(Okay, new chapter! I don't really like it, and I ended up cutting a lot out, but I really needed to get this story moving again. XD Plus I'm excited for events in the future. Anyway, this is chapter 46...not too much action, but it's kinda important anyway.)
The Path of Destiny
Chapter 46-An Unsettling Discovery
By evening, the group had made their way back down the mountain and onto the plains. Snowcrystal had told the three who had stayed behind what had happened, and now they all rested at the base of the mountain in silence, each with their own thoughts.
Wildflame in particular felt lost. Everything she had hoped for, even the hopes that had seemed impossible, had been dashed when Articuno had refused to go with them. Now she did not know whether to return to her pack empty pawed, or follow Blazefang in the hopes that he would know what to do. But then again, he had his own problems that had nothing to do with her. Should she go back to the mountain? The snow was melting anyway; it wasn’t like there was any more risk that Articuno would reverse it to help the growlithe clan, but yet…the hopes of pleasing Firedash and gaining a higher rank in her own clan were gone. Did she really want to go back to her pack life? With so little freedom and so many with ranks above her? The houndoom’s thoughts drifted as she glanced over the pokémon gathered around her.
Should she keep going with them? They were looking for new homes, weren’t they? Then again, she had lied to them…they couldn’t trust her…but at the same time, she realized, tricking them on Blazefang’s orders was in the past. She figured that none of that mattered now, and as she glanced around at the others once again, watching them rest and talk, she decided that they didn’t need to know.
“Which way do you think we should go then?” Alex asked. The group had rested for a while and was now headed away from the mountain. “I mean, I know you don’t want to run into that Cyclone pokémon, but…”
“You’re still coming?” Blazefang muttered as he angled his head to look at her, giving the floatzel a slight sneer. “I thought you already had a home.”
“Well, I’d rather come with you,” she explained. “I want to help Snowcrystal find out the…the Forbidden Attack thing, or whatever it was…you see-”
“Forbidden Attack thing?” Blazefang repeated, sounding disgusted. “It’s obvious you aren’t taking this seriously. You’re better off in your old home, which was perfectly fine.” He turned away from her, walking ahead.
Snowcrystal watched him sadly and turned to Alex. “Thanks…for…for wanting to help…” she whispered to the floatzel once he had gone. “If I’m going to do this…I’m going to need all the help I can get.”
“Alex can come if she wants,” Redclaw added. “We’re not going to order her around.” A grunt from Blazefang was the only response.
Glad that the argument was somewhat settled, at least for now, Snowcrystal looked up to see the forest in the distance, remembering that that was where she had last seen Stormblade. Once again, she found herself wondering whether the human who had captured him was able to take care of him properly.
They were approaching a place that had a few clumps of scattered trees here and there, and Snowcrystal began wondering if they should go back to the forest, or whether it was too dangerous to be worth the risk.
Any further thoughts about the forest or the route ahead were rudely interrupted by enraged shouts from Thunder at the back of the group.
“Leave me alone, or I’ll chop your tails off!” the scyther was screaming, her eyes locked on Rosie, who was standing with her fur bristling and all nine tails lashing.
“I’m not afraid of you!” Rosie spat back. “A blind hatchling could see that you wouldn’t last a second fighting a fire type! You probably couldn’t even get close to me without passing out again…you need to learn your place, learn to shut up, and learn that you aren’t the most powerful pokémon ever-you get weak just like the rest of us!” A few embers flew from her mouth as she spat out the last words.
Thunder looked murderous, but she made no move to attack, and Redclaw stepped between them before a fight could escalate further.
“All right, stop this now,” the arcanine muttered angrily. “Rosie, go up with Snowcrystal at the front of the group. Thunder…”
“I’ll do what I want! That ninetales can only fight with petty words. I can tear her apart!”
“And you will do nothing of the sort,” Redclaw growled, his voice loosing its usual patience and gaining an irritated edge to it. “Stay here. She won’t bother you.”
He waited for Thunder to respond, but she only stared back at him, neither replying or making any sort of move to attack. Redclaw turned away and followed Rosie, who glanced back at Thunder and glared at her, sticking out her tongue.
“Coward!” Thunder shouted at her, but she looked too exhausted to try and carry the fight further.
Snowcrystal watched the others, most of whom had paused to watch the brief fight, turn and start walking again, but she stayed put. Then, wondering if she was going crazy for thinking this would work, made her way over to Thunder, hoping to be able to calm her down.
On her way to the back of the group, she passed Blazefang and Wildflame, who were walking side by side. Wildflame glanced at Thunder. “She doesn’t get along with anyone here, does she?”
“She doesn’t get along with anyone at all,” Blazefang replied with an annoyed flick of his ear. “I don’t see why she doesn’t just leave. No one wants her here…”
Their voices faded as Snowcrystal passed them and approached the weakened scyther.
“What do you want?” Thunder growled, though she sounded less aggressive now; Snowcrystal was pretty certain that she secretly didn’t want a fight.
“I…I just wanted to talk with you,” Snowcrystal stammered, hesitating a moment. Thunder’s scythes still looked very sharp.
“Well, I just do…” she replied, not sure what Thunder would think if she told her she was trying to help. “And you can talk to me while we walk. That way, we might not get so tired if we’re focusing on something else…” She paused, wondering if Thunder would take that as some sort of insult about being weak.
“What good would that do?” Thunder muttered. “Talking will waste energy, not save it!”
Snowcrystal wasn’t sure how to reply, but at least Thunder didn’t seem any angrier. She opened her mouth to reply, but a voice from up ahead interrupted her.
“Snowcrystal, Thunder, are you coming?”
Snowcrystal recognized Redclaw’s voice and turned to see the arcanine looking at them. Without another word, she turned and followed the others, Thunder trailing along more slowly.
By the time the group stopped for a break, everyone felt exhausted, even those who had not made the entire journey up the mountain. Now that the strongest members of the group had hunted and brought back as much as they could find (though it wasn’t much), everyone was separating from one another to rest. Snowcrystal wondered if it would be a good idea to try to talk to Thunder again. She was surprised how calm the scyther had been during their last conversation…well, ‘calm’ as far as Thunder was concerned. She was just worried that more fights would break out and someone would be hurt. Hopefully, she’d be able to reason with Thunder and at the very least get her to make sure to stay away from the others.
“Hey, Thunder,” she said cheerfully as she approached the scyther, trying to sound as if she was happy to see her rather than dreading it, like she was really feeling. “Do you think-”
“What is it with you?” Thunder growled from where she was lying on the grass, fixing her blue eyes on Snowcrystal. “Why are you talking to me? I don’t even like you.”
Snowcrystal thought, suppressing a frustrated sigh, the only one you don’t hate is Nightshade.
Nightshade… She thought of something, hoping that it would be the answer she needed to keep Thunder out of trouble. “How about you walk by Nightshade when we leave again?” she suggested, “he won’t let Rosie bother you.”
“I do not need his help,” Thunder growled, getting up and standing to her full height. She towered over Snowcrystal, making the growlithe cower.
“I didn’t mean that…” she whispered. Why did Thunder seem uncaring about comments related to her weakness before, but seemed offended all over again by them now?
Thunder didn’t reply. Instead she merely lay down again, as if forgetting that Snowcrystal was there. “Besides,” she muttered. “Nightshade’s an idiot. I don’t really listen to what he says. It’s all nonsense.”
“No…Nightshade is really smart,” Snowcrystal replied. “I…I thought you liked talking to him.”
“I do not,” Thunder replied. “Not anymore. He says he understands my pain
,” Thunder said in a sneering voice. “But he’s wrong. He thinks he can talk to me like he had the same experiences…like there was something physical blocking his way. But it was his own stupidity that was blocking his way, and he can’t even see that now! He tells me to trust other pokémon, but then tells me these things that make me realize how much of a mistake it was for him to do so! He’s angry and wants me to make his own mistake. He wants me to be miserable like him. But I’m not that stupid…”
By now Thunder was staring at Snowcrystal angrily, though at the moment, the growlithe hardly cared. Thunder’s words confused her and she had little idea of what the scyther was talking about, but whatever it was, she didn’t like to hear Thunder talking about Nightshade, or anyone, this way. She wanted to shout to Thunder that she was the one who didn’t understand, but she said nothing.
“I was trapped!” Thunder continued, nearly loud enough to be heard by the others, though luckily, none of them seemed to notice. “If I could have gotten out and killed Master I would have!”
At this moment, Snowcrystal felt like she should speak up. “Nightshade is not miserable, Thunder,” Snowcrystal replied. But you are…
she wanted to add, but held her tongue.
“What would you know?” Thunder responded angrily. “You’re just as delusional as the rest of them.”
Snowcrystal bit back a confused response. There was no use arguing, she thought, when Thunder was so set in her own beliefs…whatever they were. Instead, she asked another question that had been on her mind. “So…you don’t actually trust Nightshade?” she said quietly, pretty sure that she knew what the answer would be.
“No,” Thunder replied, but the slight wavering in the tone of her voice made Snowcrystal wonder if she really did, even a little, or without realizing it. “But I’m right, and he probably knows it! …That’s why he’s trying to drag me down! I was right and he was wrong!”
Snowcrystal was pretty sure that at this point, there was no sense trying to get Thunder to understand or even to explain what she meant about Nightshade. She couldn’t be sure if the scyther was actually serious or just rambling things off the top of her head. Without another word, the growlithe turned and ran back to the others, still feeling unnerved. She did not want to talk to Thunder anymore, that was for sure.
“Snowcrystal?” a voice called to her from behind a group of trees. She recognized Redclaw’s voice again.
“Yes?” she called, hoping her voice didn’t give away her mood.
“We’re going to start moving again,” the arcanine told her, peering from around a tree trunk. Most of the others had gathered there already, and none of them seemed aware of the odd conversation between her and Thunder. Thunder herself soon joined the group of waiting pokémon, looking just as she always did and giving no sign that anything had happened. She didn’t even look angry.
As Redclaw started to lead the way, Snowcrystal paused for a moment, still wondering about the things Thunder had said.
“Are you all right, Snowcrystal?”
The growlithe looked up to see Nightshade standing nearby, looking concerned.
“Huh? Oh, yeah,” she muttered, quickly hurrying by him and up ahead with Spark, Alex, and Redclaw at the front of the group. She caught a glance of Thunder out of the corner of her eye, watching the group with an unreadable expression.
Snowcrystal had the unsettling feeling that things were only going to get worse between Thunder and the rest of the pokémon in the group. They couldn’t exactly leave her behind to fend for herself, yet how long could they keep her with them before someone got hurt?
“It’s getting dark,” Spark muttered with a quick glance at the sky.
“You say that like it’s a bad thing,” Blazefang muttered from behind him, looking irritated. Snowcrystal knew that the houndour was nocturnal, but after such a long time traveling, no one really seemed to care when they slept anymore as long as they got a chance to do so.
“Well, I wouldn’t mind sleeping now. Dark or not, everyone’s exhausted,” Rosie stated loudly, looking around at the others with a glare that dared them to disagree.
“Rosie’s right,” Redclaw agreed, “we’re all tired. Let’s rest.”
The traveling pokémon settled down as the sky grew dark, some curling up together in small groups and others lying down by themselves. No one bothered to try and keep a look out; in this place they figured they didn’t have much to fear, especially since they made up such a large group of pokémon.
Snowcrystal didn’t feel much like sleeping. She felt restless, still going over what Articuno had told her in her mind. She had to find some other pokémon who knew more about the Forbidden Attacks, and now that the entirety of her quest dawned on her, it seemed almost impossible. Watching the sky darken to black, Snowcrystal lay down against Redclaw’s forepaw, thinking that, if anything, she should at least rest if she wasn’t going to sleep.
The sound of something moving woke Snowcrystal from a light doze. Instantly she sat up, surprised that she had fallen asleep and wondering if there actually was some sort of danger out here on the plains. However, a quick look told her it was only Thunder, pacing back and forth a little ways away from the others. Snowcrystal glanced at her sleeping companions; none of them had been bothered by the noise. She watched Thunder for a moment and then lay back down.
Then without warning, the scyther suddenly darted away at full speed. Lifting her head in surprise again, Snowcrystal dug her claws into Redclaw’s fur.
“Redclaw, wake up!”
The arcanine’s head shot up, surprising Snowcrystal a bit as he turned his head to look around. “What is it?”
“Thunder!” the growlithe replied. “She just…ran off!”
Redclaw gave her a startled look before standing up quickly, his head pointed in the direction Thunder had gone while he sniffed the air carefully. “Follow me,” the arcanine whispered, and without waking the others, he set off in Thunder’s direction.
Snowcrystal tried hard to keep up with him, but even long days of running through the mountains had not prepared her to keep up with an arcanine. Her legs simply weren’t long enough, and she could barely trail behind him. Luckily, they didn’t have to run long, but when they found Thunder, Snowcrystal could hardly believe what she saw.
The scyther was leaping and slashing at another figure, a bug type with an odd, unnatural sheen to his armor. In a moment when Thunder’s opponent paused, Snowcrystal recognized him instantly. Scytheclaw! What was he doing here? Had he come to get revenge on them?
With a frantic look at Redclaw, Snowcrystal wordlessly begged him to do something. She was too afraid of hitting Thunder to use a fire attack, but to her relief, Redclaw only hesitated a second before leaping into the fray, pushing Thunder aside and pinning Scytheclaw face down on the ground. The scizor stayed motionless as Redclaw held him, seemingly with little effort.
The fight ended…just like that?
Snowcrystal thought, feeling as if Scytheclaw should have put up more of a fight, or at least been a bit more prepared for Redclaw’s attack. But the scizor still didn’t move. She then remembered that he had fought Nightshade very recently, and the heracross still had his
“What are you doing here?” Redclaw growled, his fangs gleaming in the starlight.
“I could ask you the same question!” Scytheclaw spat.
Snowcrystal’s eyes wandered to where Thunder was, surprised to see her lying on the ground as if she thought no one would notice her. She seemed exhausted and weak.
“What do you want with us?” Redclaw growled.
(Continued in next post...)