I winced as a burst of wind blew a flurry of snow into my eyes, struggling through ankle deep mud as the storm sang around me, letting loose the odd bit of rain where it saw fit. I cursed as one such shower fell above me, each bone numbingly cold raindrop practically freezing on my skin.
Why, oh why did I agree to this blasted mission!
I glared grumpily under furrowed brows at the moving blue blob in front of me, Terry still making headway through the blustering blizzard. It was all his fault. He
was the one who suggested it, he
was the one who thought it’d be a brilliant
idea to go to the deepest bloody chasm in the bloody area. I wanted to stay at home, but no
, he had to drag me along with him. I sighed, plowing my way through yet another chest high snowdrift. It was all fine with him, he didn’t have to walk on all fours and practically swim through the mud and snow. He just waded through it, him and his little I-walk-on-my-back-two-legs act. B*stard.
I increased the intensity of the glare, growling under my breath as yet another clod of snow flew into my eye. I hated him right now. He always does this, drag me along on his stupid missions to random, far off places. I won’t budge next time, I assure you. He can go on his bloody own. Pausing briefly, I squinted behind me, checking to see if Clarity was still behind me. I could barely see her, her leek, magically appeared from wherever she keeps it, sticking out in front of her like a sword as she used it to hack away at the snow. I watched briefly before turning back to the front, the frown creasing my face once more. How she manages to hold the leek, I’ll never know, but she can wield it with deadly precision. Sighing, I started forward once more.
After another ten minutes of hiking, I saw Terry stop ahead of me, head cocked to the side. Intrigued, I approached, stopping beside him.
“Wha-” I began, but Terry cut me off with an impatient shush. Raising a finger to his lips, he whispered:
I did so, closing my eyes so I could hear easier. The storm still howled around us, it’s rage bellowing out undisturbed. Nothing else. I frowned and opened my eyes, about to question his motives once again when he suddenly turned his head, gazing to the left of us.
“Do you hear it?” he breathed.
I squinted in that direction, listening again. Soon the sound of voices reached my ears, the sound of someone singing barely audible over the winds anger. Terry’s mouth widened in a smile, and he began to jig excitedly again, turning towards me.
“Is it Santa?” he asked eagerly, eyes alight with hope. I listened a little more, now able to understand the odd word and phrase.
“…time… ….and wine… …time… …believing…”
I frowned, confused. I recognized that voice, somehow…
“I don’t think so, Terry.” I informed him, smiling at Clarity as she came up beside me. “It’s a little early for him to be out, don’t ya think?”
“Don’t be such a spoil sport.” He pouted, turning back to the direction of the haphazard singing. “He could have decided to take a walk, you know. Everybody
likes having a walk, don’t they?” He nudged Clarity who nodded distractedly, also gazing in the direction of the singing.
Everybody restricted to you, you mean. I frowned, concentrating on the voice again. More had joined it while Terry was speaking, I could even see dark silhouettes now. I narrowed my eyes, trying to pick out any details. It looked like a group of three black blobs, barely visible through a flurry of snow that had just started to fall, were making their weary way towards us, the last one slightly larger than the others. I immediately buried any hope that it might by the Jumpluff we were trying to find. They were much lower down the mountain, and besides, these people weren’t the right shape. Too big, for one thing.
Were they a rescue team? I took a cautious step forward, struggling to see with stinging eyes. The first shape suspiciously reminded me of…
“Shut it, Bone” A voice travelled down towards me, confirming my suspicions. “I’m not in the mood.”
“Don’t be so mean. His singing isn’t that
bad…” Another voice, feminine and cheerier than the other, floated down towards us as the snow receded, revealing the pokemon before us. A Pikachu, a ragged, red bandana tied around her neck, trudged wearily at the front, shortly followed by a Mudkip with a Absol bringing up the rear. The former had her head turned towards the latter, a frown creasing her features as she finished her sentence. “Better than yours, in any case.”
“I have a headache.” The Absol, Asraile, informed her shortly, white fur rippling in the wind in he inched his way forward.
“That’s no excuse. Bone has a headache, yet I don’t hear him complaining.”
The Mudkip, supposedly the one who’d been singing, trotted happily in the center, scanning the slopes ahead of him. Spotting us, his eyes widened in surprise, and he turned back to the Pikachu, prodding her urgently. “Ejjie…?”
“That’s because you can’t - the wind’s too strong, and it’s carried his words away.” Asriel frowned at her, red eyes narrowing. “Believe me, he’s been complaining the whole time…”
“Ejjie?” The Mudkip’s prodding became more urgent, and the Pikachu looked down impatiently.
He pointed towards us. The group fell silent as they all realised we were standing just a few meters away. Smiling grimly, I walked towards them, Terry and Clarity close behind.
“Team Dynamo!” I called, pulling up beside them. “How’s business?”
The Pikachu, Ejjie, shrugged wearily and gave me a tired smile. “Team Dynamite, but yeah, same old, same old.”
Oops. I smiled sheepishly, the leaves of my bulb flapping as the wind blew past. There was an uncomfortable silence, before-
“Another Skitty stuck in a tree?” It was Terry, speaking up with a beaming grin. I smiled gratefully at him. Team Dynamo were a rival team of ours, and while we were friendly to each other, well, we are
rivals, after all. Getting their Team name wrong couldn’t have helped…
“Yep.” The Pikachu replied, bowing her head as a flurry of snow was blown up by the wind. Terry nodded understandingly. Clarity saw the chance and leapt upon it.
“How many floors?”
I leaned forward a little, eager to hear the answer.
…A little bit of friendly competition never hurt anybody, did it?
We all winced appreciatively. Each dungeon/mountain has a series of floors, and the better the rescue team were, the higher - or lower - they were allowed to go in missions. Needless to say, they were a higher level than we were. Which sucked. Still, being new at the game did
have its perks…
We stood there for a little longer, the only sound the whistling howl of the storm, before Ejjie broke the silence by shouldering her pack higher up her back. The others took her cue and began preparing to march again, Bone stretching briefly and Asraile flexing his claws.
“Well. We’d better be off.” Ejjie informed us regretfully, flashing us a farewell smile. “We have a long way more to go, you know.”
I nodded. “See you later, then?”
We watched as team Dynamo wearily trudged away, a small shower of snow soon covering their tracks.
“I guess we’d better be on our way then too.” Commented Terry. I nodded.
Stretching out briefly, I watched as Terry beamed me a huge grin and bounded forwards. With a barely concealed sigh, I followed, Clarity close behind.
My only console was, that with the weather about as good as Terry‘s smoothie endeavours, it was nigh on impossible that it was going to get any worse…
…I seem to have this curse of always jinxing myself. I muffled a strangled scream as we clung to the mountain’s face, trying to hold on while gale force winds shouldered past. My day just seemed to be getting better and better. I squinted forwards, eyes stinging. Why, oh why does this always happen to me? I screamed silently again, wishing I had hair that I could tear out as we scurried through the latest floor in this never ending maze.
Or at least hands to do it with.
“We’re nearly there!” Terry called cheerily from in front of me, glancing back with a slightly strained smile. Good. I smiled with weary satisfaction at his expression. He’s sane enough to not be overjoyed by this new turn of the weather. I glanced back, checking on how Clarity was coping. She bore a grave expression, straining against the wind as it grabbed at her feathers.
“Nearly there!” I promised, worry crinkling my forehead. Strong winds and light bird Pokémon do not mix. She nodded grimly, claws gripping the rocky floor for dear life and leek held firmly in her beak. We shuffled onwards, almost deafened by the storm’s angry roar.
Next time I’m not budging an inch. Mark my words.
We crept down a final flight of stairs, emerging into a dark granite cavern near the base of the gorge. I stumbled in surprise when the resistance of the storm disappeared. I straightened cautiously, unnerved by the eerie silence. What was going on with the weather? One minute it was a full blown snowstorm, the next-
“I spy with my little eye, something beginning with… T!”
A cheery, light hearted voice floated towards us from behind a cliff of rock, shortly followed by a small sigh.
“For the last time, Lucifer, there are no darned trees down here!”
“Aw, how d’ya guess? Anyways, there is
a tree down here-” There was a small rustle as the speaker presumably pointed at something. “See?”
“Wow. A rock.”
“It’s not a rock! It’s a tree, I tell you! A tree!”
“Then where are the branches?”
There was a brief spate of silence. I glanced at my team mates as we neared the end of the shelf of rock that separated us from the stranded Pokémon. Terry was reaching for the badge that was clipped securely to the blue yellow-and-pink spotted bandana around his neck - don’t ask - while Clarity had her leek in her hands. I nodded.
“Ready?” Terry whispered with a beaming smile. I nodded again, Clarity following suit. He gave us a cheery wink, before slipping around the corner. I crept after him, taking in the sight before me. The three Jumpluffs were each individually jammed in between three close-together rocks, the two who’d been speaking closest to us. The final remaining fuzz ball was nearer the corner, a book open on the ground before it. It looked up when we came in, fear clear in its eyes, and shrunk further into crack. I stared at him in dismay.
He’s sure going to be fun to talk to.
“Who are you?” Asked the middle one, the first voice, red eyes narrowed suspiciously. Terry stepped forward, grinning.
“We’re here to rescue you.” he informed them with a smile. The one to the left grunted, while the middle one smiled, relieved, an almost identical grin splitting his face. I smothered a groan.
“Took ya long enough. We’ve been here for ages
.” The left one grumbled, shifting its pompom-like hands uncomfortably. “What took ya?”
“My apologies, kind sirs. The mountain’s might is great, and our start was late.” Clarity piped up, smoothing her feathers.
That stumped her.
“And besides, thanks to your late start, our friend found this book up here which has made him go completely nuts.”
I glanced at the remaining Jumpluff, shaking my head a little when I saw him. The poor thing rocked slowly backwards and forwards in its little prison, squeaking in terror when it saw the attention it was receiving. I approached carefully, frowning down at the book before it and reading a couple of the words under my breath.
“…fear… …darkness swallowing you slowly…”
My eyes widened and I reached down with a vine, ignoring the readers high pitched protests and closed the book to see the front cover. ‘Paranoia - How to Know Your Friends Are Stalking You.’
I raised my eyebrows and retreated carefully. No wonder the poor thing had gone nuts. Who’d left such a book up here, anyway? Seeing the other Jumpluff arguing amongst themselves again, I sighed and stepped between them.
“If you’d be kind enough to stop babbling at us for a second, we’d like to free you.” I informed them, crossing my arms. They shut up immediately and I smiled, looking back to Clarity.
“Clarity, if you could.”
She nodded, turning and waddling behind the three stuck Pokémon. In position, she carefully lowered her leek to the floor, putting it in easy reach. Taking a deep breath, she raised her wings and began to carefully flap, each wing cocked at a different angle. A small whirlwind grew before her, growing steadily larger with her every movement. She smiled grimly, muscles straining. Once she was satisfied that it was large enough, she backed away and let it loose with a final flap. The miniature twister tore towards the stranded Jumpluffs, tearing them free of the rocks and sending them flying across the room. The paranoid Jumpluff in the corner’s eyes widened when it saw the twirling pillar of wind, and it clung desperately to the rocks around it before being catapulted out and away. The freed Pokémon floated down, pompoms waving happily.
“Would you like to be transported out of here?” Terry asked, showing them the badge in his hand. Two of them nodded gratefully, the third still straining to reach the book below it, eyes wild in its desperation. I watched as Terry pointed the badge towards them and whispered ‘transport’, sending a white beam on the Jumpluffs and transporting them away. Lowering his hand, he turned towards us and whooped loudly.
I smiled in return, Clarity, having retrieved her leek, tossing it up in the air jubilantly.
“Another mission completeth!”
I walked towards Terry as he raised the badge once more in a silent question. Clarity joined us, and I closed my eyes as I was enveloped in a brilliant white light…