Re: The Path of Destiny (PG/PG-13)
She had nearly fallen asleep when something made her jolt awake. Somewhere from within the cave, there was a strange sound. It sounded like a calm, peaceful melody, which was at the same time haunting and eerie. “What’s that?” Rosie asked, sitting up quickly.
Snowcrystal, who had had her head under the water during the time, looked up, confused. “What’s what?”
“I heard it too,” Thunder said calmly, facing the darkness away from the others, where the pool of water got deeper.
Snowcrystal waded over to her and used a very small flame wheel to light up the area more. The water went on much farther than she had expected, deep into a maze of caverns. It was more like an underground lake than a pool. Her eyes widened in surprise; she couldn’t even see where the water ended, and in several places it vanished into dark tunnels.
“Don’t use fire attacks!” Rosie growled. “Do you want whatever made that noise coming here?”
“Sorry,” Snowcrystal muttered hastily, letting the flame die out. “Come on. I think we should get out of here in case whatever it is isn’t friendly.” She turned to leave and nudged Thunder’s leg, nearly getting kicked in response.
“Sounds like a good idea,” Rosie muttered, standing up and stepping back as Snowcrystal stepped ashore, shaking water from her pelt. “Come on, Stormblade,” the ninetales called to the scyther.
At this point, Stormblade hardly cared whether or not there was an unfriendly pokémon lurking about; the water felt slightly soothing on his aching wounds, and he didn’t want to move. However, knowing that his friends could possibly be in danger if they stayed in the area, he slowly got up and stumbled over to them.
After Thunder had reached them, Snowcrystal led the way into a tunnel that led away from the water, the others following uncertainly behind her. After only about a few yards they emerged into another cavern which bordered the lake on another side. There was no sign of the haunting melody, and the group carried on.
“Wonder what that sound was…” Snowcrystal mused to the others as she climbed over several slippery wet rocks, leaving the lake behind her.
“Do we really want to know?” Rosie muttered, trying to catch up with Snowcrystal, while Thunder waited at the topmost rock, her gaze fixed on a tunnel ahead that sloped downwards.
Snowcrystal lifted her muzzle and closed her eyes, pushing all her troubled thoughts out of her mind as she focused on trying to identify a single scent, even the smallest hint that an exit to the cave could be near. After a moment she sighed and opened her eyes. She had sensed nothing. “Come on,” she told the others, trying to look confident. “I think the air smells fresher through here.” None of the others argued or noticed her growing unease, and she padded into the sloping tunnel silently. She felt bad about leading them when she had no idea where she was going, but all she could do was choose a path and hope for the best. The others didn’t need to worry. It would only make things worse.
For a little while they kept walking, Snowcrystal often having to go back and encourage Stormblade while Rosie and Thunder waited. It was during one of the times when Stormblade had fallen far behind that while waiting for him, Rosie noticed the faint sound of rushing water. The ninetales looked up at Thunder. “Do you hear that?” she asked.
“I’ve been hearing it for a while,” the scyther replied briskly, not even turning to look at Rosie. The ninetales said nothing, remembering how Thunder had reacted after saving Stormblade before. She obviously didn’t like being talked to much.
Rosie slowly lowered her head toward the ground, surprising a sigh while lightly scraping the smooth stone floor with her claws. She was a bit thirsty again, and the sound of the water nearby was making her want to get up and keep going.
The sound of approaching pawsteps reached the ninetales’ ears. She looked up as Snowcrystal arrived, followed much more slowly by Stormblade. “Thunder and I heard water up ahead,” Rosie told her, getting to her feet again. “It’s probably nearby. I can lead the way.”
To her relief Snowcrystal nodded, and Rosie limped briskly over the smooth boulders lining the floor of the cave while listening for the increasingly loud sound of rushing water.
Snowcrystal had been trotting beside Stormblade when she heard Rosie give a sudden shriek. For an instant she froze, then bounded forward until she reached the ninetales’ side, nearly falling victim to the same trap Rosie had just narrowly avoided.
The two fire types were standing on a rocky ledge which dropped steeply into a small, yet deep and swiftly flowing river. Rosie stood frozen, her eyes wide as she imagined what would have happened had she not managed to scramble away from the edge at the last instant.
“What are you standing there for?” Thunder snapped from behind the two. “Make your fire attacks brighter! I can hardly see.”
Snowcrystal backed further away from the water, motioning for Rosie to do the same. “All right Thunder,” she replied, lighting up the cavern and peering around. They had seemed to have reached a dead end, with the only way past the tunnel being the river. “Let’s turn back,” she whispered. “There’s nowhere else to go.”
“Turn back?” Stormblade rasped from behind the others, looking thoroughly horrified at the thought. “We can’t go back that far-there must be some other way…I don’t want to walk over all those rocks again.”
“Calm down!” Rosie growled at him impatiently, before walking carefully along the edge of the rock overhang above the river, peering carefully at her surroundings. All at once she spotted something that both lifted her spirits and caused her to freeze to the spot in fear at the same time. “Look at this,” she told the others, motioning to a narrow ledge winding up the cave wall above the river, leading to what looked like another cavern above the one the swift-flowing water was vanishing into. “Looks like the only way to get any farther is to climb up that ledge to those rocks up there.”
Snowcrystal looked doubtfully at Stormblade. With one leg rendered completely useless, the scyther would have a hard time balancing on such a narrow ledge, but Stormblade seemed to show no fear. She could clearly see a look of dread on his face, but despite that, he looked calm and ready. Snowcrystal noticed Rosie looking at her expectantly, and remembered that she was the one who had to make the decision. The ninetales looked afraid, but there was trust in her eyes. Snowcrystal thought it over for a moment before replying.
“Let’s go up to that cavern,” she told the others, walking over to the smooth stone and stepping onto the first part of the ledge. “Go carefully, but not too slowly. The sooner we reach those rocks up there, the sooner we’re safe.” Deciding it would be best to get the ordeal over with and not give the others too much time to dwell on the decision she had made, Snowcrystal began making her way along the ledge, feeling very at ease after having lived so long on perilous mountaintops.
Rosie, who followed after her, was not so calm. The ninetales’ body was pressed closely against the wall as she stared wide-eyed at the swirling waters churning below her paws as if she expected some monster pokémon to leap out of the river and attack her. She made slow progress as she followed Snowcrystal one very shaky step at a time.
Thunder followed next, not seeming at all worried. She had decided to walk on the ledge instead of flying across; her injured wing throbbed horribly even after the small distance she had flown in the mud-filled cavern. The scyther felt dizzy and weak, but she pushed it to the back of her mind-she could handle it. Stormblade went last, moving slowly yet confidently behind Thunder.
It hadn’t taken Snowcrystal long to reach the top of the opposite wall and climb up into a small cavern with a low ceiling above where the river vanished into darkness. Seeing Snowcrystal sitting in safety seemed to give Rosie hope, and the ninetales increased her pace, eager to be safely beside her friend.
She hadn’t gone five paces when her back paw struck a large, loose rock, which tilted downwards, causing Rosie’s hind legs to slide off the edge of the rock wall. Scrabbling furiously with both forepaws, the ninetales pushed her back paws against the rock and hoisted herself upwards, before darting toward Snowcrystal and the safe cavern above. Moving so fast, her paws seemed to fly over the stones, and she did not stop until she had reached Snowcrystal’s side and sat in a shivering huddle beside her.
Thunder was about to follow when she peered back at Stormblade. Despite his injuries, the male scyther didn’t seem to be having much of a problem following her, although his progress was slow. Though when she looked at him, what caught her eye was not the way he was traveling, but the way he had stopped and was looking at her.
“Thunder? Are you…all right?”
Confused, Thunder narrowed her eyes. “Of course I’m all right!” she shouted. “Why don’t you keep going instead of just standing there-” She paused suddenly, realizing that her entire body was shaking, badly, and she felt dizzy. Her vision was blurring, and she closed her eyes tightly, waiting until most of the dizziness passed. The last thing she wanted was to pass out right then and there. Once she thought she wasn’t about to faint, she opened her eyes and headed along the ledge again, despite how weak she felt.
She thought Stormblade shouted something, but she couldn’t hear him clearly, and she was certain the cry that Snowcrystal made sounded much farther away than it should have, and her vision was blurred. But none of that was important as the next thing she knew she had stepped on the loose rock that Rosie had stumbled over before. She froze, trying to climb back up to safety. However her strength had completely left her. Before she could try to fly, she felt herself plunging into the icy water. For a moment she struggled and her head broke the surface, only to be thrust under again into a world of inky blackness. Suddenly wide awake with her vision clearer, she fought to reach the surface again, catching a brief glimpse of Snowcrystal and Rosie’s horrified expressions before she vanished into the dark tunnel and away from any light the previous cavern had provided.
Before she knew it her head was underwater again, and this time she felt herself falling over a rock face with the water for several feet before slamming back into the river again and being swept even faster along with it. Fighting frantically to reach the surface, she realized very quickly that scythes certainly weren’t any good for swimming. Exerting what little remained of her strength, she at last managed to reach the surface again and gasp for air. Everything around her was shrouded in complete darkness; she could not tell where the river was taking her nor could she pinpoint the direction she had come from. Still struggling to keep her head above the water, she could feel herself loosing strength fast, and the cold water was numbing her limbs. Frantically she wondered if there was some way she could fly out of the water to safety, not realizing in her dazed state that that was impossible in her current situation.
The scyther was caught by complete surprise as her shoulder was suddenly slammed into a pillar of stone, causing her to cry out in pain. An instant later and water rushed over her, forcing her under again into the swirling black chaos. But all along her right side she could feel smooth stone, and once she surfaced again she quickly realized that it was a ledge of some sort, leading up to the pillar she had crashed into. Before the dark water could pull her under again, she reached out with both scythes, jamming them into the grooves of the rock. She could feel the water pulling at her, making it difficult to hold fast to the slippery wet stone. She was afraid to move her scythes in case she lost her hold, but she knew that if she didn’t, she would loose her strength and the water would sweep her away.
Little by little she moved her scythes further up the rock, while scraping her claws against it underwater in an attempt to find a foothold. Painfully she crawled onto the rock and away from the water, finding herself on a small rocky ledge near the cave wall. There didn’t seem to be anywhere to go other than back into the water, and she wasn’t about to do that.
Feeling exhausted, she lay down, deciding that when she felt stronger she would fly to a place where she could start looking for the others. As much as she hated to admit it, she would have to depend on them until her wounds started to heal. Then, she would be able to learn to be a better hunter. The problem that lay ahead of her now was finding her way through the darkness. No light shone in the cavern; it made no difference whether she opened or closed her eyes. Thunder only knew where she was by the sound of the underground river rushing by.
The lone scyther closed her eyes, listening to the river as she rested. After a short while, she felt something wet and sticky running down her back. Her first thought was that it was water, but she quickly realized from the smell that it was blood from the whip cuts on her back, which had obviously opened up again. Frustrated, Thunder stood up, slashing her scythes against the rock wall in agitation while muttering to herself. “Stupid cuts are never going to heal at this rate…now how am I supposed to get away from those other poké-”
Thunder froze as the same eerie melody she and the others had heard before returned, distant at first, but growing steadily closer. Thunder whirled around, unable to see anything in the darkness. “Where are you?” she yelled blindly in the direction of the river. “Come out and fight!”
At first no sound met her cry. Even the eerie melody was gone. Thunder waited, staring into the inky darkness. Then all at once, something burst out of the water, taking Thunder by surprise. The scyther could see nothing, but sound and smell told her that something massive was looming in front of her. Her first thought was gyarados, but she quickly realized that this scent was very different, and she couldn’t recognize it.
Overcoming her shock quickly, she darted forward, stopping just at the edge of the rock ledge and swiping at the strange creature with her scythes. The whatever-it-was swerved out of the way, unharmed. Thunder stood completely still, unsure of where it was now. Then out of nowhere, something long and scaly crashed into her, pinning her against the wall and holding her there. She could hear a second creature come to the surface of the water and wondered how they managed to not get swept away. A small but bright light from somewhere further up the river appeared next, and through what little light it provided from that far away, Thunder could see two pairs of eyes staring straight at her.
To be continued...
Meh, sorry for it not being written as good-I was more in the mood for writing and was finding it hard to focus on fixing all the mistakes. >.< Also sorry for another cliffhanger thing...but I needed to end this chapter so I could put the rest of it (and everything else I planned along with that) in the next chapter.
Thanks to Lunar Latias for the banner and Kirimori for the picture!
Last edited by Scytherwolf; 12-28-2008 at 03:03 AM.