Chapter 31: Gangreen
The Holy King Bavaden clearly didn't know how much food a Volteer needs daily to be at full strength, and especially those of our level. We got a larger than usual ration-which consisted of a half-loaf of bread and carrots. To the knights that would be our allies and partners for the mission (and currently surrounding us), it was a feast-missions for them were a time where they could unleash their inner demons upon their 'unholy' foes while feasting upon more food than they'd ever get normally. They looked a bit deprived in some cases, too. And the deprived-looking ones were nearby us both, so we tried our best not to look disappointed. It was enough for me to live with, though, as we wouldn't be using our Volteer Powers as much as usual.
Nevertheless, King Bavaden clearly misunderstood what terms we were on-me and Blizzard, I mean. He thought we were at least tolerating each other's presence well, willing to get along when presented a situation like this. We appeared that way, but anyone in the room with us could sense the vibe-King Bavaden needed to worry less about his own back and worry more about what happens when one Volteer gets angry enough to kill another. Nobody was oblivious about it.
Our own Pokémon-released outside and away from anyone that would see, to make sure these guys didn't panic outright-were sharing our feelings. Meta had a big scar on his body, equivalent to the large scratch on his body, but everyone survived. Film, Scyez, Lesha, Meta, Vyraz, and Septim (the Audino) were all looking either angrily or suspiciously at Blizzard's Pokémon: a Golurk, a Gardevoir, a Houndoom, a Jolteon, and a Hitmontop were all angrily staring back. I hit Blizzard where it hurt with eradicating Avalanche, and clearly, the Weavile's absence was an unspoken knowledge among these Pokémon-seemingly the instant they were out. Blizzard must put that one out first.
Meta wasn't in a fine condition, considering the slash mark stretched almost across his whole body. There wasn't a way to heal him without a true medic around-the Cleric from earlier couldn't heal what was basically a metal, and considering that the metal was living, I couldn't use metal control either. Meta ignored it, and between the two of us, we telepathed our plans.
<"So, we're going to combine our telepathic powers to try to reach out to the Calypso, and hope they hear?">
<"Ayup. Once we get contact, we keep contact as much as possible.">
I responded. <"Whether or not we find the princess isn't important-making sure Blizzard stays in line until then is the critical part. Bavaden didn't mention who the leader of the Volteers was, but I'm betting it's someone from the Onlisk Republic, and someone that knows who I am, and that's worse than any execution.">
<"...Why don't we just kill Blizzard while he's asleep?">
Meta suggested. So long as it was violent in some manner, Meta rarely disagreed. Mind you, he was rather benevolent of my suggestions, the first hand of kindness he ever knew in a long line of maleficent people he met, but when that's your back-story, violence never leaves you. <"It would eliminate an Arbitarian Loyalist, remove complications caused by him further down the road, make all of our lives easier, and considering the status of the Relic, he'd not be coming back.">
Meta added. Valid reasons for doing it.
<"I'd agree normally, but this King Bavaden...He thinks Giratina is a guy, Shaymin are evil demons, and Ho-oh's Arceus'es son. Yes, you heard me, son. He hates Volteers, but I'm not testing to see if his wrath is invoked by me killing him.">
I said. <"And before you ask, killing the King is out of the question-the Knights are equipped to deal with Volteers in case things go south, so I'm pretty sure Bavaden's got something up his sleeve too.">
<"Yhea, like his pants! Or fire. Or pants on fire! Or fire on pants! Or pants on fire on pants on Quantum Farting!!">
Scyez Telepathed. I forgot she could do that sometimes.
<"...Is she even partially sane?">
Meta asked. Meta was also kind of sarcastic at times.
<"I'm not even partially cane! Or lane! Or vain!">
<"I'm pretty sure she is, at minimum, off in her own little world, 24/7, and at most, she's absolutely insane with no rhyme or reason aside from liking soft things to hug.">
<"AND a total lack of Quantum Farting on fire.">
Meta asked, sarcasm mode fully activated.
<"Oh, no, I have pants, see?">
Scyez said, pointing towards her upper legs, where her blue fur was long enough to contrast with her very short black hair immediately below it and give the 'fact' of having 'pants' a kind of justification.
<"OK, moving on from the lovely topic of pants...">
I started. Never got past the lovely topic of pants.
King Bavaden called. We all turned our heads and stood-King Bavaden was clad in steel, now wearing a steel helmet with a rim where the crown could rest, and wearing armor that denied no chance of putting flame patterns on it. "Men, we are moving out right now. We've got a month's time I can be away from my castle, without the threat of enemies starting to capture territories in Crimit. Henceforth, speed and superior tracking skills are a must, and we must search thoroughly and deliberately at anything Princess Natalie can go through.
the King said. "It will NOT be easy to hunt her down-if she sees a Grass-Type, she'll either hide or run, or hopefully she'll have a weapon on hand and fight it...I hate to bring this up, but the search will be over...If...We find proof Natalie is...Dead."
He added, solemnly. Apparently, Natalie being dead was a big thing to the King.
"My Holy King, let it touch your mind not, the implausibility of Natalie's death! We burn the whole D**med Forest should Natalie be dead within by that wretch of a demon!" A Knight said. "There be no known kingdom that shares borders within the D**med Forest, so we may burn it to the ground if they do, lest there be a kingdom that doth protest to it, whatever country that d**mnated may be mad enough to suggest the idea within themselves."
"I understand, so if my daughter is not found by the month, or else...is...dead.......Yes, we burn it. Getting the...body... is preferred, but I'll consider her cremated with the forest if not possible...Regardless, I do not want heroics against Shaymin if encountered. Unless you've got the capacity to bring more than one Pokémon with you, they're all fire types, there's ten of you, and you've all got Ho-oh's and Arceus'es divine blessings, you stand no chance against Shaymin in her despised domain, that wretched forest."
king Bavaden said. "I would sincerely be happy to whoever could manage the impossible and do it, but otherwise, evasion of the encounter would be the wisest. I do not want to come back home, without any of you at all, even if we've succeeded in returning Princess Natalie to her proper home..."
Bavaden added, before turning to us and noticing us-and our multiple Pokémon-for the first time.
"...Alright, which two are yours?"
"I have six. These."
I said, gesturing to my own group.
"Five. These." Blizzard added, pointing out his own.
"How did you...Never mind, I'll not know of it."
Bavaden said. "Regardless of that, you'll be expected to care for them on the usual ration for the rest of the Pokémon, so expect no favors from me. On another related note, we all know of their powers...Henceforth, it will be considered a criminal action to use them unless instructed by me or any knight, my instruction overruling any knight’s at any time."
He said to us personally. "Knight's, you have the proper equipment to handle a situation with these men should they arise, correct?"
King Bavaden said.
"YES, HOLY KING!" The Knights yelled with shocking force. They were devoted to their monarch.
"Now, for all of you, I have bad news. Another messenger came-Three days ago, the outskirt town had another attack. Two patrolling guards, west side of town. Same as before-one of the roots of the trees from the D**med Forest. The force behind these attacks-Shaymin or otherwise-is getting stronger, or at least bolder, in their offenses. It is henceforth dangerous for us to be dallying. We take the night in watches, one watch per the hour, different watchmen per hour until all have watched for at least one, including myself. There are Twenty-One Knights, Myself and those two, so we split into groups of four, six total, to search, and meet back, marking trails to and from the designated campsite."
King Bavaden started. "Make sure you never are to sever sight from any one of your brethren-in-arms: at all times, someone will be looking at someone else, or else be in physical contact with someone else, or else have some other implement that you cannot be mistaken if the being beside you is a shield-brother, and not nothingness-or worse, a Grass-Type of the utmost vileness, or worse still, one of the Shaymin, the demon mistresses themselves."
I gave the guy credit: He hated me and Blizzard for being Volteers, which is a kind of hate rarely seen among Arceists (in fact, according to the majority, the ability to do what a Volteer can do is basically a gift from Arceus that makes one more like a Legend), but clearly was an effective leader with a game plan, and despite loathing us, he was doing the best he could with the resources he had. He took into account a time constraint that would give him plenty of time to search while still acknowledging the time constraints that came with it and the scenario where his daughter dies. He was giving the instructions of what his men were to do at all times, making sure they never lost contact. He knew full-well that, although his knowledge of Shaymin's temper and power weren't good, every other Grass-Type there, or really any Pokémon there, would be pissed off by the Knights that were probably synonymous with the destruction of their forests (probably the reason why the rouge ever attacked at all).
...That being said, it then hit me: How was I going to get off this planet? The Expedition would last a month, so unless we found the Princess within days, I'd still have a month of dangerous trekking through a forest. Even with that done, Blizzard's the only one who knew how to repair and pilot the thing, so I was basically the Loyalist's Prisoner unless Blizzard died mid-expedition, and I was stuck because he couldn't fix or pilot it. I could go into space myself, yes, but without any food that would survive the temperature or extreme luck, I'd be dead of starvation rather quickly, and that's not even counting fresh water. The only way to achieve a rescue was to use all my Psychic ability to reach out to my brethren of Eon Sky, and hope they notice my telepathic signal. If they missed me, I was dead. I wasn't sure how long Hykidas was from the Arbitarian Stronghold either, and if it was a massive long shot...Uh-oh.
"We'll be getting to our destination via Siege Caravan-unarmed, of course, as to take our guests. I'll say this directly to you-please make sure your Metagross is using psychic ability to keep himself light. The platform can't take that much weight.
Yhea, getting there was uneventful in itself: just a ride-via a Siege Caravan, as promised. If you need any description, it's basically a big, flat, wooden platform with wheels being pulled by Rhydon. It was much faster than the carriage, or at least was going to a shorter distance-the first day would strictly be composed of getting to the village and setting up a secure base outside the D**med Forest (it was
and still is
the name). It was also usually armed with Crossbows and Cannons, but in this occasion, they were stripped to provide further speed and to carry more rations. The Rhydon were smarter and calmer than Rhyhorn, as anyone who knows the difference can tell you. However, they were still forgetful when it came to complicated tasks. Thankfully, someone else was steering them when they came to turns or veered too far from the correct path.
However, towards the end, I used the remaining time to converse with Septim, whose strengths were unknown to me.
"Alright then, first things first..."
I started, wondering the question myself for a little bit. I had to get to know this guy. "...How'd you know about the doors?"
I asked. That wasn't intelligence an ordinary ANYTHING should know.
Septim started, slowly picking his words. Apparently, that wasn't the first question he was expecting. "...Well, as you already know, I am an Arbitarian Pokémon"...And...My owner was involved in suggesting the idea!"
"Alright, question number two: What is the exact name of your owner in english?"
I said, looking him in the eye.
"Uhh...The High Priest..."
Septim started, still retaining his cool and not activating the truth-seeing thing. "...Sorry! Can't remember the last name."
"Let me guess the first name. Tyzzax."
Septim frowned. "How did you-how did you know?"
"Simple: One of the Exio Grunts I rescued you from said Tyzzax owned a Chandelure, and that was what they were guarding. They clearly weren't correct, but that aside, Avonu owning Yzim, pointing out you were correct with the doors, AND stating your name....Well, it added up really quick."
"...Hmph. Alright. You got me there, but I don't know much. He was crazy, and I tried my best to ignore anything that wasn't critical to life, which was most of his ramblings. Crazy a**."
"I Won't press it for now. He's been dead, anyway."
I stated, hoping to reassure Septim his time with me wouldn't revolve around learning more about a dead person. "Now then, are you much of a fighter?"
"Not really. I can hold my own, and I have a few good tricks up my sleeve, but if I'm against a professional, or something else like her, I'll probably be worse off. I'll best save my battling strengths for later, mind."
Septim said, pointing towards Scyez. Scyez was clearly not only powerful, but insane and intimidating, despite her only desire being to hold and hug soft, puffy things, like a Snorlax. However, she was clearly unaware of what constituted for being dead as opposed to simply sleeping-if the person in front of her was in one piece, than no matter how bad that person's wounds were, it was alive, just sleeping; Only if the body was in separate pieces was it really dead-and anything, even things that resurrect naturally, are zombies, as long as it resurrects. Even though it's been proven they cannot exist without necromancy, which is rare.
"Congratulations on putting yourself up as the first to come out in case of the most immediate threat, Septim."
Septim yelled out.
"Err, excuse me, young master?" Said someone-a knight. I turned to look at him, but his visor was up. "I swore I heard that Audino talk.
And not of its own tongue, but of a man's
. Am I merely mistaking this for a voice unfamiliar to my ears, or-"
"You're hearing things."
I quickly said.
"Oh, I do beg your pardon. The rocking of the siege caravan is equivalent to thunder when the path is uneven, even when you've been on it a few times before...Oh, yes. I would tell you my name, but the King has...Prohibited that much. He wishes the identity of his greatest knights and best royal guards remains a secret" The Knight said.
I could see a speck on the horizon-the town we were supposed to go to. These Rhydon were fast, for being Ground-Rock.
...And I smelled Gracedia in the air...Rare flower, Gracedia. Associated with Shaymin, too.
And there was another scent in the air...A far less pleasing one. Even from here, I could smell it: Blood. I could already tell this would be fun.