Scytheclaw disappeared into the tunnel, leaving the pokémon who had supported Nightshade worried and Moonlight fuming. Angrily, the umbreon turned away and stalked into another tunnel, and the large group of pokémon gradually dispersed, whispering anxiously among themselves. Rockclaw approached Snowcrystal and the small group clustered around her, and quietly led them into a small empty cavern.
Once they were there, Nightshade faced Rockclaw with a serious look on his face. “I’ll be the one to fight,” he told her. “I was the one to speak out against him-this is more between me and him than any of you.”
“Don’t be silly, Nightshade,” Wildflame told him. “Let one of us fire types do it!”
“That’s not a good idea,” Rockclaw told them quietly, and everyone looked at her in surprise. She sighed and explained to them, “the battle arena is outside this cavern. It’s protected by a wall of rock on all sides, and the rocks and trees overhead make it difficult to spot from above so you don’t have to worry too much if that army decides to attack then. But…there’s foliage everywhere, and fire attacks would not only burn it but it would spread all throughout the canyon…which is why no pokémon is allowed to use fire attacks in the arena.”
“Who else thinks he planned it that way?” Spark muttered darkly.
“Well, what else hurts bug or steel types?” Wildflame asked.
“Rock types…” Redclaw told her after thinking for a moment.
“None of us know any rock type attacks!” Rosie cried.
Blazefang, who wanted the fight to be won so they could hide in safety as much as everyone else did, decided to speak up. “I think I have an idea-” he began.
“If you’re thinking of using Shadowflare, forget it!” Rosie snarled.
“No! I wasn’t thinking that!” Blazefang growled, casting an anxious glance at the confused Rockclaw. “I had another idea. Why not set Thunder loose in the arena and let her rip that scizor to shreds like she tries to do with everything else!”
“Thunder is ill,” Nightshade told him. “She could probably still put up a good fight if she was provoked, but she would be injured severely.”
“And is that a problem?” Blazefang asked.
Nightshade ignored him. “Like I said, I’m willing to do it,” he told the small group again. “I’ve had a lot of experience in battles and I have not been traveling as long as the rest of you-I’m not nearly as tired.”
“I don’t know,” Blazefang replied. “You don’t look like you could take down a scizor. I’m still going with the Thunder idea. I mean, come on, she’d get some exercise and get to kill someone at the same time. She’d love it!”
“Forget it,” Redclaw told him. “Thunder is wounded enough. And I suppose Nightshade is right. He is the healthiest and will stand the best chance in a fight if none of us fire types can use our best attacks.”
Everyone finally agreed, and wearily they headed back to the cavern they had been resting in. Thunder glanced up at them as they approached but said nothing. Before trying to rest until the morning, Snowcrystal walked over to Nightshade. “Nightshade…” she whispered. “Are you sure you want to do this?”
“I will do what I have to,” he replied. “Now get some rest. And don’t worry, I will be fine.”
Snowcrystal walked back to where she had been resting, knowing that she would get no sleep that night. She was far too worried about the army, about Stormblade, and about Nightshade to have any hope of falling asleep.
Scytheclaw wasn’t sure what to think about the reactions of Moonlight and many of his other clan members. Yet at least they had agreed to let a battle see who would decide whether the clan should fight the army. In his chamber, he waited until the zangoose from before had brought him prey. Afterwards, the two had talked about the approaching army, and then, the upcoming fight.
“Which one of them do you think is going to fight?” the zangoose asked, looking at Scytheclaw. “It’ll probably be one of the fire types if no one’s told them about the arena’s rules.”
“It doesn’t matter,” Scytheclaw told him simply. “All that matters is that they are defeated quickly. That umbreon worried me…I know there are several pokémon who would leave the clan if it weren’t for the shelter we have, and would fight against us if they weren’t so against taking part in large battles.”
“Maybe…after the battle, you can get them to see it your way,” The zangoose suggested.
“Some of them simply won’t listen,” Scytheclaw replied. “A better idea would be to remind them what they are up against if they ever decide to rebel.”
“You mean the battle?” the zangoose replied. “I don’t really think that’ll do much. These pokémon have seen the battles before.”
“This battle will be a little different…” Scytheclaw said quietly.
“Different?” the zangoose repeated. “What do you mean? What sort of battle is it going to be?”
Scytheclaw smiled. “A battle to the death.”
To be continued...
(Random fact-Moonlight was the name of my very first umbreon (he was in Gold Version, and my first level 100 pokemon. So I decided to insert him into the story there. xD)