At Alex’s shout, Snowcrystal jumped up in alarm, only to find that the pokémon the floatzel was talking to was Thunder. Alarmed, Snowcrystal watched as Alex bounded up toward the scyther on all fours-Thunder stood up and lifted her scythes as she approached.
The floatzel stopped a few feet from Thunder, looking at her curiously. Snowcrystal edged closer to the two. “Uh, Alex? I don’t think you should…”
“Whoa, what happened to you?” the water type exclaimed loudly, leaning forward to get a better look at the cuts on Thunder’s back and side. A couple moments later and she had to leap back to avoid being cut open by one of the scyther’s blades, which was only slowed due to Thunder’s current weaknesses. “Hey, calm down, will you? I didn’t attack you
! And some of those cuts are infected, by the way,” she added with a look of disgust.
This somewhat surprised Snowcrystal-Alex didn’t seem quite as friendly around Thunder. Snowcrystal was about to say something when Thunder took another sudden lunge at the floatzel, this time grazing her arm with a scythe. At this point, Alex seemed to get the message, and gave Thunder an annoyed glare before bounding back into the lake.
Thunder glared after the floatzel and then walked further away from the lake, leaving Snowcrystal standing alone and hoping that there wouldn’t be any more problems between the two pokémon in the future. It was a hope that she knew she probably couldn’t count on.
Katie made sure Justin was busy trying to start a fire for the night before she slipped away quietly, leaving him alone with her electabuzz, which she had brought with her before heading out into the wilderness, to protect him. She walked toward a clump of trees that would hide what she was doing in case Justin came to look for her-she didn’t want him spotting her before she knew he was coming. She felt bad for leaving the scyther in its pokéball for several hours since she had caught it, but she hadn’t gotten a chance to slip away alone until now. She wasn’t quite ready to tell Justin yet.
Stepping behind the trees, she took a deep breath and looked around worriedly. Justin would be wondering where she was soon. She had to make this quick. Taking the luxury ball out of her backpack-she hadn’t dared to put it on her belt in case Justin noticed it-she threw it a few feet in front of her and watched the scyther materialize on the ground.
He appeared in a lying-down position, looking too weak to be able to sit or stand, and looked up at her feebly. Katie wondered if this scyther recognized her, but there was no way to tell; she couldn’t read the expression in the pokémon’s eyes. Her gaze traveled briefly over his body, and she noticed how thin he was. She tried not to focus on it too much-she didn’t like looking at the scyther’s wounds.
“Um…hello,” she began, wondering if the scyther would even care that she was talking to him, “I guess…I’m your new trainer.” She paused-that had sounded weird, as if she expected to train this pokémon. There was no way that would be a possibility, and it probably wouldn’t be even if the scyther recovered-he might never want to battle again. She knew she wouldn’t, if she had gotten injuries like that. And from what Nurse Joy had said, she suspected that these injuries happened in some sort of trainer battle, and the opponent had gone much
too far. “Well, I guess I’m not your trainer
…” she continued, “but I’m here to take care of you.”
The scyther gave her a knowing look, as if he was listening, but there was a wary look in his eyes, one of mistrust.
“Here,” she said, looking through her backpack for something else. She had, of course, brought medicine for her pokémon in case they got injured, including medicine to help with pain. She had gotten a type of medicine that was shaped like pokémon treats, and even though they were supposedly for baby pokémon who wouldn’t eat the regular medicine (she had gotten them for Shinx), Pidgeot seemed to like them. She opened the box. The “treats” were shaped like random things-pokéballs, berries, and a few random pokémon. It was silly, but it would do the job and, hopefully, help relieve the scyther of some of his pain, even if it wasn’t much.
She picked up one in her hand and looked at the scyther, hesitating to approach it. She knew that this pokémon was, or at least used to be, dangerous. Getting down on her knees, she moved forward, hoping that the scyther wouldn’t try to hurt her. She held her hand out towards his head. “Eat this,” she told him. “It will make you feel better.”
To her surprise, the pokémon showed no sign of aggression at all. He obediently ate the medicine, though she noticed that he did so with some difficulty. Pleasantly surprised, she reached into her backpack again and got out a potion. “Okay, this might sting a little bit…”
She was meant with an agonized scyther cry the moment she sprayed the potion. The pokémon’s eyes went wide with shock and he tried to move away from her, not having much success.
“Uh, sorry,” she muttered, dropping the potion. “I guess…I should…wait until the medicine…starts working…”
The scyther didn’t give her any indication that he had heard, but he had stopped screaming and was now staring at the part of his shoulder she had sprayed the potion on.
Katie hoped that Justin was too far away to have heard the noise. She realized that Justin might be wondering where she was by now. “Well, I guess I’ll have to do what I can now…” She had brought plenty of bandages along in case her pokémon needed it, and she began trying to use them to cover the worst of the scyther’s wounds. Occasionally he would growl or hiss in pain, but he didn’t do anything to threaten her. She began to wonder if this pokémon had begun to change from the vicious and mean scyther he was in the past.
“Well, that’s all I can do for now,” Katie told the pokémon, well aware that Justin might show up at any minute, “I hope you can trust me…your trainer after Justin must not have been very nice. And…I know what you did before was…very wrong…but…I
believe you can change.” She gave the scyther a smile, but he just stared emptily at her.
“Okay, return,” she whispered, holding up the luxury ball which shot out a beam of light which enveloped the scyther and then disappeared into the ball.
Standing up, she turned and headed back to where Justin was waiting. She found him in just the same place she had left him, staring at the trees of the forest swaying in the breeze in the distance. He was probably wondering if the growlithe tracks they were following actually belonged to the white growlithe.
“Hi Justin!” she said, in a voice that sounded a bit too cheerful, she realized. “I was just over there by that little group of trees. I was just…um…”
“Look, I don’t need to know about every time you have to go to the bathroom,” Justin muttered, sounding annoyed.
“Oh, um…yeah, never mind,” she muttered quickly, glad that Justin didn’t seem suspicious at all. She went to set her backpack down by his, and as she bent down, she realized that she had placed the luxury ball on her belt with the other pokéballs without realizing it. She un-clipped it and stuffed it into her backpack hurriedly. Her electabuzz glanced up at her as if he knew that she was trying to hide something, but she paid him no attention. She was far too concerned with how Justin would react when he found out about her scyther for the moment.
Scytheclaw was now completely alone. He had returned from the pool with the small statues to find that Moonlight had been planning something in secret. He had won over most of the pokémon at last. Scytheclaw had been powerless against their numbers, and he soon had to accept that he was no longer their leader.
But he could never
accept that. That very day, he had left the canyon, alone, and though he now realized that he had nowhere to go, he could not bear the idea of turning back. He didn’t feel like he could face any of those pokémon again, not now that he was powerless. All he had left to think about now was the strange power he’d felt ever since fainting at the pool. After waking up, he had been sure to throw the gem back into the water as far as he could, but now, he wondered if there had been something more to it.
It was the thoughts of the stone that kept him distracted, letting him dwell less on the fact that he had just lost everything.
The beating of wings brought Scytheclaw back to his senses. Above him, a pidgeotto was circling. He was just pondering the idea of trying to catch it when, surprisingly, it landed in front of him (though at a safe distance). Scytheclaw sensed that this pidgeotto was out of the ordinary-it looked stronger, tougher, and it seemed as if it would be too fast for even him to catch, so he didn’t try.
“What do you want?” Scytheclaw snapped, glaring at the flying type through narrowed eyes.
“I’m merely here to ask a few questions,” the pidgeotto said slyly. “I come from a group of pokémon led by a vaporeon called Cyclone. He wishes to wage war on the humans…”
As the pidgeotto explained, Scytheclaw realized immediately that he was talking about the army that passed through his old home. As much as he despised the army, he couldn’t help but find the idea of fighting against the humans, the species that had evolved him against his will, very appealing…
He still hated those army pokémon though.
“Tell that idiot I’m not interesting in becoming his servant,” Scytheclaw growled. “And I thought he left days ago-he should be far away by now! Is he that desperate for followers to send you looking for them back here?”
“He is not far from here, actually,” the pidgeotto replied. “Our army passed by that forest and are resting now,” he added, as if there were more of a reason as to why they had stopped moving that he didn’t want to give away.
Scytheclaw looked at the group of trees making up the forest not far away. He couldn’t see what was on the other side of it, but whatever it was; it was bound to be better than passing the forest by and wandering into that army. “Why are you even talking to me?” he growled at the bird pokémon, “you’re wasting your time.”
“I have one more question,” the flying type began, ignoring the threat. “Have you seen a houndour recently? Full grown, but not close to evolution, or maybe he’s one of those ones who simply doesn’t want to evolve, very red fur color on his muzzle instead of orange or orange-red? Seen any houndour like that?”
An image floated into Scytheclaw’s mind of Blazefang, the houndour that the heracross and his friends had brought along. He fit the description perfectly, but the houndour had not caused him any grief-it was the army threatening his home that had. It would be best not to help them at all. Giving the pidgeotto one last glare, Scytheclaw turned and walked off toward the forest.
It was early morning when Snowcrystal and her friends were ready to set off toward the mountain. A few of the others had managed to hunt, and after they were done eating, they decided to take a quick rest, or, in Spark and Alex’s case, go for a swim.
It was hard for Snowcrystal to relax with the sounds of Alex and Spark laughing and shouting to one another as they chased each other in the shallows of the lake. Her thoughts kept drifting back to Stormblade, wondering if he was all right, and wondering whether the human who caught him would really be able to help. He has a better chance with the help of that human than he does out here with us…
she reminded herself, though it didn’t make her feel much better.
Turning, she realized that it was Rosie calling to her. The ninetales was limping in her direction, and she got up and walked over to her. “What is it, Rosie?” she asked.
“Well, I was thinking,” Rosie began, “I mean, I just realized that…if Alex is coming with us, she should know why
we need to go to the mountains so much. I mean, I don’t know if we should go into the whole ‘Forbidden Attacks’ thing, but…”
“HEY!” Spark yelled from the direction of the lake, distracting both of them. Snowcrystal looked to see the two of them in deeper water, Spark looking as though Alex had just pushed him in.
His response was only a loud laugh from the floatzel. From what she could see, Snowcrystal thought Spark looked rather angry.
“Okay, that’s it…” the jolteon cried, and suddenly the water lit up with a burst of electricity and Alex cried out in pain before sinking under the water. Spark had a triumphant grin on his face, which didn’t last long, for in the next moment Alex had come flying out of the water straight toward Spark, water streaming behind her. She cannoned into the jolteon with such force from the aqua jet attack that Spark went flying out of the water and they both landed on the shore.
Snowcrystal was startled by the sudden violent attack, and she was going to go see if Spark was all right and to get Alex to stop when both pokémon stood up, looked at each other for a moment, and then burst out laughing.
“Idiots…” Rosie muttered, rolling her eyes. “I’ll never understand those pokémon. At least Spark has someone else to bother now.”
Snowcrystal had other things on her mind. “Hey, Alex! Come over here!” she cried.
The floatzel bounded up to her with surprising speed and came to a sudden halt right in front of her. “Yes?” she asked.
“I thought you might like to know why we’re headed to the mountain,” she began, “We-”
“Why does it matter?” Alex interrupted. “It’s an adventure! It doesn’t need to have a reason!”
“Well, actually,” Snowcrystal replied, “it does matter. The well-being of…maybe even the lives
of some growlithe are at stake. We’re looking for Articuno…he’s the only one that can help us, and we heard that he went past that mountain…”
“Oh, I think he lives there,” Alex stated with a smile. “I’ve heard from several pokémon that he lives at the top of that mountain. That’s why there’s still so much snow!”
Snowcrystal felt her hopes become instantly renewed. If what Alex said was true, then her search might finally be over. “You’re sure?” she asked, feeling much more energetic now-she wanted to go to find Articuno as soon as possible. She had taken far too much time already.
“Yep!” the floatzel replied, sounding as if it was the most simple thing in the world. “What do you need Articuno for, anyway?”
“Well…” Snowcrystal began, “do you think I could tell you on the way? I really think we ought to get going now.”
In a matter of minutes, the entire group was heading toward the mountains, Spark and Alex bounding ahead in the lead. Spark had taken over in telling Alex about their quest so far, even going so far as telling her about the Forbidden Attacks.
Snowcrystal felt as if her energy was being renewed with each step-she now had a much greater hope of finding Articuno than she could ever have asked for. They finally knew where he was at last.
That same morning, another group was getting ready to leave. Katie and Justin had found more growlithe footprints, and they led very clearly in one direction. Poochyena, of course, could easily follow the growlithe’s scent.
There were signs of other pokémon, too, but Katie wasn’t concerned with them. She just hoped that the ones that looked like scyther footprints really weren’t. Yesterday and throughout the night, she had taken care of the scyther in secret-she still wasn’t sure how to tell Justin about all this.
She also wasn’t sure what to do about the scyther either. He wouldn’t eat the pokémon food she gave him, and she could tell that he was getting weaker. But at least the pokémon medicine seemed to be helping. Looking up ahead of her, she watched Justin standing beside Poochyena as the small pokémon ran around his legs, eager to begin following the scent. Sighing, she walked over to them, trying not to act as though there was something bothering her.
Darkfang watched the two humans leave as he stayed crouched behind a large group of bushes. He had followed their scent from the place where Stormblade was supposed to be, and there was only one explanation for what had happened-one of those humans had captured Stormblade.
He wasn’t quite sure what to do now, but he knew that he would have to tell Stormblade’s friends once they came back…if they did come back. He really had no idea whether or not Articuno had settled on the mountain at all.
With a weary sigh, he started to head back, then quickly changed his mind. He still felt partially responsible for Stormblade, and the least he could do was make sure these humans were decent to him. Turning back around to face the humans, Darkfang began following them slowly, careful not to let himself be seen.
To be Continued...
I was checking this chapter really early in the morning, and I was falling asleep, so there's probably a lot of typos. ^^; It's getting closer to more plottiness though! =3