Maybe I'm still in shock, he thought, staring down at the carcass on the ground. Cool steam still rose from the corpse, watery blood pouring from open wounds. The after-effects of a strong watery blast onto stone and iron skin. Erosion spend up to the nenth degree. The death had at least been quick for the poor, ancient Pokemon. Still, the gym leader could only imagine the immense pain it must have suffered before it's life finally gave out and it collapsed on the cold, hard floor. Yeah, he must still be in shock. He hadn't expected any sort of win from the moment she released that Psyduck--if that's what that creature even really was--from it's Pokeball. The battle hadn't lasted five minutes, but Roark thought those were the longest five minutes of his life.
He knew now what he had to do.
Leaving the body on the ground for the clean-up crew to handle later, he walked up to the top floor of his gym. The door to his office was well diguised as part of the stony wall. The former gym leader--the last challenger's now deceased father, no less--had always thought it funny to have a door in plain sight that no one saw. Roark remembered Charles for his hidden goofiness. He had always liked the man. He thought his father had too at one point. Now all that was left were bitter memories he tried his damnest not to dwell on.
Inside the office, the phone sat on his cluttered desk, silent with disapproval, it seemed. Roark swallowed thickly, dreading the call he would have to make. He reached for the mobile, it's weight feeling triple of his in his sweaty, nervous hands. Roark hated to think he was afraid of his father, but truth was, ever since that
incident, his father had become a man as hard and cold as the types of Pokemon he trained in his gym, half a region away. Dialing wasn't required, but Roark did so anyway, to prolong the inevidible talk. Fuck speed dial. The older man answered on the second ring.
No greetings of hello, no asking how he was, no checking in on his progress as the new head of the mining operation. Just a declaration of disappointment. Roark remained silent, forcing himself to breathe normally. He waited, knowing his father would continue.
"Did you give her the documents?"
He answered, "Yes, sir."
"I had no choice. She.... she's my friend. She deserves to know the truth."
"So she's coming for me, then? To find the answers?"
Silence again, but only for a moment. "It's dead, then? The Cranidos?"
It was Roark's turn to be silent again. Sometimes silence felt like it said more between them then their actual words.
"How did they fight beforehand? Was it as good as the old stories say?"
Oh, a conversation that was somewhat pleasant. Those moments were rare, but Roark knew better than to drink that honey. The bees would sting his lips for trying. "Yes, sir. They had very good defense, speed, and attack power. Knew flamethrower, some of them. They're a lot more sturdy than the rock types around nowadays."
"Excellent, then. All according to plan."
Silence again, this time from both ends. The pleasantries were over.
"Be sure to go down to the mines and take up any fossils you find. Give 'em to Giovantti for examination and revival, like I told you. They're going to need a lot for their operation. Digging tunnels in the mountains is no easy feat."
Roark hated the plan. He hated being a part of it. He hated helping those freaks who had plans he chose not to be aware of out of his own fear. But at the same time, Roark knew he'd never disobey his father. He may be afraid of the future, but he was far more afraid of his father. "Yes, sir. Consider it done."
"Burry the dead underground, too. Once they rot back to dust, they can be revived again." The line went dead.
No goodbyes, no good lucks, no further words to be spoken between them.
Roark sighed, the nervous weight on his entire body finally lifting. Setting the phone down, he went back out into the main battle lobby of his gym. The dead Pokemon were askew all over the gym. Drying blood caked the walls. He pulled a secret lever, one that alerted the clean-up crew to arrive and handle the mess. They entered the building thirty-four seconds later.
The gym leader ignored the displeased and disturbed looks of the workers as they lifted the body of the Cranidos into the body bag. He knew what they were thinking already. He knew it was wrong to have that Pokemon, something so long extinct it was considered a legend of sorts to the people of the region. He was breaking moral ethnic codes. He knew all of that. And yet, he couldn't say no to his dad. He couldnt' say no to the opportunity to have a rare Pokemon more powerful than any rock type he'd ever encounter in the mines. He couldn't resist being in control of a legend.
The gym leader put his head in his hands, sat on the steps, and continued to shed the tears he'd let loose when his friend ushered his defeat only moments and eons ago. Deep in his heart, Roark knew Lanetta was going to take back her forgiveness once she discovered the truth. He lamented for his sins as the workers continued to scrub the blood stains off the cold, rocky walls that surrounded his gym and his heart.
Extra featuring Roark, who JUST BARELY won in the polls. And for once, not a flashback, whoo hoo.
So, this is the idea that won out over the, like, 3 or 5 ideas that I had all concerning Roark. Quite a few plot hints here, ha ha. Hopefully, some pieces may get tied together soon, yeah? I'd love to know what you're all thinking right now XD
Roark met Lanetta and Barry when they were all in Elementary school together. They were all friends and played with one another (though Barry didn't play with them as much because he was 2 years older than they were, thus in a different grade). Roark and Lanetta bonded well because both their dads were gym leaders who worked with similar types, as well as miners. Their families were close friends. However, after Charles's death, the Duvall family grew distant, and Roark was soon after transfered to a different school. He and Lanetta stayed somewhat in touch over the years, but life grew an awkward shell between them. Lanetta still calls Roark a friend, although she feels she doesn't know him very well now.
Roark took over the Oreburgh gym some seven odd years ago, after a three year period where there was no gym leader to replace Charles. Roark kept the same type as Charles did out of respect for the man he admired, despite his dad wanting him to use steel types instead (Roark's one instance of defiance against his dad). Roark chooses to ignore a lot of the shit going on because he's simply afraid of the truth and how it's really shaped and affected his life. He's got a HUGE hunch as to what really happened 10 years ago, but he fears and loves his father enough to defend him. Still, he wants to prove himself a decent human being despite breaking moral codes and whatnot, so he's also helping out Lane, something his father does not look kindly upon. Perhaps you feel sorry for Roark? He's a lot like his dad in terms of greediness, but he lacks the true grit his father has, making him more... vulnerable? Something like that.
And so, the mystery deepens! What's going on here? Stay tuned to find out!
Pokemon (c) GAMEFREAK, Nintendo, etc.
Artwork, characters (c)