Alrighty: here's the new chapter. :3 It was going to be a lot shorter than what I ended up with, but oh well. xD Sorry about the delay!! >.<
Chapter eight: Fighting for Freedom
All of the pokémon had now laid their eyes on me, staring intently. I was finally beginning to think that I was gaining respect, and I suddenly felt more important. “You all want to escape, and because of that, I know you’ll help me complete the task willingly. But for this to work, I need your full cooperation and you all need to listen to my instructions!” I glanced around, seeing some pokémon here and there looking doubtful. Some were intrigued by my words, and probably thought that my plan was a small flame still illuminating their shallow pools of hope.
I felt sorry for most of them, actually. Pokémon who were presumably respected and honourable, standing by the sides of their trainers were now attempting to gain shelter in their shells of negative thoughts and impossible ambitions.
But not me. I wouldn’t stand to be pushed around by the apparent superiors who call themselves Team Rocket. Did they seriously expect to catch Dusty the flareon without a struggle? I may have been weak back there in the water with Izante and we were ambushed by the oversized fossil, but on land I can kick serious behind. Especially that of some amateur humans. And with the whole room overflowing with pokémon, we stood a perfect chance against them all.
I was yet to discover how many Rockets patrolled the top of the ship—or however many were on the entire sea vessel, but I was sure we could conquer and defeat them all. Deaths in the process were the cost of freedom, and I was more than willing to accept that. It was a horrible fate, but we would die with dignity still in our hearts. Because it was the last chance we had. And to survive, you must be willing to sacrifice.
I wasn’t the only one to assume that there were other crates just like this one onboard, and if that was correct – and I knew it was – then there would be all the more pokémon to help us battle our way out of here. However, that also meant more pokémon to free. And I would have to issue a battle plan. If everyone followed my suggestions and commandments, we might just be able to pull it off. But...you can’t put a poliwag straight into hot water—you have to gradually heat it up.
“Ghost pokémon! What kind of ghost pokémon do we have in here?” I called out, my voice echoing throughout the crate which was now silent. I had climbed up onto Luck’s shoulders to see from a higher perspective. We’d piled some cages on top of one another so I had a wide view, and I assumed that most could see me. “Just raise your paw...or tentacle, or fin, or claw, or flipper, or hoof, or hand, or tail, or foot, or crest, or—” I stopped as a lone purple hand rose. It was floating—not connected to an arm. It belonged to someone near the back of the middle of the group, and the pokémon rose from the crowd.
He stared at me with large eyes planted either side of his jagged mouth, one of his two hands coming down by his side, curled over and with three pointed fingers. “Well?” I started. “Come on up here.” The deep purple haunter floated through the crowd, the harmless spikes protruding from the sides of his body brushing against the occasional pokémon, before levitating to my side and facing the audience. “Anyone else? Come on, there can’t just be one ghost type in this whole bunch.”
“I-I’m ghost type,” a voice admitted. It sounded low and dopey—the kind of voice you would expect to hear from someone who had a master he always followed around. A five-fingered grey hand popped up from about the second row. A browny-grey body with horizontal black lines across his body stood on two stubby legs without paws or feet. There was a singular eye placed near the top of the egg-like-shaped pokémon, and on top of his head was a thin cloud of browny-cream fluff that flew behind it.
“Come on up,” I prompted, and the dusclops followed my directions. “Okay, now: which of you can go through walls?”
“W-walls?” the dusclops questioned, stuttering a little.
“Yes, walls. You know—those tall plastery things that keep houses and other structures together?”
“...I can,” the haunter said, his eyes almost looking through my own.
“Good,” I began, leaning over Luck’s large paws and dropping on my own front two. “I have a plan. If you can get through that wall there,” – I signalled to the broad wooden wall that had two large doors which were bolted down – “and you hide in the shadows until the humans aren’t looking, you can attack the lock on the doors. If I’m correct, the doors could then swing open and we’d all be free!”
Hearing my plan and probably figuring it to be one that might work, the crowd of pokémon began cheering and beaming. As happy as I was to see them like this, I had to shut them up again.
“Guys, GUYS!” There were a few voices muttering bitterly to each other, eying me, but I heaved another sigh and ignored them. “Thinking ahead here!” I turned back to the floor, my mind sorting through possibilities. “Hm... All bird pokémon, please make your way to the right of the room.” Presumably waiting for someone else to make the first move, nobody fluttered an inch. “...Hello? Come on!” Muttering once again and hesitating to do so, the huge group of pokémon all shuffled to the side in order for the flying types to bunch in one area. “My
right. Not yours!” I restated, and they all stopped. Beginning to change their course, I called out again. “Wait! Don’t worry about it now.” I closed my eyes and brought my face down to the paw I raised. Master used to call this ‘face-palming’. Once the pokémon had come to the appropriate place, I sighed again—this time with relief. “Alright, now, you lot: as soon as we get out there, fly to the shore to find things like rocks to bring back and attack the humans with.” I hoped that this was a good idea, but since the humans possibly had guns, they could hurt the pokémon. “Hm...but, in any way possible, tempt the humans to bring out any flying types of their own. If their pokémon are in the air with you, then they probably won’t want to take their guns and shoot you in case their pokémon are struck.”
With a huff, one honchkrow opened her short yellow beak. “That’s suicide! What happens if they do shoot at us, hmm?” She had her fluffy white chest puffed up, and the hat-like feature on the top of her head made her look more ‘proper’.
“Yeah!” another pokémon shouted, and, soon enough, they were all crowing again.
“I don’t think this will work...” muttered another sadly. “It sounds scary!”
Near the back of the group of bird pokémon, an altaria – who had large, cloud-like wings and blue feathers – turned to a pelipper which sat with his gaping yellow beak. “Ha! I’m just going to fly away and not come back. What’s the point in returning?!”
The pelipper laughed, exclaiming, “I was thinking the same thing! That flareon’s plan is ridiculous, anyway. It’ll never work. Don’t know what in the world she’s thinking.”
“What about all those pokémon who would just fly away and not return?” a voice in the non-flying type bunch queried. I simply scoffed and a sour expression formed upon my face.
“Any kind of sick-minded selfish flying rat that chooses to do such a thing won’t be going to the nicer of the two Afterworlds. They’d be leaving us all! They’ll live to carry in their hearts a great deal of guilt.” I glared at the bird pokémon with a threatening frown. If that didn’t shut them up, then I don’t know what did. After a few seconds of silence, I changed the topic. “All vine whip users—throw the humans off board, along with any pokémon that try to oppose us! Pokémon with confuse ray—confuse them until they can be confused no more! Pokémon with quick attack, speed charge or agility—use your speed to your advantage! By the way,” I turned to the haunter beside me, “you’ll have to repeat all this to the pokémon in the other crates before you break their locks.”
“B-but...how can I remember all that you’ve just said?”
“...Hm... Can you go through walls with other pokémon?” I asked.
“O-only one,” he replied.
“Good enough!” My eyes jumped flying pokémon’s heads until I came across a black one that resembled a music note. “You, chatot!”
“Yeah?” came a reply.
“Come up here, will ya?”
Hopping along the wooden, muck covered floor, the Music Note pokémon cocked its head to the side once stopping in front of me. “What?”
“You’re excused. Chatter,” I repeated.
“Chatter! Use your move, chatter. This haunter will take you through the wall and into all of the other crates so you can repeat what I’ve said. That way, everyone in the other crates’ll know what to do if they haven’t already figured it out, and he won’t have to remember anything I’ve said.”
“What?! I’m not doing that! It’s putting me in danger!”
A wicked “HA!” escaped my mouth, making the chatot withdraw slightly, and by the look on his face that held a pink beak, he began to use the move out of fear. “You think that nobody else is going to be in danger?!” I turned around, looking Luck in the eyes and he held out his paws. I pounced onto them and followed my route to his right shoulder. “Listen!” I commanded. “This is not
a game! Neither is it a guarantee that everyone is going to escape unharmed...or even alive.” I turned to the flying pokémon. “If you lot think you’re in more danger than the rest of us, you’re wrong! Every one of us is going to be fighting for our lives. If a bullet from the humans’ guns is fired at any of us land pokémon, we’ll be more likely to be hit than any of you! Team Rocket humans will have more land than sky pokémon. That means we will be the ones being injured the most!” I stood proudly and high as I made my speech, and I watched as some of the bird pokémon turned away with shame. “I want you to all understand that we have to work as a team and co-operate if we want this to work out. The humans are going to put up a fight...and we must
counter it with all we've got.”
Just then, a moan drew everyone’s attention and gave half the pokémon near it a start. Realising it was the Team Rocket man, I continued to watch what they did next.
“AAHHH!” exclaimed a spinda nearby, using a dizzy punch with her right, red paw to hit his face. A beedrill, who had zipped over from the flying type group, hastily thrust one of her pointed needles through the man’s chest, instantly killing him with a sickening squish. The man had no time to react, and couldn’t possibly have seen what was coming.
My jaw dropped and my eyes widened as I held a breath in my throat. I didn’t know what to do about it whilst standing there, but the scene ended with me having a single thought. ‘Many Team Rocket members and pokémon are bound to be killed... That man could have been one possible murderer of someone in this room if he had lived...’
“So you know what you’ve gotta do?” I asked, attempting to comfort the unsure pokémon to my left. He nodded slowly, hands on either side of two blue, folded-up-and-by-the-side-of-a-body wings. “Go!” I commanded, and the nervous haunter seemed to melt into the wooden wall without a trace. I was left staring at the spot that it vanished into, reassuring myself that the pokémon had done what I had said. And by keeping solely to the shadows, he would surely be able to stay hidden.
I turned back around to the large cluster of fellow pokémon. They all seemed fidgety and biting their lips in anticipation. I didn’t blame them, though. I bothered Luck to give me a boost once more and addressed the pokémon in the crate. “Once he gets back...we’re movin’ out!” I yelled enthusiastically, attempting to crank up the morale.
“YEAH!” everyone cheered; I saw some smaller pokémon be tossed into the air—probably by pokémon who didn’t have anything else to throw. My eyes widened, but I said nothing as I stepped back down.
Outside, human men patrolled the area, poké balls here and there on belts. Most of them had black bulging bum-bags hanging at their waists as well. Their uniforms were dirty put neat and repelling yet enticing.
Once a Rocket member with a straight face marched by, the nervous haunter bearing a flying friend slipped into the man’s shadow so as not to be noticed. The ghost type was glad to be a haunter. Haunter and gengar could melt into shadows and basically become part of them. The chatot was also brought into the human’s shadow, being masked by the haunter. However, unknown to the ghost type, he was covering not all of the bird pokémon.
Passing by another member of Team Rocket, the haunter hovering to keep up with the shadow removed a hand from one of the chatot’s wings, reaching up to scratch its face. With the other hand, he held the uncomfortable pokémon against his body. Unknowingly the chatot—who was told not
to move—came into view a little.
The minion stared with a frown at the man’s shadow, confused to be looking straight at a pink beak that seemed to be floating. He blinked repeatedly, and when the man rounded a corner, the perplexed grunt followed. Once he peeked his head around the side of the crate, however, he saw nothing following his fellow Rocket member. Figuring it was due to lack of sleep, the man shrugged and returned to his post.
‘Phew! That was close...’
thought the haunter, the chatot agreeing without hesitation.
“This one!” the chatot whispered, straining to be heard over the bickering of humans and waves of the sea while simultaneously trying to stay quiet.
Making his way to the closest crate, the haunter timed his exit perfectly, slipping into the wall with the chatot cringing, not understanding how it was possible to do so.
For the fifth time so far, pokémon in their cages began to yell and pout, trying to interrogate the random free haunter and chatot. The two positioned themselves near the front of the crate where a thin strip of space fit them nicely, and the haunter cringed as his rather loud comrade began to speak over the loud uproar.
“Shut up, shut up! Listen to me at once!” the chatot exclaimed. The pokémon seemed to continue shouting, but after the flying type screamed out something about him and his partner being able to free them all, the bunch quietened down to a soft mumbling. “You have been here for a long time, trying to break free. None of you have succeeded! That is because the cages are pokémon-proof on the inside and can only be broken from the outside. The crate that this haunter and I come from is filled with as many pokémon as there are in here, but a flareon has spoken up and issued a plan to free us!” The pokémon cheered and the chatot could see that a lot of them jiggled with excitement while others sighed with relief. “I will now repeat a speech made by the flareon with my special move, chatter. It’s quite long and some of you near the back may have to listen hard!”
“All young pokémon are to be evacuated by flying and water types! This should ensure that they all get to safety. All fish pokémon are to be set into the water before it’s too late for them! Break this formation and you forfeit the plans for safety and freedom. Good luck, and may the Legendaries watch over you!” The end of a pre-recorded speech spoken by the fire type left pokémon of the other crates with hope. The flame in their eyes was relit, enlightening their thoughts and paths. Belief and courage arose within them, causing their breathing to become deeper and their claws sharper. Their hearts seemed to lift again, the unmistakable beating of each loud and clear.
The blue-winged pokémon who was now strongly for the escape plan slashed at cage locks with wing attack and peck, followed by sucker punches and hidden powers from the haunter. Cage after cage and crate after crate, pokémon were released. They were all excited beyond what they had been in days or possibly weeks, and filled with the appropriate attitude.
Finally the seventh crate came, and the haunter was relieved to finally be attending to the last few. He and the chatot had been at this for at least three or so hours; it was a painful process.
At one stage they were forced to wait for over twenty minutes for the path from one crate’s shadow to the next to be safe from the humans patrolling the area. He and the chatot knew that it was vital that they stay hidden. In another crate, a pokémon had died from malnutrition amongst other things, and the other pokémon were not only complaining about it, but insisting that that haunter throw the body overboard, for they demanded that it be ridden of, and he could not leave it in the open where it could be seen. Therefore he’d been forced to take care of that, no matter how much he resisted, which had slowed he and his partner.
Held in a cage at the front of the bottom row, a tan coloured figure sat with her head on her brown paws. She had large green ears atop her head and a green leaf-like, jagged tail that was wrapped around her body. The haunter had noticed that at the mention of a brave flareon, the leafeon had raised her head almost in surprise. He pretended not to pay her any attention, but secretly kept a pupil on her. Figuring she must’ve known the flareon, he approached her after the speech had subsided.
“Do you...know that flareon?” he wondered, a little shy about talking to her.
The leafeon stared at him for a moment. “Uhh...yes. I...I think so.” She swallowed and looked down, then back up. “Is she okay?”
“Yes, yes, fine. She...c-came up with the plan,” he replied calmly. Pokémon around him momentarily snatched his focus as they screeched for liberation and wriggled impatiently, including two other pokémon in the same cage as the leafeon. The ghost type frowned before she spoke again.
“I gathered that,” she mentioned. The haunter had a feeling she was trying not to sound rude so as not to start conflict of any kind rather than in an effort to be polite to him.
“O-oh,” the haunter mumbled. Deciding the conversation ended there, he then readied a hidden power attack, closing his eyes and pressing his hands together. He looked as if he was building up pressure of some kind, only to release it when he brought his hands apart again. White spherical orbs of light were thrust out from his body and sent soaring horizontally until they came in contact with metal locks that were rusted and clamped shut. Four at once were destroyed, and the remains of the metal blocks clinked against the ground as they dropped.
Cage doors swung open, a number of pokémon swarming out of each one. This surprised the haunter, as this was the first crate which held more than one pokémon in a single cage. He figured since it was the last one, space must have been tight and therefore the humans were forced to cram as many into these cages as possible.
Continued in next post...