More hoots and howls rode the air as both sides clashed, the deafening sound of rock colliding with rock coming to the Usster pokémon’s ears. Rentana, Etire and the three on Thunderquake’s side were trapped behind the wall of Jaskore’s followers, although there were two passages off to their left, where the wall they were up against came closer to meeting one of the side walls. The psychic types realised that the rock types were completely uninclined to run, and looked closer to be readying themselves for battle. The rhyhorn swept a foot along the ground, snorting, while the two geodude slammed curled fists into open palms repeatedly, as if building strength and contemplating where to aim.
Rentana glanced around frantically, wondering if she could teleport to the opening only a little ways down. The only problem was that it was blocked by a few Jaskore followers. “Etire, do you see that passage?”
“No way,” he rejected immediately and Rentana looked to him curiously, nearly startled by his abrupt response before he continued. “I’m not abandoning these pokémon. They’re staying to fight for what they believe in and I feel that I need to respect that and back them up. Especially when they were willing to protect us.” He stared ahead, then to the pokémon, and then back to his mate.
She looked reasonably astounded. “Etire, you can show respect without staying to put yourself in danger.”
“No, it...” He began to search his mind and averted his eyes, bringing them back with a pondering expression. “It doesn’t feel right to take advantage of their alliance right now, while we’re obviously not under attack and just leave.” He flicked his head up, like a nod that pointed up instead of down. “Look. It’s three against...fifteen? That’s not right,” he added, shaking his head as if in sympathy. “Five is better odds.”
Rentana only stared at him, unsure what to say. She wanted to tell him that he was far too injured to attack, but she greatly admired his spirit and his newfound loyalty to those that needed it, and remained simply silent. She was decided that she would follow him no matter what he decided, and if he had already made up his mind, then that was what she was going to do as well. She wouldn’t have split off from him anyway; it was too dangerous to be amongst all these opponents by herself, and even if she did reach the tunnel’s mouth, she would be spotted and probably overrun, or at least chased and severed from everyone else. Reluctance to go through that kept her remaining, as well as her fondness for her mate. It was not an easy task, to defy reason and stick to honour and generosity, and she would much rather have paid her tribute to logic.
While the two sides of the clan crashed, Tarla took it upon herself to visit Dusty, who was slowly being helped up by the houndoom and guarded by Azure. She cursed to herself when she saw the flareon’s state, dismayed that she had to be in such a condition at the current time, as obviously that hindered them to a great extent. She frowned on their misfortune as she reached the flareon’s side and began questioning the houndoom. “Is she alright? Will she live?”
The houndoom, despite his worried expression, softened for a moment and snorted. “Of course she’ll live
. It may be a puncture, but her heart’s not in her side.”
Tarla gave him a murky sneer as she looked the injured fire type over. “What are we gonna do with her?”
“The only thing we can do,” the houndoom responded. “Carry her until we can get her treated. Unless you or the psychic types over there – who, by the way, seem to be trapped – can magically heal her.”
“We’ll leave it up to natural pokémon ability,” Tarla responded, trying to put emotion aside. This seemed like a pokémon she wouldn’t get along with, so she tried to ignore him altogether. “How bad is the wound itself?”
“Not as bad as I initially thought,” he responded casually. “It’ll bleed like there’s no tomorrow, but it’s not deep enough to do serious damage without immediate help.” He swept his eyes quickly over her face. “She probably passed out from the shock more than anything. I would assume her body shut her mind down so she wouldn’t make it worse.”
Tarla was unsure if that was possible, but gave a nod and decided not to question it. “Good news...I think.”
“At least the ice slowed the bleeding...or kept it cold or something,” the houndoom muttered, eying the puncture wound, which bled with a mixture of clear and crimson fluid.
“I’m...not sure that was the best thing to do.” Tarla gave a quick cringe as she imagined how that would feel and then wondered how much good it did.
Both pokémon noticed as the flareon began to stir, and with a groan and a grunt, Dusty opened her eyes. “Ngh... It hurts like a b*tch,” she hissed grudgingly as she lifted her head, and Tarla was marginally surprised; even if she had woken, she had almost expected her not to talk.
“Are you...alright?” she questioned after ensuring that there was no immediate danger directly beside them. The clashing, roaring and shouting was daunting, and she kept expecting someone to break away from the crowd and inexplicably decide to attack them. It was unlikely and impractical, given how busy they were with Thunderquake’s half of the herd, but her mind obscured reasonability and paved a path for panic.
“I’m in a crap-load of pain...” the flareon rasped, trying to see past the tears her eyes leaked. Following the statement, she looked about, confused at the sight of the battle. “What the...? What’s with the civil war?”
“A rebel is to blame,” answered Zaion, and upon noticing his presence, Dusty gave a particular look. If he had been helping her then she was grateful, but she found it hard to determine what exactly she thought of the whole situation. Whatever she thought, it was dulled by the pain that pulsed through her mind and caused her to cringe. It was hard to think of anything in such a state.
Zaion explained the entire situation to me – Jaskore’s failure to listen to anybody but himself and Thunderquake’s belief in our party – and I shook my head, unsure what to think. Quickly I asked the name of the granbull, who I had forgotten, and he explained that I was “lucky” to hear it from him, considering he only knew through picking it up from one of the others who had mentioned it.
Attempting to blink out the pain, I tried to stand on my own, uttering to the houndoom to release me. However, my side rippled with pain, shrieking in response to the pressure I put on my back leg. The pain was excruciating, like some sort of freezing wave of jagged ice was slicing me in a single spot, cutting through my flesh without reserve. I knew there was ice in my side, but that was only part of the pain. It made it extremely uncomfortable, and in all honesty I wanted it out. The ice was beginning to burn my skin and the icicle itself was pressing against my flesh as I applied pressure. I braced myself and angled my body so the wound compressed a little, clenching my jaws as the ice slid out and dropped to the floor. The pain was odd and still uncomfortable, but I was much better off having it out.
Two rhyhorn broke away from the pack, both charging into each other as they ran to the wall I was next to, but further down. They had been braced against one another and proved that neither was stronger, so when they crashed into the wall, both were still forcing their weight against the other, the wall splitting a little as they collided with it. In response to the scene, I blinked a few times, noticing as a couple of geodude hopped back, only to rip small boulders growing from the ground and thrust them forward, as if they were being fired out of a cannon. They landed on the opposition, who shook it off after momentarily buffeted, and returned the favour by mirroring the action or by charging. I wondered what the fight could be about as I watched on, momentarily reminded of the ship.
The geodude reminded me of Roarake, who could have, for all I knew, belonged to this clan or another somewhere around these mountains once. It made me consider something: did Team Rocket sweep the wilderness in search of pokémon strong enough to take up residence amongst their rankings? It would have been tedious, but in order to form some basis for a strong army, I wouldn’t be surprised. Trainers already did it, although they generally veered from the most dangerous and heavily populated areas. These Rockets, on the other hand, had no limits and didn’t restrict themselves for the reason of power and overconfidence. I understood that Roarake himself had a trainer, but I had certainly seen other rock types on the ship who could easily have been wild before their imprisonment.
“We have to get out of here,” I heard Azure say, and weakly I nodded in full agreement. Watching the battle before me, it was easy to determine my wish for a course of action—flee!
“I’m all for Frosty’s decision,” I responded quickly, and the glaceon stared at me, bemused. I gave a shrug and a particular expression, to which she only frowned, trying to figure out why I’d called her Frosty. Really it was just to give her a nickname based on her ice type qualities. “Is there a way out?” Shortly after asking I glanced about, noticing a few exit tunnels to the sides of the walls up ahead.
“I can see three from here and I know there’s at least another two,” Tarla added, and I gave a short nod, cringing from the constant throb of my open wound. I tried not to focus on the many other parts of my body that were in more dulled agony, but agony nonetheless.
“Can’t we just go out the way we came?” I questioned, puzzled as to why we would have to take one of the suggested tunnels.
Tarla seemed to soften with realisation after finding a reason in her mind why we wouldn’t do so. I imagine she simply couldn’t find a reason after assuming there was one, and made a small noise of acknowledgement. “Yeah...we could.” She glanced behind us; a few metres away rested the entrance. “There were other tunnels to turn off into, weren’t there?” she asked, and I nodded, remembering that she hadn’t been with us underground.
“Wait,” Derino began, having listened to the entire conversation without interjecting at all. The others, including me, turned to him. “We are missing the psychic types.” He move his stern and inquisitive glare to the battle occurring down the other end of the room. There was absolutely no trace of either of them, and while I didn’t know them or their position at all, I imagined that they would probably have been a little frightened...and possibly trapped.
“We have to get them out,” Tarla stated, as if it was a fact that we had already planned it. I didn’t disagree, however, but obviously I wasn’t in a state to walk by myself, let alone battle. The idea would have been utterly ridiculous, but I suddenly cringed as I imagined that I might have to if the battle grew worse before we could retrieve the ralts evolutions.
All at once I lit up with an idea, wondering why I hadn’t thought of it beforehand. “Wait a minute,” I began, and Tarla, who had been rather intent on crossing the room and attacking her way through to her friends, stopped after a few paces and turned to me, looking a little isolated as she had broken away from our group. It made me a little nervous as I glanced to the brawling rock types, but tried not to focus on them. “Why can’t they just teleport?”
Tarla wasted no time in revealing to me the answer. “Etire can’t use it and Rentana’s not going to use it if it means only she can escape.”
“But...couldn’t she teleport with
“Psychic types have...some sort of unspoken, unofficial rule,” Tarla began to answer, at first looking to be in a rush but soon changing to something somewhat calmer, yet still alert. “Teleporting yourself is like any other act. It can be used at the expense of little energy, but teleporting yourself plus
another is far more costly.” She glanced to the clashing pokémon. “I doubt she has nearly enough energy to teleport both her and her mate out of there. Even a little while is a lot, especially when crossing a path of live creatures.”
I tried not to question it further, figuring that it made sense in a way that would probably never allow my brain to click in understanding, and, before she ran off, questioned her one last time. “Why can’t Etire use teleport too? He’s a ralts evolution, isn’t he?”
The altaria sighed through the nostrils of her closed beak, averting her eyes in frustration before returning to me, her impatience louder than her words. “It’s not as simple as just using
it.” She glanced to Derino before she laid eyes on Azure. The eeveelution seemed to understand her silent meaning and began to pursue her; the two raced off toward the line of rock and ground pokémon while I stood there, a little perplexed. Before he ran off as well Derino faced me and continued the explanation.
“Etire specialises in physical attack and has been too long without mental attacks, or attacks that do not involve contact with his body to another’s, and thus his ability has diminished. He no longer has the ability to use many of his psychic abilities, teleportation included.” With that, the granbull tore from me and Zaion and thudded toward the battling pokémon. He came upon the battle, squeezing through the row closest to us, as they were our allies, and began attacking. Tarla and Azure both stuck to more tactical means and the former sprayed the foes with her dragonbreath as she stood to the side of the crowd while Azure rained them with shards of ice.
I watched with a neutral expression, trying to ignore the incessant pain. “Uhh...so what do we do?”
“Well you can’t do much. I’ll just have to wait here and protect you.”
I snorted in amusement with an accompanying chuckle, finding the prospect perhaps mockingly amusing. “Yeah. Right. So you’re just gonna stand here and guard
me then?” The houndoom looked at me with a particular face and raised his brow. I released my smirk and felt my jolliness dwindle. “...You’re kidding.”
“Look at that wound,” he instructed, gesturing with his paw to the opening in my side. I glanced down to it, shrugging as I pretended its consistent weeping meant nothing. “You can’t go running around with something like that.”
I cringed, trying not to move as I considered his statement. “Yeah...heh, I guess not.” I groaned again and progressed into a lying position, completely unsure how to place myself to cause the least amount of pain. The constant throbbing was always there, of course, but it was made worse when I strained myself.
I watched with particular longing as my teammates fought the opposing pokémon, catching specific sight of Thunderquake, who, in particular, was ploughing through the pokémon around her, trying to get to Jaskore, or who I assumed was Jaskore (as most of those rhyhorn looked the same to me). She was specifically identifiable by the rearing fire in her I so highly approved of, and I assumed that Jaskore would be easy to spot based on his repulsion to sense and reason. This told me that he was probably going to be the rhyhorn using ground attacks on a flying type.
“Get the Rokonts!” boomed a rhyhorn from within the crowd to a teammate of theirs who was separate to the rest. “Look, the injured one. She lives! Finish her off!”
“Do you really think a Rokont would care enough about her fluff to have it so full?” I exclaimed, a little astounded by their ignorance. I moved my tail, remembering again that it was not
full. I lowered my eyes halfway down my eyeballs in annoyance and returned my cringing gaze to the rock type, my stomach constricting as a ripple of pain began to pulse from the wound. I was confused why it had started to arc up again and lay down, horrified, as the pain began to intensify and spread. I quickly wondered if it was because the ice had been taken out and it was growing warm again.
I had no time to mention anything to Zaion as the stomping, roaring, rude
pokémon powered our way with an aim to injure. The houndoom raced forward, surprisingly straight toward the charging pokémon. I couldn’t understand his actions, but was too focused on my pain to yell anything to him, and watched as he timed a leap to land on the rhyhorn’s front. Instantly he pushed off, the force of his jump making the rhyhorn’s head bounce down, before he flew over him. He landed behind the creature, turning quickly to deliver a sinister wave of dark energy which swept the ground until it washed over him, the radius large enough to swallow a diglett in its path and flow partway onto another rhyhorn in the crowd.
The one between us released a shriek of pain and I watched as, instead of the pokémon flying toward me with a lowered horn, he turned around, capturing the houndoom in his deathly glare and began to sweep the ground. I was marginally surprised he seemed to forget me, but figured that, when blinded by rage, there was nothing to stop a rhyhorn.
“Come on,” the fire and dark type teased, his tail whipping the air as he showed a toothy grin. His bared teeth was clearly some kind of hostile challenge. I knew that card; I enjoyed mockery mingled with animosity in battles.
“You will pay for your actions!” the rhyhorn roared, rearing back before charging toward him. Zaion only gave a look that ridiculed sympathy and worked like a charm as a tease.
Up ahead, Derino was flung from the crowd and smacked into the wall to the left of the room—the one I had been trapped between when the shield was on my other side and there was a charging predator stomping my way. He sunk quickly and caught himself on the ground, his head jerking up to glare at what I was partially sure was Jaskore. I had no idea where Thunderquake had gone, and with a sudden twinge in the pit of my stomach, I suddenly hoped she hadn’t been defeated by the rebels.
Continued in the next post...