THANKS MATE. c: You're so kind. xDD
Without further ado, I present chapter 20 to you~ xD Sorry it's been over 3 months...or something. :(
Chapter Twenty: Stories
The song Sixteen Years is to be started at the beginning of the short paragraph before the lyrics of the song come in at one stage during the chapter (post number two). Keep in mind that it's only to be played during the lyrics section. Don't read ahead. xD
No chapter picture yet!
I would have to tell them eventually. I just didn’t know when or how
I’d do it. It wouldn’t seem like a big deal to someone who lacked my position in the matter...but this would be hard. Harder than returning matted fur to a pristine condition, and harder than admitting to myself that I was the cause of his death. That was another thing. What would I say? That he was killed while battling the garchomp? Luck was strong... I wouldn’t know how many pokémon would believe me. ‘Should I tell them the truth? That I caused his demise? Or force them to believe a lie that’s convenient for me?’
“You planning on eating that?” asked a pokémon, and I was dragged from the depths of my thoughts and back to reality.
I stared back at a navy blue face and squeezed my eyelids together. “Uhh...y-yeah.”
“Just checkin’,” he responded coolly, fitting a stem into his mouth and pulling it out with not a trace of the previously attached berries.
I looked to my own dessert; a pair of ripe berries laid untouched a few hairs from my paws. I didn’t know if I really did want them or not. “Actually...here,” I offered, giving them a light budge with a paw to my left.
“Cheers!” Yukra grinned from the log next to me as he reached down, bits of pecha berry between his teeth. I gave a small chuckle and turned away.
Most of the colony sat in a circular formation on – or in front of – the designated logs. I found it both difficult and uncomfortable to sit on mine, so I was seated in front of it. The fire was the only thing that kept me there. Zhol sat with Shard a few places up, causing the void between me and the colony to seem even larger. I didn’t feel...like I fitted in with them properly. They all seemed so well placed, and me... I was a stranger in their eyes, just like they were to me. I kept my head down as feelings of dread taunted me with their fluffy tails.
“Anyone got a scary story?” Yukra inquired after swallowing his first bite into the fruit I gave him. Most of the idle chatting subsided as all eyes fell to the heracross, and I sank, undesiring of so many gazes. “Anyone?”
“I’m surprised you haven’t!” chuckled a low voice. I laid eyes on a large pokémon easily twice my height, although much broader. I hadn’t seen him before that moment, as the yellow and ebony pokémon hadn’t shown himself prior to the colony meet. Clearly I hadn’t been around long, and I reasoned with myself, figuring it wasn’t strange to see new colony members after only one day—and not even a full one at that.
“I’m fresh out!” laughed Yukra, and I somehow seemed to be missing the humour.
“Krinn, I bet you have one!” shouted a rattata tyke—presumably Hyso and Gigin’s male.
The electric pokémon gave another chuckle in response, his orange eyes shimmering in the light of the fire. He moved two powerful-looking arms and placed a black finger on the tip of his chin as he seemed to rummage through his brain.
My eyes trailed down his legs, which had two dark stripes each, and his sturdy black feet with intimidating claws. The way he sat reminded me of Master, although his head had fur rolling off both cheeks, thus obscuring any trace of a neck and leaving a gap for his teeth to show when he smiled.
As he turned back to the heracross seated next to me, an idea looked to have eased its way into his head. “I did hear one story recently...” he began, the two pipes tipped with red points attached to his back swaying while he transferred his weight to his legs. He took a step toward the fire. “It was a dark and rainy night when two siblings, a plusle and minun were walking through a deserted forest.” The electivire tilted his head, staring at the heart of the raging fire before flicking his eyes to those crowded around.
“Ooh, I know this!” Yukra exclaimed, leaping from his log and buzzing over to his friend. He landed and grabbed the air with his claws, dragging his hand diagonally. “Lighting streaked the sky and the rain was endless. It was too dark to see much at all, and only the outlines of trees showed up to the pokémon’s eyes.”
Krinn stepped away from Yukra, sticking close to the fire as he continued. “Nobody else was around, and the only sounds were those the storm created, and the two creatures whimpering as they tried to remember the way home. ‘Plusle, we’re lost!’ Minun cried as she heard another crack of thunder.”
“Plusle tried to be brave as he spotted a tall tree with a hollow at the base and said, ‘L-let’s take cover in that tree trunk.’ So they went to the tree and ducked into the hole.”
“They waited for hours
,” Krinn continued, his back to the fire as he circled it, eying the baby pokémon huddling against their parents, “and suddenly there was a loud crack of thunder!”
Yukra jumped forward, frightening Mio and Ollie as Greech tried to keep his cool. Krinn smiled, continuing, “Everything went white for a split second before a tree came crashing down and landed just outside their hiding spot! They were almost trapped, but luckily there was a small gap at the top of the hole in their tree. They climbed through that and landed on the fallen tree. Minun began to cry, and Plusle kept trying to tell her that everything would be okay...”
“But just as Minun was settling down, pairs of glowing eyes started to appear from every direction. They began to hear growling, and suddenly a shadowy figure appeared between the trees on top of a nearby hill, and Plusle began to shake.” The heracross lifted the shell on his back and his wings began to vibrate. I assumed he was creating an intense atmosphere. “He mustered his courage and yelled, ‘Who are you?’ But he didn’t receive an answer. The sky released another thunderbolt, lighting the figure’s face and revealing his species: a gengar.”
Krinn’s body exploded as a powerful shockwave shot towards the clouds, vaporising as it found nowhere to go. The colony members nearly leapt from their places, and even I felt my fur bristle as I suffered a jolt of surprise.
Yukra grinned and kept his voice low. “The gengar was gone in another flash of lightning, and Minun hugged her brother in fright. Both pokémon looked for the ghost type, but neither found anything. Until...”
“The gengar popped up beside them, scaring them out of their wits!” Krinn yelped, both he and Yukra making sudden and unexpected movements. By this time the electivire had rounded the fire to my side, where he locked his eyes with mine, sending an uncomfortable chill down my spine. “He showed his teeth in a smile and said, ‘You look lost,’ and vanished again... He reappeared on their other side and asked, ‘How about coming to my cave, where you’ll be out of this wretched rain?’”
“No! Don’t do it!” cried the baby rattata again. “He’s a bad pokémon!” Yukra moved his gaze to the little purple and tan pokémon, clearly glad to have him so involved. Krinn also moved on, spooking the pokémon to my right as he continued to move around the fire at a slow pace.
“Plusle wanted to say no, but he didn’t have any other choice. He didn’t want to be eaten by the red-eyed creatures, and a cave sounded like a perfect place to take shelter from the storm. So he said yes, and the gengar grinned again, and started leading them away from the log...”
“No, no!” protested the small rattata once more, and I found myself wondering how such a story would wind up.
“So...just like the gengar promised, they came to a cave. Minun and Plusle both went in, and suddenly the cave door shut behind them!”
“BOOM!” Yukra thundered, expanding his wings and his shell at the same time as he extended his arms.
Several screams echoed from the smaller pokémon’s mouths, as well as older ones, and luckily the only reaction I had was a mere flinch. It was a full-body flinch, but still just a flinch.
“They tried to get back out, but a large rock sealed their exit. Then, as they turned around, those red eyes began to appear again, all flashing as they closed in on Plusle and Minun. Both pokémon screamed and tried using their electric attacks, but they did no harm as the evil pokémon shook it off. They banged against the rock again, but nothing happened, and nobody could hear their cries for help. There was no escape!”
Krinn crackled once more, sending bolts of electricity over the audience members’ heads. Then all quietened down, the sizzling of the fire and the faint swaying of the trees the single sounds. “...Plusle and Minun were never seen again, but some say their spirits still wonder the caves in search of a way out...”
The silence hovered as the storytellers ceased their movement, and an intense feeling snaked between each pokémon seated around the bonfire. Some stared while others gaped; a select few seemed unaffected, such as the sceptical and cloudy bird of prey. I noticed a lot of the young swallow; I also noticed their numbers had decreased by over half. It was a major relief, but I wondered where the others were. As well as who their parents all were, considering I had not seen many pokémon whose species were related to the majority of the daycare kids.
“The end,” Yukra simply stated, thudding casually to his seat. Krinn did the same, and I was kind of confused. The ending was so abrupt, as well as the sense-making factor being low. Pokémon with glowing red eyes? A gengar whose reason as the story’s villain was not apparent? I wanted to know how the plusle and minun got there, and why they were alone. However, most of the colony didn’t seem to care about such things. I guessed that, legitimate or not, these ‘scary stories’ were purely for entertainment.
Response chat commenced, at first being uttered between the odd couple, and eventually expanded to nearly every pokémon’s mouth. I heard comments such as, “That was scary!” and “Did they...get...get eaten?” I rolled my eyes, figuring most of the comments came from the little ones.
I hardly noticed as Zhol excused herself and requested to be taken back to her quarters in Aemara’s clinic. Shard and Yukra offered, and they both returned shortly after, taking their seats again as if they’d never moved.
After a while everyone seemed to settle down once Habib initiated more silence. He had stood up, being a few spaces from me, and addressed everyone. “I would like to focus now on the reason for this colony meet.” All eyes became fixed on him, and it was almost inspiring to see that the lickitung had everyone’s complete attention without so much as a single request. “We have a guest staying with us for a while. One who’s come from all around the regions. Recently she experienced an event most other pokémon would not even imagine would happen to them...” He shifted himself to face me completely, and I did the same without realising. “I would like to introduce you all to Dusty the flareon.” He gestured towards me with a pink arm, and I flinched as I realised the entire colony – or, all who were there, at least – had its eye on me. It seemed as if even the dens were watching with intense interest, and I shuddered at the trickling gazes skimming my back like a hairy spider.
“Uhh... Hi, everybody...” I swallowed, awkward silence stretching out and setting up a mound of grass. As it sunk down and relaxed, I came to the assumption that it wouldn’t be leaving anytime soon. I looked up, figuring the reason they continued to stare was because I was failing to entertain them. I decided a question-and-answer session was appropriate. “If anyone has questions...” I began, implying that I would answer them.
Nobody spoke for a few moments before that altaria fluttered from her perch and squawked, “How long are you staying?” in a rather demanding and intrusive manner.
I sneered and answered, “I’ll let you know when I can
.” Realising I came across as rude, I shook my mane and forced a failing smile. “...Next question?”
“I-if you don’t mind my asking,” started another pokémon, and I spotted Aemara as she passed the fire, “is it possible to tell us more of the human transport...that I understand you were on?”
I knew it would get to this eventually. I supposed the whole ‘question and answer’ thing was going to turn out differently to how I imagined if someone was to ask about the ship...and someone had. Several pokémon’s eyes widened, and it was clear they also desired answers.
“If it’s alright,” Shard interrupted, my eyes flicking to his, “I would like to know what happened as well.”
“Yes,” Habib stepped in, “the Rokont Organisation has had recent activity, or so the rumours say.”
I wasn’t sure who to answer first, so I turned to the giant lickitung and swallowed. “Team Rocket...was their name.” A wave of tingles washed over me, nervousness gripping my scruffy mane.
“Hmm...” he mused, a paw on his chin. “Team Rocket...”
The unceasing gazes wavering through my eyes gave me a strange sense of responsibility, and I felt the need to explain myself. After all, keeping my lips sealed only meant more procrastination – which I usually don’t bother about – making matters worse for myself, and possibly conveyed the message that I was hiding something, or that a terrible occurrence kept me reluctant to speak. Whichever it was, the fact still stood: they had a right to know what happened to Luck, as well as every other pokémon whose lives were altered for the worse. How I was to do it was unknown at that moment, but it had to be said. And I had to be the one to say it.
“Y’ see...” I swallowed, hooking my memory and dragging it into the past to recall the recent events still so clear in my mind. “It began...for me...when my trainer and I were battling another trainer. Of course, my ally was my best—” Something must have lodged itself between my wind pipes for a moment, as my voice had stopped there, and I reconsidered. “...My friend, a leafeon called Izante, and her trainer was my trainer’s, um...best friend.” I closed my eyes for seconds before continuing. “After the battle, the golem we’d been battling told me some strange things, and I didn’t know what he meant. Izante had the opinion that he was just crazy. Later we...” I grew a tiny smile, lost in thought as I remembered how oblivious I still was. “Izante and I went for a swim... Hah, she told me to stop being a torchic and to just...swim. She was circling me like swimming’s the easiest thing in the world, but...she knew I couldn’t do it.” My smile lasted as I strayed off course, but the eyes asking for more snapped me out of my reminiscing. “Anyway...we were attacked by what we thought was a stray armaldo, but it turned out that he was a Team Rocket human’s pokémon.
“He took us back to a campsite where we were caged, and soon we found ourselves on the move for a good three days and nights...” I shuffled the harmless soil over my left paw with my right, watching as the orange fur strands became a hue of brown. “Then we were loaded onto a ship in different compartments, and none of us knew where we were going... None of us knew how to escape; the cages were immune to our powers.” The fire coughed, regaining itself shortly after, spraying a shower of embers which barely touched those around it. I was suddenly reminded of the many fires that lit our paths when we used to travel, and warmed us on chilly nights... They brought us together; we would all crowd around them and rely on them for our survival. I always lit them, and the combination of that and their importance was what made me feel as though I was really wanted... That I was essential to my master, and even to Izante, who I believed really needed me... I cringed, clenching my fangs and shaking my head.
“And we were put in cages that wouldn’t break...” Realising I’d already mentioned that, a frown shaped my brow, and I rethought. “But then a quilava broke out of his cage, and...and I don’t know how, but he...yeah, he broke out...” I heard someone draw a sharp breath through their nostrils, but I wasn’t sure which pokémon was the culprit. “So...his friend had some blast seeds that he snuck in, and he used them to blow holes in the cages where the locks were... It didn’t take us long to discover that our attacks dealt damage from the outside, and soon enough all the pokémon were free...” I continued to explain that a plan was devised and that eventually a war had commenced. I even mentioned the pokémon I met, including...Luck. Someone had asked who it was that issued the plan for freedom, and I was momentarily stumped. It was hard to answer... Although I was supposedly the hero, something felt wrong... So I simply replied with, “A pokémon from my crate.”
I paused while explaining the garchomp’s appearance, and didn’t mention the internal cargo hold. I also skipped the trivial things, such as my arguments and the battle with Azure, and only included the gun part to glorify Larse, who smiled politely as I did so.
“Dusty,” Shard interrupted in a calm and solemn tone as I had stopped, “what happened to Luck?”
This was it. The section of the story I wanted to avoid, but obviously it was inevitable.
They had to know. I had to tell them. That moment was what the conversation had boiled down to. They’d been dying to know since I first arrived, and I’d been frightened to tell them. “Luck...” I started, drilling my glare into the earth. “He...” I moistened my lips with my tongue, my breathing pace increasing. “He fought the garchomp with me.” I could sense the surprise that heightened the tension surrounding us, but I pressed on. “He fought the garchomp, and he saved me more than once. The last time he saved me, he...he...”
My gaze connected with every pokémon staring at me... Some I didn’t recognise, but others I knew personally. Their eyes were innocent... Sorrow already clouded their vision; the story of a pokémon stolen away from her trainer and thrown into the hands of those reckless and uncaring would tear anyone’s heart to pieces. Mynk seemed hurt in many ways; maybe she was envisioning herself or her child going through the same process. I imagined my trainer felt the same way about me as Mynk felt about her daughter... After all, Master raised me. She taught me nearly everything I knew... I had also spotted Wynore and her teddiursa. That cub was as much Luck’s as she was Wynore’s, and the notion of becoming fatherless so early in her life was painful even to me, someone who barely even knew the family...
Continued in the next post...