This chapter is a little shorter than some of the recent ones. It's not the best, but I was really depressed while writing most of it, so sorry about that. I was going to do a picture for this one too, since the last ones didn't have one, but I'm not really in the mood to draw. u_u
The Path of Destiny
Chapter 25-Race Against Time
Rosie, Wildflame, Snowcrystal, and Spark had begun their journey again, searching for Articuno with renewed hope. Snowcrystal believed that if Rosie had managed to escape, there was certainly hope for Stormblade and Thunder, especially if they could convince Articuno to help them. The going was slow, however, because of Rosie and Spark’s injuries, but this time, no one seemed to mind.
Wildflame had caught prey for them all earlier, and they had rested at a cool, fresh stream. Even Rosie was feeling better, though she was still forced to limp awkwardly. Spark stayed close to Rosie as they followed Wildflame and Snowcrystal. Rosie was quickly growing tired of his comments.
“You know what’s good about being injured, Rosie?” the jolteon asked.
“Nothing…” Rosie muttered, annoyed.
Spark carried on as if he hadn’t heard. “Everyone does stuff for you! Like that spearow Wildflame brought us…and how Snowcrystal brought me some water in a leaf…”
“Only because you were too much of a wimp to go to the stream yourself,” Rosie muttered silently to herself.
“You know,” Spark continued, “I wonder if Articuno will help find a new home for me…somewhere without dangerous humans or pokémon or traps
, or fire
, or any of those other things that have given us trouble on this journey. I hope that when we get Stormblade back he’ll stop being so angry about Justin. There’s nothing wrong with Justin…”
Suddenly Spark stopped, and Rosie felt a yank on several of her tails. Turning around, she saw Spark holding some of them in his mouth, grinning widely at her. Releasing the tails, the jolteon stated, “I’ve always
wanted to pull a ninetales’s tail…and now I have!”
Rosie rolled her eyes. “When I find out how to place a thousand year curse on someone,” she muttered to herself, “I’m putting one on Spark.”
The four pokémon carried on at a slow pace, seeing no sign of danger as they traveled.
But they were unaware that they were being tracked.
Blazefang and the rest of his pack did not have much to worry about. Traveling ahead of Snowcrystal’s group, they had all luckily managed to leave the forest well before it burned to the ground.
Now further away from the human’s city, Blazefang felt some of his confidence returning, despite not knowing whether Wildflame could find out anything about Articuno yet or not.
Blazefang had put both Shadowflare incidents behind him. He had used the attack both times out of self defense, and there was nothing that could be done about the consequences of the attack now.
…Yet still in his mind, was the lingering fear of Shadowflare. He shuddered as he kept walking; sincerely hoping he would never have to use it again.
Katie and Justin stood in shock at the ruins of what had once been a small forest. Poochyena whimpered, hiding behind Katie and trembling in fear, clearly spooked by the area somehow.
“I don’t understand…” Justin muttered, “It’s spring time…I didn’t think the forest would be dry enough to catch fire and burn down this easily…” he added, looking at what little charred remains of trees were left that littered the ground. “Let’s go back…”
“No,” Katie replied, “Let’s go around. I want to see if there are any pokémon that escaped the fire…they might need help.” As she and her poochyena headed off to travel around the burned forest, Justin had no choice but to follow them.
A few yards ahead, he heard Katie gasp and her poochyena whimper. He walked forward, seeing the charred remains of a shinx lying in their path. The pokémon had managed to escape, but too late. It was dead, it’s body covered in deep, terrible burns. Justin realized that by looking at it, Katie would be reminded of her own shinx.
He backed away, not wanting to look at the dead pokémon, but to his surprise, Katie crouched beside it. “Katie…” he muttered, “It’s dead. There’s no use staying here.”
“These burns…” Katie mused, gazing down at the shinx, “They look strange…just like the ones your scyther had…”
Justin flinched as Katie mentioned ‘his’ scyther, but only replied, “I don’t see why that’s such a big deal. Scyther got burned badly, and so did this poor shinx. There’s nothing more to it than that.”
Katie sighed and stood up, still looking confused, but nonetheless carried on as her poochyena searched for pokémon scent, hoping no other pokémon had ended up like that shinx had.
Redclaw awoke slowly, feeling dazed and light-headed. The arcanine carefully lifted his head, feeling a sharp pain in his leg. Ignoring it, he slowly stood up, vaguely hearing the creaking of the walls around him, and stepped in something warm and wet.
Looking down, he noticed that he was stepping in his own blood. There was a small, yet deep gash on his back leg, and it had obviously been bleeding quite a lot, though it looked to be only a small wound. Ignoring the blood, he looked around the hallway he’d been laying in, feeling himself start to wake up more fully.
As his hazy vision cleared and he gazed around the dimly lit hallway, he noticed debris strewn all around from the blast, and several of the walls were damaged; some blasted away completely. Looking up, he noticed a gaping hole in the ceiling; he could see clear up into the room above him.
Turning his gaze to the rubble-strewn floor, the arcanine searched for Stormblade, quickly spotting the scyther’s limp form against the wall near where Redclaw had been lying before. Limping over to him, Redclaw could tell he was still unconscious. There was a dark stain on the wall where Stormblade’s head had struck it, and as Redclaw inspected Stormblade closer, he noticed a deep wound on the scyther’s head; a long gash that started from between his eyes and ran all along the top of his head. Redclaw was unsure of what had caused it, but he figured Stormblade had to have struck something sharp; maybe a part of the ceiling that had caved in.
Worried, Redclaw nudged Stormblade’s head with his nose, but didn’t get a response. He looked closer, and could tell that Stormblade was still breathing, though his breathing sounding strange.
Whimpering, Redclaw sat down beside the motionless scyther, softly licking the gash on his head, hoping to clean the wound. After a short while, Stormblade began to stir; his head turned away slightly and his wings twitched. Redclaw nudged him again, and Stormblade opened his eyes and looked up at him, though one of his eyes seemed unable to open fully. A moment later, he lay his head back down weakly, closing his eyes again.
“Stormblade…” Redclaw began, “We need to get out of here…”
Stormblade made no response and Redclaw wondered if he had even heard. “Stormblade…?” he asked again slowly.
“Whoareyou?” Stormblade mumbled in a dazed voice, opening his eyes only slightly.
Redclaw stared back at him, confused. “I’m…Redclaw…I told you that already,” he said calmly, wondering if there was something wrong with Stormblade’s memory.
However, a few moments later, Stormblade seemed to recognize him, and asked, “Why did you come in that room to find me?”
“Everyone else was leaving,” Redclaw replied, watching Stormblade shudder as the walls creaked loudly again and realizing that any sound probably made the pain in his head worse, “Some trainers freed us, and they and the other pokémon left. I went back to find you…since it seems like the trainers were too busy to really notice how hurt you were.”
“You should have just gone with them…” Stormblade whispered, closing his eyes against the pain that lanced through his skull.
“I wasn’t going to leave anyone here, especially not a friend,” Redclaw replied, “And I don’t plan on leaving you here. We should…” he paused, seeing that Stormblade was obviously in no condition to stand up, let alone walk, and finished, “You should rest for now…stay here, I’ll be right back.”
Turning away from Stormblade, Redclaw headed down the hallway, hoping to find an easy way up to the first ground level floor and out of the building. As he turned a corner and headed toward the stairs, he noticed with shock that a part of them had collapsed, and the doorway to which the stairs led had been blocked by rubble. Worried, he decided to look for an easier path, one that Stormblade would be able to manage traveling through.
Pushing aside a door that looked badly damaged, he walked into a partially destroyed room, finding nothing but large wooden boxes inside. Several were damaged and their contents strewn across the floor, but a few had been knocked over and broken open; some containing packets of pokémon food. Grabbing as many as he could fit in his mouth, Redclaw limped back to Stormblade.
When he returned, Redclaw was dismayed to see that Stormblade had passed out again. Setting down the food packets, he carefully opened each one with his teeth while waiting for Stormblade to recover.
It took a while longer for Stormblade to wake up, and in that time, Redclaw had eaten his fill, having gone back to the room for more pokémon food. As Stormblade woke up this time, however, Redclaw could tell that he was more fully awake.
“Where are the humans who took us here?” Stormblade asked after a short while, painfully trying to sit up, “Have they all left?”
“I think so,” Redclaw answered, “I don’t think anyone’s here but us…at least not in this part of the building.” He glanced toward the remainder of the pokémon food packets and pushed them toward Stormblade. “I found these,” the arcanine explained, “I was looking for an easy way up to the first floor…where I’m sure we can find a way out of here. The way I came from was blocked…I suppose we’ll have to find another way. We’re safe for now though,” he added, and sat down, while Stormblade ravenously started eating the pokémon food.
Redclaw lay down, feeling worried. He didn’t know how he and Stormblade were going to get out of the building any time soon, especially when Stormblade was so weak. Idly licking the cut on his back leg, Redclaw shivered slightly as one of the few working lights in the hallway flickered and went out, leaving him and Stormblade in semi-darkness.
Wearily, Redclaw leaned against the wall, feeling exhausted. The arcanine was still uncertain of what path they would take to get out of the building, but at the moment he felt too tired to search for another way to the first floor.
He was startled when the wall suddenly gave a violent shudder, and dust rained down on his head from the ceiling. Shaking his head to free the dust from his mane, Redclaw stood and backed away, hearing the walls around him creak and groan loudly.
Stormblade looked up from his meal, staring at the wall with his good eye. “What was that?” he whispered, his voice still sounding shaky and weak.
“I’m sure it’s nothing…” Redclaw began, a moment before he had to duck out of the way as a large chunk of the ceiling fell to the floor, raising a cloud of dust which caused the arcanine to start coughing.
“Stay here,” he told Stormblade between coughs, knowing the scyther really didn’t have much of a choice, “I’m going to try to find an easy way out…”
Without waiting for a reply, Redclaw bounded off, clearing a heap of rubble in a single leap as he headed in a different direction than where he’d gone before; veering off into a different hallway. He was certain there had to be more stairs on this floor somewhere; it was only a matter of finding them.
Although when Redclaw turned a corner of the hallway, he didn’t find stairs, but he found something else that made him stop in his tracks. Ahead of him, the ceiling had caved in, damaged by the blasts from before. The way was nearly blocked, and it looked as if more of the ceiling could collapse at any minute. Startled, Redclaw turned and ran back toward Stormblade, who was still eating. He noticed that the gash on the scyther’s head was still bleeding, though not as badly as it had been before.
“Stormblade!” Redclaw gasped as he came to a halt beside the injured pokémon, feeling the floor shake as small pieces of the ceiling fell down on his head and shoulders, “We need to find a way out…I think…I think whatever caused those explosions must have really damaged most of the walls, and…” He paused for a second, looking around, before continuing, “And I think the whole place is about to…to come down on top of us…”
Stormblade stared back at him, first with a look of confusion, then one of fear. “Did you…find a way out?” he asked hesitantly.
“Not yet,” Redclaw answered worriedly, “But we need to go now…we can try and see if there’s another way out near where I found the pokémon food. Now stand up, I’m not sure how much time we have…”
As Redclaw had half expected, Stormblade did not move at first. After Redclaw asked again, Stormblade started to try. Shaking, the scyther closed his eyes, before pushing his blades against the floor and slowly heaving himself upright. It pained Redclaw to see him like this, and he fought back a lingering doubt that Stormblade was going to make it.
(Continued in next post...)