Hey, everyone! Well, this is my entry for the FFC challenge at PC, prompt freedom. Okay a couple of things. Sorry if this story seemed rushed and a lot of stuff was going on. I don't really think I can drag this story very long. I could've made this into a short chaptered fic and make it as a cat and mouse game, but it might be boring and also NE is already like that. :P Second, this is the first time in a while I did first person POV so if it's weak, then give me ways how to improve that!
This story is rated PG-13 for language, violence, and some gore (not too much of it, though)
All righty then, time for the story! And oh, thanks DarkPersian479 for betaing this story (and also it's a one shot, not a chaptered fic ^^)
Hounds of Goldenrod
Once you’re in the pack, you can’t leave…
We called ourselves the Hounds of Goldenrod. A brotherhood, a group of dog and dog related Pokémon willing to protect one another from dangers, like trainers trying to get us. Anyone could join in, as this was a great opportunity to meet other dog Pokémon and get to know them better. Sometimes we could learn the cultures of other dogs from other regions. There were some dogs that even came from as far as Sinnoh and Hoenn.
We vowed to protect one another, though not kill anyone stalking us. Killing a trainer was not allowed. What good would that do? Killing another Pokémon battling against us was not allowed. What good would that do?
We called ourselves the Hounds of Goldenrod. I thought I was in a group with friendships and memories that would last a lifetime. All of that changed in one night, though.
I was looking at the city on top of an abandoned warehouse (the pack’s home, actually) and I grinned. I could see why it was named Goldenrod City. All of the houses, businesses, streets, and even the railway were all of an orange hue. Not too many people on the streets, most getting ready to go home and rest. Some buildings already had lights on.
“You like this city, huh, Cross?”
I first yelped and felt my heart thumping fast, beating a fierce and bold song. When I turned around, my eyes gazed at Badr, our leader. His white fur swayed gently with the breeze and his black face seemed to be darker than before. The scythe on his head proved to be something that you shouldn’t touch.
After silence for some time, I nodded and then I smiled. “Yes, I do. This is the only city I know.”
The Absol chuckled and shook his head. “I remember when you and your mother entered this pack. You both were well behaved and very loyal. After your mom died, I saw you grow up to become a fine Mightyena.”
I nodded. All of what he said was true. My mama and I entered this pack after being abused by a few Pokémon because we were weaklings. Badr was kind enough to take us under his wing and the two of us were very happy. We made many friends and also had fun with the other dog Pokémon. Eventually though, my mama died and I was very miserable, but Badr watched over me and told me that everything was going to be fine as long as I stick with the pack. I believed him.
“I’m glad you watched over me,” I finally said.
Badr just smiled. “That’s good to hear. Okay, I need to take care of a few things. See you later!”
The disaster Pokémon gave me a slight nod and he went down the stairs that led to the top floor of our home. I stared at the direction where Badr had gone for quite some time, but then I went back and gazed at the city a while longer.
It was nighttime, the city engulfed in blackness and here I was walking along a cobbled road trying to find a trash bin. Venice Road was a clean and quiet street, most of the buildings townhouses. However, there were some businesses like a few markets, some clothing stores, and quite a lot of Pokémon specialty goods shops here and there. Some Rattata and Trapinch ran, food stuffed inside their mouths. While glancing at some places, my stomach growled. I laughed nervously.
“I don’t know why I can’t find the trashcan,” I muttered to myself. I admit, I don’t have the best memory in the world, hence why I couldn’t find the trashcan. Didn’t help that I had visited Venice Road a few times before too.
Anyways, I continued walking to find a trashcan and I yelped in joy when I saw one close to this restaurant called Chow Down. Heh, very weird name. I bent my legs and was about to dive in until I saw a Granbull pop its head out. There was a chip bag stuck on the purple dog’s huge jaws and some chocolate pudding covering the black collar on its neck. I screamed and my legs shivered. My heart was beating faster than when I met Badr earlier.
“Did I scare you?” the Pokémon asked before laughing.
At first I stared, but then I laughed back. This was the first time my friend Rema almost scared me to death. I had gotten to know her not long after my mama died, so she took care of me too. She was more like an older sister to me.
“Yeah, you almost did.”
Rema snickered. “Sorry, couldn’t resist.” She paused and stared at me as if I was not feeling well. “Hey, are you hungry?”
I opened my mouth, but my stomach answered before me, this time howling in anguish. Rema laughed.
“I take that as a yes.” Rema shook the bag out of her jaw and soon she dived down to check the food real quick. Her head then popped up again and she grinned. “Well, for today’s menu…”
That terrifying scream cut through my heart and I shivered. I glanced at Rema and she too was shaking and her eyes went wide in horror.
“What is that?” Rema stuttered.
I don’t know, but my instincts told me that it would be best that I check it out. Without answering, I dashed off.
“Hey, wait for me!” I heard Rema shout to me while I was running. I then heard her footsteps.
We hadn’t run too far from Venice Road when Rema and I halted and witnessed something horrible. There was a small boy, wearing a jacket and shorts, and an Ivysaur lying on the ground, both had scratches and burns everywhere. Their blood was scattered all over the road. I was about to scream, but when I glanced at one Pokémon, I gasped. The Pokémon turned around (not in my direction, thankfully), and I saw his black face and red eyes.
“No, it can’t be,” I shuttered quietly. I felt a huge lump on my throat when I gulped.
I didn’t want to believe it. Was Badr involved in the killings of those two beings? No. One of the rules of the pack was to not kill a living being, Pokémon or human. I then opened my mouth to call his name, but Rema grabbed me by the mouth and we hid behind a building. I glared at her and I snarled.
“What you did that for?”
Rema just hushed me and she took a peek to see the scene. Wanting to know what was going on, I did too. We saw Badr and two other dog Pokémon (Mimi the Ninetales and Jackal the Growlithe) gazing at the dead trainer and Ivysaur.
“What should we do with them?” the Ninetales asked.
“We’ll just leave them here, Mimi,” Badr answered with a smirk. “That’ll show them to not mess with us.”
“And that trainer wanted to catch us,” Jackal said with disgust.
I couldn’t breathe. That’ll show them to not mess with us. Does that mean Badr murdered those two? I shook my head. Thoughts went back to how Badr advocated to not kill anyone as ‘what good does it do’. Maybe that was a different Absol, as there had been a few of them in our pack. Then again, I know Mimi and Jackal had been with Badr much longer than me. I was distracted when I saw a familiar small Houndour walking close by, her black fur all dusty.
“Badr, is that you?” the Houndour asked in a stutter, her skinny legs shaking.
“Oh my gosh, that’s Tower, Cross! Why she’s here?” Rema whispered to me in a tone of confusion fused with anxiety.
Tower. She was such a small runt and still young, no bones on her back yet. Some of the dogs in the pack made fun of her size, but she didn’t mind. I didn’t know her very well, but I knew that she had a strong heart and was very brave too.
Badr stared at her and chuckled. “Why does it matter?”
“Because you said to never kill any living being. However, I saw you do that.” I could see a tear flow down on Tower’s cheek, but she answered Badr’s question in a confident and determined manner.
Badr’s gang chuckled. They probably thought it was cute that Tower stood up to Badr. The Absol, however, grunted and glared angrily at her as if she was the one that broke the rule.
“You won’t understand, kid.”
More tears burst out from the little dog’s eyes, but then she growled. “What’s to understand?” Tower suddenly yelled out. “You’re the leader! You’re supposed to set an example for the whole pack! Since you broke that rule, you don’t deserve to be a pack leader!”
Badr’s facial expression was at first blank. For a second I thought the Absol might’ve realized his mistake. All wrong, though. He snickered and then I saw his scythe glowing purple. Tower’s eyes turned from sadness to horrorstruck and her legs began to wobble.
“I’m sorry that you thought of me that way.”
His head jerked and then a purple aura making hissing noises instantly slashed Tower’s neck. When the wound opened, blood sprayed out. Her body crashed on the ground. I gasped and felt I was being strangled while Rema whimpered. Badr smirked.
“Okay guys, I think we should go back to the warehouse now.”
Badr and his gang walked away slowly, leaving the three victims alone. I was left thinking to myself that I was glad I didn’t eat dinner as I would’ve thrown up. I turned around and saw Rema crying.
“I…can’t believe…Badr would do that.” Rema suddenly began to hiccup.
“I can’t either,” I whispered in a tone of reassurance. When I gulped, I felt an even bigger lump inside my throat. “Come on, we should go home.”
Rema sniffled and nodded. After that, it was a long trip back home.
That night I didn’t get much sleep. I kept thinking back to the dead trainer and Ivysaur and also Badr killing Tower. It just took one night to turn my world upside down. What was all this madness? Why the blood, the killings? That wasn’t the Badr I know…
I was snoozing the whole afternoon. Those final glories of some rest for the night ended when I felt someone poking me. I slowly got up and saw Rema using her jaws to wake me up.
“Cross, wake up!”
I shook my head and then I saw Rema looking at me funny. “What’s wrong?” I asked in a sleepy voice.
“Everyone’s gathering around to hear an announcement from Badr!”
She was right. Many dog Pokémon were running towards the same direction. I gulped and felt a very deep pain burn inside my heart. Could it be something related to last night? I sure hoped not.
Seemed like Rema wanted to know what kind of speech Badr was going to give, so she poked my butt (I screamed angrily) and then told me we needed to check it out. The two of us tried to make our way through the crowd. I could hear some whispers, many asking what was going on. A couple times I eavesdropped, but Rema poked my butt and told me to keep moving. When the two of us managed to get in front, we saw Badr standing on top of boxes.
“I’ve some grievous news. Our dear friend, Tower the small Houndour, was brutally murdered last night, along with a trainer and another Pokémon.”
There were many terrified gasps. Some who knew Tower well began crying. I growled softly to myself, knowing none of that was true.
“It’s a horrific sight,” Badr continued. “There’s blood everywhere! To tell you the truth, I don’t know who did that.” He paused and sighed dramatically. “Tower’s death is such a tragedy. She was too young to die. However, we must be more aware of things if you don’t want something like that to happen to you or your children.”
Most of the dog Pokémon agreed and many instantly gave shouts of approval. Some mothers already had their pups hiding behind them. I growled louder, though only Rema noticed that from the worried look on her face.
“It’s all a lie!” I shouted. I couldn’t bear the lie no more. “You’re the one that killed her, I saw it myself!”
Everyone either glared at me as if I was crazy or started talking amongst themselves about what I had just said. I glanced at Rema’s eyes and could tell from them that she was deeply worried about me. I then tore my gaze from her when I heard Badr laugh.
“Why Cross, you were probably dreaming. Seriously, I never advocate killing living beings.”
“I saw you kill Tower with a Night Slash attack! I saw that with my very own eyes!”
Badr’s eyes went wide, bloodshot. I thought he would tell the truth, but much to my dismay, he laughed.
“All right everyone, nothing to see here. Cross might’ve eaten something unusual from the garbage. Back to whatever you were all doing.”
There were a few disappointed groans, but other then that everyone was moving along. Badr gazed at the crowd for a while and then he glared at me, which terrified me down through my spine.
“Cross, I want to speak to you,” he whispered.
He jumped off from the boxes and then the Absol Pokémon walked slowly outside. At first I just glared at him, not sure what he wanted to talk to me about. Not wanting Badr to be angry at me, I darted off and followed him.
“So is it true you saw me kill Tower?” Badr asked, the back of his head facing me.
I just nodded, standing by what I said earlier.
“Did you see me kill that trainer and the Ivysaur too?”
I shook my head. “No. I did see them lying on the ground dead, though.”
The leader turned his head and sighed. “I see.” He paused and he seemed to be thinking about something. “Cross, I would be very grateful if you don’t tell anyone about this…again.”
My patience was running out. I growled at him and then I panted.
“Why did you have to kill those two? Why Tower? Hell, why don’t you kill me since I witnessed it?”
Badr roared and then he rammed me on the ground. His scythe was close to my neck. I could see the fire in his eyes. He wouldn’t hesitate to slice me to pieces. I gulped. My heart began beating faster and faster.
“I won’t kill you because we have such a long history together. Also, you don’t understand. In the past, yes, this group didn’t resort to killing. However, times have changed. Weapons are advancing, and so are the intelligence of people and Pokémon. We now have to go for an offensive approach in order to survive.”
Survival? Survival? I would’ve spit on his face, but I’m not that kind of person. I felt my anger burning to its boiling point, though.
“That’ll cause even more bloodshed!”
His scythe poked my neck. I whimpered, afraid he would cut my neck any second now. He snickered.
“As long as the pack stays together, anything’s possible,” he whispered as if he was a maniac.
He jerked his scythe away, let go of me, and then walked back into the warehouse. I coughed and cried.
The next few nights I wasn’t able to sleep. The only thing I remembered doing was thinking back about Badr, what he had done and what he had told me. Again I saw blood on the ground everywhere. Again I felt his scythe firmly on my neck, ready to strike.
I thought about my loyalty to the Hounds of Goldenrod. For many years I stuck by them, no matter what. I never questioned Badr’s authority. I had always thought he was a good ruler and would never take advantage of his power. Something bothered me, though. No one ever questioned Badr nor the pack. Why? Maybe we needed a place to belong? We decided to lend all of our trust towards that one Absol?
I then realized something. The pack was the only society I knew. I came in the Hounds of Goldenrod because it seemed like a perfect utopia. No harm would get to me and I had a home to stay. However, was the utopia too perfect or did it have too many flaws? I witnessed one flaw a few nights ago.
All of a sudden, I yearned to be free. Memories of other members telling me about other regions flooded back in my head. I would imagine myself in the beaches and watching the oceans of Hoenn, run around in the forests and caves of Kanto, or play on the snows of Sinnoh. I realized Goldenrod City was the only place I stayed. I love the city and all, but could I live a life where I’m stuck in one place forever?
Who knew the night Badr murdered three beings would change my whole perspective on life.
The night after I made my decision, I waited until everyone was asleep. Some of the dogs were not in the warehouse yet, like Badr and a few others, but that was okay. They probably went to grab food or something. When the coast was clear, I ran out of my home.
I ran like I never ran before. My legs were burning, but I loved it. I then howled in triumph. I paid no attention to the buildings or the trees, everything becoming a blur. My moment of freedom was short lived though when I heard a familiar voice yell my name.
“ Cross? What’s going on?”
I halted and saw Rema glaring at me with saddened eyes. They glistened, as if tears were ready to bleed out. I felt a deep pain inside my heart, as if someone struck a knife in it.
“Rema, what are you doing here?”
“Are you running away?” she stuttered.
I put my head down in shame, with no intention to lie. She had been my best friend for many years, and I never lied to her. I knew Rema could tell if I did.
“Yes, I am. I’ve been thinking. For many years I’ve been loyal to the pack, maybe a little too much. I also realized I never been to the outside world besides Goldenrod City. Rema, you have to understand. I’m doing this for my own good.”
Rema still gazed at me with her teary eyes. I could tell she didn’t want me to leave.
“How about me then? Are you going to leave your best friend?”
I let out a gasp. She was right. If I leave the pack, I would be leaving her too. My heart began to hurt more from the thought of that. Still, I needed do this.
“I’m sorry, Rema. I love you and you’ve been a great friend to me, but I suddenly just can’t take this anymore.”
Rema stared down at the ground for a few seconds, pondering over my words. She then nodded and smiled.
“I understand. If this is what will make you happier, then I won’t stop you.”
I smiled back. “Thank you.” I was about to also say goodbye, but I became silent for a while. If I said that, would I be able to see her again? I knew though it would be rude if I didn’t. I gulped and finally said, “Well, I guess that’s goodbye.”
Rema sobbed but then she grinned. “Good bye, Cross. Good luck.”
That was the longest time I stared at Rema. For some reason I wasn’t able to move. However, Rema came and used her jaw to poke me. I first screamed out in pain but then I grinned. Soon I dashed off, leaving the Granbull to watch me until I was swallowed in darkness.
Again, I howled in joy and I felt my legs burning. My heart raced faster with each step I took. Freedom, freedom, freedom…
Again, short lived. This time though, I instantly saw a purple aura coming towards me and one of my legs was slashed. I crashed on the ground and I moaned. Blood began to slowly drip on my cut leg.
“So you decided to leave, huh? How about a goodbye?”
I slowly lifted my head and saw Badr grinning. One of his paws was gripping on my back ever so firmly, his claws deep inside my skin. I bit my lips, not wanting to cry.
“Badr, I’m sorry. It’s just that I feel trapped and confused at the moment. I just…need to get away from the pack.”
“Hmph. I considered you my son, you know.” His claws dug deeper on my back. Again, I bit my lip. “Also, you were the most dedicated Pokémon in this pack.”
I whimpered softly to myself. It was true that we thought of each other as father and son. From all those years Badr had took very good care of me. However, what he did just confused me and I wasn’t sure what to think until now.
“I too considered you as a father, but what you did…it’s unspeakable.”
Badr glared at me and his scythe slashed my back. I tried not to scream, but it was no use. After I yelled out in pain, I felt tears splash on my face.
“I never thought you would go against me,” he spoke slowly. “I thought you understood why I killed that trainer and his Pokémon.”
“I understand, but I still think it’s wrong. I don’t understand why you killed Tower, though.”
His scythe this time slashed on my face. I yelled again and felt tears running faster on my face. Badr chuckled and then leaned his face close to my ear.
“Make your move, Cross,” he whispered in a threatening tone, “before I do.”
I felt both my mind and body burning up. Rage was beginning to become fiercer. Badr would not hesitate to kill me. I heard a hissing sound; probably he was going to use his scythe again. In order to survive, I would have to make the first move…
And so I did by first having my glowing tail smash into his body. He fell on the ground, belly-up. I then immediately had my paws hold onto him. My fangs felt hot and produced a sound much like static. I did not hesitate by sinking my teeth onto his chest, and then he was electrified. Badr howled and glared at me with widened eyes.
“Why did you do that?” he asked in a strangled tone. Badr then began coughing.
I released my teeth from his chest and the Thunder Fang attack was done. There were a few deep holes, blood oozing slowly. Some of it dripped on my tongue, but the taste was bitter. I smelled smoke coming from him.
“It’s about survival, right?” I simply answered.
Ah yes, survival. What I did was to show him how his logic was flawed. Also I wanted him to be in those three victims’ place, how it felt like to be attacked all of a sudden. Kill for survival? Not liking that reason one bit.
“Huh, I knew you would understand.”
Badr coughed again and then he smiled. I gasped and I titled my head in puzzlement, confused as to why he smiled. I thought he would attack me back. On the other hand, he seemed to be having his last breaths.
“Before I die,” he continued, “I want to say that you would make a great pack leader, son.”
Badr took his last breath and closed his eyes. I couldn’t hear his heartbeat. No smile curled on my face.
For some reason I began to cry.
Now that I thought about it, it was how because the two of us had a history together. He indeed treated me like his own son. I felt like I killed my own father. It was my rage that took over my mind. In the end, what had killing Badr accomplished? Revenge? I wasn’t looking for that in the first place. I was no better than him, then. Those realizations hit me hard.
I then felt very lightheaded. My legs became shaky and my heart was beating slowly. Before I knew it, all I could see was white.
A few days had passed before I woke up from unconsciousness. When I first opened my eyes, everything was blurry at first, but then I saw myself in a well lit room and on a comfy bed with white sheets. There were some sort of wires all over my body and I heard beeping noises. My wonderment over my room faded when my mind told me one name.
Immediately I sobbed again. Memories of what happened flooded again, like my tears. The blood still tasted bitter on my tongue. Now Badr was gone. He killed, and I did too. I repeated myself a couple times that it was just my rage and I didn’t mean for that to happen. I just snapped, that was all.
I was interrupted when a pale skinned woman in a nurse uniform came in. Her pink hair was in loops and her big eyes shined with glee.
“Hey there, little guy,” she said to me in a very soothing voice. “Are you feeling okay?”
I stared and her and blinked. Where was I? The nurse seemed to know I was confused, her head titled while she was looking at me. However, she grinned.
“Well, I think there’s someone here waiting for you.”
I titled my head, wondering who could it be. The nurse opened the door and I saw Rema slowly walking in. The woman giggled and left us alone.
“Rema?” I stuttered, surprised she was here.
Rema smiled. “Before you say anything, yes I’ve sent you here. A couple nights ago I heard a scream and then saw both you and Badr lying on the ground.” Her mouth then faded to a frown and she spoke slowly in a whisper, “I only heard your breathing, though”
My heart just gave one hard thump when I heard her say that. So Rema saw our pack leader dead. If I told her the truth, how would she react? Again though, I wouldn’t ever lie to her, especially about this. I gulped, ready for the worst. Once more tears slowly began streaming down my face.
“Rema, I’m sorry that I killed Badr. I just got carried away, that’s all. If you don’t forgive me, that’s fine. What I did was totally unethical.”
Rema sighed and then her head was down. I knew deep inside, she was very disappointed in me. She never thought her best friend would resort to murder.
“I understand. Confusion can get the best of us.”
Silence. I just bit my lip. Because of the quietness, my mind changed direction. I thought back to how much dedication Badr showed when he had taken care of me when my mama died. A few times he attacked the Pokémon whenever they came close to hurting me and made them run away. Many times he gave me food, and good food too. Before, when I was very young, he would tell me bedtime stories of other legendary Pokémon.
How, then, can a Pokémon like him go and kill? Maybe he was right about one thing: survival. Everything was advancing at a fast rate and everybody must keep up with the news or else they would be behind. Despite me still not liking that reason, I guess I could understand that. Probably he was not a bad guy, after all.
After a long time I said to Rema , “Badr did that for survival. I’ll probably accept that sooner or later.”
After I gave a small smile, I saw Rema’s eyes open wide. She was probably not sure what to say. However, she smiled back.
“Well, again, I’m glad you’re okay. Wanna say good luck on whatever path you want to take now. See ya.”
Again, I felt a gash on my heart. Now this would be the last time I see Rema. At first, I shut my mouth. This would be the first time I said goodbye to a friend. However, I smiled. Maybe one day, one day, we would meet again.
“See ya. Hope to see you again one day.”
My friend chuckled. “I would like that.”
Rema nodded and walked away. Maybe that was the last time I would see her, but she would always be on my mind, and so would Badr and the pack.
What I did first on my moment of freedom was I sighed in huge relief and then slept for the rest of the afternoon.