She thought it was funny she had asked Richard if he was ready. How could either of them be ready to enter a cave that was famous for the disappearances of a bunch of people? Nonetheless, she had still asked it, and Richard had answered yes. They now found themselves inside the Kidnapping Caves. So far they were just like any other caves, with Zubat and Crobat hanging from the ceiling. Once or twice they ran into an angry Sableye, but nothing their Pokémon couldn't handle.
''It's not that bad.''
Celeste nodded in agreement. It had been a rumour after all. Or the guide had it wrong; wouldn't be the first time.
A few hours later - or at least it felt like hours, in reality it was just a few minutes after they had entered the Caves - the road split in two. The two trainers looked at each other.
Before Richard could answer her question, they were met with a group of Sableye, running from the left road.
''Not that one.'' Richard muttered.
''Unless it's the new Pokémon they're scared of.'' Celeste pointed out. Richard sighed.
''I guess we go left then.''
The road was completely deserted, which was odd. And very, very suspicious. Was the new Pokémon really there? Or was there something else going on? Celeste worried that there might be some evil gang like Team Rocket in the Caves. If that were the case, they had to help the Pokémon.
Richard was quiet the entire way, his Growlithe and Trapinch by his side. The two Pokémon weren't even playing with hers, like they had previously done before the road had split into two. They felt something was off, just like she did.
Somewhere down the road they heard drilling. Celeste and Richard looked at each other. Could it be the new Pokémon? It could be a ground Pokémon, like Rhydon.
When they turned the corner they didn't see any Pokémon though. What they did see was about twenty people, all dressed in the same uniform: a navy blue shirt with a dark purple vest covered in stars. The men wore simple navy blue trousers, while the women wore denim shorts and navy blue thights. On their chest there was a big 'N' in the middle of a galaxy. Some of them were controlling the drills which were responsible for the sound (strange that they used drills instead of Pokémon, Celeste thought), others were eating and fooling around.
Luckily for Celeste and Richard they hadn't been spotted yet, but it was only a matter of time.
''I doubt they're up to something good.'' Richard whispered. Tim the Growlithe growled, but Charmander quickly covered it's mouth with it's paw.
''Do you think we can take them?''
''Well, all of the evil teams around the world were stopped by kids so... Maybe?''
''They could be different from teams like Rocket and Aqua.''
They had no time to discuss this any further, because one of the grunts who was fooling around earlier noticed them.
''Hey! What are you kids doing here? Didn't you hear the rumours?''
''Yes, and I'm guessing you guys spread those.'' Celeste retorted, everything falling into place now. Whoever they were, they needed to do something in these Caves, without anyone running into them.
Growlithe started growling again, Trapinch, Charmander and Pichu joining in (Celeste didn't even now the little rodent Pokémon could growl).
''What are you doing? You can't just drill into these Caves, what if they collapse?'' Richard asked them. The grunt didn't care though.
''Look, I need you guys to leave. I won't ask it this nicely again, so just...Go.'' his hand already reaching for his Pokéball.
''I don't think so.'' Celeste said. Richard nodded in agreement, a grim look on his face.
''Come on, Isaac, what are you doing? They're just kids.'' one of the grunts yelled.
Isaac threw his Pokéball and a Rattata appeared.
''Seriously?'' Celeste bursted out laughing.
Isaac commanded his Rattata to tackle their Pokémon, but all four of them easily dodged. Charmander used ember at Celestes command, Growlithe bit it. The Rattata was clearly very weak and fainted.
''What?'' Isaac looked at his Pokémon in disbelief. His friends behind him groaned.
''Arceus Isaac, you're pathetic.''
The grunts all started to move forward and reached for their Pokéballs.
''Are they going to attack all at once?'' Richard asked in disbelief. ''Twenty against two, that's fair.''
''I'll take the left side.''
The grunts took out their Pokémon: more Rattata, Arbok, Seviper, Beedrill, Cacnea and Timburr. It was a strange bunch of Pokémon; they had absolutely nothing in common.
Charmander and Pichu stood tall against the left side, Growlithe and Trapinch on the other. Celeste and Richard behind them, ready to fight.
''Well aren't you a brave bunch. Don't cry when you're Pokémon get hurt.'' one of the female grunts taunted. Celeste gritted her teeth, biting back a sarcastic response. She had no idea who these guys were and how dangerous they were, she shouldn't provoke them.
''Ready?'' Richard asked her. Celeste nodded.
Commands where shouted from everywhere inside the cave at the exact same time. Charmander and Pichu avoided as many attacks as they could, but there were ten Pokémon attacking at the same time. As long as she could just take down a few, bringing down the number...!
''Keep avoiding!'' she yelled at her Pokémon, while taking out her Pokédex. Beedrill was weak against fire, so was Cacnea.
''Charly, use Ember against Beedrill and Cacnea at the same time! Pichu, distract their trainers by aiming Thundershock at that rock behind them!''
Fortunately the grunts didn't hear any of this, as the sounds of attacks and trainers yelling commands at their Pokémon were louder. Charmander and Pichu did hear her though, and that was what counted. The two Pokémon complied; the grunts cursing as they noticed the Thundershock coming their way.
''Ha! Is that all you got?'' they yelled as the rock behind them vaporized. Their was a confident grin on their face, which fell as soon as they noticed that the two Beedrill and the Cacnea had fainted. They cursed again and returned their Pokémon to their Pokéballs. There were seven left: Arbok, Seviper and five Rattata. The Rattata should be easy, but she wasn't sure about the two snake Pokémon.
''Charly, Pichu, use Ember and Thundershock at the Rattata!''
Like she had predicted the rodents immediately fainted as they were hit by the fire and electric attacks. Now there were only two left. There was doubt in the eyes of the last two grunts and disbelief. How could they lose from a kid? Well, the same way Team Rocket, Aqua, Magma, Galactic, Plasma and Flare did, Celeste thought with a smile.
''What's going on here?'' a shrill female voice asked. The battle immediately stopped. Everyone turned towards the voice behind Celeste and Richard. Behind them there was a woman, wearing the same uniform, but slightly different. Unlike the grunts, she actually stood out. She had purple, curly hair matching her purple eyes. She wore a cape with a galaxy print over her uniform, which was hold together by a pin in the form of a star. Celeste deduced that she must be an admin.
''Miss Zenith!'' one of the grunts cried. ''We were just teaching these kids a lesson.''
The woman called Zenith raised an eyebrow.
''It looks to me like you were losing. From kids.''
Celeste was actually getting really tired of being called a kid. She was fifteen, almost sixteen actually, so almost an adult. Yet another adult called her a 'kid', like she was ten or something.
''Losing? No, no. Everything's under control.''
''Yet their Pokémon are still standing, a few scratches here and there, but standing. Most of your Pokémon have fainted.''
Celeste looked around her. Indeed, in total there were only four Pokémon left, excluding her and Richard's.
''I did not think Team Nebula was as weak to lose from a bunch of kids,'' the woman continued her preach. ''Yet here you are. I do hope you at least finished the project?''
The grunt nodded enthusiastically.
''Yes, miss! The Corona Orb has been succesfully retrieved.''
''Then let us retreat, before you bring upon more shame on the Nebula name.''
The lights went out and when they came on again, Team Nebula was gone.