Azure Bay produces little in the way of revelations. The ‘Sea Spirit’s Den’ is a silent, empty cave. Instinct tells me this place is going to be important later, and the ‘Sea Spirit’ of the name is probably some kind of legendary Pokémon, but whatever it is, it has no inclination to reveal itself at the moment. The area does provide rewards of other kinds, though; a Mantyke, a Deep Sea Tooth, a Deep Sea Scale, various other sundry treasures… and a new Mega Stone, the pale sunset-coloured Ampharosite.
Well, that’s certainly worth checking out.
With nothing else to do in this area, I decide to begin an epic fishing trip to test out my new Good Rod, flying around the country with Tereus to collect everything I missed while I had nothing but an Old Rod. Finally, all those Water Pokémon I’ve seen trainers use since the beginning of the game can be mine! Remoraid, Chinchou, Goldeen, Corphish, Carvahna, Staryu and Horsea, as well as Wailmer and Tentacool, who turn up while surfing – and, most importantly, Clauncher. Clauncher seems to be a sort of mixed attacker. His Pokédex entry proclaims him able to “[fire] compressed water from [his] massive claws like shooting a pistol,” – wording which seems to confirm my original suspicion that this Pokémon is a pistol shrimp. He also has an interesting ability – Mega Launcher, which claims to “power up aura and pulse moves.” So… what, Water Pulse, Dark Pulse, Aura Sphere… Dragon Pulse? Maybe some others I’m forgetting, and new moves I don’t know about? Well, it’s neat; the ability adds character by encouraging the Pokémon to favour particular moves. I want to see what this guy evolves into, so – Cecrops the Seviper is out, and Odysseus the Clauncher is in!
Time to head on, I suppose. I fly back to Coumarine City and prepare to leave the city and travel south – and suddenly get a call on my Holo-Caster. It’s Lysandre.
Lysandre has heard from Professor Sycamore that I have been entrusted with a Digivice, and is calling to congratulate me – and to urge me to think carefully about how I will use my power to change the world for the better. Well, better is a very strong word here, but I like to think that I will not use my power to make the world worse… for me anyway… unfortunately I can’t speak for my future subjects, but, you know, you can’t make an omelette without slaughtering a few million people. Lysandre continues, a zealous tone creeping into his voice, “We can’t just cover up the old filth with new filth!” Look, dude, as long as it’s my new filth, I’m easy. He repeats his exhortation to consider my choices wisely, then hangs up. Hmm… if Lysandre knows about Mega Evolution and how important it is, maybe he used to be an initiate at the Tower of Mastery, like Professor Sycamore? Hell, maybe that’s how they met? If so, he might have a Digivice too… I’m still hazy on what he actually wants, though. “Make the world a better place” is an extremely nebulous goal. As I wander through Coumarine City’s south gatehouse, deep in thought and mumbling to myself, I run straight into Professor Sycamore’s annoying lab assistants, Left and Right, who have a gift for me: the last piece of the Kalos Pokédex, which covers the mountainous areas of north-eastern Kalos. I accept this boon and wave them aside as I continue into the Lumiose Badlands.
The Badlands are… well, aptly named. They are, to put it lightly, certainly not good lands. I see dirt, rocks, dust… and not much else. Pokémon here just burst up out of the ground at you – Dugtrio, Trapinch, and occasionally Gible. I catch one of each, and continue exploring. It seems that this whole area is devoted to generating power for Lumiose City… Lumiose City, which is currently experiencing a major blackout. Hmm. At the time I assumed the blackout was merely a contrivance to keep me out of the northern parts of the city and oppress the civilians, but maybe something is actually going on here? Can’t hurt to look. I find three sealed entrances to the power facilities, but no way in until I happen to sweep a boulder with my Itemfinder and come across a card key… and, nearby, a Team Flare grunt guarding a fourth entrance. Okay, this is definitely worth checking out. My new Clauncher needs some practice anyway.
Team Flare seem to have taken over an entire wing of the power plant, imprisoning the staff inside. The researchers explain that this plant operates on space-based photovoltaic power – basically, solar panels in space that beam energy back down to the surface. I know people have been trying to work out how to do this for a while, but I don’t think the real world has developed the necessary technology yet; Kalos is into some cutting-edge stuff (contrast Sinnoh, which still uses coal…). All four of the grunts I’ve fought before are here, along with several more (I had suspected, until now, that there were only four of them, but it seems they’re a less pathetic organisation than I had bargained for). In general, they appear to favour Dark and Poison Pokémon – reasonably enough for an evil organisation bent on… whatever it is that they’re bent on. Fame and fortune, as far as I can tell. Odysseus and I fight our way through the grunts to the centre of the main… thingy. Power collection assembly. Whatever. Two Team Flare higher-ups are doing something with the machinery – siphoning electricity for some nefarious purpose, to judge from their dialogue. One is a woman in a red skirt wearing a clunky electronic visor – so she’s either blind, or just has even worse taste in accessories than the rest of her team. Or both. The other, I’m pretty sure, is a pimp. Bald, white suit with gold trim, earrings on one side, ostentatious silver cufflinks – okay, I know it’s tradition by now for Pokémon villains to look ridiculous, but this guy looks more like a pimp king than the actual pimp king from Final Fantasy VII! The evil pimp/Team Flare Admin attacks me with a Houndoom, who of course gets Crabhammered in the face, makes a remorseful squeaking noise, and runs away. The pimp turns to his ally, addressing her as ‘scientist,’ and asks her to take care of me. She steps up to the plate, introducing herself as Aliana, and claims to be a Team Flare scientist researching “something you wouldn’t understand anyway.” Oh, yeah? Try me, Georgina La Forge! Aliana, too, has only one Pokémon – a powerful Mightyena – and just as it is beginning to gain the upper hand over Odysseus, she decides she would rather face a different Pokémon and Roars him out, leaving poor Mightyena at the mercy of Tereus. Aliana and her pimp conclude that they have enough power for their needs anyway, and can afford to retreat, which they do so instantly and without leaving any trace of their presence.
And then Left and Right show up, wearing scarves and carnival masks.
…because today just wasn’t weird enough yet.
Professor Sycamore’s annoying lab assistants are superheroes? “Defenders of Kalos”? I- what? “Let us heal your Pokémon as thanks!” Uh… sure, but- “Well, I think us mysterious people will be off now!” Wait, do you guys seriously think I don’t know exactly who you are? You aren’t even wearing different clothes; you just put on those ridiculous masks and- “I leave before being left! I decide! Au revoir!” …sure, whatever. À bientôt, weirdoes.
Why do I hang out with people like this?
In any case, Lumiose City should be back online now. I leave the power plant and wander the rest of the way south through the Badlands. Again, superb name. I don’t think any area of the Pokémon world has ever been so well described. As I come to the edge of these undeniably terrible lands and the gates to Lumiose City, I find someone in my path: an older man in jeans, a ragged black coat, and an orange beanie, his face shadowed by his long white hair. He wears… something… around his neck – could be a big bronze key, maybe? I don’t know who this guy is, what he’s up to, or whose notional ‘side’ he’s on, but he’s got plot significance rolling off him in waves. He mutters something about a ‘flower Pokémon’ that was ‘given eternal life’ – well, hey, mister, I happen to know all kinds of stuff about flower Pokémon; maybe I can help with whatever you- No, never mind; he’s walking away. Striding purposefully into Lumiose City. Hmm. A flower Pokémon, blessed with eternal life… he couldn’t mean Shaymin, could he? Either that… or there’s some new legendary Grass Pokémon out there for me to master. Excellent…
Ridiculous quote log:
“No matter how much we fish, the ocean stays blue. So does the ground never change however much we battle?”
Well, you know, I really suspect that depends on how you fish. I think you’ll find, actually, if you fish using traditional methods – with a gigantic spinning blade of death – that the ocean will not in fact stay blue for long.
“VRRR… TARGET ACQUIRED. COMMENCING ATTACK.”
“MISSION FAILED. ABORT. ABORT.”
“I WAS CREATED SOLELY TO DO BATTLE…”
…one of the maids in the Battle Château is a robot. A robot Viscountess with no purpose other than combat. I… I want one.