Trouble in Phenac City
Season Gold Star, Chapter 66
Written by Terence Harris
Created by Terence Harris, Jeremy White
Chapter guide
The Stone Cold Gym Leader
Wes' Past: Part One
"Shadow Articuno?" Leinad asked, shaking the demonic-like stare from his mind, re-focusing his mind on the battle. "What kind of Pokemon is that?"

"It's a Shadow Pokemon." Kris answered as she called back her Vaporeon and Rai called back his Dragonite.

"I heard you the first time, dumb ass." Leinad said, taking out another one of his Poke Ball's. "But... truly, what are these Shadow Pokemon?"

"Shadow Pokemon are... special." Rai said, speaking up in the place of Kris. "I suppose you could say Shadow Pokemon are... entirely different brand of species themselves."

"Special? Different brand of species?" Leinad asked, not understanding what he meant by that. "I don't necessarily comprehend you. So, stop being mysterious and shit and just tell me what the hell you're talking about."

"Boy, you are extremely impatient." Rai said, as he sighed at Leinad. "But fine, I don't see any harm in explaining what Shadow Pokemon really are." Rai allowed the knowledge of the Shadow Pokemon to grow and surface in his mind and when he thought he was ready to explain, he told Leinad all about them. "As I said before, Shadow Pokemon are special. But, in all essence, they're a group of Pokemon that have had the doors to their hearts shut artificially, a process created by a certain organization that will stay unnamed. This process was originally started in the Orre region, however since then... it has spread worldwide, turning normal Pokemon into Shadow Pokemon instantly.

"To turn a Pokemon into a Shadow Pokemon is very strange because, through an undisclosed process, one would be able to remove a Pokemon's emotions, turning it into a soulless fighting machine. Unbeknown to many, the creator referred to this process as 'shutting the doors to their hearts' as was aforementioned. While normal Pokemon are generally friendly and trusting creatures, Shadow Pokemon are not hesitant to attack with full force, using techniques that reflect other moves, however, are seemingly much more powerful and highly damage any Pokemon that is not a Shadow Pokemon as you saw with Shadow Articuno's Shadow Chill."

Ah-ha! That's why that attack looked so different... It was a Shadow Pokemon's technique... Leinad thought as Rai continued his explanation.

"Likewise, they do not attack only other Pokemon, and will actually attack their Trainers unless tamed like Kris' Articuno. Shadow Pokemon can also be overwhelmed by their emotions, indicating their relative instability of their Shadow state, and hurt themselves because of it." Rai finished as Leinad raised an eyebrow at him.

"What about that aura that her Articuno is emitting? Is that also suggestive to the Shadow Pokemon?" Leinad asked, making his Poke Ball grow in size.

"Ah, that interesting little quirk." Rai said, although he was surprised that Leinad asked that question. "Yes, you are quite correct. That is how Shadow Pokemon are normally identified, however, most humans can not see that with their own human eye. It surprises that you would ask that question because... not even I nor my partner can see that dark aura that emits from Articuno. However, I do remember someone telling us that people with certain abilities and tools can see that dark aura that emits from them, invisibly. Normal Pokemon do not emit this energy and as such, generally speaking, most humans are not able to see the dark aura. But you... you must have some innate ability to see such things there."

"I guess so..." Leinad said as he sighed, realizing that his suspicions were true. Shadow Pokemon were beginning to spread faster than he originally anticipated and now... he needed to stop another from becoming anymore corrupted that it already was. "But now, it's time to get serious..." Leinad took something out of his jacket that he was wearing and quickly strapped it onto his arm.

It was a silver piece of machinery that wrapped around his arm and stretched to his shoulder. A few wires were wrapped around the entire machine, glowing different energies of blue and red. Each time Leinad moved his arm, the blue energy ran up the wires themselves and the red energy soon followed in a small circles of their respective colors.

"What in the world is that?" Kris asked, ready to get into battle once more with Leinad.

"It's a special piece of machinery that I like to call..." Leinad said, tightening on his arm, as it grew an extra plate that covered his entire hand just as he was making a fist. "The Snag Machine."

"The Snag Machine?" Rai asked, sounding a bit confused as he chuckled. "What is that?"

"You sound confused. Is it truly that tough to understand?" Leinad asked as Kris and Rai glared at him, knowing that this machine would help him win. "With this Snag Machine, I'm going to snatch your Pokemon from you! So, get ready!"

"Snatch my Pokemon?" Kris laughed at his wild accusation. "Are you out of your mind? How can you possibly do that?"

"With this Snag Machine." Leinad said, holding up his arm to them. "Now... pay attention and watch closely so you won't get lost. Are you ready?" Leinad put his Poke Ball up onto his hand with the Snag Machine connected to it, as it started to glow a bright white light. The light surrounded the entire Poke Ball, washing it in the light as it floated in mid-air above his palm.

"Now, Snag Ball! Go!" Leinad tossed it at Kris' Shadow Articuno as it shone a bright light, opening up and encompassing Kris' Shadow Articuno in the light. Kris and Rai could only stand there and watch as Kris' Pokemon was sucked out of her control and into Leinad's Poke Ball. The Poke Ball, now with his Shadow Articuno inside of it, landed back on his palm, with the process complete. "See what I meant by that? The Snag Machine allows me to capture your Shadow Pokemon and then, it becomes purified by the light that emerges from the Poke Ball. So... now, your Articuno is mine now."

"What?!" Kris asked surprised with Rai's mouth agape. "How can you do that? That means against the Pokemon association's policy! How can you snatch my Pokemon right up into that Snag Ball of yours?"

"It isn't against their policy. Turning Pokemon into Shadow Pokemon is against their policy! And I, being the Gym Leader of Mahogany Town, have not taste for Shadow Pokemon! Purification is the only way to help out these Pokemon and that's what the Snag Machine can do!" Leinad said, holding up the Poke Ball containing the now purified legendary bird Pokemon, Articuno. "So, thanks for the Articuno! I think I'll use it! GO!" Leinad called out his Articuno, as it emerged, glaring down at its previous owner.

"No way! Dragonite!" Rai shouted, re-calling his Dragonite back out, which was still weakened from its battle against Leinad's Poliwrath.

"Vaporeon! Come out!" Kris shouted, calling out her Vaporeon for one more battle.

"NOW, ATTACK THAT TRAITOR OF A POKEMON!" Kris and Rai shouted at the same time as both of their Pokemon dashed forward, ready to take down their previous friend. Vaporeon and Dragonite jumped into the air at Articuno, however, it was too late for them. They had already sealed their fate when they challenged Leinad to a battle.

"Articuno, finish them! AncientPower now!" Leinad ordered, as Articuno formed a glowing ball of white energy in front of mouth. It then screeched loudly, firing the blast of white energy into Kris' Vaporeon and Rai's Dragonite. Seconds before the attack made contact, it grew to a tremendous size and smashed into Vaporeon and Dragonite, making a destructive impact onto the Pokemon and their Trainers as well. When the debris and dust cleared from the area, Kris, Rai, and their Pokemon had been knocked unconscious, hit hard with Leinad's attack. Leinad had hopped on his Articuno's back and flew high into the sky just before the blast exploded, managing to dodge the attack before it did any serious damage to them.

Leinad pet Articuno on its head and smiled saying, "Nice work, Articuno. Now, let's head out before they wake up. They may be pretty pissed to see me still here with one of their Pokemon in my team." Leinad pointed forward to Articuno, who smiled and zipped forward, off to Mahogany Town, after a victorious battle leaving both of their enemies on the ground, unconscious and disoriented.

Meanwhile, back in Orre, the Pokedex Holders and Wes arrived in the next location there called Phenac City which was a bit larger than the other place was. When they entered the city, the sign for it read, "A gorgeous jewel of a town that overflows with water in a forbidding desert". Just by its description, it gave some insight on the city. Phenac City, essentially, was a small city built around a desert oasis in the southeastern part of Orre.

However, just saying that does not give this town the feeling of beauty and excitement that it offers to travelers and the people that live there.

The entire city is surrounded by a wall that keeps out harsh desert winds and only cool, natural air flew through the breeze of this town. As they walked into the town, they saw that most of the buildings were built of stone, however, in the center of the town was a large, ornamental fountain that served decoration and a rich display of Phenac's water supply.

As they walked into the actual town itself, they saw two people there handeling a bag that shook back and forth for a strange reason. Walking up behind them, they listened to their entire conversation.

"Hey, what the hell are you doing?" One of them asked the other guy. "Get a grip man!"

"Yeah, you say that shit but... it honestly won't stop squirming." The second guy told the first. "Makes it tough hold on."

"Okay, okay, what the hell ever." The first guy said to the second just as they heard a muffled scream that came directly from the bag. "Settle down in there. Just be quiet for a little while longer."

"Help!" Someone shouted from inside the bag. "Someone, please help me! Kidnappers!"

"Damn it!" The second guy said back to the first. "That tape didn't keep her damn trap shut!" The second guy then raised his leg up to the bottom of the bag and slammed his foot into that person's back. "Hey! Shut the hell up! Quit your shouting!"

"Hey," Machine said as he touched the first guy's shoulder. The first guy turned around as Machine delivered a seriously devastating punch into the guy's stomach, sending him flying into the other guy, making them drop the bag and roll away from it. "And that's what you get for kidnapping someone!"

Kusa quickly opened the bag and helped the person out of it saying, "Hey, are you alright? What's my name?"

"My name is... Rui." The girl introduced herself as Wes turned around and saw that she was reporter that worked for ONBS. "And... these guys kidnapped me!"

"Kidnapped you?" Wes asked as he turned back to the other guys and cracked his knuckles. "Well, well, this is definitely an interesting situation."

"Oh! Shit!" The second guy said, as he turned to the first after he was done wiping the blood off of his nose. "Did these punks just hear of all that?"

"No shit, Sherlock." Machine said as he took out two Poke Ball's and tossed them into the air, releasing his Larvitar and his Charizard onto the battlefield.

"Hmph." The first guy said as he took out two of his own Poke Ball's. "Do you have any idea who we are? You're messing with the crowd, punk and you're going to get flattened for it."

"I don't have any interest in learning who you bastards are!" Machine shouted, making the two guys jump a bit. "You bastards mistreated a lady and as such, you shall be punished for your misdeeds! Now, come on, bring it!"

"Since you overheard us, we don't have any choice. Blame it on your own bad luck if you lose to us!" The first shouted, calling out his two Pokemon against Machine's. "The name's Folly and I will defeat you and bring you to the boss!" Two Hoothoot emerged on the field, unleashing themselves before Machine's Charizard and Larvitar.

"The name's 'I don't give a shit and you're Pokemon are crap!' Now, let's battle!" Machine shouted, as his Charizard and Larvitar charged forward. "Charizard, let's take these guys out quickly! Heat Wave now! Then, Larvitar follow up with your Rock Throw now!" Both of Machine's Pokemon burst forward, taking on one of the Hoothoot's that were in front of them. Charizard formed a red orange ball in its mouth and then unleashed a wind of flames that took Folly's Hoothoot immediately.

"What the hell?!" Folly asked surprised. "Who are you guys?"

"None of your business! Just focus on the match, why don't you?" Machine asked as Folly glared at him, with his Larvitar up next to face against his Hoothoot.

"Hoothoot, Hypnosis now!" Folly ordered as it blasted sleep-inducing waves at Larvitar from its eyes, however, Machine's Larvitar jumped over its attack and landed behind it. It then slammed its fist into Hoothoot's back sending it flying forwards, landing on its face.

"Charizard, Inferno now!" Machine shouted as Larvitar picked up the piece of the rock beneath their feet and tossed it at Hoothoot just as Machine's Charizard shot an intense blue-colored flame from its mouth at Folly's Hoothoot. Both attacks met in the middle, erupting onto Folly's Hoothoot. His Hoothoot was thrown through the air, burnt to cinders by the power of Machine's Pokemon. "Well? Are we done here?"

"Gaah!" Folly shouted, holding his head. "You're tougher than you look! You took out my Hoothoot without ANY trouble! You're no ordinary Trainer, are you?" Just as Machine smirked at him, Wes looked at him, their eyes meeting in between. "Wait a sec... You! That face... Might you be... Team Snagem's-"

"NO!" Wes shouted to him, interrupting him. "I have never belonged to that backstabbing bunch of bastards! So, don't ever think of associating me with them!"

Just as Folly and his partner glared at Wes, a few people emerged on the scene, staring at the scene made by Folly, his partner, Wes, and the Pokedex Holders. "What, what?! What's going on out here!"

Rui's eyes glowed a strange color as she shouted, "Eeek! Somebody! Save me! They're robbers!" She, of course, pointed to Folly and his partner, as everyone else stared at them in confusion and fright.

"You be quiet!" Folly's partner shouted at Rui. "We're not robbers! We're kidnappers! Get it? Kidnappers!"

"What?! You... you dumb ass!" Folly shouted at his partner. "Don't go shooting over that mouth!" Folly turned to the group of people that had defeated Folly and his partner. "Don't get all happy just on account on winning this once! Next time we meet, I'll kill you, your Pokemon, and your friends! All in one amazing attack! You'll be blown by my magnificence!"

Rich glared at them both and said, "You two should leave. The more you stay here and talk to us, the more pathetic you guys look." Both Folly and his partner dashed out of Phenac City without any warning, with the pride crushed by the Pokedex Holders and Wes. The people that had ran out of to see what was going on, turned and left leaving the Pokedex Holders and Wes to look after the traumatized Rui.

"So..." Artie said, kneeling down to the news reporter. "Are you alright, miss? Are you hurt at all?"

"Yes." She said as she stood up and brushed herself off. "Can you believe those people? I can't believe they would kidnap someone like me!"

"That is a horrible thing to do." Rich said, turning around to her just as Artie stood up. "Who were those guys anyway?"

"I have no idea." Wes said, bringing attention to himself. "But, we don't have time to waste on stupid shit like this. Let's check out this town for anymore strange occurrences."

"Well, that's true but..." Kusa said as she turned to Wes. "I have something to speak to Wes about. We all do, actually."

"What are you talking about?" Wes asked as he turned away from everyone. "I have nothing to hide and no discrepancies against you guys."

"We know that. But, we do know that you're hiding something. You've been hiding it from us ever since we met you." Kusa responded. "I noticed as soon as we met you. It's a point of atonement for you to join the Pokedex Holders. To join us. You want to make up for something that you screwed up in the past so, you thought, by joining us, you'll be forgiven for your crimes."

Pokedex Holders? Rui thought to herself as she looked over to Machine, instantly noticing that he was the main leader of the group.

"So, tell us, Wes," Rich said to him. "Tell us who you really are. And don't lie to us this time."

Wes sighed and said, "Fine. I'll tell you everything about me but... let's go into that Pokemon Center over there. I don't her to know anything about me. Come on." Wes and the Pokedex Holders walked away from Rui, leaving her a bit confused and out of touch for a second.

But then, as she saw them walk into the Pokemon Center, she had finally realized it. She had realized who they were, finally. She opened her eyes widely and smiled at nothing as she said to herself, "The Pokedex Holders... saved me?!" Rui then chased after them and Wes, heading into the Pokemon Center after them.