As Silus continues his journey towards Safflower City and his third Gym Badge, our heroes have arrived in Osiana Town, a snow-covered town in the northernmost aspects of Hora. Little do they know, their adventure takes a turn for the serious now...
"Osiana Town!" Silus exclaimed, running towards the signpost indicating the town's city limits. "I use to come here as a little kid to visit my aunt and cousin."
"Yeah, yeah, that's great, Silus." Nathan smarted off, rubbing his arms from the extreme cold. "Now can we please get to the Pokémon Center before I get frostbite?"
"Yeah, let's get going before we have to haul this lug as a giant icicle." Clair barked, annoyed by Nathan's antics.
The group continued into the town, which, like many of the places they had been since meeting Clair, was blanketed in a dense snow. Before long, they were able to make out the local Pokémon Center, which had smoke billowing from its chimney, indicating that the building would be nice and warm on the inside.
"Silus?" a distinctly female voice stopped the group in their tracks.
"Auntie!" Silus exclaimed, turning around and recognizing the familiar face.
"I thought that was you." the woman replied, her appearance the generic look for an Officer Jenny.
"You didn't tell us your aunt was Officer Jenny!" Nathan exclaimed, suddenly over his frigid condition.
"Huh, I guess I didn't think to mention it." Silus replied.
"What are you doing up here?" Jenny asked, a sudden look of concern on her face.
"I'm on a Pokémon journey." Silus explained. "We're on our way to Safflower City, but we're going to stop at the Pokémon Center for the night."
"I see..." Jenny replied, trailing off. "I'm afraid that won't be possible. The Pokémon Center is closed."
"Closed?" Clair butt in. "But Pokémon Centers never close."
"We haven't had a choice after recent events." Jenny replied cryptically.
"What's going on?" Silus asked, suddenly concerned himself.
"Come with me back to the station and I'll explain." Jenny replied, and then turned and headed for the police station.
The Mystery of Articuno Edit
Once inside the station, the group removed their coats, hanging them on a coat rack that was located just inside the entrance. Jenny then lead them into a small sitting room, behind the main desk, where she handed them out cold sodas and a few small sandwiches she had in her refrigerator, and then sat down to speak with them.
"It all began about two weeks ago." she began. "The townspeople kept sending in reports of loud explosions coming from the nearby Osiana Forest. I sent some officers to investigate, but their searches came up inconclusive. Later that week, a shady group of people passed through town, heading towards the forest. That night, more reports came in of explosions in the forest, so I decided to go myself and investigate the woods alone."
She paused, as if troubled by something, picking up a can of soda, opening it and taking a sip before continuing.
"Before I even reached the woods, I saw it." Jenny continued. "High in the night sky and sparkling like the moon itself. The legendary Pokémon, Articuno!"
"Articuno?" the group exclaimed in unison.
"Let's take a look." Silus said, retrieving his Pokédex.
"Articuno, the Freeze Pokémon. One of the legendary bird Pokémon, Articuno chills moisture in the atmosphere to create snow while flying." the machine said.
"Yes, Articuno." Jenny went on. "It was furious and immediately began flying towards town. I raced back to raise an alarm, but I was too late. Articuno attacked the town, especially the Pokémon Center's main generators. That's why the Center is closed. Articuno's ice attack permanently damaged it and, until we can replace it, the Center is offline indefinitely."
"That's terrible!" Nathan exclaimed.
"But what would set off Articuno like that?" Clair wondered. "Legendary Pokémon aren't known to just attack human settlements, or make themselves known out of the blue."
"I don't know." Jenny replied. "I wish I did. Articuno is well known from Safflower City all the way to here, but it hasn't been seen in decades. Some suspected that it was making its home in Osiana Forest and that something, or someone, disturbed it."
"We've got to find out!" Silus declared, suddenly leaping to its feet. "There's got to be a way to help the Pokémon Center too."
"I agree with Silus." Clair chimed in. "There must be a way to find out what is bothering Articuno and calm it down."
"Right." Jenny replied with a confident nod. "I'll go with you guys. I know the area better than anyone. I'll lead you to the forest and we'll see if we can find what's causing Articuno's distress."
Jenny lead the group back out into the could night of Osiana Town. The town was eerily quiet, likely as a result of Articuno's recent, frequent attacks. She lead them down the barely visible, paved roads, until once again they were outside the city and walking towards an ever expanding line of trees. Clearly that of Osiana Forest, which Jenny had mentioned at the station. As they neared, they noticed a man standing off to the side of the pathway, examining the night sky with great interest.
"Oh good, Brandon!" Jenny exclaimed, drawing the man's attention.
"Brandon?" Silus inquired, curious as to who the man was.
"Everyone, this is Brandon. He is the Pokémon League Champion of the Hora region!" Joy introduced the man.
"He's the Champion?!" Silus exclaimed, flashing back to his first Pokémon Contest in Gardenia Town, where he had met a very different man, claiming to be Champion. "But I thought..."
"I should say, I'm the newly appointed Champion." Brandon corrected. "That may be why you don't recognize me."
"Nice to meet you, I'm Silus." Silus replied humbly.
"I'm Clair." Clair introduced herself.
"And I'm Nathan." Nathan chimed in.
"I called Brandon out here a few days ago because his knowledge of legendary Pokémon rivals Professor Changi." Jenny explained. "I'm glad you could make it, Brandon."
"Its always a pleasure." Brandon replied with a smile.
"These guys have offered to help us with our investigation." Jenny explained, gesturing towards Silus' group.
"Well, we can certainly use the assistance." Brandon noted. "I think I've discovered where Articuno is roosting. Why don't we head that way?"
"You lead, we'll follow!" Silus said, balling his fist in a determined fashion.
The Titan of Ice and...?! Edit
Brandon lead the group consisting of Jenny, Silus, Clair, and Nathan through the woods for quite a ways. Despite Jenny's story, the forest was relatively quiet, with the occasional cry of a Hoothoot, Noctowl, or some other wild Pokémon catching the group's ear. Finally, after about twenty minutes of walking, they arrived at a clearing, where an elaborate temple was constructed. Immediately, Silus saw a problem. The door to the temple, which must've been made out of incredibly thick stone, had been blasted open; its shards lying in disarray around its entrance.
"This is..." Jenny began.
"Its Osiana Temple." Brandon finished for her. "Few know it even exists out here, but, ancient Hora legend indicates that this is the resting place of a gemstone called the Wind Magatama — an artifact of the legendary Pokémon, Tornadus."
"Tornadus?" Silus asked. "What does it have to do with Articuno, then?"
"Well," Brandon continued. "If legend is right, the Wind Magatama is one of three, and this one is connected to the power of the skies. Articuno is a powerful Ice-type Pokémon, with obvious Flying-type traits and characteristics. It might be that Articuno was drawn to the power of the Magatama and decided to make its nest here. It wouldn't be surprising. The Wind Magatama is said to give one dominion over the 'beasts of the sky', though what the legend meant by that is unclear."
"Then someone must've tried to break into the temple." Silus deduced.
"Yes, that might be the source of the explosions the people in Osiana Town were hearing." Brandon concurred. "The sealed door that makes up the entrance to the temple cannot be opened by normal means. I have a hunch even Articuno wouldn't have been able to cause damage to that door. That means, this must be human doing."
"Then we have to get in there!" Nathan exclaimed.
"Yes," Jenny agreed. "Whoever broke that door down must be after the Wind Magatama and it upset Articuno!"
Suddenly, however, a gust of wind erupted through the clearing outside the temple. Silus and the group wheeled around to see what the source of the gust was, only to see the brilliant form of a pale blue bird rising over the treetops. Articuno had arrived.
"Aaaaaaaaaarrrrrr!" the immense bird Pokémon roared.
"Its Articuno!" Clair exclaimed.
"Yes, and it's mad as hell." Brandon concurred in an equally loud tone.
"Ah, so we have visitors." a deep-toned voice announced from behind them, causing the group to spin around again.
In the entrance to the temple, a man wearing a yellow mask stood amongst the debris of the temple's door, holding a very large gem in his hand. Silus noticed that the gem was glowing a brilliant blue color, but didn't make any immediate connection.
"Who are you?!" Silus roared over the wind.
"Wouldn't you like to know?" the man cackled, holding the gem over his head. "But at least I get some spectators for this particular part of my mission. Behold Articuno, the legendary Pokémon. Its mine now!"
"What?!" Silus snarled in surprise.
"That's the Wind Magatama!" Brandon exclaimed. "I don't know how, but he must be controlling Articuno using that gem!"
"You brute!" Clair roared. "Release the legendary Pokémon, this instant!"
"Hahahahahaha!" the man roared with laughter. "You have to be joking! Team Rocket's plans don't just end with Articuno, I can't give it up here!"
"Team Rocket?!" Silus gasped. "But, you don't look anything like the guys I've encountered before!"
"Team Rocket has agents everywhere!" the man declared. "I'm Vicious, the Team Rocket Admin for the Hora region. You have arrived at a very inconvenient time. Well, inconvenient for you! Get them!"
Suddenly, from out of the woods, several disc-like cuffs flew from the shadows, ensnaring the five and restraining their arms from moving. Vicious, cradling the gem, stepped down from the temples enormous steps, onto the snow-blanketed ground and cackled loudly again as several Team Rocket members stepped out from their hiding places in the woods.
"You should all feel privileged!" Vicious declared. "Very few people get to witness all three legendary bird Pokémon together!"
"All... three?!" Brandon exclaimed. "Together?!"
"That's right!" Vicious snapped. "With the power of the Wind Magatama, I can tame the beasts of the sky! Now, come, Moltres! Come, Zapdos!"
The wind in the clearing immediately became much more intense, causing the five, who still had control over their legs, to brace their bodies. The gem in Vicious' hands began to glow more and more intensely and, suddenly, two more enormous shadows passed over the full, pale moon. Articuno was then joined by a bird blazing with flames, which only further lit the clearing, and another bird, bursting with electricity. Zapdos and Moltres had arrived.
"ZAAAAAAP!" Zapdos roared, its electricity bursting into the woods, setting several trees on fire.
"MOOOOOOOOOOOL!" the Fire-type Moltres bellowed.
Silus was dumbfounded, his jaw dropped at the spectacular sight before him, "...The... its the... Its the legendary bird Pokémon!" he stuttered in shock.
Legendary Showdown! Edit
Moments later, the group found themselves locked in a makeshift cell, deep within the confines of Osiana Temple. Silus struggled to get free, all the while the screeches of the legendary Pokémon could be heard ringing through the complex.
"There's got to be something we can do!" Jenny cried, still attempting to free herself.
"Listen up everyone!" Brandon snapped, getting their attention. "The only way we can free Moltres, Articuno, and Zapdos is to get that stone from Team Rocket. They took most of our Pokéballs, so using our Pokémon is out of the question as far as escape goes."
"You said most of our Pokéballs." Silus noted. "Where is the other?"
"In my vest pocket." Brandon replied. "If someone were able to undo the button on it and release the Pokémon inside, then it could free us from these bindings and this prison."
"Lean down here, Brandon." Clair offered. "I'll undo it for you."
Brandon leaned over, as asked, and Clair worked diligently to undo the button on his vest pocket, finally snapping it open. Brandon then leaned some more, causing the Pokéball inside to roll out into Clair's waiting hands. Carefully, Clair managed to press the center button on the ball, enlarging it, and then tossed it backwards, resulting in a flash of light, which became an enormous Pokémon, almost as large as the room itself.
"That's....?!" Jenny exclaimed.
"Regigigas, could you please free me from these bindings?" Brandon asked of the large Pokémon.
The large golem reached down, using its immense hands, which were almost Brandon's size themselves, and smashed the binding around him with pressure from two of its three fingers. Free at last, Brandon went around the room, releasing the bindings on all of the rest whom were present.
"Now then, our first order of business is to find out where they're keeping our other Pokémon. From there, we can then make our way to where that Team Rocket leader is and attempt to free the legendary Pokémon from his control." Brandon explained.
"Right!" the other four chimed in unison.
As quietly as was possible, Regigigas snapped the iron bars that imprisoned the group one-by-one. Once they were all broken, Brandon quickly recalled it to its Pokémon, and the group ran out, making their way through the hall until they came to another opening, which lead into a large chamber. Off to the side, there was a stone table with an assortment of Pokéballs sitting on it.
"That must be where they are there!" Silus exclaimed.
The group ran over to the Pokéballs, quickly sorting out whose was whose and placing them back in their holsters. They then, finally, got a chance to examine the chamber more carefully. From Silus' perspective, it must've been the main chamber of the temple, as there was a shrine built at its center, which had moonlight filtering in from a skylight above, directly onto the shrine`.
"That must be where the Wind Magatama has been resting for the last couple thousand years." Brandon noted. "Team Rocket is despicable for disturbing this place."
"As we thought..." came a sharp voice from the entrance of the chamber.
The group wheeled around to see two Team Rocket members entering the chamber, hands on their hips, and sinister smirks on their faces.
"What do you thugs want?!" Nathan snarled.
"Vicious noted that you all might try to escape, and he was right. Well, you won't be interfering with our plans. The road, for you all, ends here." the male Rocket member noted.
Suddenly, the building was violently shook as an explosion sounded out side, causing all within the main chamber to stumble, and a few to fall to their knees. Silus got back to his feet and immediately look for the source to no avail.
"What was that?!" the female Rocket snapped.
"I don't know and it doesn't matter." the male snapped back. "Our duty is to keep these meddling punks out of the boss' plans."
"Right!" she replied to him, each reaching for a Pokéball.
Without warning, Brandon stepped in front of Silus and the others, drawing one of his own Pokéballs and facing the two Rockets.
"Listen up, you guys." he said in a hushed tone, to keep the other Rockets from hearing him. "To the right of us, there is a small entry way that leads into the temple. Use it to get out of here and find a way to rescue the legendary Pokémon. I'll hold these two off here."
"But Brandon...!" Silus protested.
"No buts!" Brandon snapped. "I'm the Pokémon League Champion, remember? I'll be fine."
Silus stepped back, hesitant at first, "Alright, let's go everyone!"
The group composed of Silus, Jenny, Clair, and Nathan took off, heading for the side room Brandon had mentioned, while Brandon closed the gap between himself and the two Rockets, who continued to block entry to the main exit of the chamber.
"Those kids are getting away!" the woman hissed.
"Don't worry about them." Brandon replied with a chuckle, folding his arms. "You should be more concerned about me. I'm about to rock your worlds."
Snarling, the two Team Rocket members prepared for battle, as Brandon leaned back to throw his first Pokéball. Meanwhile, Silus and friends had reached the hallway and were quickly running through the complex, which was arranged much like a maze, until, after several minutes of nonstop twists and turns, they came to a large, elaborate staircase, which seemed to ascend towards the roof. Once more, they found their paths blocked, but this time, by more familiar faces.
"Well, if it isn't the twerps!" a high, shrilling female voice announced.
"They don't looks so happy!" the smaller, feline member cackled.
"You three..." Silus snarled under his breath.
"My turn!" Jenny declared, stepping forward. "You guys go on ahead. I'll take care of these three!"
"No one is leaving here!" James snapped, pulling a Pokéball from his belt.
"We won't let ya's!" Meowth concurred.
"Oh yeah?" Jenny snapped. "Let's get things started, Cryogonal!"
Jenny tossed her own Pokéball, bringing a large, ice-snowflake-like creature out with a brilliant flash of light. The Ice-type Pokémon floated from its spot until it was about halfway up the staircase, facing the Team Rocket trio.
"Now its our turn!" Jessie snapped. "Servine, let's go!"
"I choose you, Ferrothorn!" James shouted in unison with her.
Two more flashes illuminated the dark hallway as Team Rocket's Pokémon were called from their Pokéball, meeting Jenny's Cryogonal in the center of the staircase.
"Hurry up and go, Silus!" Jenny cried. "I'll hold them off."
"Right!" Silus yelled.
Silus, Clair, and Nathan took the opportunity and took off running up the stairs, wheeling around the Pokémon that had been called out and shoving past Jessie, James, and Meowth, much to the three's protest, and then, out of sight.
Intervention: Mewtwo! Edit
Silus was the first to reach the roof of the ancient temple, skidding to a halt as he was struck by a gust of wind upon reaching the opening. Clair was right behind him, followed by Nathan. The sight they were greeted with was far from pleasant. The three legendary bird Pokémon were in a frenzy, bolting left and right, their wings sending up tremendous gusts of wind which continued to batter the group. It appeared, to Silus, that the birds were worked up, trying to dodge something that wasn't giving them a lot of room to attack.
"Blast it all!" came the angry shrill of Vicious' voice. "Get away from them, you brute!"
Silus looked around Vicious and saw what it was he was talking to. There, floating just below the legendary birds, was another creature — this one slimmer than most, with a long, purple tail, and two pale purple horns on its head. It appeared to be very human-like.
"You should not attempt to control Pokémon who have no desire of helping you." the creature was saying.
"What is that?" Nathan exclaimed.
"I'm not sure..." Silus said, dazed, pulling out his Pokédex.
"Mewtwo, the Genetic Pokémon. There is no data on this Pokémon." the Dex reported.
"No data?" Silus asked, perplexed.
"A Pokémon even the Pokédex has no information on...." Nathan noted in bewilderment. "And it can talk!"
"These Pokémon are possessions of Team Rocket!" Vicious was meanwhile yelling at Mewtwo. "I don't care if they want to work with me or not! They have to!"
"So you think." Mewtwo retorted, forming a ball of sapphire-colored energy, and hurling it at the Team Rocket Admin.
Articuno countered it by forming a large ball of water in its mouth and then launching the sphere, which struck Mewtwo's sphere of energy, knocking it away into the forest and causing a large explosion once there.
"Its trying to free the birds..." Clair noted.
"Then I've got to help it!" Silus exclaimed loudly.
This caught Vicious' attention, who whirled around to see the source of the voice, "You! So, you escaped!" he snarled angrily.
"I'll say it once more!" Silus snarled back, equally angry. "Let the bird Pokémon go!"
"So, everyone is attempting to worsen my already bad mood!" Vicious snapped. "If you intend to free them, then force me!"
"Who are those young ones..." Mewtwo thought to itself, watching this exchange. "They seem different from the other humans I've encountered so far. Are they also trying to free the Pokémon?"
"Go, Articuno! You can have the honor or ridding me of these meddlesome brats! Water Pulse!" Vicious roared in maniacal glee.
Once again, Articuno charged up a sphere of blue, watery, energy, which it then launched at the group at speeds so great, they didn't even have time to get their Pokéballs. Silus slammed his eyes shut and braced for the end to come. However, the blast burst into a spray of mist and water particles as Mewtwo leaped in the way, putting a protective barrier around them.
"Mew...two?" Silus wondered, opening his eyes to see the feline-like Pokémon.
"I do not know what your purpose is here, but if you are attempting to help the Pokémon, now is your chance!" Mewtwo declared.
And so, our heroes find themselves caught in the middle of a battle of legendary proportions! Will they be able to free Articuno, Zapdos, and Moltres before Team Rocket can use them for their own wicked purposes?! Stay tuned!