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A deep, reverberating snarl and a hiss of smoke puffed up from the towering monster's jowls. Ever so slowly the immense snout of the titan lowered. Veins of liquid gold flowed across the beast's body, emitting a gentle rumbling noise as the molten core shifted between the cracks of its skin.

"Shh. Hey, easy there."

Burning eyes peered down. Their scarlet hues locked onto the source of the voice as the creature continued to lower its head towards the ground.

"There ya go. You're just a little freaked out, right? S'okay," urged the voice. White hair bobbed in the wafting waves of heat radiating off the beast's body. "I gotcha. Just need you to come back down to me."

"Rrrrrrrrrrrr," the beast groaned.

Immense claws set down on the earth as the creature rested on all fours. The second they touched the surface the grass and debris ignited in sparks of fire, leaving nothing but massive scorched patches underneath the beast's feet.

"Come on, come on. I know you're in there. You can control it, can't ya? You can control Groudon?"

A flicker of recognition danced like embers in the beast's eyes. Groudon let out another growl. By now its nose was mere meters away from the Skull Boss, though he hardly seemed phased by the lava giant.

"Shh, shh." Guzma extended a hand palm out towards Groudon. "I saw you. It's okay. I won't tell anyone about your secret, all right? You can count on me." A flash of a grin spread across his face.

This seemed to placate the Continent Pokemon. Groudon's nostrils flared at the extended hand.

"It s'okay," Guzma reassured.

The movement was so agonizingly slow it almost felt as if time itself had stalled. Groudon's eyes slid closed and steam began to rise from the circulating pools of magma that swirled over its body. The molten core darkened; blackening, then fading, then all at once Groudon's form started to shrink.

The Skull Boss kept his hand outstretched for a moment more, waiting as he watched the titan reduce to something almost frail. As Groudon's body diminished it began to tremble. Red scales gave way to a head of red hair and a bright red coat. Spiky protrusions became adornments. Golden patterns became embellishments on fabric. Claws twitched and flexed into fingers. An arm reached out back towards Guzma's. Fingers brushed past the man's hand. It would have missed entirely had the Skull Boss not ducked down to catch it. Heat still radiated off the palm of the hand he now held. Guzma blinked, mouth hanging slightly agape as he met the reddened eyes of a distressed man. The other's pupils refused to focus as they searched Guzma's face. Guzma was unsure what they were seeking.

"It's all right. Maxie, yeah?"

The trembling man didn't respond immediately though eventually offered a stiff nod of confirmation.

Guzma wrapped his arm around Maxie, pulling him in close and steering him towards the towering wall of Po Town in the distance.

"Come on, I got a place you can rest."

"T-thank you."

Chapter Text

August 17, 2018
1:28 AM

 

Rain dribbled off the eavestrough onto the muddied ground. Scrawled on the walls of the vacant homes lining the streets smeared paint could be seen washing away in wet sloppy streaks; a cascade of colour that gave way to the muted sepia beneath.

Normally Maxie would've scowled at the fat droplets clinging to the lenses of his glasses but at that moment he couldn't even muster the strength. His arm draped over Guzma's broad shoulder as he was slowly walked down the lane. He could feel the other's study hand holding him steady with each movement. Every so often when Maxie fumbled a step Guzma's fingers would brace into his side. Only once did Maxie nearly fall, resulting in the other man placing his warm hand squarely against the Magma Leader's chest.

During their trek through the rainy town Guzma kept a close eye. Earlier when Maxie first had returned to a more human physique, he had been too perplexed with the scene unfurling in front of him. Upon the Magma Leader's head great big horns protruded like those of a Houndoom. From behind underneath the split in this coat, a paddle-like tail resembling Groudon's was languidly vanishing. Both the tail and horns seemed to shrink, smaller and smaller until Maxie resumed a proper human physique.

Or, proper as a man sporting an immense coat resembling a volcanic deity could be.

The Magma Leader lifted his hand to adjust his glasses. Up ahead at the end of the road a towering mansion loomed into the stormy sky. Its windows were shuttered and boarded, the manor appearing to have been abandoned long ago. Maxie felt a lump form in his throat. Was that where they were going?

The Skull Boss was oblivious to Maxie's worrying. Instead he continued on, hips swaggering with every step making the smaller of the two fumble to try and keep up.

 

"It ain't much," Guzma said, giving the front door a rough shove with a hand. It opened without resistance, ricocheting off the inner wall with a clunk. Maxie cautiously stepped inside upon Guzma's gesture.

"But it's home."

Home to perhaps a Garbodor.

Furniture was strewn about like a whirlwind had ripped through the interior. Couches. Tables. Cabinets. Was that a tv...? All either tattered, broken, or otherwise in disrepair littered the immediate foyer. Maxie could see dozens of unpacked boxes as well stacked haphazardly against the walls and dropped in the middle of the floor. Maxie held back from wrinkling his nose.

"Come on," Guzma shrugged, helping the lean man climb the stairway. Maxie blinked wearily up at him, concededing with hesitance. The redhead lifted a foot to begin his climb and winced. What on earth had Groudon done? He was aching all over. All this fuss over a ridiculous whale...

"You all right?"

Maxie faltered and met Guzma's eye. "Don't rush me," he managed evenly.

"Suit yourself." the Skull Boss chuckled.

As they stepped down the hall the Magma Leader took in his surroundings. It was so cluttered and unkempt. How could this man live in this? And was that a hole in the wall? Maxie stared numbly at the gaping vacancy where no doubt some sort of object had punctured through the panel of the house. The draft from the rain could be felt seeping through it, making Maxie shiver.

"Here ya are," the white-haired man said with finality.

With skepticism Maxie peered into the room Guzma had just opened before stepping in. A single-seat chair looking rather old greeted them, coupled with sheets that were trying to escape and hide under the bed they belonged on. Countless bottles remained discarded on shelves. Some were full and still capped, others broken or empty. Maxie presumed that at least at some point each one had contained alcohol, judging by a faint odor in the air. One bottle was on a side table sporting a neat crack along the side.

"Make yourself at home," Guzma nodded, grabbing the stray bottle by the neck before plopping down into the chair. "Ye can dry off here for a bit."

I would prefer not to, Maxie thought bitterly before eventually taking a seat on the barren mattress. The Magma Leader was dreading the awkward silence that would no doubt ensue afterward, though it never came. Instead his host dove right in.

"So, Groudon eh?"

"What of it," Maxie replied curtly, crossing his legs.

"You can turn into that beastie. What's that about?"

"Ugh," the redhead looked off to a corner of the room with an almost tired look. Well, it wasn't as if he could really opt out of such a conversation. After all, Guzma had seen him shift from himself to Groudon and back again. Maxie's lips thinned into a line. What a burden it truly was, to carry the spirit of the immense land titan. Normally this wasn't so difficult. Upon having grasped the red orb in his hands Groudon's conscience surged from the object and fused with his own. From that moment on the volcanic deity had resided within him, ready to emerge like a Lycanroc under a full moon.

Keeping Groudon contained and tame was always difficult. The creature was as wild and unpredictable as the fires that fed it, only this particular time it got far out of control.

It was all because of that brute.

All in promise of being a part of some organization called Rainbow Rocket. He had opted to indulge the invitation to visit Alola - but had never expected that pirate to had merited an invite as well. They swore never to cross paths. Well, perhaps Maxie was the only one to swear such an oath. Archie on the other hand...

"Hey, Maxie!"

The booming sound of the pirate's voice rang in Maxie's ears clear as crystal. Perhaps it was his distaste for the Aqua Leader. Perhaps it was the uncertain rivalry the pair of them shared. Whatever it was, Groudon sensed the presence of its old foe in Archie and geared itself for an attack. Maxie was unprepared to stop it. His hosted Pokemon roared to life, taking over with ease to transform into the titan in a brilliant flash of light. In the sunny weather outside, Groudon flourished and entered its primal mode, staring Archie down like a Durant in the sand. The other hardly had a chance to flee as Kyogre took over him - though unlike its fiery foe it was unable to advance itself to primal.

Trapped inside the volcanic titan's vessel reduced to nothing but a mere fleeting voice in Groudon's ear, Maxie screamed at it to stop. "Stop this! Stop it now!" Maxie barked at Groudon. It ignored him entirely, bellowing out a thunderous roar.

Cognition faltered as the Magma Leader sunk deeper into the recesses of their shared conscience. Groudon's aura was just too strong. It was dead set on unleashing a fire blast on Kyogre.

Stop, Groudon!

But again, his pleas were futile. Strength failed him as Groudon lunged forward, flames flying from its molten maw.

Maxie could hear the shrill cry of Kyogre. It had been struck no doubt. As fast as it appeared its form diminished back to the man that hosted it - but there was a problem. Archie wasn't moving afterward. He lay in the sand a crumpled heap, his clothes looking burnt in a few speckled placed. Maxie wasn't sure if he remembered seeing him breathing or not. Panic bubbled in his gut, feeding into Groudon's fury. His panic drove Groudon to move. The towering creature began to retreat inland with fire and sparks flew up from under each thundering step.

And that's when he saw him.

The man appeared to be a speck on the ground compared to Groudon in its glorious form. A mere Weedle that could easily be squashed, though something about this man made Groudon pause.

"Hey, easy there."

Groudon gave the man a threatening side-eye that went unheeded.

"You're just a little freaked out, right?"

Maxie's attention, previously clouded by Groudon's overbearing presence, snapped up. He peered through their shared vision, looking down at Guzma as the man reached his hand out.

Idiot, Maxie had thought to himself.

Groudon had let out a loud groan after that.

"I know you're in there."

Something icy cold ran up Maxie's spine. He knew? Had he seen-?

"You can control Groudon, can't ya?"

Maxie's scowl fixed in place as he took in a breath - Groudon's movements in sync with his own. Yes, that man was right. He could. It was excruciatingly difficult, but even if it was a wild Pokemon it was still a Pokemon. He could tame it. The Magma leader took in another breath and felt his mind clear as Groudon succumbed to his will.

That's it. That's it.

Was that him thinking, or was it the strange person hushing him? Maxie didn't care. He could feel the sensations of his own body coming back to him. His fingers, his hair, his coat. The Magma Leader swallowed. If this man had indeed seen him, there was no point trying to hide it now.

Confidence gave way to fright as Maxie's limbs began to shake from anxious feelings.

Oh no, oh no--

"It's all right. Maxie yeah?"

The redhead looked up, eyes unable to stay still as they flickered between Guzma's eyes. He slowly nodded.

"Come on, I got a place you can rest."

 

Some place.

 

Maxie sighed, rubbing his temples. In the back of his mind he could feel Groudon stirring, angry that its foe had quit so easily. There would be time for that later.

"You okay?"

His eyes shot upward to Guzma now who was sipping whatever fermented liquid was contained in that bottle.

"You been quiet since I asked."

"Oh," Maxie answered. Well, he did have a point. He took in a heavy breath that was slowly released before continuing. "You could say, I am a host to Groudon."

"A host, huh," Guzma hummed. "Explains why you went all... beastie."

"Yes, well. That is one way to put it."

"So... There's a lotta you running around like that then."

"Well, no."

"What, y'all are friends? Secret?"

"No. Nothing like that," Maxie grit. He'd much rather try and make Groudon swim in the ocean than go near whoever hosted the other legendary Pokemon.

"So you're on your own then."

"...Yes."

"That's gotta be rough," shrugged the Skull Boss.

Maxie's expression softened ever so slightly. It could be rather painful and tedious. It took much of his strength and willpower to talk Groudon down himself.

"Ya look like you need this more than me," Guzma added, extending the bottle over to Maxie.

The redhead wrinkled his nose. "No, thank you," he gave the bottle a withering glance.

"Ain't your thing eh? That's fine."

"Yo boss!" A new voice piped up from the hallway followed closely by a series of footsteps. "Yo, we needs t' make a run into town. Ya need anythin boss?" A grunt with bright pink hair walked in, bandana covering the lower half of their face. Maxie blinked. So Guzma wasn't alone here, then.

"Yeah boss, we need snacks!" A second grunt piped up behind the first sporting the same pink hair, though this grunt's vocal pitch was far lower than the other's.

"Ay grunts, we've got us an honored guest!" Guzma beamed with a feral grin that Maxie hadn't yet seen. "Get 'im what he needs."

"Right 'o, so what'll it be old man?"

Old man? Maxie's eyes narrowed in annoyance. How crass.
"I'm fine," he stubbornly insisted, raising a hand. "Your -" he paused, looking at Guzma. "Boss has given me enough by letting me dry off here."

"Ay, just get him what you're having," Guzma nodded.

"You got it, boss!" the grunts replied in unison. They gave an odd series of gestures before hustling off somewhere back down the hall.

Maxie just sat there numbly, suddenly uneasy in his surroundings. Was this man running some sort of... Gang? Sure he managed Team Magma but these grunts seemed more... Crass.

"You seem tense."

"Tense?" he echoed with question.

"Yeah, tense. Here." Guzma reached up for a bottle on the shelf before passing it over to Maxie.

"I told you, I don't want-"

"It's fine," the Skull Boss pressed. "It'll take the edge off of dealin with your beast."

Maxie merely sighed and evaluated the bottle. Well, at least it wasn't whatever concoction Guzma was drinking. This seemed a little more refined, even so marginally. He looked at the neck. The bottle was still sealed.

"Mm, here," Guzma grabbed the bottle back. Maxie had expected him to procure some sort of bottle opener from the mess on the shelf. He would have also expected Guzma to use those large calloused hands of his to open it. What he didn't expect was the gang boss to put the cap between his back teeth and give it a hard twist. The bottle opened with a small hiss, much to Maxie's horror.

Guzma held the cap in his teeth as he passed it back to Maxie. "'Ere you go."

Maxie took the bottle ever so carefully, staring at the cap still in the man's mouth with wide, terrified eyes. Something lurched up into his throat at the sight of that carnal mannerism. It made his voice tighten and his gut flutter. He hadn't noticed how unusually large his canine teeth were either. Hell, if he didn't know any better Guzma was a host to something himself.

"Don't worry," Guzma chuckled, snapping Maxie out of his thoughts. He plucked the cap from his mouth and dropped it onto the table without a care. "It doesn't hurt or nothin."

Maxie merely replied with a soft "Uh-huh," as his gaze travelled to the bottle. Perhaps it was best he wasn't painfully aware of his present surroundings then. Whatever this was it would be able to drown out that hideous feeling he had just had in his stomach. He gingerly lifted the bottle to his lips. The liquid flowed into his mouth and down his throat easily with a slight tang.

"How's that." Guzma cocked his head.

"Better." Maxie paused to answer before taking another sip.


- X -

Not but an hour later the once reserved and tense Maxie was now giggling and red-faced in the bedroom of the Skull Boss.

Guzma seemed to take it in amusement. He had joined him in drinking though the effects of the alcohol hadn't hit him quite so hard.

"Annnd sso, that bufffffoon said to me, he wants to have Kyogre! To sspread the sea! Could you imagine? How ridiculous! We'd be swimmin' everywhere!"

Guzma's chin rested on his hand as he merely listened to Maxie's stories. Evidently the man was quite the chatty drunk, or at least, chatty when he wanted to be. A surprise from the earlier stuck-up attitude he had seen when they first arrived back.

"Hey boss! We got the stuff!"

The grunts barged in, one with a large shopping bag.

"Nice work!" The Skull Boss stood and clapped the grunt on the back before taking the bag. "Thanks, kid."

"No prob, boss!" The grunt's eyes appeared to tear up with joy at the approval.

"Now scram, I gotta make sure our guest is comfy. You got a problem tonight, go bug Plumeria."

"You got it!"

The small herd the grunts were quick to vanish after that. Guzma slammed the door shuck and locked it, opening the bag to inspect its contents. There was a bottle of water in it, which Guzma grabbed and held out to Maxie.

"Ay, you're gonna need this."

"Hmm, nno. I'm fine," Maxie sputtered, looking at the bottle with a sense of indignancy.

"You don't want a hangover do ya?"

"I'll be fine," the Magma Leader waved his hand nonchalantly.

"If ya say so," Guzma chuckled, setting the water bottle down next to the bed anyway.

"H-hey," Maxie reached out, grabbing Guzma's tattooed wrist.

Guzma looked up, a brow arching up underneath his sunglasses. "Hey?"

"C'mere a minute," Maxie muttered as he gave Guzma a tug. He wasn't strong enough to pull Guzma far. The man just stood there and smirked as he watched his futile attempts.

"I'm here, what's up."

"Wh-what you said earlier," Maxie slurred, eyes not meeting Guzma's, "It was... Nice."

"Nice?" A smirk curled up the corner of Guzma's lip.

"Yeah. Nobody's ever - talked me down like that... Before."

"I bet nobody's ever seen Groudon before," Guzma laughed.

"Mmm but..." Maxie trailed off for a moment as his fingers traced along the curve of the other's tattoo.

"But?" The Skull Boss was rapidly sobering from the amount of physical contact he was receiving in that moment. To have a stranger practically up and grabbing him was... Unusual.

After a lengthy pause Maxie finally responsed. "I want to do s-something."

"What?"

"Come here."

"I am here."

"Closer."

"I'm already close."

"But I want you clos-ser."

Guzma wasn't sure what compelled him to, but he indulged Maxie's request by leaning down and getting in the man's face. "Close enough for ya?" He could smell the alcohol on Maxie's breath from here, as well as see the foggy look in the man's eyes.

"Yeah," Maxie reached up and tugged Guzma down on top of him.

The white-haired man let out a soft "Oof."

"Mmm, you're warm," purred the Magma leader as he snuggled into the crook of Guzma's neck.

Guzma merely chuckled inwardly. Guess his guest wasn't just a chatty drunk, but an affectionate one too.

"Thank you," Maxie mumbled against Guzma's throat.

The Skull Boss patted Maxie's head. "Ain't no need to thank me."

"Mmm."

For a long while they remained like that, with Maxie pressed flush against Guzma's front and cuddling him. The Skull Boss patiently waited until the other man was asleep before slipping out from his clingy grasp.

"Nn- Don't go," protested Maxie, heavy with sleep. His arm reached out for the Skull Boss though his eyes stayed closed.

"Shh, I ain't goin far," Guzma answered quietly as he slid off the bed. He grabbed the blankets that had been strewn everywhere and draped one over the Magma Leader.

What a weird guy. The host of an immense legendary Pokemon? Guzma gave his head a shake, keeping one blanket to himself as he flopped onto his single-seat sofa in a way so that his legs hung over the armrest. He yanked the blanket over himself, rolling to face the couch.

Weird indeed.

Chapter Text

Guzma woke first, scratching his chest and letting out a deep yawn comparable to a Pyroar. He rubbed his eye, blinking in the dim light seeping in from the murky window. It was still raining out. The soft patter of water against the pane was nothing but soft white noise in the background. Guzma groaned as he shifted, aching pains pinching in his back. Sleeping on a drab single-seat chair wasn't as comfortable as he remembered it to be at all.

The Skull Boss lifted himself with some effort, rolling his shoulders back with a loud series of pops and glancing over to his guest.

Apparently Maxie had indeed drank a bit too much. The red-haired man had relaxed to the point that he had shifted back to the form Guzma only got a fleeting glimpse of. Two sets of horns protruded from the man's head and from underneath the blanket Guzma could see the giant paddle tail that occasionally twitched in Maxie's sleep. The Skull Boss eyed the appendage for a prolonged moment. It perfectly resembled Groudon's, right down to the spikes. Curious and perhaps a bit hungover, Guzma approached the tail.

One finger raised and extended towards a pale spike, prodding the point.

It certainly was sharp.

Was it as coarse and scaly as it looked-?

Guzma opened his hand and ran it along the length. The rough bumps and cracks of the tail's skin was rough under his hand.

Maxie let out a soft moan in his sleep, making the Skull Boss glance up. Maxie could probably feel him petting his tail - a thought that alerted Guzma that perhaps he should stop.

"Nnn," Maxie cracked open his eyes. He was immediately met with the sensation of just how sticky and gross they felt. He sat up blinking away the bleariness.

"Mornin', sunshine," Guzma chuckled.

Maxie gave him a sleepy look, clearly nowhere near fully awake.

"Gotta say, I think I like this look a lot more."

"Look...?" Maxie echoed quizzically. His tired eyes drooped towards the foot of the bed only to snap open as his tail came into view. The immense paddle lifted off the edge of the mattress into the air as realization dawned. "What the-!" He looked down at himself and examined his hands panic-stricken.

"Hey, hey - don't worry about it," the Skull Boss shrugged.

The other man seemed to be straining for a moment, his eyes scrunching closed as if in pain.

"Are... you okay?"

Maxie turned to Guzma, distress evident in his features. "I can't change back…" he murmured under his breath.

"What?"

"I can't-!" His tone shifted to frantic. "I can't change-!"

"Can't change? Didn't ya just do it yesterday?" The white-haired man's thick brows furrowed. He had definitely seen him transition between three different forms the day before. What was stopping Maxie now?

The Magma Leader was trying to fumble his way out of bed, only as he lifted himself to stand he immediately toppled over.

"Ngh, my head -" Maxie groaned as he cupped his temple. He brought up his free hand and eyed the claws that hung over the tips of his fingers.

"Woah," Guzma muttered, clearly intrigued.

"Damnit, that infernal beast must've sapped my strength!" Maxie grit, wobbling back up onto the bed again. "I can't do anything!"

"It's fine," raised Guzma's voice. "You can chill here while you figure out your shit."

Maxie glared up at the Skull Boss; a look that was far from the enamored, cuddly one he was giving him last night. The sour stare made Guzma almost miss it.

"Why are you so intent on helping me," Maxie asked coolly.

"Can't a guy just… help someone out?" Guzma threw his arms out in a vague gesture. This only served to make Maxie's eyes thin ever so slightly more in suspicion. Guzma snorted indignantly. "What!" he barked, dejected. "Don't go lookin' into it, a'ight?"

Maxie's scowl eased marginally but his skeptical impression lingered, eventually passing off to a weary sigh. "I cannot be seen by anyone like this."

"Hn? Why not?"

"I cannot exactly have everyone knowing exactly what - or rather, who I am!" Maxie hissed.

Guzma laughed. "What, you really think one of my own would turn ya into some sort of celebrity over that?"

"Over what?"

A couple grunts had opened the door and walked into the room.

"Ay, ya ever hear of knockin'?" Guzma snarled.

"Sorry boss," one apologized weakly. "We got trouble just outside a' town, see."

"Trouble?" Guzma's hands found their way to his hips as he glowered down at the grunt. "What kinda trouble."

- X -

The rain had picked up and was now coming down in a steady stream, pelting the ground hard enough to create a steady mist over it. Guzma squinted as he trudged away from Po Town, a hand over his eyes to try and see through the tropical downpour.

"What's goin on?" he yelled over the rain's hiss at the small huddle of grunts. They seemed to be hiding behind the trees bordering the beachline.

"There's a battle goin' on down there - but it ain't like anything I've ever seen, boss!" One piped up.

"Yeah, that guy's takin on this massive Pokemon! I think it's Kyogre!" Another added.

Kyogre…?

Guzma shoved a large palm leaf out of his way as he took in the scene unfurling by the shallows. Sure enough, the immense blue titan was there in plain sight, beached on the rough sands in front of a rather well-built business man. The Skull Boss couldn't quite make out his face but there wasn't any denying the purple glow radiating from his raised hand.

It was a human man using psychic on a Pokemon.

Immediately confusion wracked his mind. Just who was this guy? And how was he using a Pokemon move like that?

Unless…

Kyogre let out a shrill cry, its flippers uselessly trying to gain traction on the ground to pull itself back into sea. It twisted and turned, trying with all the strength it could muster to try and wrestle out of the man's hold. He recognized the beast from just the day before. Groudon had been provoked by its presence and the pair had begun to spar. Only, the fight hadn't lasted long at all. Groudon surged into a form the likes that Guzma had never seen before. Somehow it was quick enough to land a Solar Beam attack to down the whale, taking it out in one fell swoop. Moments afterward it had reverted into a smaller, more human physique, like Maxie. He hadn't seen anything after that as he quickly ran after the runaway volcanic Pokemon. There wasn't any doubt in his mind that that man he had caught a glimpse of was the host of the legendary Pokemon Kyogre. Guzma frowned, noticing too late the shape of something glinting through the air.

A blast of bright light and Kyogre disappeared, leaving behind that shiny object dropping onto the ground. Guzma let out a disbelieving noise. It was a Pokeball.

And it was wiggling.

Guzma's grasp on the palm leaf made the stalk snap. "Hey!" Guzma boomed, leaping out from the brush and heading towards the beachfront. The cries of his uncertain underlings fell on deaf ears as he raced towards the stranger. The Pokeball was still twitching, evidence that the titanic Pokemon was still trying to free itself.

"Let him go!"

The Pokeball stilled.

And Guzma's heart sank.

The hurricane winds ceased almost instantaneously. The rain cleared and the clouds dissipated to reveal the brighter, sunnier sky of Alola, but the calmer weather did nothing to ease the Skull Boss' racing mind. He was almost there, legs carrying him as fast as they could over the sand. He could feel his shoes digging into the ground, granules of the shore pouring into the sides of them but he didn't care. Just ahead, the man picked up the Pokeball.

"Stop!" Guzma snarled, teeth flashing with his demand.

The man glanced over his shoulder and cast a smug look at the approaching boss.

Then all of a sudden, he blinked out of existence.

Guzma stalled, skidding to a startled halt. "What the…" Guzma's eyes widened, then scrunched in frustration. He let out a haggard yell, fingers twisting into his locks. The man had simply vanished, taking Kyogre, and whoever its host was, with him.