Celebi flew around Jonathan, Beatrice, and Silver faster and faster. Pink and green sparkles seemed to surround them all until there was a flash and they were no longer standing on the streets of Saffron City. Instead they were standing in a dark cave that they didn’t recognize.
“Where are we?” Jonathan asked. “Where did Celebi take us?”
“No. No!” Silver fell to his knees and pounded a fist into the cave floor. “I was so close. I wasted my chance.”
“Silver?” Beatrice knelt down next to Silver. “It’s ok.”
“Wait, both of you. I hear something,” Jonathan said as the group fell silent.
At first they could only hear their own breathing. Then the sound of running water and waterfalls came through.
“Are we back under the ocean in the Whirl Island caves?” Beatrice asked.
“No. This place doesn’t smell like the ocean or salt water,” Jonthan said. “But I think I hear something else. It’s like a voice.”
Just barely audible to the group was a muffled voice which seemed to bounce off the cave walls.
“I say we go check it out,” Jonathan said.
“Go. I’ll stay here,” Silver said as he sat down, back pressed up against the wall of the cave.
“Are you going to sit here and sulk?” Beatrice asked.
“Bea,” Jonathan grabbed Beatrice’s hand.
“Sorry I don’t mean to be mean. But, Silver. You can’t just sit here and do…this. You might as well come with us. Maybe Celebi is this way,” Beatrice said.
Silver waited there for a moment not saying anything. His expression was a mix of anger and dismay. But eventually he let out a sigh.
“Fine,” Silver said as he picked himself off of the ground. “But I won’t help you if some Pokémon attacks us.”
“Wouldn’t expect anything different,” Beatrice said.
Jonathan and Beatrice held hands as they marched through this cave and Silver trailed behind them. They followed the sound of this voice, further into the cave. The sound of rushing water also grew louder as they approached the voice.
Eventually the voice became louder and clearer. It didn’t sound like a person talking however. It sounded like some sort of recording or live message being broadcast.
“Hold on, listen,” Jonathan said as they stopped to listen.
“…and after three years of lying in wait, we are accounting our return today.”
“What is that?” Beatrice asked.
“It’s somewhat familiar,” Jonathan said.
“I repeat. We are Team Rocket and we are announcing our return. Boss, Giovanni, if you are hearing this broadcast, please come join us,” The Message continued.
“Team Rocket?” Jonathan asked.
“Giovanni?” Silver’s interest spiked.
“We are sending out this important message to everyone in Johto. We are Team Rocket and after lying in wait for three years, we are announcing our return today…” The Message seemed to repeat over and over again.
“That message. That’s what went out when Team Rocket took over the Goldenrod Radio Tower,” Silver said.
“I remember Lance telling me that Team Rocket was broadcasting their message and trying to get Giovanni to show up,” Jonathan said.
“And Celebi just showed us that part from the past where Giovanni said he was going away to train or whatever before returning,” Beatrice said.
“And apparently that was three years ago,” Jonathan said. “So if that message is broadcasting now, Celebi must have brought us back to the date where Team Rocket took the Goldenrod Radio Tower.”
“But where is the broadcast coming from? Why is it in a cave?” Beatrice asked.
“Someone must have a radio,” Silver said. “Come on.”
Silver pushed through them and ran up ahead of them, running quickly toward the sound of the radio. Jonathan and Beatrice ran behind him, doing their best to keep up with Silver.
They came to where the running water became a proper large waterfall, roaring as it kicked up mist. The waterfall split around a large rock structure and there in the middle of it was the entrance to an inner cave.
“There.” Silver pointed and kept on moving.
“Wait up,” Jonathan said.
“Yea, wait for us,” Beatrice said, but Silver was not slowing down.
The three of them came to the front of the inner cave and then stopped. Silver seemed frozen in the entranceway.
“Silver?” Jonathan asked.
The radio transmission was cut short as the switch was turned off. Standing in front of them was a man with short, black hair wearing a black suit. When he turned to face the group, they saw the flash of the red “R” on his chest.
“Giovanni,” Beatrice said.
“So Celebi did bring us to him,” Jonathan said.
There was a brief moment of silence as each group was confused about the other.
“Well this is quite a surprise,” Giovanni said, with a sneer. “I didn’t expect to see you today, Silver.”
Silver balled up his hands into fists and his expression soured.
“I’m sorry, did I interrupt something. Because it kind of looks like you are hiding in a cave,” Silver said.
“Nonsense. I have been training here for quite some time. Almost three years I believe,” Giovanni said. “I was actually on my way to Goldenrod City to answer the call. Seems like Team Rocket has been busy in my absence.”
“Team Rocket? Team Rocket? So Team Rocket takes over some dumb radio tower and you come running, just like that,” Silver said.
“Well of course. This marks Team Rocket’s return. I wouldn’t want to miss out on that,” Giovanni said.
Silver shook his head.
“No. No. You don’t get to go to that tower. You don’t get to leave this cave. Not until you pay for what you’ve done,” Silver said.
“And what exactly have I done, Silver?”
“You abandoned me!” Silver shouted, not meeting his father’s glance.
Both Jonathan and Beatrice fell completely silent, just waiting to jump in if necessary.
“Silver, don’t be so ridiculous. You are the one who ran from me, remember? You decided you didn’t need your old man. It hurt, honestly,” Giovanni said.
“Don’t you dare. Don’t you dare try to turn this around on me,” Silver said. “You abandoned me long before that day in front of Silph Co. You never made me a priority. You cared about Team Rocket, but you never cared about me.”
There was another brief moment of silence as Giovanni and Silver just stared at one another.
“Are you done throwing a fit in front of these…other trainers I’m assuming,” Giovanni said as he gestured toward Beatrice and Jonathan. “You have that spirit about you. Reminds me of other trainers back in Kanto.”
“It’s not about them,” Silver said. “It’s about you and me. You can’t run away this time.”
“Oh, are you going to stop me?” Giovanni asked, raising an eyebrow. “You’d dare to stand in my way. Stand in the way of Team Rocket’s triumphant return.”
“We did it once,” Jonathan said.
Giovanni looked over at Jonathan.
“We already defeated Team Rocket,” Jonathan said. “Silver and I. We entered the Goldenrod Radio Tower and defeated all of your Team Rocket Executives. Team Rocket is no more.”
“What is he talking about?” Giovanni asked Silver.
“It’s complicated,” Silver said. “But what he is saying is true. We’ve already lived this day. We took out Team Rocket at the radio tower and Team Rocket failed, again. And the Cherrubi on top is that you don’t show.”
Givoanni’s brow narrowed.
“Empty threats,” He said. “Team Rocket would never be stopped by the likes of you. Not again. Team Rocket will not be taken down by some kids.”
“Want to put that to the test?” Silver asked as he pulled a Pokéball from his bag.
Givoanni let out a laugh.
“You are challenging me to a Pokémon Battle, really?” Giovanni asked.
“Why? Are you afraid?” Silver asked.
“No. I’m never afraid to put you in your place,” Giovanni said, pulling out a Pokéball.
“Do you want us to help?” Jonathan asked.
“We can battle as well,” Beatrice said.
“No. I must do this myself,” Silver said. “And this isn’t just a pride thing. I…I do appreciate you both coming with me. I know I’m not the most pleasant person.”
“Silver…” Jonathan began.
“It’s true. I’m not a great person. But I’m trying to be better,” Silver said. “I have to show my father that I’m better than him.”
“Alright,” Jonathan said. “But we have your back.”
“So are you ready?” Giovanni asked as he lightly tossed the Pokéball in the air.
“I’m ready,” Silver said.
“Very well,” Giovanni said. “Go Nidoking!”
Emerging from the Pokéball in the flash of light was a large Pokémon covered in purple, armor-like skin with a large horn on its forehead. The Pokémon looked tough and fierce.
“Nidoking!” The Pokémon roared.
“Go, Feraligatr!” Silver said as his Pokémon emerged from the Pokéball.
The large, crocodilian Pokémon had thick, blue skin with red spikes on its head. It had large claws and an even larger jaw it showed off proudly. Feraligatr was definitely ready for a fight.
“Feraligatr!” It mirrored Nidoking’s roar.
“Nidoking, use Mega Horn!” Giovanni commanded.
“Feraligatr, use Aqua Tail!” Silver said.
The two Pokémon charged at one another. Nidoking lowered its head and the horn on its head began to glow with a green light. Feraligatr matched its running speed and then planted its feet. It turned quickly and its tail gathered the moisture in the air, encasing itself in water. Feraligatr slammed its tail into Nidoking and knocked the Pokémon back before it could land a hit.
“Nice one!” Jonathan and Beatrice cheered.
“This is just getting started,” Giovanni said. “Nidoking, don’t let up. Use Poison Jab!”
Nidoking picked itself up and started charging at Feraligatr. This time Fraligatr didn’t react fast enough and Nidoking stabbed into it with its poison-tipped horn. Again and again, Nidoking attacked Feraligatr with its horn.
“Feraligatr, use Ice Fang!” Silver shouted.
Feraligatr’s jaws became covered in a layer of frost and it bit down on Nidoking’s shoulder. More ice coated Nidoking, leaving it almost immobile in Feraligatr’s jaws.
“Let’s finish this, Feraligatr,” Silver said. “Use Aqua Tail.”
Feraligatr planted its feet and chomped down on Nidoking’s shoulder, tightening its grip. Then in a moment of incredible strength. It lifted its head and tossed Nidoking into the air. Feraligatr then spun quickly and slammed its tail into Nidoking. There was a crash which sounded like waves crashing of water from the waterfall. Nidoking then crashed against the cave’s floor as it rolled over and over, finally coming to a stop at Giovanni’s feet. The Pokémon laid there, not moving, unable to battle further.
Silver smiled a genuine smile as he noticed a look of fear across Giovanni’s face.
“How…how…” Giovanni stumbled with his words.
“Defeated once again,” Silver said. “It’s like the last three years in this cave was nothing but a waste. Except this time it’s not some stranger defeating the hopes of Team Rocket and it’s leader. It’s me. Your own son. Your son who you abandoned for some vague feeling of power and control. In the end it was all for nothing. I became a powerful Pokémon trainer without any help from you. I knew that you were nothing but a weak coward back then and it’s no different now.”
Giovanni fell to his knees.
“I don’t understand. How could this be?” Giovanni asked.
“I was once like you. I only cared about power. I thought only strong Pokémon matted. But I learned that there’s more to Pokémon than that. It’s about a bond between Pokémon and trainer that allows a Pokémon to unlock its full potential,” Silver said as he glanced over at Jonathan and Beatrice. “I had to lose a lot of battles before I learned that, but I never gave up. I knew one day I’d meet you and that I would defeat you.”
“You are a naive child,” Giovanni said.
“And you are nothing but a washed up nobody. Team Rocket is over. You are over. And I don’t need you anymore. I guess I never did,” Silver said as he turned away from Giovanni. “Goodbye, Dad. Hope I never see you.”
“Silver, shouldn’t we call someone. Let the police know Giovanni is here?” Jonathan asked.
“I don’t care what happens to him. I accomplished what I came here for. Might as well let him rot away in this cave alone,” Silver said.
“Alright,” Jonathan said.
“So what now?” Beatrice asked.
“We go home,” Silver said.
At the mention of home, two Pokémon seemed to appear out of nowhere. The two Celebi began flying around them.
“Celebi, get us home,” Silver said.
Again the Celebi began circling around the three of them and Feraligatr. There was the familiar sight of green and pink sparkles and then with a flash of light they were no longer standing before Giovanni.
In a moment the scene changed from the inside of the cave to a lush forest. They had returned to the place where they just were. They were back in Ilex Forest.
“Looks like we returned,” Jonathan said.
“Thanks to Celebi,” Beatrice said.
“Celebi! Celebi!” Both Pokémon flew through the air and disappeared deep into the forest.
“I think we are done time traveling for a while,” Jonathan said.
“But is this the right time? Are we back in the present?” Beatrice asked.
Just then, Jonathan’s Pokégear began to ring.
“Uh, let me answer this,” Jonathan said as he pulled it out. “Hello?”
“Jonathan is that you? Thank goodness. I’ve been trying to get a hold of you forever. What happened? Where did you go?”
It was Falkner calling them.
“Oh, Falkner. Oh my. Right. The Ruins of Alph. Sorry. It’s been crazy. Can you give me a few minutes and I’ll call you back?”
“Yeah fine. But it better be a good story,” Falkner said before the call ended.
Jonathan put the Pokégear back in his pocket and then looked over at Silver.
“So, that was a lot,” Jonathan said.
“Yeah,” Silver said with a sigh. “Today was quite a day, especially since it was like three different days.”
“Are you alright?” Beatrice asked. “I’m genuinely asking.”
“I appreciate it. Yeah, I’m alright. Maybe not fully, but for the past three years I had one mission in mind. One goal. And I did that. I proved to my father that I’m better than him. Stronger than him. I showed him my potential,” Silver said. “That felt good.”
“And I meant the things I said in there. I know I’m not a great person, but I am trying to be better. And I owe a lot of that to the two of you. Through this entire journey we’ve butted heads at times, but I think you helped me become a better trainer.”
“I could say the same about you, Silver,” Jonathan said.
“So, Silver, what are you going to do next? You said that you had only one goal, but now that goal is done, right?” Beatrice asked
“I guess you’re right. I’m not sure what I’m going to do long term,” Silver said as he looked over at Feraligatr. “But I do know that there are bad things I have to make up for. Starting with Feraligatr here. I stole him from that Pokémon lab when they were just a Totodile. I need to go there and apologize for what I’ve done.”
“Sounds like a good start,” Beatrice said.
“What about you two?” Silver said. “You said something about the Ruins of Alph?”
“Yeah, that’s an ongoing thing. We were kind of on another mission when we ran into you thanks to Celebi. But as soon as that is cleared up…uh… I guess I’m on to the Pokémon League,” Jonathan said as he looked at Beatrice. “Then who knows.”
“And I’m really getting used to this whole Pokémon adventure thing, I don’t want to give that up,” Beatrice said.
“Really? Does that mean you are not going to go work in a lab?” Jonathan asked.
“I don’t know. I’ll figure it out,” Beatrice said with a smile.
“Seems like you are both set, then,” Silver said.
“You could come with us,” Jonathan suggested. “All three of us make a pretty great team.”
“Be a third wheel to you two, no thanks,” Silver said. “Plus I pretty much work alone.”
“Well don’t be afraid to reach out if you need anything,” Jonathan said, reaching out a hand to Silver.
“Yeah, sure,” Silver said as he shook Jonathan’s hand. “Good luck Jonathan, Beatrice.”
“You too, Silver,” Jonathan said.
“Good luck,” Beatrice said.
And with that the group departed ways. Jonathan and Beatrice headed North toward Ecruteak City while Silver went East toward New Bark Town.
Header Photo Credit to Sa-Dui on DeviantArt
All photos of Pokemon and related content used were taken from Bulbapedia