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    Writing stories about bugs Scytherwolf's Avatar
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    The Path of Destiny



    The Path of Destiny

    The story of a young arctic growlithe named Snowcrystal begins as a threat to the snowy mountains the growlithe call home drives her to seek help from the only pokemon who can reverse the damage that has been done-Articuno.

    Her quest leads her to meet several other pokemon, and they band together-each in search of something. However, her journey soon throws her in the midst of an adventure she never bargained for. And the danger her home lies in pales in comparison to the threats that lie in wait.


    Author's Notes:

    The Path of Destiny is a story I started writing on Deviantart in 2007. I later posted it to Fanfiction.net and Pe2k. It has been ongoing for quite some time and I decided that I would like to share it here.


    Rating:

    This is a PG-13+ story. I personally feel that it does not go above PG-13, though my idea of PG-13 is different from the forum's, so be aware that there will be some bloody scenes.


    Extras:

    Animations:

    Cyclone - How to Save a Life

    God Help the Outcasts

    Ask Blog:

    Ask the Characters a Question


    Chapter Navigation:


    Spoiler:
    Chapter 1-The Beginnings of a Journey

    Chapter 2-New Allies

    Chapter 3 - Into the Dark Forest

    Chapter 4 - Blazefang’s Discovery

    Chapter 5 - Search for the Fire Stone

    Chapter 6 - Battle for Freedom

    Chapter 7 - Another "Little" Adventure

    Chapter 8 - Blazefang's Plan

    Chapter 9 - Trapped

    Chapter 10 - A Traitor in Their Midst

    Chapter 11 - Shadowflare

    Chapter 12 - Spark’s Tale

    Chapter 13 - A New Threat

    Chapter 14 - Disaster Strikes

    Chapter 15 - A Small Quest

    Chapter 16 - A Risky Venture

    Chapter 17 - A New Owner

    Chapter 18 - An Unwelcome Return

    Chapter 19 - A Change of Plans

    Chapter 20 - Deception

    Chapter 21 - The Hope of Escape

    Chapter 22 - Danger Arises

    Chapter 23 - New Troubles Begin

    Chapter 24 - Battle at the Rocket’s Base

    Chapter 25 - Race Against Time

    Chapter 26 - Journey Through Darkness

    Chapter 27 - Captive

    Chapter 28 - The Forgotten City

    Chapter 29 - Unexpected Attacks

    Chapter 30 - Blazefang’s Departure

    Chapter 31 - A New Danger Arises

    Chapter 32 - A Shadow in the Dark

    Chapter 33 - The Dark Maze

    Chapter 34 - Shade’s Warning

    Chapter 35 - The Crystal Abyss

    Chapter 36 - Into the Canyon

    Chapter 37 - The Shelter Caves

    Chapter 38 - Plans for Battle

    Chapter 39 - The Battle

    Chapter 40 - To the Forest

    Chapter 41 - A Place of Rest or a Place of Danger?

    Chapter 42 - Moving On

    Chapter 43 - To the Mountain

    Chapter 44 - The Start of the Mountain Journey

    Chapter 45 - Articuno

    Chapter 46 - An Unsettling Discovery

    Chapter 47 - A New Destination

    Chapter 48 - Separation

    Chapter 49 - The Agreement

    Chapter 50 - Revisiting

    Chapter 51 – Searching

    Chapter 52 – Secrets of Stonedust

    Chapter 53 – Meetings

    Chapter 54 – Burning Ambition

    Chapter 55 - Objective

    Chapter 56 - Stonedust City's Underworld

    Chapter 57 - The Fighting Ring

    Chapter 58 - Underground Hell

    Chapter 59 - To the Surface

    Chapter 60 - The Resting Place

    Chapter 61 - Deal with the Devil

    Chapter 62 - Change of Heart

    Chapter 63 - Scytheclaw’s Sacrifice

    Chapter 64 – Going Forward

    Chapter 65 – The Wasteland

    Chapter 66 – Breaking Point

    Chapter 67 – Renegade

    Chapter 68 – Across the Desert

    Chapter 69 – Out of Time

    Chapter 70 – Leap of Faith

    Chapter 71 – Haven

    Chapter 72 – Stormy Decisions

    Chapter 73 – The Forbidden Attacks

    Chapter 74 – New Companion

    Chapter 75 – Shellreef City

    Chapter 76 – Toil on the Mountaintop

    Chapter 77 – A Time to Regroup

    Chapter 78 – Legendary Encounter



    Last edited by Scytherwolf; 06-15-2018 at 02:39 AM.


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    The Path of Destiny
    Chapter 1-The Beginnings of a Journey



    An icy cold wind blew fiercely across a vast rocky mountainside, bringing with it snow and ice that coated the jagged spurs of rock that jutted out from the mountain peak. The strong chilling winds filled the frigid air with their soft mournful howl, drowning out all other noise in the desolate landscape.

    The great snow-capped mountain loomed over a wilderness of icy plains and rugged grasslands, snow covering almost every inch of its rocky surface. Massive ice-covered shards of dark-colored rock loomed over immense canyons and crevices, creating steep and perilous drops at almost every turn. All that could be seen was rock and snow; there was no sign of life.

    The strong winds lashed down mercilessly across the mountainous wasteland, sending snow and hail flying in all directions. Clouds obscured the sky, eclipsing the mountain in almost complete darkness.

    Yet…there was sign of life after all…

    Padding carefully across the pale snow and ice was a pokémon. And, even more strangely, this pokémon was a growlithe; a young one. But even stranger still, the puppy pokémon had a strange coloration. The growlithe’s fur was as white as the snow she walked across so effortlessly, every bit of her coat the same sparkling white, save for the pale gray markings of her stripes. The growlithe lifted her head to the sky momentarily, showing no sign that she felt the cold. Lifting her paw again, the pokémon continued her short journey. Increasing her pace to a sprint, she seemed to glide over the ice and snow.

    Near a large slab of dark gray rock topped with snow a little ways away, another snow-white growlithe sat waiting. The pokémon’s thick fur was fluffed out against the wind and his eyes were half-closed as snow swirled around him. As the first growlithe approached, he spoke. “The others have been waiting.”

    “I’m sorry,” the female growlithe whispered, shuffling her paws. “Am I…am I the last one here?”

    The male growlithe bared his fangs slightly, disregarding her question as he spoke. “Do you have any idea of the importance of this meeting? Our leader has important news that every growlithe must know, Snowcrystal. Now hurry!”

    The young growlithe called Snowcrystal carefully trotted around the rock’s base, until she came to a small crevice in the side of the rock. Slipping inside, she was followed by the growlithe who had been waiting for her. The two of them crawled through a narrow and dark tunnel to emerge into an immense underground cavern. All around the walls of the cave were stone ledges, where several other growlithe sat, looking down at a group of youngsters who were scuffling on the cave floor, sending small embers into the air every once in a while. Stalactites covered the ceiling that arched over their heads, and the walls were studded with luminous crystal shards, all glowing a pale red. In fact, it was from those very same crystals that Snowcrystal had gotten her name.

    Once the two arriving growlithe had taken their place on the cave floor, the growlithe sitting on the highest ledge stepped forward. Eyeing each of the growlithe seated below him in turn, the leader prepared to deliver what could only be bad news. “Growlithe of the Ice Mountain,” he began, “Our land has been changing much in the past year. The ice is melting, and the houndour tribe has now claimed the lands that were once ice and snow. Many things have changed since Articuno left our mountain. I fear that in this time, we must adapt, and become like our cousins, the orange-furred growlithe that hunt in forests and plains.”

    This statement was met with shocked cries, and one growlithe called out, “But Icefang, we aren’t like other growlithe-we cannot live in warm climates as they can.”

    “There must be other lands of snow,” another cried. “Maybe we can search for a new home!”

    “I think we should send someone out to search!”

    “And who’s to say that someone would even make it back?”

    “Well what should we do? Move every growlithe, young and old, into strange lands without knowing what lies beyond?”

    The leader growlithe, Icefang, sat calmly on the high ledge as he listened to the others’ cries. He had anticipated this. “Listen,” he called to those down below, “on clear days one can stand on the mountain at any point and view the land around for miles. Have you seen any other mountains? No. We may have to adapt to strange places. If we are to survive we must leave before the snow melts completely, or the houndour tribe will drive us out themselves. We will need to learn to hunt in forests and plains, and live in the warmer lands, at least until our travels lead us to a new home.”

    The growlithe down below glanced nervously at one another. To most, the news of moving the entire growlithe tribe was nothing new; there had been lots of rumors about it before. All the same, it was startling to hear that it would soon actually be happening. Still, most of them were doubtful that they could survive in such strange territories beyond what had always been their home. There was a reason the houndour tribe was taking the growlithes’ territory as the snow melted; the land further on was little more than a barren wasteland, though from the mountain, a growlithe could see what looked like a large forest beyond that. However, no one was sure what lurked there, and if the houndour tribe had no interest in moving to that forest, it couldn’t be an ideal territory.

    The young growlithe Snowcrystal listened as the members of the growlithe tribe argued back and forth. It was apparent that they were wondering how soon they would have to leave, where they would go, and just how far the houndour who lived in the plains near the mountains would go to claim their home.

    Snowcrystal knew that until recently, the growlithe and the houndour had for the most part left each other in peace, each having their own hunting grounds and lands to call their own. However, she also knew that hunting was difficult in both habitats, and the houndour had been taking over what once had been frozen plains for themselves. The melting of the snow seemed so strange and unnatural, that the only explanation anyone could give was that the odd occurrence was happening because Articuno had left the mountain.

    No one had understood how or why, but the great arctic bird who had once protected them, shielding their lands from enemies who happened to stumble upon the mountain, had one day flown from the ice mountain and off into the distance. Several growlithe had seen it, but they didn’t think it that unusual until a long time had passed, and Articuno had still not returned. When the snow started to melt in the plains surrounding the mountain, the growlithe had almost immediately blamed it on the disappearance of the legendary bird. Some were worried that without Articuno’s protection, humans would stumble upon the mountain. The growlithe had heard from traveling pokémon, mostly flying types, of trainers and the way they greatly valued pokémon of unusual color. To Snowcrystal, white growlithe were normal, but according to the travelers, humans had never seen or heard of them before.

    For a while, Snowcrystal had tried to believe that Articuno hadn’t abandoned them, or that the ice would stop melting, but it all seemed as if they really had been left to fend for themselves. It all seemed as if Articuno, the one who’d helped them survive for so long, had really gone from their land for good.

    But what if there was a reason for it? Ignoring the other growlithe, Snowcrystal stood up and called to her leader, who was still trying to reason with the tribe, “What if someone went to search for Articuno?”

    Snowcrystal was immediately aware of all eyes focusing on her. Icefang spoke to her calmly, “I am afraid Articuno has probably left of his own free will. If that is really the case, there is nothing we can do to bring him back.”

    “But what if there’s a reason Articuno left?” Snowcrystal cried back, hardly noticing that the cavern had become suddenly silent. “What if he can’t get back? What if he needs our help?” The young growlithe had thought these things over many times, but until now, she had never really thought about doing anything. After all, these thoughts had just been guesses, but now it seemed like their only hope of being able to hold their claim on the lands they called home.

    “Well, we still have a lot of our territory left,” Snowcrystal continued. “We have time. I could search for Articuno, and if I don’t find him, then yes, we will have to leave, but we can’t give up just yet! Besides, taking the entire tribe into unknown territory is dangerous, especially for the young ones! There are humans and strange pokémon further on; we all know that this is one of the few places humans don’t travel by.”

    Icefang sighed. He admired the young growlithe’s courage, but he knew there was very little chance that she would discover Articuno. “We cannot rely on mere guesses and ideas for something this important, Snowcrystal. Finding Articuno would be a near impossible feat.”

    “But I could still try!” Snowcrystal protested. “I’ve never been to the lands beyond the snow, but I’m not afraid! One growlithe leaving now would be better than moving the entire group without knowing what’s out there. Besides, the tribe won’t have to move for a while longer, so it still gives us time! And…and if you don’t approve, I’ll go anyway!”

    This last remark was received by disapproving glares from many of the surrounding growlithe. One was not to speak to a leader in that way. However, Icefang did not seem angry. “Very well,” he stated at last, his voice betraying no emotion. “No one can stop you if this is what you truly want. We still have a while before we must move to new territory, and in the meantime we must all discuss what we are to do.” He turned to the rest of the tribe, addressing them. “I understand that you are worried about this news, but I have thought over this for a long time. Unless Articuno returns and replenishes our land…” he paused, almost wanting to say ‘whether or not it was his fault at all’, “I’m afraid we will have to leave…” He glanced over the solemn gazes of the growlithe crowding the cavern and sighed. “We will discuss this again starting tomorrow night…”

    After Icefang finished his small speech, the growlithe slowly left the cavern in stunned silence, the thought of loosing their home devastating. However, a few of them looked hopeful, giving Snowcrystal encouraging glances as they passed through the narrow tunnel.

    At last, only she and Icefang remained. The larger growlithe walked over to her, looking at her with a serious expression. “I hope you understand just what you’re getting into if you choose to undertake this mission.”

    Snowcrystal gave him a small smile. “I don’t know what I’m getting into,” she told him, “but whatever happens, I’ll do whatever I can to find Articuno.”

    Icefang nodded in reply. He knew that the growlithe he ruled over were far from weak. They thrived in the frigid mountain climate, and in the icy plains below. A growlithe had great endurance, able to travel across the mountain many times in one day without getting tired. “I know you will,” he told the young growlithe, “but you must remember everything you’ve learned. Every survival skill you posses will be vitally important. And also…”

    The leader’s voice trailed off as he leaped up the stone ledges to his own place at the highest one, vanishing into a small cave behind it that was nearly hidden by the rock. A moment later he reappeared, holding a bright amulet in his mouth. Attached to a string of tough plant fibers, a single glowing red crystal blazed brightly. Leaping gracefully to the ground, Icefang presented Snowcrystal with the gift, setting it down reverently at the young growlithe’s paws.

    “This amulet was given to me by my mother, the growlithe leader before me. I was told to pass it down to one who has done great service to the tribe. At the time, I believed it meant that I must give it to the next leader, but now, I believe I should let you keep it.”

    “But…I have not done anything yet,” Snowcrystal replied, giving the leader a confused glance.

    He smiled. “You are very brave to undertake a journey for the tribe like this, Snowcrystal, and I know that if you mange to convince Articuno to return, he will be able to restore our home to the way it was. There might not be another leader after me if our tribe cannot adapt and separates, and I’d much rather send this amulet with the one hope that we may be able to keep our old lands.”

    “T-thank you,” Snowcrystal began, astonished. She was surprised that the leader had put so much faith in her, when she knew her quest was going to be a long and difficult one, if it was even possible at all.

    Carefully, Icefang bent down and picked up the amulet, placing it around Snowcrystal’s neck. “Who knows?” the leader chuckled. “It may bring you good luck.”

    Snowcrystal smiled. “Maybe…” She glanced toward the rocky tunnel and replied, “I must leave as soon as possible. Thank you for your gift, but I must begin my journey.”

    Icefang nodded again. “I understand…” As Snowcrystal turned to leave, the older growlithe whispered, “And may the legendaries be with you…”

    -ooo-

    By early morning, the clouds that lingered above the great mountain had thinned out, and the wind had died down a bit. Padding carefully through the snow, Snowcrystal turned and glanced back at the mountain she had left, knowing that if she failed, she may never see it again. Still, she knew she had to try, and she was determined to one day return…along with Articuno.

    Turning back to the way ahead, the growlithe failed to notice the group of pokémon who were crouched down in the sparse grass near where the snow plains ended not far away. As Snowcrystal passed by without a glance, a dog-like pokémon raised his black and red head over the thin blades of dried grass.

    The houndour seemed puzzled. Turning to his hunting companions, he whispered, “It’s one of the growlithe…what’s she doing so close our lands?”

    “I dunno, Fang,” one of his companions, a houndour whose muzzle and belly fur were a dark orange color in contrast to the first one’s red, replied, “but she doesn’t look lost…she’s heading somewhere with a purpose…but what would that be?”

    The first houndour, Blazefang, narrowed his eyes as he watched the white shape walking so calmly over the snow. Turning to the speaker, he replied, “I don’t know…but this is strange…I don’t like it…”

    “I don’t understand, though,” a third houndour barked, speaking up for the first time, “what do we have to worry about a stray growlithe? Looks like she’s heading away from our lands as well as the mountain; it’s not like she’s planning to take part of our territory.”

    “I’ve got a bad feeling…” Blazefang muttered, “I want to know what’s going on. Wildflame!” he turned to the houndour who had first spoken her opinion. “Go and find Darkclaw. I want to know if the growlithe are planning anything.”

    Wildflame nodded, and headed off. Lowering their heads, the other two followed, making hardly a sound as they slipped into the shelter of the tall grass, vanishing as if they were never there.

    -ooo-

    Darkclaw the murkrow was a well-known spy among the houndour tribe. He had already alerted the tribe to the fact that the growlithe were possibly planning on leaving if their snowy habitat continued to shrink. The houndour came to him whenever they suspected that the growlithe tribe might be planning a move against them, and he gladly accepted their requests, for the price of a rattata or two.

    As the group of houndour approached his favorite tree, Darkclaw flew down toward a twisted lower bough, facing Blazefang. The murkrow ruffled his black feathers as he alighted on the branch, giving the group of houndour a curious gaze through narrowed eyes. The tough houndour smiled as the murkrow landed. “Darkclaw,” he began, “I need to know what’s going on at the growlithe’s mountain…”

    To be continued…
    Last edited by Scytherwolf; 07-31-2016 at 10:32 PM.

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  5. #3
    Used Thunderbolt! Arrow-Jolteon's Avatar
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    Wow, reading this again got me really nostalgic. :D

    It feels great to read Path of Destiny again. I really hope this catches on. But oh man... knowing what happens to Articuno gets me a little sad about Snowcrystal's optimism...

    But anyway, it's every bit as engaging as I remember it. :)

  6. #4
    Writing stories about bugs Scytherwolf's Avatar
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    Thanks, glad you enjoyed it, especially after it having been so long!

    I'll definitely post more chapters as I go through them; want to make sure I at least get rid of the silly typos and odd wording before I post more up. xD

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    The Path of Destiny
    Chapter 2-New Allies



    By nightfall, Darkclaw had returned. Blazefang had been waiting by a big jagged stone that was flecked with snow. Wildflame and his other companion, a young houndour named Boneclaw, were also crouched beside the boulder.

    The murkrow swooped down low toward the ground, landing on the topmost point of the rock. Folding his wings, Darkclaw looked down as the three houndour gathered below. He began speaking, “I managed to hear two growlithe talking. They say the one with the crystal shard has gone to find Articuno, so he can bring back the snow and restore the land they’ve lost. Of course,” he added, noticing the houndour’s angry expressions, “She has little chance of actually finding that pokémon.”

    Blazefang sighed. He knew the trials the houndour had faced in the past years. Food was becoming scarcer, and they needed every bit of territory they could get. For reasons unknown, the wasteland surrounding the lands of houndour and growlithe had always remained barren, devoid of any sign of life. Very little plants existed there, and no prey. The only way the houndour could gain more territory was by claiming the parts of growlithe land that no longer suited the needs of the white dog pokémon.

    “But she’s still got a chance,” Blazefang muttered, uprooting a clump of grass with his claws, “And what if Articuno does return? He was always fair to us, but…well, we need more places to hunt!”

    “I wouldn’t worry,” Darkclaw smirked, “It is a fool’s journey this growlithe is undertaking. She will probably end up dead.”

    “I still think our leader should hear about this…,” Blazefang muttered.

    “Well then tell her,” Darkclaw said with a grin. “But of course, if it bothers you so much, then why don’t you just follow the growlithe and stop her?”

    “I need to talk to Firedash about all this,” Blazefang growled, “Maybe you’re right…maybe there’s nothing to worry about…but I still don’t like it.”

    -ooo-

    Firedash was the proud leader of the houndour tribe. She was unevolved, like most of the houndour and all of the growlithe, but she was tough and vicious, respected by all those of her tribe, evolved or not. The leader made her home in a rocky cave, much different from the caves further up the icy mountain slopes.

    It was this cave that the trio of houndour, led by Blazefang, approached hesitantly. Their leader’s moods were sometimes unpredictable. The three stopped warily at the entrance, and it was Blazefang who at last entered the cave and called his leader’s name.

    He was almost at once greeted by the sight of the small but dangerous houndour approaching him from the darkness.

    “Firedash,” Blazefang murmured respectfully, dipping his head, “Darkclaw has brought us more news of the growlithe tribe.”

    Blazefang had caught Firedash in a good mood. The houndour leader smiled. “Well…what has our murkrow friend found out this time?” she asked calmly.

    Blazefang quickly explained what he’d learned, and Firedash listened intently. After he was through, the leader replied, “If the growlithe believe that Articuno will help them, then why wouldn’t he help us? What if you were to find the arctic bird first?”

    Blazefang exchanged confused glances with Boneclaw and Wildflame. “Me?” Blazefang repeated, astonished. “Find Articuno?”

    Firedash chuckled. “Not just you. The growlithe were foolish to send but one traveler. I shall send many. The lone growlithe that left may have some idea of where Articuno is. I want you to follow her, Blazefang. Articuno always looked out for both growlithe and houndour in the past. If you can convince him that we are the ones who need the territory more, then he shall help us. Now Blazefang, I will select several houndour from our tribe to follow you. I’m appointing you leader of the traveling group.”

    Blazefang, despite his confusion and fear, managed a smile. Leader…he had always liked the sound of that. “Yes, yes of course, Firedash,” the houndour replied, smiling, “We’ll follow the growlithe!”

    “Good,” Firedash nodded, “Now go. Wait by the berry grove. I will select the others to accompany you soon.” Blazefang nodded as he, Boneclaw, and Wildflame left, leaving the houndour leader alone. Firedash smiled. If Blazefang could convince Articuno to come back and help them himself, then all their problems would be solved. And if Blazefang failed…well, the snow in the growlithe’s territory was still melting.

    -ooo-

    Night had fallen over the dusky brown wasteland, leaving Snowcrystal exhausted. Her normally pure white fur was now filthy from the dust that was constantly being blown through the air all across the rocky landscape. It was warmer here, but Snowcrystal knew she didn’t have to worry much about the heat. Her kind survived in the snowy habitats because of the internal flame that kept them warm. When it got warmer, that flame died down a bit, to prevent the growlithe from being overheated or using up too much of their firepower. However, white fur was easy to spot where there was no snow, and Snowcrystal did not know how she would be able to hunt. She decided that when she reached the line of trees she could see in the distance, she would look for some berries.

    While she wasn’t worried about traveling through warmer climates, she knew that it was no place for pokémon who were adapted to living in lands of snow. Her kind were used to hunting in their own terrain; it would be quite a challenge to learn how to survive anywhere else. Their bright white fur would make it incredibly difficult for even a skilled hunter to stalk prey, even under the cover of a forest. Not to mention that, although the heat wasn’t an immediate danger, it was very uncomfortable. She was a fire type, but she wasn’t used to the outside temperatures being so warm. It also didn’t seem as if there would even be a place for the entire tribe of growlithe in a strange forest filled with strange pokémon. They needed the mountain.

    Looking around, Snowcrystal could see a big group of rocks the color of mud a little ways away, and beyond that lay the forest, still far off in the distance. Snowcrystal had been traveling from the snowy plains all day, and yet the forest appeared no closer. Feeling a need to find shelter for the night, Snowcrystal headed for the mud-colored rocks.

    The moment she reached them, the growlithe lay down against one, feeling exhausted. She had caught no prey in the wasteland, and was beginning to wonder if she’d ever make it to the forest. The only water she’d had that day was from a small half-frozen stream in her own territory.

    “This is going to take longer than I thought,” Snowcrystal whispered to herself, “I sure hope I can-”

    A sudden noise from the rocks above her startled the growlithe out of her thoughts. Leaping up, Snowcrystal glanced up at the large jagged boulder, seeing a few pebbles roll down its side. Snowcrystal suddenly felt afraid. Anything could be lurking behind these big rocks at night; just because the place was said to be uninhabited didn’t mean it was true.

    Creeping slowly around the base of the nearest rock, Snowcrystal peered around, soon finding herself staring through a labyrinth of huge boulders. Carefully she crept further along, looking for whatever had made the noise from before. Common sense should have warned her to stay away from the rocks where an enemy could be lurking in the shadows, but Snowcrystal was too nervous to think clearly.

    As she passed one rock after another, she began to get a strange feeling. The place seemed…eerie… All the rocks now looked black in the darkness, and since the tallest ones loomed overhead, they blocked out most of the sky. Just as she was about to turn back, Snowcrystal heard a loud screech, and then something cannoned into her with such force that she was knocked into the side of one of the stones.

    The creature was bigger than she was, and its fur had a spiky, rough texture. Kicking out with both paws, Snowcrystal felt her claws scrape the other pokémon’s skin, startling it enough that it lost its footing and she was able to lash out at the new enemy with all four paws. This sent it rolling away from her. The pokémon jumped up, then darted at her once more, using what she knew to be quick attack. As the stranger collided into her again, Snowcrystal blew a small ember in its direction, but it twisted out of the way, its fur barely singed.

    Snowcrystal stood up, trying to summon up the strength for a more powerful fire attack, when the strange pokémon stopped a few feet away from her. Electricity crackled over its spiny fur, lighting up its face and allowing the young growlithe to see its bared fangs. Sparks flew from the pokémon, illuminating a small bit of the area around it and casting strange shadows against the tall rocks.

    Now that she could see it clearly, Snowcrystal recognized the pokémon from some of the stories told by the members of the growlithe tribe. It was an evolution of eevee, though she couldn’t remember the name. Was it sparkeon? Jolteon? Shockeon? Though she was confused as to why this pokémon was in a wasteland, she didn’t have much time to think. With a growl, it ran towards her, firing off a blast of electricity that left the rock behind Snowcrystal singed as she leaped out of the way. Turning to face the pokémon, which she was now sure was called ‘jolteon’, Snowcrystal crouched down as she prepared for its next attack.

    Then another voice behind her made her jump in surprise and fright. “Spark, what are you doing? Can’t you see it’s just a growlithe?”

    Snowcrystal whipped around as another pokémon approached, also a strange pokémon to be found in a wasteland. The second stranger was bigger than both her and the jolteon, and looked much more threatening. It was a green bug type, with large claws on its feet, and a long, slightly curved fang sticking out of each side of its mouth. Four large wings fanned out from the pokémon’s back, but it was the pokémon’s arms that Snowcrystal couldn’t stop from staring at, for part of the creature’s arms were made up of long, lethal-looking silvery-white blades, wickedly curved and deadly sharp. It towered over Snowcrystal, and despite not wanting to seem afraid, the growlithe backed away.

    Like jolteon, scyther was a pokémon Snowcrystal had heard about, though the stories she had heard about scythers hadn’t been good, usually depicting them as killers and murderers. It took a moment for Snowcrystal to realize that, unlike the jolteon, this scyther was making no move to attack her, and was simply looking at her with a calm expression. Apart from its physical appearance, there seemed to be nothing threatening about the bug pokémon. Snowcrystal relaxed. After all, he did seem to disapprove of the jolteon’s attack.

    The electric pokémon also relaxed, and muttered, “One can never tell who’s an enemy in this place…”

    “Well I think it’s easy to tell that this pokémon isn’t,” the scyther told the jolteon sharply. “She obviously doesn’t live here. She must be a traveler, like us.”

    Snowcrystal noticed the scyther looking at her with a slightly betrayed expression, as if he wasn’t sure why she still seemed afraid of him. She turned to the jolteon. “Who are you?” she asked quietly, “What are you doing in the middle of this wasteland?”

    “I could ask you the same question,” the jolteon muttered, but after receiving a disapproving glare from the scyther, he quickly muttered, “We’re just travelers…don’t really have much of an idea where we’re going actually. My name is Spark. Trainer named me…” he added in a whisper. He then motioned with his head toward the scyther, “And that’s Stormblade.”

    “Wait…” Snowcrystal whispered, “You had a trainer?”

    “Yes, we both did,” the jolteon answered, suddenly seeming a little nervous. “We uh, we ran away. Oh, no, he wasn’t a bad trainer. Never abused us. We just…wanted to be wild again.” Stormblade nodded in agreement.

    Snowcrystal began to think that there was a bit more to it than that, but she didn’t question them further. Instead, she kept quiet and listened.

    “We’ve been wandering around for about uh…three weeks now,” Spark continued, sounding somewhat hesitant. “We even found a forest, but Stormblade just wanted to move on. Said it was bad or something.” Spark cast an annoyed glance at Stormblade, then continued, “It even had plenty of fruit trees, and all sorts of berries. I’ve never seen a forest that plentiful in food before. It made me wonder why there weren’t any pokémon there, at least not any that we saw.”

    “That’s what I didn’t like about it,” Stormblade muttered. “And didn’t you see that human town? There were pokémon traps and poisoned food all over the place! We were lucky there weren’t any traps in the forest itself.”

    Snowcrystal began to feel a little doubtful about entering the forest at all, but if there was food there, it was probably her only choice. “Well I’m going there anyway,” the growlithe said stubbornly. “And if I were you, I wouldn’t be heading toward the plains by that mountain. You won’t get a warm welcome.”

    The jolteon and scyther glanced at each other, then back at Snowcrystal. “Well you didn’t tell us why you’re here,” Spark growled, obviously still suspicious.

    “I have something important to do,” Snowcrystal told the two pokémon. “I’m looking for a legendary pokémon, Articuno. You haven’t seen him have you? Or even heard of where he might be?”

    Stormblade looked surprised and Spark only scoffed, “Seen the legendary Articuno? Who do you think we are? We’re just a couple of ordinary pokémon!”

    “Look, I just need to find him, and I can do it too! Someone must have seen him or knows where he went,” Snowcrystal argued, “He used to live on the top of that mountain, but he disappeared. I’ve gone to look for him. My tribe will be in… grave danger if I don’t find him and convince him to come back to the mountain.” She finished her sentence a little uncertainly, not really wanting to go into much detail.

    “You’re going to look for Articuno all on your own?” Spark replied, sounding a little less arrogant than before. “I hate to break it to you, but there’s very little chance you’ll actually find him, let alone get the chance to speak to him…” He peered closely at the growlithe, and the crystal she wore around her neck. “It’s strange…” he mused, “I’ve never seen a white growlithe before…I thought all growlithe were orange!”

    Snowcrystal couldn’t help but laugh. “All of us orange? Of course not! Sure, there a lot of orange growlithe that live in forests and plains far away, but there are many white ones too.” She sighed. “I guess not a lot of pokémon know about us. It’s for the better I suppose.” Snowcrystal was beginning to feel safer among these other two pokémon, even if they were strangers. By now she was certain she had nothing to fear from them, even if Spark didn’t seem to want to trust her so quickly or easily.

    “You know,” Stormblade began, “Maybe we can help you look for a while. After all, we’re looking for a new home, and you’re looking for something too. Maybe we can look together. We’ll have a much better chance of survival if there’s more of us.”

    “Look, I don’t know…” Spark mumbled, “We don’t even know her…”

    “That sounds like a great idea,” Snowcrystal interrupted. “We’ll help each other. It’ll be much easier that way.”

    Spark scowled, clearly angry at being voted out, and Snowcrystal sighed. “I understand if you don’t trust me, but there’s not much I can do to hurt you, so you’re pretty much safe,” she added with a shrug.

    Spark glared back at her. “I’m not afraid if that’s what you’re thinking!” he growled.

    “Sure seems like it,” Snowcrystal replied with a smirk. “Now,” she added, addressing Stormblade this time, “I assume you came here to rest? Well I did too. We should stay here for the night then continue on in the morning.”

    Stormblade agreed and the three settled down beside the rocks, though Snowcrystal noticed that Spark was still glaring at her, though he now seemed more annoyed than wary. Snowcrystal shook her head softly as she curled up against the base of a rock, thinking over the past events. The scyther seemed nice, and the jolteon didn’t seem that bad either, even though he didn’t seem to want her to come along.

    After a while of lying down and trying to sleep, Snowcrystal began to get the same strange feeling she had felt upon first reaching the rocks. She stood up and peered around, though the only source of light in the area was from the small but bright red glow of her crystal. The area had started to seem creepy again, and she had first thought that the feeling must have come from Spark, watching her from the rocks when she’d arrived. She glanced over to her right, and a short distance away, the jolteon was sleeping peacefully.

    Still a bit unsettled, Snowcrystal stood up, deciding to act as a lookout for the group for a little while. Carefully climbing one of the massive brown rocks, Snowcrystal was glad that she was used to that kind of thing. Back at the mountain, she raced and climbed over rocks every day. Once she reached the top, she could see most of the jagged stones, but somehow, being able to see everything made the whole place seem creepier.

    For a while, she sat on top of the rock, watching the area or peering up at the stars and moon every once in a while. Despite her fear, she was beginning to get drowsy, and found it harder and harder to keep awake. Just as she was debating whether to climb back down and go to sleep, a small flicker of movement caught her eye. Instantly alert, she glanced around, but saw nothing. Thinking she should warn the others, Snowcrystal started to climb down.

    Suddenly something knocked her completely off her feet and over the edge of the rock. Snowcrystal’s startled scream woke Stormblade and Spark, and the scyther was the first to take action. Quickly darting underneath the growlithe so as to soften her fall, he glanced upward at the rock, seeing a strange pokémon floating in midair.

    Snowcrystal rolled onto the ground, not seriously hurt thanks to Stormblade. She and Spark looked up as well. The pokémon who’d fired the attack was not one Snowcrystal had heard of, but Stormblade seemed to recognize it. It was a small grayish purple ghost type pokémon with eerie yellow eyes. Snowcrystal heard Stormblade mutter the name ‘shuppet’. Beside her, Spark started to tremble. “This place must be crawling with ghost types,” the jolteon whispered.

    Stormblade was just about to make a reply, when several other ghost pokémon of various types and species materialized around them all at once. Snowcrystal could hear Stormblade whispering some of their names as he glanced around, “Misdreavus, ghastly, duskull…”

    Spark seemed to have overcome some of his fear. “Ghost pokémon can still be hit with electricity,” he whispered. “A thunderbolt ought to do the trick!”

    “Wait, shouldn’t we-” Snowcrystal began, but she didn’t have time to finish. Crackling electricity surged from the jolteon’s fur and into the air, hitting several of the ghost pokémon. For a moment they seemed ready to back off, but then even more ghostly shapes appeared, surrounding the three pokémon.

    “Heh, heh…oops…” Spark muttered sheepishly.

    “‘Oops’ is right…” Stormblade growled quietly.

    The ghost pokémon moved closer, every one of them glaring at the three travelers. Snowcrystal backed up against a rock, staring from one enemy to another.

    “This…isn’t good…”

    To be continued…

    Author's Note: Meeting Stormblade and Spark for the first time...good times. It's been forever since I've read these old chapters; it's been fun reading them again so far.
    Last edited by Scytherwolf; 07-09-2017 at 02:08 AM.


  8. #6
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    Hehe, this chapter XD

    Reading it again it makes me realize how a lot of the characters have grown: Spark has always been pretty hasty and a bit goofy, but in recent chapters he became a lot friendlier. To say nothing of how Blazefang developed. And Stormblade... poor guy (I won't spoil it for the sake of new readers, but yeah, what happens to him is not pretty :C)

  9. #7
    Writing stories about bugs Scytherwolf's Avatar
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    Yeah, they have grown a lot. It was interesting seeing them from the very beginning all over again when I was reading over this. They've come a long way since then. XD


  10. #8
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    The Path of Destiny
    Chapter 3 - Into the Dark Forest



    “What do we do now?” Snowcrystal whispered, looking hopefully at Stormblade and Spark.

    “We fight, of course!” the jolteon growled, glaring from one ghost pokémon to another.

    “We can’t fight them all,” argued Stormblade. “But I think I have an idea.” As he and Snowcrystal backed up toward a group of rocks, the scyther whispered something to Spark. The jolteon nodded and fired off a large blast of electricity; not large enough to hit all of the ghost pokémon, but enough to create quite a lot of light...

    “Now run!” Stormblade yelled, and nudged Snowcrystal, who was practically blinded by the electric blast illuminating the dark area. The growlithe stood up and ran, unwittingly in the opposite direction of where Spark had just bolted. Instead of following the others, she was heading further into the maze of jagged rocks.

    Snowcrystal let out a cry of terror as more strange pokémon appeared out of thin air around her, all of them ghost types. Shaking with fear, she glanced around for Spark, but the jolteon was nowhere to be seen. She could see clearly again, but obviously Spark’s attack hadn’t stopped the ghost pokémon for long.

    Before she could try to fire an ember attack, a shadow punch from one of the enemy pokémon sent her skidding across the dusty ground. Feeling her back hit one of the rocks roughly, Snowcrystal struggled to stand. A moment later, she had to dash behind the boulder as several various attacks hit it at once. She could feel the rock shake from the impact.

    Knowing she stood no chance in a fight, Snowcrystal took off, hoping it would be harder for the ghost types to hit her as she dodged between the rocks. However, she quickly discovered that their attacks could move through them, and she found herself running madly through a maze of jagged brown stone.

    Glancing left and right, Snowcrystal tried to find a way out, realizing that although her kind were naturally fast, ghost pokémon were everywhere, appearing around every corner. They were going to trap her if she didn’t make it out in the open soon.

    A shadow ball attack out of nowhere sent her crashing to the ground. Her crystal amulet was sent flying from her and landed a few meters away, glowing softly. As Snowcrystal struggled to stand up, a green blur darted in front of her. Quickly realizing it was Stormblade, she managed to get to her feet. The scyther pointed with his blade to the left, indicating where she should run.

    Snowcrystal took off just as Stormblade struck a haunter with night slash. She had only gone a few paces when she suddenly turned back, remembering the crystal that had been left lying near one of the big rocks. Snowcrystal raced towards the amulet and quickly snapped it up in her jaws before running in the direction the scyther had indicated.

    It wasn’t long before she had cleared the rocks and was out in the open. Stopping to try and locate the others, she realized that the ghost pokémon weren’t following her. Some of them glared at her eerily from the rocks, but they did not venture beyond. Snowcrystal shivered as she carefully slipped the amulet back over her neck. A moment later, she heard approaching pawsteps and turned to see Spark limping toward her.

    “What’s the matter? Are you hurt?” Snowcrystal asked, worried. The jolteon’s front leg didn’t look too badly damaged, but it did seem to slow him down.

    “It’s not bad,” Spark muttered, shrugging, as he sat beside Snowcrystal. “A bunch of those ghosts tried using these weird attacks on me, and one of them hurt my leg a bit, but it’s nothing serious.”

    Snowcrystal was glad that Spark seemed less hostile, but she still had no idea if Stormblade was all right. However, she didn’t have to worry long, for the scyther soon flew from the direction of the rocks and landed beside them. He cast a worried look back at the hostile pokémon and Spark assured him that they didn’t seem to want to venture past the rocks.

    Snowcrystal glanced fearfully at the ghost types who were still watching them, and remembered how Stormblade had tried to fight them. “Are you all right?” she asked him, not sure whether or not he’d been injured in the battle.

    “Yes,” answered Stormblade, “I’m not hurt. It seemed like those attacks were more for the purpose of scaring us away than actually injuring us.”

    “I beg to differ,” Spark muttered darkly, starting to lick his injured leg.

    “It could have been a lot worse,” Stormblade replied. “With their numbers, they could have killed us, but they didn’t. Though why they’re guarding those rocks I have no idea.”

    Snowcrystal sighed. “Well, let’s get going. We’re going to have to make it to the forest soon…”

    “Don’t worry…it’s not as far away as it looks. We should make it by tomorrow,” Stormblade told her. “But remember, the forest isn’t safe. We’ll have to be careful.”

    Snowcrystal nodded and the three headed off, sleep forgotten, as one by one the ghost pokémon disappeared into thin air.

    -ooo-

    Blazefang now led a group of about twenty houndour, not including himself, Boneclaw, and Wildflame. The somewhat small and inexperienced houndour now felt important and entirely in charge of the group who’d been chosen to seek out Articuno and follow Snowcrystal.

    It had been fairly easy for the newly formed pack to follow the growlithe’s tracks, and being fire types, the lack of water was not overly worrying. All the same, Blazefang was eager to reach the forest up ahead, where finding food and water would be far easier. Though they had traveled much through the night, the nocturnal pokémon were getting tired, and at last Blazefang decided to let them rest a bit.

    “All right everyone, let’s stop for a while. Try and get some sleep,” Blazefang called to the others. “Boneclaw, Wildflame, and I will be lookouts.”

    One houndour gestured with his head toward a large group of rocks in the distance. “Why don’t we rest over there?” he asked, “Instead of just lying out here in the open?”

    Blazefang rolled his eyes. “’Cause me and these two will be able to spot any danger over a long distance from here,” the leader muttered. “How could we do that if we stop by all those big rocks, huh? And don’t you think some other pokémon, some unfriendly pokémon, might be thinking the same thing? To take shelter by the rocks? And what if they found us sheltering there? What then, eh?”

    The houndour who’d made the suggestion fell silent, turning away from his leader as he curled up on a patch of dusty ground.

    “Right,” growled Blazefang. “I’m the leader here an’ I give the orders, alright?”

    The other houndour mumbled something inaudibly. “What was that?” inquired Blazefang. “Speak up!”

    “All right!” the houndour replied reluctantly, and Blazefang smiled, nodding in reply.

    “That’s right!”

    -ooo-

    By the time the first rays of sun began to shine on the distant horizon, the forest appeared to be much closer to the three travelers. “Well, at least we’re getting somewhere,” Snowcrystal remarked to Stormblade as she studied the group of trees ahead. The scyther nodded and the two walked on, Spark following at a short distance. However, the jolteon was limping a lot less, and Snowcrystal was relieved that the injury really hadn’t been serious.

    The group had no trouble from wild pokémon, spotting only a sandslash or a cacnea here and there. These pokémon neither approached nor threatened them, and the travelers left them alone. Now that it wasn’t so dark, the going was much quicker, and Snowcrystal could almost forget the ghost pokémon attack at the rocks in her excitement to continue the journey.

    It wasn’t much longer before the three travelers came upon the outer fringes of the forest. Spark even came across a small stream near the first group of trees, allowing them to take a drink and rest briefly before carrying on.

    As they began to make their way through the winding paths of the forest, with Stormblade in the lead, Snowcrystal began to notice a few things. First of all, she now realized that Spark had been right; there were no signs of any other pokémon, no natural forest noise. No scurrying rattata in the undergrowth, no chattering of sentrets in the trees, no birdsong, nothing. Second of all, the further they traveled, the darker the forest became, even though it was daytime. The interlocking branches of the trees overhead made her feel as if she was in a cave.

    They hadn’t been traveling long when Spark spotted a group of berry bushes up ahead. Though it wasn’t as good as freshly-caught prey, Snowcrystal thought the berries tasted delicious, though she figured it was probably just because she was so hungry. Strangely, Stormblade had been completely quiet since entering the forest except for the occasional brief warning about some low-hanging branch or tree root she or Spark were about to run into. Even now, he stood a little ways away from the others, not moving or glancing in their direction. He had not eaten anything, despite the vast amount of berries that grew plentiful in the area. This struck Snowcrystal as extremely odd, considering he couldn’t have found much to eat in the wasteland, but she didn’t question him.

    After Snowcrystal and Spark had eaten their fill, the group carried on. After a while of wandering through semi-darkness, Spark whispered to Stormblade, “We sure aren’t getting anywhere quickly. Why don’t you fly over the trees and see how much further we have to go before we’re out of here?”

    Stormblade seemed a bit surprised, as if he was wondering why he hadn’t thought of that. “Oh…right…good idea…” he muttered before taking off.

    “Why didn’t he try that before if he was so worried about this place?” Snowcrystal asked, giving Spark a puzzled look.

    Spark shrugged. “I guess he’s just too paranoid about all the traps we saw earlier. Didn’t want to leave us alone, perhaps. I don’t see what the big deal is. After all, he can fly! And see well in the dark. He’d spot a trap before any of us ran into it.”

    “Do you think he knows something about this place that we don’t?” Snowcrystal mused, pawing at her crystal amulet.

    “If he did, he would have told us, that much I know,” Spark replied. The two sat in silence for a while until Stormblade returned.

    “This way…” he mumbled quietly, and the others followed. Stormblade led them through more winding paths, deeper and deeper into the darkening forest, increasing his pace until Spark and Snowcrystal had to sprint to keep up with him.

    “Hey, Stormblade, wait up will ya?” called Spark from behind, and as if in answer Stormblade stopped dead. At first Snowcrystal thought that it was Spark’s shout that had made him stop, and then she heard a faint sound that gradually increased until she could make out the pounding of hoof beats. Snowcrystal was about to ask Stormblade what he thought it was, when dozens of dark shapes suddenly bolted past them beyond the trees to their left.

    Stormblade ducked down, and Snowcrystal did likewise, peering at the pokémon as they thundered by. They were large pokémon with long, slender legs, and strange antlers on their heads. Snowcrystal suddenly recognized what they were even through the gloom. Stantler.

    Stantler herds would often pass through her territory, and though they were good prey, she had never hunted one. It took an entire pack of growlithe to bring one down, and only the most experienced of hunters even tried. Now, Snowcrystal was only concerned with watching them, and as the last of the stantler vanished, Spark whispered in a confused voice, “That’s odd…me and Stormblade didn’t see any other pokémon when we passed through here the first time.”

    “Well, it’s a big forest,” Snowcrystal replied, standing up straight again. “And from what you’ve told me, pokémon probably just want to stay away from that human place.”

    “Ah, well,” sighed Spark. “It doesn’t matter, besides, they’re only stantler, I mean-” He immediately quieted as one of the deer-like pokémon emerged from a nearby bush, acting like it was completely unaware of them. Snowcrystal took a step toward it and its head swerved towards her. The look in the stantler’s eyes seemed to freeze her to the spot, but she found herself staring not at the pokémon’s head, but its antlers, which had seemed to glow faintly.

    Snowcrystal stiffened as the forest grew darker and the trees closed in all around her. All at once the place had become scarier, and all the trees seemed to tower over her even more. Then the thundering rumble of hoof beats came again. Shaking her head to clear her vision, Snowcrystal shouted, “They’re headed this way!”

    The stantler who stood in front of Snowcrystal suddenly charged past the group, leaping over a few bushes and vanishing into the darkness. Then from the bushes ahead, the rest of the herd came charging towards them.

    Spark glanced at the stantler briefly before darting to the side and heading for the nearest cover. Snowcrystal realized that the herd wasn’t going to move out of their way; in fact, it looked as if the stantler wanted to trample them flat. She started to sprint toward the shelter of some nearby bushes as Stormblade spread his wings and flew out of the path of the stampede. Snowcrystal was beginning to realize that perhaps the scyther had been right to be worried.

    Just as she was out of the herd’s way, a group of stantler suddenly swerved towards her, lowering their horns as their hooves pounded closer and closer. Snowcrystal tried to move faster, but quickly found herself tangled in a bush’s thorny branches. There was no time to run. She closed her eyes.

    And nothing happened.

    The growlithe slowly opened her eyes, seeing stantler running past her on either side, their horns still lowered. However, those in the center were running right through her as if they were ghosts. Confused, she glanced around, seeing Spark crouching down near some bushes, his eyes shut tight. Snowcrystal managed to untangle herself from the bush, and slowly crept over and nudged him. “Spark!”

    The jolteon’s eyes were still closed. “What’s going on? I can still hear them!” Snowcrystal nudged him again, and Spark backed away in shock as he opened his eyes and glanced around.

    “What the…they’re running straight through the trees!” the jolteon whispered, glancing around in confusion.

    “Wait a minute…” Snowcrystal mused, “I remember something Icefang, that’s our growlithe tribe’s leader, said about stantler. Even just one of them can sometimes create the illusion of a whole herd, or at least that’s what he said. I only just remembered it, and I wouldn’t have believed it until now.”

    “But why would a stantler do that to us?” Stormblade asked, still seeming a bit shocked as he watched the very real-looking stantler herd running straight through trees and rocks.

    “We’re predators…” Snowcrystal answered. “I guess it felt threatened, though there’s no way I could have attacked that stantler. I can barely use fire attacks as it is. Or any other attacks for that matter,” she added with a hint of embarrassment.

    After a few moments, the last of the stantler illusion faded, and Snowcrystal could see things clearly again; the forest was back to looking normal. Spark and Snowcrystal walked over toward Stormblade, who emerged from behind a couple of trees. “Stormblade, it was an illusion.” Snowcrystal began. “There really weren’t that many-”

    “I know, I saw them. But wait, listen!” Stormblade whispered, peering into the bushes.

    Snowcrystal was about to reply when she heard a faint cry sounding from somewhere nearby. Stormblade headed toward the noise, with Spark and Snowcrystal following closely behind. The three of them emerged into a small clearing. Snowcrystal could scent another fire type, as well as the fainter scent of something strange, something that wasn’t pokémon. As she gazed further into the gloom, she realized that lying in the center of the clearing, was a small, caged vulpix.

    To be continued…
    Last edited by Scytherwolf; 07-31-2016 at 10:32 PM.


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  12. #9
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    Ooh, here comes the new party member XD

  13. #10
    Writing stories about bugs Scytherwolf's Avatar
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    Haha, yep. XD

    The Path of Destiny
    Chapter 4 - Blazefang’s Discovery



    The trapped vulpix hadn’t noticed Snowcrystal and the others yet, and was sitting in the middle of the small cage, facing away from them. Snowcrystal could tell it was crying. Approaching the small pokémon, the growlithe tried to sound as friendly as possible. “Don’t cry,” she whispered. “We’re going to try and get you out of there.”

    To her surprise, the vulpix whipped around, her eyes glaring. “Do you think I’m crying just because I’m stuck in a cage?” she snapped. “No! I’m crying ‘cause the humans took my fire stone! Do you have any idea how long I’ve been waiting to evolve? I found a real fire stone, right in the middle of this forest! I finally got my chance and they took it away!”

    Snowcrystal stared back in confusion, and Spark cried out, “What do you mean you just found a fire stone and they took it? If you’d touched it, you would have evolved! I bet you’re just embarrassed you got stuck.” The jolteon chuckled, which earned him a glare from the vulpix.

    “I didn’t get the chance to touch it!” the vulpix spat. “I found it lying by those rocks over there, and as I was running toward it, this human suddenly appeared and picked it up! I bit his hand to try and make him put it down, but another human came and put me in this cage!” She angrily paced around her cage, then lay down again, growling, “I hate humans…”

    “Oh, boy…” Stormblade muttered worriedly. “Look, not all humans are bad. Though if these ones put you in a cage, then we should-”

    “I didn’t ask your opinion!” the vulpix shouted, baring her teeth.

    “Do you want our help or not?” Stormblade replied, tipping the cage a little with the dull end of his scythe. The vulpix leaped forward and tried to sink her teeth into Stormblade’s arm, above the blade. Stormblade shook her off, and let the cage fall back in place. “Okay, listen. Do you want me to find out how to open it, or do you want me to try and cut through it with you in it?” he growled impatiently. “Stay still!”

    “I don’t think she wants our help,” Spark muttered, watching the vulpix, who was now growling at the scyther. “Maybe we should just leave her alone.”

    “We can’t just leave her here!” Stormblade argued.

    “Stormblade’s right,” Snowcrystal agreed. “We’ll help her whether she wants it or not. Now, let’s see about this cage…”

    “I can get out of here any time I like!” the vulpix snarled. “If you want to help me, go get my fire stone back!”

    “Why should we?” Spark questioned, walking toward the cage until he was face to face with the vulpix, his fur stiffening into sharp spines. “You should be grateful we’re offering to help you get out of that cage! We’re not going to follow those humans to try and find a fire stone for you.”

    “Then leave me alone!” the vulpix retorted.

    “If we leave you here, those humans could come back, or you’d just be stuck in here until you died of hunger,” Spark muttered flatly. “There’s no way you can get out of there by yourself. See that latch on the cage door?” Spark pointed with his paw. “You couldn’t open that with your teeth, and you can’t even reach it from the inside. One of us can break it for you, though.”

    The little vulpix fell silent, and Spark moved the latch on the cage’s door as much as he could, then allowed Stormblade to cut through it. The door swung open and the young vulpix rushed out in a blur of orange-red fur. She rushed by the others without stopping, and Snowcrystal called after her, “Hey, where are you going?”

    The vulpix turned around and cried, “I’m going to follow the humans’ tracks and get my fire stone back!”

    “You’re going to that town?” Stormblade replied, shocked. “You can’t go there! I’ve seen what it’s like-”

    “Just try and stop me!” the vulpix spat back. “I’m not afraid! Unlike you!” As she turned to continue on her way, Stormblade flew in front of her, blocking her path with his blades.

    “I’m trying to give you a warning,” he said coldly. “Don’t go near the town. It’s a bad place for pokémon.”

    The vulpix casually ducked under the blades and walked straight by him. Stormblade turned around and saw the vulpix heading through some bushes. Snowcrystal noticed as well.

    “Wait!” the growlithe cried, running to the other side of the bushes. The vulpix emerged from the leaves to find herself face to face with Snowcrystal. “We can’t let you go out there all alone. It’s dangerous!”

    “I can go where I want to,” the vulpix said simply. “And if I have to go to the human’s town to get my fire stone back, I will!”

    Snowcrystal sighed, seeing there was no convincing her. “Well, at least let us help you. What’s your name?”

    “Rosie,” the vulpix muttered, not turning to look at her.

    “Well, Rosie,” Snowcrystal began, “maybe we can help you look for this fire stone, as long as you try and stay away from the town afterward. Stormblade says it’s-”

    “What? We can’t go to the town just to look for a fire stone!” Stormblade cried, as he and Spark caught up with the other two.

    “See my point?” Snowcrystal whispered. She then spoke louder, addressing Rosie, “Listen, if we all go to the town and just look around for the fire stone quickly, will you promise to leave the town afterward? And just forget about the stone if we don’t manage to find it? I can’t promise you anything…” She gazed calmly back at the vulpix, who looked back at her as if she was considering it.

    “Fine…” Rosie mumbled irritably, turning her head away.

    “Look,” Snowcrystal stated, glancing at Spark and Stormblade, “if we’re careful of traps, it can’t hurt to look around, and if we don’t find it, you’ll be sure to stay away from the human place for good, right?” She glanced at Rosie, who merely nodded reluctantly.

    “We’d just better find it…” the vulpix muttered.

    “Well, let’s go,” Snowcrystal announced. “We won’t stay there long,” she assured the others. “After all,” she added jokingly, “I do have Articuno to find…”

    “What?” exclaimed Rosie, but Snowcrystal ignored her and turned to Stormblade, who flew off to find the exact location of the town.

    -ooo-

    Blazefang and his group were on the move. The houndour pack had rested during some of the night and most of the morning, and were now nearing the jumble of jagged brown boulders that Snowcrystal had rested at the previous evening. Now that it was daylight, Blazefang was less wary of the area, and decided that the rocks may have provided some shelter for desert plants. The thought of finding prey appealed to the group, and Blazefang led the twenty-two other houndour to the rocks.

    Wildflame, the female houndour who’d been a lookout the night before, didn’t like the place. There was something odd about it, and she could feel it. Blazefang and the rest were busy searching for prey, but Wildflame stayed put at the edge of the rocky area. The way the stones cast strange, eerie shadows across the ground, spooky even during the day, made her somehow nervous.

    Boneclaw was frustrated. “There’s nothing here!” he growled to Blazefang, scraping dirt from the ground. “Just a bunch of stupid rocks and dust!” He started coughing as some of the dust he’d scooped up with his paw filled the air around him.

    Blazefang was losing patience. “If there’s prey anywhere, it’s here,” he growled dangerously. “We haven’t searched the whole place yet, so keep looking!”

    “What if we run into something dangerous, like you said?” Boneclaw questioned uncertainly, and, as if in answer to the fire dog’s statement, a houndour screamed.

    Blazefang leaped toward the sound, Boneclaw stumbling behind him as he tried to keep up. The two of them arrived in a small area surrounded on almost all sides by more of the tall rocks. A houndour was lying at the base of one of the boulders. He grinned sheepishly at Blazefang. “Heheh…I fell…”

    “Oh, for the love of mew…” Blazefang growled angrily. “Quit acting like an idiot and keep looking for signs of prey!”

    “Blazefang!” a houndour cried, and the pack’s leader whipped around. “Uh…Blazefang…” the houndour repeated, “we found something strange…we think you should come and look!”

    Blazefang sighed and followed him, Boneclaw in his wake. “This better be good…” he mumbled.

    The houndour led his leader to a clear patch of ground surrounded by thin pointed rocks which all seemed to curve inward a little at the tops. These rocks formed a strangely shaped circle around the small area of ground. Two houndour looked up from where they were crouching beside some odd-shaped markings in the dust. Blazefang peered at them curiously, before brushing them away easily with his paw. “What was all this about? Some stupid marks in the dirt? I can’t believe you actually…hey, wait a minute…”

    Blazefang stepped closer to the patch of ground where his claws had scored through the markings. Barely visible beneath one of the claw marks, was the glint of something smooth and shiny.

    -ooo-

    Snowcrystal and Rosie headed after Spark and Stormblade as they trekked through the forest in the direction of the human’s town. Snowcrystal could hear Stormblade’s angry muttering from up ahead.

    “I don’t see why the little brat has to evolve…” the scyther was saying. “I never evolved, and I’m never going to! I don’t get what the big deal about evolution is…And now we have to go through all this for a stupid fire stone…What’s so great about it anyway? Can’t she just be satisfied with what she is?”

    Spark was getting very tired of Stormblade’s rants. “Hey! I’m evolved! So maybe you don’t want to. Well, others might. Ever thought of that? Or are you just still paranoid about the humans? I thought you believed that trainers were there to help pokémon!”

    “Not these humans!” Stormblade retorted. “Humans who put poison outside their buildings aren’t there to help, they’re…”

    Snowcrystal rolled her eyes, wishing the two would stop arguing. Rosie had turned suddenly cheerful as they neared the town, prancing about happily next to Snowcrystal as the growlithe followed the jolteon and scyther.

    “I can’t wait to be a ninetales!” the little vulpix cried cheerfully to Snowcrystal. “I’ll have white fur like you, only mine will be more creamy-colored, like a meowth’s fur.” A dreamy look crossed her eyes, as if she were picturing what she would look like in her new form. “So, uh…when are we gonna get to the town?”

    “Hopefully soon,” Snowcrystal sighed, glancing at Spark and Stormblade up ahead. Spark had turned his fur spiny again, as he seemed to do when he was angry. “Look you two, stop arguing!” she called over to them. “We’ll be fine if we’re careful. And this won’t take long. We’re just going to see if the fire stone’s there.”

    “You’ve never been to a city or town, have you?” Stormblade called back. “We can’t look through an entire town for something that small!”

    “We’re just going to try…” Snowcrystal replied impatiently. “Just really quickly. It’s not far, is it?”

    “Shouldn’t be…” Stormblade replied unhappily.

    “Oh, look, what do you know…” Spark called from further up ahead, where he was peering through some bushes. “There it is! And ooh…looks so scary!”

    Rosie darted up beside Spark and confirmed his statement. “He’s right! I see the buildings! Let’s go!”

    Stormblade and Snowcrystal made their way through the bushes to see a large group of buildings up ahead. Snowcrystal stared wide-eyed, having never seen anything remotely like them before.

    “What are they?” the white growlithe asked.

    “Those big things are called buildings,” Spark answered, his voice taking on a jesting tone as he explained in an overly simple way. “Humans live in them, work in them, or battle pokémon in them. Those rectangle things are called doors. They move, and let you enter a building. Okay, let’s go.”

    Snowcrystal looked puzzled, and quite confused about what Spark had tried to explain to her. She looked around at the buildings, not seeing any humans around. Rosie started to run toward the town, but once again, Stormblade tried to stop her. “Wait!” he warned her. “At least make sure it’s safe before you go running in there!”

    Spark walked right up to him, stopping between Stormblade and the vulpix. “Stormblade,” he stated flatly. “Three words…Par-a-noid!” He then turned and darted toward the nearest buildings.

    “That’s one word!” Stormblade yelled, heading after him.

    Snowcrystal quickly caught up with Rosie. “Well, we better go look for that fire stone, and look out for humans,” she whispered, and she and the vulpix followed the other two.

    -ooo-

    Blazefang’s claws scraped the dust around the shiny object, revealing it to be a flat, almost oval-shaped stone. It was clear, and a dark purple in color, with slightly darker flecks all across it. Blazefang thought it must be a gem or a crystal of some sort, and set about trying to free it from the earth.

    It was harder than he expected. The ground was hard and packed tightly around the object, and his claws made little progress as he sought to free the stone by digging. Blazefang then tried to grip with his claws around its edge, finally managing to pry it loose. Looking down at the dusty rock on the ground, Blazefang tapped its edge and rolled it over with his paw. “Well, what do you think it was here for?” he asked.

    “I dunno…looks like just an old rock,” Boneclaw replied. “But it’s a kinda pretty one!”

    Blazefang peered closely at the stone, noticing a few small imperfections in its shiny surface. Most of them were just minor nicks and scratches, but one was a narrow hole near the top of the stone. However, he still thought it looked pretty nice. “Heh, maybe I’ll keep it. I could make a sort of medallion out of it or something.”

    Boneclaw was about to reply when a harsh cry rang out through the rocky area, and several ghostly forms suddenly materialized around the group, all looking very angry. Blazefang held back a cry of surprise and gritted his teeth. He’d been ambushed, but already he was thinking up a plan. “Everyone! Over here!” he yelled, and several panicked houndour arrived at Blazefang’s side, gazing terrified at the ghost pokémon. Blazefang glanced around, noticing that some of his pack members were missing. Quickly realizing that the ghost types were all over the place, Blazefang figured the other houndour probably must have fled in terror, since there had been no sight or sound of an attack from their new enemies yet.

    The houndour leader was quick to give orders. He kicked the purple stone toward one of his fellow houndour. “Boneclaw, hold this, everyone, get in a circle and face the pokémon!”

    Boneclaw picked up the rock in his mouth, his teeth gripping the edges, while the other houndour did as Blazefang said. The ghost pokémon seemed to be glaring at Boneclaw in particular, and the houndour in question flattened his ears against his skull, growling. Many of the enemy ghost types were soon charging up some attacks, and at that moment, Blazefang cried, “Flamethrower, now!”

    All at once the houndour fired blasts of red-hot flame at the ghost pokémon, while Blazefang signaled a retreat. The houndour backed off, taking turns at launching their attacks at the oncoming horde of spectral enemies, striking quite a few while at the same time making it very difficult for the ghost types to attack them back.

    Blazefang was glad that his pack was great in numbers. He had them firing their attacks in turn; one small group using flamethrower after another had just fired theirs, creating a constant stream of fire that caused great panic and chaos among the ghost pokémon. Blazefang chuckled to himself as a shadow ball plowed into the ground to one side of him. These pokémon weren’t great fighters; they seemed to want to rely more on scaring them off, but that advantage was long lost.

    It wasn’t long before Blazefang and the houndour had cleared the rocks, meeting up with Wildflame and the few houndour who’d fled. They then took to a run, soon leaving behind the angry ghost types who’d briefly attempted to follow them across the plains. Blazefang snickered to himself as he glanced back at the pokémon, who obviously weren’t suited to the intense heat and the bright daylight.

    One by one the ghost pokémon vanished, looking defeated and at a loss for what to do. Feeling pleased with himself, Blazefang called to the others in the group, “You see? If we had stopped there during the night, we might not have been so lucky. But then again, those ghosts only seemed to be good at trying to scare us off. Haha! Well, that’s a lousy defense that ain’t gonna work against us!” Still chuckling to himself about how well he’d handled the situation, Blazefang led his group toward the forest, silencing any complaints about minor injuries from the pack members.

    To be continued…

    Author's Note: Oh, Rosie...your first impressions on the group were not so great.
    Last edited by Scytherwolf; 07-31-2016 at 10:33 PM.


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