CAUTION: Use of word: 'bloody' as part of speech in this chapter. Just thought I'd warn you. xP
Chapter Seven: Escape Plan
“One hundred and ninety-eight!” I called, my voice almost becoming hoarse from the strain I was putting on it.
“Excellent! Keep at it!” an encouraging yell called back. “Ninety-nine.”
I smiled as I spat out yet another explosive seed. “Watch out,” I warned, the seed landing right below the lock on the cage before me. A loud pop and a bang sounded at almost the same time, blowing holes where the locks were only moments before. The lotad who I had just freed came scuttling out of his cage, as did the starly whose cage my quilava friend blew a hole in.
“Thank you, thank you!” the small water weed pokémon beamed. I found it hard to see his eyes under the giant lily pad on his head.
“No worries. You’re number two hundred,” I chuckled. In actual fact I was giggling at the large tan top lip that was spread across the pokémon’s blue face. However, I decided not to mention anything and the lotad crawled with the starly – who flew – over to the large lot of noise-making bunch of free pokémon. There were still about another four or so hundred to free, and they were all poking their paws — or whatever they had — between the cage holes, shouting to be liberated.
“DUCK FOR COVER!” a voice rang, making me jump. A bang also made me flinch, and I stared back at the pokémon who had caused it. He was a bit bigger than me in size and orangey-yellow in colour. He had long feet which were half brown, small arms with paws that were brown, almost leaf-shaped ears which were curly at the end—also brown, two yellow spots on either of his cheeks (which had red markings through each), a white belly and a long, thin, black tail with a lightning bolt at its tip. He wore a strap around his waist with a buckle in the middle shaped presumably like another sort of bomb.
“Oh, Pokol,” I began to say, getting the raichu’s attention, “where would we be without you?”
“Still stuck in your bomb-less cages!” he replied with a grin. The huge sack that accompanied him (which the raichu apparently entrusted to a pelipper in an effort to keep it undiscovered from the Rockets) still, even by this stage, had some remaining explosives.
I chuckled once more as I raced back to the pile of toe-sized blast seeds stacked up near the raichu. I sucked up the seeds one by one into my mouth, storing them in my bulging cheeks for transportation. I leaped onto an empty cage and then the one on top of that. The three cages in front of me were empty, but behind them were still rows of pokémon.
“Get us out!” yelled a desperate pokémon to my right.
“Please free us!” someone else pleaded.
“Me first, me first!” another voice insisted.
I frowned, becoming slightly confused. “Okay, alright; wait.” My speech came out in little more than a jumble, and I began to dribble involuntarily as I tried to keep my mouth ajar for a little longer. I placed by front paws onto an empty cage to the right and pushed until it came to the edge of the stack and toppled off. The pair of cages beside it also fell, clashing against other cages and causing me to give a greasy – and awkward – smile. I turned and raced back to the pokémon I was going to release, making sure my toes didn’t slip between the wires under my feet. The last thing I wanted was to have something to distract me and slow me down. If I was to get outta here, it wasn’t going to be at any kind of leisurely pace.
Phoo, phoo, phoo, phoo!
I spat out four seeds in a row, making sure I took aim before doing so. The exploding seeds blew up as they made contact with the metal and four more pokémon cheered as they bolted out and away from their cages. “Bring them to the aron!” I instructed, seeing the pokémon hastily rush off the scene. In response to my commands, all four of them returned to drag - or push - their cages to a group of about six aron. Since they had all been starved during the past few days and we needed a way to get rid of the cages, I thought it would be sensible to feed the hunks of metal to the hungry steel types. It worked for us all, and we were more than satisfied when it turned out to be working.
“Flareon,” began a voice from behind, and I almost jumped. “I require releasing.” A pair of sharp, long claws slid between two bars of metal in a cage behind me, making a slight click against them. Apparently I’d missed a cage. All cages around her were empty, but the dark pokémon must have blended with the lack of light.
Taking a step toward the pokémon, I stared up into a semi-familiar face. It was somewhat elegant and came down to a slight point at the bottom. There was also a gem on her forehead and one of her ears was elongated and pink. But the most recognisable feature was the wound only hours old on her side. I gasped. “You’re the sneasel!” I began, my eyes widening. “Who...who was electrocuted...”
want to talk about it,” the sneasel, who was obviously female, hissed defensively.
“S-sorry. I just...I saw it happen, and I really wanted to help.” I looked at the pokémon with sad and sincere eyes. “I really would have if I could at the time!”
“You can help now by freeing me,” she pointed out.
“Yeah...” I nodded with assurance, and bounded down a few cages to get to the shrinking pile of blast seeds. I suddenly hoped there were enough for every last pokémon.
“W-where are you going?” the sneasel called to me, sounding urgent and slightly frightened.
“Getting you a blast seed; hang on!” I yelled back. I neared the stack of seeds, trying to fit between a small, pink happiny and two red-winged spearow. ‘Move it!’
I growled inwardly, my impatience getting the better of me. As more pokémon closed in around the seeds to gather them – and probably rescue their friends – I sighed and figured it would be sensible to wait. Normally I would have barged through, but by chance one of these pokémon would release the sneasel anyway.
“Having trouble keeping up?” laughed the quilava who was seated only a few metres away from me. I almost smiled at him, and nodded slowly.
“Shame, huh?” I replied, taking a few steps toward him. “They’re pretty popular.”
“Here.” A seed flew in my direction. I made an effort to catch it in my mouth, but it slid and bounced away. I rolled my eyes, hearing a “sorry” from the quilava, and pursued the escapee. I kept my eyes on it as I ran after it, but I was slightly alarmed as a black paw placed itself on top of my target, causing it come to a halt.
My legs slowed to a stop, and I looked up to see a figure standing in my way.
The paw was connected to a black leg with a blue ring on the top muscle. The leg belonged to a body, which held three more legs, each with the same blue ring in the same spot. I shifted my gaze to the pokémon’s face, which had yet another blue ring on the forehead, and big, red eyes—however, they did not seem threatening. The pokémon’s ears were long and much like a pikachu’s, and had, again, those blue rings wrapped around them close to the top. His tail looked exactly like the ears, and, obviously, it sat on the black pokémon’s rump.
I came to think. ‘...But why is he blue?’
“Is this yours?” he asked me.
“Uh, yeah. Thanks.” I took the seed in my mouth as I bent down once the umbreon removed his paw, and took a step back, placing it between my two front paws.
“You’re welcome,” he answered, smiling. We both stood on the spot and an awkward silence fell upon us as we neglected to say anything. I glanced around, spotting the sneasel who had now sat down and begun to fiddle with her long claws.
“...Anyway,” I continued, breaking the silence, “I need to...go and help—”
“Yeah.” The umbreon nodded, knowing what I was going to say.
I nodded, still trying to smile. “...I’ll...see you ‘round.” I scooped the seed up again and hid it in a cheek pocket.
“Sure,” he replied.
I kept standing for another few seconds before turning around and springing off the wooden floor. My paws landed on top of a cage nearby, which had nothing but air inside, and continued bounding my way up until I reached the sneasel. She was about to speak, but I cut her off with my own words. “Shield yourself,” I advised, and the sneasel hesitated before following my instructions. She held her near-black arms over her face as she pressed her body up against the metal bars behind her. I bulged my cheeks, then shot out the seed that seemed incapable of blowing something up. However, it proved itself to be useful as it did its job and freed the ice and dark type pokémon, spatters of material spraying us both in the process.
“Thank you,” the sneasel speedily spoke. “I am Zhol. And I am forever in your debt.”
I raised an eyebrow. ‘Forever in my debt?’
I thought, frowning slightly. ‘Poor thing doesn’t know that neither of us will be alive forever.’
“I’m Dusty. And...you don’t have to be in my debt,” I chuckled.
“I shall do what I can,” she reassured, nodding once as she stepped out beside me.
“Alrighty, then. How about for now, you could help me rescue some more pokémon?”
She agreed with another nod, following me down the stack of metal cages and over to the seeds. But there was still a long line. Pokémon after pokémon seemed to be lining up in order to get a few seeds each.
I sighed and turned around. “How about we collect cages instead? We can give them to the aron,” I suggested. Zhol nodded, and we both made our ways back to the cages. I craned my neck, trailing the pile upwards as I realised just how many there were. I knew that the aron were hungry, but they wouldn’t stay that way for long.
Straight after that quilava – whose name I had yet to learn – freed me from my prison-like cage, we began to release the pokémon on the topmost rows, then threw their cages down, liberating more pokémon as we descended.
Earlier a Rocket man had stormed in, probably after hearing the ruckus, and the quilava and I had a zubat use confuse ray on the man. Whilst he was dazed I had charged at him with a quick attack, hitting him hard. I then spat up gooey purple sludge by using toxic, which poisoned the man until he was knocked out—which was also when the poison wore off. He probably needed medical attention, but in such a situation it seemed impossible without exposing our plans. Therefore he still sat hopelessly slouched against the side wall unconscious. He may have woken up a few times, but there was a bidoof and a natu on guard – in case he woke up – to send him right back into unconsciousness.
I lowered my brow as I turned away from the sorry sight, and couldn’t help thinking of my trainer. Even if she had been bad, just like these people...there was no way I would ever leave her in that kind of shape. I had to wonder if we were really doing the right thing...
Finally, after what seemed like ages, every pokémon that were being held captive were free. Just about every cage had piled up in a corner of the giant crate, or else eaten by the aron and a lairon who now sat happily with full bellies. It was found that the cages were, in fact, pokémon resistant on the inside due to some kind of human technology, but the outside was like any other metal and was vulnerable to pokémon attacks. Eventually we worked out that the shortage of blast seeds wasn’t tragic, as our attacks worked perfectly when destroying the locks.
The only problem now was that there were pokémon everywhere, and I was now finding it hard to see through the large crowd of chatting and panicky creatures. But what was worse was the smell. Pokémon who had become sea-sick had vomited wherever they had happened to be standing at the time. And I wouldn’t even know what they had in their bellies to throw up. But the amount of droppings and urine was also disgusting, and you never knew when you were about to step in some. My nose was constantly crinkled by the foul smelling waste, and my paws were covered in who-knows-what. With the continuous string of pokémon needing to let loose either way, the brown – and sometimes green – muck would only build up... We needed to win our freedom. And fast.
I wanted to get through to that quilava. He seemed smart and from what I had gathered and I assumed that he would be the ideal plan-constructor—with my help, of course. So far we had all escaped our cages. Now we just had to break down the crate... Relocating the fire pokémon was the best idea I had, and I truly hoped he had a better one. There was only one way to find out.
I flinched as a something heavy stepped on top of my paw, dirtying it all the more, and I flicked my head to its direction. In front of me was a round, mostly green-coloured pokémon with two bushes on its back. I could see three large legs rounded off with thick paws from this angle, but there were obviously four. I ascended to his face, noting that half his head was cut off by the large yellow armour he carried on his back. His mouth was hooked, and his cheeks came to points and were yellow, matching the bottom jaw. As fancy and nature-loving as he was, he had no excuse for standing on my now-thumping toes!
“Watch it!” I growled, flaring up.
“Sorry,” insisted the grotle, shifting his large paw.
“Good...” I muttered, not in a forgiving mood.
“...Have you seen an umbreon?” he wondered, taking a quick glance through the crowd.
“No, I haven’t,” I replied with a frown. ‘I wonder if he means that blue-ringed one...’
“Have you seen a quilava?” I asked once we had both attempted to look over the mass of pokémon once more—but with little success.
Assuming he didn’t hear me over the noise, the bulky pokémon pushed between others and disappeared. I was about to call out to him and follow, but I was shoved backwards by a lardy yellow makuhita. I toppled over and crashed onto my side. ‘Talk about paranoid...’
I thought sourly as the fighting type held her head and let out a distressed cry. She was complaining about the fact that she was trapped in the crate without her precious trainer. “Aren’t we all?!” I questioned, a husky quality to my voice. The plump, yellow pokémon turned to me, and through her squinted eyes, she must have seen my frustration. She frowned and kept her mouth shut, and moved out the way as I barged through once I was on my paws again. ‘Where is that bloody quilava?!’
As I continued to push through the creatures surrounding me, I heard pokémon after pokémon talking about being so worried and afraid. They sounded as if they were thinking the worst, and it kinda of bugged me to see them all like this—so hopeless and cowardly. Not all of them, but most probably had trainers they longed to go home to. I know I did. Vesp, Wulua and Koi all did as well. It was a pretty horrible thing to do to pokémon, and I would show no mercy once I managed to get out there and kick some Team Rocket hind.
A slender body which was seated against a wall with a blue pokémon next to it caught my attention. As soon as I recognised the pokémon as who I thought he was, I rushed over to him with a sigh of relief. “I finally found you.”
“Hm?” The pokémon looked up at me with that same cool expression.
“I’d been looking for you,” I repeated, deciding to hide behind manners.
“Who’s this?” asked the blue pokémon beside my friend, rising to her paws. It was either just me, or she sounded defensive.
I was about to speak after taking a good look at the female eeveelution in front of me, but the quilava did it for me. “This is...?” He moved his head to the side whilst looking at me with eyes not fully open.
“Dusty,” I finished, once realising he didn’t know my name yet. He then turned to the glaceon. She didn’t say anything for a few seconds, and instead just looked at me with a hard expression.
“Raiys,” she started, her eyes set on me agitatedly, “why, may I ask, does this flareon know you?”
I blinked a few times, and realised that it was almost as if I didn’t exist. She was talking about me...when I was right in front of her... ‘But still...Raiys, huh? I gotta remember that.’
“Well, I helped Dusty escape right after we saw her earlier,” he simply replied. I wondered what he meant by that, and assumed the glaceon would know who I was if they saw me together. “Is there a problem?”
To his reply, the glaceon smiled—in a threatening kind of way. However, in a flash, the smile vanished and was replaced with a bored yet angry look. She opened her jaw, and then shut it again, looking as if she was shuffling her cheeks out of the way for her teeth to settle down onto one another. She avoided my eyes and shook back the long appendages coming from her headpiece. Without looking at either of us, the blue ice type muttered, “I have other business to tend to.”
As she walked away, I blinked whilst my cheeks rose, forming a frown and an unhappy mouth. “What’s her problem?” I really didn’t care if she heard me. Just means she’d know how I feel.
Raiys rose to his paws, still looking at his friend as she squeezed into the dense crowd. “She’s my partner.”
I blinked a few times, once again, in slight shock. “Partner...? Partner for what?” Did he mean mate?
“Something that’s best not said.” He turned to me, an expressionless look upon his face.
“...Why?” I asked with a flat tone.
“Well...partners in our work.”
I lowered my cheeks, but the frown still remained. But more of a thinking frown. What kind of work did they do? Did pokémon have to work in the wild? I drew a breath, deciding not to intrude...in that area. “B’t... Her attitude toward me was—”
“Well, yeah,” I responded. If he knew this, why was he ‘partners’ with her?
“Azure has a history of unusual events. She’s the way she is.”
“Can’t she be somewhat
friendly, though?” I questioned, almost recognising my tone as that of disgust.
“She’s unfriendly to strangers, but to her friends she is different. Gain her trust...and maybe you’ll see that side of her,” Raiys explained, a slight smile licking his lips.
I thought it over, and calculated it to make sense. It’s not like I’d ever want
to become her friend, anyway. However, now wasn’t the time to think about that. I did come to my fire type friend for a reason. “Hey—Raiys?”
The quilava’s neck rotated to face me. I could tell that he was surprised to hear me call him by his name. His eyes gave a sign of his attention being paid. “Mm?”
“You wouldn’t...happen to have a plan for escaping... Would you?”
Then the grin returned. It made me smile back, but I raised my eyebrow as he told me that although he had an idea, I would have to figure it out myself.
Continued in next post...