wallace arrives in his air-car, and agrees to what Ty said. The Sootopolis gymleader points out that the cause of their current disaster is humans, and nature has probably decided not to intervene but let humans themselves take care of it. Spotting Ruby on the shore behind Groudon, he speeds over to join his student and vows to stop the battle together with the boy.

At the same instant, Winona descends from the skies on her Altaria, and flies over to Sapphire, stating that the gymleaders and their apprentice shall work to safeguard Hoenn. She helps Sapphire up who is on the verge of losing consciousness, and notices something falling out from the girl's backpocket. She picks it up to find a piece of shimmering rock, and wonders what it could be.

Struggling to sit up, Sapphire apologizes to Winona for their failure, and admits defeat to the overwhelming powers of the enemy. She urges Winona to leave before she gets hurt, but the Fortree gymleader hollers that she must be out of her mind.

On the opposite shore, Ruby is also showing remorse over his failed attempt to take back the Red and Blue Orbs, and tells Wallace that they lack the strength to win. Wallace gets upset that the boy is giving up so easily, and yells that they will eventually find a way. Seeing the disheartened looks on Ruby and Sapphire, Wallace and Winona both bark that they are future's children whom the world must depend on, and that everything will be lost if they surrender, not only the peaceful lives which they share with their Pokémon, but also the most important people to them.

Something seems to tug at Ruby and Sapphire's hearts when they hear that they will lose the one they most treasure. Memories begin to fill their minds, and they both start revealing to their teachers that they actually have one person whom they really wish to meet again.

Ruby tells Wallace that he met that person a very long time ago in his childhood, during when his own father is having the gymleader selection test. The person was the daughter of his father's old friend, and with her own father, have come over to give support. He and the girl spent those few days together, and although he couldn't remember her name or looks, it was the happiest time in his entire life. Ruby puts on a weak grin, and says Wallace probably wouldn't believe it, but when he was young, he was actually a naughty kid who loves battling a lot.

On the opposite shore, Sapphire is telling Winona a similar story. During her childhood, she met a boy whom she no longer remembers the name or looks. At that time, she went with her father to give support to his old friend in a gymleader selection test, and the boy was the son of that man. She admits that she doesn't know of a happier time than those several days she spent with the boy, and with a slightly embarrassed grin, reveals to Winona that it may sound unbelievable, but she used to be a gentle kid who knows nothing about climbing trees or battling…

It all happened five years ago. On this one day, Norman is preparing to sit for the gymleader selection test in Johto. Prof. Birch has come over to give his support, and Norman's wife is overjoyed that her husband could finally fulfill his wish to become a gymleader. Birch jokes that Norman's wife seems certain that her husband wouldn't fail, and wonders which gym they have planned to take up. Norman's wife giggles that she will follow anywhere her husband goes, and Birch gives Norman a friendly nudge, calling him the luckiest guy in the world. He suggests Norman come over to Hoenn, and Norman grins that he will consider it.

Norman then inquires where Ruby has went, and Birch laughs that the boy is having great fun with his daughter, something which he didn't expect as the two kids are so different, with Sapphire being a girly girl who loves cute and beautiful things, and Ruby being a tough boy who's both strong and agile.

Indeed, Ruby and Sapphire enjoyed each other's companion a lot during those several days. Sapphire made pretty outfits for Ruby's Pokémon and taught him how to groom them, while Ruby shows Sapphire the fun in climbing trees and running free in the wild. It was all like a time in dreams. However, one day, something happened which changed Ruby and Sapphire's lives forever.

That afternoon, the two kids are playing among the bushes when a wild Salamence suddenly appears. Sapphire squeals in horror as the dragon Pokémon swoops in to bite her, but Ruby pushes her out of the way just in time, and narrowly escapes the creature's deadly fangs. The boy then sends out Nana, Coco and Ruru to fight, and vows to protect Sapphire no matter what. But Salamence without warning lashes out its claws at him, and creates a deep cut on the right side of his forehead with a dragonclaw.

Sapphire lets out another cry of terror, and Ruby grunts that he shall put the skills his father taught him to good use. Utilizing Coco's agility, he has the pink kitten deliver an unexpected double-edge on Salamence's stomach, and manages to scare the dragon away. He then makes sure that Sapphire is alright, and reaches out his hand to help her up, grinning that they have won.

But Sapphire is too horrified by what she has just saw. Seeing the fresh blood trickle down from the wound on Ruby's forehead, she breaks into a quiet sob, and buries her face into her hands. Ruby continues to stand with an outstretched hand, and only then realizes the scare he has caused the girl.

Afterwards, Norman failed the gymleader selection test. In the years that followed, he spent less and less time with his family, and only focused on bettering himself to sit for the challenge again some day. Prof. Birch also became busier and busier with his research work, and Sapphire got more chance to come into contact with Pokémon through helping him out. Yet the impact of the Salamence incident remained with both Ruby and Sapphire.

Ruby knew that the way he fought was even scarier than Salamence to the girl, and blamed himself for tarnishing her pure heart and soul. On the other hand, Sapphire was angry at herself for being so weak, and has unknowingly hurt the boy's ego and denied his strength when she cried instead of being grateful after he defeated the Salamence. Therefore, the two kids have made up their mind at that time. Ruby began seeking for beauty instead of power, and has sworn not to let anyone see him battle again, while Sapphire started strengthening herself, and was determined to learn to protect herself from then on. Both of them hoped that by the time they meet up again, they could show their new and improved self to each other…

The clash between Groudon and Kyogre stirs up another wave of energy surge, and Wallace hollers that their side of the shore will fall apart soon. He and Ruby climb into the air-car, and Ruby apologizes for making Wallace hear his story, but Wallace grins that it simply shows Ruby still has something to fight for, and tells him not to give up. On the opposite shore, Winona has already taken Sapphire onto her Altaria, and says they shall join Wallace and Ruby. She encourages Sapphire to think of the boy when she feels weak, and is sure that it will give her enough strength to battle on.

Both Ruby and Sapphire regain confidence after hearing their teachers' words, and the four of them gather on the northern shore of the central lake where the Cave of Origin is. Ruby believes that the only way to stop the titans from fighting is to nullify the powers of the two orbs, which have assimilated into the bodies of Archie and Maxie when they were at the Seafloor Cavern. By taking down the two men, they will probably be able to stop the fight between Groudon and Kyogre.

Winona wonders how they should do it, as using Pokémon attacks will only hurt them externally, and would kill them before they could reach the orbs. Suddenly, the shimmering rock she holds in her hand between to glow, and Wallace wonders what it is. Winona explains that it fell out from Sapphire's backpocket earlier, and on closer examination, Wallace realizes that it was a piece of the Grand Meteor.

Sapphire remembers picking it up at Mt. Chimney while facing Team Aqua, and Wallace states that the meteor piece may be their only key to nullify the energy of the orbs. Ruby wonders what his teacher means, and Wallace explains that from what he knows, the Grand Meteor possesses the ability to cancel out the forces of nature, which include all stones, orbs or even something as powerful as Mt. Chimney's volcano. By directing its powers to the two orbs inside Archie and Maxie's bodies, they might be able to knock them out and stop their effects.

Winona points out that they must first locate the most effective spot to hit, and Ruby remembers that the orbs manifested as the titans' symbols on the back of the two men's hands after they were assimilated. He recalls the symbols gradually moving up their shoulders, and finally to their foreheads. He rationalizes that the core of the orbs must be where the symbols are, and their best bet is to strike their foreheads.

Looking around to assess their situation, Ruby states that it will be difficult to score a direct hit when the two men are rampaging on the titans, and suggests making use of the two magic coat shields on the opposite shores to deflect the Grand Meteor's powers for better angle control and accuracy.

Wallace remarks that he shall control the shield on the western shore, and Winona volunteers to adjust that on the eastern shore. Handing the meteor piece to Ruby, Wallace reminds the boy that they only have one chance, and says they must succeed. The Sootopolis and Fortree gymleaders then fly over to take up their positions behind the magic coat shields on the opposite shores, and Ruby and Sapphire give each other a knowing nod, both determined to put a stop to the titans' battle.

Making sure that everyone is ready, Ruby tosses the meteor piece up in the air. Chaka spits out a blast of fire towards the western shore, while Zuzu simultaneously unleashes a stream of water towards the eastern shore. The two attacks intersect with each other on the meteor piece, and two columns of powerful cosmic energy beams course towards the magic coat shields. Wallace and Winona struggle to keep the shields in place, and deflect the beams towards the central lake, striking straight through the foreheads of Archie and Maxie.

The impact knocks the Red and Blue Orbs out of the two men's bodies as they both fall back, and a powerful surge of energy blows up between Groudon and Kyogre. The explosion rapidly expands to all directions, and Ruby, Sapphire, Wallace, Winona, Gabby, Ty and Absol struggle to stand their grounds as the whole city gets consumed by the energy...

Thanks To Coronis For Writing this for us




252: VS. Kyogre & Groudon XIV!


Volume 21