Chapter 14: Kraal and Marilai
A blurred face appeared upon a huge monitor screen in front of Virok. The Electivire started and spun round to face it. “Sir!” he stammered, at a loss for words.
“I need that information soon, Commander,” a sharp voice cut across his thoughts.
“Yes, Sir!” Virok nodded hastily. “There has been a slight delay, but rest assured, my son will have it soon.”
The large, red face peered anxiously down at Virok. “Good, because I can’t waste any more time. Deoxys is gaining more and more followers. If this keeps up…we will have no way of defeating him.”
Virok studied the silent face and frowned, thinking. “Hmmm…I shall send Kraal and Marilai to keep an eye on the Lieutenant. I think that would be best.”
“See to it,” the voice replied firmly. “And send Rye my best regards, won’t you?”
Virok nodded with a salute as the monitor cut out. “Well, you heard him!” he cried out to the room. “Fetch Kraal and Marilai quickly, and have them set out to Likera at once!”
The large, marble building swept up beneath the two Pokemon. They bade it goodbye silently as the elevator doors slid open to let them out. Kraal lifted his head and sniffed the sky. “Rain,” he muttered to his blue companion beside him. “Rain, and a storm.”
Marilai swung her head round and raised an eyebrow. “Bad?” she questioned.
Kraal shook his head. “Only minor, but best to reach Likera before it. We will have to run like the wind though.”
Marilai sighed and stretched out her paws. “But that would be very tiring. I’m sure the Commander would not want us to rush.”
“Our main concern now is Lieutenant Rye,” Kraal reasoned. “We must see that he is looked after.”
“True,” Marilai muttered as she set out forward. “But I call the breaks.”
The Leafeon smiled and followed slowly behind her. “If it pleases you.”
Rain pelted on the huge trees overhead. “Quickly!” Kraal shouted. “There is a cavern not too far ahead!”
The Glaceon followed almost silently behind him. “A minor storm!” she panted. “That is the last
time I ever
trust your nose!”
Kraal chose to ignore the remark and bounded across the rocks and under the shade of a large tree. When Marilai caught up with him, he grinned and shook his fur, wetting her even more. “Oh, really!” Marilai protested. “Just take me to the cave. This is all your fault!”
Kraal pouted and made a sour face. “You chose to follow me of your own free will.”
“I chose to follow you by the Commander’s
will!” she answered sharply.
But the Leafeon ignored her and set off down the path again. “It’s here.” Kraal stepped back and let Marilai enter first, as to be a gentleman.
She padded through carefully and collapsed by a nearby wall. “I’ve wasted enough energy for a whole month!” she murmured, glancing at the soaking Leafeon.
“In only a couple of hours?” Kraal teased. “Never.” He sank down beside her and when he was proficiently rested, set about making a fire.
The task proved rather arduous in the storm, as he had to go gather sticks and rocks. After about half an hour, the two dogs sat around a small fire. It wasn’t nearly enough to warm the entire cave, but enough to keep them warm for the night. “Stay close to me,” Kraal whispered to Marilai. “I can keep you warm.”
The Glaceon shuffled over and lay down beside him with her head on her paws. “Still your fault,” she murmured.
“I know,” Kraal replied. “I can’t do much right lately. Even my nose is acting up.” He bat at it with a paw in disgust.
Marilai flicked him playfully with her tail. “Oh, now. It’s not all
your fault. After all, you’re not an Absol. You can’t tell the weather.”
Kraal smiled miserably and glanced at her. “Thanks.”
Marilai was about to reply, when a loud crash interrupted her. “What was that?!”
Kraal ambled to his feet and gazed at the entrance. “Stay here. I’ll go and check.”
“Wait!” she cried after him. “It could be dangerous!” But as usual, he’d already gone. “Oh, Kraal…” she murmured and shook her head gently.
The Leafeon shuffled through the dense foliage and peered out from behind a branch. What are other Pokemon doing here?
A small Taillow and an Absol happened to be passing by. “You scared them!” the Absol cried at the Taillow.
The bird brushed it’s wings hastily and sneered. “If you had just told
me where we were going, but no. You’re all too important for that, aren’t you, Scythe?”
The Absol glared and turned her head. “Let’s just keep going. I don’t want to waste more time than necessary bickering with you. It’s diminishing my brain cells.” She looked at a paw and scraped it across the ground. “And I think I broke a claw…”
The Taillow rolled his eyes and shook his head wearily. “I couldn’t care less for your claws. Not while my wings are wet and I can’t fly! You’ll just have to carry me then.”
“Do I look like a Rapidash to you?!” Scythe retorted. “I’m not a common pet!”
“No,” the Taillow agreed. “You’re worse.”
Scythe ignored him and plodded on absently as he landed gently on her back.
Kraal shook his head in utter amazement. What were they doing here? What errand had Deoxys sent them on now? He hurried back to the cave to find Marilai asleep on the ground. He sighed as he sat down next to her. I’ll just have to tell her in the morning then,
he thought sleepily. Kraal gave a yawn and rested his head over her back, trying to keep her warm for the harsh night to come.
Marilai was the first to wake. It wasn’t morning, but at least it had stopped raining. The small flames of the fire had died out ages ago by the looks of them. She yawned and crept out carefully from underneath Kraal’s warm fur. Judging by the position of the moon, it was just after three. Marilai made her way out of the cave and wandered into the forest.
The air was warming up considerably for so early a morning. Perhaps it will be nice today,
she smiled. She hadn’t gone further than a few metres when she found a huge tree barring her way. This is what must have fallen down last night. She jumped lightly to the top and rested herself gently against the bark. A few Paras climbed out to greet her and she smiled, gazing around happily. Everything always looked so calm after a storm. “It’s a wonder with all these trees and branches laying about.” she said anxiously. A snap sounded behind her and she pricked up her ears. Another Pokemon?
Marilai jumped down from the fallen log and padded around the sodden leaves.
A small Pidgey started as she came into a clearing. “Wait! It’s okay, I won’t hurt you,” Marilai said gently. “What happened here?”
“Get away!” the Pidgey shrieked, “It’s not safe! Not with them
around. Flee for your life if you have any sense!”
Marilai took a cautious step back, taken by surprise from the agitated Pidgey. It panted and hopped from foot-to-foot, cradling what seemed to be a broken wing. It’s feathers were torn and cuts were open in several places. “Who did this to you?” the Glaceon prodded gently.
“Who?!” the Pidgey crowed. “Who?!
Why, them! The servants of Deoxys!”
Marilai’s eyes widened. Followers of Deoxys? Here?
“Let me help you,” she said to the fretful Pokemon. “Come with me. I--”
“No, I can’t be helped now,” The small bird cut her off and gestured to it’s wing. “I can’t even fly. Look at me! Torn and bruised…is there no salvation?!”
Marilai raised an eyebrow. Clearly, she
was offering salvation. “Go,” the Pidgey tried to shoo her away with it’s uninjured wing. “Flee this place. Before they come back.”
“Now listen here!” Marilai snapped. “You’re coming with me and I will help you!”
The Pidgey tried to argue, but Marilai seemed resigned. Eventually, it gave up the argument and followed by foot. “And I won’t hear of you leaving until you’re better.” Marilai concluded.
The Pidgey gave a meek smile. “Many thanks, my friend! I am Quoll, of the Forest tribe. We live here in these parts. Or, we used to, before they came and chased us out!” Quoll raised her wing and squawked in terror. “Now we have no home!”
The Glaceon gave a small smile in return. “Calm down, Quoll. Well met, and I am Marilai of Wingardom City. I will help you.”
“Wingardom City?” Quoll asked. “The Marble City?”
“The very same.” Marilai nodded.
“Many thanks!” Quoll repeated again. “I just knew you were special.”
Marilai merely nodded again and told Quoll to follow her back to the cave. The Pidgey set off with no argument this time and a determined expression upon her face, which instantly failed when a loud crash sounded. “Wah! What was that?!” she squawked in despair. “We are doomed!”
“Calm down, Quoll! I’m sure it was nothing.” But as she turned to go, her fears were confirmed.
“No, I’d pretty much say the bird’s right.”
A malicious smile erupted from a Taillow in front and, behind him, a pure black Absol. Quoll cowered behind Marilai and shrunk to the size of a large berry. “You--you work for Deoxys!” Marilai stammered.
“Well, she knows something,” the Taillow commented. “Scythe, why don’t we give her a prize?”
The Absol glanced down at the Glaceon, obviously unimpressed and bored. “She’s kind of scrawny, Raze…”
“Oh, come now,” Raze replied in a sweetly false voice. He peered down at the two small Pokemon. “Now, sweethearts, you have two options. We have option A, which we used on our little Pidgey friend here,”--he jabbed a wing at Quoll who, if possible, shrank even smaller--“Or, we have option B, which is yet to be tested.”
Marilai took a step back and motioned silently to the Pidgey, who moved it’s head a fraction to the side. “We--we choose…option C!” she shouted. “RUN!”
She turned round and bolted, with Quoll holding onto her tightly with her talons. Marilai didn’t look back as she heard Raze curse, she just kept running for her and Quoll’s life. She bounded over a log and across the rocks in a stream, only to be confronted by the Absol, Scythe, who skidded to a halt in front of them. “How?!”
Scythe let out what Marilai supposed was a laugh, but it came out more as a cackle, which actually suited her better. “I’m not an Absol for nothing, you know,” she smiled maliciously. “The disaster Pokemon…I don’t just sense them, I create them!”
She lunged forward and went to catch the Glaceon in her jaws, but missed as she leapt agilely out of the way. She ran along the path again and decided to turn round and cut back to the cave. The entrance would be too small for Scythe, and Raze wouldn’t win in a fight against both her and Kraal alone. She jumped onto the side of a tree and kicked off, flying over the head of the pursuing Absol. But Marilai miscalculated the jump and caught her paw on a rock when she landed, causing both her and Quoll to tumble across the forest floor, only to stop a metre away from Raze’s talons.
“Look,” he said in a surprised tone. “Fast food.” Scythe bounded in front and stopped beside Raze. “Give you a run for your Poke, eh, Scythe?” He twittered in laughter and only stopped when she glared at him.
“Teach you to mess with me, brats!” Scythe’s eyes blazed a fiery red.
Marilai stepped protectively in front of Quoll. “Leave us alone! You don’t have any right being here!”
“It’s a free world,” Raze snapped. “Lucky for you.”
Scythe made no comment and bore down upon her. “Hear your petty screams as you cower within my jaws!”
And this time, Marilai wasn’t quick enough. Scythe’s jaws closed around her body and tore through her flesh. Marilai let out a blood curdling yelp.
“Hear her scream!” Raze shouted in triumph.
Quoll shrank as she stared up at the crushed Glaceon in terror. Marilai felt blood ooze from the deep holes within her fur and her ears drooped. She was nowhere near strong enough to escape. Quoll could do little in her injured state, and Kraal was back at the cave. Scythe gave another squeeze and Marilai screamed again as she felt the fangs drive further within her. Kraal…
The Glaceon’s screams seemed to echo throughout the cave in which Kraal was sleeping. He woke with a start and jumped up. “Marilai!”
He ran as fast as his paws would carry him to the place where the scream had emanated from. He skidded to a halt as his eyes gazed at an unfamiliar scene. A small Pidgey cowered on the ground next to a watchful Taillow and a black Absol. As his eyes moved further up, he spotted Marilai. Kraal’s eyes seemed to spark and he let off a low growl.
Within seconds, he had batted the Taillow aside and set about wrestling Marilai from the Absol’s jaws. He dug his claws into it’s face as the Absol swung them both around in midair. It wasn’t giving up without a fight. Kraal scrambled to grab hold of the Absol and when he had, raised a paw and swiped it across it’s face. It reeled back and howled, dropping them both to the forest floor. Marilai landed next to Kraal, but she seemed barely conscious. Kraal backed away as the two Pokemon seemed to regain their senses. What would happen to them?
“Kraal…” A weak cry reached him through the air. He turned his head slightly to the side to see Marilai standing weakly with several deep wounds in her back and stomach. “You came…”
“I heard you scream,” he said gently, “Not even a blizzard would have kept me from you.”
Marilai smiled at him weakly. “What should we do?”
The Leafeon looked at their two pursuers and thought. “Can you run?”
She nodded, but turned to look at the Pidgey. “I can’t leave her. She needs help.”
Kraal growled and narrowed his eyes. “We’ll have to fight our way out then. Are you sure you’re strong enough?”
Marilai looked first at Quoll, then turned her icy head to Kraal. “I can do it if need be, and I have you. We can help Quoll together.”
Kraal gathered that ‘Quoll’ was the name of the Pidgey. He nodded slowly and turned to face Deoxys’ followers. “If you want us, you’ll have to take us by force!”
Raze snorted from Scythe’s back. He flew down and landed gently in front of Kraal. “Why do they always make it so easy?”
Marilai growled and blew the Taillow a few inches back from her snort. The four Pokemon eyed each other across a span of barely five metres. The two dogs stepped protectively in front of Quoll, who, at Marilai’s signal, backed away to the nearest tree. Scythe and Raze glared. “A battle to the death, then?” Kraal’s own voice sounded steely.
Raze inclined his head slowly without removing his eyes from either Pokemon. “Fine,” Kraal lowered his stance and saw Marilai do the same. “So be it.”