A Legendary Meeting. Danger on Mount Blaze!
“Well?” Zapdos snapped again, his patience running shorter with every passing moment. “Did you finish the job, or not?”
On the plateau near the base of Mount Blaze, the three legendary birds stood. The reason for their gathering still remained a mystery to Tristan, who watched from his cache amongst the enormous outcroppings of rocks that surrounded the plateau. The breath of every Pokemon present, with the exception of Articuno, turned into wisps of vapour as it condensed in the frigid cold night air. He had a sickening feeling as he thought back to what Articuno had told him on the peak in Frosty Forest.
“Whoever is doing this seems pretty desperate. You won’t be left alone for long. Cherish the moments you have left.”
That was what Articuno had said… He had said that somebody wanted him dead. But why would anybody want him dead? He hadn’t done anything wrong, at least to his knowledge. And even if he did, did he really deserve death for it? Articuno’s words continued to echo in Tristan’s head as he watched on.
Articuno turned his attention to Moltres. “I was late getting here because I had to tend to some wounds before setting off. Even then, I was unable to fly without great pain, so all I could do was walk.”
“And why were you wounded?” Moltres interrogated, drilling into Atricuno with a piercing stare.
“Well obviously it was because of my battle with the human!” Articuno answered coldly. “How else do you think I got into this state? Do you think I did this to myself?”
“BUT WHAT ABOUT MY QUESTION!!” Zapdos interrupted, now furious as a static charge filled the air. “Did you finish the job? Did you kill the human? TELL ME NOW!!”
Tristan’s stomach gave a sudden lurch. It was what he had feared. The reason these monstrous creatures had gathered… was to decide his death! “I should leave,” he thought, beginning to panic. “I should leave and I should leave right now. I shouldn’t have come here in the first place.” Yet for some reason, his legs held fast, as if they were glued in place on the ground. His mind wanted him to leave, but his nerves kept him planted, only to continue to watch.
“No… he did not finish the task that had been requested of him…” a new voice sounded, causing Tristan to jump. He hadn’t been able to tell where the voice had come from. It was almost as if the voice was inside his head. Apparently it wasn’t only Tristan who was confused. The birds, too, were trying to find the source of the voice. A few moments later, a bright light flashed from above, causing everyone to look skyward.
The voice had been small and soft, as if a child had spoken it. It was completely out of place among the bickering of the Legendary Birds. High above them, this new Pokemon gently hovered downward towards the plateau, until it was hovering at the height of the three birds who had all turned to face it. She was tiny compared to the birds, perhaps even smaller than Tristan. She had a pale white body, with one large closed eye on her stomach. As well she had what looked like small yellow wings and small blue markings just under her eyes. The thing that defined her the most was the star shaped crown on her head, hanging from the three points of that star shape were small blue tags.
“I am sorry to say that Articuno has failed his in completing his task,” the star Pokemon finished timidly.
“Is what Jirachi saying true?” Moltres asked, turning to Articuno.
”Y… yes,” said Articuno, trying not to make eye contact. “I failed to complete my task.”
“My master…” the small Pokemon continued softly, “he is very displeased with what he’s seen of the Legendary Birds thus far… and he feels you are not living up to your reputation as you should.”
“Let me explain!” Articuno shouted defensively. “I mean, I was outnumbered from the very start when it was four against one! When I finally had the human alone, he used a special item to make himself stronger! Despite that, I still almost had him! But before I could finish him off, five more Pokemon came to his aid! Tell me, how I’m supposed to beat those odds?”
“Forgive me if I’m mistaken…” Jirachi began. “But I was under the impression that you were a Legendary Pokemon.” To this Articuno had no response. He could only stare blankly at her, as if he had just received a slap to the face. “All that you needed to do… was finish off the human,” she continued. “My master finds it hard to believe that you couldn’t take out one Pokemon. He says that if you cannot complete such a simple task, then you shouldn’t be a Legendary…”
“Oh, this is just too perfect!” Zapdos suddenly cried, bursting into a fit of laughter. “Oh, this is just too much! Now that makes my day! I don’t know how I let people associate me with a Legendary as pathetic as you!”
“Shut up you ignorant filth!” Articuno sneered.
“Make me you pathetic worm!” Zapdos snapped back.
“Are you trying to start something?” Articuno shouted, extending his wings as far as his injuries would allow. Despite his wounds, however, he still managed to pull off an impressive sight, giving Tristan bad memories of their previous battle. Hundreds of tiny ice crystals spread around him, shimmering in the light of the volcano as the temperature of the air suddenly plunged.
“Sure,” Zapdos answered, spreading his own wings, sending out electrical discharges erratically around him. “But just so you know, I actually defeat my opponents!”
A gust of cold wind blew from one side of the plateau, while static filled the air. It seemed as if there would be nothing that was going to keep them from ripping each other’s throats out. Suddenly, a bright, scorching blast of fire roared between them, causing both to jump back defensively.
“I DID NOT ALLOW YOU INFERIOR BEINGS TO COME TO DESECRATE MY MOUNTAIN!!” hollered Moltres furiously, his fire burning brighter than ever. “We are not here to act like idiots, though that may be difficult for you two accomplish! Go kill each other on your own damn time!!”
“These guys…” Tristan thought, as he watched on. “They just don’t get along...” Jirachi, apparently, was also sharing the same thoughts. Speechless, she hovered in silence, a look of utter shock imprinted on her face.
Moltres turned back to Jirachi, who jumped slightly. “What I would like to know, is why we want to kill this human in the first place? Why do we focus our efforts on destroying one Pokemon when we should be focusing our effort on saving the world?”
Jirachi took a gulp of air before speaking, “Because…” she began. “That human, is one of two humans in this world who pose a threat to my master.”
“And why should we care about your master?” asked Zapdos, finally turning his attention away from Articuno. “Why should we care for someone we’ve never seen? We don’t even know his name.”
“Because…” she replied, twiddling her thumbs nervously. “When the threat is gone… he said… he said that he would end it all.”
A long silence ensued, as the birds began to digest the words they had just been told. Tristan continued to listen intently, trying to pick up even the slightest whisper that any of them might utter. What was going on? Apparently, he posed a threat to someone who would be able to save the world. But… Tristan was trying to find a way to stop the disasters too. Why would someone with the very same goal want him dead? If this being could save the world, Tristan wouldn’t try to stop it; in fact, he would try all he could to help. The more he thought about it the more his head ached. It was all too confusing. If he thought this was going to answer any questions, he was sadly mistaken; instead it had caused an avalanche more of them. He shook his head quickly, trying to bring himself back to his senses. He wouldn’t learn anything if he was lost in his thoughts. With this in mind he held his breath and listened even harder for anything that might happen.
“…He can do that?” Articuno finally asked, being the first to speak.
“Y… yes,” she answered, slightly relieved that she had managed to calm the birds somehow. “But first, you need to eliminate one of the humans. The one you were ordered to eliminate was the weaker of the two. It should have been an easy task, especially for a legendary.”
“I… I…” Articuno uttered, “I have nothing to say.”
“What about the other one?” Moltres said.
“Excuse me?” asked Jirachi.
“What about the other one,” he repeated. “You said there were two humans who posed a threat. If this is the case, then why are we only trying to eliminate one of them?”
Jirachi thought a moment to formulate her answer. “It is only when they are together that they pose a threat to my master. Separated, they are harmless.”
“When will we actually meet this great master of yours?” Moltres continued, still skeptical. “Why should we believe that this master can fix all this. Take my mountain for example! It’s freezing here! It has never been like this in the entire history of the mountain! It’s losing its fire, and with it, so am I! All of its inhabitants have either died or fled!”
“That goes for Mt. Thunder as well!” Zapdos joined. “The wind that it gets is so dry that no clouds form anymore. No clouds means no lightning, which was what supported all the electric Pokemon there. It has completely lost its ability to sustain any of its inhabitants!”
“The snow that falls in Frosty Forest is responsible for numerous avalanches,” Articuno finished. “If this keeps up, the entire forest and the Pokemon in it will be buried in a snowy grave.”
“Master Sanngot… will see you when you complete or fail your task,” answered Jirachi. “He will answer your questions then… though… he doesn’t take kindly to failure…”
“Very well,” Moltres said bitterly, “I will follow your masters orders… for now.”
“This meeting wouldn’t have even needed to take place if a certain Legendary hadn’t failed at completing a simple task.” Zapdos grumbled in aggravation.
“SHUT UP!!” Articuno snapped.
“Hmm?” Moltres thought aloud distracted by something that seemed to be in Tristan’s direction. “I can sense it… There’s an intruder on my mountain!”
Tristan practically jumped out of his skin! Had Moltres discovered him? He had tried so hard not to make any noise, but even then it hadn’t seemed to be good enough.
“This is not the time for such things,” Jirachi urged, holding out a hand to try to stop him.
“Is it the human?” Zapdos asked excitedly.
“How should I know? All I know is that they shouldn’t be here! And I have issues with intruders trespassing on my mountain.” With that, he spread his wings, surrounding himself with flames and creating a wave of heat before he took off, flying over Tristan, and into the steam-filled night sky. Tristan collapsed against the rock, sighing with relief, thankful that he had still not been noticed.
“There he goes,” Zapdos said shaking his head disapprovingly. “Talk about being hot headed.”
“This meeting has ended,” Jirachi stated. “I will come again another time to check on your… progress. Master Sanngot hopes, for your sakes, that you succeed this time.” With this, she hovered up into the air, looking down upon the birds as she rose. Now she was so high that even Tristan had to crane his neck to look at her, but as he did, he saw Jirachi’s gaze turn directly on to him. There was no mistaking it. She was staring right at him. And she knew. She knew who he really was. He didn’t know how he knew this, but he just felt it, as if she was looking right into his mind. What would happen now? She would definitely tell the birds below where he was! Once that happened, it would be the end for him! But as she looked at him, she frowned slightly, and closed her eyes.
Suddenly, she was surrounded with a blinding flash of light, and when Tristan looked up again he saw that she had disappeared, leaving him to wonder why she had done nothing, yet grateful that she hadn’t at the same time.
“It’s odd being bossed around by a Pokemon less than a fifth of your height,” he could hear Zapdos mention back on the plateau. He was gazing up to where Jirachi had disappeared. “And she’s easily intimidated too.”
“Yes…” Articuno agreed. “But we’re really being controlled by that Sanngot creature that stands behind her.”
“Well,” Zapdos said glancing back at Articuno, a glint of spite in his eye. “Looks like I’ve got to make up for some lost time. Some stupid little worm set us off track.”
“Heh,” Articuno snickered, as he began to stagger in the direction where Tristan was hidden. “I bet you wouldn’t last one minute.”
“Crap!” Tristan thought, alarmed, “He’s headed this way!” He backed away as quickly as he could, amongst the rocks. Now he had seen enough, if there was a time to escape, it would be now. Nimbly, he tried to navigate himself around the rocks, such that he would go unnoticed by either of the birds. His foot hit a fairly large stone amongst the debris, causing excruciating pain in his toe. He held his breath, and grabbed his foot, doing all he could not to let out a yelp of pain. It felt like the pressure would cause his head to explode.
Finally, the pain subsided. Tristan would have let out a sigh of relief if he hadn’t been so focused on escaping. By now Articuno had reached the rock that Tristan had been next to, leaning against it for support. Tristan was now farther up the circumference of the clearing, almost opposite of the lava pool on the other side.
“You know what?” Zapdos sneered. “The only reason why I didn’t wipe you out back then, was because Jirachi was there! You really are a pain and a waste of a Legendary!”
“What are you doing?” Articuno asked, the tone of his voice becoming worried. Tristan peeked around from another rock to see what was going one. Zapdos had his wings spread again, a look of anger in his eye.
“Just what it looks like I’m doing. I’ll finish you first, then I’ll chase after the human.”
“You wouldn’t dare!”
“Just try me!”
Tristan couldn’t believe his eyes. Was Zapdos actually going to attack Articuno? It was a strange feeling that overcame him at that moment. He didn’t particularly like Articuno, but… he didn’t actually want to see him dead either. He felt the tingly feeling of static around him as Zapdos began to charge the air again with electricity. Tristan watched wide-eyed for what would happen next.
“THUNDER!!!” Zapdos screeched, as a massive bolt of electricity came out f the sky, seemingly out of nowhere.
Articuno shut his eyes tightly bracing for what certainly would be a fatal hit. But the lightning never hit him. He opened his eyes to see Zapdos still in front of him.
“Hmm?” Zapdos murmured, turning his head to the left.
Tristan stood paralyzed with shock. He had no idea what had just happened. He was sure the attack was directed towards Articuno.
“Wh… Why did it hit me!?” he thought, horrified. Even stranger was that the massive bolt didn’t even hurt him. The enormous bolt that would have fried anyone else left Tristan completely unscathed. Had Zapdos have known he was there the whole time? It didn’t seem like it. So why did it hit him? “This can’t be happening,” he thought, hiding behind the rock, though he knew he had been seen clearly by both birds. “This just can’t be happening!”
“Hehehe. Well well,” Zapdos’s voice came from above. Tristan looked up to see the towering figure of the electric bird perched on the rock overhead. “What’s a little worm like you doing in a place like this?” he chuckled amusedly, narrowing his eyes.
There was no point in hiding anymore. Tristan leapt out into the clearing, grasping his bone in a defensive stance, trying his best to not look intimidated by the bird.
Articuno blinked with astonishment as he saw what met his eyes. “The human…” he blurted accidentally.
“Ahahahaha!” Zapdos laughed ecstatically. “What’s that you say? This is the little worm that gave you such a thrashing? You’re even more pathetic than I thought!”
“Shut up!” Articuno snapped back. “I already told you that it wasn’t just him who beat me!”
“Details, details,” Zapdos said, waving a wing towards Articuno. “But this is quite lucky for me. I will be able to kill the human. And as a bonus, I will be able to do it right in front of your very own eyes!”
“Hmph…” Articuno spat. “Perhaps you’ll find that you weren’t so lucky after all.”
Tristan had been silent up until now, not wanting to get involved in the bird’s argument. Unlike Moltres, he just didn’t have the power to intervene the way he did, not that he would’ve tried anyway. He’d actually been hoping that they might have distracted each other enough that he could escape. This chance, though, had never arisen. Now he found that Zapdos had fixed his sights back on him, giving an evil grin. From his perch atop the rock, he hopped down onto the ground next to Tristan.
“Crap!” Tristan thought, backing up so he didn’t have to crane his neck so high. “I’m dead!”
“You were listening this whole time weren’t you?” Zapdos said, closing the space between them that Tristan had just opened. “I’m sure you know what will happen next then, don’t you?” Tristan backed up further, Zapdos following with every step he took. Then, Tristan felt something hard against his back. He looked up to see that he was against one of the many other hundreds of enormous stones that surrounded the plateau. Now he was trapped! He looked back at Zapdos, who was directly in front of him. He smirked as he began to charge the air with electricity. Sparks danced all around Tristan as Zapdos spread his spiky yellow and black wings. “Now be a good little Cubone, and die quickly!”
“Is this really Mount Blaze?” Totodile said in disbelief.
Both Torchic and Totodile now stood at the base of the once red, hot volcano of Mount Blaze. A gust of cold wind swept passed them, causing both of them to shiver. Torchic buried herself in her scarf, deeply thankful that she had brought it.
“It’s… cold!” she cried, “Why is it cold? I thought this place would be comfortable for me!”
“I don’t know,” Totodile answered; he himself was confused. “Everywhere else is warming up, but here it seems to be the exact opposite.”
“Could this mean that Beedrill was wrong after all? Maybe the world climate isn’t rising after all,” she said, thinking back to what the hornet had told them.
“I… don’t know what to think anymore.” Totodile replied. “But that’s not why we came here. We came here to find Tristan. And… and to apologize to him.”
“Yes,” Torchic said, shaking herself to her senses, “I’m sorry, I don’t know what I was thinking. Of course we’re here to find Tristan.” With that, she pushed ahead at a faster pace. “What are you waiting for? Do you want to find him or not?”
Totodile chuckled quietly, “Sure, the faster the better!”
Both Torchic and Totodile began their ascent of the mountain. The higher in altitude they went, though, the colder the air became. There was less lava exposed higher up and if it was even possible, it felt even colder than it was in Frosty Forest. After much convincing, Torchic finally managed to get Totodile to change their path, and instead of climbing to the peak, to try an alternate route along the base of the mountain.
“I’m sure that he wouldn’t climb to the top if was that cold,” she told him attempting a reassuring tone.
“I don’t know…” Totodile answered, still uncertain of the decision. What if it was the decision that caused them to pass by Tristan completely? Then again, it might also have been the decision that caused them to find Tristan. “Oh well. I guess all we’ve been doing so far was guessing anyway. I suppose another guess couldn’t hurt much.”
“AHA!” an ominous voice sounded, causing both Torchic and Totodile to stop in their tracks. “I’VE FOUND YOU!”
“… Was that you?” Totodile asked turning slowly to Torchic. Totodile knew full well she hadn’t said it, the voice had come from above, amongst the mist and steam. Despite this he still was hoping she was the one who had spoken.
“No,” she answered slowly. “Do I have a deep masculine voice like that?”
“Uh…” Totodile said, feeling his last hope slip away from him. “No… no you don’t.”
The air warmed considerably as the pair stood, both of them scanning the sky for the slightest motion that wasn’t steam. Behind them, a loud thud sounded, signaling the arrival of another Pokemon. Before they had even turned around, they felt a wave of warmth pass over them.
“What are you doing on my mountain?” the voice demanded. Totodile and Torchic both turned around simultaneously to see none other than the legendary fire bird, Moltres, standing before them. Frozen in fear, they could only manage to stare at the blazing Pokemon.
“Well?” The bird demanded again. “I asked you a question! Show respect to those superior to you!”
“Ah!” Totodile yelped; his hands raised high in the air. “We… we’re not doing anything! We’re j-just looking for someone!”
“GYAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!” Moltres shrieked, spreading his wings causing an enormous blast of heat and flame. “You think you can just walk onto my mountain and tarnish it with your presence? This is my mountain! I will not allow you to walk around here as you please! For this, you will pay!!!”
To be continued…