Ok, another chapter! This one's shorter, and sorry there's no picture-still having computer problems. >.< Hopefully there will be one for the next chapter...
The Path of Destiny
Chapter 28-The Forgotten City
Snowcrystal growled in anger at the grass pokémon, raising her voice in unison with Rosie’s. “That’s not fair!” she cried, hardly believing that they expected her to battle for them. “This isn’t our fight!”
“Do you think we’re going to just let you walk free?” the tropius replied, giving her an angry stare.
Snowcrystal had to wonder what had happened to these pokémon to make them so hostile around strangers and so quick to assume things. She could hear Spark and Rosie still trying to argue with him, but she wasn’t sure any of them would really be able to reason with these grass types.
Suddenly, Wildflame spoke up, causing everyone to glance at her in surprise. “All right then,” the houndoom told her captors. “We’ll fight for you.”
?” hissed Rosie, casting a furious glance at Wildflame. “Are you crazy? I won’t be able to fight!”
“True,” the ivysaur told her, glancing at the ninetales. “But you’ll be here to guard the cave and alert us at any sign of danger.”
“No way!” Rosie shouted back defiantly.
Snowcrystal gave Wildflame a confused look, and the houndoom mouthed the words “don’t argue” to her. Seeing the look in her eyes, Snowcrystal realized that Wildflame had thought of a plan, and gave Spark the same look, whispering, “Just go along with it!”
Before Spark could question her or Rosie could argue further, Snowcrystal spoke up. “We agree,” she said, facing the grass pokémon again. “As long as you let us go afterward.” She then waited for an answer, ignoring the scathing looks Rosie and Spark gave her.
let you go,” the tropius replied, as he and the other grass pokémon turned to leave. “That is…if you can prove to us you aren’t traitors!” He then took off after the others, leaving the four friends alone in the cavern.
“Why did you say that?” Rosie hissed at Wildflame and Snowcrystal. “I don’t want to defend this cave for these pokémon after they’ve tried to imprison us!”
“Yeah!” Spark agreed. “I don’t want to get injured in battle for someone who-”
“Quiet!” Wildflame interrupted, casting a nervous glance at the tunnel where the grass pokémon had left. “Now let me tell you this quick because some of them could be back at any minute. I told them we would fight because it’s probably our best way of escape. When the battle starts, we can slip away back to this cave and find Rosie, who should be near the entrance, and attack the other guards if we have to, then make a break for it!”
“But they said the battle wouldn’t be for a few days!” Spark replied. “Are we going to have to wait here for that long?”
“I’m afraid so,” Wildflame replied. “But it’s the only way we can get out of here without a high chance of getting hurt.”
Snowcrystal nodded, and reluctantly, Rosie did too. Wildflame was right; this seemed like the easiest way, and while they were here, they could at least rest for the journey ahead of them.
For the next two days, the four friends stayed within the cave, being given water and strange food every once in a while. Despite the situation they were in and the desire to escape, Rosie and Spark were grateful of the chance to rest and to not have to travel with their painful injuries.
Snowcrystal, however, was growing restless. She had
to find some sort of clue about where Articuno was…but she couldn’t even start to look for one while she was trapped here, and it worried her to think of her home and the growlithe there who might soon be facing threats from the houndour clan. After a while of pacing around the cavern and worrying, Snowcrystal sat down beneath the starlight hole in the cave ceiling. It was the night of the second day they had had to spent in the cave since being captured, and tomorrow was the day of the battle, and the escape.
Snowcrystal glanced at her three friends, who were already asleep. She turned her gaze to the section of starlit sky she could see through the ceiling, and was almost instantly reminded of her home in the mountains once again. She almost wished she were back there now, that she had never taken this quest, and was safe back in her snowy cave at home.
“No…” she whispered to herself. “I can’t go home…not until I find out what made Articuno have to leave…” She lay down on the cold stone floor, gazing at the stars a moment longer before her thoughts slowly lulled her into sleep.
“Wake up,” a voice hissed in Snowcrystal’s ear. “It’s time.”
Snowcrystal stirred, blinking in confusion at the ivysaur that stood over her. “Time for what?” she asked, still a bit dazed after just waking up.
“The battle,” the ivysaur calmly replied, and went to wake up Wildflame.
Snowcrystal sat up, shaking her fur free of dust and waited, trying not to let her excitement or fear show. Today was the day they were going to escape…
However, Snowcrystal could not shake off the lingering dread that something was going to go wrong. Pushing the thought from her mind, she went to stand beside Wildflame and Spark as they waited to be led out of the cave and toward the battle. Rosie sat a small distance away, trying not to act as if she was planning anything suspicious.
After a moment, the four pokémon were taken into a different cavern. Snowcrystal picked up a stronger scent of fresh air and grass, and figured that this cavern must be close to the cave’s entrance. There was a large amount of powerful-looking grass types there, and Snowcrystal shuddered. She didn’t want to imagine fighting them
. She wondered how strong the fire type pokémon they had heard about were.
As the ivysaur from before made a few brief statements about the battle, Snowcrystal crouched down, hardly listening. Looking down at the crystal she had been given, she noticed how battered and worn it looked now. Scratches covered its shiny surface, and it was covered in dust and bits of dry mud. She felt guilty for letting Iceclaw’s gift get in this condition, when it had been so special to him.
A cry from the grass pokémon around her jolted Snowcrystal out of her thoughts. Standing up quickly, she followed them as they made their way out of the cave, watching as Rosie was made to take her place at the cave’s entrance with the other guards. The ninetales was trying to appear brave, but Snowcrystal could tell that she was scared. She tried to give Rosie a comforting look, but she wasn’t sure the ninetales could see her in the crowd of grass pokémon.
As the small army of pokémon moved on, surrounding Snowcrystal, Wildflame, and Spark on all sides, they soon lost sight of Rosie. Worried, Snowcrystal glanced at every tree, rock, and bush, trying to remember them. She didn’t want to get lost and not be able to find Rosie after they left the battle. Wildflame seemed to be doing the same thing as they walked, though none of the grass pokémon noticed either of them.
Once Snowcrystal was starting to get a little tired, and Spark had started limping much worse, the grass pokémon stopped at a large rocky and grassy area near a stream. “We’re…here…I guess…” Wildflame whispered to her friends.
“Then where are the fire types?” Spark asked, looking around at the trees and at the groups of large boulders nearby, which could have easily made a den for pokémon.
Some of the grass pokémon seemed just as confused as they were. “This is where they live now, right?” one of the younger ones asked.
The sceptile beside him nodded, looking around warily. “They might have been suspecting an attack and moved somewhere else last night!” he called to the leading grass types.
“You’re probably right,” another said, “Maybe we should-”
His voice cut off as without warning, several columns of flame launched toward the group from all directions. “Get down!” Wildflame hissed, pushing Spark off his feet and out of the way of one of the blasts as it came near.
Snowcrystal ducked her head as the flames seared by, then looked up to see the shapes of several fire pokémon appearing from various hiding places. She had to duck again as they fired several more bursts of red-hot fire.
Since Snowcrystal, Spark, and Wildflame had been in the center of the group, they had been mostly safe from the attacks. Many of the grass pokémon however, were wounded; some of them badly.
“Don’t just stand there!” the ivysaur shouted back at them. “ATTACK!”
Many of the grass pokémon either ran forward or shot a razor leaf attack at their enemies, while the fire pokémon stayed where they were, still firing attacks. Snowcrystal saw the tropius from before launch himself into the sky and slam down on an unsuspecting flareon. Another fire type, a quilava, was wrenched into the air by vine whip and thrown forcefully onto the rocks before he even had a chance to attack. Despite this, it was the fire pokémon who seemed to be dealing the most damage.
Snowcrystal darted away from the main fighting, but there seemed to be enemies on all sides. “Hey!” shouted a bayleef, causing Snowcrystal to turn around. “What are you waiting for? Attack!” Snowcrystal ignored the shout, looking frantically around for Spark and Wildflame, who had gotten separated from her in the confusion soon after the battle had started. Snowcrystal soon spotted Spark’s spiky yellow pelt and ran over to him.
“Spark! Where’s Wildflame?” she asked, noticing that the houndoom wasn’t around.
“I don’t know!” Spark replied, “I had to avoid another flamethrower and-”
“Look out!” Snowcrystal cried, knocking Spark out of the way as a massive thorny vine broke out of the ground and whipped toward them. Frantically, Spark and Snowcrystal scrambled away as more vines broke free from the earth. They darted further away, hearing the cries of several fire types who had gotten caught in the attack.
“I’ve seen that before!” Spark shouted breathlessly once they were out of range. “That’s frenzy plant! How on earth did one of these wild pokémon know frenzy plant?”
“I don’t know,” Snowcrystal gasped. “Let’s just find Wildflame and get out of here!” She looked around, ignoring the confusing sounds of battle and various attacks, and soon spotted Wildflame darting to avoid one of the fire pokémon, who was shouting something angrily to her. Snowcrystal only caught the word ‘traitor’.
Wildflame fired a flamethrower in the pokémon’s direction, and it stopped chasing her. Hearing Snowcrystal’s shout, she began to head in the direction of the white growlithe and Spark.
Snowcrystal watched the houndoom bound closer to them with long strides, avoiding the sparring pokémon and large rocks. “Stay there!” Wildflame called to them. “And when I get there, follow me!” The distance between Wildflame and Snowcrystal was closing, but as the houndoom neared her friends, several razor sharp leaves sped in her direction, cutting her back legs and causing her to stumble.
Wildflame looked up to see a meganium staring at her in anger, obviously mistaking her for one of the enemy fire pokémon. “Don’t attack me!” Wildflame shouted at him, leaping to her feet. “I’m fighting for
A moment later, she realized that she had stopped too long. The same vines that Spark and Snowcrystal had seen erupted from the ground again, trapping all pokémon unfortunate enough to be close by. Wildflame was one of them.
The houndoom let out a painful howl as the thorny vines wrapped around her middle and lifted her into the air before slamming her down against the rocky ground. Stars exploded in the houndoom’s vision, and she clawed and bit frantically at the vine as she felt it lift her into the air again.
Snowcrystal stood frozen to the spot for a split second; Wildflame’s screams of pain echoing in her ears. Then she was running, running towards the massive twisting vines that wrapped more tightly around the houndoom and sent her crashing to the ground another time before lifting her up once more.
Hardly believing what she was doing, the small growlithe leaped towards the vines, opening her mouth and releasing a whirling blast of flames. Snowcrystal stared in disbelief as she watched her own attack, which looked like several columns of flame twisting together, strike the vines and burn through them. Wildflame was released and as she fell to the ground, Snowcrystal ran over to her. The houndoom stood up, not badly injured. Snowcrystal’s fire attack had hardly hurt her, and apart from several scratches from the thorns, the vines hadn’t seemed to do any serious damage.
“Snowcrystal…” Wildflame whispered with a hint of pride in her voice. “You…you learned flame wheel!”
Snowcrystal smiled back at the houndoom and the two of them ran toward Spark, who looked just as surprised.
“You finally learned a new attack!” Spark cried. “Now you can actually fight!”
“Yeah, sure,” Snowcrystal replied. “Let’s just get out of here!”
Wildflame nodded and the three pokémon headed away from the battle, avoiding any remaining fire pokémon were still surrounding the area. Luckily, the three managed to make it away unnoticed, and they quickly scampered back in the direction of the cave, hearing the sounds of battle gradually fade away.
“Well that worked like a charm!” Wildflame exclaimed, still seeming excited about Snowcrystal’s new attack. “Now we’ve got to find Rosie and get out of here!”
The three pokémon ran toward the cave, Wildflame in the lead. However, when the cave came in sight, the houndoom stopped, seeming suddenly worried. Confused, Snowcrystal walked up to her side, looking at the cave. What she saw filled her with dread.
The guards in front of the cave were either fainted or had run away, and she wasn’t sure that one of the fainted ones was actually still alive. All around the cave were signs of a battle, and Rosie was nowhere to be seen.
Nearly three days had passed since the night Redclaw and Stormblade had met up with Thunder. Because of Stormblade’s injuries, the going had been painfully slow, and they had had to take long breaks often. For a while during this time, Stormblade had attempted to talk to Thunder many times, but she had always ended up either yelling at him or ignoring him. Redclaw had tried to talk to her about why she seemed so angry, but she hadn’t answered him either.
Prey was scarce in this area, and though it had recently rained, there was little water to be found at all; it had soaked into the ground and turned it to mud, which had mostly dried under the heat of the sun. They had traveled east until they reached the burned forest, which they were now going around, heading in a northward direction.
Redclaw was worried. Underneath the hot midday sun, there were little trees or shelter in the area. The last time they had found a good source of water was two days ago. Redclaw was thirsty, though he wasn’t worried for himself; as a fire type he could go without water longer than most other pokémon, but he was worried about the two scyther.
Thunder never complained of thirst, but Redclaw could tell that she was weakening. She had been thin and malnourished before, and this lack of food and water was just making it all the worse for her. However, she had tried her best to hide this, and surprisingly, she had kept up with Redclaw well.
For Stormblade, it was a different story. The injured pokémon had grown weaker and weaker; not just from lack of food and water, but from his wounds as well. Even though Redclaw had been helping Stormblade walk, the scyther had grown so weak that he had been forced to stumble along using his injured leg as well as his good one, causing it to become even more painful than before. The bandages around his wounds had become filthy and bloodstained, and they were starting to stink. Stormblade’s cough seemed to be gone for the most part, but other than that, he didn’t seem to be getting any better. And they still hadn’t found one pokémon who knew anything about healing.
As Redclaw and Thunder walked on, Redclaw supporting Stormblade along the way, Stormblade suddenly slumped to the ground and collapsed. Redclaw turned toward him instantly, nudging the motionless scyther with his snout. Stormblade didn’t move; he was out cold.
“Oh no…” Redclaw whispered worriedly. Stormblade had been weak before and had collapsed, but he had never passed out since he and Redclaw had escaped Team Rocket’s building. “He needs help…” Redclaw murmured to himself. “And right now what he needs most is water
“How very clever of you to realize that,” Thunder muttered sarcastically, walking over to him. “My advice…don’t bother going to look for water. There isn’t any here. And I doubt it would help anyway; at this point, there’s not much hope for him.”
Redclaw noticed Thunder looking at Stormblade with a strange expression, and he thought she looked angry, though he couldn’t tell what she was really thinking. “We have to try,” he told her urgently. “We’re going to stop and look for water. Maybe you should fly up above the area and see if there are any streams…”
“I’ve done that…” Thunder muttered. “I did it twice yesterday and once the day before. There aren’t any streams here. There were some when me and Stormblade passed this way before, but we were much closer to the human city and also in danger of poacher traps. I don’t know if there are any other streams.”
“Well, it wouldn’t hurt to check a little farther,” Redclaw told her. “And we’ve made progress this way…there has to be something
! A stream leading to that destroyed forest, maybe?”
“There probably is one,” Thunder replied, finding it hard to speak due to thirst. “But none near. And searching for it would bring us way too close to the poachers. I guess I’ll check north of here.”
(Continued in next post...)