Re: The Path of Destiny (PG/PG-13)
She spread her wings and took off. Redclaw realized with guilt that it was hard for her to fly; her wing was still injured from the fight with Volco, and he felt bad for sending her out to search when she was so weak, but Stormblade needed it now. He sat down and waited, licking the dried blood from the cut on Stormblade’s head.
After a while, Thunder returned, looking exhausted. She staggered toward Redclaw, waving her scythe in the direction she had flown. “There’s no streams,” she told him, and before Redclaw could feel disappointed, she went on. “But I saw some sort of really old human town. It looked completely abandoned by whoever lived there, and there were pokémon wandering freely in the streets, but no sign of humans. It might be worth looking there-there’s always water in human cities, and rain could have collected in a lot of places there. I’d say that’s our best bet.”
Redclaw nodded. “We’ll go together-you look too tired to fly anymore,” he began, and Thunder gave him a seething glare. “We’re going to have to wait for Stormblade to wake up…let’s just hope he’s strong enough to make it…how far was the town?”
“Not far,” Thunder replied. “It wouldn’t take that long to reach it, though with Stormblade, of course, it might.” She gave Stormblade an annoyed glance. “I’m honestly surprised he’s lasted this long,” she muttered.
Redclaw glared at her, but said nothing. Thunder turned away from Stormblade, seeming uneasy around the injured pokémon. “Anything we can do to wake him up?” she asked, clearly impatient.
“I don’t know,” Redclaw told her. “We might just have to wait.” He leaned down toward Stormblade, who was, surprisingly, starting to stir. Seeing that his friend was waking up, Redclaw carefully nudged his head, watching as Stormblade opened his eyes. The scyther instantly closed them again, reluctant to try and stand up.
“Thunder found a place that’s bound to have water,” Redclaw told him. “All we have to do is make it there and we can rest.”
Stormblade slowly stood up, quickly leaning against Redclaw for support. Thunder watched him impatiently, seeming annoyed that it took him so long to stand. “Well now that he’s awake, let’s get on with it!” Thunder growled.
Redclaw nodded, pausing to scratch at his metal collar before following Thunder as the scyther walked on ahead. Thunder stopped and waited for Redclaw, who was still helping Stormblade. Redclaw looked at the injured scyther and sighed; this was going to be a long walk.
By afternoon, the three pokémon had left the burned forest well behind them and came to the outskirts of the abandoned city Thunder had found before. Redclaw stared at it uncertainly. They were standing in front of an old, faded sign placed on top of two tall wooden posts in front of the first buildings and ruined streets of the city. There were human-made markings carved on the sign, which looked damaged and old.
Redclaw turned to Thunder. “It…does look abandoned,” he whispered quietly, still looking wary of entering.
“I flew over the town before,” Thunder snapped, “It’s fine!”
“All right,” Redclaw replied, still nervous. “Let’s go.”
The three pokémon walked under the archway created by the old sign. “You sure there’s water here?” Stormblade asked, lifting his head weakly to look at Redclaw. Though the arcanine was relieved that Stormblade looked a bit stronger now that he knew they would probably find water soon, Redclaw was still fighting the lingering doubt that Stormblade would make it to a healer alive. The infection in his wounds had to be getting worse.
“There has to be some place where rainwater has collected,” Redclaw told him. He motioned with his head toward the crumbling buildings and streets. “Let’s have a look around.” He knew it would be easier to find water if Thunder flew around to search, but he also knew that she was weak, and he didn’t want to ask her. She didn’t offer to search, either.
As they walked further into the old city, Redclaw began to catch glimpses of pokémon. Most of them were small normal or electric types, but there were a few larger species as well. All of them scampered away the moment the travelers came into their view. Redclaw tried to ask a raichu if it knew where water was, but it darted into an alley before Redclaw could even finish his sentence.
“This place sure is strange…” Thunder whispered quietly, glancing at Redclaw.
“I wonder why all the pokémon here are so nervous…” the arcanine replied, pausing to glance around.
After a short while, Redclaw and the others started to smell a putrid stench, and noticed several grimer and a few muk lurking in dark alleyways. These alleyways were almost all coated in mud from the rainwater and strewn with debris, making them good places for grimer to hide. Several small pokémon darted fearfully in and out of the alleys, paying the grimer and muk no heed. Whatever they were scared of, it certainly wasn’t them.
All the buildings were crumbling and old; some had even collapsed. Very few of them still had doors, and several had broken windows. Every once in a while a pokémon would come in or out of one of the buildings, and Redclaw realized that they probably took shelter there. He caught a glimpse into one of the buildings, but it was only filled with mud and old, useless pieces of some old strange human items that he couldn’t identify.
“I guess you were right, Thunder,” Redclaw told the scyther as they walked along, “Guess it’s safe to say there are no humans here…wonder what made them have to leave…”
“Don’t know,” Thunder replied, not seeming as curious as Redclaw was about the whole thing.
The group stopped suddenly as they came upon a tall wall surrounding one of the ruined buildings. Along this wall were intricate carvings, each depicting a detailed image of a pokémon. Curious, Redclaw walked over to it, careful to help Stormblade. He looked at each of the carvings around him, seeming lost in thought. For a reason he couldn’t describe, there seemed to be a strange air of mystery around the place.
Thunder glanced at a section of the wall where a large door used to be, which had been broken long ago. “There could be some water in that building,” she suggested, noticing that parts of the old building’s roof were broken, and rainwater could have easily collected inside.
Redclaw nodded and walked toward the doorway in the wall, noticing two carvings-an arcanine and a scyther, catch his eye. Stormblade noticed them too, and looked around to see if there were carvings of the species of his friends, but only found a growlithe one.
The three pokémon walked through the opening and into the large building, which seemed to be on the verge of collapsing. There was no water there, but something else caught Stormblade’s eye. “Look!” he whispered. “It’s Articuno.”
Stormblade’s voice was so quiet that Redclaw hardly heard him, but he followed the scyther’s gaze to a large faded painting, which had been badly torn, yet the image of the legendary bird could still be seen clearly. Redclaw could tell that if the painting had been in better shape, it would have been beautiful.
“Yeah, so?” Thunder muttered, interrupting Redclaw’s thoughts, “It’s only a stupid painting! There are lots of them here!” She motioned with her scythe toward the opposite side of the room, where several damaged paintings hung from the wall or lay strewn across the floor. “We came here for water, didn’t we?” she reminded them, and they followed her through a corridor and into another room. The ceiling was badly damaged there, and sunlight shone through onto the filthy floor.
Around this room were several old statues, most of them broken, as well as slabs of stone depicting strange carvings. The strange soft floor underneath them was damp, but there was still no sign of any water.
“Let’s try somewhere else,” Redclaw told the others quietly. “There’s nothing here.” He started to turn, when he noticed Stormblade looking at something. He looked up to see one of the old carvings that was still placed on the wall.
This one was different than most of the others. It depicted several small pokémon of various species lying across the ground, either dead or dying. Redclaw noticed a growlithe among them. Above the dying pokémon stood a scyther, its blades raised above a tiny eevee, ready to strike.
“Well that’s lovely,” Thunder muttered sarcastically, eyeing the carvings of the dead pokémon. “Wonder what human made this…someone like Master I’m sure.”
“I don’t know,” Redclaw replied, wondering why the human had carved the picture in the first place. He looked around, noticing a few other carvings somewhat like it, depicting pokémon battles or a predator catching prey. However none of them showed dead or dying pokémon, apart from the pidgey the persian in one carving was pouncing on. “Maybe it was supposed to give a warning or something,” Redclaw mused, glancing at the scyther picture again. He turned back toward the way they had come.
The arcanine started to leave, but then stopped, noticing that Stormblade was still staring at the carving of the scyther, with an expression that made it hard to tell what he was thinking. “What’s wrong?” Redclaw asked him.
Stormblade turned away from the carving as if being snapped out of a trance. “Nothing,” he said quickly, limping over to Redclaw. “Let’s look somewhere else…there’s no water here at all.”
Redclaw nodded and they walked out of the building, leaving it and the strange wall of pokémon carvings behind. They walked further down one of the many roads, seeing only a few rattata who scampered away with frightened squeaks at the sight of them.
After a short while, Thunder stopped suddenly. “I think I can see water up ahead…” she told the others. “Follow me.”
Redclaw didn’t see the water, but he followed Thunder as she led him across an old, cracked road and through what had once been a small field. It was now nothing but mud and dust, strewn with debris from collapsed buildings. Thunder led them through the field and to where a long, deep channel ran through a part of the city, passing by them and nearing another section of buildings. Flowing through the channel, which Redclaw assumed must have once been some sort of canal…was water.
“It had to have come from the rain,” Thunder stated, looking down at the water. It appeared dark and murky in some places, but it was flowing smoothly, and would probably be the only relatively fresh water they were going to find anytime soon. “It doesn’t look too bad,” Thunder muttered. “There was probably just a lot of dust that blew into it.”
Redclaw nodded as the three of them approached the water, and gently pushed Stormblade forward and towards it. “See? I told you we’d find water!” he told him. “Good thing it rained a little while ago. Now go get a drink.”
Stormblade immediately stumbled to the water’s edge and leaned down, plunging his head into it and drinking as much as he could. It tasted strange to him, but he was far too thirsty to care. Redclaw quickly followed him to the water’s edge, and Thunder walked up to it as well.
As Thunder bent down to drink the water, Redclaw stiffened, realizing that a faint, but still foul, stench was slowly wafting toward him from it, and growing stronger. “Wait!” he shouted. Thunder paused and looked up at him with a confused expression.
Redclaw dashed toward Stormblade, pushing the scyther away from the water. “It doesn’t smell right!” he cried, and Stormblade simply looked at him, confused, while Thunder bent down to give the water a closer sniff.
Almost instantly she bared her teeth in disgust and backed away. “It smells disgusting!” she exclaimed.
“It’s getting worse…” Redclaw mused, feeling the strange scent drifting more strongly towards him. Something caught his eye and he glanced into the water, seeing a thin trail of something dark and purplish flowing through it. A feeling of dread crept over him as his eyes followed the trail to a place further down in the canal and he froze as he noticed a large muk heave itself out of the water and slowly ooze into a dark alleyway. Thunder noticed the muk too and backed away from the water as if afraid to touch it, looking thoroughly disgusted that she had been about to drink it.
Redclaw cast a panicked glance at Stormblade, who was looking at Thunder with a puzzled expression; obviously he hadn’t seen the muk and didn’t know what was wrong with the water. Redclaw fought to keep his worry under control and looked at Stormblade again.
“So uh….how are you feeling?” he asked, instantly realizing how stupid he sounded.
“What do you mean by that?” Stormblade asked; a hint of panic beginning to show in his eyes as he realized by Redclaw’s tone of voice that something was definitely wrong.
Redclaw opened his mouth to speak, knowing that making Stormblade panicked would just make things worse, but Thunder spoke before him.
“He means you’ve just ingested poison,” Thunder told him calmly, “Nice going.”
Redclaw shot her a ‘you’re-not-helping’ glare, and turned to Stormblade, who suddenly looked very frightened. “P-poison…?” the scyther whispered quietly.
Reluctantly, Redclaw nodded. “There was a muk in the water…” he whispered quietly, “I’m sorry…I should have checked it out first…I knew something wasn’t right…”
“It’s his own fault!” Thunder shouted, pointing to Stormblade with her scythe, “He just started drinking the water without even bothering to smell it first!”
Stormblade shrank back from Thunder’s gaze. Redclaw walked to his side and stood beside him. “It’s not his fault,” he told Thunder, “He didn’t know, and he’s hurt. If I was in as much pain as he was, I probably wouldn’t have noticed it in time either. It isn’t anyone’s fault.”
Thunder’s eyes narrowed and she turned away, annoyed that Redclaw had stood up for Stormblade. “So what do you suppose we do?” she asked, turning her head enough to give Redclaw another annoyed look.
Redclaw lowered his head, feeling helpless and knowing that if Stormblade really had swallowed any poison, it could start to affect him at any minute.
“I…I don’t know…” he admitted.
To be continued...
I'm so mean to the characters... D:
This chapter was originally going to be a lot longer, but I decided to put the events that were originally going to be all in this one into two chapters instead.
Also, I'm curious to know...what is everyone's favorite character (or characters) so far and why?
Thanks to Lunar Latias for the banner and Kirimori for the picture!