Originally Posted by charmedward
I read this a while ago but forgot to comment
Great chapter! I really feel like I know all the characters properly now. Keep up the good work Scyther!
Thanks! Glad to see you're still reading! And glad to see that I've done well with the characters^^
Also, today I can finally post my (very late) chapter! This one took a while to finish because I was mainly excited for the really plotty stuff that will start occurring soon, and which is kind of foreshadowed in this chapter, which is why I wanted to write it. The first part of this was really difficult for me though, but it included scythers so it was okay.
The Path of Destiny
Chapter 41-A Place of Rest or a Place of Danger?
Sometime in the late morning, Blazefang woke. Glancing around in confusion for a moment, the houndour stood up shakily, leaves crunching beneath his paws. Suddenly remembering where he was, he clawed the ground in annoyance. He wasn’t quite ready to go back to the white growlithe and her friends, but he wanted to see if any of them had brought back prey.
He had started to head back to the group when he stopped himself. “What do I need them for?” he growled aloud, turning and walking deeper into the forest. “I can catch some for myself!” He was feeling rather annoyed that he had even considered asking them for help.
The houndour paused for any sound or scent of prey, but all the strange forest scents confused him, making focusing on just one scent very difficult. Blazefang shuddered; he wasn’t used to hunting among all these trees. “There are other houndour who live in forests that can do it,” he whispered to himself. “So it shouldn’t be too hard!”
Blazefang moved forward as silently as he could, scanning the area ahead for prey. He soon spotted a starly, but as he edged closer, the grass around him swished, sending the pokémon flying upward with a frightened squawk.
Growling to himself, the houndour walked further into the trees, knowing that the bird would probably have scared off any other prey nearby. After a while, he slowed down, moving forward silently again and searching for sight or smell of a meal.
As he crept further, a familiar scent filled his nostrils-one that he was used to by now, and that he didn’t like. Scyther
. Blazefang tensed, looking around through the screen of leaves and foliage, remembering the way Thunder had ran at him so quickly when he had first found Snowcrystal’s group after running from Cyclone. She had been injured
, and he didn’t want to think about what a healthy scyther could do. Fearfully he began backing away, staring around at the green scenery as if he expected a scyther to jump out at him from anywhere.
As he was backing up, something cannoned into him from behind, knocking him to the ground. Blazefang turned over quickly, but instead of a scyther, he only saw Spark, the growlithe’s jolteon friend.
“Scared you!” the jolteon said with a grin. “Not so tough without your pack are you?”
“You idiot!” Blazefang growled, leaping up indignantly. “You’ve just scared off all the prey, you know that!?”
Spark seemed only mildly concerned. “Oh, so what! There’s plenty more deeper into the woods. I’m an experienced forest hunter you know,” he added proudly.
Blazefang bared his teeth in a snarl as Spark pushed past him. With any luck, he thought, the scyther who’d left the scent behind would make a tasty snack of the jolteon. Chuckling to himself, the houndour lay his head on his paws as he watched Spark blunder after a zigzagoon who’d run across his path. The frightened pokémon was pelting away toward a thick clump of bracken, but just before it reached it, Spark caught up to it and leapt upon it, pressing it down onto the forest floor and biting down swiftly on its neck. Blazefang’s eyes widened in surprise. “You caught that?” he cried in disbelief, running over to the jolteon.
“I told you I was a perfect forest hunter!” Spark replied, beaming. “And I bet you thought I couldn’t do it! You know what? I might just give this to Stormblade-I know it makes you mad!”
Blazefang was about to retort that Stormblade hadn’t been able to eat much of what anyone had been bringing him for the past few days, but stopped himself when he noticed the bushes behind Spark rustling. He began backing away, and Spark, still looking smug, didn’t even bother to ask why.
It was only when the sound of something right behind him met Spark’s ears that the jolteon whirled around in fright-just as a forest scyther stepped out right in front of him.
Blazefang could see that Spark was simply standing still in surprise. Ignoring him, the houndour turned to run, only to be confronted by a second scyther that reminded him a bit of Thunder. This one had several deep scars covering its face, and one of the pointed spikes on its head had been broken off. Blazefang wished he could fire a flamethrower in its face, but he knew that would be a bad idea for several reasons, as would trying to run away. He decided that being submissive was the only other option-he just hoped that the scyther didn’t want to eat him. Even if he were able to run faster than a scyther, Blazefang wasn’t sure he would have been able to make himself do it-his paws were firmly rooted to the ground in fear. He was used to being afraid of Thunder, but these scyther weren’t just strong…they weren’t
“What are you doing here?” growled the one in front of Spark, and though Blazefang was staring at the ground and not looking in that direction, he guessed from its voice that that scyther was female. He didn’t dare glance up at the one staring down at him-he was too afraid it would attack, though he did realize that if it had wanted to eat him, it would have killed him already.
“We’re just trying to hunt!” Spark blurted out. “You see, I-”
“This is our forest,” the scyther replied icily. “You can’t hunt here.”
“What are you talking about?” Spark replied. “No one predator owns the forest!”
“Which means you don’t either,” the scyther snarled. “Get out.”
The scyther nearest to Blazefang moved forward threateningly, and Blazefang backed away, wondering if it was safe to leave yet, or whether the scyther would attack them once they turned their backs.
“Spark?” a voice from behind them called. Blazefang turned to see Redclaw pushing his way through the bushes, followed by Wildflame and Snowcrystal. Seeing the scyther, Redclaw growled, the long tan-colored fur of his mane rising along his neck. “Leave him alone,” he snarled, walking forward with the other two canines at his side.
To Blazefang’s surprise, neither scyther looked intimidated by the fire types, and watched calmly as the three approached.
“Redclaw,” Snowcrystal began. “Do you think those scyther could help Stormblade?”
Blazefang felt like rolling his eyes. These scyther were threatening them! And what could a scyther do to help heal wounds? They were only good at hurting things!
Without waiting for the arcanine’s answer, the white growlithe padded forward and stood in front of the scyther. Blazefang looked up and watched carefully, not sure how they would react.
Snowcrystal stared up at the much taller pokémon, feeling suddenly vulnerable despite her type advantage over the scyther. This pokémon was much bigger and stronger than she was. Quivering, Snowcrystal tried to look her in the eyes. “Listen,” she began hesitantly. “We have a scyther friend who’s hurt, and we-”
“Why should we care?” the scyther replied. “That scyther is not a part of our swarm!” Snowcrystal could see the scyther’s body tense, as if the only thing keeping the pokémon from leaping at her was the fact that she and her companion were outnumbered.
Snowcrystal glanced at Redclaw, who looked back at her helplessly. She knew that he wanted to leave, but if these scyther wanted to chase them out of the forest, where else could they go? She glanced at the other scyther, the mean-looking one who looked seconds away from attacking Blazefang, wondering if she should even attempt to talk to him. Before she had a chance to make a decision, however, she heard the bushes in front of them rustle, and another scyther stepped out.
Alarmed, Snowcrystal was about to run back to Redclaw, thinking that the other scyther in the swarm had heard the commotion and come to help their companions. However, she quickly realized that not only was this third scyther alone, but that there was something odd about him. As he came out of the bushes into plain sight-it was easy to see what it was-this scyther was missing an arm. She stared in surprise, but that didn’t last long as she was distracted by the reaction of the other two scyther, who had turned to glare at him.
“What do you want?” the one closest to Snowcrystal growled.
“I think we should help other scyther,” the newcomer replied calmly, though Snowcrystal could see that he was looking at the other two with an air of fear.
“Why should we help a loner?” the scarred scyther asked him calmly, as if waiting to see if the new scyther had any sort of logical reason.
“They may not be from our swarm, but they’re still a scyther,” the third scyther replied. “I say we should help. These pokémon are weak,” he added, gesturing to Snowcrystal and the others with his head. “They couldn’t do much harm to our swarm anyway, but they do outnumber you two. I wouldn’t try chasing them away.”
The scarred scyther rounded on him. Looking at them both facing each other, Snowcrystal noticed that the scyther with the scarred face was taller than the other, though not quite as tall as Stormblade. “Don’t tell me what to do,” the scarred scyther growled, “unless you think you can win a battle with only one blade.”
The smaller scyther seemed to get the message, and immediately backed off, a sad and scared look in his eyes.
“Get out of here!” the female shouted, and the scyther slinked away into the bushes and disappeared.
Snowcrystal backed up as the two remaining scyther faced them, knowing that now they could not afford a fight, especially when there were four members of the group already injured. She was wondering whether or not to try and run when a fourth scyther emerged from the trees near where the other two were standing.
Snowcrystal could see that this scyther was old, but he was not alone. There were a few young scyther who followed him into the clearing, all looking agitated at the sight of the strange pokémon.
“What’s going on here?” the old scyther demanded, staring straight at Redclaw as if he assumed that the arcanine was the leader of the band of travelers.
It was the scyther Snowcrystal had tried to talk to who answered first. “They were trespassing,” she explained. “They hunted in our territory and killed a zigzagoon.” The scyther bent down toward the carcass and picked it up, tossing it toward where her companion, or mate, was standing.
“They haven’t crossed into our territory yet,” the old scyther pointed out.
“So, you ‘own the forest’, huh?” Spark scoffed, but was quickly silenced by a glare from Redclaw.
The scyther ignored him. “They were close enough, Skyscythe” she retorted. “Let’s just get rid of them now.”
“We’re just passing through…” Wildflame told the scyther. “That is, after we’ve rested for a bit.”
“But there are two scyther with us,” Snowcrystal added. “You might be able to help them…somehow…we just want a safe place to stay, and this forest is the safest place we’ve found. But…can you at least try-”
“Yeah, I think those scyther must really
know how to heal Forbidden Attack wounds,” Blazefang muttered sarcastically as he backed up close to Wildflame. “Let’s get out of here.”
“Go on then!” the scarred scyther scoffed.
“They won’t be safe out in the forest,” one of the young scyther whispered loud enough for the travelers to hear. “All the pokémon who’ve moved here since the old forest burned down...and well, some of them are dangerous. And we’ve had to remind every one of them that we were here first.”
Snowcrystal felt a wave of fear rush over her-they had left the four injured pokémon all alone! Before she could say anything, Redclaw decided to speak.
“I suppose things must be hard for you then,” he told the group of scyther carefully, knowing very well that now it was his group who was outnumbered. “We only want a safe place to stay until our friends recover or we find another suitable resting place. If you let us stay in your territory, those of us who can will catch prey for you. Lots of it,” he added quickly, and Snowcrystal saw him stiffen as he waited for the scyther’s answer.
“Why should we trust you?” one of the scyther asked warily.
“Our injured friends would be where you can see them,” Redclaw replied carefully. “At your mercy. I can assure you we wouldn’t do anything that would put them in danger. We have no interest in harming any of you…we’ve seen enough of senseless fighting.”
Most of the scyther looked uncertain, and the two that Snowcrystal had first seen looked ready to slice Redclaw apart. Yet the old one, Skyscythe, who Snowcrystal thought might be the leader of the swarm, looked back up at the arcanine with calmness in his eyes. “Show us the scyther you were talking about,” he said quietly. “Then we will see.”
Redclaw promptly led the way back to where the others were resting, while Snowcrystal trailed behind, trying not to let her fear of these strangers show. The group of scyther were walking around them without fear-most of them seeming curious about the odd band of strangers. She heard Blazefang’s pawsteps as he crept up beside her and whispered in her ear, “you do realize that what Redclaw said was rather foolish, right? If Thunder goes berserk, he basically just sentenced those four to their deaths!”
Snowcrystal shivered. As much as she hated to admit it, Blazefang had a point.
Upon reaching the clearing where the others were resting, Snowcrystal realized with mild surprise that Thunder was gone. She couldn’t quite identify which way the scyther had left, but at the moment she was mainly focused on wondering why. Not knowing whether to be relieved or worried, she walked beside Redclaw who headed to where Stormblade lay.
Stormblade was laying on his side, looking almost as still as a dead pokémon. Snowcrystal was about to move closer when Rosie growled and backed away as one of the strange scyther came into view.
“Don’t worry,” Redclaw told her, though the uncertainty in his voice was not quite hidden, “they’re going to take us to a safer place.”
“Where’s Thunder?” Snowcrystal whispered to Rosie as two of the scyther, one of them Skyscythe, followed Redclaw.
“She wandered off somewhere-I don’t know!” Rosie whispered back, sounding agitated.
Wildflame approached the two of them, looking worriedly at the scyther. “We can find Thunder later,” she whispered quickly.
Snowcrystal turned to see that a few of the other scyther had started staring at Stormblade in either horror or morbid curiosity.
“He’s definitely not a scyther from anywhere around here,” one of them muttered. “And I don’t think he’s from the old forest either.”
“Should we try and help somehow?” one of them asked, sounding in shock.
“No, he’s as good as dead,” another replied casually.
Snowcrystal peered at Stormblade, seeing no response from him. She doubted that he was even aware of the other scyther nearby him.
“We just want to be taken to a safe place,” Redclaw told the scyther. “And remember, we are willing to hunt for you. We can take care of Stormblade ourselves.”
Snowcrystal waited to see what Skyscythe would say, hoping with all her might that he wouldn’t refuse-she didn’t want to wander around in the wilderness in search of shelter anymore.
The old scyther looked at Stormblade, then at Redclaw. “We have to ask our leader,” he said simply, walking ahead. “Follow us.”
So he’s not the leader…
Snowcrystal thought to herself, trailing after the others as they hesitantly began following the scyther. Redclaw looked at Stormblade and then carefully picked him up. Snowcrystal hoped he was unconscious, otherwise that would certainly be painful. Looking at Rosie, who was beside her, Snowcrystal knew that the ninetales felt the same way she did about walking into a scyther swarm’s territory. This was certainly not
the sort of ‘safety’ she had expected to find in the forest.
As they moved through the trees, Snowcrystal found it harder and harder to see the scyther they were supposed to be following. For one, the scyther were much faster than anyone in their group, and further on the foliage got thicker, hiding the green colored pokémon from view.
Snowcrystal was following Wildflame and Spark, who were ahead of the others, and seemed to be having just as hard a time at following the scyther as she was. She knew that Blazefang, Rosie, and Nightshade were just behind her, though she didn’t know how far behind Redclaw, who had to carry Stormblade, was.
As she followed Spark, her thoughts kept drifting back to Thunder, and whether it was really wise to leave without her knowing. We can go back and get her once we find a safe place…
she told herself silently.
After a while of running through thick foliage, which made Snowcrystal rather uncomfortable and claustrophobic, the scyther ahead of them stopped.
“Stay right here,” one of them warned the group, and darted off into the trees.
“This doesn’t look like the home of a scyther swarm to me,” Rosie whispered to Snowcrystal, knowing that the other scyther were around them somewhere, watching. “It just looks like any other part of the forest!”
(continued in next post...)