Sorry for the lateness! >> Hopefully my chapters will be up faster now that I have more time for a while! No picture for this one either-I wasn't sure what to draw and didn't have much inspiration.
The Path of Destiny
Chapter 33- The Dark Maze
Redclaw, Nightshade, Wildflame, and Spark all jumped at the sound of the loud cry and Blazefang’s panicked yelp. They turned around to see the houndour wrestling with something small and covered in dark grayish fur. With a growl Blazefang sent the pokémon flying with a kick from his back paws and got to his feet again as the stranger landed nimbly on all fours and turned to face him.
Blazefang recognized the pokémon as a sneasel-a fellow dark type. Though the pokémon looked ferocious, she was much smaller than he was, and still quite a young pokémon by the look of her. The houndour took a step forward.
“Lissen!” he barked. “We don’t want to be in your cave anymore than you want us to! We’re tryin’ to find a way out! Know of one? If ya do, tell us and we’ll leave faster!”
The sneasel’s fur bristled. “I know every rock and wall of this cave,” she spat back, “But I don’t help those who threaten us. Wander through the cave all you want-but leave this place! This cavern belongs to us!”
“Threaten? I’m not trying to threaten you! Are you blind?” Blazefang growled back furiously.
“You threaten us when you intrude upon our sacred haven,” the sneasel replied, meeting his stare evenly.
“Haven?” Blazefang scoffed. “You call this underground wasteland a haven? Just how do you get food here? It’s nothing but a damp, dark old cave.”
At this point, Nightshade decided to step in. “Look,” the heracross told the sneasel. “This houndour means no harm. We’re looking for a way out. Could you please-”
“Find a way out yourself!” the sneasel shouted boldly, leaping onto her hind paws and glaring at him. “If I told you the route, you’d be able to find your way back here and others would know of this place. Do you think I’m that stupid?”
Spark rolled his eyes. “This pokémon’s crazy,” he muttered. “There’s nothing here but rocks.”
The sneasel grinned. “That’s all you see, isn’t it?” she told him, her eyes glinting.
Feeling he’d had enough of this, Blazefang brushed past Nightshade, tackling the small sneasel roughly to the ground. “That’s it!” the houndour yelled. “Either tell us the way out or I’ll make you tell!” Growling, he pressed his paw against the dark pokémon’s neck. “TELL!”
However, no answer came from the sneasel save for a long, eerie, drawn out wail of fear. Nightshade quickly moved forward in an attempt to stop Blazefang while Spark and Redclaw flattened their ears at the sound of the sneasel’s shrill scream. But before Nightshade could reach Blazefang, the entire group was swarmed by a massive group of zubat, golbat, and crobat coming from seemingly out of nowhere.
Chaos ensued; Blazefang found himself backing frantically away from the sneasel and toward the cave wall as he attempted to fend off the attackers by snapping his jaws at any that came too close. It was a futile effort; there were far too many of them, and he could feel more and more of their fangs sinking into his legs and shoulders, faster than he could retaliate. The other three were in similar situations, though Spark was fighting them off much easier than the others with the use of his long-ranged electric attacks.
Blazefang threw back his head and blasted a flamethrower into the mass of swirling bat pokémon above, and by the light of the flame he could see the pokémon quickly maneuvering out of the way and gathering together in massive swarms that seemed to fill the entire upper cavern. Blazefang stared in awe for a moment, and then as the flames from his attack died out he was ambushed by them again.
Through the mass of screeching bat pokémon he could hear the others’ cries-and every few seconds a bright flash from Spark’s electric attacks illuminated the cavern and showed him the dire situation they were in. No matter how strong any of their attacks were, they would run out of strength long before their enemies ran out of numbers. Though despite the hopelessness of the situation, Blazefang was determined that if he had to go down, he would go down fighting.
With a snarl he leapt at his opponents, scratching and biting whichever pokémon were nearest. Though the urge to use Shadowflare welled up strongly within him, he resisted it. He would not fall victim to that urge again, whatever the cost. If he was to win this battle, he would win it on his own, without the help of the Forbidden Attack. Growling, he flung two golbat away from him with a kick of his hind paws. Whirling around, he opened his jaws to blast them with a searing flamethrower. But something stopped him.
A loud voice sounded through the confusion. Blazefang could hear the words clearly, even over the sound of the fighting.
“Stop! What is happening here?”
At once all activity ceased, and Blazefang could see the startled looks of Snowcrystal’s three friends as the bats moved away, still staring menacingly at them. Blazefang looked up carefully, seeing through the gloom by the light of the small jolts of bright electricity still flying off Spark’s fur as he glared back at the cave dwelling pokémon. Standing clearly on a rock was a large weavile, who regarded them with neither fear nor loathing. Since most of the bat pokémon were staring at Blazefang, the houndour was glad when Redclaw decided to speak.
“Look, we-” the arcanine began, but a zubat interrupted him.
“We heard a shout,” the small winged pokémon explained. “That houndour…was attacking her…” he waved his wing toward the small sneasel, who was still staring at Blazefang with cold eyes.
The weavile’s expression did not change. “Was this attack provoked?” he asked calmly.
Before anyone else could speak, Nightshade stepped forward. “The young sneasel stopped us and told us we were trespassing,” the heracross explained. “We did not know it, though the claw marks we saw on the cave walls must have been there to try and lead us away from here. We should have heeded the warning, but we are strangers to this place. We tried to explain to the sneasel that we did not mean to intrude into anyone’s territory and it was purely an accident, but for whatever reason she did not want to help us find a way out. That houndour there, Blazefang, pushed her to the ground, and for that I apologize to you for him. It was uncalled for, though to be fair, the young sneasel attacked him first. We don’t want to fight anymore, however. We only want to get out of this cave safely, and to find our friends. We will leave this cavern immediately if that is your desire.”
As Nightshade finished the weavile appeared much calmer. “Then I believe this has simply been a misunderstanding,” he replied. “You are free to go.”
Blazefang looked up in surprise, only to duck down again as several of the bats swooped low and vanished into the darkness. “Wait!” he called to the weavile, walking forward. “Can you help us find a way out?” The weavile seemed to look a bit hesitant and Blazefang quickly added in an attempt to persuade him, “I know something you might need to know. There could be an army of pokémon searching through this cave and you need to be warned about what they’re like. They’ve been chasing me because of the Forbidden Attack and I’ve been…”
He paused, for a hush had come over those still remaining in the cavern. Blazefang froze. He realized he’d just made a very bad mistake. Now they knew that the reason an army could be coming was that they were chasing him. Yet when the weavile spoke, it was quite a different reaction to what Blazefang had expected.
“Did you say…Forbidden Attack?” the weavile asked him.
“Yes,” Blazefang replied. The thought to lie didn’t even enter his brain at the moment; he was just focused on being able to leave the cavern without being attacked again. “I…I know the Forbidden Attack Shadowflare,” he added, wondering if that would intimidate these pokémon a little.
The weavile’s expression changed to one of worry. “Then we need to talk,” he told Blazefang and the others. “Come with me…I believe this concerns every one of us.”
“But…but…Shadeclaw…” the small sneasel spoke in a worried voice, “we can’t trust them to keep this a secret! We can’t let them into our sacred cavern!”
“Star, this is much more important!” Shadeclaw replied, while Redclaw and Spark exchanged confused looks. “Besides,” the weavile continued, “they do not seem like the type to want to cause us harm in any way.”
“But must you speak with them there
?” the little sneasel replied, looking horrified.
“I don’t know how safe we are here now,” the weavile replied. “And maybe entrusting them with our secret will convince them to keep theirs. Also I do not want to talk about such things in a place where any wandering cave pokémon could hear. I need to speak with them in private.”
Star made no response, and merely nodded, hoping Shadeclaw was right. With that, the weavile stood up, addressing the four traveling pokémon that stood before him. “Now,” he told them, extending his claws toward them, “follow me
Snowcrystal hadn’t slept for long when she awoke suddenly. Looking around, she saw that Thunder had vanished again, but Rosie was sleeping soundly beside her. Stormblade was lying with his eyes closed, but she could tell he was still wide awake. As she stood up, she realized that most of the mud covering her fur had hardened, and came off easily, though her white fur was still filthy. Carefully she walked over and prodded Rosie in the shoulder.
The ninetales stirred and looked up at her sleepily. “Are we leaving already?” she asked.
“Well, we have to soon,” Snowcrystal responded as Stormblade opened his eyes and looked at her. Snowcrystal turned to the tunnel Thunder had vanished to before and sighed. “I’m going to look for Thunder,” she told the others, and without waiting for a response she dashed into the tunnel.
It didn’t take her long to find Thunder in a small cavern. The scyther was asleep, but as soon as Snowcrystal got near her, she woke up. “Uh…we’re going to leave soon,” Snowcrystal began hesitantly.
“Fine,” Thunder stated quickly, standing up and pushing past Snowcrystal to join the others still on the rock ledge. She turned away from Rosie and Stormblade, ready to ignore anything they might try to say to her. Snowcrystal sighed and sat down, letting the others rest.
After another short while, they got up and continued their tiresome journey through the maze of stone walls, ignoring fatigue and thirst as they sought a way to freedom from the dark underground prison. A maze of tunnels and caverns lie ahead of them, twisting and turning in random directions and often crossing paths with other tunnels.
Snowcrystal led the way soundly, keeping her gaze focused on the way ahead. After a while something suddenly made her pause. “I think I can hear water up ahead…” she whispered, running forward toward the sound for a moment before remembering that the others couldn’t keep up, and slowing down. However, even at a slower pace she still nearly stumbled into the water before she saw it.
The faint glow from her crystal and the flickering firelight from her ember attack shone over the rocky ground in front of her which sloped gently down to a pool of crystal clear water. However there was something hauntingly eerie about the place, something mysterious. The water was shallow near where Snowcrystal was standing and the rock beneath the water was smooth, but from what she could see further on, the water got steadily deeper. As she softly blew a slightly bigger flame into the air, she realized that something under the water was glittering. Rosie seemed to notice it immediately as well.
“Look!” the ninetales cried. “There are lots of little shiny stones under the water!”
“I think they’re crystals,” Snowcrystal replied. “Just really small ones.”
Rosie walked closer to the water, bending down to lap at its smooth surface. Snowcrystal and the others walked toward it and did the same. After a long while of traveling through the cave, the water tasted very cool and refreshing. Snowcrystal felt oddly comfortable in this cavern, and it wasn’t until she used another fire attack to light up the area and saw Stormblade shivering that she knew why-it was colder here. Glancing over her own muddy fur, Snowcrystal gently felt the water with her paw. It didn’t seem too
cold despite the temperature of the cavern. “Well, I guess it would be nice to wash this mud off while we’re here,” Snowcrystal told the others before wading into the pool.
The growlithe felt a sudden rush of unease at the feeling of the water lapping gently at her fur, but she pushed the feeling to the back of her mind. Fire types usually found water uncomfortable, but a little swim was no hydro pump attack; it couldn’t hurt her. She waded a bit further before turning to look at the other three. All of them were still standing on the bank.
“What’s the matter with you guys?” Snowcrystal asked them, letting her fire attack die out so that she could speak.
“I’d rather be covered in mud than wet,” Rosie stated simply.
“It looks cold…” Stormblade whispered wearily.
Just out of pure curiosity, Rosie turned to Thunder. “So what’s your excuse?” she asked.
“I don’t want to get wet,” Thunder told the ninetales with a hint of annoyance.
“It’s not as cold as it looks,” Snowcrystal told the others, directing her statement particularly at Stormblade. She thought it might even help him; the scratches she had gotten from previous battles felt soothed by the water. “You three all need your wounds cleaned, and the water makes mine feel better. You should try it.”
“My wounds are fine filthy,” Rosie replied hurriedly. “They don’t need to be wet. They just…don’t.”
Snowcrystal rolled her eyes. “Then provide some light for us, ok?” she told her, and surprisingly, Rosie didn’t argue.
Though the thought of a cool pool of water was appealing, Stormblade still wasn’t sure he liked the idea of getting wet when he was already cold, but he needed to clean his wounds somehow. With slight hesitation, he hobbled closer to the water’s edge to stand in the shallowest part, still looking uncertain.
Thunder stayed put. “I’m not a water type,” she muttered. “I’m staying right here.”
Stormblade turned to look at her. It struck him as odd at first that she would refuse, but then it occurred to him that she might have never been in water her entire life. Wild scyther had a natural liking for water. It wasn’t uncommon for forest scyther to clean themselves in shallow ponds or streams, and there was usually plenty of prey around those areas too. He was sure that if Thunder had grown up in a forest and was used to it, or even just gave it a chance once, she would like it. “Why don’t you just try it?” he asked her. “You might-”
“No,” Thunder said firmly.
“It would at least clean your wounds a bit,” Stormblade replied.
Thunder looked indecisive for a moment, but after a few seconds of hesitation, she gave in and walked past Stormblade and toward Snowcrystal, ignoring the pain that flared up in her leg when the water first touched the wounds. Sighing, she walked closer to Snowcrystal, who had managed to wash the mud out of her fur and was pouncing on some of the larger crystals beneath the water. As Thunder walked past, Snowcrystal swam to the edge of the pool and climbed out, setting a crystal by the edge of the water and then jumping back in with a splash to find another.
“What are you doing that for?” Rosie asked when Snowcrystal surfaced again with another crystal in her mouth.
Snowcrystal set it down by the other one and just shrugged. “I don’t know,” she stated innocently. “I just like them. I wonder how many pokémon actually get to see this place. It doesn’t look like many have been here.”
Thunder, who had been listening, didn’t agree with Snowcrystal about liking the crystals. Some of the large crystals were sharp and cut into the wounds on her feet, further aggravating her. When she bent down to look at them, she didn’t think of them as fascinating or beautiful; they were just a nuisance that made wading in the water a lot less pleasant.
Stormblade hadn’t gone deep enough into the water to see the crystals, and instead lay down in the shallowest part of the pool, where the rock beneath was smooth. Seeing this, Snowcrystal brought one of the crystals over to show him.
Despite not wanting to get in the water, Rosie was glad of the chance to relax. Her leg was paining her, though after she lay down to rest for a while, she felt a little better, but was still very tired. Listening to Snowcrystal talk to Stormblade, even though he didn’t respond, Rosie sighed and closed her eyes, letting her thoughts drift peacefully away into sleep…
(Continued in next post...)