Okay, new chapter! This isn't a happy one, but hope you enjoy it anyway?
The Path of Destiny
Chapter 47-A New Destination
A few days had passed since Snowcrystal’s encounter with Scytheclaw, and the pokémon found themselves nearing the canyon once again. They had decided to rest early the previous day, but everyone was still tired. Morning had come faster than anyone had anticipated, and as the group of pokémon waited for those who were currently out hunting to return, they talked in low voices about what Snowcrystal had learned.
Snowcrystal herself kept out of their conversations; she had talked about it enough. Instead she simply waited for the hunters to return while trying to drown the sound of the others out. Her crystal amulet had been fixed by Nightshade, who had managed to find some thin but tough plant fibers to replace the broken ones that had held the crystal around her neck before. She wasn’t sure where Nightshade was now; he had flown off to find food for himself and hadn’t yet returned.
As she was contemplating walking away from Wildflame, Spark, and Rosie, who were talking to each other worriedly about the Forbidden Attacks, and finding a quieter spot, she noticed Redclaw heading back from a grove of trees. The arcanine had a taillow in his jaws, but nothing else. Snowcrystal hoped Alex would return with something more, because one taillow wouldn’t be much of a meal for all of the meat-eating pokémon in their group.
Blazefang’s head perked up as Redclaw approached, and he stood up from the clump of dry bushes he’d been resting in. “That’s it?” he scoffed. “That arcanine needs a few hunting lessons, I think.”
“Hey,” Rosie snapped, “he’s the one doing the work. I bet you’re not such a great hunter yourself.”
“I’m a better hunter than he is!” Blazefang growled. “And I’d be able to catch much more if you pokémon would let me!”
Snowcrystal watched Rosie roll her eyes and look away, while Blazefang lay back down with a frustrated grunt. It had been decided by the group that Blazefang would not hunt; everyone was too worried about the risk of him loosing control of his Forbidden Attack. Although Blazefang tried to insist that he wouldn’t, no one believed him after the incident on Articuno’s mountain.
Redclaw trotted up to them wearily, dropping the taillow at their feet, where Wildflame sniffed at it, looking disappointed. “Where should we head now?” Redclaw asked them. “We’re nearing the canyon again, and I know you don’t want to go back through the forest…”
“Or past it,” Rosie added. “That’s where Cyclone and his followers went.”
“We could travel across the canyon and then explore the land on the other side,” Redclaw suggested. “Cyclone’s pokémon headed in that direction…” He turned his head toward the direction of the forest trees on the side of the canyon they were currently on. “So we wouldn’t run into them.”
“I guess it’s as good as any other place,” Rosie muttered. “I just hope it has more prey.”
“You pokémon just have no idea where you’re going,” Blazefang muttered. “You could be heading away from any hope of finding out about the Forbidden Attacks for all you know.”
Snowcrystal inwardly flinched; she knew Blazefang had a point. Right now their only plan was to rely on pure chance. After finding Articuno and learning about Scytheclaw’s power, Snowcrystal’s hopes had been slowly deteriorating as she realized more and more just how daunting their task was, even if there were a lot of pokémon to talk to. She didn’t like the fact that they had had a set destination for their journey-Articuno’s mountain-and now that they had nearly reached the canyon they seemed right back where they started, alone and simply left to wander aimlessly.
“What about the humans?” Spark suddenly said, causing everyone to look at him. Undaunted, he continued. “I mean, the humans know about the legend. Maybe we could go back to…back to the city!”
“Too dangerous,” Rosie replied. “You think any of us, especially Snowcrystal, would be safe wandering around a human city?”
“You have any other idea?” Spark retorted irritably. “At least there we’d have some sort of start; it’s better than wandering around in the wilderness.”
“You just love humans too much,” Rosie growled.
“Well, hi, everyone!” a cheery voice called, putting the argument to a stop. Snowcrystal turned to see Alex standing a few feet away with a couple of goldeen at her feet. Snowcrystal had been so distracted by the others that she hadn’t heard the floatzel approach. “What are you talking about?”
“Nothing that concerns you,” Blazefang growled with a glare at the floatzel. “Now do us a favor and quit stalking us!”
“Hey, she brought us food, didn’t she?” Rosie stated. “Which is more than can be said for you,” she added with a grin that earned her a seething look from Blazefang.
“We’re talking about where we’re going to travel after this,” Spark told the floatzel. “But let’s talk about that later! I’m hungry!”
The pokémon agreed to split up what little food they had gathered, and when Thunder reluctantly approached them, Redclaw tore off a chunk of meat for each pokémon, all of whom looked less than pleased with the amount they got. Thunder grabbed hers and walked out of earshot of the others before sitting down to eat. Each of them were eating in silence when Nightshade returned.
Spark, who had finished his meal in a few bites, looked at him and asked, “Nightshade, do you think we should go back to the human’s city? I mean, it’s the one place we know of that might have people…or pokémon, who know more about the Forbidden Attacks.”
Nightshade seemed surprised at the question, but before he had a chance to answer, Rosie spoke up.
“You really think we’d be able to find out anything without some human coming up to us to fight or capture us?” she asked. “We wouldn’t even be able to get close to any useful-”
“But the pokémon could know!” Spark protested. “I could pose as a trainer pokémon on some sort of errand. If I picked up a few pieces of paper from a garbage bin they’d just think I was delivering something for my trainer. A few of you could do that too and we could search different parts of the city, asking the pokémon. I’ve been thinking about this ever since we left the mountain…I think it could work. Unless, you know, you just hate humans too much…”
“That could work,” Redclaw replied. “I’m too big to pass for an errand running pokémon, but I, and those who don’t want to take part, could wait in the forest.”
“So you’re supporting his crazy plan?” Rosie growled.
“It’s not crazy,” Redclaw responded, sounding as if he had to struggle a bit to keep his voice down. “Let’s face it, Blazefang’s right. We really have no idea where we’re going.”
Snowcrystal listened, not sure she wanted to join in the argument. She had to agree with Spark, however. She had seen the painting in the library in the city depicting a human artist’s interpretations of the Forbidden Attacks. They knew something
, probably more than most pokémon. And pokémon around them probably knew something more too. But traveling back to Stonedust City seemed so dangerous…but then again, wasn’t wandering around foreign lands dangerous as well? “I…I agree with Spark,” she said hesitantly, aware that a few of the other pokémon were looking at her strangely.
“What about those of us who are looking for homes?” Wildflame asked. “That includes you, Redclaw,” she added, turning to the arcanine.
“I know,” the arcanine replied. “But I don’t see anywhere suitable for me to live out here, and truthfully I’d rather help Snowcrystal than stay in a strange place alone. If we find wild arcanine, however, I will join them. Until then, I’d rather be of some use to someone else rather than simply wander about on my own.”
Wildflame muttered something about him being crazy but said no more. Instead she just looked down at her paws and let the others talk.
“I don’t like it,” Rosie said quietly, shaking her head as if trying to shake off a bad thought. “I really don’t like it…”
“You don’t have to come,” Spark reminded her. “I mean-”
“So you’re just going to leave me here all alone?” Rosie retorted.
“No,” Spark replied. “I just…thought maybe you could go your separate way once we were close to the city.”
Rosie didn’t look satisfied with that answer either. “What was wrong with exploring the wild?” she asked.
Blazefang watched the two arguing pokémon through narrowed eyes. “Pfft…humans,” he muttered. “I’m no one’s errand pokémon.” Beside him, Alex yawned.
“Look, you won’t even have to take a step in the city!” Spark was telling Rosie. “You could wait out in the forest with the others…far enough away so the humans won’t see you!”
Up until then, Nightshade had only been watching and listening silently. “What I think,” he began, and even Spark and Rosie stopped their arguing to listen to him, “is that Spark has the best idea. If all the Forbidden Attacks are as dangerous as Shadowflare is, think of how many pokémon could be hurt by it if we don’t find the answer and tell the legendaries. If this human city has some sort of a clue, I think we should follow it. It’s better than wandering around blindly hoping for information to simply fall on us. Spark’s plan is a good one, and going near the city will be no more dangerous than wandering about around here. I think we should listen to Spark.”
“I know that I will,” Snowcrystal spoke up firmly before anyone else could reply. “I know I won’t be much help once I reach the city, but…I’ll find something I can do. I need to find this information. And someone in that human city might know what we need, or at least have some sort of clue.”
“But…” Rosie began, sounding very dismayed now that she could see she was outnumbered.
“I never thought I’d say this,” Blazefang muttered, “but I agree with the jolteon. I’d rather be following some sort of clue than wandering out in the middle of nowhere. The faster I learn how to get rid of this attack, the better.”
“What about you?” Rosie asked Wildflame, a hopeful look in her eyes.
“Makes no difference to me,” Wildflame muttered. Rosie’s hopeful expression fell.
“I’m sorry, Rosie,” Redclaw told the ninetales, “but this looks like our best chance. I’m sure Spark knows enough about the humans to keep us safe as long as we’re careful. We won’t let anyone be captured.”
Rosie looked down at her paws and did not reply.
“So it’s decided then?” Spark asked. “I know it’s risky, but at least we know what we’re up against, whereas we have no idea what’s out there
…” He looked in the direction of the canyon, and Snowcrystal suddenly found herself unwilling to find out what lurked beyond it as well.
“I think it is decided,” Redclaw replied. “We should be safe going back through the canyon, now that Scytheclaw is gone, and there’s plenty of prey there. Prey that we need.”
“Come on, Rosie!” Spark cried. “Foooooooood!”
“I still think it’s a bad idea!” the ninetales stated, ignoring Spark.
“I’m sorry,” Snowcrystal told her. “But my mind is made up. I’m heading back to the city, along with anyone that wants to come. You…you won’t even have to go near the humans, Rosie. It won’t be so bad.”
“I guess I don’t have much of a choice, do I?” she muttered. “Go with you or get left alone…”
Snowcrystal wasn’t sure what to say. Redclaw was already looking toward the canyon, a newfound hope in his eyes. “We won’t put you in danger, Rosie,” he tried to assure her. “But Nightshade’s right…there are lives at stake now that Cyclone is searching for the Forbbiden Attacks. Spark’s idea is more likely to lead us to answers. We should trust him.”
Spark beamed at Redclaw, but Rosie still looked angry. However, it was clear she realized that it had been decided; they were going to travel to the place with the most chance of finding information about the Forbidden Attacks.
“Let’s get going,” Blazefang growled impatiently, walking away from the scraggly bushes he’d been resting by and following Redclaw.
“I’ll come!” Alex announced. “I can help. Maybe the humans know about the ocean too…oh! I bet they do!” She bolted off after Blazefang and Redclaw, overtaking them and turning around to wait for the rest of the group eagerly.
“Thunder, we’re leaving!” Redclaw called back to the scyther.
Thunder looked up at them for a moment, seemed to realize they were starting to travel again, and slowly walked back toward them from where she had been eating, seeming agitated. “We’re going already?” she growled when she reached them.
No one bothered to answer, probably, Snowcrystal thought, because no one could think of anything to say to her that wouldn’t make her mad. They followed Redclaw and Alex in silence, each with their own whirlwinds of thought.
Then Thunder stopped in her tracks. “Why are we going that way?” she asked in a low, threatening voice that didn’t really match her question. “Are we going across the canyon?”
“No,” Spark told her. “We’re going back into it. We’ll climb up the other end by where the cave was and go back the way we came.”
Snowcrystal realized that Thunder didn’t yet know of their plans to return to the human city, since she had been away from the group at the time. “We’ve decided to go back to the human’s city,” she told Thunder. “To find out about the Forbidden Attacks.”
“What?” Thunder replied, suddenly looking more furious than Snowcrystal had seen her in a long time. The other pokémon stopped momentarily to look at her; they could all tell that she obviously hadn’t taken the news well at all. “Go back to where humans live? I’d rather die!”
Snowcrystal opened her mouth to speak, but Redclaw did for her. “You won’t have to take a step inside that city,” he told her. “Just a few of us will. You’ll stay out in the forest with-”
“NO!” Thunder replied fiercely, lifting her scythes and baring her teeth. “I won’t go near it!”
“No one’s asking you to come,” Blazefang muttered. “Go on and run off now if you must.”
Snowcrystal wished Blazefang would keep quiet. Everyone knew, though no one openly admitted, that Thunder relied on them for food; she would starve on her own. Luckily, this time Thunder did not reply, and as the rest of the group turned and continued walking, she trailed behind, still glaring daggers at them.
The group of pokémon carried on until they reached the canyon’s edge. It was there that they decided to stop for another rest. This part of the canyon cliff’s edge was dotted with bushes and foliage which provided them shade from the sun.
“You think one of us should go looking for food down there?” Spark asked, peering down the rocky ledge that led downward into the canyon, where he could see plenty of foliage growing near the stream at the bottom.
“Good idea,” Rosie agreed.
Redclaw sighed. “I suppose so,” he began, standing up. “We won’t have to worry about any hostility now that Scytheclaw’s gone. Who wants to go with me?”
“I will,” Snowcrystal stated as she looked up.
“So will I!” Spark chimed in.
“Anyone else?” Redclaw asked wearily. No one said anything. “All right, come on you two,” Redclaw told Spark and Snowcrystal, who sprung to their paws and followed him. Getting up from her resting place, Thunder began to follow them too.
“And where are you
going?” Rosie sneered.
Thunder bared her teeth at the ninetales. “With them!” she yelled with startling ferocity, looking almost as if she wanted to tear Rosie’s head off just for questioning her.
Though the look in Thunder’s eyes made Snowcrystal back away, Rosie seemed unaffected. “Huh, like you could catch anything with those injuries,” the ninetales snorted.
Thunder made no reply, but continued to glare at the fire type. Then she stepped forward and lifted her scythes. Rosie stood without flinching.
“Face it,” she said, “it’s true.”
“Now hold on, Thunder,” Nightshade spoke up as he limped over toward the two angry pokémon. “I don’t think it’s a good idea to go wandering off now. You want to get strong again, right? And the best way to let that happen is to rest-”
“I am strong!” Thunder shouted. “Stronger than you are! I don’t want to wait around for food!”
(Continued in next post...)