First off, I want to apologize for the long wait on chapter three. I just started a job last week that requires me to get up at 2:30 in the morning, and so it's really taking some getting used to. But oh well, here it is! I hope you enjoy~
Chapter Three: My Castle made from Sand
My eyes slowly opened as I awoke under the shelter of a large tree within the forest outside of town. Having been curled up atop one of its large roots, I stretched myself out, and released a prolonged yawn. Sitting myself up against the tree trunk, I was surprised to see Velvet was already awake, although it appeared that the sun had only just rose over the mountains.
“Good morning Mia, did you sleep well?” The gentle sheep smiled warmly at me, holding her paws together in front of her belly.
“Yeah, I feel a lot better after a good nights sleep… You’re up awful early though, aren’t you?” I scoffed. “Or do all rich people get up at ungodly hours in the morning?”
Velvet shook her head. “No, that’s not it. I… I just have a lot on my mind, so I couldn’t sleep.” As my grogginess faded, I began to remember the conversation we had yesterday about the old world. I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised that she would have trouble sleeping after seeing how things really were.
“So you really believe me then? About everything?” I had wondered whether she would be accepting of what I told her yesterday, but her expression didn’t seem unsure.
“…Yes, I believe you Mia. I always have, and it makes sense when I think about it. What my father has been doing all this time… what the town leaders have been doing.”
Turning around, the Flaaffy girl looked up through the treetops at the rising sun as it made its way ever higher above the mountains. “We’ve been led to believe that you’re all bad people, but when I’m with you Mia… I feel like that’s just not true. You might have your problems, all of you, but…”
“But I can see that you aren’t evil. You do what you do because you have to. It’s because we’ve forced you into stealing what you need to survive, and created hatred for us within your hearts. I… I can understand why you hate us all so much…”
Standing myself up, I walked over to my partner, taking my place beside her. “Thanks Velvet. That means a lot coming from you… really.” Leaning over, I placed a kiss upon her cheek, making her blush.
“Oh Mia.” The pretty Flaaffy turned her head to look up at me. “You know I’ll always believe in you. You’re… more than a friend to me.”
I smiled genuinely, embracing her in a quick hug before my thoughts returned to business. “I know, but we’d better head for the guild now. If what Sooty said was right, and Chubs is planning to get revenge for Brimstone, then we have to act fast. If he kills anyone else, it’s just going to make things harder for us later…” Velvet nodded in agreement, and once we were prepared, we set off toward of the thieves guild.
- - - -
Making our way through the forest once again, I led Velvet to a cave that rested in the base of the mountain range, northeast from the town. If luck was with me today, the guild would be meeting here this morning as they often did, to discuss their plans for the next night, and to boast of their achievements from the night before.
“Listen Velvet, I want you to stay out here while I go in, and have a look around. The last thing I need is you getting hurt.”
The fearful Flaaffy pouted. “But Mia, I can’t just let you go in there alone! What if they’re in there?! What if that Muk was right, and-“
Clamping Velvet’s mouth shut with my paw, I glared angrily at her. “Keep it down! If they don’t hurt you for getting caught sneaking in, then you can bet I will for not listening to me. Got it?” Velvet nodded meekly, and I released her from my grip. “Good… now just stay here unless something bad happens. If things go down… just get out of here, okay?”
The sheep girl fretted, but I stared her down. “Urk… Mia, I just… ugh, please be careful.” I promised her that I would, and then proceeded to make my way into the darkness of the cave.
The guild never lit the entrance to the cave, instead we always left it dark to keep away any would be intruders from suspecting anything was inside. Feeling my way along the wall for a while, I eventually reached an area where the cave split off into two separate paths. I took the path on the right that I knew would lead me to the guild’s chamber.
I wasn’t sure that anyone would be here, but as I neared the light of the chamber ahead, my ears twitched upon hearing several voices. Making sure to be quiet, I stepped into the makeshift doorway that opened up into the large room carved into the belly of the mountain.
Several oil lamps brightened the chamber, and all of the usual suspects were gathered at its center, conversing about something I couldn’t quite make out. There was Snap, a fairly young Arbok who was the most imposing of the bunch, and Rubble, a Marowak who was respected for his strategic expertise.
Next to them were Sickle, and Leech, the former being a stealthy Weavile, and the latter being a ruthless Golbat. At the center of the group was Chubs, who seemed to be talking the loudest as usual. It felt strange coming here without Brimstone to accompany me, and I had to admit that I felt kind of nervous with all these dangerous people before me.
Stepping into the room, I was almost immediately noticed by Sickle, who’s attention to me made all the others look in my direction. “Well hey, look what the Grimer dragged in!” Chubs snorted, stepping forth from the group, and walking up to me. “I figured those guard goons woulda gotten rid of you by now, as delicate as you are.”
“Save it Chubs.” I growled. “I need to talk about something…”
The fat Raichu had a smug look on his face as he crossed his arms. “If it’s about Brimstone, were going to get our revenge tonight. You know that greenie-weenie who cheap shot him? Were gonna kill him, and burn down his house. Maybe that’ll teach those townies a thing or two about fighting back.”
I shook my head. “I don’t think that’s a good idea…” Chubs raised an eyebrow. “Look, we should just stay in the shadows for awhile, and let things calm down before we kill anyone else. All this bloodshed… it’s not making anything better for anyone, ourselves included. If keep killing, then were just giving them a reason to retaliate!”
The angry Raichu raised a paw in the air, slapping my cheek, and making me yelp. “What the hell is your problem kid? Brimstone would beat you for saying something so stupid, oh but wait, he can’t. He’s dead thanks to those townsfolk!” Grabbing me by the neck, Chubs sneered into my eyes.
“You just waltz in here, and start yapping about how we should just forget about what those vermin did to the boss? You’re a damn disgrace to your father’s name, disrespecting him by saying crap like that. You should want to wipe that town off the planet after what they did to you, and you say you don’t want to kill them anymore?!”
Managing to wrench myself free from his grip, I backed away from the hostile Raichu. “It’s not your call anyway! We all agreed that I was to be the leader if Brimestone went away, he even said so himself! If I say we stop killing, then we stop killing!”
Chubs laughed. “You? Lead this guild? Don’t fool yourself kid, you’ll never be the leader here.”
I felt my heart drop, remembering Sooty’s words. “B-but surely that’s not how everyone feels?!” I stammered, looking over at the other members present. Sickle stepped forward from the group, approaching me first as the other members followed suit, surrounding me in a circle.
“You don’t have the experience or strength to lead this guild, Miasma, and everyone here knows that.” The calm, and collected Weavile stared coldly into my eyes as he spoke, sending a chill up my spine. “You never managed to live up to the promise that Brimstone saw in you, and you failed to become a Typhlosion as a result.”
The next to voice their opinion was Snap, who towered over me. “We’ve decided to allow Chubs to lead the guild, because he’s passionate about our cause, and understands what must be done if we hope to survive. It’s become obvious that you wouldn’t have the skills or the dedication to do the same… To give up on getting revenge for your own father, it’s disgusting to think about.”
Rubble nodded silently in agreement with the intimidating Arbok, while Leech flapped his wings impatiently. “It’s obvious that we wouldn’t let a softie like you tell us what to do! Your dad might have been tough, but you were always too busy hanging out with your pals to contribute to our cause. You should be ashamed to show your face in here after saying such stupid things!.”
While the other members were crushing my hopes with every word from their mouths, Chubs’ smile grew bigger, and bigger. “Well then, since were all in agreement here, and I’m the new leader… I say little Mia here needs to be punished for being so disrespectful to Brimstone. Little whelp…”
I twitched, not being able to believe what I was hearing from everyone. “W-what?! You can’t be serious! I-I… but I just want what’s best for the guild, I’m not disrespecting anyone!”
The amused Raichu grabbed me by the back of the neck, shoving me past the other guild members, and into the center of the chamber. “Who here wants to teach Mia a lesson in respect? Or am I gonna have to do it myself?” Backing away from the group, I knew I was going to have to fight, hopefully not for my life, but for my pride.
“It’d be my pleasure…” To my dismay, the one member of the bunch that I feared the most slithered forward to face me, making me gulp. Snap rose up before me while the rest of the guild cheered in anticipation of the battle.
“Don’t worry runt, I’m not going to kill you. But there are things worse than death you know?” The Arbok laughed, while I did my best to look confident, despite the awful feeling in my stomach.
“You sure talk big Snap, but let’s see you back that up. Maybe after I’m done wiping the floor with you, I’ll take my damn guild back!” Not wasting any time, I opened my mouth wide, unleashing a large plume of fire that raced towards the Arbok with amazing speed. To my delight, Snap wasn’t able to dodge the massive radius of my attack, and was scorched by my flames.
Not surprisingly though, the large snake wasn’t nearly finished. Coiling himself up, the angry Arbok launched himself through the air at me, attempting to slam me with his whole body, but I could see the attack coming from a mile away. Smirking, I easily jumped to the side fast enough to avoid being hit, while Snap struggled to keep himself from running into the chamber wall behind me, only just managing to do so.
I was about to make a snarky comment when the snake let out an ear-piercing screech that made me cover my ears in pain. Even with my paws protecting them, my ears rang loudly, throwing my concentration off for a moment which was all Snap needed to take advantage of me.
Before I knew it, the grinning Arbok was right in front of me, his jaws open wide, revealing four huge fangs that hungered for my flesh. I made an effort to turn away, and run, but it was already too late to avoid what I had feared most about him.
Snap’s long fangs sunk into my flesh with so much ease that it made my heart skip a beat, the pain not bothering me as much as the strange sensation that coursed through my body as I was raised into the air in the jaws of my opponent. The other guild members cheered loudly as I struggled in the tight grip of Snaps mouth, his fangs that had all but completely stabbed through my body had trapped me completely.
I soon realized that the strange feeling I was experiencing was making me tired, or rather it was causing me to lose strength. While my struggles grew weaker, I felt the Arbok’s jaws close tighter, and tighter, pushing his fangs deeper still into my flesh until I was sure they would skewer me the whole way through.
Coming to my senses, I noticed that I was enveloped in a strange aura that seemed to be flowing away from me, and into the large snake. Just as it dawned on me that I was being drained of my energy, Snap whipped his head around, releasing me from his jaws, and throwing me harshly into the chamber wall beside him. I yelled out in pain, as the impact with the rock wall actually hurt more than whatever I had just been subjected to.
The Arbok grinned widely, his fangs dripping with my blood as he laughed at me while I struggled to get onto my feet below him. “It’s not often that I get to feed on one so full of poison. You taste pretty good Mia… Maybe I’ll make you my pet, so I can feed on you more often.” Snap smirked, and turned his head to look back at Chubs. “You wouldn’t mind that, would you boss?”
The fat Raichu scoffed. “As far as I’m concerned, you can do whatever you want with him. Eat away at him to your hearts content!” Finally managing to stand myself up, I took advantage of my opponents little conversation to take him off guard. I’d be damned if I was going to be anyone’s pet.
My fire plume hadn’t seemed to do much to hurt the big snake, and so I focused all the energy I had left on a different kind of attack. My eyes began to glow with an intense pink light, as I channeled my energy into the physical form of an aura that quickly enveloped Snap. Focusing all of my negative thoughts into the Arbok, I wracked him with a horrible pain that made him shriek.
“Y-you little brat… do you honestly think you can overpower me?!” Fighting through my psychic onslaught, Snap heaved his long tail into the air above me, and I watched as it seemed to change color. Shifting from a dark purple to a shiny silver, the Arbok’s tail smashed down upon me before I could move, feeling as if it was made of metal.
Barely hanging onto consciousness, I lay motionless upon the rocky ground, my body crushed by Snap’s powerful attack. “A-alright… I…” I coughed painfully, feeling as if one of my ribs had been broken. “I give up… p-please don’t… don’t do anymore…” The victorious Arbok sneered down at me while I looked pitifully up at him, pleading for mercy, though it made me feel sick to do so.
“Hmph, don’t worry little Mia.” Slithering close to me, Snap brought his tail around, scooping me up with its tip, and wrapping it around me at the end. “I don’t hurt my underlings unless they’ve done me wrong, and I think you’ve already been punished enough for one day at least. Obey me, and we won’t have any problems, but disobey me, and I’ll thrash you again till there’s nothing left.”
Lifting me into the air, the surprisingly gentle Arbok slithered over to the chamber exit with me, as the other guild members laughed at my humiliation. “Now that the boy’s been disciplined, shall we go our separate ways, and prepare for tonight?”
Chubs nodded to Snap, before turning to the other members. “That’s right everyone! Split up until nightfall, then gather everyone up, and meet me on the outskirts of town. Were going to torch that lizard’s house, and if he isn’t inside to meet his demise, we’ll hunt him down afterwards.” Smiling deviously, the Raichu glanced over at me while I was hung above the ground. “Now that Mia’s learned some respect, I think he should do the honors of burning down the house tonight! Make sure the little brat’s healed up for it, ya hear me Snap?”
The calm Arbok nodded in agreement, and soon Chubs was rushing everyone out of the chamber, and into the cave’s hallway that led outside. I became worried as we made our way outside into the daylight, remembering that I had told Velvet to wait here, but I was glad to see that she had already run off.
While everyone went their separate ways, Snap stayed behind with me for a moment, lifting me in front of his face. “Listen here Mia, were going back to my tunnel to rest up for tonight. Do you think you can walk?” I frowned, feeling rather weak after the beating I had just taken, but I nodded gingerly. I’d rather limp along than be humiliated by being carried around by him.
Snap gently set me down on all fours, and I remained there due to the pain in my back, though I quite preferred standing upright. As distanced ourselves from the entrance to the cave, Snap led the way while he demanded that I stay at his side, and not lag behind, keeping an eye on me constantly.
I began to feel sick as I realized the terrible situation I had been placed in, and how following along with the guild would probably ruin my relationship with Velvet. She was already upset with my killing when I deemed it necessary, but tonight would be very different. Tonight would be nothing less than revenge.
After a fairly short walk, we arrived at a large bush with pretty pink flowers blooming all over it. I figured Velvet would have enjoyed the scene, but my train of thought was derailed when I was slapped on the back of the head by the Arbok’s tail. “Hurry up, and get down there! I’m not going to wait all day on your pathetic ass, Mia!”
I almost growled, only just stopping myself from doing so as I didn’t understand what Snap was even talking about. Suddenly I realized that there was a large hole in the ground underneath the wide branches of the bush before us, and I stepped forward to avoid getting another whap from Mr. Pushy.
Trying to climb down into the tunnel, I slipped, and fell onto my backside on the ground below. Groaning softly, I stood up slowly to find myself surrounded by what must have been ten or more Ekans in the dimly lit underground tunnel. “W-whoa, hang on there!” I stammered as the poisonous snakes hissed in unison, and drew closer to me.
Just as I expected the group to jump on me, they all froze in place, turning only their heads as I could hear Snap finally slither his way down into the tunnel behind me. “Easy boys, he’s with me.” The Arbok chuckled, making me mindful the fearful expression upon my face, which I quickly shook off.
The Ekans remained silent once Snap had spoken, slithering off to different parts of the tunnel. It seemed as if I had disturbed them while they were sleeping when I fell down from above. Nudging me over to a fairly large chest that sat upon the tunnel wall, the smiling Arbok loomed behind me. “Go ahead, open up that chest there. We store Oran Berries inside, and I’m sure you could use some, as weak as you are, heheh.”
Growling quietly, I placed both paws on the top of the chest, heaving it’s heavy lid open. Just as Snap said, there were many fresh looking Oran Berries inside, and I wasted little time grabbing one of them, and pulling it out. To my surprise, Snap swung his tail around, whipping my paw, and sending the berry tumbling back into the chest. Holding my aching paw, I turned around to look up at the snickering Arbok. “Whats the big deal?! You said I could have some, so why did you do that?!”
Snap’s laughter only worsened at my angry tone, and it took him a moment to compose himself. “I said you could use some… not that you could have some, oh no no no.” Bending himself down so that he was at eyelevel with me, Snap sneered into my face. “If you want to eat those berries, then you’re going to have to pay the price for them, little Mia. And I have something in mind already…”
I raised an eyebrow at the Arbok, frowning at his words. “Pay the price…? What exactly are you talking about? What do you want me to do for them…?”
“Oh you’ll find out… Just do as I say, my pet, and you’ll get to fill your belly to your hearts content…” I twitched, not liking the sound of this. Today was turning out to be one of the worst days of my life, and the way Snap was talking, it wouldn’t be getting better any time soon…