Unintentionally, Thunder had created a distraction. Sensing that their leader was in danger, the combee guarding Snowcrystal, Stormblade, Rosie and Spark flew off, their captives momentarily forgotten. “Let’s get out of here!” Rosie cried, running toward a nearby tunnel.
“No!” cried Stormblade, “We have to help Thunder! Those combee are gonna kill her if we don’t do something!”
Snowcrystal glanced at the massive swarms of combee flying toward the ledge where Thunder and the vespiquen had appeared. She knew in an instant that Stormblade was right-with those numbers, they could easily bring Thunder down and kill her…and there didn’t seem to be anything they could do. Snowcrystal watched the combee with wide eyes. The largest group was almost to the ledge…
Then suddenly, all activity stopped. The combee seemed to have halted and were now simply hovering in midair. Wondering what was going on, Snowcrystal padded forward for a closer look. The combee didn’t even seem to notice her. She padded across a rock ledge near where the swarm was clustered and glanced up at the ledge by Vespiquen’s chamber, expecting to see Thunder already killed in the battle.
Instead, she saw something quite different. The combee’s leader was lying helplessly on the stone floor, and as Snowcrystal crept closer along her rock ledge, she could see that Thunder had her blade pressed against the vespiquen’s throat. The vespiquen kept completely still, knowing that if either she or the combee tried to attack, the scyther would kill her. “Thunder…” Snowcrystal whispered as quietly as she could, and though several combee turned to look at her, none of them moved, “Tell them to let us go free!”
Thunder didn’t reply, and simply turned to the defeated vespiquen. “Make the combee leave!” she growled. Having no choice, Vespiquen called to the group of combee and ordered them to leave the chamber. Reluctantly they flew away, and though a few very loyal ones stayed put, unwilling to leave their beloved leader, they posed no threat to the five friends in such small numbers. “Now can we leave this place in peace?” Thunder asked, and the vespiquen slowly nodded.
Snowcrystal wasn’t certain about Vespiquen’s reply. What if she ordered all the combee to attack once Thunder let her go? Most of the combee had left, but that did not mean the few that had stayed behind couldn’t go and retrieve them. Just as she was about to suggest to Thunder that she force the vespiquen to come with them until they left the hive, just to make sure, she noticed that the scyther had raised her other blade over the vespiquen’s neck, obviously preparing to strike.
“Wait!” Snowcrystal cried, not understanding why Thunder was acting this way, “Stop!” However, her shout seemed to go unheard. Thunder’s scythe flashed downwards and though the combee flew towards Vespiquen Snowcrystal knew they would be too late. The growlithe turned away, expecting to hear the awful sound any second. However, the sound that met her ears an instant later was quite different, and sounded a lot like metal clashing against metal. She looked up, surprised, but no one was more startled than Thunder when, instead of her scythe reaching the vespiquen’s throat, it was stopped by another.
Thunder glanced upward, finding herself staring straight into Stormblade’s eyes. “Stop,” he told her, pushing both her blades away from Vespiquen, “You can’t kill her.”
“Why not?” Thunder replied, staring back at him.
“She was going to let us go,” Stormblade replied, and pushed Thunder away, quickly standing between her and Vespiquen, “And after all, this was our fault to begin with. We were the ones who entered the hive and tried to steal honey. Besides, you won the fight. There was no reason for you to kill her.” Thunder glanced back at Vespiquen, who was now flying upright, but making no move to attack. “We are going to leave now,” Stormblade continued, “There’s no need for any more fighting.”
Thunder looked back at Stormblade, though this time not with anger. She seemed far more confused by his actions than angry.
Stormblade gently pushed Thunder toward the others, careful not to injure her further with his blades, whispering, “Go…Vespiquen will let us leave safely.” Thunder did not reply, neither did she try to argue or resist as the five travelers swiftly exited the cavern through a large tunnel.
Once their leader was surely out of danger, the remaining combee quickly flew to aid Vespiquen, no longer paying any attention to the travelers. Now that she wasn’t being chased by combee, Snowcrystal took a bit more time to find the right tunnel by scent, and followed her own scent back through the caves. They encountered no resistance. However, Snowcrystal knew that the brief “peace” was only shock, and the combee would soon be over that, and the bee pokémon could very well just decide on getting revenge after all.
Upon reaching the cave entrance, the group quickly made their way down the rocky slope and into the fresh air. Thunder had to climb down as well, as she was injured from the fight. Once on safe ground, they raced away from the cliffs, stopping only when they were sure they weren’t close enough to be seen directly from the cave. Snowcrystal was still unsure whether or not the combee would still want their payment for the stolen honey and the wrecked chamber. After a brief rest, they carried on, knowing they should be getting as far away as possible, just to be safe.
No one had spoken about the events that had taken place in the hive, namely Thunder’s battle with the vespiquen, and how close she had come to killing her. Stormblade seemed to think there was a reason for Thunder’s behavior, but uncertain about it all, he said nothing.
They hadn’t gone much further when Thunder collapsed. Snowcrystal knew that her injuries had taken a great toll, and concerned, she ran to the scyther’s side. By the time she reached her, Thunder had already stood back up. “What?” Thunder asked, “I’m just fine…” Walking past Snowcrystal, she hobbled forward a few paces, only to collapse again, this time in a faint.
Rosie turned and looked at the unconscious pokémon, rolling her eyes. “Right…” she muttered, “Just fine…
Wildflame had seen Snowcrystal and the others leave the hive, from a distance. Standing up, the houndoom flicked her arrow-tipped tail in annoyance. “Why does Blazefang want me to befriend those idiots?” she muttered irritably to herself, “They might not even know where Articuno went…”
Narrowing her eyes, the houndoom sulkily began to follow the growlithe’s scent, not too happy about the plan now that she’d actually had time to think about it. She could only hope the growlithe knew something
about where Articuno had gone. Growling under her breath, the houndoom hissed, “Blazefang better be right about them…”
To be continued...
Yeah, this chapter was kinda long. ^^;