GRANITE CAVE

Brendan, May, Lisia, and Riley all followed Wanda's lead through the small cave as she had a cave flashlight strapped around her head. Her little Machop stood close by to ward off any Pokémon that thought attacking would be a good idea. One thing Machop couldn't protect them from, however, was the loud howling of the numerous Whismur in the cave.

"Why don't they just, like, shut up?" Lisia complained from the back of the group and squashed her hands on her ears. "I can't even hear myself!"

"What?" Brendan turned his head to her and asked. "Did you say something?"

"Like, I can't even hear you!" Lisia shouted back at him with a frown forming on her face.

"What!?" Brendan asked loudly and pointed to his ears.

"I can't hear what you're saying!" Lisia shouted and stomped on the ground. It was pointless, the conversation was going nowhere. "Forget it..."

"It's probably not important anyway," Brendan said to himself and continued to follow Wanda through the tunnel.

"Thanks for the support..." Lisia sighed. She figured it would be best for her to shut up and just follow the leader anyways.

Just as quickly as it took for them to get deep in the cave, they managed to find the light at the end of the tunnel. Despite being a small cave, the light only lit up the parts of the cave close to it and wasn't powerful enough to get through to the rest of it. The howling of the Whismur also droned out as the group got closer to the exit.

"Oh, thank Arceus I can hear again," Lisia sighed in relief and rubbed her ears. "But my ears are ringing..."

"Did you say something earlier?" Brendan turned to ask her.

"No, I said absolutely nothing," Lisia grumbled sarcastically with her arms crossed.

Brendan just shrugged her off and followed Wanda out of the exit. It was a relief to finally be able to have a set destination the day before the start of the contest. If anything, he just wanted to get into a home fast enough and eat an actual warm meal.

In a secluded cavern under the mountain, however, things weren't so happy-go-lucky.

The cave system was practically pitch black due to a lack of a good light source. How it wound up perfectly hidden beneath the bedrock of Rusturf Tunnel was a mystery, but it was there regardless and it had its secrets.

Due to years and years of uninhabitance, a particular Pokémon made its home there. Without running the risk of being discovered, it would be the perfect hiding spot. However, things were about to change rapidly.

Naturally, an evil genius like Maxie had his business clearly cut out in the secluded area. If there was anything in the Hoenn Region that could give him an advantage over Team Aqua, he would stop at nothing to take it. He was closer than he had ever been at achieving his ultimate goal of maximizing Hoenn's (and the rest of the world's) land capacity.

Maxie took slow, careful steps in the dark, dusty chamber. He couldn't see anything within a few meters in front of him but he had his Grunts behind to give him back up if anything were to ever pop out at him. After capturing Heatran, his next move was to capture the legendary Pokémon that hid deep under Mt. Rusturf. The howl of the Whismur could still be heard from well above the chamber, albeit significantly fainter.

"Be careful," Maxie reminded the three Grunts that were following closely behind him. "We can't see anything, so if this Pokémon were to pop out..."

"Maxie!" A familiar male's voice growled from behind him.

"Why did I have a feeling that you bumbling idiots would come for me?" Maxie stopped dead in his tracks to ask. He knew the voice was none other than Ray. "And why were you tailing me?"

"We stole your documents, remember?" A female's voice that Maxie recognized as Zinnia's asked.

"Yes, but I didn't think you would be quick enough to catch up to me," Maxie sighed in partial defeat. "And besides, how could you even find me in this dark cave?"

"You aren't exactly the most silent person in the world," Ray told him. "And the noise of the Whismur is a lot quieter down here."

"Where are you two, anyways?" Maxie asked and turned around quickly to see if he could find the pair. Unfortunately for him, the pitch black darkness was able to mask their presence well.

"Why would we tell you that?" Zinnia spat back. "Do you take us for idiots?"

"You two..." Maxie growled in place. The size and shape of the chamber amplified their echoes and made it hard for him to pinpoint their location. "You two can try whatever you want, but this legendary Pokémon is as good as mine."

"Maxie, are you a fool?" Ray asked angrily. "There are consequences for relentlessly hunting legendary Pokémon. Don't you seem to understand that?"

"I will do anything, and I mean anything, to cement myself as the most powerful trainer in the world," Maxie hissed. "If it means capturing all of the legendary Pokémon in the world, then so be it."

"Then that's where our paths cross..." Zinnia said under her breath. "What if I told you the world didn't revolve around you?"

"And what if I made it revolve around me?" Maxie asked back. "You see, my intentions are very clearly cut out. I become the most powerful trainer and then I rule the world. Have a problem with it? Then fuck off."

"You're ignorant," Zinnia growled.

"Now if you'd please leave me to my initial plans," Maxie brushed her off and continued to take slow steps in the dark cave. To be honest with himself, he had no idea where he was going. He just knew that his legendary Pokémon of interest lived somewhere there.

Despite having his guards behind him, he was still nervous about what would come. While he was experienced in dealing with legendary Pokémon, he knew their dangers very well. Suddenly, however, the atmosphere in the cave changed. The dusty air began to settle and the silence began to drone.

"Guards, stand back," Maxie said softly and held his hand in the air.

"Maxie, don't do it!" Ray warned him and ran next to his guards alongside Zinnia.

"He's going to get everyone killed..." Zinnia frowned.

Maxie smirked and took a large step forward. As the dust in the air began to settle, he knew that this Pokémon had detected his presence.

"Maxie, out of all the legendary Pokémon in the Hoenn region, why this one?" Ray pleaded. "Nothing good can come out of this!"

"Quiet," Maxie told the teenager and held his hand in the air. He took a deep breath and looked straight ahead into the darkness. "I know you know I am here! Show yourself and become one with my power!"

At first, it seemed that there was no response to his request. Maxie stood in place in frustration but expected something to happen soon enough.

"Did you not hear my question?" Maxie asked out again. "Join me in my quest for world domination!"

"You are a fool for summoning me," a deep, bellowing voice echoed from within the chamber. All of the trainers in the chamber trembled in place. "Why do you come here?"

"I come here because I wish to join an alliance with you!" Maxie explained. "Archie and those loons from Team Aqua will be trembling on their knees!"

"I wish to have no part of this conflict," the voice replied. "You two are nothing more than tools."

"Fair enough," Maxie sighed and looked down to the ground. He shook his head and pulled out a PokéBall from his belt. "If you do not wish to join by choice, you will join by force."

"Ha, you think it will be that easy?" The voice laughed. "Have at me."

"Heatran, show your true power!" Maxie shouted and sent the legendary Pokémon's PokéBall flying forward. Heatran emerged from its PokéBall in a burst of white light and crashed to the ground with a roar. "Heatran, prepare yourself for when it shows itself!"

Heatran stepped forward and looked into the darkness to spot its opponent. Out of nowhere, a sole turquoise glow emerged from the air above. It lowered itself until it was floating in front of Heatran. Despite the lack of light in the cave, all of the trainers could see that the Pokémon was cloaked in shadows with a red chain strapped around its neck and a smoky white hood covering its shining turquoise eye.

"Darkrai..." Maxie mumbled in awe. A twisted smirk took form on his face. "It's really you."

"I will show you the mistake of your actions," Darkrai bellowed and formed a glowing orb of purple - presumably a Shadow Ball attack - in its hands. "Prepare yourself!"

"Heatran, use Magma Storm!"

Darkrai flung its Shadow Ball at Heatran with all the force it could muster. Due to Heatran's lagging nature, it was unable to respond to Maxie's commands in time. It was met head on with the full force of Darkrai's Shadow Ball attack before it shrieked at its opponent. It gaped its jaws open and let loose a spinning vortex of bright flames out of its mouth. The attack hit the ground under Darkrai and worked its way into a flaming tornado around the Pitch Black Pokémon.

"Now that you have it trapped, use Fire Blast!" Maxie commanded his Pokémon, pointing forward at the pillar of flames.

Heatran nodded in response and opened its mouth wide once again. This time, it formed a small orb of fire inside of its mouth. Before it was able to shoot its attack, the signature turquoise glow of Darkrai's eye(s) protruded from the flames and a Shadow Ball attack emerged from the fire to strike at Heatran. The Lava Dome Pokémon took the powerful hit and was knocked back quite a distance as a result. The flames surrounding Darkrai dissolved and the Pokémon once again ascended to a height in the air.

"Darkrai, you truly are a powerful Pokémon..." Maxie muttered in frustration. "To completely lay waste to Heatran's most powerful attack."

"You underestimate the power that lurks within the shadows..." Darkrai hissed and charged up another Shadow Ball in its hands.

"Maxie, your stupid idea is going to get us all killed!" Ray growled in anger.

"Nobody asked you to follow me down here," Maxie replied coldly. "It's your own fault for coming down here."

"We'll do anything to protect the Hoenn Region," Zinnia said. "Even if it means risking our own lives for your stupid ideas."

"Latios, give Heatran backup!" Ray shouted and pulled out a PokéBall from his belt. Before he was able to unleash his Pokémon, a series of black chains bound him and Zinnia to the ground.

"This is a battle between me and Heatran's trainer," Darkrai explained with a fully powered Shadow Ball in its hands. "There will be no interference."

"Damnit..." Ray grunted and struggled to free himself from Darkrai's chains. "It's no use."

"I will show no mercy!" Darkrai shouted and shot its Shadow Ball at Maxie's Heatran again. It grunted in pain as the shot made a powerful impact against its head.

"Heatran!" Maxie shouted to his Pokémon. "Don't let Darkrai get the best of you!"

"You are powerless against the shadows..." Darkrai grumbled. It charged a ball of black light in its hand and shot it at Heatran. "Dark Void, show these trainers your power!"

The attack seemingly conceived from the shadows flew towards Heatran an enveloped it in a shell of glowing black light. Heatran's eyes widened in shock before closing and the Pokémon crashed to the ground in what seemed to be like a forced sleep. Darkrai's eye began to glow intensely and glowing orbs began to flow to it from Heatran.

"W-what's going on?" Maxie asked, showing a hint of fear in his voice.

"Dark Void is Darkrai's most powerful attack," Ray explained while struggling with the chains. "It leeches onto your Pokémon and then drains it of its dream energy."

"That's the most evil thing I've ever heard," Maxie uttered and scratched his chin. Weighing his options, he held up Heatran's PokéBall. "Heatran, come back!"

Heatran came back to Maxie's PokéBall in a flash of red light. Darkrai, upon realizing its easy victory, shook its head in disappointment at Maxie's efforts. It released Ray and Zinnia of its binds.

"You are not a worthy opponent, nor are you a worthy partner of the darkness," Darkrai sighed. "You are just another fool trying to win over the power of a legendary Pokémon. Begone before your presence becomes a disturbance!"

Maxie, realizing that Darkrai's threat was not to be underestimated, took off in the opposite direction with his Grunts tailing closely behind. Ray and Zinnia stood up from their kneeling position in relief over their release from Darkrai's binds. The two of them looked up to the Pitch Black Pokémon which seemed to examine them closely.

"Perhaps you were right in trying to interfere," Darkrai told Ray and descended to the same level as the pair. "For all we know, that man could have used your help."

"I honestly have no intentions on helping him," Ray chuckled.

"Who exactly was he?"

"The leader of Team Magma," Zinnia explained. "Him and the rest of his useless army intend on wiping the world clean of water."

"And they intend to use Groudon to do so," Ray added in.

"Some men just want to watch the world burn," Darkrai shook its head in dismay.

"I'd hate to ask for your help when you're clearly having fun lazing off down here, but it looks like we could really use it," Ray told the legendary Pokémon.

"You dare call the great Darkrai lazy?" Darkrai asked in a sudden fit of anger.

"The fact that you have all this power yet you keep yourself secluded down here doesn't help your case," Zinnia answered honestly.

"You come disturb my slumber, insult me, and ask for my help?" Darkrai glared at Ray, who glared right back at it. "If it a challenge you want, then it is a challenge you get. Bring it on."

"Let's get this show on the road, then," Ray smirked and pulled out Latios's PokéBall.


Author's note: I'm really sorry I haven't updated this story in a while. Thank you for being patient with my incompetence, haha. Along with second semester of college being underway, I also hit a major dry spell over winter break with the NFL season (my absolute favorite time of the year) reaching its most intense point. Hopefully, though, I have gone over that dry spell with this chapter. My updates may not be as fast as they used to be, but they'll be there (I promise!).

Additionally, I'd like to thank Alphinia for the little shout-out in her story! If you've grown tired of waiting for me to upload, definitely give her story a look. She does fantastic work on adding detail and making the Hoenn region feel real. Additionally, her story is May-centered as opposed to mine being Brendan-centered, so it truly captures another perspective.

Another little note I wanted to add is that I was totally going for Unicron's voice for Darkrai. If you haven't seen the "I am Unicron" video on YouTube, look it up, it'll definitely help with understanding Darkrai in my story.

Question of the Day: What's your favorite type combination that hasn't been seen? For me, I'd have to say Fire/Poison. Haha, just imagine how lethal a Fire-type attack with a poisoning secondary effect (or vice versa) would be in battle. Not to mention a Fire/Poison Pokémon would also be downright badass.