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Thread: The Path of Destiny

  1. #21
    *Snivy cry intensifies* Scytherwolf's Avatar
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    The Path of Destiny
    Chapter 11 - Shadowflare



    With a chorus of growls and snarls, the houndour pack leapt to the bottom of the rise and surged toward the group as one. One furious, snarling pack… Snowcrystal stared at the oncoming enemies in terror. There were far too many of them. “Run!” she shouted.

    “No!” Wildflame yelled back suddenly, then lowered her voice as she quickly said, “We won’t get away by running. I know Blazefang. He’s a coward. If we put up a fight, he’ll turn tail and run.” Without another word, she stood boldly in front of the group, facing the oncoming houndour pack, and Snowcrystal, who couldn’t bear to see Wildflame get attacked, summoned up her courage and stood beside her.

    Spark stepped up beside Snowcrystal as his fur sharpened into the familiar pointed spines. Stormblade stood beside him, and by that time, the houndour were so close that Snowcrystal could see their fangs clearly even in the darkness.

    A bright flash of light illuminated the area as a bolt of lightning struck one of the closest houndour, who collapsed in a cloud of dust, only to stand up and shake himself off before running toward them again. Spark however, didn’t seem to notice. “Did you see that?” he cried, turning to Stormblade. “I got him! I-arrrghhh!”

    Spark let out a cry of pain as a flamethrower attack seared across his shoulder and the side of his face, sending him stumbling him backward. Stormblade ran toward the houndour who’d just fired the attack, who was now mere seconds from reaching the group. Seeing this, Snowcrystal leaped forward as well, just as a rather large and bulky-looking houndour ran in front of her. Before she could figure out how exactly she was going to fight this fierce opponent, he leaped toward her and locked his teeth savagely around her leg.

    The houndour bit down harder, and for a moment Snowcrystal thought he would break her leg. Then, unexpectedly, Wildflame bounded toward the houndour, knocking him aside. “Leave her alone, Boneclaw!” she snarled.

    Snowcrystal stood up shakily and glanced around. Spark was struggling to his feet, the fur on his face singed. Stormblade was fighting off three houndour who were trying to reach the wounded jolteon, and Rosie had leaped on another houndour’s back and was holding on with her teeth while he tried to shake her off, snapping his jaws at her. Due to the fact that Rosie was making a complete fool out of him, Snowcrystal would have thought the sight was amusing if it weren’t for the seriousness of their current situation.

    Snowcrystal ducked behind Stormblade to where Spark was, while the scyther and Wildflame did most of the work holding off the pack that now nearly surrounded them. To her surprise, Wildflame was doing exceptionally well; she had already sent a few of the houndour fleeing, though quite a few of them hung back, either wary of the fighters or awaiting their leader’s orders. Snowcrystal couldn’t see their leader…and now that she realized it, she couldn’t see Thunder either, and if they ever needed her to fight like a mad pokémon, it was now.

    “Spark!” she whispered quickly. “Stay here…I’m going to find Thunder…I’ll be back!” Spark nodded in silence as Snowcrystal tore off through the bushes before the houndour could stop her, knowing all too well that she was practically hopeless in battle.

    To her surprise, she found Thunder almost immediately, standing in the midst of some thorn bushes among a small group of trees. The scyther glanced at Snowcrystal as she came to a halt, the sounds of battle very close by from the next clearing.

    “Thunder! We need your help back there,” Snowcrystal gasped.

    To her surprise, Thunder shook her head, turning away. “I am not going near there,” she stated simply.

    “We need your help!” Snowcrystal cried. “Please!”

    “No…” Thunder replied, and though it might have been her imagination, Snowcrystal thought the scyther’s voice sounded a bit shaky. “I…don’t want to…”

    Snowcrystal stared at Thunder in disbelief. In the short time since Thunder had joined them, she had never known this scyther to act this way. With Thunder, it had quickly become apparent that she was the type to attack first and ask questions later. Now she was acting as if…Snowcrystal felt both confusion and hopelessness at the thought…it was almost as if…she was afraid… She knew somehow that whatever Thunder was afraid of, it wasn’t the houndour back in the clearing. Yet why she was in this strange mood was a mystery to her.

    The sounds of screaming and the bright light of flame shining over the rocks and sparse grass only served to remind Snowcrystal of how badly the others needed help. The white growlithe turned back to Thunder, and then said something even she herself hadn’t been expecting, something crazy she never would have thought of saying to this scyther had she been thinking clearly. “Thunder, what are you doing? Those houndour could kill them and you’re just sitting here! Go back…now!” As the words left her mouth, Snowcrystal wanted to take it back, but she made herself stand firm as she faced the scyther, waiting for her response. Thunder seemed more shocked than angry.

    Snowcrystal noticed that Thunder’s eyes suddenly had a faraway look, and she wasn’t focusing on the growlithe at all. “No…” Thunder growled, and her gaze flicked back to Snowcrystal. This time, she was angry, and the small fire type backed up as Thunder took a step toward her, the scyther’s glare looking like it could burn through the growlithe’s fur.

    Snowcrystal leaped back with a cry of shock as a plume of bright red flame shot by them, catching a nearby tree on fire. She turned to see five houndour from Blazefang’s pack all racing toward her. Watching them, Thunder stepped from the bushes, glancing almost idly at one of her wings, the topmost edge of which had been burned by the blast of flame.

    Silently the scyther watched the approaching houndour, and her gaze hardened. And then all that had made her seem reluctant and afraid vanished. Without warning, she charged toward the group of dark types, fangs bared and scythes ready to strike.

    The first houndour halted at the sight of the crazed scyther heading straight for him and his pack mates. His nerve failed him. With a yelp of fright, he turned, wanting to get as far away from his attacker as possible. A deep slice to his back brought him crashing to the ground. Only the thick bone-like bands across his back saved his life. Another houndour collapsed nearby, and the first houndour couldn’t tell how badly injured he was.

    Snowcrystal had already hurried back through the bushes toward Spark, who was now bleeding from a wound in his back leg as well. Rosie was lying unconscious behind him. Up ahead, the clearing was full of chaos. Snowcrystal could see the leader, Blazefang, motioning toward the other houndour, but they weren’t paying much attention. Stormblade and Wildflame were still managing to hold their own, and the houndour were mainly focusing on attacking them.

    Snowcrystal stayed near Spark, glad to see that his burns, although painful-looking, were neither deep nor serious. Near the other side of the clearing, three frightened houndour burst through the bushes-the remainder of the five who had threatened Thunder and Snowcrystal. An eerie, unnatural-sounding cry resounded through the area, causing several houndour to stop fighting and freeze where they stood. A moment later, Thunder burst through the bushes to land standing in the midst of the houndour pack. Many of the houndour backed off a bit, but Thunder showed no sign that she even realized that many of them were trying to flee.

    Blazefang froze as he watched the scyther strike left and right, wounding all who came too close. Boneclaw, having just narrowly escaped having a limb severed, landed heavily on his paws as he leaped aside, launching a fire attack at Thunder. Blazefang was taken aback at the crazed look in the scyther’s eyes, and he knew that if he didn’t do something, his pack would soon be minus quite a few members.

    “Fire attacks you idiots!” Blazefang called from his vantage point on a large boulder. “Kill her! Aim all your attacks at the scyther!”

    The houndour, fearful for their lives, were quick to obey, using their type to their advantage. Thunder backed away as several flamethrower attacks blazed towards her. She managed to shield her face with her blades before a particularly strong flamethrower struck her, burning deeply into her shoulder. Still weak from all the exertion of the day and previous night, Thunder nearly collapsed, stopping her fall only by sinking her blade into the sandy earth beneath her. A rather bold houndour ran toward her, locking his teeth around her leg while another, encouraged by his pack mate’s bravery, tried to tear her injured wing.

    Thunder managed to shake them off, but her attempts at striking them with her blades failed as they darted quickly away. She stood back on her feet, but whatever her trainer had been trying to teach her by starving her, she certainly wasn’t in good enough health to keep fighting after spending so much of her energy.

    Snowcrystal, Spark, Wildflame and Stormblade broke off from their battle with a smaller group of houndour and ran toward the ones attacking Thunder, bringing a few down with electric, fire, and flying attacks, but they didn’t stop enough of them in time. Multiple fire attacks struck Thunder at once, bringing her down. Several of the houndour leaped towards her, trying to hold her down with fangs and claws.

    Thunder managed to free herself from their attacks momentarily, pausing to catch her breath. Snowcrystal could see that Thunder had burns in several places and parts of her natural armor had been punctured and were seeping blood. Regardless, the scyther staggered forward to face the houndour pack who were ready to put their flamethrower attacks to good use.

    “Kill her!” Blazefang roared.

    “No!” Snowcrystal, Spark and Stormblade shouted simultaneously, but it was Stormblade who acted first. Leaping behind the group of houndour advancing toward Thunder, he knocked a few of them to the ground with the flat of his blade, while Thunder, unaware of this, took a running leap at the big stolid houndour called Boneclaw.

    Thunder knew that her strength had been used up, that the odds had been stacked against her, but all the same she could not ignore the training and fighting techniques that had been burned into her mind until it was like an instinct. Fight no matter how much pain she was in until there was no possible way to continue. This was just like one of Master’s battles.

    Boneclaw froze as the scyther leaped toward him, blade raised. The houndour closed his eyes instinctively, knowing that there was no time to avoid it…

    Yet his opponent never got to strike. Just as she leaped toward him, Thunder lost consciousness before she ever got to use her attack. Colliding into Boneclaw as she fell, the scythe that had been raised fell forward, thudding into the soil beside him. Boneclaw was sent flying backward as Thunder’s momentum sent both her and the houndour plowing into the sandy earth. Coughing up dust and struggling for a moment, Boneclaw pushed the fainted scyther away from him with his back paws and scrambled toward Blazefang.

    Stormblade turned toward Thunder’s still form, and he could see the other houndour standing triumphantly beside the fallen warrior. Horrified, Stormblade could not tell what had brought her down, could not tell if she was breathing. His gaze drifted toward the houndour giving orders. The leader. Blazefang, the one who had ordered Thunder to be killed. Turning around, Stormblade stared hard into the houndour’s eyes. “Blazefang!” he yelled.

    Blazefang stumbled backwards from his perch on the rock as Stormblade charged toward him. Boneclaw tried to help his leader by firing a flamethrower at the scyther, but Stormblade was moving far too fast to be hit. In seconds he reached Blazefang, who could only keep backing up frantically as the slashing scythes came within a hair’s breadth of his face. Common sense told him to use a fire attack, but he couldn’t manage it when he was using every bit of his energy to scramble back as quick as he could as the scyther’s slashing blades came closer and closer to him.

    Snowcrystal and Spark ran to Thunder’s side, firing attacks at any houndour who came too close, while Wildflame protected Rosie. Snowcrystal could tell that Thunder was still alive, just out cold. She couldn’t understand why Thunder hadn’t run and found shelter when she was too weak to carry on. Instead, she had kept fighting until she passed out from exhaustion and weakness. Snowcrystal didn’t understand; it just didn’t make sense. Hadn’t Thunder been unwilling to fight just before?

    A couple houndour yelped in pain and fled from the battle as a thunderbolt from Spark struck them. Snowcrystal noticed with mild surprise that most of the houndour were fleeing now.

    Wildflame, meanwhile, was both exhausted and confused. Hadn’t Blazefang said this would be a quick mock battle? Noticing Blazefang being driven back by Stormblade, Wildflame could do nothing but hope that the houndour leader knew what he was doing.

    Blazefang stared at Stormblade in terror as one of the scyther’s blades pierced his paw. The houndour stumbled, landing flat on his back as Stormblade stood over him. Blazefang’s eyes widened in horror as he noticed that the pack had fled. He was left alone. With a strength born of desperation, he managed to fire a blast of flame at Stormblade, who dodged, landing easily to one side. Blazefang stood up and backed away, Stormblade’s gaze still boring into him.

    It was then that Blazefang felt that same strange feeling…the feeling he had felt when he had woken up in the forest after he’d touched the purple stone and heard the word Shadowflare. It was as if some new power within him was waiting to be released, the power the stone had given him…Shadowflare.

    Stormblade was taken aback when Blazefang suddenly smirked, and there was something in the houndour’s gaze that frightened him. Snowcrystal also sensed something was amiss, and raised her head just in time to see Blazefang launch another fire attack.

    Yet it was the strangest attack she had ever seen. Blazefang’s eyes glowed a bright yellowish-white as he fired it, and the attack itself looked somewhat like flamethrower. However, it glowed an almost blinding white-hot, with a tint of blue, and streaks and specks of purplish black flickered over the beam. Snowcrystal’s eyes went wide with shock and she almost turned away from the burning intensity of the white flames.

    Stormblade didn’t need to stop and look to know that it was bad news. Without hesitating for an instant he turned and darted to the right of the oncoming inferno. However, to everyone’s shock, the flames swerved and followed him. Stormblade, even with the natural born speed of a scyther, couldn’t outrun it. Doing the only other thing he could think of, he ran behind a large tree. Yet it did him no good. The raging flames blasted completely through the trunk, colliding into Stormblade’s body and sending him sprawling on the ground, a moment before the burning top half of the tree toppled over and crashed down, landing across the scyther’s back.

    For a moment, Blazefang only stared at the motionless Stormblade and the burning tree that had been severed completely through near its halfway point. The houndour lowered his gaze and followed the deep scorch marks in the ground leading to the tree; every bit of grass in its path had been burned to nothing, and even the ground looked scorched.

    Blazefang noticed a small bit of white flame burning a clump of grass nearby, and backed away. “What the-what is this?” he whispered to himself, looking horrified. Not even fire blast had the kind of power to blast completely through a large tree, and what kind of attack followed after its enemy? Whatever this was, there was nothing natural about it. Blazefang reached up to the violet stone with his claws and tore it from his neck, flinging it onto the blackened earth before turning and fleeing after his pack.

    Snowcrystal hardly noticed him. She ran to the side of the tree, nudging Stormblade’s still form. Only his head, wings, and a part of his blades were visible from beneath the thick tree trunk, and to Snowcrystal’s dismay, Stormblade gave no response.

    Spark, still stunned, was sitting beside Thunder, who was beginning to come around, and Rosie, who had already woken up. Wildflame sat a few yards away, looking just as shocked.

    “What’s going on?” Thunder demanded, making Snowcrystal look up. However, the white growlithe didn’t reply, even when Spark limped over.

    “Stormblade…” Spark whispered. “What happened? …How…”

    “He’s dead,” Thunder stated calmly as she took a couple of paces toward them. “What more do you want to know?”

    Spark didn’t reply, and Snowcrystal frantically slammed her body against the tree trunk, trying to move it. The fire was slowly dying down, but it was still spreading across the tree’s length. Again and again Snowcrystal tried to move the large tree, but it wouldn’t budge.

    “Stop that,” Thunder muttered. “He’s dead. As in, not going to move…ever again. I see no point in tiring yourself out trying to move that tree. Stormblade’s dead. Forget it and move on.”

    “No…” Snowcrystal whispered. She was too tired to continue, and could only claw feebly at the tree’s bark. No matter what Thunder said, Snowcrystal couldn’t bring herself to believe her. “You’re wrong…he can’t be dead.”

    “Face it,” Thunder stated. “Everyone dies. I don’t see why you should be making such a fuss over it.”

    Snowcrystal didn’t reply. She slowly slid to the ground, resting her head against the side of the tree, feeling hopeless. She felt almost as if…everything was over now…the journey…everything… “Snowcrystal…” she looked up to see Spark’s face close to hers. She turned away, not believing that any comfort he could give her would ever make her feel any better. “Snowcrystal…Stormblade’s still alive.”

    Snowcrystal lifted her head again, staring straight into Spark’s eyes. “He’s…alive?”

    Spark nodded, and Thunder only looked mildly surprised. Rosie, who had stayed back until then, stood up and walked away from Wildflame and toward the tree. “You sure…you sure he’s not dead?” she asked in a scared voice.

    “No…” Spark answered. “But…”

    Thunder stepped up to where Stormblade lay, close enough to hear his shallow breathing. “Okay, well, this is nice and all,” she muttered. “But you do realize he won’t last longer than a few minutes. That’s life. We better get going now before the blood attracts any unfriendly visitors.”

    “What?” Snowcrystal cried, shocked. “You expect us to just leave him here?” She watched as Thunder merely shrugged and turned away. Rage built up inside Snowcrystal, and she wanted to claw Thunder in the face. How could she be so indifferent? Deciding to forget about it for the moment, she turned back to Stormblade. Luckily, the way the tree and its branches had landed had prevented him from being crushed, but he was still pinned. Snowcrystal pushed against the tree again, knowing all too well that the fire was still spreading slowly along the trunk. “Everyone…help me!” She cried, and Spark, Rosie, and even Wildflame approached her and pushed against the fallen tree as well.

    At last their efforts combined managed to push the blazing trunk away from Stormblade, who still lay prone on the ground. Snowcrystal ran to his side, glancing over the deep and serious burns that covered the top half of his body. Most of the scyther’s natural armor on his back and shoulders had been burned through, no doubt reaching the flesh beneath, and sections of his wings had been burned away as well. Thunder simply stared at him impassively, not seeming at all concerned or shocked at Stormblade’s condition. Snowcrystal, however, stepped closer. “Stormblade…” she whispered, carefully nudging his side. The scyther, still unconscious, didn’t respond.

    Spark and Rosie also approached, but Wildflame stood back, simply watching. Snowcrystal carefully examined the scyther’s wounds. The worst of the burns by far were on his back, wings, and shoulders, but there were also burns across his arms, chest, and face as well. All of them were far worse than the burn wounds Thunder and Spark had sustained. Snowcrystal couldn’t help but stare in shock. She had seen pokémon receive wounds from fire attacks before, but this was something else entirely. Even Thunder looked healthy compared to the still figure lying at her feet, and in addition to the burns, Stormblade’s leg had been damaged from the tree’s fall.

    “I think he’ll live,” Snowcrystal said at last. “But not for long if we don’t get help.”

    “Where are we supposed to get help from?” Rosie asked. “We’re in the middle of nowhere with a houndour pack chasing us, and one of them knows that freaky attack…”

    “Guys…” Spark began hesitantly, “I think…I know what that attack was…it may sound strange, but…”

    “And how do you know what the heck that was?” Rosie snapped, and Spark didn’t answer.

    “Look,” Wildflame spoke up, “Blazefang’s pack will be after us again soon. We must keep going. Once Stormblade wakes up, he’ll have to keep up. We need to get out of here.”

    As if in answer to Wildflame’s statement, Stormblade began to stir. Thunder, who had been quietly resting, looked up and glanced toward Stormblade, waiting to see what he would do.

    “Stormblade?” Snowcrystal whispered again, just as the scyther opened his eyes and turned his head slightly to look at her.

    “Snowcrystal…is Thunder…the others…alive?” Stormblade’s voice sounded strange to Snowcrystal, not like she was used to hearing it. He sounded weak and disoriented, rather than strong and brave like he had always seemed to her earlier.

    “Yes,” she answered softly. “Everyone’s all right…mostly…Spark and Thunder are injured, but they’ll be okay in a little while.” Really, she wasn’t so sure, but their injuries weren’t as bad as his, and she didn’t want Stormblade to worry.

    “Psh…” Thunder muttered, rolling her eyes. “Well if he’s awake, let’s get a move on already!”

    Stormblade made no move to rise, and just lay completely still. “Please get up,” Rosie told him. “We have to get out of here.”

    To Snowcrystal’s surprise, Stormblade did try to stagger to his feet, though it was obviously paining him, and she noticed that he wasn’t putting any weight on his injured leg, keeping it off the ground and using his scythes to help himself stand instead. Snowcrystal stood beside the injured scyther to try and help steady him, but it didn’t seem to help much; she was so small compared to him. Stormblade collapsed to the ground a moment later, and didn’t try to get up again, but lay shaking, his eyes closed tightly.

    “Oh come on!” Thunder growled impatiently, kicking Stormblade in the side. “Get up! You’re not dead!”

    “Stop it!” Snowcrystal yelled. She turned toward Stormblade, encouraging him to stand up again; knowing that if he didn’t, the others would have to leave him behind.

    “Look, we have to get out of here,” Wildflame whispered urgently. “You saw that something’s wrong with Blazefang. You have to get him to move!”

    “Just leaving him there would make life a lot easier,” Thunder muttered under her breath.

    Snowcrystal tried to help Stormblade, but she was too small, and wasn’t much help at all. Spark couldn’t do anything in his wounded state, and Snowcrystal didn’t feel like asking for help from Wildflame or Thunder. At last Stormblade managed to stand again, and Rosie and Thunder ran on ahead, while the others followed a bit more slowly.

    Spark was no longer his usual talkative self, and his injured shoulder seemed to be giving the jolteon a lot of grief. Rosie’s wounds were minor, as were Wildflame’s, though the houndoom stayed back a bit. Snowcrystal assumed she must be tired still. Thunder was up ahead, moving rather quickly despite her wounds, acting as if they weren’t there, just as she had done before.

    Snowcrystal soon found herself at the back of the group, feeling lost and hopeless. She glanced upward as a loud thunderclap sounded overhead. Soon after, rain pelted down on the travelers, making the going far more muddy and slippery. The little growlithe paused for a rest against a large rock, feeling tears coming to her eyes.

    She didn’t know what they would do now…

    -ooo-

    Stormblade cried out as he stumbled once again over the now slippery wet rocks. He struggled to get up again for a few seconds before he realized that someone was standing beside him. Turning around, he was surprised to see Wildflame standing there.

    Attempting to growl as he staggered upright, Stormblade made an effort to get into a battle stance, or as close to one as he could get without injuring his leg further. “Get away from me!” he hissed from between clenched teeth.

    The houndoom said nothing as she stepped closer to the wounded scyther, offering him her shoulder to lean on. Stormblade stared back uncertainly for a moment before he accepted her help, allowing Wildflame to assist him over the rocks, as together they gradually followed the others under the rain-filled sky.

    To be continued…
    Last edited by Scytherwolf; 07-09-2017 at 03:11 AM.


  2. #22
    *Snivy cry intensifies* Scytherwolf's Avatar
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    The Path of Destiny
    Chapter 12 - Spark’s Tale



    Rain lashed down ceaselessly, while lightning flashed across the sky. The ground at Snowcrystal’s feet had turned to pebbly mud, and because of her small size, it was very difficult to wade through. Rosie was also having a considerable amount of trouble, as was Stormblade, mainly for the fact that he couldn’t fly and could barely use one of his legs. After Snowcrystal stumbled in the thick mud yet again, only making her fur even filthier, she staggered upright and turned to the others behind her.

    “Let’s stop and rest…”

    “What, is it the rain?” Thunder asked, landing beside Snowcrystal. Unlike the growlithe, she had been able to fly over the mud. “You know, I don’t see what’s so bad about the rain…”

    “Well it’s making everyone exhausted,” Snowcrystal replied, shaking mud from her paws. Her fur hardly looked white anymore, and she knew that the mud getting into her wounds couldn’t be good. “We need to rest. You might be able to keep going, but the rest of us can’t.”

    “Fine,” mumbled Thunder, and she followed Snowcrystal to a group of large trees. Spark limped after them along with Rosie, and Stormblade followed last, Wildflame still supporting him along the way.

    Underneath the trees, the six pokémon had a bit of shelter from the rain, but the ground was just as muddy underpaw. Spark tried to shake his fur dry, which only splattered Snowcrystal and Rosie with mud. Stormblade was lying down against a tree, not bothering to try and find a less muddy spot. Snowcrystal realized he was probably too weak, as he could barely walk by himself.

    Standing up, Snowcrystal padded over to where Spark, Rosie, Wildflame, and Thunder were, letting Stormblade rest. “Listen,” she told the others, “we need to find out what to do. Obviously Stormblade needs help. Those burns won’t heal with the help of any berries…we need to find someone who knows something about healing. And ...well, not just Stormblade, but you two as well,” she glanced toward Thunder and Spark. “Your wounds could get infected…and pokémon die from that.”

    “I’ll be fine,” Thunder shrugged. “Master only treated my wounds when they were serious, and nothing ever happened to me.”

    “Well first things first,” Rosie spoke up. “We should focus on finding food as soon as this rain lets up, and then we should rest. We have to be as strong as possible, especially Stormblade.”

    “She has a point,” Wildflame agreed.

    Snowcrystal nodded, realizing that except for the berries back in the forest, they hadn’t been able to find any food other than the honey in the combee hive, and Stormblade hadn’t eaten any of either, with the exception of a few rawst berries that Rosie had found. It been two days since she had met Stormblade and Spark, and now that she thought about it, none of them had really had much luck in finding food. “Yes,” she replied. “Those who can should try and hunt or find berries as soon as the storm’s passed. I probably couldn’t catch anything, because of my white fur, so I could stay here with Stormblade…and Spark, I think you should be resting too, and so should you, Thunder.”

    “If you’re suggesting I’m too weak to hunt for myself, you’re wrong,” Thunder replied, narrowing her eyes. “I’m not so helpless that I need others to bring food to me.”

    “All right,” Snowcrystal sighed, knowing there was no point in arguing with her. “Wildflame and Thunder can hunt, and Rosie, can you search for other types of food, like berries?” The vulpix nodded. “Well, after we’ve rested a bit,” Snowcrystal continued, “we need to find a pokémon who knows about healing…there were only a few healers in my tribe, and I never really had the chance to learn anything from them. And who knows what that fire attack was capable of doing…I’ve never seen burns that bad, and I’ve lived with fire pokémon all my life.”

    “All made worse by the fact that he’s a bug type,” Wildflame put in. “I know you’re right about finding a healer. Let’s face it, he might not last much longer if we don’t.”

    Snowcrystal nodded silently, and all around the group of five pokémon huddled together beneath the trees, the rain seemed to be stopping, or at the least, it wasn’t raining as hard as it had been. “Well, we’ll be able to hunt soon,” Wildflame whispered.

    “Everyone,” Spark said slowly, “you know that attack Blazefang used? Well…I think I might know what it is. I think it was Shadowflare.”

    “Well that’s a big help,” Rosie scoffed. “You know what it’s called, and what good is that?”

    Snowcrystal turned to Spark, giving him a strange look. “You had a trainer…have you seen that attack used before?”

    Spark shook his head vigorously. “No! Of course I’ve never seen the attack before! In fact, I’m not completely sure that was Shadowflare. I mean, where on earth would Blazefang learn a Forbidden Attack?”

    Wildflame looked at Spark curiously. “Forbidden Attack?” she repeated. “What is that?”

    Spark quieted down, as if unwilling to go on. “Spark,” Snowcrystal urged him. “What is a Forbidden Attack?”

    Spark glanced over at Stormblade, who was too far away from the group to hear anything over the sound of the rain and thunder, and turned back to the others. “Well,” the jolteon began uneasily, “it was something I heard when I was young, an eevee. My mother used to tell me and my sisters the story. My mother had a trainer, and he told it to his pokémon, and it was supposedly some sort of legend or something. I think I asked my parents if it was true once, and they told me it wasn’t, but some humans and pokémon seemed to believe it. I’m surprised Stormblade hasn’t heard.”

    “Well, what was the story?” Thunder asked with mild interest, sitting down and watching Spark through narrowed eyes.

    “Uh, well…it went something like this…” he mumbled, looking away from the scyther. “I don’t remember it in great detail, but I can pretty much recall the gist of it. It was told to me by my mother and father, who heard it from their trainers, so I’m not sure how much of it is actually true…” He paused for a moment, then went on. “Well, in the story, there were a group of powerful pokémon long ago. They weren’t the legendaries, but normal pokémon; though they were exceedingly strong for their kind. Well, from what I could tell, no one who knew about this story was quite certain of their species, but they watched over a land free from humans and marauding pokémon, keeping the area’s inhabitants safe.

    “Well, one day, they began to notice that a few young pokémon, all of different elemental types, started to develop strange powers. These powers came in the form of completely unique attacks only they could perform. As these young pokémon practiced their strange gifts, the attacks became shockingly powerful, soon earning frightening names the other pokémon came to fear. There was an attack for fire, Shadowflare, an attack for ice, Deathfreeze, and others, though I can’t remember the names for most of them. I do remember my father describing Shadowflare to me…just like it looked when Blazefang used it.” Spark paused again to glance at the others. Snowcrystal and Wildflame looked intrigued, while Rosie and Thunder simply looked as if they thought the whole thing was ridiculous. Despite this, he kept going,

    “Well, the attacks got so out of control that they destroyed the once peaceful land, growing stronger every time they were used. These powers corrupted the minds of those who used them, causing them to create mass devastation. The strange power of these attacks also seemed to be able to transfer from one pokémon to another of their same type, giving that pokémon the power of the attack, yet only if the first user has passed away. For this reason, others seeking to gain these powers sought to kill those who already possessed them. The strong pokémon who watched over the lands knew they had to do something to stop all this before it was too late. So somehow, they managed to steal the powers away from the young pokémon without causing any death, but they could not destroy those powers. However, the strong pokémon still managed to seal the powers away into different objects-stones and pebbles, or gems, something not easily broken, and hid them away in remote locations, where no one would ever think to look for them. Gradually the attacks’ powers diminished, though it is said that they’re still out there, waiting for a pokémon of the right type to stumble upon them, to use the attacks again and again and make them grow stronger. However, it is also said that all these attacks, at their most powerful form, will never stop until they’ve destroyed everything in their path. Shadowflare, for example, could become a dark and unstoppable wildfire that consumes everything it touches. No one was ever quite sure where the attacks came from or why they even existed, but the attacks stayed hidden and were never found. Still, they were not forgotten, and they became known as the Forbidden Attacks.”

    Spark paused for a moment, and then mumbled, “Well, that’s how it went, roughly. I don’t remember much, but then again I never thought I’d have to remember an eevee kit’s story for anything. Seems pretty crazy though, doesn’t it? The things I believed when I was little…” He laughed nervously.

    “Spark, I think some of it’s true, at least the part about the powers being sealed away,” Snowcrystal replied softly. “And Blazefang must have used that attack for the first time-you saw how shocked he was…”

    “But if the story’s true,” Spark whispered, “if he uses it again, it could take control of his mind…”

    “He looked pretty scared of it to me,” Rosie stated. “I don’t think he’d want to use it anymore.”

    “Maybe…” Wildflame whispered. “But Blazefang has been power-hungry before. Once he gets over the shock, he could very well try it again. Let’s just hope the part about the attacks growing stronger isn’t true.”

    “Spark,” Snowcrystal said quietly, “you said you knew the names of some of these attacks. What do you know about Shadowflare, the one you said Blazefang used?” She glanced over at Stormblade, who was still lying down, and then to Spark again.

    “Well, obviously when I was young I was curious about the Forbidden Attacks, and asked about them. Of course, I’m not sure what part of this is true and what’s not…considering that everyone in my family believed it to be just a story to scare little pokémon. But my dad used to like telling me how dangerous all the attacks were, probably trying to scare me or something. He said that a Forbidden Attack at its less-powerful stage won’t usually kill a strong pokémon, though a wound from one will never heal. He also told me the bit about them increasing in power and such, but that’s all I can remember at the moment...”

    “Never heals, huh?” Rosie repeated. “Your dad better have been making that part up.” As Rosie said this, Snowcrystal nervously glanced over at Stormblade, but he was too far away to have heard.

    “Okay, okay!” Spark shouted. “I don’t know for sure, but yet…the whole Forbidden Attacks legend is a human thing…they probably made it up.”

    “If they made it up, how did Blazefang use Shadowflare?” asked Snowcrystal.

    “I…don’t…know!” Spark replied, gritting his teeth in frustration. “I told you what I heard, but apparently it was just a legend. Humans believed that sort of junk, most trainers do! You hear them going on and on about trying to find and see legendary pokémon and whatnot, they’re always fascinated with that sort of thing. Maybe Shadowflare’s just some rare weird attack that some attention-seeking human made into some sort of myth. And of course they always write books about these different legends and myths and other humans-”

    “Wait,” Snowcrystal interrupted, “what did you say humans do?”

    Spark paused for a moment. “Uh…make up stuff, write books about legends?”

    “What are books?” Snowcrystal asked, confused.

    “They’re um…stacks of paper stuck together with pictures or markings in them that humans can somehow understand,” Spark tried to explain. “My trainer used to read them to me and the other pokémon sometimes, since we can understand what he said, but we couldn’t understand the markings in the books. It was really boring actually…especially this one book which just went on and on about the stupidest-”

    “But you said humans can understand the markings,” Snowcrystal interrupted. “What if we can find a human who knows whether the Forbidden Attacks are really what they are in the story?”

    “That’s…crazy…” Spark muttered. “Humans can’t understand us…and besides, even humans aren’t sure about whether legends are true. Yes, I know that some of them spend a lot of time or even their entire lives searching for answers, but most of the legends are probably just stories.”

    “But maybe there’s more to this…story you haven’t heard? Or a different version of it?” Snowcrystal asked. “If Shadowflare really was like how it was described to you, and the description matched Blazefang’s attack perfectly like you said, couldn’t other parts of the legend be true? Maybe what some humans think is fake is really real?”

    “Ok then, well next time I see a human, I’ll ask him,” Rosie scoffed.

    “She’s right,” Spark agreed. “Humans can’t understand pokémon, like I said before, and if they could, they probably couldn’t help us. I think we should just stay clear of Blazefang and hope he doesn’t use Shadowflare again. Forbidden Attack or not, that attack was pretty powerful.”

    “Who believes that sort of thing anyway?” Thunder muttered, standing up and walking away. “Humans only want to be Masters. They don’t help pokémon.”

    Suddenly a scowl appeared on Spark’s face. He darted in front of Thunder, glaring at her. Snowcrystal was surprised to see that he actually looked angry. “Take…that…back!” he snarled.

    “Why?” Thunder replied, not seeming threatened in the least. “It’s true.”

    “It is not!” Spark shouted back. “My trainer-”

    “If you loved your precious Master so much, why are you here in the wild?” Thunder replied icily. “Not that I can see any way a pokémon could care about a human.”

    “Just…Shut up!” Spark cried, firing a pin missile at the scyther’s face.

    Thunder didn’t even flinch, but simply turned her head to avoid getting the spines in her eyes. Leaping at Spark, she slashed downward with one of her blades, and though Spark dodged, he couldn’t avoid getting a long cut across his side. Both pokémon looked ready to keep fighting, but Snowcrystal darted between them.

    “Stop!” she shouted. “Fighting’s not going to do anything!”

    To her surprise, Thunder didn’t make an angry reply, but instead simply turned and left. Glaring in anger, Snowcrystal rounded on Spark. “What were you thinking?” she cried. “We can’t be fighting now! Do you want to end up more injured?”

    “But-” Spark began. “Oh come on, Thunder was the one going to get injured. Type advantage!” He smirked.

    “She would have chopped your head off,” Rosie stated bluntly, and Spark made a face at her.

    “Just…stop arguing, everyone,” Snowcrystal sighed, her anger vanishing as she realized just how exhausted she was. “Look, it’s not raining as hard now. Maybe we should try and find some food.”

    “Fine,” Spark mumbled. “But I’ll stay right here.”

    “Well, goodbye then…” Rosie replied. “I’m going to go find some berries.” She bounded into the gloom, while Wildflame joined up with Thunder and headed off to hunt.

    Snowcrystal sighed and padded over to Spark. “Look, I’m sorry…I know that humans aren’t all bad, but Thunder probably doesn’t know otherwise. I think you should just leave her alone.”

    “Whatever…” Spark muttered, turning away from her.

    Snowcrystal quietly stepped away from him, not wanting to argue anymore. If they didn’t find a way to work together soon, they would truly be lost.

    -ooo-

    Blazefang and his pack were unable to go on for the time being. Some of the houndour had been injured very badly by the scyther, and they would need a while to rest. That meant that the pack was stuck there for the time being. Blazefang, at least, was glad that Wildflame would still be traveling with the growlithe’s group; he knew that if they got any closer to Articuno, she would know. At least that much he could count on.

    While the other houndour rested or hunted, Blazefang sheltered from the rain beneath a tree, conversing with two other houndour in low tones.

    “C’mon Blazefang, think about what you have here…I mean, that attack killed that scyther instantly!” Boneclaw whispered to Blazefang.

    “But it followed him through the air…what sort of attack does that?” Blazefang snarled back. “I have no idea what sort of thing this attack is capable of!”

    The third houndour in the group, a mangy-looking pokémon called Flarefire, spoke up, “I don’t see what’s so terrible about having a really powerful attack, Blazefang, but if you don’t like it, that’s your choice. Just remember, it did get you out of danger when that scyther attacked you.”

    “Maybe…” Blazefang muttered, turning away from Flarefire and Boneclaw, “but I still don’t understand it…”

    -ooo-

    Darting through the trees unnoticed, an aipom made his way in the direction of a small grove of fruit trees. He didn’t usually venture so far from the cities alone, but his trainer didn’t mind if he took food from the wild; it was better than getting in trouble after he was caught stealing. Keeping a wary eye out for predators, he scampered from one branch to the next. The aipom stopped suddenly as he noticed what looked to be a near-dying scyther right below the branch he was balancing on.

    The aipom’s first instinct was to flee, but he stopped himself, realizing that this scyther couldn’t do him much harm in its current state. Now over the initial shock, he sat back on the branch and looked at Stormblade curiously. After a minute or so with no movement at all from the scyther, the aipom idly broke off a small bit of the branch and held it over the still pokémon. He stopped for a moment, wondering if it was at all wise to throw something at a dangerous predator.

    Then, deciding he didn’t care, he dropped the twig on the scyther. Stormblade stirred slightly, but didn’t look up. However, the fact that he had moved at all made the aipom dart to a higher branch out of panic. When Stormblade didn’t attack him, he lost interest, and continued on his way, unknowingly in the direction of Wildflame and Thunder…

    To be continued…


  3. #23
    *Snivy cry intensifies* Scytherwolf's Avatar
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    The Path of Destiny
    Chapter 13 - A New Threat



    At first, the wandering aipom had no idea that he was heading in the direction of two large predators. However, luckily for him, the moment he came upon Wildflame and Thunder, they had been distracted by something else. Quietly bolting up a tree trunk, he watched them curiously for a few seconds, then scampered back toward the area where he’d seen the other scyther before. This was certainly strange…what on earth would two scyther and a houndoom be doing here?

    -ooo-

    Wildflame was losing her patience. Thunder had scared away every prey pokémon they had managed to find long before either of them had gotten close enough to strike. The houndoom was beginning to believe that Thunder didn’t know the first thing about hunting. “All right, listen!” Wildflame growled suddenly, turning to the scyther, “This isn’t working out at all. Haven’t you ever learned to hunt before?”

    “Master never taught me,” Thunder replied.

    “I meant before you were captured!” Wildflame growled in annoyance, lashing her tail.

    “I don’t remember what it was like before I was captured!” Thunder snapped. “Besides, I was still very young then. And I can’t hunt with this chain…other pokémon can hear it…every time I move.” She bit down on the shackle around her arm as if in some vain attempt to break it, but as usual, it was barely even scratched.

    “Fine, then don’t hunt at all,” Wildflame retorted. “I’ll do the hunting; you just stay here and keep quiet!” She stalked off, and Thunder turned away without a reply, listening to the sound of the houndoom’s pawsteps as she padded away.

    -ooo-

    Snowcrystal didn’t like having to wait for the others to return. It was partly that she was worried about their safety, but she also wished she could have gone with them so that she could hunt as well. Everyone in the group needed it, and she wished that she could help out. She also hated having to stay in this rocky clearing where there were sharp pebbles and mud everywhere she stepped. Even the sheltered spot beneath the trees was wet and muddy, making the three pokémon who stayed behind completely miserable. Snowcrystal briefly wondered if the mud would disguise her fur enough to allow her to hunt with the others, but she knew she couldn’t leave Stormblade there to try it.

    Spark was curled up beneath one of the trees, his back turned to the others. Snowcrystal knew that his burns were not serious, yet there was still the risk of infection. She figured that Spark probably just wanted to be left alone for a while, and decided to go check on Stormblade.

    As she approached the motionless scyther, she was reminded of just how serious his injuries were. The burns along his back, arms, and wings looked even more deep and serious than she had remembered, and his leg still looked bad and was flecked with drying blood. “Stormblade?” she whispered, and the scyther barely turned his head to look at her.

    She was surprised to see that he was actually shaking, as if cold. “Are you…all right?” she asked, realizing how stupid the question was right after she asked it. Stormblade didn’t answer. “Well, the others should be back soon,” Snowcrystal continued without waiting any longer for him to speak. “Maybe you and someone else can stay here, while the rest of us go look for a pokémon who can help you.”

    “Alright…” Stormblade replied without any other comment as he lay his head back down and closed his eyes.

    “Wait a minute,” Spark called suddenly from where he was resting nearby. “We can’t split up! What if Blazefang’s pack attacks us again? We have to be strong, and to be strong, we have to stick together!”

    “I’m not going,” Stormblade said quietly. “I’ll be fine staying here for a little while.”

    “Really…” Spark replied in a worried tone. “Look, we can’t stop for long. No matter what, we need to keep going.”

    Stormblade lifted his head, and though he wanted to stand, all he could really do was sit up slightly. “Well, I’m sure you could keep up with the others, but I probably wouldn’t…make it very far.”

    “Spark, he’s right,” Snowcrystal agreed. “I think we should-”

    “And let Blazefang’s pack catch up to us?” Spark shouted, his voice rising to a level of desperation Snowcrystal wasn’t used to hearing from him. “I don’t think so…You can’t give up Stormblade! You were always giving up back in the days when we were trainer’s pokémon! Justin thought you were just too lazy to battle for him half of the time!”

    “I don’t care what Justin thought!” Stormblade shouted, and it shocked Snowcrystal that he had actually yelled, when before he’d hardly made any sound at all.

    “Who’s Justin?” she asked, puzzled, looking from Spark to Stormblade.

    “Our trainer!” Spark replied.

    “He’s not our trainer anymore!” Stormblade growled, and Spark glared at him.

    “I know you don’t care…” Spark muttered. “You never liked Justin! You never understood what a great trainer he was…Of course you wouldn’t understand that I miss him…”

    “Spark!” Snowcrystal cried. “Why are you talking about this now? Don’t you see-”

    “Well, either way he’s not our trainer anymore…” Stormblade said.

    “Justin had to abandon us and it was all your fault!” Spark yelled.

    “You know what really happened!” Stormblade shouted back, and there was a sense of betrayal in his voice.

    “Well it still happened!” Spark growled.

    “What did you expect me to do?” Stormblade replied, but Snowcrystal stepped in front of Spark, and he didn’t explain further.

    “Spark, stop this!” Snowcrystal cried. “Whatever happened, it’s in the past…and right now, we have more important things to think about. What has gotten into you?”

    “I…I…” Spark stammered, as if he wasn’t even sure himself. He looked almost as shocked at his behavior as Snowcrystal did. “I don’t know…I’m sorry. Everything’s just been-”

    Snowcrystal was about to say something, when Wildflame and Thunder reappeared. Wildflame was carrying the limp body of a small spearow, while Thunder just looked exhausted and had no prey to show for it.

    “Is…that all you caught?” Snowcrystal asked, shocked.

    Wildflame set down the prey and nodded, and Snowcrystal looked dismayed. “Rosie should be back soon, though,” she stated. “Maybe she’s found some berries, and those who can should eat those.”

    Thunder didn’t speak to the others as she turned and walked away, not even giving a glance when Snowcrystal called out to her. Before anyone could try and stop her, she had already vanished into the trees.

    “What’s up with her?” Spark muttered, casting an odd glance in the direction Thunder had gone.

    “What’s up with who?” Rosie’s voice sounded from nearby, and the vulpix trotted into the clearing, dragging a small branch of berries.

    “Eh…nothing,” Spark replied, walking over to sniff the berries.

    Snowcrystal walked over to the spearow near Wildflame’s feet, but she was stopped when the houndoom placed her paw over the prey. “And were you just thinking of taking it?” Wildflame sneered. “I thought you and those others were going to eat berries. This spearow is hardly a meal, and it was all I caught, yet it is my kill.”

    Shocked, Snowcrystal backed away, but knew better than to argue with Wildflame. Everyone had been acting strangely, and she suspected the reason for it must be that the shock of Blazefang’s attack hadn’t yet worn off. Walking back to Rosie, she decided that the best thing to do was to divide the berries among the rest of them. Thunder had wandered off, and knowing that scyther didn’t get desperate enough to try and eat berries as easily as more omnivorous pokémon, Snowcrystal realized it probably wouldn’t matter much anyway. Regardless, she tried to give some to Stormblade, knowing how badly he needed to eat, but to her dismay, he refused them.

    “Come on, Stormblade,” Snowcrystal tried to urge him. “Please eat them…You need to get stronger.”

    “Berries aren’t going to do me much good…” Stormblade replied. He paused, his gaze moving in Spark’s direction. “I don’t like fighting with Spark. I know he doesn’t mean it, but…”

    “I’m sure he’ll calm down once we figure out what to do,” Snowcrystal tried to reassure him. “But I don’t understand…why did your trainer think that about you? That you give up all the time, I mean. You don’t give up easily.”

    “My trainer only kept me for battling,” he explained. “Nothing else. Sometimes it was wise to give up during one of those battles, especially if we were far from a city at the time. At those times, if I got injured in a fight, I wouldn’t be treated like the other pokémon; I’d just have to wait until Justin got to the nearest pokémon center. And sometimes that took days.”

    “But…why?” Snowcrystal asked, shocked.

    “It was because my trainer was afraid of me,” Stormblade stated simply, turning away from her. “I was little more than an accidental capture…Justin threw a poké ball at me so that he’d have a few more seconds to run away – not that I was going to attack him – but I was exhausted enough that it caught me. Justin was somewhat glad it had happened, for he ended up keeping me for the very same reason that he loathed and feared me…my scythes.

    “You see, as ‘terrifying’ as I was, I could fight well, and he knew that. He kept me for the battles. He had other pokémon who fought for him often; a meganium, a luxio, Spark, and a few others. In the few times I would be allowed out of my poké ball outside of battle, I often saw him running and playing with these pokémon, though I knew he wouldn’t dare get within ten feet of me. When I wasn’t battling, I was usually in my poké ball or made to stay away from the other pokémon. When he let me out, and he had to of course, he always had his other pokémon near him, guarding him, I think. But the point is, Justin was constantly afraid I would hurt him…or even kill him. He was sometimes too afraid to let me out to feed me, and would put it off for as long as he could. All in all, I know I’m better off without him.”

    Spark seemed to hear the scyther’s last statement and shot an angry glare at Stormblade, but Snowcrystal ignored him and stayed by Stormblade’s side, aware that something was troubling him. “If you want to tell me…you don’t have to…” she began. “But…why did your…uh…Spark’s trainer have to abandon you?” She was surprised that Stormblade seemed to actually want to talk about it.

    “He…he didn’t…” Stormblade replied, noticing that Spark had gotten up and left just as Snowcrystal finished speaking, “He had to release us back to the wild. I guess in a way…it was…my fault…but I never did mean for it to happen.”

    “But…I’m sure it couldn’t have been your fault…” Snowcrystal said quietly.

    “Maybe not, but sometimes it feels like it,” Stormblade replied. “It happened around a time humans call Christmas time – in the winter – and Justin had taken us all back to his hometown to celebrate for some reason or other. Spark and the other pokémon were inside with our trainer and his family, and when he finally decided to let me out of my poké ball after realizing he had to, he locked me outside, so I ‘wouldn’t hurt anyone’.

    “I didn’t want to stay outside in the snow, at least not in the open, so I headed into the nearby forest. I knew I couldn’t hunt there, not that there was much food in the winter anyway, because humans sometimes shot at pokémon they thought could be a threat to the town, and I knew I looked like a desperate wild scyther, because Justin never really took care of me the way he should have.”

    Snowcrystal listened quietly; she had heard that humans had weapons called guns, and that they could ‘shoot’ wild pokémon, but she wasn’t quite sure what that meant. All she knew was that, somehow, pokémon could die from it.

    Stormblade continued, though he didn’t sound very eager to finish the story. “I was wandering through the forest when I heard screams…from a human. I ran towards the sound and found a small human girl being attacked by a kabutops. I didn’t know what a kabutops was doing in a forest, and at first I didn’t understand why it was attacking her, until I noticed a couple of kabuto nearby, weak from the cold. I supposed they must have been released by a trainer who had passed by near the town, and the mother kabutops was so frightened and confused that she attacked whatever she perceived as a threat. They couldn’t have been under a trainer’s control for long; the way they behaved toward the human girl was just like a frightened wild pokémon would.

    “I tried to stop the kabutops, but that only distracted her, and she attacked me instead. While we were fighting, I was hoping the human would run away, but I guess she was too badly injured. The kabutops I was fighting was weak from hunger and exhaustion, and I managed to fend her off without getting injured myself. After she and the kabuto left, I walked over to the human, but she was unconscious, or at least I thought so at the time. I didn’t know what to do, so I waited there, afraid to leave her all alone in case the other humans didn’t find her. It began snowing very hard, erasing all signs of the other pokémon that had been there before. I couldn’t even smell the scent anymore.

    “After a while, I heard humans, and a group of them found us at last. But what they saw was me, standing beside the little human who had bad wounds from the kabutops’s blades…and I had blood on my scythes from the fight. A human pointed a gun at me, but I ran before he could shoot, and went back to my trainer’s house. Spark noticed me from the window and came outside…I told him what happened. Then Justin wondered why Spark had left…and he came out of the house and saw me and the stains of blood. He instantly returned me to my poké ball, and the next time I was let out…me, Spark, and all the other pokémon were being forced into the forest. I found out from Spark that the girl in the forest had died, but I believe it was more likely to have been from the cold than the kabutops’s attack. Still, the humans thought I had killed her…and when they found out I was Justin’s pokémon…he wasn’t allowed to be a trainer anymore.” Stormblade paused for a moment, before thinking of something and continuing again.

    “When Spark told you…when we first met you…that we had run away and had only been wandering for three weeks…well, we were lying. I knew how much Justin loved Spark, and it must have been terrible for both of them, but I just wanted to get away. We actually wandered for months…Spark had come along with me because I knew the ways of the wild while he had been raised by humans most of his life. And Spark was the only one who believed me when I told him what happened. I tried to tell the other pokémon, but they ignored me and wandered into the forest, going their own ways. We never saw any of them again. I was trying to find a new home…away from humans. And eventually, our travels led us near your mountain, still in search of a place where we could finally live in peace.”

    Snowcrystal stepped closer to Stormblade, knowing that he still blamed himself for the whole thing, yet it had only really been a mistake. “But it wasn’t your fault, it was a misunderstanding…you did the right thing by trying to help that human…” Stormblade didn’t reply, and Snowcrystal hoped that her words were still of some comfort. However, she knew they would have to get moving again soon. “Look, I know you want to rest now,” she said gently, “but we have to find a healer, and Spark’s right…splitting up is too dangerous. I’ll tell Wildflame to help you.”

    Bounding away from him momentarily, the growlithe spotted Rosie and Wildflame, as well as Thunder, who had recently returned. The sad look had not left the scarred scyther’s eyes, though Snowcrystal knew she wouldn’t want to be questioned about it.

    “We need to get moving,” Snowcrystal told the others. “I’ll go find Spark. Wildflame, can you help Stormblade? I don’t think he can walk by himself.”

    “Fine,” the houndoom muttered, her voice sounding anything but optimistic about their situation.

    Snowcrystal turned and headed after Spark, following his scent. A moment later, she reappeared with the jolteon, and the two of them walked back to where Stormblade was.

    The travelling pokémon were unaware of the aipom in the trees. He had been watching them, Snowcrystal especially. He now snuck off, muttering to himself cheerfully. “A white growlithe? My trainer will be pleased with this…”

    Still chattering under his breath, he headed back in the direction of the city, thinking up ways he could let his trainer know about the odd colored growlithe.

    To be continued…
    Last edited by Scytherwolf; 07-09-2017 at 03:11 AM.


  4. #24
    *Snivy cry intensifies* Scytherwolf's Avatar
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    The Path of Destiny
    Chapter 14 - Disaster Strikes



    Snowcrystal knew that the others were exhausted. Even though it was still morning, the growlithe could tell that it was going to be a long, hot day. And while Wildflame and Rosie wouldn’t mind all that much, it was certainly bad news for Stormblade.

    Beside Snowcrystal, Rosie yawned. “Snowcrystal…how long are we gonna keep walking?” the vulpix asked tiredly.

    “For a little while,” Wildflame told Rosie, answering for Snowcrystal herself. The houndoom seemed worried and impatient, as if she wanted to get as far away from the site of the Shadowflare attack as possible. Turning her head, she motioned with it toward the others up ahead. “Stormblade, come on,” she urged the pokémon beside her. She was still supporting the scyther’s weight, only able to move as fast as he could. Stormblade’s pace was painfully slow. He was forced to hobble along after the group, unable to put any weight on his injured leg.

    “It would help if you could slow down,” Stormblade muttered to himself, panting with the effort of keeping up with her. “Do you think we can take a break now?” he asked as Snowcrystal stopped and walked over to him. He was looking at the white growlithe with an almost pleading expression.

    “I second that!” Rosie called from up ahead before Snowcrystal could answer.

    Wildflame paused, and an annoyed look appeared in her eyes as she glanced at the vulpix. “We’re never going to get anywhere at this rate…” she sighed.

    “I don’t care,” Rosie retorted, lying down on her back. “If you want me to keep going, try and make me! I’m taking a break whether you like it or not!”

    “Fine,” Wildflame mumbled, defeated. “Let’s make it a quick break then.” She glanced to Snowcrystal, who was talking to Stormblade while the scyther limped over to a patch of grass to lie down. Turning away from them, she found a small spot to herself and sat with her tail curled around her paws, alert and waiting.

    The others soon found their own places to rest. Though she was impatient with the rest of the group, Wildflame had to admit to herself that the journey was starting to take its toll on her as well. A rest didn’t sound so bad after all.

    “You know, Wildflame,” Spark called to the houndoom. “I think we should be taking more breaks…we can’t keep going like this forever.”

    “Besides,” Rosie agreed, “I bet Blazefang’s just as tired as we are!”

    -ooo-

    In the shelter of a group of trees in a small park, a young blonde-haired girl of about fourteen sat on a small bench, holding her shinx, as she watched her other pokémon play. Sitting next to her was a boy her age. As the girl’s shinx jumped out of her hands and onto the bench, the boy reached out and petted the little pokémon, who curled up beside him.

    “If you loved your pokémon so much, Justin, what on earth made you give up pokémon training?” the girl, Katie asked, giving Justin yet another confused look. She had never understood why he didn’t train pokémon anymore, and he had never told her anything about the matter except to say, ‘I gave it up.’

    “I don’t know…” Justin mumbled, avoiding her gaze. “I guess…I guess it just…wasn’t working for me…”

    The young girl turned away, aware, as always, that there was more to it that he just wasn’t telling her. Glancing toward a small piece of paper on her right, she was reminded of the news that had been broadcast everywhere that day. Poachers and their vehicles had been spotted near the city, and all trainers had been advised not to leave the city alone, at least until the perpetrators were caught. “Poachers…” she muttered through clenched teeth. “I sure hope the police catch them soon. I can’t stand to think about what they do to pokémon.”

    A movement from the bushes nearby distracted her, and she looked in the direction of the noise just as her aipom bounded up onto the bench. “Aipom?” she questioned, surprised. “Where have you been? We just heard there are poachers around.”

    Aipom pointed excitedly in the direction of the plains near the outskirts of the city and ran off, before stopping and waiting for the humans to follow. He turned around, holding up a small book with a picture of a growlithe in it. “Where did you get that?” Katie demanded. “You didn’t steal it, right?” As Aipom smirked and ran off, Katie sighed and turned to Justin. “He’s done it again… Well, we better follow him, and make sure he gives that book back to whoever he took it from…”

    “Ever think you should try to control that pokémon better?” Justin muttered as he stood up, picking up Katie’s shinx while his friend returned her other pokémon to their pokéballs. “All right, though…” he agreed reluctantly with a sigh. “Let’s go.”

    -ooo-

    As Blazefang’s pack moved on, some of its members were noticeably missing. The houndour leader had finally realized that the injured pack members were only slowing them down, and eventually, he had decided to leave them behind to wander back to the mountain. It hadn’t been a pleasant decision, but it had been for the good of the rest of the pack.

    Blazefang turned as Boneclaw approached. “What do you want us to do now?” the other houndour asked his leader.

    “Stick with the same plan…follow the growlithe, but not too closely,” Blazefang replied. “Wildflame reported back to me while the growlithe thought she was hunting. She hasn’t heard anything about Articuno yet, and she told me the scyther I fought survived the attack, but is badly injured. If we find him alone, I give you permission to kill him. We want the growlithe to lead us to Articuno as soon as possible, and an injured pokémon will only slow them down.”

    Boneclaw nodded slowly, remembering the several houndour who had been injured and fallen behind after Blazefang had ordered the rest of the pack not to slow their pace for them. He was sure they would eventually find their way back to the mountain, as none of them had been near death, but the thought of the wounded group staggering back to the tribe alone still bothered him.

    Boneclaw shivered, wondering if, had circumstances been different, he would have been in their place. He began to worry that Blazefang cared about nothing but pleasing Firedash…and that not even his own pack mates mattered to him.

    -ooo-

    Wildflame quickly grew impatient with waiting again. She knew that Stormblade’s injuries were the main problem; as Rosie really could keep going, despite her stubbornness on the matter. The houndoom had wanted to continue the journey as soon as possible, so they could actually get closer to wherever Articuno was, but at the moment, she mainly wanted to leave because she had a bad feeling about the area. However, she couldn’t explain why, and she wasn’t about to try and make the others understand.

    Feeling restless despite her tiredness, she decided to look for a stream and maybe find some prey she could hunt. Padding away from the others, she glanced back at Rosie and Stormblade for a moment before moving on. Once on her own, Wildflame trotted easily over a large group of rocks and into an area where more trees grew. Prey was far more likely to be found among the trees than in the rocky areas, even if Wildflame was used to hunting in more open spaces.

    Suddenly a strange sound caused her to glance to her left, and she crept closer, until she heard voices nearby. Two of the voices belonged to humans, and another to a pokémon. Wildflame crouched down in a clump of bushes as an aipom ran by, followed by two trainers.

    “What about the poacher warning?” the boy called as he ran after the female trainer.

    “We’ll be fine!” she called back to him, though the boy didn’t look very convinced.

    Once the humans and their pokémon had passed, Wildflame raised her head, realizing that they were headed straight for the group. Looking closely at the ground where the humans had passed by, she could see many footprints in the mud; her own footprints from before as well as those of the others she had been travelling with. And that was what the aipom and the humans seemed to be following. Knowing she could outrun them easily, Wildflame turned and headed back toward Snowcrystal and the others by a different way, so as not to run into the humans.

    -ooo-

    Snowcrystal glanced up as Wildflame suddenly appeared, looking worried and out of breath. “What’s wrong?” the growlithe asked.

    “Humans,” Wildflame growled. “We gotta move, now!”

    “Humans!” Rosie cried, leaping up, “All right, let’s get out of here!”

    “Stormblade will never outrun them!” Thunder snapped. “I say we fight them off before they even make it here.”

    Snowcrystal glanced at Wildflame, who nodded slowly. “I suppose that’s the best we can do,” The houndoom said quietly. “Snowcrystal, you and the others should try and go ahead with Stormblade. I’ll distract them.” Wildflame then took a deep breath, regretting what she had just said instantly. However, there was no changing her mind now, and she was the only one who stood a real chance; the others were either hopeless in battle or they were injured. ‘Remember…’ she thought to herself silently, ‘you’re a houndoom now…you can fight!’ Feeling slightly less worried as she recalled herself taking down a stantler in the forest, Wildflame turned and bounded away. “This’ll be easy!” she called to the others, hoping she sounded convincing.

    Not stopping to see if the pokémon were going yet, Wildflame headed straight for the humans, hoping a warning flamethrower would be enough to send them on their way. She knew they had been following the group, but she wasn’t sure why. The last thing she wanted was to be captured, especially considering she was on an important mission for her tribe back at the mountain.

    Wildflame heard the sound of the humans’ footsteps close by, and paused, waiting. Once they came into view, she leaped from the bushes and in landed in front of them, snarling as she turned to block their path. The humans both stopped and took a step back, and the aipom skidded to a halt right in front of Wildflame.

    Katie stepped back, surprised at the sudden appearance of the dark type. “Aipom, iron tail!” she called as she watched her pokémon dart out of the way of the wild houndoom’s snapping jaws. Aipom dashed back toward Wildflame and swung around, whipping his now glowing tail across the houndoom’s side. Wildflame rolled with the impact and kicked out with her back paws, catching Aipom across the chest and knocking him to the ground. Staggering upright, Wildflame fired a flamethrower at the dazed pokémon, who barely managed to roll away in time to avoid serious injury.

    Katie, realizing that Aipom was most likely going to get hurt, became nervous. “Aipom get back here!” she cried, wishing yet again that she still had Aipom’s poké ball. He hated being inside one, and would always manage to ‘lose’ his whenever Katie got a new one. However, this time Aipom could see that the battle wasn’t going in his favor. He scampered back over to Katie, before climbing up on her shoulder.

    As Wildflame took a step closer, Katie grabbed a pokéball and released one of her other pokémon. The pokémon appeared with a willing cry, standing right in front of Wildflame. The houndoom didn’t need to recognize the pokémon to know it was a water type. Short light blue and white fur covered its body, and it stood on its hind paws. It had two long ears and a long jagged black tail with a large blue orb at the tip.

    “Azumarill!” Katie cried. “Water gun!”

    Wildflame was forcefully hit by a blast of water that sent her flying into a nearby tree. Coughing and sputtering, she stood back up and launched a blast of flame at the water pokémon. “Out of the way, Azumarill!” Katie cried just as Wildflame fired the attack. The water type heeded the warning and dodged the blast of flame. Katie reached into her pocket and took out a pokéball, pressing the small white button in its center to expand it. “I’m going to try and catch this one!” she excitedly told Justin, who stood a little ways behind her, watching the battle.

    Wildflame took a moment to listen to Katie’s words. “Not on your life, human,” she spat as she ran toward Azumarill. Knowing that fire attacks wouldn’t work well against her opponent, she decided to use a different strategy. Running behind Azumarill, Wildflame leaped toward her, and though Azumarill dodged, the houndoom still managed to get a grip around the water pokémon’s thin black tail with her teeth. Azumarill screeched in pain and whirled around, just as her trainer gave another command.

    “Water pulse!” Katie shouted, and once again Wildflame was forcefully knocked back, but this time she recovered quicker. Not having much time for a close ranged attack, seeing as Azumarill was still nearly unscathed, Wildflame launched another flamethrower, which hit its mark.

    Wildflame stepped back, watching Azumarill as she stood up and faced her. The attack hadn’t seemed to do much damage to the water pokémon, and apart from being singed, Azumarill seemed to be fine. Trying to gather up her strength, Wildflame prepared for her enemy’s next move.

    An angry battle cry suddenly caused both pokémon to glance to the left, a moment before Thunder darted from the bushes to stand beside Wildflame. “A scyther?” Katie mused, reaching for her pokédex as she stared closely at Thunder’s broken chain and collar.

    “Katie!” Justin cried, suddenly panicking, as he grabbed his friend’s arm. “Get away from there!”

    Katie, who had been reaching for her pokédex, glanced around at him in surprise, before hearing Azumarill’s cries of pain, which caused her to glance back. The scyther had given her pokémon two long cuts across her back, and Katie quickly returned the water type.

    “Let’s get out of here!” Justin cried, terror filling his voice as he pulled his friend further away from the two wild pokémon. Finally deciding to listen, she followed Justin, running back through the mud and grass and towards the city. Sighing in relief as the humans left, Wildflame followed Thunder as they headed back to the others.

    -ooo-

    Snowcrystal looked up as she heard Wildflame and Thunder approach. “The humans have left,” Wildflame assured the growlithe calmly.

    “Good,” Snowcrystal replied, and thought for a moment. “Wildflame, do you think you and Thunder could scout ahead and just check to make sure it’s safe? You’re strong enough to fight if you run into danger, and I think it would be a lot better for us to know what’s up ahead.” She looked at the two of them; Thunder showed no reaction whatsoever, but Wildflame didn’t seem very pleased with the idea.

    “What about me?” Rosie cried suddenly. “I’m not injured! I’ll go!”

    “But I don’t think…” Snowcrystal began, before Wildflame interrupted her.

    “Let her go,” the houndoom muttered. “I had to fight a pokémon already…I’m tired. I’ll stay back here with the rest of you.”

    Rosie smirked and walked alongside Thunder as the two slipped into the bushes ahead. Snowcrystal stayed at the back beside Stormblade, and Spark and Wildflame loped a little ways ahead.

    -ooo-

    “How far ahead are we supposed to go?” Thunder asked Rosie as the two of them stepped over rocks and small bushes. Though Thunder wouldn’t show it, her wounds were paining her, yet she had no problem keeping up with the energetic little vulpix.

    “I don’t know, Thunder…do you think we should go back now?” Rosie asked casually, stopping and tilting her head at the scyther.

    “Yes,” Thunder agreed, starting to turn back.

    “Wait a minute,” Rosie whispered, pricking her ears up. “I think I heard something…I want to go see what it is.” She glanced toward Thunder, who sighed and rolled her eyes, lying down in the mud and not seeming to care much that it got in her wounds.

    “Go right on ahead,” the scyther muttered.

    “Uh…okay then, I’ll be right back…” Rosie responded, confused at Thunder’s attitude, and wondering why she had agreed to go along in the first place. Heading away from the bug type, she followed the noise she had heard until she began to make out what it was. Someone was calling for help…

    Rosie crept carefully through a group of bushes, away from Thunder. After a short time, the vulpix emerged into a very small clearing, and immediately saw what had been making the noise. A young teddiursa was caught in a net. Rosie stiffened, knowing what that meant, and started to back away. Suddenly she felt a human hand close roughly on her scruff and she was lifted bodily off her paws and into the air.

    “Well would you look what I found?” came a man’s voice, and Rosie could hear another’s footsteps. She tried to twist free from the human’s grip, flailing her paws at him as she cried for help, although she didn’t know if Thunder was even close enough to hear her anymore. She tried to turn her head around to use an ember attack, but he was holding her neck fur too firmly for her to move her head much at all.

    “A vulpix?” the other human called. “Well, lucky us. Toss it in a cage. I’ll get the teddiursa.”

    Rosie found herself being carried away to a truck that was nearby and thrown forcefully into a hard metal cage. Unpleasant memories flooded the young vulpix’s mind from the last time she had been locked in a cage. But now, it was far more terrifying. There were other pokémon in cages in the back of the truck, and Rosie had no idea where the humans were bound to take them. At least before, she had been alone in a forest, and probably would have been able to free herself, but now, it was different. There were humans close by, watching, and they were going to take her away to some strange place. A cry of pain filled her ears as the teddiursa was thrown into another cage beside her. Rosie moved forward toward the bars of her cage, staring back out into the trees. “THUNDER!” she cried desperately. “Thunder…help!”

    There was no answer. Rosie heard the humans get into the vehicle and start it. The floor of the cage lurched beneath her as the truck moved forward, causing her to lose her footing and fall. As the vehicle picked up speed, Rosie started to panic even more, crying out for help as loud as she could.

    “Rosie!?” A voice called back at her this time, and Thunder stumbled out of the bushes and into the clearing that the truck had just left.

    “Thunder!” Rosie cried. “Get me out!”

    Without answering Rosie’s cry, Thunder darted after the human’s vehicle. Rosie peered through the cage bars as the truck drove on, noticing with relief that Thunder was catching up. Even injured, a scyther’s speed was unmatched. “Thunder, hurry!” Rosie called out, failing to notice one of the humans in the truck lean out the window as he saw that a pokémon was following them.

    Thunder was far too focused on Rosie and the cage to notice that the human carried a gun until it was too late. The gun fired twice, and Thunder felt one bullet strike her in the side and the other tear into her shoulder. She collapsed painfully to the ground, blood seeping from the wounds, and the vehicle drove on. “Thunder!” Rosie cried, leaping up and placing her paws against the cage bars as she heard the gun fire and watched Thunder fall.

    Crying out in rage, Thunder tried to get back up, but the weakness and shock were finally too much for her. She only collapsed again as the truck drove further away, moving far quicker than it had been and vanishing into a large grove of berry trees.

    The moment she had seen Thunder collapse again, Rosie’s eyes had filled with tears that came unbidden. “Thunder, get up! Help me!” she cried, even though the scyther was now out of sight. “Don’t let them take me…do something!” She was now sobbing uncontrollably in her absolute terror, fearing the humans and everything they could do to her. Desperately she clawed at the cage bars, not stopping even when she tore a claw and stained the bars with blood.

    Thunder could hear the cries growing fainter and fainter, but her strength was ebbing away. She tried to stand up, but failed, and gradually Rosie’s shouts faded into nothing…

    Rosie gave a loud cry of fear as she realized that Thunder could not follow her. All around her, pokémon were crying or yelling for help or vainly trying to free themselves. The vulpix knew it was no use, and now Thunder, her only hope, couldn’t save her. Still, even though she knew that there were no rescuers to hear her shouts, she did not stop crying out.

    “Help!” she yelled in terror. “Someone help me! Get me out! Heeeeeelllp!”

    To be continued…
    Last edited by Scytherwolf; 07-09-2017 at 03:12 AM.


  5. #25
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    The Path of Destiny
    Chapter 15 - A Small Quest



    Once again, the travelers had found themselves forced to stop because of Stormblade’s injuries. As they rested, Snowcrystal couldn’t help wondering why Thunder and Rosie were taking so long to get back. “Do you think they’re okay?” she asked Spark, for the fourth time.

    “Of course,” the jolteon replied. “Rosie’s probably just excited she gets to go on a little adventure and act responsible for once.” He shrugged. “They’ll be fine, don’t worry about ‘em.”

    Snowcrystal sighed and gazed off into the distance. She couldn’t help worrying. ‘They should have been back by now…’ she thought. She was about to suggest that they go look for them when heard rustling in the bushes, and Thunder staggered back into the clearing.

    Snowcrystal stared in shock. The scyther’s side and shoulder were drenched in blood, though how it had happened, she didn’t have a clue. The growlithe leapt up, alarmed, and she could tell by the looks coming from everyone else that they were just as startled. Using his own blades for support, Stormblade limped over to her, seeming to know what had injured her.

    “What happened?” he asked, sounding extremely worried. “Did you run into humans…you’ve been shot!”

    Thunder whirled around suddenly and slammed the side of her scythe into his face, which was enough to knock him completely off his feet. “You think I haven’t noticed that already?” she snarled at him, before seeming to loose her strength completely, and collapsing to her knees. “Look…” she muttered, ignoring the others’ stares and struggling to her feet again, “in case you all haven’t noticed…Rosie is GONE!”

    “Wh…what?” Snowcrystal managed to say, the anger she had been about to direct at Thunder for hitting Stormblade vanishing to be replaced with horror.

    “Humans took her!” Thunder growled. “Along with lots of other pokémon too.” She paused for a moment to take a few shuddering breaths, then went on. “She went off alone…I heard her screaming a few minutes later and ran after the human’s truck…but they were long gone…I came back here…there was nothing I could do.” She lowered her head, as if in shame.

    Snowcrystal, Spark, and Wildflame glanced at each other in alarm, and Wildflame murmured, barely above a whisper, “I heard the humans I fought earlier mention something about…poachers? Humans who steal pokémon, right?” Beside her, Spark nodded, confirming her beliefs to be true.

    Stormblade sat up, closing one of his eyes as he looked at the others. “Well we have to go after them, don’t we?” he asked, wincing.

    “Why don’t you go after them! I’m sure you’ll go far with that,” Thunder muttered sarcastically, although she was still breathing heavily.

    “Don’t…treat…Stormblade that way,” Snowcrystal growled, but she could plainly see that Thunder was not intimidated by her, or even paying attention. She knew that Thunder had been badly hurt, and the scyther looked like she was about to pass out, but there was no excuse for her anger toward the pokémon who was only trying to help. Still, she knew that they needed to figure out what they could do to help Rosie. She stepped beside Stormblade, giving him a comforting nudge as she glanced around at the others. “Well…what should we do?” she whispered, unable to hide the fear that shone in her eyes.

    “Listen…Snowcrystal,” Spark replied, turning to face her. “There isn’t much we can do. I’ve lived with a trainer and other humans for as long as I can remember. I’ve heard about poachers…seen trainers who’ve had their pokémon stolen. And really, there was nothing any of them could do but move on. When pokémon are stolen, very few ever get reunited with their friends or trainers. Even if the poachers are caught, the pokémon they had stolen before are almost always either already sold, or…” He lowered his head, not wanting to finish his statement.

    “But…we can’t let that happen to Rosie…” Snowcrystal murmured quietly.

    “I’m afraid we won’t be able to catch them,” Spark replied, barely above a whisper, “and even if by some miracle we managed to find them, they’d only take us too.”

    “Take us?” Thunder growled. “I’d like to see them try!”

    “But…but who knows what they’ll do to her!” Snowcrystal shouted, facing Spark with a shocked expression. “And you’re saying we should just give up?”

    “Hate to break it to ya, but he’s right you know.”

    Snowcrystal spun around, trying to locate the owner of the voice, when she noticed an aipom sitting on a low tree branch nearby. Before she could ask any questions, Wildflame let out a snarl and pounced, knocking the aipom clear off the tree and pinning him to the ground. “Why…are you following us?” the houndoom snarled, letting the aipom get a good view of her fangs. Aipom was caught completely by surprise, and could only stare back at the houndoom in terror. “Speak! Now!” Wildflame growled. “Or will I have to make you?”

    “It…it…was just…” Aipom stammered, “I thought you needed help and I…”

    “Help?” Wildflame scoffed. “If you wanted to help, can you explain why you tried to lead those humans to us?”

    “Wildflame…” Snowcrystal whispered, not liking the way she was treating the aipom, enemy or not.

    “Stay out of this!” Wildflame snapped back at her.

    “Okay…” Aipom continued, seeming to have overcome some of his shock. “I went to get my trainer, Katie, and her friend because I found your friend…the scyther, injured, and I knew they could help…”

    “They attacked me!” Wildflame growled.

    “Well you jumped out at them…what were they supposed to do?” Aipom replied with the faintest hint of a grin. “I had only seen the scyther and I had no clue until just now that you were friends so…”

    “Try and come up with a more believable story next time,” Wildflame snarled. “That is…if there is a next time. I’m not going to just let you go so you can run straight back to the humans!”

    “Wait!” Snowcrystal cried, before turning to the aipom. “Maybe you can help us…that is…you can tell us what you know about these…poachers.”

    “Nothing you don’t know,” Aipom replied, and Wildflame pricked his shoulders with her claws, silencing him.

    “Oh…so you were spying on us, huh?” Wildflame growled. “Here’s some advice for you; if you’re going to spy on someone, don’t give yourself away! I assume that would have been obvious.”

    “But when I heard…about…Rosie,” Aipom continued hesitantly, “I didn’t want you all to go running off only to get caught by the poachers…believe me, I won’t lead Katie back here…just let go of me!”

    Wildflame moved to the side, but still kept a paw down on the aipom’s chest. “I don’t trust you…” she sneered, and glanced down as an object fell from the stranger’s paws. “What’s this…?” she mused, prodding the object with her other paw.

    Spark glanced over, and realized it was a small book that the aipom had been carrying. Wildflame’s paw turned some of the pages, revealing a picture of a poochyena on one page, and a houndour on the other. Spark quickly realized it was some sort of book on canine pokémon. “It’s a book…” Spark mumbled to himself in a bored tone.

    Snowcrystal followed his gaze down to the small object, and suddenly remembered what Spark had said before. “Wait a minute!” she gasped. “Spark, you said humans know about many different things from books…even about other humans. What if one of the human’s books tells us where the poachers could have gone?”

    “Well…” Spark began, “I don’t think…”

    “Nonsense!” Aipom shouted. “Humans know everything!”

    “No they don’t,” Stormblade muttered. “Some of them don’t even bother to find out the genders of their own pokémon. They always call each one an “it”…”

    “Nah, they’re just lazy,” Aipom replied, trying to sit up, though Wildflame pushed him back down.

    “But maybe one of the humans’ books will tell us how to stop them!” Snowcrystal cried.

    Spark shrugged. “I dunno…but it’s not like it matters anyway, none of us can read human!”

    “I can!” Aipom shouted. “I can read human! My trainer taught me. Just spare my life and I’ll-”

    “Oh really?” Wildflame growled, pushing the book toward Aipom with her paw. “Read this then, Aipom. Tell me what these markings mean!”

    “Okay, okay!” he replied. “But don’t call me Aipom. Katie calls me Aipom. No one else calls me Aipom! My name is Sid!”

    “Shut up and just tell us what it means…Aipom!” Wildflame growled.

    “There’s no need to be mean…” Snowcrystal whispered, but the houndoom ignored her.

    Thunder watched the others from where she lay, not wanting any of this arguing to go on any longer. She just wanted to rest, and to be alone for a while, though she had to admit that leaving the group would not be a wise decision when she was in such an awful condition. Laying her head down on the grass wearily, she continued to watch them.

    Sid picked up the book, opening it at a random page. “Uh…okay…once upon a time there was a poochyena. See? Poochyena!” He held up the book, pointing to the picture. “And uh…he was standing there…waiting for…”

    Wildflame swatted the book away. “You can’t read it!” she growled.

    “I can! Sort of…just not very well!” he protested. “But my trainer can read! I can find a book about whatever you want, and she can read it to me, and I can tell you what it says!”

    “There won’t be a book that tells us where the poachers are!” Spark shouted.

    “Well maybe not, but you can learn more about them,” Sid replied. “All the better if you ever want to find them. And there are books about everything! Even about healing herbs that you can find in the forests and plains…” He aimed this last statement particularly at Stormblade.

    Wildflame was about to reply when Snowcrystal stepped up to the aipom. “I have an idea,” she told the others. “If he can lead us to a place with books, maybe we’d be able to find one that can help us figure out where the poachers would want to take Rosie! At least the humans have pictures in those books.”

    “But…Snowcrystal…” Spark began.

    “Look, he’s right…” Snowcrystal whispered. “We’ll never catch up to them in our state. In the meantime, we should find out as much as we can about the poachers, and about what we can do to try and help those of us who are injured…and maybe…maybe even about Articuno.”

    Wildflame sighed. “I don’t see what this will-”

    “Look, maybe she’s right,” Stormblade stated. “Even if we can’t find out about the poachers, Rosie would have wanted us to help Snowcrystal find Articuno. If somehow…this can help, I say we try and find out what these humans know. If Sid really wants to help us, like I believe he does, he can tell us what the books say after his trainer reads them.”

    Spark and Snowcrystal nodded, and Wildflame sighed again. “All right…but only a few of us should go to find these books. I’ll go…to make sure you don’t pull any tricks…” she muttered with a snarl at Sid, “and if this works, we’ll let you go…but we’ll make sure we’re far from the humans first!”

    “All right then,” the aipom said cheerfully, jumping up as Wildflame released him. “I’ll show you the place!”

    “I’ll go too,” Snowcrystal added, “but we should go at night, when most of the humans are in their buildings. Maybe Spark should go as well; you know a lot about humans.”

    “No!” Spark stated firmly. “Bring me back a book, and I’ll do my best to figure out what it means if Sid can’t get his trainer to understand, but that’s all I’m doing! I’m not going to get myself in trouble with the humans! At least not until my injuries heal, that is,” he added with a shrug.

    Snowcrystal wondered if being in the city would bring back painful memories for Spark. Perhaps that was why he was reacting in such a way; maybe the nearby city had been a place that Spark and his trainer had once been to together. She decided not to mention her theory to him.

    “Fine,” Wildflame growled, “we’ll leave you here. Once night falls, the three of us will go to this…place…” As Sid started to climb a tree, Wildflame stamped her paw down on his tail. “And remember…I’ll be right by you the whole time…any tricks, and you’ll regret it!”

    “Don’t worry,” the aipom reassured her, “no tricks…”

    -ooo-

    Rosie lay shivering on the cage floor in the back of the human’s truck; too exhausted to call for help anymore. Many of the other pokémon were still silently crying and occasionally calling out to someone far away. Rosie blew a small ember near the bars of the cage, trying to warm herself up. It was now getting close to evening, and a few other pokémon had been found caught in cages and thrown into the truck.

    Rosie sighed, watching the small ember fade away. ‘If only my ember was hot enough to melt the bars…maybe if I knew flamethrower…’ Her thoughts were interrupted by the sound of something tapping against the side of her cage. She turned and looked to see the teddiursa she had seen caught in the net, looking through the bars at her.

    “Huh…what?” she mumbled, confused.

    “You tried to save me,” he whispered in a childlike voice. “Thank you!”

    Rosie stared for a moment. She realized that this pokémon was very young, quite younger than her. She thought back to what had happened, but only remembered following the sound of his cries for help, and seeing him in the clearing. “Uh…you’re welcome…” she stammered, turning her back toward him as she stared off into the distance.

    “Were you friends with that scyther?” he asked, and Rosie merely shrugged in response. “Why did she-”

    “Look,” Rosie replied, “just…just stop talking to me, okay?”

    The teddiursa was silent for a moment, then replied, “If we work together, maybe we can escape!”

    Rosie sighed. “How?” she muttered darkly.

    “When the humans open the cage we can run away really fast!” the teddiursa replied, enthusiasm alight in his innocent eyes.

    “That won’t work!” Rosie snapped. “The humans would know we’d try to do that and have a way to stop us! It’s…oh never mind…” She slumped down against the side of the cage, trying to push the awful thoughts from her mind…of the poachers…all the captured pokémon…Thunder being shot…

    …Was Thunder even alive?

    “What are they going to do to us?” the teddiursa’s voice interrupted her thoughts, now sounding scared again. She glanced back at him, and realized that he looked so naive and confused, with no real idea of the true horrors these humans could possibly put him through.

    “I…don’t know,” Rosie admitted, shaking her head and curling up against the side of her cage as the truck drove on. “I really don’t know…”

    To be continued…
    Last edited by Scytherwolf; 07-09-2017 at 03:12 AM.


  6. #26
    *Snivy cry intensifies* Scytherwolf's Avatar
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    The Path of Destiny
    Chapter 16 - A Risky Venture



    Rosie was still shivering by the time the truck stopped. She was cold, hungry, and terrified. The vulpix tried to give a brave growl as a human lifted her cage up and placed it on the ground beside the truck and in front of a large building. Rosie could see no other human buildings anywhere nearby.

    Rosie jumped, startled, as a human unlocked her cage. She lunged forward and the human stepped back, but as soon as her paws touched grass she was lifted up by her scruff again, and the human forced something around her mouth; something that held her jaws tightly closed. ‘A muzzle!’ she thought, outraged. ‘He’s making me wear a muzzle?’

    Once the muzzle was secure, Rosie found herself being taken toward the building. She clawed and scratched, but the human didn’t even react to it at all, not even when she drew blood. She was carried into the building, past rooms she didn’t bother to try and look at closely. Before long, she was brought to a rather large room, and put in yet another cage. The human did not take the muzzle off.

    Rage flooded through her, and she slammed her small body against the cage bars, in some vain hope that somehow, she would be able to free herself. Though after a few tries, she fell back, feeling exhausted, battered, confused, and most of all…scared.

    “What’s going on?”

    The teddiursa’s innocent sounding voice roused Rosie from her thoughts, and she looked up, watching him being taken, held by the scruff as she had been, past the room and to another. “Help…” His eyes grew wide as he realized he was being taken away from his newfound vulpix friend. “Help…wait…Stop them! Help!” he cried, suddenly alarmed. “Don’t let them take me! Hel-”

    Rosie heard a loud smack, and realized the human must have hit the teddiursa in order to keep him quiet. She moved closer to the bars, but she could no longer see the human. She realized that all around her were different pokémon in cages, though most of them were either asleep or lying still and pretending to be. They seemed to grow especially quiet whenever a human walked by with another pokémon. Since she had the muzzle, Rosie couldn’t ask them anything. Sinking slowly to the floor of the cage she allowed herself to cry, not caring who saw or heard. The tough, spunky little vulpix was gone, leaving only a lost, scared, and lonely little pokémon in her place.

    -ooo-

    Rain lashed down against the tall buildings of the city, dark clouds making the nighttime seem even darker. Walking cautiously through the alleyways, two pokémon followed a third as they made their way through the gloom, occasionally glimpsing nearly deserted streets as they crept around the towering human structures. They counted themselves lucky that the rain seemed to be keeping most of the humans away from that section of the city.

    Wildflame shuddered. Her fur was soaked through and plastered to her body by the rain. She had always hated the rain; most fire types did, and the houndoom was certainly no exception. “How much farther is this place?” she growled to the aipom up ahead.

    “Not far!” he replied, before running off down another side alley.

    Snowcrystal, her fur soaked with muddy water from the streets, ran after the others as Wildflame bolted after Sid. After a short while they stopped, and checked around for humans before Sid led them to the side of a large building.

    “Here!”

    Snowcrystal peered up through the rain at the side of the building, while Sid clambered up onto a windowsill and carefully opened the small window.

    “I’ve snuck in here before,” he explained. “This window never closes fully. We can go in through here. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to fit, miss houndoom.”

    Wildflame growled. “Then I’ll wait here…” she muttered. “You know about humans, so you help Snowcrystal find what she’s looking for, all right?”

    “Of course,” the aipom replied with a smile before slipping through the open window.

    Wildflame expected Snowcrystal to have a bit of trouble climbing, but to her surprise, the growlithe leaped clear up onto the windowsill from the ground. Noticing Wildflame’s impressed glance, the growlithe explained, “I’m used to this sort of thing. There were lots of rocks I had to climb back at the mountain.”

    Wildflame merely grunted in reply, and lay down with her paws tucked under her, after she had carefully scanned the area for any passing humans.

    “You’ll be okay, right?” Snowcrystal asked, turning to look at the houndoom.

    “Sure,” Wildflame replied with a shrug.

    Snowcrystal sighed, carefully turning back to the window and leaping to the carpeted floor inside, her paws making a dull thud as she landed. She was in a small room, and it was too dark to see much of anything. Lifting her head, she searched around for Sid, and found the aipom standing in a doorway leading to a much larger room.

    “Over here,” he whispered, prodding the door open wider. “This…is what the humans call a library.”

    Snowcrystal’s eyes widened. The dark room ahead was brightened ever so slightly by the windows near the ceiling, which let in a fraction of dim blue light. Every few seconds lightning flashed across the sky, briefly lighting up the interior of the vast room and allowing her to see more of what was inside. The noise of booming thunder filled the air, somehow sounding more eerie inside the building.

    The room was far huger than any of the cave chambers Snowcrystal had known back at her mountain home. Massive shelves of books seemed to tower far over her head, rows and rows of them in all directions. All along the walls were large intricate pictures depicting all sorts of pokémon and humans. Many of the pokémon in the pictures were legendaries; Snowcrystal even spotted one of Articuno.

    “This way!” Sid’s voice snapped Snowcrystal out of her reverie, and she followed the small aipom as he headed toward one of the large shelves.

    “Do you know where we can find the right books?” she asked, whispering, as if fearful some human or guard pokémon would hear her. There seemed to be no one around, however.

    “Hmm…I might have an idea,” Sid replied, rather loudly. “Oh, I know! Let’s split up! I’ll look for a book about poachers, you look for one about healing remedies…you know, for your scyther friend…S…s...Skyblade.”

    “But…but how will I know how to find it?” Snowcrystal asked, worried.

    “Just look at the pictures!” Sid shouted, already starting to run off. “You’re smart…you’ll figure it out! Just bring whatever you find to me!”

    “But wait!” Snowcrystal cried. “Shouldn’t we…” She stopped, for the aipom was already gone. “Decide on a meeting place…” she finished to herself in a whisper. She didn’t like the thought of splitting up, especially in a place as vast as the library seemed to be, yet now, she didn’t have a choice. Looking around, she noticed hallways leading off into other rooms that were probably as big or bigger than the one she was currently standing in. She decided to start where she was. Sighing, she headed over to one of the towering shelves.

    Noticing a group of thick books near the bottom of the shelf, Snowcrystal tried to pry one loose with her claws, which brought the rest of the books next to it crashing to the ground as well. A few of them landed open, but none of them had pictures at all. Snowcrystal gently turned some of the pages with the tip of her nose, but found nothing that seemed useful. She figured a book about healing herbs would have to have pictures, and moved on, leaving the other books lying on the floor.

    Quietly she moved between the dark shelves, pulling down books with her claws and looking for any sort of pictures. She found nothing helpful or of interest to her.

    After she had walked along two rows of shelves, she began to feel hopeless. The place was simply too vast, and she couldn’t even reach any of the books on the higher shelves. She could barely reach up to the second shelf, and she figured that climbing them would be too risky if she didn’t want to be heard; she still had no idea if there were any humans around.

    A little while longer, and Snowcrystal had stopped to take a short break. She had explored various areas of the room, and found that, at least as far as she could tell, certain types of books were together in certain areas. She had found one area filled with books all about humans training their pokémon, an area with books depicting various fire pokémon, and yet another area where all the books were small or thin and had bright, colorful pictures on each page, but which had no real meaning, or at least not one that Snowcrystal could see. She decided she needed to look elsewhere for books that had pictures of plants.

    Turning towards one of the wide hallways, Snowcrystal quietly padded along it, shuddering as lighting forked across the sky beyond the tall windows, sending bizarre shadows against the walls. She willed herself to calm down, telling herself that she shouldn’t be afraid of things like that; she hadn’t minded darkness or shadows in the caves back at her mountain.

    After having passed a large mural of the three legendary beasts, Snowcrystal made a mental note to herself that humans might have placed books about legendaries somewhere near. Feeling a burst of excitement surge through her small body, she ran forward into a room even larger than the one she had just recently left.

    Running up to the nearest set of shelves, she pulled a few books free, which landed on the floor with a rather loud thud.

    Then she heard footsteps.

    Terror raced through her mind as she realized by the sound of the footsteps that they could only belong to a human. Such was her shock and fear of being discovered that she did not try and control her panic. Turning away without even looking at the books, she fled down the next row of shelves, running as fast as she could. She did not slow down or try to hide, even though some part of her knew she was probably making enough noise for the human to hear her. She didn’t take the time to think about where she was running. She didn’t think about how the human was not a poacher and would not kill her…she just ran.

    Yet in the midst of everything, she remembered what her friends had told her earlier. Pokémon with colors humans weren’t familiar with, growlithe that were not orange, would be captured in an instant if seen by a human. She had to get out.

    Shelves of books, large paintings, various hallways and corridors all flew past her as she fled, illuminated every few seconds by a burst of bright lightening. Snowcrystal couldn’t even tell if the human was following her or not, she just kept on running.

    Then she stopped dead.

    She had ended up in what was the beginning of another hallway. She had entered an open doorway to come face to face with a huge white wall, with the hallway veering off on either side of it, stretching both to her left and to her right.

    But the thing that had stopped her was the large painting on the wall directly in front of her, illuminated by the glow of her crystal. It was larger than most of the ones she had seen before, yet not the largest. Unlike the others, this painting was circular, and all around the edges were different pokémon, all of various types. A golduck, a vileplume, a mightyena, a raichu, a kadabra, a pidgeot, a golem, a sandslash, a dewgong, a weezing, and a charmeleon, all using different attacks that merged together at the center of the painting.

    It was the charmeleon she couldn’t stop staring at, for from its gaping mouth came a burst of burning blue-white flames, with small streaks of purple and black flickering across them. She had recognized it the instant she had seen it, and mouthed the word under her breath.

    “Shadowflare…”

    Against her will, memories awakened more vividly in her mind of how the attack had followed Stormblade in midair, and not even hiding behind a tree had saved him from it. She shuddered, knowing all too well the damage it had done to him. Her thoughts drifted back to Stormblade…she wondered how he was coping with the pain. She didn’t want to imagine how badly something like that would hurt.

    Stepping closer, she studied the other attacks in the picture. All of them were incredibly strange and eerie; the one the vileplume was using seemed to be a huge mass of vines and other plants bursting from the ground with massive thorns. There were not only vines, but also what seemed to be giant carnivorous plants. It looked like some very twisted version of frenzy plant. The other attacks were equally vivid and strange, and the golduck’s attack also caught her attention; it seemed to be using something like rain dance, but the ‘rain drops’ were green and in the shape of burning skulls. Whether the attack really looked like that or it was just the human artist’s depiction of it, she wasn’t sure, and she didn’t think she cared to know. There were human markings at the base of the painting, but Snowcrystal didn’t need to read them to understand what the picture was showing; the Forbidden Attacks.

    Snowcrystal could not tear her eyes from the picture. She sat staring, not knowing how long it had been since she had entered the library. She wasn’t sure if she had sat there for hours, or simply just minutes, but it was yet again the sound of approaching footsteps that snapped her out of her trance.

    “HEY!” shouted a voice, a human voice. Snowcrystal glanced up in alarm, seeing a human holding a bright light and advancing toward her. Without a second thought, she got up and fled. The human ran after her, and without pausing to think, she chose the left hallway and bolted blindly down it.

    The human with the light seemed to be following closely, until Snowcrystal veered off into another open doorway. After passing through several large rooms, Snowcrystal, by some stroke of bizarre luck, noticed the small room through which she had come into the library. She made a beeline for it, knocking a few books from the shelves by accident as she did so. The human’s light flashed across the ground behind her, but Snowcrystal had already entered the room and reached the windowsill. Effortlessly slipping through the window, Snowcrystal leaped to the wet pavement below.

    “Wildflame!”

    “I’m here,” the houndoom replied casually, stepping out of the shadows of another nearby alleyway. “What’s going on?” she asked calmly. “Did you find the books?”

    “Humans,” Snowcrystal gasped. “A human chased me. We have to get out of here!”

    “Where’s Sid?” Wildflame asked as they started to run.

    “I dunno,” Snowcrystal replied breathlessly, “but he said he’s snuck into human buildings before…he’ll know what he’s doing!”

    Wildflame merely nodded in reply as the two sped off.

    -ooo-

    “Aipom!” Katie shouted, stopping right as she glimpsed her pokémon, just beside the wall of the city library. Reaching out, she managed to grab the normal type before holding him at arm’s length and glaring at him. “What do you think you’re doing? Running off again!” She sighed. “I sure wish you’d listen to me once in a while…”

    Justin caught up with his friend, stopping to catch his breath by the side of the building. “You know…” he gasped, “do you think maybe Aipom was trying to lead us here or something?”

    No sooner had he said that then he noticed two pokémon bolting into an alleyway up ahead. Katie seemed to have noticed as well, because she had stopped scolding Aipom, and due to her surprise, dropped him.

    “That…that growlithe was white!” Katie whispered, awed.

    Sid mumbled to himself as he stood up, staring in the direction of Snowcrystal and Wildflame. “She escaped?” the aipom mused to himself. “Hmm…interesting. Well, not exactly according to plan, but still…if Katie catches the growlithe, that means I’ll be rewarded since-” He paused, realizing that neither trainer was paying any attention to him. “Hey!” he shouted. “You only saw the growlithe because of me!” Of course, neither human understood him.

    “Let’s try and find where it went,” Katie told Justin excitedly. “Aipom, do you think you can help us follow the growlithe?”

    Sid stopped yelling and instead stood up straight, giving a polite nod and for once looking every inch the helpful, obedient pokémon.

    “All right,” Katie replied, “let’s go and find out where it came from. I doubt a pokémon like that lives in the city. Someone would have told people about it…I’ve heard that growlithe can be golden, but not white! Think of what a discovery it would be if we caught it!”

    Justin nodded as Katie and her aipom sprinted off, and reached down into his pocket to pull out a poké ball that Katie had given him. Technically, he wasn’t allowed to have one, since his trainer license had been confiscated. Yet Katie had given it to him, secretly hoping that he would resume training; not knowing the truth behind why he had ‘quit.’ Justin had kept the poké ball, in memory of the pokémon team who had been so close to him; Jungle the meganium, Thunderbolt the luxio, Magma the growlithe, Whirlpool the buizel…and Spark the jolteon. All good friends whom he would never see again, thanks to that accursed scyther…

    Justin sighed as he stared down the alleyway to where Katie and Aipom had just disappeared. He then looked down at the poké ball intently, memories of his days as a trainer flooding unbidden through his mind. He pictured the white growlithe, such an incredibly rare and even unknown pokémon, running away as he looked up back towards the alley. He whispered to himself under his breath as he gripped the poké ball tighter.

    “It’s time to redeem myself.”

    -ooo-

    Spark paced impatiently back and forth across the clearing, wondering when Snowcrystal, Wildflame, and Sid would be back. He was pleased to see that his wounds were healing; already he could walk with hardly a limp at all. Just out of curiosity, he did a few experimental sprints to test this. His wounds still hurt, but he felt a lot better even after running.

    Pausing for a moment, but still feeling restless, he looked over to Stormblade, who, unlike him, looked no better than he had the day Blazefang had used that attack on him.

    Spark walked over to him, noticing that for the first time since being injured, Stormblade had dozed off. “Probably the first time he’s slept in days,” Spark muttered to himself, glancing over the scyther’s wounds. Suddenly he stepped back, a look of alarm on his face. He hadn’t noticed before, but now that he’d gotten a closer look, there was no mistaking that Stormblade’s wounds were beginning to show signs of infection.

    And infection would spread.

    Worried, the jolteon looked at his own wounds. The burns didn’t look as bad anymore, and were obviously healing, and fur was starting to grow back on his shoulder where it had been scorched away before. Glancing back at Stormblade, he could see that his friend’s wounds just looked worse. Spark stood still, thinking back to something Stormblade had told him before about the wild. In the wild, infection was deadly. If a pokémon’s wound became infected badly enough, a slow and painful death awaited them.

    Spark tried not to panic. Everything about the wild used to scare him. He remembered when Stormblade was trying to teach him how to hunt and survive when he was new to it…the horror he had felt at learning that if anything really bad befell him, there would be no humans to help. No pokémon centers, no potions. Spark shook the thoughts from his mind. The others needed to know about Stormblade.

    He turned around, realizing that the only other one there at the moment was Thunder. Running past a few trees to where she had been resting, Spark shouted, “Thunder, I-”

    He stopped. Thunder wasn’t there. Confused, he looked around before approaching the place beside the large tree where she’d been lying before. The grass was stained with blood, and Spark turned his head away in disgust. Confused, he wondered why Thunder hadn’t even attempted to make a comfortable nest. He may have been raised by humans most of his life, but he knew enough to make a nest from leaves and moss whenever he slept outside.

    “Thunder?” he called, carefully sidestepping the patches of blood while peering through the trees. “Where could she have gone now?” he mumbled to himself, wondering why she had even left in the first place. Judging by the fact that her scent was somewhat stale, he figured she must have left a little while ago.

    Padding forward, Spark soon noticed a small trail of blood leading through the trees, which alarmed him further. Even though Thunder had never particularly liked him, or anyone else for that matter, he was worried about her.

    Spark followed Thunder’s scent, growing even more concerned. No pokémon in her condition should be out there on their own…even if she was a scyther. He knew he would have to find her before the others came back, or she might get captured by poachers, or worse…killed.

    To be continued…
    Last edited by Scytherwolf; 07-09-2017 at 03:12 AM.


  7. #27
    *Snivy cry intensifies* Scytherwolf's Avatar
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    The Path of Destiny
    Chapter 17 - A New Owner



    Rosie wasn’t sure how long she had been left in the dark room, but after a while, a human opened the door and walked inside, followed by another. Rosie tensed, baring her fangs as the humans walked right up to her cage.

    “A vulpix…well, it’s not often you manage to catch one of those…”

    Rosie growled at the speaker, who reached his hand toward the cage. Leaping forward, Rosie sank her small teeth into his hand as it strayed too close to the bars. The man pulled his hand back, but to her surprise, he smiled. “A feisty one…this pokémon has potential…I can see her becoming a skillful fighter.”

    “So this is the one you want?” asked the other man.

    “Yes,” he agreed, “as well as that teddiursa and the espeon you showed me earlier.”

    ‘Teddiursa…’ Rosie thought. She hadn’t noticed an espeon being brought here, but there were many other pokémon already in the building. She wondered what the human wanted with them…to train them to fight? She shuddered. She didn’t want to be trained, especially not now. She was too inexperienced for battles…she would get ripped to pieces!

    “Well, then she’s all yours!” one of the humans was saying, making Rosie glance in his direction. The man opened the cage, but before she even had the chance to move, she felt something small and pointy prick her in the shoulder, and before she could take a single step further, her senses faded to black…

    -ooo-

    …It was night…she could tell…there was moonlight coming through the windows…windows? Rosie opened her eyes more fully, trying to make sense of what had happened. Sitting up, she looked around, feeling dizzy and only half-awake. She realized she was in another cage in a human building…it looked like a gym. However, this gym was much newer and more nicely kept than the one she had seen in the abandoned town hidden in the dark forest. Something itched at her neck. She tried to scratch it with her hind paw, when she realized that there was something in the way. Reaching her forepaw up, she felt a thick leather collar around her neck.

    Gasping in surprise, she tried to tear it off, but it was too tight, and her claws did no damage to it. Finally giving up, she looked around and noticed that there were other pokémon in the gym building, all with collars like her…and all either chained up or in cages. Looking at them more closely, she noticed that they all looked thin, but none of them had any serious wounds.

    “The vulpix is awake now,” a human voice sounded through the darkness, causing Rosie to jump. The vulpix stepped back as the human walked closer. The tall man was followed by another with an espeon beside him. The psychic eevee evolution also wore a collar similar to Rosie’s, and Rosie realized that must be the espeon the other man had taken. Like Rosie, the espeon looked scared, crouching low with her forked tail tucked between her legs.

    Neither the espeon nor any of the other pokémon made a move to try to attack the humans, and as much as Rosie hated to admit it, she figured there must be a good reason for that. Maybe they knew they would starve to death in the cages if they made any move to harm their captors.

    “You really think this one could be a fighter?” the second man asked. “It’s…rather small…”

    “Not for long,” the first smirked, leaning closer to Rosie’s cage. “But our job is to make pokémon strong. People pay a lot of money for a good fighting pokémon these days, especially a rare one.” He eyed Rosie carefully, and then opened the cage.

    Rosie raced out the cage door, firing an ember at the humans, who backed away. She noticed the young espeon flinch at the heat from her attack. Rosie was just about to run towards the men again, when suddenly she felt a horribly painful and sudden jolt of electricity rippling through her small body.

    Giving a cry of pain and surprise, Rosie collapsed to the ground, lying on her side. Her paws thrashed as the violent energy surged through her. She tried to make sense of what had happened, but at the same time, she was silently begging…wishing for it to stop…

    And all at once, it did. Rosie lay gasping against the cold floor, her eyes darting to the human, who held a strange device at her. She realized that if she made another attempt to attack him, she would feel that terrible pain all over again.

    Seeing that Rosie had abandoned her attempt at fighting, the man smirked. “Looks like it gets the picture. Let’s see how it does in a real fight…how about against Espeon? Neither of them have had any experience.”

    Before Rosie had completely recovered from the shock, she was roughly dragged by her collar to the center of the room, which was marked like a normal gym battle room, only it was much smaller. She figured this must be a practice or training area.

    The small espeon was made to stand at the other end, looking more frightened than Rosie had ever felt. Standing shakily to her feet, the vulpix glanced at her new ‘trainer,’ and noticed him holding that same device. She knew she didn’t have a choice. She would have to fight. “If only I wasn’t so small and didn’t only know such pathetic attacks…” she muttered under her breath, shaking as she faced the espeon.

    “All right, Espeon,” one of the ‘trainers’ shouted clearly, though sounding less than enthused, “try a psybeam!”

    The espeon, who couldn’t have been any older than Rosie herself, visibly flinched, and didn’t move. The man repeated the command, and when she didn’t comply, he gave the small pokémon a kick. Espeon cried out, landing on the ground and refusing to get up again. “Pathetic…” the man whispered.

    “Doesn’t seem like much of a fighter to me,” the other agreed. “But of course, if it doesn’t get better at battling, it could still be sold as a pet, or if not…then its pelt could be valuable…”

    Rosie shuddered, watching the espeon being taken out of the room, crying out as the man held her collar a bit too tightly. “As for you…” the human continued, startling Rosie, “I’m still curious as to how you fight a battle…” He threw a pokéball, and Rosie stepped back as the form materialized.

    The human’s pokémon reminded the young vulpix somewhat of Wildflame, only it had no horns, and its fur was a light gray color, with two thick black stripes leading from its head to its back. The pokémon’s legs were also covered in black fur, and its feet were clawed. A long, bushy black tail lashed from side to side as the pokémon’s yellow and red eyes stared straight into Rosie’s amber ones. Rosie flinched away from the wolf-like pokémon, knowing that it was a fully grown adult, while she was still a young adolescent. She didn’t think she could fight this enemy; her most powerful attack was ember.

    “Mightyena,” the human said calmly with a smile, “do what you wish.”

    At once, Mightyena leaped towards Rosie, pinning her to the ground with her claws. Rosie tried to break free, only causing the dark pokémon’s claws to twist deeper into her fur. Turning her head, she blew a small stream of flame at the mightyena’s paw. Mightyena leaped back with a small snarl, but before Rosie could even stand, the larger pokémon had rushed towards her again, her black tail glowing silver.

    Rosie cried out as the tail slammed into her side, sending her skidding across the rough floor. As the mightyena came closer, Rosie rolled over onto her paws, feeling some of her strength miraculously returning as she leaped at the dark type, trying to get close enough to use ember again.

    Effortlessly the black and gray pokémon dodged, before spinning around and launching a shadow ball. Rosie ducked a split second before the glowing black orb zoomed over her head and slammed into the wall, vanishing in a cloud of thin blackish smoke. As Rosie looked up, Mightyena had leaped toward her again, trying to tear at her with her fangs. Rosie darted frantically to the side, and Mightyena turned around with only a mouthful of tail fur. Rosie stopped, exhausted, and then suddenly recalled one technique she hadn’t tried yet…confuse ray. Her eyes began to glow, and at the same time, Mightyena become disoriented.

    Shaking her head from side to side, the canine pokémon failed to react in time as Rosie ran forward and used ember again, this time creating a burn on the mightyena’s foreleg. Mightyena growled in pain and attempted another iron tail, which missed. Rosie sped toward her opponent with a quick attack, but realized too late that Mightyena seemed to have gotten over her confusion, or at least for the most part. Even quicker than she could run, the mightyena turned and lashed at her with iron tail again, but this time across her face. Rosie fell to the ground again, and found she couldn’t get up. The last words that echoed in her ears as her senses faded once again were the mightyena’s…

    “….I’m sorry…”

    -ooo-

    Thunder sat alone beside a small pond, away from the others. Crouched down by the pond’s edge, she spat a small black object into the water, the bullet from the human’s gun. She had finally managed to remove it, though she’d had to cut open her shoulder and pull it out with her teeth to do so. It had been painful, but necessary. Thunder wasn’t going to risk a greater chance of infection. The bullet wound in her side, however, was a different story. There was nothing she could do about that.

    Glancing at her shoulder, which was now bleeding again, Thunder attempted to stop herself from shaking. She tried to force all thoughts of pain to the back of her mind, get her thoughts back under control, like she always did…

    She lifted her head at the sound of a snapping twig somewhere behind her. A moment later, Spark appeared.

    “Thunder…” he gasped, sounding relieved that she hadn’t tried to follow the poachers. “Why did you wander off like that? And…what happened to your shoulder?” he added, noticing that it looked a lot worse.

    “Nothing…” Thunder replied angrily. “Now leave me alone!”

    Spark sighed, shaking his spiky head. “You have to come back! Don’t you know that there are poachers around?”

    “I know that,” she replied, her tone low and barely above a whisper as she crouched beside the pond. “I’m not afraid of them…”

    “Oh come on!” Spark cried, sounding impatient. “Just come back to where Snowcrystal and Wildflame were going to meet us!”

    “Don’t want to…” Thunder muttered. She sounded annoyed this time.

    “But we really need to stick together you know,” Spark told her, “just in case-”

    “I’ll come when I feel like it!” Thunder snapped. “Now GO AWAY!”

    Startled by her sudden shout, Spark turned and scampered back the way he had come, not wanting her to get any angrier at him. She had been rather unpredictable lately, and the last thing he wanted was to be attacked. He briefly cast a glance back, seeing Thunder once again staring into the pond. He then started to head back toward Stormblade, but feeling thirsty, he turned off course to find a stream, while making sure not to stray too far from his friends.

    -ooo-

    Snowcrystal and Wildflame skidded to a halt once they realized that they were in the safety of the hills. Wildflame shook droplets of rain from her coat. “Great…” the houndoom muttered, “I can’t tell where the others are from here…the rain’s disguising their scent!”

    Snowcrystal lifted her head up and sniffed the air a few times, confirming Wildflame’s statement. “Guess we’ll just have to look for them,” she muttered.

    “Shouldn’t be too hard,” Wildflame replied, shivering from the cold. “Let’s just go…I don’t like this place…”

    Snowcrystal nodded and the two headed off.

    -ooo-

    Stormblade wasn’t sure what had awoken him, but he figured it must have been the pain. What surprised him, however, was that Spark had gone. He knew Thunder had been resting nearby, so that didn’t worry him. He sat up, shivering, and glanced around to see if the jolteon was anywhere nearby. The rain was falling much harder now, feeling painful every time it struck his wounds. He thought it was strange that Spark would just wander off like that.

    However, something else was on his mind. He needed a drink of water, badly, and the rain wasn’t enough. He knew it had been a while since he had found water, and he could not remember being so thirsty. Looking around, he could see that the rain was simply turning the ground to mud. Stormblade didn’t think he could make it all the way to a stream by himself, so, noticing a group of large rocks somewhat nearby, he decided to head in that direction, as water had probably collected there. Slowly he staggered upright, making sure he didn’t put any weight at all on his injured leg. Using his blades to help support himself, he headed in the direction of the rocks, using the trees to keep himself from falling as he hobbled along. He found it was much harder to walk now, and he doubted he’d make it much further if the others decided to travel again soon. Plus, his wounds looked infected, so his future in general seemed anything but bright.

    When he made it to the rocks, he was relieved to see that some water had collected in a large crevice in one of the stones. He was just starting to lap at the water when he heard splashing. Stormblade turned around, having heard the sound coming from beyond a large group of bushes near the rocks. He stayed completely still…and listened.

    The splashing sounds grew louder…closer, and Stormblade abandoned the water and crawled into a space between two large rocks, which together formed a sort of small cave. Peering out carefully, he could see the bushes rustling, and an aipom stepped out, followed by a human girl. Stormblade felt his blood run cold…the aipom was Sid. Why was he leading a human here?

    “It’s no use,” the girl mumbled, stopping to stand near the rocks. “We won’t be able to find the white growlithe in this weather. We should wait until it’s lighter…”

    Stormblade narrowed his eyes.

    The human turned and shouted back to someone apparently looking elsewhere in the direction she had come from. “I’m over here! I think we should stop and rest for a while!” Turning to Sid, she returned the aipom into yet another new pokéball before looking around for some sort of shelter from the rain.

    Stormblade watched the human, not daring to make any sound or sudden movement. He was thoroughly confused…why was that human looking for Snowcrystal? And what did Sid have to do with it?

    Stormblade suddenly became alarmed as the human started to walk right towards his hiding place. He tried to crawl further back into the narrow space, hoping the human would look elsewhere for shelter. But it was too late…the trainer had already started to peer inside. Any second, and she would notice him. Stormblade could think of nothing to do but shout at her to go away and hope it would startle her enough that she’d run.

    Katie had just begun to feel as if something was watching her when she heard some pokémon…a pokémon within the cave itself, yell at her angrily, though she couldn’t understand its words.

    “Sssscccyyyyyttthhheeeeeeeeeeerr!”

    Katie jumped back, shocked, and stumbled away from the small cave, looking visibly startled at hearing the pokémon’s cry so suddenly. Yet at the same time, she couldn’t help but think that there was something strange about a pokémon…a scyther…hiding in a small cave alone in the middle of a rainstorm.

    Stormblade could see the human hesitate; see the shock and fear on her face. He expected her to run away, to not want to come anywhere near the cave.

    Yet she didn’t run. She walked right up to the cave again. Stormblade prepared himself for a battle he knew he couldn’t win; a battle against fully trained pokémon which would be at full health…

    But the human didn’t send out any pokémon. She peered through the darkness until her eyes adjusted to the gloom and she could see him somewhat clearer. A look of surprise and shock crossed her face and she stepped back, calling out over the sound of the rain, “Justin! Come here!”

    -ooo-

    It had been a rather…strange day. More reports of poacher traps, and just now, he’d heard a few people talking about a white growlithe that had been running around one of the city buildings. That was even stranger…

    The man shielded his eyes with his hand as he peered out over the trees and hills. He’d arrived after hearing about the first poacher traps. Those poachers were fools, trapping pokémon so near to one of the cities. Yet for him, it was good fortune. He could easily turn some of the poachers in to the police for a sum of money, and he could take a few of the pokémon they’d caught for himself if he saw any with potential.

    But the white growlithe…it was here? Sitting down for a moment, the man gently stroked the head of the pokémon sitting next to him, pondering. “If that growlithe is around here,” he muttered, “it’s worth looking for it…who knows, maybe the poachers will do the job for us, eh?” He smirked.

    His quilava smirked back.

    To be continued…
    Last edited by Scytherwolf; 07-09-2017 at 03:13 AM.


  8. #28
    *Snivy cry intensifies* Scytherwolf's Avatar
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    The Path of Destiny
    Chapter 18 - An Unwelcome Return



    Rosie awoke to find herself in the same gym-like room, in her same cage. To her surprise, the mightyena from the battle was seated not far from her. For the first time, Rosie studied her carefully, and noticed a rather strange-looking collar around her neck, one that seemed to spark slightly. It was a lot similar to hers, only it seemed…more dangerous. Rosie shuddered. She then realized that the mightyena wasn’t in a cage. Why didn’t she run away? Did she want to be in such a horrible place?

    “What are you doing?” Rosie yelled out suddenly, unsure why. “Why are you just standing there?”

    The mightyena turned her head in Rosie’s direction, and the vulpix detected a hint of sorrow in the dark pokémon’s red eyes. “I’m their guard,” the mightyena replied quietly. “My job is to make sure no one escapes.”

    Rosie scowled, some of her older self returning as she stalked angrily up to the bars of her cage. “Oh? And you just let them order you around, so if anyone happens to be clever enough to escape, you can end their hope for them once and for all!” Her fur stood on end, and she bared her fangs.

    The mightyena didn’t look threatened by the small vulpix in the least. She reached a paw up to her collar, running a few of her claws lightly over it. “You see this?” she stated plainly. “If I go so much as half a mile away from this place without one of the trainers deactivating it first, the shock will kill me.” She lowered her paw and said nothing more.

    Rosie felt her anger vanish, to be replaced with pity, yet she did not know what to say. “It’s…horrible…what they’re doing to us…” she mumbled at last. “What are they training us for anyway?”

    “You and most of the others are being trained as battlers, and will be sold…well the ones that succeed that is,” the mightyena added uncomfortably. “Otherwise they sell you for your pelt.”

    Rosie flinched at the statement, but decided to ask another question. “How many humans train pokémon here?” she asked.

    “There’s quite a few,” the mightyena replied. “They all work together to catch or steal pokémon, or buy them from other poachers.” She shook her head sadly and went on, “But let’s not talk about that…my name is Eve, and you?”

    “Rosie,” came the vulpix’s reply. She knew that the mightyena was just trying to distract her from their predicament, and though she couldn’t stand the idea that Eve would deliberately change the subject when she had so many more questions to ask, she realized that it was probably for the best. There wasn’t much she could do about her current situation anyway.

    “Rosie,” Eve said with a smile. “That’s a nice name. Are you from Stonedust?”

    “Stonedust?” Rosie repeated, confused.

    “Oh…it’s er…a human city,” Eve stammered. “I heard that’s where a lot of pokémon…well…”

    “Got caught by poachers,” Rosie finished for her.

    Eve nodded.

    Rosie sighed. There wasn’t much she could talk about that wouldn’t lead to a conversation about the poachers anyway. “I hope my friends haven’t been caught…” she mumbled, almost inaudibly. “Snowcrystal…she’s a growlithe with white fur…I’m afraid they’ll catch her…and Spark…” She shook her head hopelessly before continuing. “I bet he’s walked into a trap already simply by not looking where he’s going.” She smiled a bit, in spite of the situation. “At least I know Wildflame will be fine…” she continued. “She’s a great fighter…but the others…I’m not sure…”

    A sudden shout from another room distracted Eve from Rosie’s ramblings. “I must go,” the mightyena whispered. “But they’ll put me back in this room to guard the cages again later…” With one final glance at the vulpix, she got up and left.

    -ooo-

    At the sound of Katie’s shout, Justin shined his flashlight over in the direction of the rocks. He felt a rush of excitement. She must have found the white growlithe after all! Pushing his wet brown hair out of his eyes, he ran toward the group of stones, ignoring the fact that he was splashing through deep mud. When he reached Katie, however, she snatched the flashlight out of his hand.

    “Give me that!”

    “Hey!” shouted Justin. “What do you think you’re doing?”

    Katie didn’t answer, and instead began crawling into a small cave. Justin saw her stop near the entrance and crouched down beside her in the hopes of seeing the white growlithe…

    But what he saw made him jump back, which in turn caused him to slip and fall onto the muddy ground. A scyther…what on earth was a scyther doing here? Quickly he scrambled to his feet. “Katie, what are you thinking?” he shouted. “Get away from there!”

    In the cave, Stormblade froze for a second. The voice sounded familiar…

    He didn’t have time to think about it long, for the female trainer who’d been looking for Snowcrystal earlier shined a bright light in his eyes. Stormblade backed up a bit further, as close as he could get to the rock wall, and glared straight back at the trainer, swiping at the air with his blade in a feeble attempt to give her a warning to stay away.

    Katie, however, didn’t back away. The scyther obviously wanted her to leave, yet wasn’t attacking. She merely watched the bug type, perplexed.

    Justin had been trying to pull his friend away, and when he saw the scyther swipe its blade at the air, he picked up a rock and hurled it at the pokémon. “Stay away!” he yelled. The rock struck the scyther near its eye, but to Justin’s surprise, it did not get up and try to attack.

    “Will you stop it?” Katie growled, pushing Justin back down onto the ground. “What good will that do? Stay here…I want to get a better look at it…it’s not moving much, and that’s strange...”

    Justin knew he couldn’t stop Katie from crawling into the cave, but he called out, “Shouldn’t you at least let one of your pokémon out for protection?”

    “No,” she replied, her voice echoing slightly from within the cave. “It hasn’t attacked us yet, what’s the big deal?”

    “It’s a scyther! They’re dangerous!” Justin called back, but she ignored him.

    Reluctantly, Justin crawled into the cave after her, fearing for his friend’s safety. He watched as Katie stopped a few feet away from the scyther, and he was aware of just how dangerously close she was. Though as he peered over her shoulder, he noticed something, and realized why the scyther hadn’t been attacking them.

    Its upper body was covered in deep, scalding burns; from the more minor ones across the pokémon’s face, to the truly terrible ones all along its back. They looked beyond any sort of healing a pokémon center could offer. In addition to all this, its leg was damaged too, and it had a mark near its eye from the rock he had thrown. The scyther’s fangs were bared in a formidable snarl, and both rage and pain were clear in the pokémon’s expression. Justin backed away.

    “Let’s…get away from here…” was all he managed to say.

    “No!” Katie cried. “Can’t you see it’s hurt? We have to do something!” Before he could stop her, she had crawled further into the cave until she was right in front of the scyther.

    Justin knew that there were some ways to ensure that one wouldn’t be attacked by a wild pokémon. Approaching an injured, cornered scyther on the verge of panicking wasn’t one of them. He was about to try to pull Katie back, when he realized the scyther wasn’t doing anything. In fact, it seemed fairly relaxed compared to the way it had been acting before. Katie was rummaging through her backpack for supplies, and the scyther was just watching her, not seeming to know what she was doing, but tolerating her presence. However, it still unnerved Justin to see her sitting so close to it. ‘What is she thinking?’ he thought to himself. ‘That THING is going to kill her!’

    Just as he thought that, the scyther turned its gaze toward him. Justin shrank back. There was something about the look in the pokémon’s dark blue eyes that he didn’t like. Even when Katie got a potion out of her backpack, the scyther continued to stare at him. Justin had always thought scyther looked intimidating, but all the same…this wasn’t a good stare…even for one of its kind. Though why the thing was staring at him and not Katie, who was sitting right next to it, he didn’t know. Shuddering, he looked away, though he could still feel the wild pokémon’s eyes boring into him.

    “I’m afraid this won’t do any good,” Katie muttered, looking at her potion bottle.

    “No,” Justin agreed, wishing she would just leave the cave, “it’s beyond any sort of help…we should just leave it here.”

    “Fine,” Katie snapped. “You go…if you’re so afraid…”

    Justin felt stung by the remark, but he didn’t show it. Crossing his arms, he glared at his friend. “I’m not leaving you here to get killed! And for goodness sake, let out one of your pokémon already!”

    “Calm down,” Katie replied. “He’s not dangerous…I think he knows we want to help!”

    “He?” Justin repeated. “How do you know it’s a he? And yes, it’s dangerous! Just look at those scythes!”

    “If he wanted to attack me, he would have done so already,” Katie stated calmly. “And I honestly don’t think he could do much in this state…he could barely lift his arm before. Everything’s fine. Look, see?” Katie reached out her hand and laid it on the wild pokémon’s head.

    The scyther flinched at the touch, but otherwise didn’t move. After a few moments, he seemed to get used to it, or simply stopped caring, and relaxed. Slowly Katie began to stroke the scyther’s head, being careful not to touch any of his injuries. Justin stared at her.

    “Katie,” he said slowly, as if she were crazy. “That is not a growlithe puppy, that is a scyther. Don’t pet it!”

    “He seems tame…” Katie mused, ignoring him. “Do you think he has a trainer? Maybe he’s had one in the past…I think I’d have to capture him to bring him to the pokémon center, but I don’t know if he already has a trainer or not…”

    Justin wanted to say, ‘What sort of trainer wants a pokémon like that?’, but he held his tongue. He hoped it did have a trainer. He didn’t want Katie to catch this pokémon. He didn’t want to see it again. Simply the name of its species brought back memories far too painful for him.

    Katie looked through her backpack for a poké ball. “We need to get to a pokémon center as soon as possible,” she told him. “The white growlithe can wait…let’s see if I have a poké ball…I can at least try it…then I’ll know whether or not it has a trainer…”

    “Wait!” Justin interrupted quickly. “Why not use your pokédex? Then you won’t risk wasting a poké ball. The pokédex should tell you if the pokémon has a trainer or if it’s wild.”

    “You’re right,” Katie replied, taking her pokédex out of her pocket and holding it in front of the scyther, who watched her warily but did not try to move. “He seems too calm around me to be completely wild though…maybe he’s had a trainer before? This should tell me…” She pressed a few buttons on her pokédex and waited a minute before stating, “He’s wild. But I think he’s had a trainer before. Let’s see…original trainer…original trainer…” She stopped, a look of surprise crossing her face. “Hey Justin,” she said, turning to him, “did you ever release a scyther?”

    Justin just stared at her blankly. “What?” he replied, confused.

    “Your name shows up on the pokédex,” she replied, sounding more confused than he was. “Here, under ‘original trainer’…”

    “Let me see!” Justin yelled, yanking it roughly out of her hand. He scanned the small screen carefully, and there, unmistakably, was his name. He felt cold fear grip him, and, not worrying about what Katie would think of his actions, he ran over to her and grabbed her arm, yanking her away. “GET AWAY FROM THAT THING!” he yelled.

    “What? What are you-” Katie seemed too shocked and confused to form a proper sentence. Justin was staring at the scyther. With all those injuries, it had been impossible to recognize it, but now that he had given it a close glance, he realized it did look similar… Same size, same shape of its scythes…same cold blue eyes…this was the murderer.

    Justin pulled Katie out of the cave, and she was too shocked to resist. Once away from the scyther, Justin released her. “What’s going on?” Katie demanded, sounding angry.

    “Alright, look!” Justin replied firmly. “I had a scyther, okay? And it’s the reason I stopped being a trainer…I didn’t give up, I got my trainer license taken away because of what that monster did!” He stopped for a moment, shaking as he pointed toward the cave entrance, and went on, “It escaped from me…and killed a little girl…in cold blood! So you wanted to know why I quit training? Well, now you do! Are you happy?” Without another word he turned and ran, not caring where he was going, just blindly stumbling through the darkness, while Katie stared after him with a mixture of shock and horror on her face.

    Justin kept running, even after he stumbled on a rock and badly cut his knee. He simply got up and kept going, the white growlithe momentarily forgotten. His voice shaking with rage, he muttered under his breath as if the scyther could still hear him, “Farewell for good, Scyther…I sure hope you suffer for what you’ve done!”

    Katie, meanwhile, stood near the cave. She briefly glanced back at the entrance, remembering the suffering, injured pokémon she had been trying to help. She wanted to go back and help him in any way she could, but after what Justin had said…she wasn’t sure. She could tell Justin hadn’t been lying.

    For a moment, Katie turned and walked toward the cave with the intention of continuing to try and treat the scyther, but then stopped. Finally making up her mind, she turned and left, not intending to return.

    -ooo-

    Stormblade waited a little while before finally venturing out of the cave, staring emptily in the direction the trainer had gone. He couldn’t believe it... He could have gotten help, real help…a real chance of survival. He could have been given food at a pokémon center, had treatment for his wounds, and relief from the pain…

    He could have had help…but now he would have no way of getting any, unless he could miraculously make it to the city.

    He thought about the way the female human had treated him. She had cared about him even though he was a stranger, a wild pokémon. She had dared to get close to him and hadn’t judged him simply for what he was. He had never met a human like that, but now…because of what Justin had said, she simply saw him the same way his old trainer saw him…

    …As a monster…

    Stormblade felt hopeless…truly hopeless. The nice trainer had left and he wasn’t sure any other human would be so willing to help him as she had. The trainer was gone…as were his chances of ever recovering before the infection became worse…

    …If he’d had a chance that is. Though the others had tried to keep it secret from him, he’d heard one of them slip and mention that the Forbidden Attack wounds might never heal. He cringed at the thought. Would he have to live the rest of his life in agony?

    And would the humans…probably the only ones who could truly help him…ever see him as anything but a merciless killer?

    -ooo-

    Snowcrystal proudly set down a dead pidgey, beaming at Spark as she stopped in the middle of the clearing. “Guess what?” she said cheerfully. “I caught my first prey away from the mountains!”

    “She got lucky,” Wildflame stated with a teasing grin.

    Snowcrystal swiped her paw in mock-anger at the houndoom, before turning to Spark again. “So…where are Thunder and Stormblade?” she asked, looking around.

    “Oh uh…” Spark stammered, “well…Thunder wants to be alone, and Stormblade…well he…oh look, there he is now!” the jolteon shouted, sounding suddenly relieved.

    Stormblade had staggered back into the clearing, and Snowcrystal noticed the injury to his eye. Seeing that she’d noticed, Stormblade turned his head away to prevent her from seeing the wound. Realizing that he didn’t seem to want to talk at the moment, Snowcrystal picked up the pidgey and ran over to him, setting it beside him. She knew that he had gone without food the longest; in fact, she hadn’t seen him eat anything, even since she met him by the ghost-haunted rocks. But to her surprise, he just brushed right by her, not even glancing at the prey.

    “I’m not hungry,” he muttered.

    “What? But-”

    “I just want to be left alone,” he replied in a dull tone, and limped through the bushes and into the grove of trees. For a moment, Snowcrystal started to follow him, but she decided against it. Maybe it was better if she did leave him alone for a while. Sighing, she lay down with her prey between her paws, waiting for his return…

    -ooo-

    Thunder was still sitting beside the small pond, thinking. She had grown tired of traveling with the others. What did she need them for? Why was she even traveling with them anyway? She should leave…there was no point in her staying with them. Thunder stared at her reflection in the water, noticing old wounds that had opened up again. With a growl she turned away. She started to walk toward the hills and away from the pool. She was going to leave…go off on her own…she didn’t need them at all…

    Making sure once again that no one was near, Thunder slipped off alone into the night. She felt too tired to run, so she simply walked, believing that the others wouldn’t care enough to follow. She didn’t have to worry about them seeing her leave.

    Thunder hadn’t gone far when she scented blood. She quickly identified the source, a poacher trap…though the pokémon that had been caught was long gone. The snap of a twig behind her made her whip around.

    “So…how did you enjoy your short-lived freedom?”

    Thunder backed away. Standing framed in the moonlight between two thick trees was the human she thought she’d been rid of for good. Master…

    Master walked toward her, not seeming too concerned about her running away. After all, she looked a lot worse off; she was even thinner than she had been before, and with worse injuries. He knew she wouldn’t be running anywhere. Volco, his quilava, hopped down to the muddy ground from the man’s shoulder, grinning wickedly at the scyther. His trainer smiled. Thunder’s recapture should be easy…she looked close to death already. He would punish her, yes…but not until she’d recovered a bit; he had invested far too much time in training her for her to simply be killed, but when she was strong enough, he’d certainly make her feel pain as she never had before.

    Thunder growled, backing away. She stumbled over the chain attached to her arm and landed in a heap on the ground, which caused her shoulder to bleed more.

    Her former master smiled, reaching for a poké ball. “Still feeling defiant?” the human said coldly. What he did not let his escaped pokémon know was that, besides Volco, he had only brought one other pokémon with him as he explored the hills. He hadn’t dared risk carrying around any of his fighting ring pokémon while so close to the city where he had talked with the police. And the spare pokémon he had used to fight a few poachers were recovering in the pokémon center.

    But one pokémon would be enough when Thunder was in such a weakened state. He threw the red and white sphere into the air and in a flash of white, a familiar shape appeared.

    Or at least, Thunder thought, somewhat familiar. The Redclaw Thunder remembered had been a growlithe; this was an arcanine. Yet she knew instantly that this was the same pokémon…

    Master watched impassively, noting Thunder’s reaction. It had been risky enough carrying Redclaw around with the wounds the arcanine bore. However, they had been treated enough that he knew he would have gotten away with saying Redclaw was a rescue taken from an abusive situation.

    They wouldn’t believe the same story about Thunder. He would have to recapture her and bring her back to the old town before he could resume his business here. He reached for her poké ball and watched Thunder step out of range. Knowing he couldn’t simply return her, he nodded to his arcanine.

    Redclaw’s eyes widened; clear shock on his face. He lifted his head to look at Thunder, ignoring the thick metal collar that scraped painfully against his neck. Behind him, his Master smiled, while Volco watched eagerly.

    “Go ahead Redclaw,” the human ordered. “Weaken her.”

    Redclaw stood still. His gaze was fixed on Thunder, who looked too weak to be able to run. His expression was a mixture of surprise and sadness.

    Master looked annoyed. “What?” the trainer muttered, looking amused. “Not smart enough to make decisions on your own? Fine then…flamethrower!”

    Still the arcanine did not move.

    His trainer narrowed his eyes. “What are you waiting for?” he demanded. “Move.

    Redclaw slowly turned around, and shook his shaggy head. He gave a low growl, a clear indication that he would not fight.

    “Fine then…” Master muttered. “Learn the hard way.” He reached for a small device in his pocket, and pressed a button.

    Thunder’s eyes widened as Redclaw suddenly let out a terrible scream, collapsing in the mud as he thrashed his paws. Master had activated the electric collar.

    “Want it to end?” the human shouted, loudly enough to be heard over the arcanine’s cries. “Then fight.

    The shock stopped for a moment, and Redclaw lay gasping. Master waited for a moment, but the arcanine did not rise. He pressed the button again.

    This time Redclaw’s scream was far more terrible, filled with such pain that it startled even Thunder. The arcanine thrashed on the ground, his shrieks growing louder. Master and Volco watched impassively, their expressions calm and unreadable. Redclaw’s cries began to grow weaker, his struggles feebler. In a desperate attempt to free himself of the agony, the arcanine lifted his paws and tried to slash at the collar with his claws, but to no avail. The electricity still pounding through his body, he focused every last bit of his strength on trying to remove the collar…to end the pain…

    And at last he could do no more. Falling back on his side, the arcanine lay still, electricity crackling over his fur as the last spasms finally left his body. Master’s cold gaze fell upon him.

    “Very disappointing…” he muttered, before turning to Thunder. Then he took a step back.

    The scyther he had tormented for so long was looking at him in a way he’d never seen her look before. She was standing straight and firm, which surprised him. She had seemed so weak…so feeble before, but now she looked ready to fight despite her terrible injuries. Both of her scythes were raised. Through the moonlight he could clearly see each gleaming edge. The light reflected off her blades and onto her fangs, which were bared. But her eyes…he had seen pokémon give him hateful stares many a day; he was used to it, but this…this was something he’d never seen before. He had never seen a stare so full of hatred and anger. Master watched her in horror. Her blades had never scared him before, only fascinated him. He knew how to deal with dangerous pokémon, how to force them to submit to him. He had never been afraid of one…until now.

    Thunder stepped closer, her eyes locked onto her former master’s. She walked almost easily, without a limp. Before, her pain had caused her an unbearable amount of torment; now, it only fueled her anger.

    You filthy murdering scum!” Thunder shouted, no longer caring that Master couldn’t understand her words; her meaning was clear enough. “You’ll regret what you’ve done! You’ll regret everything you did. And I’ll make sure you do! I’ll make you pay! For all the pokémon you’ve hurt, I’ll make you feel their pain a thousand times over!” Then, ignoring her wounds, the scyther took a running leap forward.

    Master was going to pay…

    To be continued…
    Last edited by Scytherwolf; 07-09-2017 at 03:13 AM.


  9. #29
    *Snivy cry intensifies* Scytherwolf's Avatar
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    The Path of Destiny
    Chapter 19 - A Change of Plans



    Snowcrystal was having a dream again; one very similar to the one she’d had before. She was back at the mountain…or was she? It seemed like the mountain, but everything around her was hazy, and she seemed to somehow be in another area at the same time. It was almost as if the mountain surroundings were actually a thick mist which she could barely see through, and that she was really in a place she had never seen before.

    The cages containing strange pokémon were back, only this time, she was trapped as well, though not in a cage. A chain, much like Thunder’s, was around her back paw and driven deep into the snowy ground; she could not pull it out. Oddly enough, she wasn’t very concerned at all with her own predicament; she just wanted to help the other pokémon. And one of them was speaking to her.

    “Stop trying…there’s nothing you can do! Not anymore!”

    Snowcrystal was confused at this statement…and why the caged pokémon seemed to want her to stop trying to free herself and help them. Just as she thought that, she heard one of them shout for help, but not to her.

    Snowcrystal turned around and for the first time noticed Stormblade standing a little ways away. It was him they had been calling to for help, but he turned and ran, vanishing into the dark mists that were disguised to look like mountains. Suddenly the haze seemed to clear, and Snowcrystal found herself staring around at familiar surroundings; she was once again awake, and the others were sleeping nearby. It was a bit lighter now, so she figured it must be close to dawn.

    She stood up, shaking scraps of dead leaves from her fur. She then lay back down on her side, wide awake and alert despite the fact that she’d only had a few hours of sleep. The same worry she had been feeling earlier returned. They hadn’t found out anything about where to look for Rosie, or what to do about Stormblade’s wounds. Not one of them was sure about what they should do now. Snowcrystal wanted to try and find Rosie and help her, while at the same time, she knew Stormblade wouldn’t be able to keep up. Thunder might, but not Stormblade.

    Looking around, she suddenly realized that Stormblade was still missing. Feeling worried, she glanced toward the dead pidgey that lay in the center of the small clearing. Stormblade should have been back by now…

    Padding over to Spark, who was sleeping soundly, she prodded him in the shoulder a couple of times before he stirred, looked up at her, and blinked sleepily.

    “Snow? It’s still dark…why’d ya wake me up?” he mumbled drowsily.

    “It’s Stormblade…he’s not back,” she whispered.

    “Who?” Spark murmured, obviously still half-asleep.

    “Stormblade!” Snowcrystal shouted, rather loudly.

    Over by a thick oak tree, Wildflame stirred. “What’s all the shouting about?” she growled, not seeming drowsy in the least. She added in a sarcastic voice, “Are we under attack again?

    “Stormblade’s not back!” Snowcrystal yelled. She was a bit worried about Thunder as well, but when she thought about it, she really didn’t expect her to be back, at least not until it was fully morning. It was Stormblade’s disappearance that really worried her. Why would he leave and not come back all night when he knew he couldn’t defend himself if he was attacked by anything?

    “Don’t get so worried over nothing,” Wildflame muttered, standing up and shaking her coat free of moss and leaves before glancing over at the pidgey. “And unless you want some scavenger to steal your prey, I suggest you eat it. If Stormblade doesn’t want it, that’s his problem.”

    Snowcrystal scowled; she knew Wildflame and Stormblade had started out as enemies, but she had thought that problem had been at least somewhat solved after the battle with Blazefang’s pack. She wished Wildflame would at least try to care a little more.

    After a moment, she relaxed, knowing that after all, Wildflame could be right. But she still wanted to save the only food they had for Stormblade when he returned.

    “I’m sure Stormblade will be back soon,” Spark agreed, sitting up and shaking his spiky head. “Oh, and if no one wants the prey, I’ll have it.”

    “No!” Snowcrystal growled, irritated, as she placed her paws over the pidgey. “You didn’t catch it, I did. And I say it’s for Stormblade!”

    “He didn’t want it,” Spark mumbled in a surprised voice, looking at her with what he hoped was a pitying expression. “And aren’t I special enough for a gift from you?”

    “No,” Wildflame answered for Snowcrystal, “apparently you’re not. Now, go find Thunder…me and Snowcrystal will go and look for Stormblade.”

    Spark made a face at her and stuck out his tongue, but nonetheless, he bolted through the bushes and in the direction of the pond where he’d seen Thunder earlier.

    Wildflame headed one way, and pointed with her tail in a different direction, indicating that Snowcrystal should look there. “We’ll meet back here, alright?” the houndoom called to her.

    The growlithe nodded, then picked up the pidgey and vanished into the surrounding bushes.

    -ooo-

    “Blazefang,” A voice hissed through the bushes. Blazefang was startled into wakefulness as Wildflame’s horned head broke through the thick cluster of leaves.

    “Wildflame,” the pack leader growled, “what took you so long? You’ve waited-”

    “Yes, I know,” Wildflame muttered. “But Snowcrystal hasn’t revealed anything about Articuno. In fact…I don’t think she knows anything about where he is at all.”

    “Not even an idea?” Blazefang replied, his face blank.

    Wildflame shook her head. “Don’t think so,” she mumbled. “Plus her group has a badly injured scyther and a vulpix that was taken by poachers…Stormblade, the scyther, is slowing them down and now they can only think about rescuing Rosie…the vulpix. Either way, they won’t find Articuno anytime soon. We’re better off looking on our own.”

    “Fine,” Blazefang muttered. “It’s about time I got the pack moving away from this place…I don’t like being so close to a human habitat.” He spat the last few words with distaste as he got up and walked away, Wildflame following. “What are you doing?” Blazefang growled at her. “Go back with them…you need to stay there in case they find something!”

    “But…” Wildflame began, confused.

    “You heard me!” Blazefang growled. “Go back…stay with them, and report to me if you find out anything!”

    “But how will I find you?” Wildflame asked.

    “We won’t be too far ahead,” Blazefang replied. “Just stay there in case they do know something…or they find out…or just happen to get lucky. I’ll send a few scouts to find the growlithe from time to time so we still know where they are.”

    “But-” Wildflame began again, but Blazefang cut her off.

    “The growlithe knows something!” he growled suddenly, startling Wildflame into silence. “I know she does! Even if she doesn’t know Articuno’s exact location, she still knows something we don’t. Why else would she have started this journey of hers?”

    Wildflame was silent, and Blazefang was walking away, back toward the pack. Something told her not to argue with him. With a deep sigh, she turned and headed back to Snowcrystal and the others, strangely not feeling too angry about it. Sure, she wasn’t certain that any of them really knew anything, but somehow it seemed like a welcome relief to go back. If anything, she would be somewhat free of Blazefang’s newfound tyranny.

    -ooo-

    Master took a step backwards, watching as his own scyther leaped toward him, scythes gleaming and ready to kill. Words escaped him; he couldn’t think quickly enough. His terrified thoughts were focused only on the pokémon in front of him. He had not expected her to try to fight back against her own trainer in such a state…

    “Volco!”

    Volco, who had been just as shocked as Master, snapped to attention. As the scyther was nearly close enough to strike, close enough to rip Master in half, the quilava darted in front of his owner. He fired a blast of flame at Thunder, sending her sprawling backwards into the mud.

    The scyther skidded to a halt and righted herself, turning to look straight at Volco. The fire pokémon was standing protectively in front of Master, growling. This seemed to snap Master out of his reverie.

    “Good job Volco,” he called out, his usual confidence returning. “You can take her. She’s weak.”

    His flames blazing, Volco darted ahead of Master, crouching down and watching Thunder through narrowed eyes.

    But his nerves failed him. Thunder was staring straight at the quilava, her gaze boring into him. He had never seen such a terrifying look in a pokémon’s eyes before. Thunder didn’t just look infuriated…she looked almost insane. She was standing firm, despite the blood that dripped steadily down her side and trickled from her other wounds. Some of the blood was running down her scythes. Her mouth was open wide enough for Volco to see every one of her razor sharp fangs. He wanted to look away, but his body refused to obey him.

    Thunder could tell he was afraid. Fear was plastered all over his face. And this time it was he who was scared…this time, he was at her mercy. Volco was backing away, his flames flaring up to their brightest.

    He thought he could win by a type advantage…

    Thunder stared hard at the flames, not showing the least bit of fear. Volco was a pet. A pampered, spoiled pokémon who had never been forced to endure what Master had put her through. He had not been tortured day after day since he was very small. He had not been starved or beaten. He had not been forced to fight until he passed out from blood loss.

    He was no match for her…She would rip him to shreds!

    Volco cried out in horror as the scyther ran toward him. The look on Thunder’s ravaged face was something out of a nightmare. Dimly, he heard Master shout, “Flame wheel!” And, more out of fear than actually comprehending what his owner was saying to him, he fired the blast of searing flames straight at Thunder. The scyther was too injured to be able to move quickly. The attack didn’t miss.

    Thunder collapsed, and then staggered upright, her head lowered. But Volco did not hear a cry of pain. It startled him, because even Thunder had cried out whenever she had been struck with a powerful fire attack in battle. He knew she had a weakness to fire and Master obviously knew it as well, for he had used it as punishment on her many times. Her lack of a reaction seemed even stranger due to the many other wounds she had; the attack could only have made the pain worse. A few seconds later, Volco suddenly realized that Thunder was making a sound, though it was not one of pain. Instead of crying out, Thunder was laughing…at him…as if he had just done something rather silly and embarrassing. But it definitely wasn’t a pleasant laugh, and it unnerved him even more. Thunder slowly lifted her head up toward him, her eyes glaring as she grinned wickedly at him in a way that made him want to run as far away as possible. Yet once again, he found that his body wouldn’t move.

    Thunder suddenly stood up straight, acting as if the attack hadn’t even happened. “You and Master tortured me all those years, and now, you think a simple FLAME WHEEL is going to stop me?” the scyther cried out mockingly, a jeering tone in her voice.

    Volco didn’t have any time to react to her statement before the enraged scyther was upon him, gashing him across the side of his face with one of her blades, while the other swung toward him at the same moment, and if he hadn’t moved his paw to the left by accident in that very instant, the scythe would have severed it completely.

    The quilava screeched in pain and tumbled backwards, one paw held lightly over the deep cut on his face. Master was shaking as he watched the scene, but he still called out, “Flame wheel again!”

    However, Volco didn’t have the chance to fire another attack. Thunder continuously slashed at his weakening body, ignoring his cries of pain as he lay helplessly in the mud, no longer having the strength to even keep his flames up. Volco could hear Thunder shouting, “See what it’s like NOW? How do you like it?” He didn’t even try to reply; he could barely comprehend her words and the pain was too great, only becoming worse with each new attack.

    In a panic, Master reached for Volco’s poké ball, only to find that he couldn’t return him. Thunder kept getting in the way. He watched as Volco finally managed to stagger backward and away from Thunder, but only collapsed a moment later as the scyther stood over him. Volco weakly placed an injured paw in front of his bloody face, holding it out in a pleading gesture for her to stop, staring fearfully up at his tormenter as he remembered…

    …He had seen Thunder being beaten, both by Master and in battle. He’d even carried out some of her punishments in the past and never thought anything of it. He’d often watched her being hurt badly as a penalty, even laughed at her, but never had he once thought that he would one day be in her place. And now, Thunder absolutely terrified him. He had seen her being defeated, but he had also seen her being made to fight battles to the death, watched her as she was forced to kill her opponents…seen the terror in their eyes…the very same terror he was feeling now. Then suddenly it struck him fully. She was going to kill him.

    And something snapped.

    Volco’s eyes narrowed as they suddenly filled with a terrible rage…rage at the thought that she, nothing but a lowly servant of his Master, would ever dare harm him. And with a strength he hadn’t known he possessed, he dodged the scyther’s next blow, landing spryly on all four paws. Then his fur started to glow.

    Thunder staggered back, momentarily blinded as the brightness intensified and the quilava’s luminous form began to expand. Behind her, Master smiled and placed Volco’s poké ball back into his pocket. There was no need for that; the tables had just turned…

    When at last the dazzling glow subsided and Thunder could see clearly again, Volco was more than twice his previous size. The fire type now stood on two legs rather than four, and was taller than she was. His fur was still the same yellow and dark blue, only it was thicker, and she could barely make out some large red spots on the back of his neck before he turned to face her completely.

    The newly evolved typhlosion’s ears lay flat against his head and he bared his large fangs at the scyther. Now it was his turn to laugh. “Who’s stronger now?” he cried, running forward as huge, bright flames erupted around his neck, much bigger than the flames he had had as a quilava. With a roar he ripped his claws into the startled Thunder's face and slammed her to the ground.

    Startled by how quickly the attack had come, Thunder twisted free from Volco’s grasp and brought her blades upward toward the typhlosion, but he had moved out of the way. As Thunder struggled to stand, Volco bent down on all fours, feeling strangely excited as he discovered a new outlet for his power. He had used flame wheel many times before as a quilava, but this was his first flamethrower. And it was made all the more powerful by the strength gained from his evolution. Thunder darted to avoid the blast, and although she managed to get out of its direct path, the flames still seared across her side and leg.

    The scyther tried to get up again, only to find that her leg wouldn’t move. She tried to stand anyway, but the mud was far too thick and slippery; she only stumbled. She didn’t think she could fly; her wing hurt terribly and when Volco had pushed her down before, she had landed on it the wrong way. She could still see the typhlosion standing at a distance, ready to use another fire attack.

    “Coward!” she spat at him, raising her blades in as threatening a manner as she could in her current state. “Are you afraid to get close enough to face me in a real battle? Are you just going to cower over there and hope your fire attacks hit me?”

    Volco merely smirked in reply, and fired another blast of flame. Thunder ducked and managed to crawl out of the way just in time, suddenly finding herself on firmer ground. With a cry she sprang up and, ignoring the pain that shot up her leg every time she tried to stand on it, charged toward Volco with a speed that surprised him. The typhlosion whipped around, ready to fire another flamethrower. Thunder reached him before he could, swiping her blade at him with cunning accuracy. Volco tried to dodge, but still felt the sharp blade edge slice into the side of his face.

    With a roar of agony the typhlosion lifted his paws to the jagged cut, ignoring Master’s shouts to attack. When he pulled his paws away from the injury, he realized with shocking horror that he could no longer see out of his left eye. It had been mutilated, damaged far beyond repair. Growling in rage, he charged toward Thunder without even trying to launch a fire attack, staring at her furiously with his remaining eye.

    Thunder swiped at him with one of her blades, but he caught it in his paw, holding the weakened scyther’s arm firm and refusing to let go even when the scythe drew blood. Gritting his teeth, he twisted her arm sharply to the side to deflect any attacks and flung her to the rocky ground. Thunder merely closed her eyes and didn’t cry out; though she was starting to feel that the battle was already lost. Her strength was nearly gone, and Master no longer had any control over this enraged typhlosion; Volco would try to kill her whether his owner wanted him to or not. However, she was not willing to give him the satisfaction of watching her give in.

    With a growl she lunged toward Volco, who merely slammed her back into the muddy ground again. Feeling some of his anger fade into calm, Master’s typhlosion walked over to the scyther, ignoring the blood that flowed from his ruined eye socket. “It’s good to see you back in your proper place,” he growled, standing over her. “Alone…defeated…and under Master’s control!” Using the flames around his neck, he heated up his claws before bringing them down on the weakened scyther as he kept talking, accenting each word with another blow. “You…worthless…excuse…for a…pokémon!”

    “Volco!” Master’s sudden shout resounded over the area, causing Volco to look up a moment before a pokémon…another scyther, crashed into his side and brought him staggering backward into the mud.

    Thunder looked up, and through her hazy vision, she could see the other scyther slashing at the typhlosion’s side and shoulder. “Stormblade…” she muttered in confusion.

    Volco could sense that this new opponent was weak as well. Whirling around, he quickly locked his claws around Stormblade’s throat before easily lifting the weaker scyther up and sending him sprawling to the ground. Stormblade felt what little remaining strength he had leave him completely; the initial attack had cost him too much.

    Volco dug his claws into Stormblade’s burned shoulders, pinning him against the mud-slicked rocks. “What’s this?” Volco smirked, glancing back at his other foe. “Did you find yourself a friend while you were gone, Thunder? Maybe I should finish roasting him properly!”

    Stormblade tried to twist free, knowing that any second he’d feel more terrible pain. But the fire attack never came. Volco was too exhausted; the flames around his neck extinguished and the strength to use fire attacks was gone. Volco gave a growl of annoyance before he suddenly tore his claws as deeply into Stormblade’s wounds as he could before ripping savagely sideways.

    Thunder looked up as Stormblade gave an agonized scream, her blurry vision seeming to clear slightly. Volco was attacking Stormblade. The typhlosion was too worn out to use his fire attacks, and was instead using his claws, finding it much easier to cause damage to a normally tough pokémon by attacking him where he was injured. Every time Stormblade cried out, Thunder flinched, as if she could feel the blows as well. Then all at once Volco backed away, a bad wound in his side from Stormblade’s scythe.

    Stormblade had not simply given up. Master, who had been standing at a safe distance, suddenly looked fearful as Volco toppled over onto the ground; the wound was obviously serious.

    “V…Volco?” the man whispered, quickly taking out the injured typhlosion’s poké ball and returning him. Then he darted away, leaving the two scyther and Redclaw’s motionless form where they lay.

    Thunder sat up slowly, feeling her anger fade away into shock as she looked around at what had been their battlefield. Her gaze fell toward a spot on a rockier patch of ground that was stained with dark blood, where she had attacked Volco before he evolved. She wasn’t sure how she felt about it. The sound of approaching human vehicles interrupted her thoughts.

    Alarm flared through her; she recognized the sound. It was just like the sound of the truck that had taken Rosie away. “Poachers!” she hissed, staggering to her feet and making a run for the bushes. She could make it…if she left now…

    Suddenly she stopped, looking back toward Stormblade. She realized there was no way he’d ever make it away from the humans in time. The cuts Volco had inflicted were deep and still oozing blood, and she was sure they would make the already infected wounds even worse. He was unconscious now, as he had probably passed out from the pain. Only the fact that she could see him breathing told her that he was alive. Thunder turned, looking back toward the bushes.

    For some reason, she couldn’t bring herself to leave. Realizing she was probably missing her only chance of escape if these humans were poachers, she stumbled over to Stormblade and stood near him. It didn’t seem right to leave him there, and despite the fact that the human machines were obviously getting closer, she didn’t want to run away. She readied herself, hearing the sounds of the vehicles grow louder. She knew that whatever was coming, it was a battle she couldn’t win. Yet she was certain she wasn’t going to back down.

    To be continued…
    Last edited by Scytherwolf; 07-09-2017 at 03:14 AM.


  10. #30
    *Snivy cry intensifies* Scytherwolf's Avatar
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    The Path of Destiny
    Chapter 20 - Deception



    “Still no sign of him?” Wildflame asked Snowcrystal as the growlithe returned to the clearing, looking defeated.

    Snowcrystal shook her head. “I’ve looked everywhere around here,” she replied. “And all this mud and rain disguised his scent, so I couldn’t even follow that.” She was worried; they still hadn’t found Stormblade, and she would have thought that an injured scyther would be easy to track.

    Wildflame nodded and was about to reply when Spark came stumbling back to the clearing, his spiky fur plastered with mud. “Thunder’s gone,” he stated rather simply before tiredly collapsing in a heap.

    What?” cried Snowcrystal, running over to him. “I thought you knew where she was!”

    “I did,” Spark mumbled, lifting his head. “I knew where she was. I don’t know anymore.” He then lay his head down again.

    “We’ll have to find both of them now!” Snowcrystal cried, running ahead. “Follow me…Spark! Show me where you saw her last-”

    BANG!

    Snowcrystal stopped in her tracks, frozen in place by the sound of the gunshot, as she and the others looked around fearfully.

    “Poachers,” Wildflame growled. “We need to get going…I’d bet there are poachers and traps everywhere!”

    “We’re not leaving without Stormblade and Thunder!” Snowcrystal cried. “What if the poachers are attacking them?” Without waiting for a reply, she sprinted off towards the sound.

    “NO!” Wildflame shouted, quickly intercepting her. “Do you want to get shot?” Seeing Snowcrystal’s panicked expression, she sighed. “Look, you would only get yourself killed. I’ll go check it out…I can hide better than you can. You two stay here, and I mean it!” Before Snowcrystal could object, Wildflame had run off.

    -ooo-

    It did not take Wildflame long to reach the area where the gun had fired. Sneaking ever so cautiously and using whatever cover she could find, the houndoom managed to get close enough to see two humans clearly. Both were holding guns, but there were no signs of any scyther. And in the slowly brightening dawn, they would have been easy to spot. Wildflame relaxed a bit; Thunder and Stormblade were not there.

    As she peered closer, she noticed that one of the humans was holding the limp body of a small spearow. Figuring that the spearow was what the humans must have shot, she quietly turned around and headed back, careful not to make any unnecessary noise.

    However, as she walked back towards the others, she could not get the image of the poachers out of her mind. They had guns…and it terrified her. She wanted to get away from this poacher trap-ridden place, far away, but they would never be able to leave until the two scyther were found. And even then, it would be slow going with Stormblade in tow. They were very lucky, she realized, to not have been captured yet. But that luck wouldn’t last long. The only relatively safe place anywhere near the area was the human city, and that was, in a way, almost as dangerous as the poachers. She wanted to get moving as fast as possible, far away from the human threats, where Snowcrystal could then possibly lead her to finding a clue about Articuno.

    ‘Articuno…’ Wildflame thought, a plan beginning to form in her mind. Blazefang had almost seemed like he’d wanted to get rid of her, and made her stay in Snowcrystal’s little group. But what if…what if she somehow managed to find Articuno first? She’d go straight to Firedash and receive her reward, maybe even a higher-ranking position within the tribe, while Blazefang either wandered aimlessly across unknown lands ruling his little ‘pack,’ or simply came in second place. It seemed possible; after all, the growlithe tribe did know a bit more about Articuno than the houndour tribe did. Maybe Snowcrystal actually did have some sort of clue she wasn’t telling anyone about. And after all, Blazefang had no idea of where he was leading the pack. If anything, he was just as lost as they were.

    Speeding up now that she was out of both sight and hearing range of the poachers, Wildflame raced eagerly back toward Snowcrystal and Spark. She would somehow find a way to reach Articuno before Blazefang did, and reap the rewards herself. Blazefang didn’t deserve them. The biggest obstacle to her plan was, at the moment, Stormblade. She knew they’d be lucky to get half a mile in a whole day if they moved at his pace. And of course, there was still the threat of humans. They could be caught easily…and what if Stormblade and Thunder had already been caught while everyone else was looking for them? She narrowed her eyes, trying to imagine what Snowcrystal would do. She and Spark would set off to go free them before they could be taken away, or if they had, they might try and find them anyway, and end up getting themselves caught. Then Wildflame’s chance of finding out if the growlithe knew anything about Articuno would be completely ruined.

    She started to pace slower, still thinking. ‘Well…what if they haven’t been captured? What if…what if…’ She stopped, and finished out loud, “What if they’ve been shot?” And suddenly another idea formed in her mind. Snowcrystal and Spark had both heard the gunshot, but they didn’t know it had been a spearow that the humans had shot. What if she didn’t tell them that? What if…what if she told them it had been Stormblade or Thunder?

    With this new idea in mind, Wildflame ran off again, feeling that their traveling problems might just have been solved. With Thunder and Stormblade no longer in the picture, everything would go much faster.

    -ooo-

    Snowcrystal looked up anxiously as Wildflame bounded back into the rocky clearing. Spark sat up, looking just as worried. The look on Wildflame’s face only served to make them even more concerned.

    “Wildflame, what happened?” Snowcrystal asked.

    The houndoom turned as if to walk away. Wildflame stopped, and didn’t answer, her head held low. She was breathing hard; they figured she must have run a long way.

    “Did…did you find them?” Spark asked uncertainly.

    “Yes…” Wildflame replied. “But…” She stopped for a moment, looking up at Spark and Snowcrystal, whose expressions turned from hopeful to panicked. And then, for some reason she couldn’t explain, she couldn’t bring herself to lie to them about the two scyther being dead. ‘Captured…’ she thought, ‘I’ll just say they were captured…and far away by now…’ Looking back up at the others, she continued. “Poachers have captured them…their machine drove away just as I arrived. I couldn’t chase after them…they had guns…but I don’t think…I don’t think they actually managed to shoot Thunder or Stormblade. But they’re probably already miles away…and what’s worse…there are other poachers heading this way. We have to leave as soon as possible.”

    She waited a moment, unsure of how Spark or Snowcrystal would react. For a moment, the two just stood silently, then Spark whispered in a confused voice, “They…got captured? But…but how! Wasn’t there anything you could have done?”

    “No,” Wildflame replied, shaking her head, “I was too late…”

    “But how could you just-” Spark shouted, but Wildflame interrupted him.

    “You said so yourself, Spark,” the houndoom whispered quietly, “when poachers capture a pokémon, there’s nothing anyone can do but move on…and if we don’t leave now, they’ll get us too…do you think Stormblade would want that?”

    Spark was silent again, while Snowcrystal just looked horrified, unsure if she could believe it all. After a moment, the jolteon shook his head. “No…” he answered. “But I don’t know how I’ll survive out here without Stormblade…he…he taught me how to hunt and all about the wild…”

    “You still have us,” Wildflame told him, trying to sound comforting, “but not for long if we don’t leave. The poachers are coming, and the only thing we can do right now is to get out of here…we can’t stay here and worry, not while they’re coming…we have to leave, head to new lands away from poachers, and seek out Articuno once more. It’s what the others would have wanted, anyway.”

    Spark nodded sadly and the three headed off through the trees, Wildflame in the lead. The houndoom urged them to go faster, and despite their shock, Snowcrystal and Spark could sense that urgency was needed. Snowcrystal could hardly believe that more of her friends had been taken away from them, probably forever. ‘Maybe…’ she thought, ‘maybe they’ll find Rosie…and find a way to escape…’ Just as the thought crossed her mind, she began to doubt it, wondering if it really was hopeless. ‘No…’ she thought, ‘it’s not hopeless…and when I find Articuno…I’ll find help… I’ll find a way to free them someday!’

    -ooo-

    Thunder was pretty sure there were two human vehicles, and that seemed strange. Knowing that any second they’d appear over one of the hills, she turned toward Stormblade, nudging him. He didn’t move. She nudged him again, but got no response. “Come on, wake up!” she growled, frustrated. She glanced toward a group of bushes, and not knowing what else to do, she grabbed one of his wings in her teeth and started dragging him through the mud and toward the bushes.

    She managed to get him into the shelter of the bushes just as one of the human vehicles stopped a small distance away, closer to where Redclaw was. Thunder backed up further into the bushes, but not so far that she couldn’t see the humans through the branches. The second vehicle stopped not far away from the first, and Thunder stood completely still, hoping she wouldn’t be noticed.

    Unfortunately, at about that moment, Stormblade started to stir. Fearing he might wake up and attract the attention of the humans, she sharply brought the dull side of her blade down on his head, and he fell still again. That being done, she turned her head in the direction of the humans, watching. After a moment, she began to realize that they probably weren’t poachers after all. For one, they had pokémon – pokémon that didn’t look battle-worthy - with them. Thunder was mildly surprised to see that these pokémon were growlithe, and there were about four or five of them. They looked healthy and well-fed, so she figured they must either be pets or had been recently captured.

    Another pokémon appeared, and Thunder was surprised to recognize Sid, and not just Sid, but his trainer as well. Thunder stared at them in surprise. What was the human she and Wildflame had to fight off earlier doing here? To her surprise, Katie ran right up to Redclaw, kneeling beside the fallen arcanine. Thunder was just barely close enough to hear her words.

    “The poachers must have heard us coming!” she cried to the others. “And it seems like they’ve hurt yet another pokémon…”

    Another human stepped up to the girl, and though Thunder wasn’t sure, she thought he might belong to the police. The police were a group of humans Master had dealings with, sometimes to turn in what he considered ‘petty criminals.’ She wasn’t entirely sure what that meant. Needless to say, she wasn’t about to trust anyone – pokémon or human – that had any connection with Master.

    The ‘police-human’ turned to another and shouted, “I’ll take some of the growlithe and see if we can track them down…and I’ll send one of them back if we find anything!” One of the growlithe barked eagerly. Thunder only caught a few of his words, and he and three other growlithe raced off, in search of Master or the poachers.

    By now, one of the other humans was examining Redclaw, particularly his collar. “This one was probably caught by the poachers a long time ago…then escaped,” she was saying. “He’s alive, but just barely…by the looks of this collar, it must have been a very powerful shock that did this. I suppose the one who owned him decided he was worthless…” She gave the arcanine a sad look and turned to the last remaining police officer. “We need to get him to the pokémon center.”

    Still confused and unsure of what was going on – and surprised that Redclaw was still alive – Thunder didn’t know whether to run and help the arcanine or stay put. Looking at the growlithe, she decided to stay put, knowing they’d be able to take her down very quickly if she had no way of surprising them. She had used up almost all of her strength.

    “We can’t leave yet though,” Katie was saying, which brought Thunder’s attention back to her and the other humans rather than Redclaw. “We still haven’t found that scyther…the one the poachers must have attacked. He couldn’t have gotten far from the rock cave but we didn’t have much time to look.”

    “But we heard the battle going on,” the police officer replied. “We had to come straight here, but for now, Nurse Joy is right…we have to take this arcanine back to the city.”

    Thunder saw Sid’s trainer nodding understandingly, then focusing her attention on trying to keep her aipom from running off as the other humans prepared to leave. They were carefully working together to lift Redclaw into the back of one of their vehicles. Thunder wasn’t quite sure what to do; the humans sounded concerned for Redclaw, but she assumed they must have had a reason for it; maybe they would wait for him to recover and then force him to fight for them; a human wouldn’t just suddenly decide to go out of their way to help a wild pokémon.

    As Thunder watched the remaining growlithe run towards the other human machine, she saw one of them stop. He lifted his nose to the air a few times and sniffed, before shouting to the humans in poké-talk, “There’s something over here!” He then started running…right in Thunder’s direction.

    Thunder backed away, realizing that they’d just been discovered. Sid’s trainer and one of the other humans – the police officer – got out of the machine and started following the growlithe, who was now quickly nearing her hiding place. “Well…” the scyther muttered bitterly, mentally preparing herself for another battle. “Here we go again…”

    Just as the growlithe was close enough, Thunder sprang from the bushes, taking the canine pokémon completely by surprise and knocking him clear off his feet. The growlithe then stood up shakily; a large but shallow cut across his fluffy white chest. Katie screamed; Thunder’s sudden appearance had taken her by surprise. The police officer’s growlithe opened his mouth to fire a flamethrower, but at a shout from his trainer, stopped, and dodged Thunder’s next attack instead. As Thunder turned towards him, she caught movement out of the corner of her eye, and turned briefly to see another human holding a strange type of gun. Before she could panic, the human fired the gun, and whatever was inside it struck her in the shoulder, but it wasn’t a bullet and it wasn’t killing her, so she ignored it and ran toward the growlithe again.

    To her annoyance, the growlithe seemed to do nothing but dodge her attacks and run in random directions, trying to throw her off. It was making her dizzy, and it probably wasn’t wise for her to be running while she had such serious wounds. She felt something small and sharp strike her in the back, much like what she had felt before, but it hardly hurt. She was sure the humans must be crazy if they thought that was going to take her down.

    Then suddenly, for seemingly no reason at all, she collapsed, her vision starting to fade into darkness. Unwilling to give in so easily, she tried to stand up and fight, but her body didn’t seem to want to move anymore. For a couple moments she struggled to stand again, but she was starting to lose consciousness. The last thing she saw before everything faded completely was one of the humans walking up to her…

    -ooo-

    Hesitantly, Katie approached the unconscious scyther with Nurse Joy and a pokémon ranger, the one who’d fired the tranquilizer gun, beside her. “Is this the scyther you were telling me about?” Joy asked Katie, giving her a worried look.

    “N-no…” Katie whispered, shaking her head and looking over Thunder’s thin body. “The other one didn’t have a collar. And this one…” she looked closer and stepped back, horrified. “This one looks like it’s been shot…and it must have belonged to the poachers for a long time, from the look of it. I don’t know how it was even able to stand, let alone fight!”

    Katie didn’t wait for the others’ responses. She walked away, while Nurse Joy and the others went to help get the scyther into the pokémon ranger’s truck where the arcanine was still lying. She had seen enough injured pokémon for one night, and she had never liked having to see a pokémon hurt. It was partly for this reason that she had decided to go back after she had left Justin’s scyther by the rocks, and bring help.

    She did believe what Justin had said about the scyther; there was no way he would lie to her about something like that. Maybe about the reasons as to why he quit pokémon training, but not something like that. Yet, she had still thought that no matter what a pokémon had done, no pokémon deserved to be in that much pain.

    However, when they’d brought help and found the place where she’d seen the scyther before, he had already left, and the rain had washed away his scent, so the police growlithe couldn’t follow. At that point, Katie had given some thought as to why the scyther might have been injured in the first place. She had realized that since there were no fire types powerful enough to have caused such damage anywhere nearby, the culprits must have been poachers. The police had agreed with her.

    It hadn’t been long before they’d heard the distant sounds of a battle, but by the time they had arrived, the poachers had left, and all that they found was an injured arcanine and a different scyther. With a sudden surge of anger she realized that the growlithe probably wouldn’t be able to track down the poachers who were responsible. Everything was too wet and muddy, and it was starting to rain again.

    A sudden excited barking from one of the growlithe caught her attention, and she saw the police officer parting the branches of a group of bushes, revealing the still form of a second scyther…Justin’s.

    Katie realized, after a moment of surprise, that the female scyther must have been protecting him. She watched the others bringing Justin’s scyther to the ranger’s truck as well, before climbing into it herself. Her shinx stood up as she stepped inside, happily jumping on her lap. She knew it was better to leave with the rangers and the nurse now; there was nothing she could do to help the police catch the poachers.

    She also wanted to see if the pokémon would be all right, and it was important that they got to the pokémon center as soon as possible. As Nurse Joy got in the truck, Katie heard what sounded like muffled whimpering, and turned to the back section of the truck, realizing that the arcanine was beginning to come around. Reaching her arm over the back of the seat, she softly petted the fire pokémon’s head, trying to calm him as the vehicle drove off, back toward the city.

    -ooo-

    The police officer watched as his group of growlithe came back, panting and exhausted. He could tell from their looks that the poachers had not been found. He sighed. “It’s all right,” he told them, petting the fluffy pokémon. “I’m afraid we won’t be able to track anything in this weather. All we can do is go back and see if there’s anything left we can find.”

    Regretfully, he and the pokémon turned and headed back to the site of the battle.

    -ooo-

    By the afternoon, Rosie was exhausted. Battered, weakened, and alone, the vulpix lay curled up against the bars in her cage, without even Eve to keep her company. The humans had rotated the pokémon guards, and she didn’t feel like talking to the granbull who kept giving her angry glares.

    Throughout the day, it had been one battle after another, and Rosie had only once been allowed to have a drink of water. The humans had also given her a small amount of food, the hard brown pellets that most trainer pokémon ate. It had tasted vile, as if it was starting to go bad, but she had been too famished to care. The battles she had fought had been difficult, and from what she could tell, the humans were disappointed in her, and according to the other pokémon, that was not a good thing.

    Rosie jumped, startled, as the door opened and a human walked in, stepping beside her cage. Some of the other pokémon in the room gave her worried looks; obviously it wasn’t good if the humans approached a pokémon’s cage at a random time after that pokémon had repeatedly failed them. Solemnly, the human unlocked her cage, activating the shock collar briefly to stun her before dragging her out and onto the floor. However, just as Rosie was preparing to fight her hardest to get away, she realized that the human didn’t seem intent on punishing her. Instead, he reached into his pocket.

    “If you aren’t a good battler,” he was saying, more to himself than to her, “you’ll still fetch a high price from collectors.” Rosie stared as he brought the object out of his pocket. It was a fire stone.

    The human pointed the device that activated the collar’s shock at her, threatening her into staying still as he loosened the collar. Before Rosie could even try to free herself of it, the man pressed the fire stone against the top of her head.

    At once, both stone and vulpix began to glow. Involuntarily, Rosie closed her eyes as the surprisingly warm object was pressed against her fur. She felt a sudden, odd sensation, and with a flicker of excitement, despite her current situation, she realized…she was evolving… The strange sensation grew stronger, and she could feel her tails lengthening, and three more like them growing in place. At the same time, she could feel herself growing at a seemingly impossible rate; her legs becoming longer, sleeker, her muzzle lengthening and becoming more pointed, and her fur growing thicker.

    And for a reason she could not understand, she felt older…wiser. She also no longer felt weak or exhausted. She felt as if she could run for miles, defeat any opponent, do anything…

    Rosie’s eyes flew open. The transformation was complete. Feeling the loosened collar still tight around her neck, Rosie twisted away from the human and reached up with a forepaw, feeling her claws snag on the collar as she pulled, enjoying the satisfaction that came with the resulting snap as it fell to the ground. With a growl, she turned on her captor, racing forward towards him.

    However, it was at that moment that another human appeared from the doorway, and before Rosie could take notice of what he was doing, he had thrown a rope around her neck. The ninetales was yanked back, shocked and wondering if the poachers had anticipated an attack. She struggled on the floor, seeking to free the rope from her neck.

    But the human only pulled tighter, and with shocking alarm, Rosie felt her windpipe being forced closed. Coughing and struggling, she thrashed about on the floor, until her struggles grew weak enough that the other human could fit a spare collar around her neck. Only then did he loosen and remove the rope, and by that time, Rosie was weak and still gasping for breath, unable to resist.

    As she lay still, trying to recover, she thought bitterly about how much she wished she could place a curse on both of the poachers…no, all of them. But there was no way a young, barely evolved ninetales could accomplish that feat, and she had no real idea of how it was done. In fact, she didn’t even know how to use flamethrower.

    Through a haze of pain she felt one of the poachers stroking her long, thick fur, and wished she had the strength to turn and bite him. At least, she thought, this would mean an end to the battles…now they would just try and sell her to a collector. If anything, maybe they’d try to make her appear as healthy and strong as possible, and at least give her a decent meal.

    Yet all the same, as she was dragged back forcefully into her cage by both of the humans, she couldn’t help but wonder…if her troubles had only just begun.

    To be continued…
    Last edited by Scytherwolf; 07-09-2017 at 03:14 AM.


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