Ok, here's the next chapter! I also have some pictures to post after this...
The Path of Destiny
Chapter 11- Shadowflare
(Old picture...not so good.)
With many loud growls and snarls, the houndour pack leapt to the bottom of the rise and surged toward the group as one. One furious, snarling pack…
Snowcrystal stared at the oncoming enemies in terror. “There’s far too many of them,” she whispered, “Run!”
“No!” Wildflame shouted suddenly, “We won’t get away that way. I know Blazefang, he’s a coward-if we put up a fight, he’ll turn tail and run.” Without another word, she stood boldly in front of the group toward the oncoming houndour pack, and Snowcrystal, who couldn’t bear to see Wildflame get attacked, summoned up her courage and stood beside her.
Spark stepped up beside Snowcrystal as his fur sharpened into the familiar pointed spines. Stormblade stood beside him, and by this time, the houndour were so close that Snowcrystal could see their fangs clearly even in the darkness.
A bright flash of light illuminated the area as a blinding bolt of lightning struck one of the closest houndour, who collapsed in a cloud of dust, only to stand up and shake himself off before running toward them again. Spark however, didn’t seem to notice. “Did you see that?” he cried, turning to Stormblade, “I got him! I-arrrghhh!”
Spark let out a cry of pain as a flamethrower attack seared across his shoulder and the side of his face, knocking him backward. Stormblade ran toward the houndour who’d just fired the attack, who was now less than a few yards from the group. Seeing this, Snowcrystal leaped forward as well, just as a rather large and bulky-looking houndour ran in front of her. Before she could figure out how exactly she was going to fight this fierce opponent, he leaped toward her and locked his teeth savagely around her leg.
The houndour bit down harder, and for a moment Snowcrystal thought he would break her leg. Then, unexpectedly, Wildflame leapt toward the houndour, knocking him aside. “Leave her alone, Boneclaw!” she snarled. Snowcrystal stood up shakily and glanced around. Spark was still lying on the grass, holding his front leg over the injured side of his face. Stormblade was fighting off three houndour who were trying to reach the wounded jolteon, and Rosie had leaped on another houndour’s back and was holding on with her claws while he tried to shake her off, snapping his jaws at her. Due to the fact that Rosie was making a complete fool out of him, Snowcrystal would have thought it amusing if it weren’t for the seriousness of their current situation.
Snowcrystal ducked behind Stormblade to where Spark was lying, while the scyther and Wildflame did most of the work holding off the pack that now nearly surrounded them. To her surprise, Wildflame was doing exceptionally well; she had already sent a few of the houndour fleeing, though quite a few of them hung back, either wary of the fighters or awaiting their leader’s orders. Snowcrystal couldn’t see their leader…and now that she realized it, she couldn’t see Thunder either, and if they ever needed her to fight like a mad pokémon, it was now.
“Spark!” she whispered quickly, “Stay here…I’m going to find Thunder…if any of them come near you, use pin missile or thunderbolt-I’ll be back!” Spark nodded silently and staggered upright as Snowcrystal ran off through the bushes before the houndour could stop her, knowing all too well that she was practically hopeless in battle.
To her surprise, she found Thunder almost immediately, standing in the midst of some thorn bushes, heedless of the cuts and scratches she had received from them, among a small group of trees. The scyther glanced at Snowcrystal as she came to a halt; the sounds of battle very close by from the next clearing.
“Thunder! We need your help back there,” Snowcrystal gasped. To her surprise, Thunder shook her head, turning away.
“I am not going near the battle,” she stated simply.
“We need your help!” Snowcrystal cried, “Please!”
“No…” Thunder replied, and though it might have been her imagination, Snowcrystal thought the scyther’s voice sounded a bit shaky, “I…don’t want to…”
Snowcrystal stared at Thunder in disbelief. Never had she known this scyther to act this way. With Thunder, it had always been attack first and ask questions later. Now she was acting as if…
Snowcrystal felt both confusion and hopelessness at the thought…it was almost as if…she was afraid…
The sounds of screaming and the bright light of flame shining over the rocks and sparse grass reminded Snowcrystal of how badly the others needed help. The white growlithe turned back to Thunder, and then said something even she herself hadn’t been expecting, something crazy she never would have thought of saying to this scyther had she been thinking clearly. “I don’t care whether you want to or not…the others are in trouble…you must fight the houndour! Do it…now!” As the words left her mouth, Snowcrystal wanted to take it back, but she made herself stand firm as she faced the scyther, waiting for her response. Thunder seemed more shocked than angry.
Snowcrystal noticed that Thunder’s eyes suddenly had a faraway look, and she wasn’t focusing on the growlithe at all. “No…” Thunder growled, and her gaze flicked back to Snowcrystal.
Snowcrystal leaped back with a cry of shock as a plume of bright red flame shot by them, catching a nearby tree on fire. She turned to see five houndour from Blazefang’s pack all racing toward her. Seeing them, Thunder stepped from the bushes, glancing almost idly at one of her wings, the topmost edge of which had been burned through near the tip by the blast of flame.
Silently the scyther turned watched the approaching houndour, and her gaze hardened. And then all that had made her seem reluctant and afraid vanished. Without warning, she charged toward the group of houndour, fangs bared and scythes ready to strike.
The first houndour halted at the sight of the crazed scyther heading straight for him and his pack mates. His nerve failed him. With a yelp of fright, he turned, wanting to get as far away from the attacker as possible. A deep slice to his back brought him crashing to the ground. Only the thick bone-like bands across his back saved his life. Another of the houndour collapsed nearby, and the first houndour couldn’t tell how badly injured he was.
Snowcrystal had already hurried back through the bushes toward Spark, who was now bleeding from a wound in his back leg as well. Rosie lie unconscious behind him. The clearing seemed to be full of chaos. Snowcrystal could see Blazefang motioning toward the other houndour, but they weren’t paying much attention, as Stormblade, Spark, and Wildflame were still managing to hold their own, and the houndour were mainly focusing on attacking them.
Snowcrystal stayed near Spark, glad to see that his burns, although painful-looking, were neither deep nor serious. Near the other side of the clearing, three frightened houndour burst through the bushes-the remainder of the five who had threatened Thunder and Snowcrystal. An eerie, unnatural-sounding cry resounded through the area, causing several houndour to stop fighting and freeze where they stood. A moment later, Thunder burst through the bushes to land standing in the midst of the houndour pack. Many of the houndour backed off a bit, but Thunder showed no sign that she even realized that many of them were trying to flee.
Blazefang shuddered as he watched the scyther strike left and right, wounding all who came too close. Boneclaw, having just narrowly escaped having a limb severed, landed heavily on his paws as he leaped aside, launching a fire attack at Thunder. Blazefang was taken aback at the crazed look in the scyther’s eyes, and he knew that if he didn’t do something, his pack would soon be minus quite a few members.
“Fire attacks you idiots!” Blazefang called from his vantage point on a large boulder, “Kill her! Aim all your attacks at the scyther!”
The houndour, fearful for their lives, were quick to obey, using their type to their advantage. Thunder backed away as several flamethrower attacks blazed towards her. She managed to shield her face with her blades before a particularly strong flamethrower struck her, burning deeply into her shoulder. Thunder nearly collapsed, stopping her fall only by sinking her blade into the sandy earth beneath her. A rather bold houndour ran toward her, sinking his fangs into her leg while another, encouraged by his pack mate’s bravery, tore at her injured wing.
Thunder managed to shake them off, but her attempts at striking them with her blades failed as they darted quickly away. Slowly she stood back on her feet, visibly trembling until she managed to stand up and stop herself from shaking. Snowcrystal, Spark, Wildflame and Stormblade broke off from their battle with a smaller group of houndour and ran toward the ones attacking Thunder, bringing a few down with electric, fire, and flying attacks, but they didn’t stop enough of them in time. Several fire attacks struck Thunder at once, bringing her down. Several of the houndour leaped towards her, attacking with their fangs and claws.
Thunder managed to free herself from their attacks momentarily, pausing to catch her breath. Snowcrystal could see that Thunder was wounded badly in several places and covered with blood. Not houndour blood-her own. She looked as if she could pass out any second. Thunder staggered forward to face the houndour pack who were ready to put their flamethrower attacks to good use. “Kill her!” Blazefang roared.
“No!” Snowcrystal, Spark and Stormblade shouted simultaneously, but it was Stormblade who acted first. Leaping behind the group of houndour advancing toward Thunder, he knocked a few of them to the ground with the flat of his blade, while Thunder, unaware of this, took a running leap at the big stolid houndour called Boneclaw.
Thunder knew that her strength had been used up, that the odds had been stacked against her, but all the same she could not ignore the training and fighting techniques that had been burned into her mind until it was like an instinct. Fight no matter how much pain she was in until there was no possible way to continue. This was just like one of Master’s battles.
Boneclaw froze as the scyther leaped toward him, blade raised. The houndour closed his eyes instinctively, knowing that there was no time to avoid it…
Yet his opponent never got to strike. Just as she leaped toward him, Thunder lost consciousness before she ever got to use her attack. Colliding into Boneclaw as she fell, the scythe that had been raised fell forward, so that the dull side struck the houndour instead. Boneclaw was sent flying backward as Thunder’s momentum sent both her and the houndour plowing into the sandy earth. Coughing up dust and struggling for a moment, Boneclaw pushed the fainted scyther away from him with his back paws and scrambled toward Blazefang.
Stormblade turned toward Thunder’s still form, and backing up, he could see the other houndour standing triumphantly beside the fallen warrior. Horrified, Stormblade could not tell if she was breathing. The scyther’s gaze drifted toward the houndour giving orders. The leader. Blazefang, the one who had ordered Thunder to be killed. Turning around, Stormblade stared hard into the houndour’s eyes. “Blazefang!” he yelled.
Blazefang stumbled backwards from his perch on the rock as Stormblade charged toward him. Boneclaw tried to help his leader by firing a flamethrower at the scyther, but Stormblade was moving far too fast to be hit. In seconds he reached Blazefang, who could only stumble backward frantically as the slashing scythes came within a mere inch or so of his face. Common sense told him to use a fire attack, but he couldn’t manage it when he was using every bit of his energy to scramble back as quick as he could as the scyther’s slashing blades came closer and closer to him.
Snowcrystal and Spark ran to Thunder’s side, firing attacks at any houndour who came too close, while Wildflame protected Rosie. Snowcrystal could tell that Thunder was still alive, just out cold. She couldn’t understand why Thunder hadn’t run and found shelter when she was too weak to carry on. Instead, she had kept fighting until she passed out from pain and blood loss. Snowcrystal didn’t understand; it just didn’t make sense. Hadn’t Thunder been unwilling to fight just before?
A couple houndour yelped in pain and fled from the battle as a thunderbolt from Spark struck them. Snowcrystal noticed with mild surprise that most of the houndour were fleeing now.
Wildflame, meanwhile, was both exhausted and confused-hadn’t Blazefang said this would be a quick mock battle? Noticing Blazefang being driven back by Stormblade, Wildflame could do nothing but hope that Blazefang knew what he was doing.
Blazefang stared at Stormblade in terror as one of the scyther’s blades pierced his paw. The houndour stumbled, landing flat on his back as Stormblade stood over him. Blazefang’s eyes widened in horror as he noticed that the pack had fled-he was left alone. With a strength born of desperation, he managed to fire a blast of flame at Stormblade, who dodged, landing easily to one side. Blazefang stood up and backed away, Stormblade’s gaze still boring into him.
It was then that Blazefang felt that same strange feeling…the feeling he had felt after he had woken up in the forest after passing out when he’d touched the purple stone and heard the word Shadowflare. It was as if some new power within him was waiting to be released-the power the stone had given him…Shadowflare.
Stormblade was taken aback when Blazefang suddenly smirked, and there was something in the houndour’s gaze that frightened him. Snowcrystal also sensed something was amiss, and raised her head just in time to see Blazefang launch another fire attack.
Yet it was the strangest attack she had ever seen. Blazefang’s eyes seemed to glow a bright yellowish-white as he fired it, and the attack itself looked somewhat like flamethrower. However, it glowed an almost blinding white-hot, with a tint of blue, though streaks and specks of purplish black flickered over the beam. Snowcrystal’s eyes went wide with shock and she almost turned away from the burning intensity of the brilliant white flames.
Stormblade didn’t need to stop and look to know that it was bad news. Without hesitating for an instant he turned and darted to the right of the oncoming inferno. However, to everyone’s shock, the flames swerved and followed him
. Stormblade, even with the natural born speed of a scyther, couldn’t outrun it. Doing the only other thing he could think of, he darted behind a large tree, yet it did him no good. The raging flames blasted completely through the trunk, colliding into Stormblade’s body and sending him sprawling on the ground, a moment before the burning and severed top half of the tree toppled over and crashed down, landing across the scyther’s back.
For a moment, Blazefang only stared stupidly at the motionless Stormblade and the burning tree that had been severed completely through near its halfway point; the section where the attack had struck completely burned away. The houndour lowered his gaze and followed the deep scorch marks in the ground leading to the tree; every bit of grass in its path had been burned to nothing, and even the ground looked scorched.
Blazefang noticed a small bit of white flame burning a clump of grass nearby, and backed away. “What the-what is
this?” he whispered to himself, looking horrified. Not even fire blast had the kind of power to blast completely through a large tree instantly, and what kind of attack followed after its enemy? Whatever this was-there was nothing natural about it. Blazefang reached up to the violet stone with his claws and tore it from his neck, flinging it onto the blackened earth before turning and fleeing after his pack.
Snowcrystal hardly noticed him. She ran to the side of the tree, nudging Stormblade’s still form. Only his head, wings, and a part of his blades were visible from beneath the thick tree trunk, and to Snowcrystal’s dismay, Stormblade gave no response.
Spark, still stunned, was sitting beside Thunder, who was beginning to come around, and Rosie, who had already woken up. Wildflame sat a few yards away, looking just as shocked.
“What’s going on?” Thunder demanded in a weak voice, making Snowcrystal look up. However, she didn’t reply, even when Spark limped over.
“Stormblade…” he whispered, “What happened? …How…”
“He’s dead,” Thunder stated calmly as she hobbled over, “What more do you want to know?” Spark didn’t reply, and Snowcrystal frantically slammed her body against the tree trunk, trying to move it. The fire was slowly dying down, but it was still spreading across the tree’s length. Again and again Snowcrystal tried to move the large tree, but it wouldn’t budge. “Stop that,” Thunder muttered, “He’s dead
. As in…not going to move…ever again! I see no point in tiring yourself out trying to move that tree. Stormblade’s dead. Forget it and move on.”
“No…” Snowcrystal whispered. She was too tired to continue, and could only claw feebly at the tree’s bark. No matter what Thunder said, Snowcrystal couldn’t bring herself to believe her. “You’re wrong…he can’t be dead.”
“Face it,” Thunder stated emotionlessly, “Everyone dies. I don’t see why you should be making such a fuss over it.”
(Continued in next post...)