The night was absolutely perfect. The moon was full and the stars twinkled brightly in the clear night sky, illuminating the small sailing community below. The normal humidity in the Hoenn air had vanished when the sun had set all of those hours ago. All of these factors deemed the night to be as perfect as it could be.
It was strange to think that mere days ago Hoenn had nearly faced catastrophe. The legendary beasts Kyorge and Groudon had been awakened. Molten earth clashed with angry waves in a struggle for dominance. The sight was thrilling in the most terrifying sense of the word. Maxie Matsubusa, the proud and collected leader of Team Magma had watched with glee as the primal Kyorge's water attacks evaporated once they got close to the mighty Groudon. Despite the type disadvantage, Groudon looked like it had the upper hand. All of Team Magma's goals and dreams were about to come true. The world was going to be cleansed of its bothersome oceans. The world was about to become a utopia for people and land Pokemon alike.
If things had worked out, however, Maxie wouldn't be hearing horrible sounds of the gentle waves as they briefly invaded the Lilycove shore before drawing back out to sea right now. The sight, the sound, the smell of the blasted ocean made Maxie sick to his stomach. Victory had been within reach. His fingertips practically brushed against the new world he had worked so hard to obtain, but all it took was two meddlesome children and a third legendary beast to destroy everything that he had worked so hard to achieve.
An impatient sigh left his lips. His eyes were so adjusted to the darkness of the night that the light from his PokeNav proved to be a little too bright when he went to check the time. He quickly turned down the brightness on the device before groaning at the time. It was half past one in the morning. This was absolutely ridiculous. It had been Archie's plan to meet him here and apparently Maxie was stupid enough to trust his nemesis. Honestly, he deserved this as punishment for his own stupidity. He knew it was too good to be true when the leader of Team Aqua had approached him with a deal he couldn't refuse; an opportunity to escape the region in exchange for an alliance of the sort. The authorities had been too afraid to touch Team Aqua and Magma when they were at the height of their power, but now that the teams have been disbanded after their respective legendary beasts had been placed back into slumber, Archie Aogiri and Maxie Matsubusa, along with their admins, had been placed at the very top of Hoenn's most wanted list for "eco-terrorism" bullshit.
It was nerve wracking, to say the least, being out in the open like this despite the fact that his black pea coat and matching pants kind of blend in with the night atmosphere. Maxie's signature coat, as well as other clothes that wore the Magma insignia had been reluctantly burned in an attempt to leave behind as little of a trail as possible. The only Magma related thing he owned now were two flashdrives that were tucked away safely inside a small locked box, and that locked box was hidden on the inside of the single suitcase he had brought for this trip. The trip that should have started half an hour ago.
Right as he was beginning to believe that this was all a hoax, that this was one last attempt for Archie to ruin his life, he saw the other's broad body approach the side of the building, seeming to be wary of the streetlights above head. The two apparently had similar ideas on tonight's fashion. A black jacket, dark pants, and even a stupid black bandanna was enough to help him blend in with the darkness that lied outside of the streetlights. In the streetlights, both of them looked incredibly suspicious. Who else met up wearing dark clothes in the middle of the night other than drug dealers and people who are about to go on a robbing spree, or in their cases, people on the run from police?
"You know that I don't hold the strongest opinions of you," Maxie spat once the other was within easy listening range, "but I assumed that even you would be willing and able to keep to a very time restrictive schedule when our lives are on the line."
"You're actin' like a copper's gonna kill us on sight," Archie countered dully. It was hard to say whether his lack of normal enthusiasm was from the time of day or from the crushing defeat he had experienced not too long ago. Maxie didn't know, and frankly, he couldn't care less. He was miserable, but it did make him feel a little better knowing that Archie was miserable as well.
"I cannot think of a reason why they shouldn't. We are Hoenn's most wanted at this point, and I would really appreciate it if we could get out of this damn region before we get caught," Maxie snapped. Archie merely waved him off.
"Keep on talkin' like that an' I'm leaving without ya. I had some last minute Aqua things I hadta take care of before we left for good. It ain't like-wait, why the hell am I justifying this? I'm here now and that's all that matters." He turned on his heels and glanced over his shoulder before looking straight ahead. "I also went ahead and prepped up our escape boat. Your obnoxious ass is welcome for that. C'mon."
Archie began walking and Maxie was quick to follow, pulling his single suitcase along with him. He never would have thought that he would only have a single suitcase to his name, but here he was. It was almost poetic. The man almost had everything his heart desired and now he had absolutely nothing. No team, no admins, no Groudon, not even a full wardrobe of clothes. Instead, he had Archie. All of this felt like a fate worse than death. If Groudon was going to destroy the world, then Maxie would have happily went down with it if he knew that his life was going to turn into this in the aftermath of it all.
Still, he silently followed behind his archenemy. He had little to no idea why Archie had established the deal to begin with. Was he afraid of something? Was he going to toss him out in the middle of the sea and then speed off in his boat? The latter seemed like the more likely option. Perhaps Maxie should have thought this plan through a little longer. It wasn't like him to make such an impulsive commitment without looking at all of the options, but then again, he no longer had the time to thoroughly think things out. At least, he didn't in the heat of the moment. With a sigh, Maxie adjusted his glasses. If he were to meet a watery demise, he would do everything in his power to take Archie down with him.
After a short and silent trip, the duo had made it to a small dock on the very edge of the shore. Attached to the small dock was an equally small boat. Well, it wasn't the smallest boat in existence, but given Archie's love for water Maxie would have thought he would have something a little more extravagant than a mediocre fishing boat. It had about enough space for two, maybe three people. With practiced ease, Archie stepped off of the dock and into the interior of the boat. It didn't look hard, but then again, the only time Maxie had willingly stepped into an aquatic automobile was when he stole a submarine, but it was only a small price to pay in order to rid the world of its useless oceans.
Maxie carefully tossed his luggage into the boat first. There was a short distance between the boat and the dock, so he didn't want to drag that thing along with him as he attempted to climb aboard. That was possibly the best decision he had made in a while. His first attempt of simply stepping onto the boat was futile due to his fear of losing his footing and falling into the chilly water below. He had stretched out a leg before withdrawing it.
"Stop lollygaggin' around and get in already. You're the one in the rush here," Archie said as he leaned against the dashboard.
"Shut up. I wouldn't be too thrilled about getting wet this early in this trip of ours, and since you clearly are unwilling to help me I'm going to take all the time I need." Archie merely rolled his eyes at those words.
Having his condescending eyes placed on him made Maxie even more nervous. Like hell he was going to make a fool of himself right in front of Archie, but that seemed like the only choice he had here. Maxie let out a slow breath and stretched a leg out once again, making sure his foot was placed firmly in the boat before he pushed himself into the interior as gracefully as a drunken ballerina with a crushed foot. He tried to place his footing, but it was too late. He fell onto the cool and kind of damp floor, landing on his side. He quickly rolled over and pushed himself up on his elbows, shooting a cold glare over at Archie's snickering face.
"Not a word," he warned.
"Haven't said a damn one," the other man countered. As Maxie pushed himself onto his feet, Archis scooted past him and untied the boat from the dock. After coiling the rope, he dropped it onto the floor. There was no need in leaving any evidence behind that there was even a boat here, after all. Besides, the rope might come in handy. Without further adieu, Archie started the motor and began to sail off.
For a moment, the only thing that Maxie could do was stand awkwardly in the center of the boat. His hands were tucked behind his back and his face was cold and uninviting, but on the inside he couldn't help but feel saddened. That feeling only grew as he watched the shores of Lilycove grow smaller and fainter with every passing second. Not only was this going to be the last time he saw wonderful land in a while, but it was also possibly the last time he would see the beautiful Hoenn region. This was possibly the last time he would see his beautiful home.
His shoulders slumped as he let out a sigh.
"Are ya gonna be a stupid looking drama queen for the next couple of days or are ya gonna have a seat?" Archie asked dryly, looking over his shoulder. Maxie shot him yet another glare.
"Excuse me for taking in the sight of Hoenn one last time. If I knew you were going to be personally offended by it, well, my actions most definitely would not have changed," he countered and Archie scoffed.
The interior of the boat wasn't the most inviting thing in the world. The seats were more like benches that had locks on the side of them. Maxie assumed that they were storage units. He didn't have the first idea what would be in them, if anything, but he may do a little bit of snooping when Archie eventually goes to sleep, whenever that may be. For the time being, he brushed off an area near the center of the boat and sat down. He kept his arms crossed in front of his chest as he stared in the corner of the boat. He couldn't see Archie and he couldn't see the water. That one area of nothing but empty space may be his ticket for staying sane on this trip.
The time passed by silently and slowly. Archie was focused on the water in front of him and for once in his life, Maxie didn't feel like interfering with his plans. Archie knew the seas better than he did. Maxie had no idea how easy it was to get off coarse, so he wasn't about to risk anything by further provoking the man with his sharp and cold words.
Lilycove, along with the rest of Hoenn, was soon out of sight and Maxie couldn't help but slightly curl in on himself. His peripheral vision told him that they were now fully surrounded by water, but he continued to keep his focus on the small corner in the front of the boat and block out everything else. However, he couldn't help but look up when he saw Archie move and heard the motor stop. The boat lost its speed, quickly coming to a stop in the middle of who knows where.
"What the hell are you doing?" Maxie asked calmly, surprised that only a small amount of panic had been mixed in with his tone.
"Turnin' off the motor," Archie replied simply and turned his attention back to the water in front of him. Maxie pinched the bridge of his nose and exhaled deeply to prevent himself from throwing the man overboard.
"I can see that," he said impatiently. "Why did you turn off the motor?"
"To save on fuel. What? Did you expect me to keep that thing running during the entire trip? I gotta say, I thought you were smarter than that, but hey, I'm glad I'm wrong if that's the case." Archie leaned back against the dash and crossed his arms over his chest. While it was small, there was an amused grin on his face. Maxie was repulsed.
"I knew that we were going to have to kill the motor eventually, but I simply didn't think that it was going to be so soon."
"It was actually going to be sooner, but I wasn't trusting the currents back there. I wanted to make sure that we got out of immediate Hoenn waters as quickly as we could. Now that we're out of there, we'll be set for a while. The currents are good, the night's clear, it's really the perfect night for a getaway. It's almost like Rayquayza is being nice to us after fucking us over."
That one name was enough to make Maxie's blood boil in ways that he thought only Archie's name could. He tensed up, turning his attention from Archie back to his corner of the boat. "With our luck, as soon as land is within sight the boat will capsize. It will be like the creature cut us a break just to pull the rug out from under our feet one last time."
"That's your luck, and I refuse to go down with you." Archie locked the wheel in place and then looked up at the clear night sky. Without the lights of the city, millions of bright stars filled the night sky. "Besides, even if the boat capsizes, which is won't, I have backups. Speaking of which..." He pulled a Pokeball from his belt and tossed it above Maxie's head. Sharpedo popped out and landed into the water with a splash, some of it hitting Maxie. It would have hit him even more if he weren't in the center of the boat. Still, he man made a loud and aggravated groan and tried to shake off some of the water from his clothes. Archie grinned at the display.
The only thing that they could see was Sharpedo's top fin. The siding of the boat was too high up for the rest of the Pokemon to be seen. To make up for this, Archie sat on the side and reached out to give the Sharpedo a pat. "Explore a bit an' see if there's any trouble. Take care of it if ya can, but come back to give us a warning if it's too much," Archie gently instructed and watched as the Pokemon submerged himself in the water and sped off ahead.
Maxie found that getting the water off of his clothes was going to be futile, so he crossed his arms again, this time frustrated and tense. "I understand why you killed the motor, but you have that blasted Sharpedo. He would be able to pull the boat and we would make it to land much faster."
"That would be like asking your Camerupt to walk from one side of Hoenn to the next with a heavy wagon on his back. It would wear the poor thing out real quick. Sharpedo has a job to do anyway. If there's any unseen trouble in the water, he'll take care of it."
A moment of silence fell between the two. Maxie's gaze reverted back to his corner and Archie stared out to the sea. Maxie would have considered him lost in thought, but that would mean Archie has a brain in that head of his and Maxie wasn't ready to accept that as fact just yet. The gentle sounds of the ocean, the smell of salt in the air, and the rocking of the boat, all of it was starting to get to Maxie. The feeling of being surrounded by the things he hated most in the world was crushing. He hugged himself tightly, unable to think of a better way to help calm himself. Even when he heard the sound of Archie's voice again, he refused to look away from his small corner.
"Before we hit a crossroads, I need to know where to go," Archie stated and moved to sit on the side of the boat in a more comfortable position. "We have two options and both have their pros and cons. Sinnoh and Kalos are the regions I'm considering. Sinnoh is closer and there has been talk of an organization like Aqua and Magma forming in that region. That could be good for us because the coppers will be focus more of their time on the group in their own backyard than us, but it could also be bad for us since there will probably be an increase in copper activity and someone might recognize us."
Archie had put some thought int this, that's for sure. Maxie nodded along to his words to show that he was listening as the other man continued. "On the flip side, Kalos is further away but it's relatively peaceful. The coppers there ain't too bad, so as long as we blend in with the crowd, we'll be fine. No one would probably think to look for us there anyway."
"What about the other regions?"
Archie shook his head. "Kanto and Johto are off limits. I ain't about to tackle the harsh Johto waters in a boat like this. It's too risky. Same could be said for Kanto. As much as I would like to go to Alola, that would be the first place for the coppers to think to look for me if they found out I was out of the region. Unova is too far away and kinda difficult to get to on boat since it's mainly surrounded by land. It's easier to get there on plane or something stupid like that. So, Sinnoh and Kalos are left. Take your pick. I don't really care either way."
Maxie hummed as he thought. They both had their ups and downs. Whatever decision was made could make or break them, so everything had to be considered. However, there was one factor that held a little more importance than anything else. "Estimated, how long would it be to get to each of the regions?"
"As long as the waters stay calm, we might be able to reach Sinnoh in three or for days. Kalos could take a little over a week."
Those were words that hurt Maxie to hear. Being out in the open water for an hour was bad enough. He had no idea how he would possibly survive a week. "I believe that as long as we blend in with the crowd, the organization forming in Sinnoh will occupy their attention enough for us. My vote goes toward Sinnoh."
"I figured it was," Archie mumbled and idly tossed Sharpedo's now empty Pokeball up and down in his hand. "But if ya did surprise me, then I would'a been prepared for a trip to Kalos as well. There's enough food in that storage bin you're bony ass is sittin' on to last three weeks."
Instead of getting up to see for himself, Maxie simply nodded. "Most of it will end up in your gullet as opposed to mine, but I appreciate the information."
Another silence fell over to two, this time feeling much longer than the last. For once, Maxie wanted to hear Archie's obnoxious banter and torments. It would take his mind off of the sounds of the inescapable ocean. It looked like Archie wasn't going to be that merciful on him though. It was like the man knew and acted on every single thing that pushed Maxie's buttons. Maxie had half a mind to speak up and break the silence himself, but he had absolutely no idea what he could talk about. His mind was tired and he wasn't great at social interactions to begin with. Fortunately though, Archie coughed and spoke up first once again.
"You can't stand this, can ya? Bein' on this cramped boat with me an' all."
"Oh stars, I wonder where you received an idea like that," Maxie spat and Archie rolled his eyes.
"Whatever. Look. I hate you, but I'm also gonna be stuck with ya for a while. I don't want ya going insane on me just yet." Maxie had no idea where this was going, so he couldn't help but look up at the man as he continued to speak. Archie didn't meet his gaze. "Camerupt's too big and heavy for the boat. We would sink immediately. Mightyena though...as long as you don't have him attack me, aka, the guy who knows how to navigate through the waters to get back on land, I'm okay with him being out to keep ya company."
Maxie didn't even hesitate. He pulled out Mightyena's Pokeball and allowed the Pokemon to pop out. At first the Pokemon looked incredibly confused due to the new and strange surrounding, but once he caught sight of Archie he immediately snapped out of it and went into attack mode. He bared his teeth, flaunting off his sharp white fangs and let out a low and threatening growl. Archie didn't seem fazed by it. As much as Maxie wanted to let his Pokemon attack the man, he also didn't want to be stranded on the boat any longer than he needed to be. He would wait until they were back on land until he tried anything funny.
Maxie reached out and gave Mightyena gentle pats to help calm him down. "It's okay, dear. The brute is friendly right now. Don't attack him." Mightyena looked over at his owner curiously, almost as if he was making sure that the man sitting before him was his owner and not a replacement of some sort. Mightyena did calm down after his owner stroked his fur for a little while longer. He hopped up on the bench and rested his head on his owner's lap while keeping a wary eye on Archie. Already, Maxie felt a little bit better as he continued to pet Mightyena's head. He wanted nothing more than to hug the Pokemon and bury his face in his warm fur to block out the world for a while, but he had to keep his composure. He refused to let Archie see how mentally unsteady he was becoming.
As much as he didn't want to show it, Archie deserved a little appreciation. "Don't let this go to your head...but thanks," Maxie mumbled and turned his head away from the man so he couldn't see what his nonverbal response to that was.
"Don't mention it," he replied passively. "Now go ta sleep or somethin'. I got things to do an' it'll pass the time more quickly on your side of things."
"What on earth could you possible be busy doing here?" Maxie scoffed, turning his head to look at the man again when he saw him move from the siding to one of the storage units on the other side of the small boat. He pulled a keyring out of his pocket. While it didn't look like a janitor's keyring, it did have maybe six of seven different keys attached it it. He wrapped his fingers around a small silver one in the center, letting the rest clink against each other as they slid away and down the keyring. He opened the storage unit, pulled out a folded paper, and then locked it once again before sitting down on the top.
"Geography homework." He crossed his legs and unfolded the paper. Maxie could only see the blank side of the paper, but he assumed there was a map of some sort on the other side. If he had to guess, Archie was studying out the Sinnoh region. Maxie wanted to say something snarky, but stopped the words from coming out of his mouth. He would leave the man to his work.
Not knowing what else to do, Maxie gingerly moved Mightyena's head as he laid down on the bench. It wasn't the slightest bit comfortable, but it was better than propping himself up against the side of the boat where he had the possibility of falling overboard. Mightyena was quick to climb on top of his owner and serve as a blanket. The warmth of the Pokemon was very much appreciated, and Maxie made sure to show him the appreciation by rubbing his back. He took off his glasses and placed them on the collar of his shirt.
Sleep definitely didn't come easy. Not only were there so many things running through his mind, but he was also unnerved by the constant movement of the boat along with the uncomfortable bench. This wasn't a good sleeping environment, to say the least. However, after probably an hour or so, his exhausted mind finally allowed him to drift off into slumber. A dreamless sleep was certainly better than being aware of his inescapable surroundings, that's for sure.