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Creative Writing Share your fan fiction, stories, poems, essays, editorials, song lyrics, or any other related written work. All written must be your creation. Start a new thread, and keep replying to that thread as you add on more chapters. Anyone can join in at anytime.


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  #616  
Old 06-25-2008, 05:06 AM
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Kage no Hikari.
 
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Default Re: The Path of Destiny (PG/PG-13)

Oh! I forgot to mention that I'm drawing a pic of Rye, Zanna and Jarre at the moment.

It's for the WAR, though, so I won't show it to you until it's over.

But I think it looks good so far! ^_^
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  #617  
Old 06-25-2008, 05:07 AM
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Default Re: The Path of Destiny (PG/PG-13)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scytherwolf View Post
Well hers is Snowcrystal in the snow, but I don't really need a picture right away, and I can make one while you read once I put up the chapter! *is getting there* I'll try to hurry up ^-^
You don't need to rush, I was just joking.

edit: That's cool Latias!


If it's anywhere near as good as the Furret avatar you made Kris *grins*, I'm sure it will be great!
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  #618  
Old 06-25-2008, 05:09 AM
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Default Re: The Path of Destiny (PG/PG-13)

Quote:
Originally Posted by k_pop View Post
You don't need to rush, I was just joking.

edit: That's cool Latias!


If it's anywhere near as good as the Furret avatar you made Kris *grins*, I'm sure it will be great!
Yeah, but I feel bad for taking so long...D=
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  #619  
Old 06-25-2008, 05:13 AM
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Default Re: The Path of Destiny (PG/PG-13)

Don't feel bad, Scyther.

And thanks, Chip! ^_^

I hope it's good.
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  #620  
Old 06-25-2008, 08:03 AM
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Default Re: The Path of Destiny (PG/PG-13)

Thanks! And I'm ready to post the next chapter, which is the last of the old ones. This one probably has more mistakes, since I only checked it once, so sorry about that. ^^; I also don't have a picture for it yet; I'll draw one later. And yes, this chapter is very, very long.


The Path of Destiny
Chapter 22-Danger Arises



Snowcrystal jumped in surprise as Spark’s scream reached her ears. She and Wildflame darted forward; Wildflame leaping over the bushes and Snowcrystal crawling through them. They found Spark lying dazed near the base of a thick oak tree, his left leg clamped in the jaws of a metal trap.

Snowcrystal walked forward, sniffing the trap, and Wildflame pushed her aside. “Let me look at it,” she muttered to Snowcrystal, who backed away, looking at Spark, who was lying motionless, still dazed. Carefully looking the trap over, Wildflame sighed. “It’ll be hard to get it open…if only Stormblade were here…he could probably pry it open…” Sighing to herself, she tried to think of the best way they could open the trap. Noticing that because of Spark’s paw being caught between the ‘teeth’ of the trap, it was open slightly, enough for Wildflame to carefully squeeze her paw in.

Spark looked up, giving Wildflame a frightened look, as he muttered, “Don’t…you’ll only make it worse…”

“You want me to leave you here?” Wildflame muttered, pulling her paw out of the trap, “Look, at least the trap is a small one…your paw isn’t broken. All we need to do is get it open a little bit, and you can pull your leg out.”

“Oh yeah?” Spark muttered, his voice sounding strained although his usual attitude seemed to have returned, “Sounds real simple doesn’t it? And just how do you plan on doing that? You put your paw in there and try to pull it open and you’ll only get your paw all cut up!” He glanced down at his trapped leg, giving it a sharp tug.

“Stop that!” Snowcrystal hissed at him, agitated, “You’ll make it worse! Hold still…I’ll try and find something we could use that might open it at least a bit wider…” Her voice trailed off as she turned around to search, eyes scanning the rocky ground. All she saw were rocks, sticks, a couple flimsy broken tree branches, mud, and…rocks… “Wait!” she cried, turning to Spark who seemed ready to just simply try and pull his leg free again, “I think I have an idea!”

Spark watched as Snowcrystal searched around a bit before walking back to him with a long, thin, and almost pointed rock. Snowcrystal set it beside the trap and nudged it inside as far as it would go until it got stuck. She then placed her paws on the other end of the pointed rock and pushed downward.

Nothing happened. “This isn’t working!” Spark muttered through clenched teeth, “And you two better think of something that will work quick, because this HURTS!”

“We’re not idiots,” Wildflame replied icily, “We can figure out that it hurts by ourselves.” Spark merely scowled in response. Ignoring him, she walked toward Snowcrystal, who was still trying to use the sharp rock to lever the trap open. “Let me do it,” she told the growlithe, nudging her aside, “Spark, the moment you feel the trap open a little, pull your leg out-as quick as you can, all right?” Spark nodded, and Wildflame paused a moment before pushing down on the pointed end of the rock with both forepaws.

Spark felt the metal teeth of the trap pull out of his leg slightly, and ignoring the pain, he pulled his leg away as hard as he could, feeling the trap’s steel draws scrape through his fur and into his flesh as he did so. However, he’d done it fast enough, and he half collapsed on his side, his leg a bloody mess, but free of the trap.

“There,” Wildflame stated calmly, “Problem solved.”

“Problem solved?!” Spark cried, looking down at his injured leg, “You call this solved?” The jolteon staggered to his feet, keeping his bleeding leg held above the ground. “Look! I’m injured! Who knows how long it’ll take to heal…and how do you expect me to travel all day like this? And it hurts even worse than the burns from those stupid houndour!”

“Quit making a big deal about it,” Wildflame snapped, “The trap wasn’t very strong. Your leg’s only badly cut up. You can still walk.”

Spark’s eyes narrowed and he gave Wildflame a seething look but made no reply.

“Look, Spark,” Snowcrystal began, hoping to calm the tension between the two pokémon, “I can see a small forest not far from here. We can rest there and maybe Wildflame can try to hunt, plus there might be some berries there we can eat if there’s nothing else.”

Spark merely nodded sullenly, and the three set off, Spark occasionally complaining about the traps and his wound. The sky was beginning to darken by the time they reached the forest.

Stopping to rest in the shelter of the leafy trees, the trio by now felt too exhausted to search for food, and surprisingly, none of them were particularly hungry. Instead, they had stopped to drink from a small stream and then settled down to rest; making small nests from moss in the undergrowth.

Snowcrystal was asleep almost instantly; all that traveling having taken a toll on her small body. Spark was kept awake a little longer by the stinging pain in his leg, but despite that, the jolteon was soon asleep as well. Wildflame stayed awake longer, several conflicting thoughts clouding her confused mind.

To her annoyance, she had found herself worrying over Stormblade and Thunder, and Rosie too, wondering where they were, when she had far more important things to think about. Her main concern was finding Articuno; she didn’t have time to worry over Snowcrystal’s friends. After all, they weren’t really her friends…were they?

Sighing, she laid her head against her paw, the faintest traces of doubt that her plan could have any success nagging at her mind. Her main concern should be helping the other houndour and houndoom…those at her homeland…but did she even want to go back? Thinking of what things had been like, she wasn’t quite sure anymore…but did she really want to be here? With them? She wasn’t sure about that either, and it bothered her. Why should she want to travel around the wilderness, facing humans and whatever other danger happened to come upon them, having to see pokémon with horrific injuries and not being able to do anything about it…? But yet…serving under Firedash, even with a reward if she somehow managed to find Articuno, didn’t seem pleasant either. For once, Wildflame was in doubt.

But it didn’t last long. Pushing her conflicting thoughts away, Wildflame settled on the fact that her life with her clan back by the mountains would be far better than it ever was before, once she returned. She would make sure to succeed, make sure that life would be better…for all her clan. And she’d never have to worry about these other pokémon ever again…

And with those thoughts, Wildflame soon lulled herself into sleep…

***

Blazefang wasn’t far off. In fact, he and the rest of the pack were quite close to where the others were resting, but unaware of it. The houndour was in a dark mood.

The journey had been slow, and one houndour had been caught in a trap, and it had taken a long while to get him free. Blazefang had been angry about the entire thing afterward and as soon as they had stopped to rest, the other houndour had given him a wide berth.

Blazefang sat moodily on top of an old tree stump, his claws digging into the rotting wood. Angrily he tore a large chunk from it, swatting it with his paw into the undergrowth below. Leaping down from the stump, he started to head deeper into the trees…when he heard a voice.

“Leave…!”

The hairs on Blazefang’s neck stood up straight, and he turned at the sound of a large pokémon crashing through the bushes, and in no more than a few seconds later, a grizzled old ursaring stood before him. The larger pokémon’s eyes bored into Blazefang’s, and the houndour, feeling intimidated, stepped back.

“You…” the ursaring muttered in a low growl, pointing a shaky claw in the direction of where the pack was resting, “You and those others…leave. This part of the forest belongs to us. We don’t allow other predators here.”

Blazefang didn’t answer, but paused to look the ursaring over. The bear-like pokémon’s fur was matted and dirty, as if the pokémon hadn’t bothered to take care of it. The fur around his muzzle was tinged with silver, and he looked shaky and feeble. He was also very thin, and Blazefang suspected that the ursaring had frequently had to deal with competition from other predators, and thus, he and whoever else was a part of his group had probably lost a lot of their territory. The old ursaring was obviously going through rough times.

Blazefang smiled. He didn’t seem like much of a threat. “Don’t worry,” he muttered, “We aren’t stayin’ here. We’re just resting. We’ll be gone well before sunrise. So leave us alone until then, and we can all get on with our lives!”

The ursaring bared his teeth in a snarl. “No,” he growled, “There are plenty of other resting places. As long as you and those others are here, you endanger my family!”

Blazefang felt his temper rising. “We’re not here to harm anyone but prey!” he spat, “We-”

Before he could speak further, the ursaring had latched his claws around Blazefang’s throat and lifted him clear off the ground with a forced that greatly surprised the houndour leader. A moment before, the ursaring had looked weak and feeble.

Blazefang gasped and sputtered as the ursaring brought him close to his face, his claws closing around Blazefang’s windpipe, leaving him struggling for breath and unable to focus on creating any fire attacks. “Lissen…” the bear pokémon hissed, “You take what little prey we have…you threaten my family! Now either you leave…or I’ll drag you and every other houndour here out of the forest myself!”

The ursaring released Blazefang suddenly, who lay coughing on the ground, gazing up at the larger pokémon in cold fury.

He felt…angry…far more angry than he thought he should feel, considering the ursaring’s poor condition, and the obvious predicament he was facing. Yet, that seemed to matter less and less the more that anger grew. Baring his fangs, he snarled back at the ursaring’s face, “Make me!”

A look of fear and disbelief crossed the old ursaring’s face as he realized he’d have to put up a fight. Yet he had done this many times before. With a roar he charged at Blazefang with a speed that surprised the houndour, slicing his claws across Blazefang’s flank and knocking him to the ground.

That was it.

Without thought, without contemplation, Blazefang rose as if he hadn’t even felt the pain. He opened his mouth, and saw, without thinking, his vision fading into a blinding yellow and white, and then white flames erupting from his jaws.

The ursaring’s scream of agony barely registered to him; he barely saw the old pokémon flailing in anguish as the bright flames surrounded him in a small, fiery tornado. He didn’t care, he didn’t think, he just saw.

And then the brightness faded, and Blazefang’s senses returned. He looked forward, and gave a startled cry of shock. The ursaring was dead. The smell of burning flesh was overpowering, and Blazefang felt himself choke.

He had killed a pokémon…and not for prey. It felt so wrong…

He averted his head from the grisly sight of the ursaring’s charred remains, horrified. A memory of one of Wildflame’s meetings passed through his mind. While telling him about the growlithe and the other pokémon accompanying her, she’d told him what one of them had said about the ‘Forbidden Attacks’. Blazefang remembered it too well, and he became even more horrified. Why had he used that attack? And how come it seemed…so beyond his control? And slightly…more powerful?

Shuddering, Blazefang forced himself to look back at the ursaring, but immediately had to turn away again. He was shaking uncontrollably, still in shock from what happened.

“What have I done…?”

He looked up again, averting his eyes from the dead ursaring, as he glanced at all the burned foliage. So much of it was burned to nothing, and other trees and plants had started to burn, small white flames with bluish-black streaks flickering over their branches and leaves.

Blazefang stared at the scene in a trance.

Then the sudden realization of what he'd done hit him like a freight train. Whirling around, he suddenly darted back toward the pack, screaming at the top of his lungs.

"GET OUT! EVERYONE OUT!"

A frantic energy seemed to pulse through him, giving him seemingly boundless energy as he bolted toward the pack. He'd felt this energy before, several times, but this time he didn't like it. It hurt. It throbbed through his veins, making him almost wince with every step. It was odd...it didn't really hurt physically, but the feeling...he couldn't stand it. It felt dark and foreboding, and although it made his frantic dash swifter, he felt as if he had to fight against it to move in that particular direction.

It wasn’t long before he spotted the pack. “GET OUT OF THE FOREST!” he yelled, looking frantic and wide-eyed as he skidded to a halt in front of them, “GET EVERYONE OUT…NOW!”

“What?” one of the houndour asked, “I thought we were here to rest-”

“GET OUT!” Blazefang cried, his voice rising to a fearful howl, “GET OUT OF THE FOREST YOU IDIOTS! UNLESS YOU WANT TO DIE!”

Startled, all the houndour stood up and started to back away. One of them still looked hesitant. “But what’s-”

“OUT! GO THAT WAY! NOW! JUST GET OUT!” Blazefang started to race ahead, and the others, though confused, had no choice but to follow. Blazefang was moving so fast, they had to struggle to keep up, knowing that they would not get any answers until they were out of the forest. Luckily, they didn’t have too far to run.

In a deeper part of the forest, unaware of the commotion, Snowcrystal, Spark, and Wildflame slept soundly…

…as the fire burned.

***

Stormblade opened his eyes, finding his surroundings new and unfamiliar. Because there was currently no light in the room, it took him quite a few moments to realize that he was inside a pokémon center, but in a very unfamiliar pokémon center. He tried to lift his head, but the movement only sent pain shooting down his neck and the wounds in his back. He lay still again, the memories of the past events, and the battle, slowly coming back to him. In a panic he wondered just how much damage Volco’s attacks had caused him. At the moment, however, he had no way of knowing. He couldn’t see much of the room, which surprised him, as he could usually see well in the dark, but he could tell that he was lying on some blankets on one of the beds he’d seen so often used in pokémon centers he’d been to in the past. He could still feel quite a lot of pain, but nothing close to what he’d been enduring before, and if he lay still, it was at least tolerable.

Gradually through the gloom, he could see the faint shapes of other pokémon, though they weren’t very close to him and he couldn’t really tell what species they were. As he tried to make sense of how he had gotten here, he vaguely wondered if the humans’ medicine could heal a wound from a Forbidden Attack, and whether what Spark had said had been a lie or simply just a myth. But remembering Blazefang’s attack, how completely unnatural it was, he found it hard to believe that what he’d heard from the others over the past few days had been lies.

After a moment, another thought came to him. If he was here…where was Thunder? Suddenly alarmed, he lifted his head, slower and more carefully this time, so he had a better view of his surroundings. He couldn’t identify Thunder’s scent, or the scents of the other pokémon for that matter; there were too many strange and confusing scents in the place and he still felt dazed and only half-awake.

As he turned his head toward the side, he noticed that a bowl of water had been placed on the bed right beside him. Ignoring it, he tried to push himself up to stand, but found it harder and more painful than he had imagined, and only managed to stand very awkwardly on all fours before he collapsed from exhaustion.

He heard someone moving in another part of the room, and realized it must be one of the nurses’ pokémon.

“I…I need to find out where my friend is,” Stormblade called, surprised by how weak and frail his own voice sounded. The pokémon didn’t respond, and he lay his head down, realizing that whoever it was, they had already left … Dazed, he tried to ignore the pain that raced up his leg like fire; standing on it hadn’t been the best of his ideas, as he thought to himself that Thunder would be all right; if he was here, she had to be here too…right?

At the sound of approaching human footsteps, Stormblade fell completely still; for some reason he himself was unsure of, he didn’t want the humans to know he was awake. As they came closer, he opened his eyes slightly, and noticed one of the humans who worked at the pokémon center, and a pokémon ranger, who was carrying an injured poochyena.

(Continued in next post...)
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  #621  
Old 06-25-2008, 08:09 AM
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Default Re: The Path of Destiny (PG/PG-13)

“Right here?” the ranger asked, as she walked out of Stormblade’s line of sight and to what had to be another bed.

“Yes,” Nurse Joy responded, and Stormblade heard the poochyena whimper as it was set down.

“Was this one wild or trainer owned?” the ranger asked.

“Wild,” Nurse Joy replied, “A lot of them were.”

“What about the three we brought here this morning?” asked the ranger, and Stormblade held still, listening. One of those ‘three’ could be Thunder.

“Well,” began Nurse Joy, “The arcanine is recovering, but he still has some serious wounds that have been untreated for a long time. The female scyther seems a lot stronger, but we haven’t been able to get near her since she woke up. I suppose in the morning we may have to tranquilize her again. As for the male scyther…well I honestly don’t know what to think.”

Stormblade relaxed a bit; Thunder was here, and doing better from what the human said. The scyther felt relieved at that statement, and though he knew he should really be worried about Thunder and the arcanine, he couldn’t help being afraid for himself. What did that human mean? Didn’t know what to think…

Stormblade heard the pokémon ranger sigh and move across the room, Nurse Joy following. “Well, I just wish I knew what caused it,” she whispered, “That’d probably be at least a bit helpful. It had to be a trainer’s pokémon; there aren’t any wild fire types anywhere near this area strong enough to do that much damage…and the scyther couldn’t have gotten far in that condition…”

Their voices faded, and Stormblade realized that they had left the room. Out of curiosity he lifted his head and tried to peer towards where they had left, but immediately regretted it as pain flared up his back and neck again. Letting out a faint groan, he lay back down.

Outside of the room, Nurse Joy and the pokémon ranger were still talking. “I don’t think one of the poachers injured the scyther,” the ranger was saying, “Or at least didn’t give it those burns. From what you told me it seems like the scyther had been injured like that for days.”

“His trainer could have wanted to abandon him,” Joy replied, “And maybe those wounds happened in a battle.”

“If so,” the ranger replied, “Whoever owned the pokémon that used the attack was breaking the law. That’s taking a battle way too far.”

Nurse Joy nodded sadly, and peered into another room, where many injured or sick pokémon were also resting. “I always try my best to help pokémon in need,” she mused quietly, “And I know my assistants do as well. But I’ve never had to treat so many…and several have been lost already, and the male scyther will probably end up having to be put to sleep…”

The ranger sighed. “Well, I’ll make sure I do everything I can to prevent things like this from happening again. And one way to do that…is to put a stop to those poachers, and I will do my best to help make sure that they are stopped.”

***

Night had fallen upon the Stonedust city pokémon center. Thunder and Redclaw had rested throughout the rest of the day, wary of the humans who passed by the enclosures frequently to tend to the pokémon. However, thanks to Thunder, no one had dared to venture near her enclosure, so the freshly dug hole beneath the gate where the enclosure bordered with Redclaw’s had gone unnoticed.

Both Thunder and Redclaw had eaten all of their food, and now that darkness had fallen and the humans wouldn’t be coming back for quite a while, Thunder was eager to leave.

Redclaw motioned toward a new hole he had dug beneath the gate, one that led into an open enclosure which currently had a few ponyta and tauros resting inside it. “It’ll be easy to get out from there,” Redclaw muttered quietly, sounding worried, and as Thunder could also tell, not too enthused about the escape plan.

Thunder approached the hole, muttering to Redclaw, not for the first time, about it being too small for him. “I’ll be fine,” was all Redclaw said. With a sigh Thunder walked forward, and Redclaw noticed her limping; and found himself staring at the nasty burn across her leg that Volco had inflicted. He could also see that her wing was still in bad condition; she’d have a hard time clearing the fence once she made it into the ponyta’s enclosure. She was in very bad shape, obviously, but Redclaw knew her enough to know not to say anything to her on the matter. Thunder didn’t like others to think of her as weak or in need of help, it seemed. He shifted uncomfortably, pausing to lick a bandaged paw, as Thunder made it through the hole he’d dug and into the open area of the next pokémon enclosure.

“Well…” Thunder began icily, startling the arcanine for a moment, “Aren’t you going to dig the hole…bigger?”

“I…” Redclaw began uncertainly, unsure of how she would take what he was about to say, “I’m not coming. I’m going to stay…to stay here.”

“And be a slave to the humans?” Thunder scoffed, not seeming surprised in the least. Redclaw knew she must have been suspecting this by the way he was acting, but she hadn’t said anything on the matter until now. “Look,” the scyther continued, “I know they gave us food but they still imprisoned us. Obviously they don’t want us to leave but are still just trying to gain our trust…nothing more.”

“I…I think they’re going to let us go once we’re healed,” Redclaw replied, “Trainers bring their pokémon here so obviously they trust the other humans…”

“But we aren’t trainer pokémon!” Thunder growled, “We belong to no one, so to them we’re free for the taking! And I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be a slave!”

Redclaw sighed; he had expected Thunder to react this way, but even just looking at her wounds made him even more determined to convince her to stay. “Look, Thunder,” he told her, looking her in the eyes, “I know why you feel this way…you’ve been Master’s pokémon you’re whole life, or as long as you can remember, but I haven’t, and I have seen that humans can help poké-”

“Sure!” Thunder retorted, her voice almost raising to a shout, “When it’s convenient for them, right? When they have something to gain. Don’t you see? These humans are taking advantage of our weakness to gain our trust but they aren’t letting us leave! Look at the bars of these gates! Does that not mean anything to you? Do you just suppose these humans are all on our side and want nothing more than to help when they’ve tried to rob us of our freedom? THINK, Redclaw! These humans are up to no good and it seems like I’m the only one who notices! Am I the only one who notices these bars, and that they’ve got Stormblade locked up inside?”

Redclaw looked shocked. “Thunder, Stormblade’s-”

“Listen!” Thunder shouted, and Redclaw was shocked that none of the pokémon near their enclosures woke up, “What reason would a human have to go out of their way to help us? They want fighters! Pokémon to battle for them, and they want healthy ones! Why else would they run a place like this?”

“But Thunder, we don’t really know-”

“Forget it,” Thunder snapped, “If you want to stay here and be their prisoner, then fine. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. As for me, I’m getting out while I can!” She turned abruptly away, walking further into the small field of the ponyta’s enclosure.

“Wait!” Redclaw shouted, and to his surprise, Thunder stopped. “You shouldn’t…” he began, but once again, Thunder cut him off.

“All right listen,” she told him, ignoring what he had just said, “Where was Stormblade? If I can, I’m going to try to get him out too-”

“Don’t,” Redclaw said with a sigh, “Stormblade wouldn’t last another day out there. At least here…he still has a chance.”

Thunder paused for a moment, calming down a little and realizing that what Redclaw said was right. “Ok…” she replied, “I guess you’re right…Stormblade was injured by a Forbidden Attack…he has no future out in the wild or…or any future at all, actually.”

“Injured by what?” Redclaw replied, confused.

“A Forbidden Attack,” Thunder responded, “Some sort of super powered attack or curse or something, that inflicts wounds that won’t heal. Unless of course, the jolteon was making the whole thing up…” Redclaw looked confused and Thunder began to turn away. “Look, not that talking with you about pointless arguments hasn’t been fun, but someone’s going to wake up or the humans are going to hear. So I should get going. But remember, you still have your chance to escape…and if I were you, I’d use it!”

She started to walk away from Redclaw for a moment, then stopped. A look of surprise and anger crossed her face and she ducked back into the shadows by the barred gate. “Look,” she hissed in anger, “The humans heard us!”

“What?” Redclaw replied, peering through the gate as Thunder pointed out a dark figure strolling by one side of the fence that made up the ponyta’s enclosure.

“Well at least he’s not coming this way…” Thunder continued, watching the human head toward the pokémon center, “False alarm I guess…” She stood up straighter, as Redclaw’s ears suddenly perked up and he stiffened.

“Wait…” he murmured, “Something’s not right.”

The tone of his voice made Thunder pause; she couldn’t tell what was troubling him, but a look that was almost fear had crossed his face. “What?” she asked, sounding annoyed.

“I…I don’t know,” Redclaw admitted, “But look…that human’s going into the building but not from the main doors…”

“So?” Thunder asked, watching as another human stepped out of a much smaller door in the building’s side and told the other human something before running off towards one of the pokémon enclosures. “Let the humans do what they want…I’m getting out of here!” She walked out of the shadowed area and into the moonlight, heading for the far fence. Redclaw could tell her limp was getting worse.

For a moment Redclaw felt torn; he did not want Thunder to go off on her own-she would starve! And if he couldn’t convince her to stay, what good was he to her here? He struggled with his thoughts for a moment, then a final decision reached his mind.

WAIT!” he called to Thunder, as quietly as he could without making too much noise, “I’m coming!” Thunder stopped and turned, and Redclaw frantically widened the hole beneath the gate, until he could squeeze under it. Being very careful to avoid the sharp ends of the bars as much as he could, Redclaw tried not to get dirt in his bandages, unlike Thunder who had torn hers off the moment she’d noticed them, he was quite determined to keep his on. Redclaw wasn’t interested in getting an infection. Once on the other side, he stood up and limped toward Thunder, gritting his teeth against the pain the new stinging cuts across his back caused.

Redclaw opened his mouth to say something to Thunder, but a new sound distracted him. Whirling around, he watched a struggling ponyta break free from a bright red beam coming from a red and white sphere that lay open on the ground. A moment later it was hit by another, and this time it didn’t break free. The other pokémon nearby had already woken up, but Redclaw and Thunder hadn’t been noticed.

“Glad you decided to come with me?” Thunder asked from up ahead, not seeming at all concerned about the ponyta’s plight. However she looked wary and alert, waiting for Redclaw to catch up so they could make their escape.

Redclaw didn’t reply but merely hurried to catch up, turning his head in alarm as for some strange reason, a fleeing ponyta stopped running. A second later he realized he’d stopped a moment too long. A strange, glowing energy surrounded his body and began lifting him into the air. Redclaw tried to struggle but found he was frozen in place, suspended eerily over the grassy field. Only his eyes moved, and they darted back and forth over the field as Redclaw frantically looked around in terror and confusion.

Redclaw could then see the strange humans…the ones that didn’t belong here, standing alongside psychic pokémon of various types. Off in the distance, from what sounded like somewhere on the other side of the pokémon center, some type of battle had broken out, and he could hear a few humans shouting. He wondered why none of the good humans were stopping these other ones, or if they were trying wherever that battle was taking place, why they couldn’t win. Then he realized…a lot of the humans like the ones who had helped him, would be in the forest, helping other victims of the poachers.

Thunder had seen the humans and psychic pokémon as well. She turned and ran toward the nearest human, who had a lithe espeon sitting by his side. As the espeon was concentrating on holding Redclaw and one of the ponyta still, he did not see the scyther coming until the last instant.

Turning his head toward Thunder, the psychic pokémon’s concentration was lost, and Redclaw and the ponyta fell to the ground. In the same instant, an almost transparent barrier of psychic energy materialized in front of the espeon; Thunder’s scythes hacking at it instead.

Quickly realizing what had happened, Thunder wasted no time in sidestepping the barrier and running toward the espeon from the side. The espeon skillfully leaped out of the way, but a moment too late, and Thunder’s scythe slashed a deep gash in his back. Espeon landed on all fours, hearing his trainer back away and shout a command. Espeon’s head turned towards Thunder as his eyes began to glow. A strange bluish glow just like the glow that had surrounded Redclaw appeared around Thunder. However, this time, Espeon’s concentration was broken by the pain searing across his back, and Thunder managed to break free.

Redclaw, meanwhile, was still recovering from the effects of the psychic’s attack, struggling to stand as he willed his trembling paws to move. He could hear the fight that had broken out between Thunder and Espeon and wanted to help, yet he felt so weak…

Espeon growled as his eyes began to glow again, summoning yet another psychic attack. Once again the glow surrounded the scyther, but Espeon, knowing he couldn’t keep it up for more than a few seconds, jerked his head to the side, and in the same movement, the psychic energy forcefully shoved Thunder against the nearest object-a rather large tree.

Thunder’s eyes widened as she felt her outstretched scythe forcefully pushed deep into the tree’s trunk, with so much force that her entire scythe and arm, up to her shoulder, were embedded into it. She could feel dozens of sharp pieces of splintered wood being forced into her open wounds. Enraged, she began trying to tug her arm free, while fiercely hacking at the side of the tree with her other blade. Espeon wasted no time in attacking the struggling pokémon, and ran towards her, his tail glowing bright silver.

Thunder managed to free herself just as Espeon was in range of attack, and leapt forward to slash the psychic pokémon with her blades, but at the same time Espeon dodged and attacked. Espeon’s attack hadn’t been aimed well, and the iron tail struck the scyther in the leg. However, it struck a particularly nasty wound from the fight with Volco…hard. The attack created a deep gash in the scyther’s already damaged leg, reopening the old wound and at the same time, creating a much deeper one. Blood leaked onto the grass. Thunder dropped into a crouching position involuntarily, and it was at that moment that Redclaw recovered enough to start running towards her.

Standing up, Thunder stared the arcanine in the eyes. “Redclaw, run!” she yelled, watching the angry espeon carefully and not noticing the psychic pokémon’s trainer reaching for a pokéball. Just as the human lifted his arm to throw, Redclaw came racing toward the espeon.

Startled, the trainer tossed the pokéball at the snarling arcanine and before he reached Espeon, Redclaw vanished inside in a beam of red light. The pokéball dropped to the ground and twitched a few times before finally becoming still. Thunder stared in horror; whatever kind of pokéball it was, it must have been a powerful one, to capture Redclaw so quickly, injured or not. Seeing Espeon standing in front of his trainer, Thunder ran towards him, striking him three times in quick succession across his shoulders and chest. Bleeding, the espeon collapsed from the pain, but still looked up at Thunder long enough to create an orb of dark energy in front of his open mouth-shadow ball.

The orb hurtled toward Thunder, creating a small explosion that knocked her off her feet. Feeling weakened and drained of energy, she staggered upright, facing the espeon and his trainer again, and ignoring the sound of chaos from other areas nearby where small fights and struggles had broken out. Running past the weakened espeon, Thunder headed straight for the human who now had Redclaw’s pokéball in his hand…

At that moment, another of the humans who’d heard the struggle came to the espeon trainer’s aid. “Get away from him!” he shouted, lifting his gun and firing. Thunder saw and ducked, feeling the bullet zip past her wing. Knowing there was no other option, she turned and fled, running toward the fence that bordered the enclosure. The human fired the gun twice more. Thunder didn’t slow her pace; the bullets had missed. Leaping clear over the fence, she headed away from the pokémon center and into the outskirts of the city. The human made as if to follow, but the espeon’s trainer stopped him.

“Leave it,” he muttered, “Let’s work on getting the rest of them.” He then walked toward his fallen espeon.

***

As soon as she was out of sight of the pokémon center, Thunder collapsed in an alleyway. Breathing heavily, she lay still for a few minutes, unable to force her exhausted muscles to move. Her wounds were on fire with pain, and she felt too weak to get up.

But she wasn’t willing to stop until she was out of the city. Struggling upright, Thunder took one step forward before collapsing again, more from pain this time than exhaustion. Reluctantly, she came to realize that Redclaw had been right. Now, she’d only managed to make her wounds worse, and she hadn’t been able to rescue Redclaw…

Thunder could feel her senses beginning to fade-the pain was becoming too great; she was loosing consciousness. Struggling to fight it for a few moments, Thunder soon realized it was no use, and she slipped into unconsciousness. She was too weak, and was now forced to lie alone in an alleyway in the midst of a human city.

(Continued in next post...)
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  #622  
Old 06-25-2008, 08:16 AM
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***

Back at the pokémon center, Solus was seething. Some makeshift bandages made from strips of clothing had been wound around the espeon’s shoulders and middle. As he sat obediently by his trainer, he didn’t even look up as the other trainers helping his own returned from the pokémon center, many carrying pokéballs-some belonging to trainers that had been stored in the pokémon center, others they caught themselves.

The eevee evolution was glad his psychic abilities were able to block some of the pain from his wounds, though that took effort. He found it even harder to focus, remembering the shameful event that had just taken place all too well.

He…a strong eevee evolution, a cunning fighter …beaten by an injured, half-starved scyther! The stupid pokemon hadn’t deserved to win. If he hadn’t been distracted…if he had been ready, he would have made her wish she’d never been born.

Trying to distract himself from his thoughts, Solus lifted his head and watched the trainers, the fellow members of Team Rocket. They were safe for now. Most of the humans his trainer called “Police” had left the city, trying to catch poachers. The ones that had come here had been dealt with already.

Solus looked up as another trainer approached his own, followed by a younger, not yet fully grown, human. “Did you find all the pokémon that could be of use to us?” Espeon’s own trainer asked.

The other experienced trainer glanced at the younger one, who nodded. “I caught all the ones inside the Pokémon Center that looked strong enough to battle,” the boy stated.

“Good,” Solus heard his trainer answer as he turned to look at the older of the two humans, “And the healthy ones?”

“There weren’t many,” the other trainer replied sheepishly, “I suppose the nurses were too busy helping injured pokémon to check on relatively healthy ones. But I brought the ones that were there.” He set down a backpack, which was filled with pokéballs of various kinds. Solus leaned forward to sniff them curiously, wondering what new pokémon he would be fighting alongside of in the future. Around him, several of the other trainers who’d been helping find the pokémon had sent out a few abra, and a few of them had already teleported away from the area alongside one of the abra.

Solus stood beside his trainer, listening to the man speak. “Well, it’s not as good as what I was hoping for, but I’m sure we got quite a few decent pokémon. Luckily you didn’t seem to have much trouble taking the pokémon, did you?” The other trainer simply smirked and he continued, “Now all that’s left to do is make sure we cover up all traces that any of us have ever been here.”

“How do we do that?” the younger trainer asked, feeling nervous now that he and the other two were the only ones who hadn’t teleported yet. The last abra sat beside Solus, who turned his back to her disdainfully.

“Simple,” Solus’s trainer replied, returning the psychic eevee evolution, “While you two were in there, others placed explosives in some of the rooms. Oh don’t look at me like that!” he added, seeing the boy’s shocked face, “The nurses and the ranger all came outside during the commotion. They’re well away from the danger. The main building will be the only thing damaged.” He lifted up a small device, and the boy noticed the man’s finger move over a button. “Stand close to Abra, you two,” he ordered, and the two trainers hurried to obey them.

Still, the boy looked worried and shocked. “What about the other pokémon?” he asked, “The ones that were too weak? What will happen to them?”

Solus’s trainer shrugged. “It doesn’t matter. They’re weak…worthless. And for all I care…they can burn and die.” He quickly pressed the button.

Abra then teleported the three trainers, as the main building of the Pokémon Center went up in flames.

***

Justin and Katie had not gotten very far, but somehow, they had managed to keep out of sight of any dangerous pokémon or poachers and also, unknown to them, the police. It had grown dark, and there had been no sign of the white growlithe. The two had reluctantly headed back to the city.

Upon reaching it, Katie immediately knew something was amiss. Huge columns of smoke were billowing up from somewhere near the center of the city, and though most of it had been obscured by the trees and the dark, cloudy sky before they’d reached the city, the bright lights of the buildings made it very easy to see. Justin and Katie gave each other alarmed looks before racing toward the source of the smoke.

By the time they got close enough, panting and out of breath, they could see that entire sections of the Pokémon Center had collapsed completely, and the flimsy looking remains of what was still left standing were blazing brightly. Several humans, including those who worked at the center, and water pokémon had gathered around the building, trying to put out the fire. However, there was little left of what had once been the main building of the Stonedust City Pokémon Center. Unable to look any longer, Katie turned away.

“Let’s get out of here…” the girl whispered to Justin, “I don’t want to watch this…”

Justin said nothing, but started to sullenly follow Katie, not knowing what he could say or do to comfort her.

“Those pokémon…” Katie whispered, “All those pokémon that were in there, and the three that I helped…they must all be dead now…there’s no way they could have survived if they were in there…there’s hardly anything left of the Pokémon Center! They probably weren’t able to get out in time…”

Justin nodded his head sadly; he couldn’t bear to think of what it would be like if one of his own pokémon had been in there, supposedly safe…only to die. At least from what he’d seen when he saw the building’s remains, the people who worked there had somehow gotten out safely, but they must have not had time to rescue all the pokémon. Up ahead, the faint rumble of thunder told Justin that it would probably rain again soon, but he didn’t care. He still couldn’t believe what had happened to the Pokémon Center…and all the pokémon who had been in it. He knew that now, or soon, several trainers would have to go through the pain…of loosing their faithful companions. Suddenly, Justin felt angry, though at first he was not sure exactly why. He felt his thoughts wandering back toward the three pokémon he had seen Katie help bring into the Pokémon Center. Not looking at Katie, he muttered quietly, “Scyther deserved it.”

“What?” Katie replied, turning to look at him.

“He deserved to die,” was Justin’s only response.

Katie turned away and said nothing.

After a few moments, she stood up again, noticing a few small drops of rain hitting the sidewalk. “Let’s go…” she sighed, starting to walk forward. Justin didn’t ask where; he wasn’t sure Katie even knew. She just wanted to get away from this place, and possibly start to head to another city…maybe one not so isolated as Stonedust was. Maybe one where she could get another badge.

The two said nothing as Justin followed Katie through alleyways and across streets, ignoring the rain that had started to fall down harder. It wasn’t until Katie stopped suddenly that he spoke. “What’s…”

But Katie didn’t give him time to finish. She ran forward, quickly disappearing into another alleyway. Justin followed her quickly and stopped, seeing her standing beside the unconscious form of one of the three pokémon she had helped earlier.

The female scyther.

***

Rosie could hear the angry cries of pokémon and humans alike, and all coming closer to the doorway. Trying to peer through the doorway again, the ninetales hoped to catch a glimpse of what was going on.

Before she could even register what was happening, the large form of the granbull guard burst through the doorway and into the room, lifting the limp form of a persian high in the air. With a growl he flung the pokémon to the ground, where it gave a weak cry as it collided with a group of empty cages. Rosie felt her own cage rattle, and she grimaced and looked away, back toward the doorway through which the granbull had come.

Various pokémon, all escapers, were fighting with several other pokémon who were fighting for the humans. After a brief struggle several escapers bolted into the room, the granbull guard soon charging after them. One of them, a nimble glameow, managed to slip away through another door and down a hallway, out of sight of everyone else. Rosie’s ears pricked as she strained to get a better look of the hallway, and although she couldn’t see much, the scent of fresh air slowly wafting from the hallway told her that the glameow had managed to open a door. That was a way out…

Her thoughts were interrupted as her cage was suddenly knocked over by two struggling pokémon; an escaped absol and a grovyle guard. From the looks of it, the guard was winning. The leaf attached to the grovyle’s forearm began to lengthen and glow, and with a sudden, fluid motion, he whipped the now blade-like leaf across the absol’s face, causing him to scream.

Rosie glanced away as flecks of the absol’s blood splattered over the bars of her cage. A second later, and the two pokémon had moved away from her cage in their struggle. Rosie looked up, calling out to anyone who would listen; her voice blending with those of the other still caged and helpless pokémon, “Let me out! Open the cage! How did you all escape?”

She needn’t have called for help. Almost as soon as she had shouted, a billowing plume of red-hot flames moved swiftly in her direction from the other side of the room. Ducking instinctively to avoid the blast, Rosie didn’t even think to try to convince herself that the flames wouldn’t harm her much…

After the blaze passed, Rosie looked up to see that the bars of one end of her cage were twisted and melted. Seizing her opportunity, she painfully squeezed her way through the opening, ignoring the heat of the metal against her cream-colored fur. Once out, she started to make her way towards the hallway she had seen the glameow escape through, when something stopped her.

Nightcloud was laying prone on the ground near the opposite doorway, the granbull standing over her. After a moment the guard turned away and hurried after another escaper. Dodging a few ranged pokémon attacks, Rosie ran to the mightyena’s side, noticing her black and gray fur was thickly matted with blood.

“Nightcloud…?” she whispered, fear and worry making her voice sound shaky.

The mightyena looked up, recognition dawning in her eyes. “You got out of your cage…” she whispered happily, “You can run free again now…”

“But Nightcloud, you need to get help! You have to get away from here and quickly!” Rosie was aware of the fighting around her, but only vaguely. As she wasn’t trying to escape, none of the guards seemed to care that she was standing there.

“Don’t worry,” the mightyena replied weakly, “The humans won’t let me die. Traitor to them or not I’m still a valuable pokémon in their eyes. Now look,” she continued, seeing that Rosie was about to argue, “I can’t get rid of my collar, but I can take off yours. You need to get out of here while you still can. The humans and guards are bound to restore order soon.”

Before Rosie could reply, Nightcloud sank her teeth into the collar around her neck and began to pull. Rosie gasped as minor shocks flickered over her fur. Nightcloud bit down harder. Rosie felt a large shock surge through her body for a split second, then the collar was gone. The ninetales gasped for breath as Nightcloud flung the collar away. “Go,” the mightyena ordered.

Rosie hesitated for a moment, but she knew that to stay here and be recaptured despite Nightcloud’s efforts to help her would be foolish. “Th-thank you…” she managed to stammer.

“GO!” Nightcloud yelled, and suddenly realizing the danger she was in as more humans and pokémon entered the room, Rosie made a dash for the hallway.

Suddenly well aware of the battles around her, Rosie barely managed to dodge stray attacks as she turned into the hallway, her claws skidding against the smooth floor. The light through a still-open doorway shone through the corridor, and relief flooded through her as she realized that miraculously, the humans and guards hadn’t noticed the open door.

But as she was looking at the door, Rosie had been distracted. Taking the ninetales completely by surprise, the granbull guard leaped toward her, his powerful paws slamming her to the ground.

Rosie’s eyes widened in shock as she was forcefully knocked against the ground, her right foreleg crumpling beneath her from the shock of the blow. Rosie then gave a cry of agony as she felt the bone snap. Turning her head, she bared her fangs in an angry snarl and launched an ember attack-right in the granbull’s face. Howling in pain, he turned away, allowing Rosie to painfully haul herself upright and limp toward the doorway and to freedom, holding her broken leg above the ground.

Once outside, she broke into a hobbling, stumbling run, gritting her teeth tightly against the pain shooting up her right forelimb, not stopping despite the agony the broken bone was causing her. After what seemed like hours, but really couldn’t have been anywhere near that long, Rosie finally allowed herself to stop in the shelter of some bushes and trees.

Laying on her side against the soft grass, Rosie closed her eyes and tried to forget everything that she had seen. There were so many pokémon who, unlike her, hadn’t made it to freedom. She spent a few moments in silence, listening. Apart from a few distant bird pokémon, no one was here. She was safe…at least for now. Softly licking her broken leg, Rosie closed her eyes, letting exhaustion overcome her.

To be continued...

I know this chapter was kinda depressing and stuff, but I know where this is going, trust me!
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  #623  
Old 06-25-2008, 08:43 AM
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Default Re: The Path of Destiny (PG/PG-13)

Wow! O_O

Yeah! =O_O=

That was really good. It wasn't depressing, so much as there was a lot of things happening all at once. Wildflame has some conflicts, Spark is hurt, Redclaw is captured, Thunder got herself back in bad shape, Blazefang has a major problem and set the forest on fire with a Forbidden Attack, Rosie escaped (yay), and who knows what happened to poor Stormblade.
Again, wow!


I can tell you this much, with all the battles and gore, I'm sure this chapter will get rave reviews from Grassy! =^-^=
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  #624  
Old 06-25-2008, 05:50 PM
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Default Re: The Path of Destiny (PG/PG-13)

Reylai: No, Stormblade, NO!

I wonder...maybe being hit by the Forbidden Attack of fire...then normal fire heals him? Then again, Volco hurt him with fire... D:

Reylai: Stormblade isn't gonna die! D=< No way!
But I'm glad Rosie escaped! Boy, that chapter sure was action-filled! Justin, you better not lay a hand on Thunder.

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  #625  
Old 06-25-2008, 06:09 PM
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Default Re: The Path of Destiny (PG/PG-13)

Oh my god! So many things happened in this chapter! I'm anxious to see what will happen and how they'll reunite (that's if they reunite ). I really can't wait for the next chapter!
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  #626  
Old 06-25-2008, 10:16 PM
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Default Re: The Path of Destiny (PG/PG-13)

I just got bowled over by this chapter. It was completely awesome! Tell me more!
All the action, all the tears, all the emotion! *Sniffles* It's so beautiful...

I feel so bad for everyone in this story, minus Justin. All the Pokemon characters are either in pain or conflict, Nightcloud is probably dead, Katie is beating herself up about Redclaw, Thunder and Stormblade, Redclaw is probably going to have as much as a bad trainer as his last one...And then of course, Blazefang is scared of himself...
And all Justin wants to do is destroy all sythers and catch Snowcrystal! Honestly...
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  #627  
Old 06-26-2008, 12:41 AM
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Default Re: The Path of Destiny (PG/PG-13)

Quote:
Originally Posted by k_pop View Post
Wow! O_O

Yeah! =O_O=

That was really good. It wasn't depressing, so much as there was a lot of things happening all at once. Wildflame has some conflicts, Spark is hurt, Redclaw is captured, Thunder got herself back in bad shape, Blazefang has a major problem and set the forest on fire with a Forbidden Attack, Rosie escaped (yay), and who knows what happened to poor Stormblade.
Again, wow!


I can tell you this much, with all the battles and gore, I'm sure this chapter will get rave reviews from Grassy! =^-^=

Thanks! Yeah, a lot of stuff happened in this chapter x3 And I sure hope Grassy likes it! And yes, Rosie finally escaped...but now she's completely lost... D=


Quote:
Originally Posted by Azurai Wolf View Post
Reylai: No, Stormblade, NO!

I wonder...maybe being hit by the Forbidden Attack of fire...then normal fire heals him? Then again, Volco hurt him with fire... D:

Reylai: Stormblade isn't gonna die! D=< No way!
But I'm glad Rosie escaped! Boy, that chapter sure was action-filled! Justin, you better not lay a hand on Thunder.

Snowcrystal: Yeah, if Volco's fire attacks could hurt him...

Wildflame: I agree on the Justin thing...don't wanna know what Thunder would do to him if she woke up. o.o

And thanks! This was the longest chapter I've ever written xD I think the next one's twelve word pages though, not as long as this one.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Golden_Ray View Post
Oh my god! So many things happened in this chapter! I'm anxious to see what will happen and how they'll reunite (that's if they reunite ). I really can't wait for the next chapter!
Next chapter will be up soon! *is glad she finished chapter 23 two days ago* I'm glad you found it interesting! =3


Quote:
Originally Posted by scalec View Post
I just got bowled over by this chapter. It was completely awesome! Tell me more!
All the action, all the tears, all the emotion! *Sniffles* It's so beautiful...

I feel so bad for everyone in this story, minus Justin. All the Pokemon characters are either in pain or conflict, Nightcloud is probably dead, Katie is beating herself up about Redclaw, Thunder and Stormblade, Redclaw is probably going to have as much as a bad trainer as his last one...And then of course, Blazefang is scared of himself...
And all Justin wants to do is destroy all sythers and catch Snowcrystal! Honestly...
Wow, thanks! I'm really glad you liked it! I was hoping everything would come across well in this chapter. ^-^ And yeah, the pokémon characters all have a lot more to deal with now! D= And Wildflame, Spark, and Snowcrystal are unaware of the danger they're in...
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Old 06-26-2008, 02:54 AM
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Awesome! So, freakin' sweet! I feel bad for Nightcloud (me, emotion? OMG!)...I hope we see her again! I knew you were going to get your leg caught Spark! It just seems like something you would do.

Rosie escaped with a broken bone, a small price to pay. She'll go get the police, I bet!


And yes Chip, while I loved this depressing and bloody chapter, it was nowhere NEAR how gory an upcoming chapter in my story will be...I kinda feel bad for Shadow, Cami, and Sonic just thinking about it! Kinda.

No fair...

Yeah, well I have a gory part in the next SonicX story! So be quiet!

I don't mind gore...I just don't like it when I am a part of it...

Ha ha! You are all gonna DIE!!!

...Maybe. *Shifty eyes*
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Old 06-26-2008, 03:00 AM
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Default Re: The Path of Destiny (PG/PG-13)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Grassy_Aggron View Post
Awesome! So, freakin' sweet! I feel bad for Nightcloud (me, emotion? OMG!)...I hope we see her again! I knew you were going to get your leg caught Spark! It just seems like something you would do.

Rosie escaped with a broken bone, a small price to pay. She'll go get the police, I bet!


And yes Chip, while I loved this depressing and bloody chapter, it was nowhere NEAR how gory an upcoming chapter in my story will be...I kinda feel bad for Shadow, Cami, and Sonic just thinking about it! Kinda.

No fair...

Yeah, well I have a gory part in the next SonicX story! So be quiet!

I don't mind gore...I just don't like it when I am a part of it...

Ha ha! You are all gonna DIE!!!

...Maybe. *Shifty eyes*
Spark: u_u

Thanks, I'm glad you liked it! I'll try to post the next chapter soon!
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  #630  
Old 06-27-2008, 09:03 AM
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Default Re: The Path of Destiny (PG/PG-13)

Ok, next chapter! Sorry, no picture this time either, but I figured you'd want the chapter more^^


The Path of Destiny
Chapter 23-New Troubles Begin


Surprised, Katie walked over to the still form of the unconscious scyther. A quick look determined that the chain around the scyther’s arm had been removed, but the collar and shackle still remained. Her wounds didn’t look any better, and she had new injuries in addition to the old ones. Katie knelt down beside the pokémon.

Justin backed away, his eyes narrowed at the motionless figure at Katie’s feet. This scyther looked smaller than the one he had owned, even if only slightly smaller. It was also much thinner than he knew healthy scyther were supposed to be. That, combined with its injuries and the fact that it was unconscious did not make it a threat, but Justin didn’t like the thought of getting closer to it regardless. However…ignoring his fear, he walked over and stood beside Katie.

Stepping up to the scyther’s side, he sneered at it, mumbling under his breath, “Stupid thing…probably didn’t know how to find food for itself…must have been too busy attacking other pokémon and people and getting into fights, by the look of those scars…” He gave the scyther a sharp kick, but the pokémon didn’t stir. He quickly glanced at Katie, but she was looking for her meager supplies from her backpack, too focused with her task to have noticed. Crouching down, Justin peered at the scyther’s wounds closely, calling over to Katie, “Forget it, you’re not a nurse. Quit trying to act like one. None of your supplies are going to help.”

He expected her to yell at him, but to his surprise, she only sighed and stood up. “You’re right,” she agreed, “Maybe I should go find help…and I’m NOT going to leave her here!” she added, giving Justin a glare.

“Why do you care so much?” Justin scoffed, but Katie was already walking away. Realizing that she probably wanted him to wait here, he sat down, watching the scyther. It still wasn’t showing any signs of waking up, and from the looks of it, Justin suspected that it would be unconscious for a while longer. He was about to get up and follow Katie when he noticed something strange. The glint of metal in the dim light reflecting off the scyther’s neck caught his eye, and as he peered closer through the gloom, he realized the pokémon was wearing a battered, heavy iron collar.

Curious, Justin ran his finger over the collar, feeling many shallow scrapes and scratches along its surface…that from the looks of it had to come from something thin and sharp, like a scythe. Moving his hand away, he noticed the shackle and remains of a severed chain around the scyther’s arm. This too was covered in scratch marks, though some looked like the marks of sharp fangs rather than scythes.

He paused to wonder, had this scyther, time and again, slashed and bit frantically at this shackle and collar, out of sheer desperation, in some vain attempt to get them off? And if so, why had it been so desperate? Why did he care…? That was a better question. Standing up on the dusty concrete, he kicked dirt over the scyther, strangely feeling slightly disappointed that it did not move. He realized then that it wasn’t going to move. Not anytime soon. It was out cold, and would be for a while, considering that it hadn’t woken up yet. His least favorite pokémon, which had fueled his hate ever since his trainer license was taken away…was simply lying in front of him.

And it was defenseless.

A slow smile crept across Justin’s face, one that shocked even him. But what did it matter if he took out his anger on this one? Even if it was awake, it would simply shake off any pain he caused it anyway; scyther were fighters. They were violent pokémon who were used to pain. What did it matter?

Narrowing his eyes at the scyther, he walked toward the side of an old building, picking up a large piece of a dusty, broken brick. He hesitated-would Katie know he had hurt the pokémon? Forcing the thought into the back of his mind, he tried to think of his pokémon, that he had lost along with his chance of competing in a pokémon league, when all the other trainers his age had gotten to continue their journeys…

Another sudden rage took hold of him, and he hurled the brick down at the scyther, feeling strangely disappointed once again when it didn’t move. Annoyed, he picked up another brick and got ready to throw, when he hesitated. The emaciated scyther was starting to stir. As it lifted its head, blinking in confusion, Justin panicked. Backing away, he was painfully aware that he was without protection if it attacked-he had no pokémon and Katie was gone. He didn’t know whether to run, but somehow the thought of running didn’t seem like a good idea. ‘Scyther go after the weak, right?’ he thought to himself frantically, ‘I just can’t appear weak to it…’

While the scyther was trying to stand up, Justin threw the other brick, watching it strike the scyther’s shoulder and knock it down. Staying put, Justin watched, his fear ebbing away, as he realized the pokémon was probably too hurt to attack him anyway.

He was surprised when the bug pokémon sat bolt upright, its head turned toward him and its eyes fixing him with a piercing glare. Its mouth opened slightly and it muttered a few words under its breath; words that Justin couldn’t understand.

“What’s this? A little Master?”

Justin froze as the scyther stood up, swaying slightly, but standing all the same. Backing up against the wall of the building, he reached down for another brick and threw it. After all, the scyther was injured…bad. What could it do to him?

To Justin’s surprise, Thunder calmly stepped aside, dodging the brick and narrowing her eyes. Yet another human to try and cause her pain. She walked closer, her eyes focused on the terrified boy, then leaped straight toward him, scythes raised.

She would show this human a thing or two about pain!

***

Snowcrystal woke up with an odd feeling. Glancing at her two companions, she could tell they were still asleep. Deciding not to wake them, she turned and headed toward a stream that she had scented through the trees. She had not gone far when she sensed something wasn’t right. Frightened flocks of bird pokémon soared over the trees, calling warnings to others of their kind who were still asleep in their nests.

Snowcrystal padded toward a small hill that overlooked another part of the forest, wondering if something was wrong. Before she got three paces, she was knocked off her feet by a linoone who was racing the other way. Quickly scrambling to her feet again, she called after him, “What’s going on?” However, he was too panicked to answer her.

Before she could try to follow him, several other pokémon raced through the trees, all looking wide-eyed and panicked, and all heading in the same direction. Confused, she turned to the hill and slowly climbed it.

What she saw took her breath away.

The forest below was ablaze, but it was no ordinary forest fire. The flames were bluish-white and streaked with black and violet, and the rate they consumed the trees-burning them into nothing but dark ashes, was startling.

In very little time, that blaze would reach them. Still frozen with shock, Snowcrystal concentrated on the distant flames, watching the white blaze quickly destroying the forest, as weird blue smoke rose high into the air. It was then that she realized…

Blazefang had used Shadowflare again…

Tearing her eyes away from the sight, Snowcrystal bolted back toward the others, startling Spark and Wildflame into wakefulness.

“Hurry! Get up!” she cried, fear filling her voice, “We need to get out of here now!”

Seeing Snowcrystal’s expression, Wildflame stood up quickly, and Spark, still half asleep, just groaned, “I’m still asleep…wake me up later…”

“Spark!” Snowcrystal shouted, “Blazefang used Shadowflare-and the forest is being burned to the ground!”

At this statement Spark leapt up. “Shadowflare!” he repeated, “Well then…then let’s get out of here before we all end up looking like Stormblade!”

Spark limped off, though he hardly seemed to mind the pain now, and Snowcrystal and Wildflame followed closely. By now the blue smoke was visible above the trees. Wildflame noticed it too, not needing to ask Snowcrystal about Blazefang. Still, she was shocked. Hadn’t she told him during one of their meetings what Spark had said about the Forbidden Attacks?

As she ran further, Snowcrystal was so focused on getting away from the danger that it took her a moment to realize that they had lost sight of Spark. “Wildflame!” she cried, “Where’s Spark?” Somewhere behind her, a tree toppled over, and Snowcrystal could hear fire crackling over it.

“He’s somewhere up ahead!” The houndoom replied, “Keep going!”

Still worried, Snowcrystal kept running, when she noticed some of the trees around her had started to catch fire as well. Panic overtook her, and she momentarily forgot about Spark. Blue smoke filled a clearing ahead of her, and she held her breath as she raced across it; there was no telling what that smoke would do to her if she breathed it in.

After she made it through the clearing, Snowcrystal ran frantically, in a daze of fear; dodging blazing bushes and trees as she fought madly to escape the oncoming inferno. Wildflame, who had vanished somewhere up ahead moments before, could not be seen.

“Wildflame!” Snowcrystal called out, but she received no answer. Now truly panicked, Snowcrystal darted to avoid a fallen tree, half burnt through by Shadowflare. Running along a new path, she stopped as she realized with horror that she had reached an area blocked off by large boulders. It was a steep climb to the rest of the forest, and though Snowcrystal was used to climbing rocks, these looked far too steep even for her. Turning around, she noticed flames surrounding her on all sides, and some were moving towards her, burning across the dead leaves and branches, getting ever closer.

Having no other option, she leaped at the nearest boulder, feeling her claws slide down it as she fought for a pawhold. Unable to find one, she slipped and fell to the ground, leaping up again instantly and just barely managing to avoid touching the deadly flames. Scrabbling at the rock’s surface, she managed to find a small niche in the stone and placed her back paw inside it, before leaping up towards the top of the boulder.

Snowcrystal’s claws scraped against the top of the stone, as she slowly fought her way up its side, straining her muscles and praying that she wouldn’t fall. Inch by inch, she scrabbled up the rock’s side, until she collapsed, exhausted, on the top of its smooth surface. Wearily, she got up, realizing that since the rocks had slowed her down, she would have to move even faster…

But she didn’t get any further. A blazing limb from a nearby tree broke off as the flames burned through it, sending it crashing down against Snowcrystal’s back and head, knocking her out instantly. Luckily, the branch rolled away from the growlithe’s limp body before the flames could touch her.

Coming into wakefulness ever so slowly, Snowcrystal thought she could hear someone shout, but her senses were too dazed to register if she had been imagining it or not. She could feel unconsciousness fighting to overcome her again, and fearfully tried to raise her head. A large, dark shape came into view, and she blacked out again.


Wildflame was shocked to find Snowcrystal unconscious, but she did not hesitate before picking Snowcrystal up by the scruff and hurrying through the forest, in the direction Spark had gone. However, it was clear that going back for Snowcrystal had been a dangerous choice. Fire blazed all around her, and she had to leap over many flaming patches of grass or moss. She could not tell where Spark was, but she hoped that he, being a jolteon and faster than she or Snowcrystal, had managed to outrun the flames already despite being injured.

Wildflame kept her grip on the unconscious Snowcrystal as she raced past the trees, white flame blazing on all sides. She tried to keep her head low, as the strange blue smoke was floating above her, and if it harmed her in any way, she was afraid it would never heal.

Up ahead, a blazing tree blocked the houndoom’s path. Bracing herself for the leap, Wildflame sprang over it, lifting her back paws and tail free of the flames. Landing roughly to the ground, she took off again, feeling hope rise within her as she spotted a clear area up ahead; she could faintly tell it was rocky and the flames had not spread there. She was almost out…

As she neared the edge of the forest, she noticed a large clearing in front of her that was completely ablaze. In a panic, she darted in another direction, and seeing a stream up ahead, leaped into it and ran through the shallow water, avoiding falling branches from burning trees.

She dashed through the water until she came near enough to the place where the forest trees ended. Leaping clear of the stream, she raced onward, when something out of the corner of her eye attracted her attention. A huge tree was toppling down toward her, its trunk blazing with blinding white flames. Trying to give herself an extra burst of speed, Wildflame leaped forward, hearing the tree smash to the ground behind her, sending a shower of white hot sparks into the air. Some of them singed her fur slightly, but she hardly cared. Now that she was free of most of the trees, she kept running, heading toward the rocks.

When she reached them and moved away from the burning forest, she knew she was safe, far enough from the flames. Shakily, she set Snowcrystal down before collapsing on the muddy earth. Beside her, Snowcrystal opened her eyes.

“Wildflame…” she whispered quietly, obviously still weak, “You…you saved me…thank you…”

Wildflame smiled at her, and through her fading senses she heard Spark’s relieved shout as the jolteon ran over to them. He had made it out too…

Smiling again slightly at that last thought, Wildflame lay her head down against the muddied ground, grateful to be alive.

***

A shout caused Redclaw to stir as the world slowly spun into view. The arcanine felt smooth metal beneath his paws, and looked around, realizing he was in a large metal cage. He could hear a human a little ways behind him, and a glance to his side told him that if he dared attack, there would be several other humans with tranquilizer guns to stop him. Unsteadily, the dazed arcanine stood up, feeling something brushing against his face. When he reached his paw up to rub against the side of his head, he felt metal.

Alarmed, Redclaw gasped…well, tried to. He soon realized that around his head and snout was some sort of steel muzzle, and he could only open his mouth the tiniest bit. Unfortunately, not enough to breathe enough fire to cause any damage to the muzzle or the cage, which were probably fireproof anyways. Redclaw sat back, confused. Why was he in a cage and not a pokeball...and how had he fallen unconscious?

Shaking the thoughts from his mind, he glanced around at the room and noticed several other pokémon in cages; some unconscious and some awake. A quick look all around told him that Thunder wasn’t among them.

Next to him, a caged girafarig was waking up. The pokémon looked around before turning to Redclaw. “Where are we?” she asked, giving Redclaw a confused look.

“I…I don’t know…” the arcanine stammered, when a voice interrupted him.

“You’re in one of Team Rocket’s training facilities.”

The speaker was an espeon, who wore a black collar with a red symbol on the front of it. The espeon wore a few dirty bandages around his shoulders and middle, and Redclaw recognized him. He was the pokémon who had used his psychic attacks on him and fought Thunder.

Before Redclaw could say anything, the espeon continued speaking. “Wondering what Team Rocket is doing so far from Kanto? Well you’d be surprised…we have plenty of other bases elsewhere, and not many people come by this part of the region. This base was built for pokémon training and experimentation, and it’s perfectly safe from police and trainers. Anyway, you are all in cages because you’re going to be put through a test that you will get to watch-we only want strong pokémon fighting for us. And no-it’s not optional, don’t get your hopes up. The test should be in a little while, as soon as my trainers sort out all the pokémon they’ve caught.”

“You…” Redclaw growled, glad that he could still talk in spite of the muzzle, “You’re the one who-”

“Please,” the espeon muttered, rolling his eyes, “Call me Solus. I don’t like being referred to as “you”, especially by low-ranking pokémon such as yourself.”

Redclaw momentarily forgot his anger. “Low-ranking?” he repeated, puzzled.

“You haven’t been given the test yet,” Solus replied, “And you’ll have to work your way up to get to my status…you’ll have to prove that you’re loyal.”

The girafarig in the cage beside Redclaw’s suddenly reared up angrily. “Loyal?” she spat, “Give me one good reason why I should be loyal to humans like those! They took me from the pokémon center and away from my home forever! Why should I serve you?”

Solus merely turned, looking uninterested. “That’s what they all say…” he muttered slyly, before turning his attention to a boy wearing the same uniform as the other Team Rocket members, who had just walked into the room. “The new recruit…” Redclaw heard the espeon mutter.

The boy hesitantly picked up a backpack, which Redclaw could see contained more pokéballs. “What’s he doing?” Redclaw whispered to the girafarig.

“Bringing in more pokémon for the cages,” the girafarig snorted, “I assume they want us all in this big room at once, for whatever reason.” She glanced around the room and turned to Redclaw. “What’s your name?” she asked.

(Continued in next post...)
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