Solus leaped up and ran toward the trainers and police, followed by several other Team Rocket pokémon. Redclaw pressed his paws and muzzle against the bars of his cage, watching the battle beginning to take place.
Pokémon of all types filled the room; some fighting, others protecting the trainers and police or the Rockets. Near the front of the group of trainers, Justin and Katie, who had snuck in after the others, yelled commands to some of Katie’s pokémon-Katie commanding Azumarill and Justin commanding Katie’s persian.
For reasons he could not explain, Justin did not feel afraid. Watching Persian fight was an amazing feeling-it seemed like such a long time since he had watched a pokémon battle for him. “Persian, thunderbolt!” he shouted, watching the tawny cat-like pokémon’s pelt stiffen before she fired several jagged bolts of electricity at the Rocket’s pokémon. Nearby, Azumarill was battling head-to-head with a croconaw.
As Redclaw was watching, he noticed several other trainers moving away from the fight and finding pokéballs, releasing captured pokémon as well as finding empty ones and returning those in cages and letting them out in the room. One of the trainers seemed to have managed to steal keys from the Rockets, and she ran up to Ardunia’s cage, unlocking it and letting the girafarig run free. Next, she opened Redclaw’s, and after carefully examining his muzzle, found a way to open that too and take it off.
Leaping to the smooth floor outside the cage, Redclaw heard a police growlithe shout, “Pokémon, follow me! The way out is this way, hurry!”
Redclaw, along with Ardunia and several other freed pokémon started to follow while the Rocket pokémon were distracted, when Redclaw suddenly stopped. “Stormblade…” he whispered.
“What?” Ardunia called from up ahead.
“Keep following them!” Redclaw shouted, turning around, “There’s someone I need to find!”
Watching the arcanine turn and run toward an open doorway, Ardunia sighed worriedly before turning and following the other escapers.
Katie’s pokémon were soon tired and wounded, and having no choice, she and Justin had had been forced to follow some of the other trainers out of the building. The ones that remained were still fighting, and the Team Rocket agents were soon being driven back. Already, several of the Rocket’s fighting pokémon had been taken by the trainers and brought outside as the trainers’ pokémon protected them from attack.
At last, outnumbered and unprepared, the Rockets turned and fled, with the police soon following. One of the trainers led some others into other rooms, searching for more pokémon who still remained trapped in the building.
Redclaw hadn’t gone far down one of the dimly-lit hallways when a voice from behind stopped him. A male houndoom was running toward him, calling for him to wait. Redclaw watched as the sleek dark type came to a halt beside him, looking out of breath. “The way out is back that way,” he told Redclaw, obviously assuming that the arcanine had gotten lost.
“I know,” Redclaw replied, “But my friend…that scyther they took away, is in another room somewhere, and I have to…”
“Stop!” a harsh voice called from behind. The two dog-like pokémon turned around to see the espeon, Solus, walking toward them from the end of the hallway they had come from.
Without a word the houndoom leaped forward, with a speed that surprised the espeon. Knocking the injured psychic type to the ground, he pressed his paw against Solus’s throat, leaning his head closer to him. “All right, you obviously know your way around here,” the houndoom growled, “Where did your trainers take the scyther?”
Solus’s eyes widened in shock as he realized how much he was at a disadvantage. The houndoom was a large and powerful dark type, while he was injured and would be weak to the dog-like pokémon’s attacks. Gritting his teeth, he hissed back, “The Medical Ward…what do you think…genius
“Where…is…that?” the houndoom muttered in a low growl, pressing his foot down harder.
Solus gasped as he struggled, kicking his back legs frantically at the houndoom. “It’s on one of the lower floors!” he spat, “Below the first floor…underground…” By now he was struggling to breathe.
“How do we get there?” Redclaw asked.
The houndoom was about to ask a similar question when shouts reached their ears. Letting go of Solus, he pounded through the halls beside Redclaw as several Rocket grunts appeared around the doorway.
“Guess we find it ourselves…” the dark type muttered grimly.
Stormblade had also heard commotion. Next to the room he was currently resting in, was the largest experimentation room in the Rocket’s base. Though he did not know what the room actually was, he could hear shouts coming from within it.
“What’s that?” a young linoone asked, sounding frightened.
“Something’s going on in one of the experiment rooms…” a rapidash replied.
“Experiment rooms?” a beedrill repeated, confused.
Before anyone could answer, a door to the room opened, and a young female trainer, obviously not belonging to Team Rocket, stepped inside. “Who is she?” Stormblade heard the linoone ask, but his question was quickly answered.
Finding keys and moving as fast as she could, the trainer began unlocking the cages, letting every pokémon run free. Stormblade saw the door to his cage swing open, but he did not think he could stand. He watched as the last of the pokémon were freed and they along with the trainer, who was showing them the way, left the room.
“Wait!” Stormblade called out weakly, trying to move toward the open doorway. He didn’t make it far, and collapsed, pain overwhelming him and preventing him from moving as the others made their escape, leaving him behind.
Meanwhile, other pokémon were being released from cages and pokéballs within a large experimentation room, the room right next to the Medical Ward. The room was massive and contained several large, strange looking machines as well as rows of tables to which pokémon were meant to be strapped to. The shouting had stopped; the Rockets there had fled, and the pokémon were being released and told to follow a trainer pokémon up flights of stairs to the first floor at ground level.
Freeing a small mareep from a cage, one of the trainers began carrying it toward the other freed pokémon when something made her stop in her tracks.
Over twenty Team Rocket trainers surrounded by several large pokémon were entering the room. The trainers helping the pokémon started to back away, knowing that their own pokémon were weak, as the Rockets gave their pokémon the order to attack.
Redclaw and the houndoom darted through another hallway, looking for a way to the floors below ground level. Redclaw stopped, hearing several pokémon coming their way. “That way!” he cried, heading in their direction, soon finding a large flight of stairs leading down to the next floor, and many pokémon were running up them.
“Help them,” Redclaw told the houndoom, “I’m going down there to find Stormblade.” The houndoom nodded in reply as Redclaw addressed some of the fleeing pokémon, “Did any of you see a scyther? Or the Medical Ward?”
Quicker than he expected, he got an answer. A small linoone looked up at him with wide blue eyes and nodded. “There was a scyther in that room down there!” he told Redclaw.
“Where?” the arcanine asked.
“It’s a room with a lot of cages,” the linoone answered, “Down three flights of stairs and you’ll see a large door with a big window on it near the bottom of the third set of stairs. Go through it!”
“Thanks,” Redclaw told the linoone as the small pokémon ran off. Bounding down the stairs, he quickly passed the first flight, and soon spotted the second. Following the linoone’s instructions, he raced down the narrow stairways until he reached the bottom of the third flight of stairs.
Looking around, Redclaw tried to spot a door like the one the linoone had described. Walking through the hallway a bit, he soon spotted a large open door, one with a window. Running through the doorway, he found himself in a strange room. The room looked like it belonged in a very low-budget pokémon center, with several syringes and other instruments lying along a counter in disarray. Redclaw noticed stains of blood both on the floor and on the thin sheets covering the bed that stood in the center of the room.
Pushing past another slightly open door, he walked into a room with rows of cages and small cells. At first he thought it was empty, until he noticed the still form of a scyther lying near the other side of the room, still in the cell.
“Stormblade!” Redclaw shouted, running over to the injured pokémon’s side.
Stormblade looked up at Redclaw in disbelief, having thought for sure that he’d been completely abandoned. “Who are you…?” Stormblade whispered in a feeble voice, “How do you know my name?”
“Thunder told me,” Redclaw replied, “I was there at the pokémon center with her. My name is Redclaw. I’m your friend.”
“Thunder?” Stormblade replied, his voice sounding weaker, “Where’s…Thunder?”
“I believe she escaped back at the Pokémon Center,” Redclaw answered, “She wasn’t brought here.”
“Is she…ok?” Stormblade asked, obviously not comprehending that Redclaw couldn’t know much about Thunder at the moment.
“I think so,” Redclaw answered, though truthfully he was uncertain, “Now we need to get out of here…and quickly, before anyone sees us. The police and the pokémon who’ve already escaped have probably helped defeat the Rocket’s pokémon who were following me. We need to get out now and follow them.”
“I…I…can’t stand…” came Stormblade’s weak reply.
“You have to!” Redclaw replied, “We need to leave…I can help you! I’ll help you get up and you can lean against me…”
Stormblade made no reply and Redclaw began to fear that he was in far too much pain to move. The sounds of battle reached his ears and the floor suddenly shook beneath his paws. A huge battle was taking place in a room nearby…
The trainers who had freed pokémon from the experimentation room found themselves in what seemed like an impossible fight. Humans and pokémon alike had already been injured, many seriously. Fearful, some of them hid behind machines or tables as the remaining trainers and pokémon fought.
One of them, the trainer with the tyranitar, knew that if there were many Team Rocket grunts here, there must be several still trying to hold the police off somewhere else, unless they had used their pokémon to teleport away. If so, had the others who’d come to stop these people already escaped the building and left them down here? He shook the thought from his mind, focusing on the battle they were now facing.
His tyranitar was weak; wounded in several places and nearly out of strength to fight. The trainer realized his pokémon could probably only manage one more attack. “Might as well make it a good one…” he muttered grimly to himself, and shouted to his pokémon, “Tyranitar, use-”
He paused for a second, his gaze moving toward the Rockets who were standing beside one of the large machines. In a sudden burst of fleeting hope, he finished, “Use hyper beam on that machine!”
With a strength borne of desperation, the tyranitar fired the attack straight at the machine the Rockets were standing by. Another trainer, looking on, noticed that it was only one of many machines in the room, and a look of fear crossed her face. “Wait!” she shouted, far too late, as the blast of energy struck the machinery.
The tyranitar and his trainer ducked behind a row of cages as the machine exploded, hearing several of the Rockets scream in anguish. Another explosion followed almost immediately after, engulfing several other machines and sending them and most of the room up in flames.
Weakened by the explosion, a part of the ceiling collapsed, damaging several rooms and part of the floor above, while fire spread quickly toward the other machines.
Not wasting any time, the trainers stood up and fled through the doorway on the mostly undamaged side of the room, knowing that they needed to get out of the building…and fast.
Redclaw heard the blasts from nearby and felt the walls and floor shake. Looking toward Stormblade, he tried to help the scyther stand, letting him lean against his shoulder. Stormblade’s eyes were glazed over with pain and the effort to stand seemed almost too much for him. Redclaw tried to help him walk slowly, making his way carefully toward the door leading into the hallway while Stormblade limped beside him.
When Redclaw peered out of the open doorway, what he saw made him gasp. A large part of the hallway to his left was destroyed; the walls in one part of it had been broken down, and a large part of the ceiling had collapsed.
In his shock, he did not realize the danger he and Stormblade were in until it was too late.
The flames from the ruined machines in the experimentation room had triggered another, much bigger explosion as they destroyed another, larger machine. Without warning, a large section of the wall near Redclaw was blasted away, sending him and Stormblade flying backward toward the opposite end of the hallway.
Redclaw felt his leg strike something sharp-Stormblade’s scythe, as he landed against the scyther, causing Stormblade to cry out in pain a moment before his head slammed against the wall, silencing him. Dazed, Redclaw looked up as a large section of the ceiling above them came crashing down. Unable to move away in time, Redclaw didn’t even have time to scream before something crashed into his head and everything faded into blackness.
Outside, the last of the trainers had finally made it out of the building, though some had been injured. Several pokémon had not made it out, but the humans knew there was nothing they could do now.
The building was unsafe; part of the first few floors had collapsed in some places, damaged by the explosion caused by the tyranitar’s hyper beam. Since the Rockets had probably used their abra to teleport away by now, the police had decided that it was best to get back to Stonedust city as soon as possible, as those who were injured needed help.
Knowing the Rockets who hadn’t been caught would be distracted by the damage to their building, the trainers and police, along with the pokémon who were rescued, headed quickly back to the city, leaving the damaged building behind.
Justin and Katie, however, were not with them. Riding on the back of Katie’s pidgeot, they had decided not to return to Stonedust city and carry on instead. Justin, however, had wanted to look for the white growlithe one more time, and Katie, who was also fascinated with rare and unusual pokémon, had eventually agreed.
It wasn’t long before the pidgeot landed, near the group of rocks where the two had come across Stormblade before. Now that it wasn’t raining, Katie was sure that her poochyena, who she had exchanged for one of her other pokémon back at the Pokémon Center before it had been destroyed, could follow the growlithe’s scent now that it wasn’t raining anymore.
Justin watched as the form of the black and gray wolf pup-like pokémon materialized in front of him. After Katie told her what to do, she ran off, happily searching for the scent of growlithe.
“Are you sure this
is going to work?” Justin asked skeptically, “The growlithe’s scent was probably washed away by now…”
“Well it ran somewhere in these rocky fields when it left the city,” Katie replied, “It has to still be here somewhere…which means there’s definitely a scent to find. It couldn’t have been captured yet, or else everyone would know about it by now.”
Up ahead, the poochyena began barking excitedly. Katie and Justin ran to catch up, noticing the large footprint of a houndoom imprinted in the drying mud.
“There…there was a houndoom with the growlithe, remember?” Justin whispered.
Katie nodded. “Poochyena can follow their scent now,” she replied, “I’m sure we can catch up to it.” Without another word they headed through the field of pebbly mud, the small poochyena happily leading the way.
To be continued...
Yay! Stupid chapter over! Now on to the (hopefully) easier ones I've been waiting to write!