The small group soon found their way to the small riverbank. The old banks of the slouchy stream clearly protruded form the dry forest. Although a mystery to most of the group, D knew from the Senior Staff briefing that the stream had been channeled into a nearby hydroelectric dam in order to provide power. In turn, the old course of the river had been destroyed, leaving only a minuscule reminder of the once turbulent entity.
Daniella, being the first to reach the stream, quickly halted near the edge, analyzed the safest way to enter the mud and trickling water, then plunged into the mess. Obediently, the rest of her troop followed in behind her, all determined to succeed in the risky mission.
D splashed in right behind Daniella and could see the trail they were taking. Mud splashed all over her rough pants of her uniform, but she continued on, used to dirt by now. She knew that war tended to be messy, something she learned from experiences like this mission.
She pushed forward through the mud, listening carefully to the sounds around her, in case the Alliance had discovered their plans. However, the forest was silent, except for the natural sounds of nature. The insects buzzed steadily in their usual fashion, except for when the group walked nearby in which the bugs dashed in for a piece of fresh meat. D quickly swatted away some, but the second she put her hand down, more came to torture her.
In the distance a Noctowl hooted, perhaps to yell out its success in a hunt, but more likely to warn others of danger. In the cold, clammy night, D tended to agree with the latter. With the dense trees surrounding the river, blocking out even the moon, only their tiny flashlights provided a source of light, and even then it wasn't much. D usually wasn't afraid of the dark, but then again, these weren't usual conditions.
Slowly, the fog crept in from the south, seemingly following them as they traveled. D, sunk her head away from the wilderness, afraid of the dangers it had to offer. Instead, she focused on Daniella's back, hoping that this normal vision would help clear her mind of the dangers of darkness. What the mind didn't think, couldn't hurt it. At least, it will prevent her from losing herself in the mist.
But even so, she could still feel the darkness. It surrounded them like the fog, pulsing in and out of the trees. She could barely see in front of Daniella and had to stay close as not to lose her. Together, they had a chance, but alone.... No, better not to think about it. Fear had a way of paralyzing the soul if one focused on it.
So D, moved away from the thoughts of dangerous wild pokemon, and instead focused on her happy memories. Memories of her family, the one she had left behind to fight the Alliance. They would be so proud of her now, to see her risking her life for a friend, Syrus.
Oh yes, Syrus had been a good friend too, like a brother. Sure, he kidded her every now and then, and teased her, but inside his heart, he held a piece of kindness for D, teaching her how to survive, how to fight, how to think, and especially how to understand. She was young, innocent, but Syrus knew she had to learn the ways of the world, before they came and destroyed her. And so he taught, sometimes with care, sometimes with force, but each time, pointing out a valuable lesson. Her final lesson, she remembered was one of immense pain, yet she knew that it was one of the most realistic and informative lessons and it taught her something she would never forget.
Finally, the weary and half-frightened group arrived at the sewer entrance.
It was concealed and D would have passed right by if Daniella hadn't have pointed it out to everyone else. It was a large pipe, about 2 meters in diameter. Just a meter into the pipe, a series of five rusted bars crossed vertically inside the pipe, a defensive measure. At the bottom of the pipe leaked out muck and filth from the fortress. D held up her nose in response to the pungent smell, but quickly put it back down. She needed to adjust herself to the smell if they were to succeed in rescuing Syrus.
Just as they planned, one of the three agents pulled out one of his small pokeballs. Without making more than a sound of movement, he carefully released the pokemon inside, an Arbok. The large snake pokemon quickly slithered forward, it too knowing the task it had to perform. Facing the metal bars, it quickly reared its giant head back and spit a large glob of acid forward, hitting the bars directly.
Normally, it would have taken several attacks to dissolve metal, perhaps more than one pokemon if the bars were steel, luckily, however, the bars had been rusting for years leaving them weak and brittle. The acid ate through it like a knife cut butter and soon there was enough space for the team to enter. The agent, who had sent the Arbok, quickly recalled it. The first stage of the mission was complete.
Daniella was the first to head in, bending low to avoid the remaining sharp edges of the bars. D automatically followed her, close behind, followed by the three agents. Stepping carefully, they finally moved past the obstacle and stood up in the huge pipe.
Daniella glanced around as she walked, swinging her flashlight around the sewer. D knew she was recalling the entire diagram that James had provided them and hoped that she knew it well enough to lead them to the ladder that lead up to the fortress basement. From there, they would disable any guards they found and move through 3 halls before reaching the brig. With a little luck, Syrus would be there. Then, they would quickly free him, retrace their steps, and escape into the night air before anyone, even Colonel Nick, the commander of the fortress, could find them.
Walking a few meters, they quickly turned left into a linking pipe and then right again. Sloshing through the muck was incredibly difficult, not only because of the thickness of the goo, but also the pungent smell that permeated the air. D could even feel the gas on her skin, something quite unpleasant, to anyone. It was no wonder they hadn't discovered any Grimers, this place would be breeding heaven.
The group traveled down a bit farther, leaving Daniella to lead them in the right direction. Ever now and then they would turn into another pipe, each one the same as the last, large, murky, and gaseous. Even D, who had also seen the diagram, began to think that they were going in circles. She figured the fortress was large, but this was ridiculous. Whoever built the system should have been dragged into the street and shot.
Finally, she couldn't take it anymore; she lunged her head to the right, and vomited into the sludge. Sick to her stomach with muck and goo, she was lucky that she hadn't eaten in hours. Unfortunately, the entire group noticed and Daniella momentarily stopped to help D.
"Major Dratini." she asked. "Are you all right?"
D placed her hands on her knees, taking a breather. She looked up at the General, gracious for the break, but also determined to continue on with the mission.
"Yes General." she replied. "Let's continue on."
Daniella nodded, knowing that when D wanted to continue, she meant it. Strong headed as always.
"Okay then." she responded. "Let's go."
So the small group restarted on. D carefully looked away from the goo and like the trip through the river, tried to focus on Daniella's back. The method seemed to work and soon her stomach began to recover from the violent expulsion.
"We love Him because He first loved us." 1 John 4:19
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