Chapter 1 - Dust

The dust began to settle. A huge burst of flames had just erupted across the city, tearing apart everything in its wake. The houses, the stores, the parks, all were wiped out in the blink of an eye. The central sky scraper, which stood tall above the rest, even succumbed to the massive force; and it was now a smouldering heap of glass and stone, virtually indistinguishable from the rest. Above all of this carnage, deep within the clouds, flew several silhouettes. They were powerful creatures, known to the denizens of this world as the "Legendary Bird Pokémon". Ho-Oh, Lugia, Moltres, and Zapdos.

Each of them played their part in the destruction. Lugia, the guardian of the sea, flooded the city, bringing in the tides from the south, drenching the lands in deep waters. Zapdos, the fabled bringer of thunder and lightning, electrified this water, frying all who frantically swum for dry land. Finally, Ho-Oh and Moltres, two creatures with absolute power over fire itself, came together and delivered the final blow to the city. The water immediately evaporated from the heat, and the city was left in a destroyed state, with no soul remaining to tell the tale.

The four legendary birds flew away into the distance, leaving behind their new legacy, symbolised by four beautiful feathers, which they lay atop the highest peak of the rubble, which sat undiscovered until they were finally found by Doctor-

The dust began to settle. The old man had finally closed the noticeably aged book, titled "The Saffron Conspiracy", which he had been reading for quite some time within a rustic library. The man was Professor Sugi, a well respected lecturer on World History, and this library was now his own.

Walking with his gloved hands in his greying lab coat, he made his way down the stairs slowly. He had a new employee, a Pokémon trainer, to whom he was to give a mission, and he would be arriving soon. Eventually Sugi arrived at the bottom floor, and he opened the front door of the library, letting in the fresh sea air. Canalave City, the port city of Sinnoh, was well known for its fresh surroundings, and today was no different.

It was then that the professor saw that a boat was coming in, and he immediately assumed it meant the arrival of his new employee. He walked with a faster pace than usual towards the docks, where the jet-powered boat came to an abrupt halt. A young man stepped off. He was wearing a long, flowing coat and he had thick black hair, and, as it was a rather sunny day, he was wearing a pair of sunglasses. The man looked up and saw the elderly professor, who was scanning him thoroughly as if in confusion.

The man broke the silence, "Yes, you're looking at your new employee, Mr. Sugi. You can call me Drake,"

"Ah, Drake! I knew it was you, honestly, dear boy!"

"Sure, now, can you talk me through your plan?"

"Of course!"

"And I remind you that I want my payment up front,"

"Of course,"

Drake nodded and gestured his hand as if to say "Very well, carry on then," The professor nodded, and walked at a tired pace towards the lab and made his way inside. He was soon followed by his new employee.

"You may take your coat off if you want-"

"No, I'm fine,"

Drake moved over to a nearby table and pulled up a dusty old chair, which creaked rather loudly as he sat down in it. Professor Sugi, on the other hand, sorted through his lab coat's pockets and took out his wallet. After taking several dollars from it, he handed the money over to his employee.

Drake pocketed the money, "Now, what is it that you want me to do?"

"You may find this shocking at first but..." the professor pulled up another chair and sat down, "I want you to explore Kanto,"

Drake was taken aback, but he did not raise his voice, "Kanto? You mean the fabled abandoned region?"

"Indeed,"

Sugi pulled out a file and laid its contents along the table, kicking up even more dust in the process. It was a selection of articles and photographs of what looked like a rainforest, but on closer inspection, decaying buildings lay within the leaves.

Sugi pointed at one particular photo which depicted some old buildings covered with vines, "This one was taken 50 years ago. Apparently this place is called Viridian City,"

Drake ignored the photos, "It has been over 150 years since Kanto was left to rot. Why do you want me to go there?"

"It is quite simple, really, I wish for someone to uncover the truth,"

"The truth behind what?"

"The destruction of Saffron City,"

Drake flinched.

"Indeed, the event which shook the world. So many conspiracies, but no true answer as to why it happened. Each of them has a flaw. For instance, take the tale of the legendary birds. For one, who recorded such an event? The story even ends with 'no soul remaining to tell the tale'. Doesn't that imply no one saw the birds?"

Sugi began getting enthusiastic, dragging over several more books, "Not only that but it is inaccurate. In the story, there are just 4 legendary birds. According to ancient Kanto myth," he pulled out a book from the pile and opened it at a bookmarked page, "Articuno should be amongst them! The bird of ice! Why was it not accounted for?"

Drake sighed, glancing for a moment at the legendary bird photographs before turning away again.

"There are even more conspiracies. 'The Attack of Devon' being one of them, stating that Hoenn's scientific minds at Devon wished to wipe out Silph, which contained the scientific minds of Kanto. And then there is 'The Attack of Pokétch'…"

Drake pushed aside all of the books out of irritation, and they all fell into a heap at the end of the table, "Look, just tell me what you want me to do,"

"Enter Kanto and explore it. Find the descendants of those who stayed, discover ancient texts, computer files… Anything. But perhaps your most foremost objective is to find the Legendary Birds themselves,"

"What!?" Drake yelled, quickly standing up, pushing his chair to the ground, "You want me to go and willingly find a group of creatures which are said to have destroyed an entire city!? Are you mad!?"

Sugi ran his palm down his face, over his crooked nose, "Indeed… Perhaps I am mad. But if we are to uncover the truth, we need to know if these creatures truly exist, and whether they possess the ability to destroy towns,"

Drake was still noticeably agitated.

"Do you not have powerful Pokémon by your side? Surely they will help you?"

Drake nodded and took out three spheres from his long coat. PokéBalls, devices used for catching and holding the creatures known as Pokémon.

"Yeah, three, but I don't think they'll help me against a Legendary Pokémon…"

Sugi paced back and forth, wondering what to do, "Ah! I know!" He scurried off into a corner, where he opened a cardboard box, "I found these on an excavation tour over in Hoenn. They may come in handy,"

The professor handed over a small bag, which Drake opened to reveal 5 PokéBalls which were topped with a purple casing, and each of which was emblazoned with a faded letter M.

"Are these…"

"Yes, they are Master Balls. Even today they are very rare, but I believe I should entrust them to you,"

"So what, you want me to catch the legendary birds, is that it?"

"Would you rather battle them?"

Drake was silent.

"Very good then, now we are prepared, are we not?"

"Almost. How am I getting into Kanto, exactly?"

"I have asked one of the local sailors to take you. Well… I paid rather handsomely for him to take you. If my old maps are to be considered accurate, you should be getting dropped off at an area that used to be known as Pallet Town. I believe it was the birthplace of a very famous trainer,"

"Right, so I just go my own way from there?"

"Not exactly, Drake. I will call you regularly to check on your status and update your mission. Use this,"

The professor took out yet another small device from his lab coat pocket. It was sleek in design, and it had an unfolding screen.

"This is a MiniComp. I assume you will want to catch some other Pokémon in Kanto?" Drake was taken aback, "Ah, don't worry. You are a trainer. It is natural for you to want to capture rare and exotic creatures, especially from the lost region of Kanto. Well, this computer will allow you to transfer them to me wirelessly. It is a miraculous invention of mine,"

Sugi sighed slightly, "The destruction of that region… It halted human development. For over a century we were using the same technology, we were too plagued with worry and horror to try and advance ourselves," He suddenly became happier, "But now things are changing, and with your findings, we can put all of that behind us,"

Drake took the MiniComp and slid it into his pocket, "Right. Now, can I go?"

Sugi laughed, "Ever the impatient one, I see,"

Drake didn't even smile, "Whatever. When is the ship leaving?"

"Whenever you are ready,"

"Now, then,"

Drake headed towards the door and pushed down on the handle.

"Call me when you get there," Sugi quickly ordered.

"I will,"

The young man left the library and headed towards the docks.