"I have to say... I haven't take on a League Member for a while now." Sepia removed three pokeballs from his belt and smiled. "This'll be fun!" He leapt backwards, throwing them as he did, more for gesture than practicality. "Gorcea! Meture! Girdeon! Let's go!" Sepia's Pokeballs opened to reveal three of his Towan Pokemon. The first, Gorcea, appeared as a ball of darkness, moving around in pulses and shifts, a sight that proved hard for Rowan to keep an eye on. Meture, on the other hand, appeared as a small man made of light, with no real discerning features - as if the opposite of a shadow. Girdeon was much different, a steel-type Eevee Evolution. It's body was segmented as a Steelix or Onix, but the form still identifiably that of an Eevee breed.
"The light, the dark and the man made. I'm sure there's a metaphor in there somewhere." Rowan smirked as the ground around him began to shake. "I would say something impressive here, but it would feel so very blaise... I think I'd rather let them do the talking." The rumbling came nearer as shapes began to appear in the dense forest.
"Look out, Sepia!" Shouted Lavender. "Three Third Evo's heading your way!"
Sepia's eyes began to dart as he scoped out the surroundings. He dodged out of the way as an Infernape hurtled past with a Fire Punch, an attack that sent one of the ancient trees hurtling into a wall as it struck. Flames began to spread as the tree caught fire, a flame quickly doused by a well placed Hydro Cannon from an Empoleon. Sepia stepped backwards, only to bump into an unknown object. He turned to face an angry, awakening Torterra.
"You trying to kill me, Rowan? That's hardly fair..." Sepia grunted out as he jumped back to where his pokemon were grouped.
"This isn't an official battle. Do you see an officiator standing around here?" Rowan smirked darkly. "I guess that makes the normal rules null and void..."
"Not so fast!" Lavender called out. She gestured wildly, making a V-shape with her arms. "As a Former Towan Gym Leader, I hereby designate this an official battle! Standard league rules apply!" She looked down at Sepia. "You didn't think Stoenn sent ME just to ask a few questions, did you?" Her gaze moved to Rowan. "Torterra, Empoleon and Infernape Versus Gorcea, Merture and Girdeon! This is a three way battle! The victor is the person with the last pokemon standing! Ready? GO!"
"Here we are. Richtog Vale..." Fuschia wiped the sweat from her brow. The sun was hotter than normal, although to her credit she hadn't been to Richtog Vale too many times. She looked up at the Silph building. It was small and dingy, an invader into the otherwise purpose-built town. She sighed, knocking on the door.
"Who is it?" Came a small voice from inside.
"Silph Field Operative Six-One-Zero. Permission to enter."
"Oh, yes, of course. Come in Fuschia." The door opened to reveal a very stark, clean laboratory. Fuschia and Hari stepped in carefully, trying to steer clear of the delicate machinery carefully placed around the room.
"Who's your friend?" Said one of the scientists by the door.
"This is Hari, a Richtog Psychic." She smiled and ruffled his hair a bit. "He's harmless enough, Frank."
"Hey!" Said Hari, slightly offended.
"So, you're in this Team Temporal, huh? I assume you know that means that Silph is a little bit unsure about keeping you on the books?"
"Yeah." Fuschia sighed. "I was surprised you let me in, to be honest."
"What?" Hari blurted out. "But she's still working for you!"
"And that's the point." Fuschia was blunt. "They don't want to be associated with Team Temporal, given the bad press they've got."
"Oh..." Hari sadly muttered.
"That's why you have an opportunity to redeem yourself." Frank smiled and pointed at a diagram, drawn in pen on a whiteboard. "Something you can do to win back favor."
Fuschia's gaze narrowed a little, hesitant.
"What do you want me to do?"
"Why, it's simple. Bring us the conduit. Bring us the conduit, and you'll have Silph's full support. That's why you're here, isn't it? To get our help? Then these are our terms..."
"Go, Girdeon! Finish him! Iron Tail!" Sepia shouted as Girdeon unleashed it's final attack. Infernape fell, the final one of Rowan's Pokemon to fall. "Well... That was close..."
"The winner is Sepia!" Lavender shouted. "Under League Guidelines, he is given admittance to the next stage of the trial!"
"Well done..." Rowan smiled, stepping away calmly. "I knew you could do it." He turned to face Sepia one last time.
"Well? No witty retort about the joys of losing?" Sepia gloated, a smug look in his eyes.
"No, I'm placated." Rowan's arrogance seemed to match Sepia's. "I think you're strong enough to win back your Dialga."
"What?!" Sepia shouted, rushing forwards. His steps were rash and careless, running on passion rather than thought. Rowan fell through a trapdoor that opened beneath him, swinging open and closed very quickly, ending with a THUD long before Sepia could reach it.
"Damn it!" Sepia said. "What the hell! Answer me!"
"Sepia!" Wehc called out. "If you want answers, we have to continue onwards! There's no other way!"
The hero's face grew dim as the others descended from the viewing gallery.