Re: Survival Project
There was no injured pokémon. There was a liar and a sentret who was foolish enough to trust the liar.
The pokémon, whatever it was, had lured me away so that its friends and family could invade my home. Simply attacking me at my post may have been loud enough to alert my clan of intruders. It also eliminated the possibility of me shrieking to tell everyone to run, that someone was coming to hurt them. The worst part was that I helped them. I fell into their trap so easily.
When I realized what the pokémon had done, I rushed back to my clan as fast as I could. I nearly fell out of the tree and into the roaring river because I was too focused on trying to get back as quickly as possible. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw an odd movement in the river, a mix of red and brown that I hoped was a part of my imagination. I ran and ran and ran. I didn’t bother trying to protect myself or watch for danger anymore. The danger was already here. I failed, and I wanted it to come after me instead now.
It didn’t. It was already gone.
Before the danger left, it destroyed the clan. Torn parts from sentret and blood were what I had seen in the river. More blood and limbs were splattered through the grass, on the trees, on the leaves. Everywhere. Some sentret bodies were smashed underneath tree branches that had been cut off and left to drop. From the small amount of sentret left, I assumed that some of them had been taken… but I didn’t want to think about why. The sentret who were wounded or almost unharmed were squealing and crying over the sight, not daring to move out of intense fear and sorrow. They had been attacked while I was leading the pokémon to the edge of the forest. The pokémon had successfully taken me far away enough to where I couldn’t hear the slaughter. There was nothing I could do now.
My heart cried and my stomach lurched. My mind screamed disaster.
My family, things were peaceful just moments ago—
The babies, they were just learning to walk—
I should have heard—
I started mumbling about what happened, as if an explanation could reverse everything. The pokémon seemed genuinely hurt. But it was my fault for not looking for blood carefully enough, or other proof that the pokémon was hurt. Wouldn’t we have wanted other pokémon to help us if they could, too? Why hadn’t anyone else helped? It wasn’t my place to ask, but I was asking anyway. They must have been scared. I would have been scared, too. I’m scared right now. I’m sick right now. I was just trying to do a good thing. It would have been terrible to not help, too—
And in the midst of my thoughts, Ari crashed into me and started pummeling me faster than I could blink. He must have heard me, must have been listening, must have been watching the clan break further.
“Why didn’t you warn us about this?! You could have said something before you left with the enemy, at least!”
I didn’t fight back, I didn’t try to breathe, I didn’t dare look him in the eyes.
“They told us that you were on their side. It looks true! Because of you, my wife is hurt, the kids were eaten right here—”
I thought that he was going to kill me, but his punches and his cries eventually weakened and quieted. He eventually stopped, and I heard pathetic wails that only reminded me of the baby sentret once more. He left me with some throbbing, aching bones and a body covered in blood. I was sure that most of the blood was not mine.
“Get out of here. Just go, just leave,” he snarled.
After torturing myself with one last, long glance at the gory scene, I left, and did not try to come back, though I ached to. I could not sleep, could not eat. I wanted to mourn with the others. I didn’t even know everyone who was gone or everyone who had survived. I wanted to mourn, to apologize, to make up for it… but they wouldn’t let me. Unfortunately, I was not completely dead. It should have been me. But I was only dead to them, and rightfully so.
And I was so, so very sorry. So, so sorry. So sorry. I could beat many pokémon, many trials that were thrown at me. Over the years, I had learned that I could beat many things, but—
Life was not one of them.
“They should have gotten you. You were at fault, and yet you were the only one left unharmed.”
“They were trying to avoid commotion from the town as well. If I had heard any of them approaching, you know I would have called out…” I explained, though I knew it was in vain. But I had to try. When Ari would give me permission to leave, he would have all the information to know that he had made the correct choice. His decision would be final and real, done after many weeks of being able to calm down and think rationally.
“Those monsters were not from around here. It shouldn’t happen again, not just because of that, but because we will have more reliable people on post next time from now on,” Ari said, ignoring me almost completely.
I made one last attempt at helping them and said, “Perhaps you should consider relocating the clan—”
“Don’t tell me what I should do! You are not a part of this clan anymore!” Ari cried, rushing after me once more, but stopping halfway through. He didn’t want to relive that night again, not even the best part of it, where he got to punish the one who had caused him so much misery.
“…A trainer came by here and attacked me,” I said simply, now looking at the ground.
I could feel his glare.
“I know that you think he is a threat,” I said quickly. “He is. But he also wants me to be his pokémon. He wants me to… help him.” I wondered: how can words feel so wrong but be so true at the same time? “With your permission, I would like to take him away from the forest and be his pokémon so that he is no longer a threat.”
“As I said, you are not a part of this clan. You may do what you wish, as long as it doesn’t involve us,” Ari said. He was looking around now, presumably watching for Sai. I couldn’t keep the mysterious pokémon from attacking the clan, but I seemed to have some control over Sai. I could get him out of here. I could. It would be so easy.
“So I can leave,” I said.
“…You don’t want me.”
“We don’t want you. Too much damage was done. Take the trainer away from here, and make sure neither of you ever comes back.”
That was all I needed. I felt like a burden had been lifted off of my shoulders. Of course, I still wanted to help the clan. I didn’t want to leave. I would do anything to be accepted again and to be expected to protect everyone again. I would do anything to bring the others back. But nothing could fix what had happened, and it was time to move on. I would protect Sai now. I would protect Kuiora, and anyone else who was going to join us. I would believe that I had survived this attack for a reason, and would take my second chance.
I could leave with Sai now. This was all I wanted.
I didn’t say anything more. I only made eye contact with Ari for a few more long, agonizing moments, hoping that he could see how sorry I was, how much regret I carried around with me. Ari was the only one who had ever broken my heart by banishing me from the clan, the one thing I had loved at the time. But I also broke his heart, though indirectly; I took his wife away, I took his children. No one is ever safe.
When I was walking back to Sai and Kuiora, I still went slowly, taking in the scene one last time. I took in the rough feeling of the bark on the trees as I walked on it. I took in how big and old the tree itself was, and how it took years and years for it to grow this tall and be such an important part of our lives. The river was purely blue, which made me feel a bit better. Everything seemed clean and peaceful. The sun shone down and made me remember what was wonderful about the clan. Seeing the babies learn about the world for the first time. Always discovering new kinds of berries and indulging in the old ones that had treated us so well for so long. Knowing how friendly the other pokémon in the forest seemed to be. Seeing the new trainers with their new pokémon come by with such excitement and joy shining in their eyes.
I would try to remember everything from then on, the good and the bad. I hoped that that was what moving on meant.
When I reached Sai and Kuiora, I simply said that I was ready to go. It seemed easier to speak, as if I wasn’t keeping such a careful watch on everything I said anymore. I certainly had to do that with Ari, but not so much with these two. I’d still make sure to be careful, because I didn’t want to hurt them.
“Where are we headed next?” Sai asked curiously.
“Well, the next town is Cherrygrove City. I don’t really know anything about that place except that new trainers don’t ever seem too happy about going there.”
“They always want these badges, and you apparently can’t find one in Cherrygrove.”
Sai started walking slower and frowned a bit. “I’m supposed to get the gym badges. I think that’s what you’re talking about. Well, I don’t want to waste time there, then. Not allowed.”
“Badges?” Kuiora asked, coming out of nowhere. She had been so quiet that I had nearly forgotten she was there.
“Yeah… We train, battle, and get badges. That’s what I was told to do, so that’s what we’re going to do,” Sai said, smiling again.
“I was training at the lab, so I’m ready for that whenever you are,” she said confidently.
“Senori will lead the way,” Sai said, looking at me expectedly.
“I’ve never been anywhere else… but I’m sure we can find the path to whatever place is next,” I said, trying to sound confident as well.
“Okay. It’s unfortunate, but I knew that you couldn’t have already visited everywhere. Thanks, Senori,” Sai said.
Sounding more confident already seemed a little easier after that. I started to lead the way again, unsure where I was going, but feeling all right about it.
Like most new trainers, Sai didn’t care for Cherrygrove City. But he sure did enjoy Violet City, a place completely new and refreshing for all of us.
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