I'm not sure if I'm one-hundred percent happy with this chapter, but here it is... '~' Sorry of the delay--I started up that Kingdom Hearts RP and, well... I've been distracted xD If you read the original, then you'll notice that this is where all the changes start happening...
The Master Plan
Minutes of preparation later, Remish and I hiked to the top of ravine. The day had grown hot and dry; the ravine had little vegetation to offer in shade or relief. We army-crawled our way to the edge, where we could spy on the soldiers. They filed through the ravine in a long train, their armor glinting in the afternoon sun. The rhythmic sound of their almost synchronized stomping vibrated against the narrow canyon walls—wide enough to allow only one or two to pass through. True to Remish’s word, every soldier was dangerously armed with swords or pikes, and shields to boot.
“Are you sure about this?” the fair-haired archer asked for the umpteenth time, watching the procession dourly.
“Sure as I’ll ever be,” I muttered back. I followed the army with my eyes to the front, where a rider led the troops on the back of a horse. My eyes widened as I recognized him—and the bag resting on the saddle. “That’s him!”
“Who?” Remish leaned in, trying to follow my gaze.
“That’s the man who tried to kidnap me,” I answered, never tearing my eyes from the rider. “And he has my bag!”
Remish finally found the man I was talking about, but then returned his regal eyes to me. “What do you want to do?”
I bit my lip, wondering what I could do. The plan was already laid down—all they needed was a simple signal. But if I could grab the bag, I might be able to help Shachor…
“I think I might have an idea,” I nodded without much confidence.
Remish snorted and shook his head. “You and Zek with your ideas…”
“You’re free to add some input, you know,” I retreated from the edge of the ravine. Once I was far enough, I stood and started back towards the cave.
“What are you thinking, Zayna?” Remish called as loud as he dared.
“Go ahead and give the signal when you’re ready.”
“Zayna!” he hissed, but I ignored him. Soon I left him in the dust, my thoughts whirling as I tried to refine my plan. It wasn’t much; most of it consisted of winging it. And dumb luck. But hey, that’s what we Trainers are best at, right? As I traveled beside the ravine, I could see where my Pokémon were stationed, patiently waiting for their part in defending the cave. They had hidden themselves cleverly, well enough that I couldn’t spot them right away.
I turned to see Zekarus pulling out of his hiding spot—an alcove set into the ravine wall. Rascal’s fiery eyebrows peered over the rock as well, curious but excited.
“Don’t worry, everything’s fine,” I hurried to assure him. Letting out a shrill whistle, I called for my flyer, Archie. The prehistoric bird appeared in a flurry of feathers, springing from his perch on the opposite side of the ravine.
“What is going on?” Zekarus pressed, unsatisfied with my vague reply.
“Fly, Archie,” I ordered, and obediently the raptor flapped behind me, grabbing my arms just below the shoulder. Giving Zekarus a grin, I shouted, “I found my bag,” before Archie lifted me from the ground.
“Zayna, wait!” Zekarus started climbing out of the alcove, but I was gone before he could stop me.
I had Archie fly me back down the ravine, but landed just before the place where I knew Rouge waited. There, we crouched close to the edge of the cliff, and waited.
, I pleaded, please just stick with the plan
Down below us, I could see two black points resting in the ground. Strangers might have mistaken them for rocks, but I knew what they were: Rogue’s eyes. They were the only part of his body that remained above ground, the rest of him lurking below the earth like a crocodile waiting in water. I marveled at his immense patience as he remained frozen in place, not even blinking as the wind stirred the dirt. Eventually, the ravine filled with the sound of tromping footsteps. Seconds that felt like eternity passed before the first of the men appeared around the corner.
The soldiers stomped on through, oblivious to the Pokémon buried in the earth as they passed. I tightened my hold on the lip of the canyon, while straining my ears for the sound I prayed would come.
And come it did: the bugle of Remish’s hunting horn.
Rogue exploded from the dirt, eyes glinting hungrily as he startled the men closest to him. Before they could react, the Krookodile raised his arms and commenced his part of the plan. The ground beneath the troop suddenly thinned, sinking as it turned into loose sand. The men at the front suddenly found themselves buried knee-deep into a Sand Tomb they could not easily escape from. The horse had been trapped as well, flinging its rider from its saddle as it struggled desperately.
Rogue grinned toothily and reveled in the chaos he had created.
“The Beast!” the rider barked, scrambling to his feet. “Kill it!”
The soldiers who weren’t trapped pulled out their weapons and started towards my Pokémon. I tensed, but Rogue sneered, waiting for them to come. Just as they reached him, the crocodile dived into the ground, escaping them as he dug through the earth to safety.
“After it!” the demounted rider roared, outraged.
Six men had been trapped in the sand, but the others surged forward. Their footsteps churned the sand, slowing them down some before they reached firm earth once again. With nowhere else to turn to, they went deeper into the ravine, and deeper into our trap. I stood up with a smile on my face. So far, Zekarus’ plan was working. Well, Zekarus’ and my
plan. I had to flush it out a little, given that the boys knew next to nothing about Pokémon. I hope he doesn’t mind me improvising here
, I bit my lip and turned to Archie.
“Okay, boy,” I whispered to the raptor. “I’m moving your part up—let’s get it done before Kiki shows up.”
With intelligent eyes, the raptor bobbed his head. I stood back as he unfurled his wings, then watched anxiously as he took to the air. Let this work,
Archie glided silently across the ravine, letting his shadow trail across the men. Quickly, he caught their attention.
“Another one!” one individual shouted, pointing.
The men’s commander glanced over his shoulder, following the direction indicated just as Archie let out a piercing battle screech.
“Shoot it down!” he cried out, waving his arm at the archers.
I grimaced as his command was carried through. Bowmen, as few as they were, strung their weapons and pointed their potentially lethal projectiles at my Pokémon. Would he know enough to stay away from them? I wasn’t sure if any of my Pokémon were familiar with bows and arrows… Hurry, Archie!
The arrows flew as Archie let out another cry—but this time, his screech reverberated off the ravine walls with power. Rocks dislodged themselves as if beckoned by his call, and immediately rained down on the soldiers. I pushed away from the ledge, trying not to fall in as the ground heaved below me. The scene disappeared before my eyes, and the only evidences of the chaos below were the cloud of dust slowly rising into the air, and the panicked shouts of the scattering solders.
As the dust began to settle, silence fell. I strained my eyes, trying to see through the airy brown cloud for my Pokémon. I had lost sight of him, and now I feared the worst. The arrows didn’t hit their mark, did they? No, poor Archie! What if—
Before I could finish that thought, a section of the dust cloud darkened. A shadow slithered through, gradually growing larger as it neared. Relief flooded through me as the figure finally revealed itself—Archie glided out, safe and unscathed.
“Good boy, Archie,” I dared to commend him after he landed beside me, looking just as relieved as I was. Perhaps both of us would agree that had been a little too close. At least it was over and done—now for the rest of the plan. After giving Archie an affectionate pat, I crawled to the edge and peered down at his handiwork.
Just like I had hoped, the troop had been separated by the Rockslide. Half stood on one side, looking dazed and lost, while the rest groaned as they shakily regained their feet, finding themselves trapped on the other side. Now, Kiki could do her part.
As the soldiers tried to regroup, the Simipour slipped from her hiding spot on the opposite side of the ravine, looking absolutely thrilled. Before the men could begin to scale the rock, she deftly climbed her way down the cliff, landing on the apex of the pile.
“What the--?” I overheard a soldier gape as he paused in surprise. Kiki happily screeched, dancing in place like the quirky monkey she was. Coming full circle, she threw her arms out and stopped in place.
For a minute, nothing happened; the men stared at her in dumbfounded silence, uncertain of how to approach this odd new threat. Then, the walls on either side of her exploded. A deluge of brown water flowed from the holes, flowing down towards the startled soldiers. They screamed and started retreating, but their efforts were futile. Kiki’s Surf washed them away, back down the ravine and far from the other men. Kiki laughed, sliding down the now-empty side of the rock pile and sticking her tongue out offensively.
“So far, so good,” I muttered, counting up the men we still had to deal with. They had gone to thirty strong, to a mere dozen men.
The rider glared at the rock wall, accusing it of stealing his troops. I spied from atop the ledge, barely hearing the men mutter amongst themselves.
“We should just turn back, Cap’n,” one braved, turning to his leader with care.
“No,” the man’s stubborn voice echoed off the walls. “We’ll keep moving.”
He spun around, fixing his men his men with a determined expression. “The exiled princes are here—I know it. I saw them conspiring with the witch with my own eyes.”
The captain raised my pink bag in emphasis, shaking it before the men’s faces.
I narrowed my eyes. So they weren’t just here for me; they were here for Rem and Zek. The prize for capturing a pair of exiled princes must be tempting, especially for a rank-seeking Captain, I would think. But I wasn’t going to let him find them. I had to stop him—and get back my bag.
The men wordlessly continued down the ravine. I followed along the rim of the ravine with them, staying just as silent. Archie, however, was growing anxious. He had no idea what I had in store for him next, nor did he understand why I had not yet returned him to his checkpoint. But he would see, soon enough. For now, it was Sniper’s turn to shine.
As the men rounded another bend, they suddenly stopped short. I hurried over to the next viewpoint just in time to see what had given them pause: several whirlwinds stirred the dirt ahead, swirling with razor-sharp leaves. The minute the men came into view, Sniper—from his unseen perch—sent the Leaf Tornadoes raging towards them. The continual attacks from my Pokémon had unsettled the soldiers, and for some this was the last straw. While others braved forward, others fell back and began to retreat.
“Stand your ground!” the captain ordered, but even his bellow couldn’t stop their retreat. Apparently, he didn’t have as much of a hold over his men as I had thought—or perhaps their fear for Beasts
far outweighed their fear for him. A loyal few stood with him, however, but they were soon caught up in the miniature tornadoes, the blades cutting into their armor and skin.
I saw my opportunity.
While the soldiers occupied themselves with fighting the razor-sharp whirlwinds, I stood up and nodded to Archie. The raptor cawed uncertainly.
“No, Archie—I gotta do this. Trust me,” I tried to reassure him with a confident smile.
He looked ready to argue, but reluctantly he wrapped his talons around my upper arms. Together, we dove from the top of the ravine, heading straight for one man: the captain. He shouted at his men, trying to regain control of the situation, and it was too late when he noticed my approach. The minute he glanced up at us, I landed a kick right to his face.
We both tumbled to the ground. The landing jarred me more than I thought it would, disorienting me for a glimpse of a moment. Recovering, I glanced around for my bag. There! Right in front of me! I started crawling towards it, only to be grabbed from behind. A strong arm abruptly yanked me backwards, and threw me on my back. The face of the Captain seethed down at me.
“You!” he growled wrathfully, his face twisted in such rage that I felt afraid for my life.
“Yeah, nice to see you again, too,” I spat, and then kicked at his leg. In half a second, I regretted that. His legs had metal shin-guards, and ended up hurting my foot more than his shin. Giving that up, I tried to squirm away. My efforts ceased when he kicked me in the side.
I cried out in pain; he had hit me where I was bruised. I felt for sure that something was broken now. As I curled into a pathetic ball, the Captain reached down and secured a strangle hold on my neck, lifting me high into the air.
“Your tricks won’t save you now,” he tightened his hold, cutting off the air to my lungs. I gasped, my vision starting to blur before me. “Foul witch! Spawn of the Demon!”
I guess… I hadn’t thought this through enough. Being strangled to death wasn’t part of the plan. I tried clawing at his gauntlets, but my nails dragged uselessly against cold metal. What else could I do? The world around me threatened to slip into darkness.
Somewhere beyond the clouds surrounding my vision, I thought I heard familiar shouting—then a rancorous squawk. Archie! Feathers brushed against my face as the prehistoric bird attacked the captain, claws scratching at his face and armor. The man cried out in pain, losing his grip on me and stumbling backward. I fell to the earth, gasping desperately for air. I slowly lifted my eyes—and found the bag once more.
Light-headed, I crawled towards it as Archie continued battling the captain. I couldn’t see much beyond my narrow goal, but as soon as I wrapped my hand around its strap, I realized that the other soldiers were retreating. Turning around, I found out why: Rascal was coming, tucked into a fiery Rollout with several flaming boulders following after him. Just behind him, Zekarus raced down the ravine.
“Zayna, get out of there!” the dark-haired twin shouted on the top of his lungs.
I glanced back at Rascal, who continued tumbling down the ravine. From the looks of it, the Darmanitan wouldn’t be able to stop easily. Once he was in a Rollout, he stayed until he lost his momentum.
Heart racing, I called out, “Archie!”
The raptor made a final, powerful kick that sent the captain falling onto his back. After giving one last hiss, he flapped back over to me. Catching me around the arms again, we prepared for another flight. I started running, helping the Archeops to get some momentum, and little by little we gained altitude.
Then a hand grabbed my ankle.
We were yanked back to the ground, back into the hands of the vengeful captain. I spun around, holding my screaming ribs, and watched as the man pulled the sword from his hilt. He raised it, aiming right for my skull. Archie squawked, and would have lunged if I hadn’t held him back. No, I couldn’t let him get hurt! Not like Lilly… I wrapped my arms around my Archeops, squeezing my eyes shut as I anticipated cold steel to pierce through my flesh.
The ground rumbled. I opened my eyes as the first flaming rock careened past—then Rascal. Curled into a tight ball, he rolled right towards us. I watched as he bounced right before us, launching into the air and catching the captain mid-swing. I didn’t see what happened to the man after he was knocked off his feet; instead, I became preoccupied with the other rocks that rushed towards us. Many were twice my size, and if I didn’t do something quick we’d both be flatter than a pancake.
Grimacing, I sat up and whispered a command: “Ancient Power.”
As soon as I released him, the Archeops turned and sharpened his focus on the incoming avalanche of stone. Spreading out his wings, the raptor cawed. Like soldiers obeying his command, the rocks immediately before us slowed to a stop mid-air, letting others harmlessly barrel past us. When they passed, the ravine returned to an ear-piercing silence.
Letting out a sigh of relief, I fell onto my back. My throat felt sore, and my damaged ribs burned with pain. But I was alive. I had survived. And I had done it—I had stopped the army, retrieved my bag, and saved two very special twins.
“Zayna!” I heard footsteps approaching.
Speak of the devil, I weakly chuckled. I didn’t try to call back, or even sit up to greet him. I stared up at the blue skies overhead, reveling in our victory. Archie, however, soon blocked my view, and so did the anxious face of Zekarus.
“Hey, Zek,” I smiled. “How ya doing?”
Zekarus shook his head, stricken, amused, or relieved. Maybe all of the above.
“Are you all right?” he asked, letting concern take over.
“I’ll be fine.” To prove so, I sat up again—though the grimaces I made probably didn’t convince them thoroughly enough. Grinning impishly, I held up the bag and announced, “Got it.”
Zekarus heaved a frustrated sigh. “Why did you do that? What on earth were you thinking?”
“What? I had to get my bag back. We need the medicine for Shachor.”
He blinked, opening and closing his mouth as he tried to think of something in return. Apparently, he wasn’t use to being the one giving the scolding. “You didn’t… But… That was… Just… don’t go scaring me like that again, Zayna.”
“I can’t make any promises,” I laughed.
Zekarus gave a hybrid smile somewhere between a grimace and a smirk. His mouth opened—probably to ask another question—but words never left his lips. The twin’s eyes lifted, and his body tensed.
...cuz I'm evil like that xD