Yes! Now I can finally post it! I'm happy with my 5th place trophy (which is really a sock over two empty Coca-Cola cans).
...*pets trophy affectionately*
Anyways, this is actually the backstory to a character in the next chapter of my main story, "Never in the Wrong Time or Wrong Place". If you're a reader of the main story, then you don't HAVE to read it, but I don't advise against it.
Victory or Death
My name is Drezdk.
There I was, a member of the honorable reconnaissance/assault taskforce… The reconaissault, they called it. It was a part of the airborne division for those adept in quick flying and who had particularly good eyesight.
While it was good to be out of the confines of our ever-so-precious home, it wasn’t under these circumstances that I wished to see the morning light. Me and twelve others were idly hovering in the breeze. I tried to calm myself by listening to the relaxing hum of our wings but it proved to be futile.
My white, lucent wings beat at an irregular rate- undoubtedly as the result of pure fear and anticipation. I jerked my goldenrod head around, looking at what the other yellow-bodied bugs were doing before the big battle which was said to be for the security of the hive.
“If it is for the hive then why don’t we wait until it is actually in danger?” I silently wondered.
Most of the others were either rubbing their ivory stingers together in an attempt to sharpen them, or honing their fighting stance through a series of stinger thrusts and blocks. Some were sparring with each other and others were fighting an invisible target or perhaps the calm wind which blew through our antennae. They all seemed so confident, so fearless, and so mislead.
I wanted more than anything to avoid this battle. Sure it was my second battle, but the first one hardly counted. The first was merely an initiation for us new guys, who the veteran Beedrill called greenstingers. We were told to probe into ‘enemy’ territory to scout around for their hive. One of us-Arceus, I forget the poor b*stard’s name-lost his nerve. The guy flew off in the other direction. Then… it was awful… These two Beedrill marked with green bands on the base of their left stingers-the vets called the guys blood bands-they did it, before he could fly even five wing beats. They turned and started shooting their death splinters (known to others as ‘poison sting’) at him. The whole group was stunned. He had so many of them in his back that he looked like a Sandslash even before he hit the ground. He seemed to fall in slow motion, not even making a sound before his body hit the forest floor with a thud.
He- he just wanted to live, and they justified his MURDER by saying that there was no room for cowards in the reconaissault team, let alone the hive. It was the blood band’s job to make sure the only possible route was forward. They said that if he ran, then we’d all run and they needed to make an example of him. I admit that their tactic worked. I wanted to run away, but then I had no initiative to. To run away from danger would only result in death, and avoiding that was the whole reason one would run in the first place. From then on it became clear that we lived in a hive stabilized only by one’s value for their own mortality. It was either kill or be killed. Our mission was a success; we spotted out the enemy hive without being seen.
On the way back I couldn’t help look but at his body a final time. He lay on his stomach with a multitude of violet pins sticking out of him; a small trickle of light green blood flowed from the puncture wounds. I really wanted to bury him. I longed to go back in time and beg him not to fly away, knowing what his fate was. I prayed he died quickly with a feeling of hope, hope of making it back to his friends and family. I felt envious of him, except for his death; he would no longer have to be apart of this terrible catch-22.
That brings me back to where I was: waiting outside the hive, watching the other soldiers practice and chatter in anticipation for my second mission. This time the ‘aissault’ part of ‘reconaissault’ was emphasized. I hovered nervously, unsure of what else I could possibly do. Being a greenstinger: my fate for my first battle was obvious… Death. I tried my very best to hide my fear, but it seemed impossible. Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed two blood bands whispering and looking over at me… They were probably wondering whether to kill me now and save them the trouble later. They could undoubtedly see the fear in my red eyes. They were waiting for me to break.
The abrupt voice calling my name startled me and I quickly swung around to find myself face to face with a familiar Beedrill.
“Uh, yes, what is it, Talvoc?” I asked sheepishly.
Talvoc. My best friend. Ever since we were young Weedles we were inseparable. He was always the courageous one who could never stay in one place. He got me both in and out of trouble. A true friend.
“You look troubled, Drezdk. Anything up?” he asked, placing his stinger on my shoulder.
“I am troubled, Tal. I don’t think I can do this. They’re sending us on a suicide mission!”
“It’s not a suicide mission! We’re going to win, am I wrong? Also, keep your voice down,” he urged, wary of the blood bands close by.
In a harsh whisper, I retorted, “You saw how many Beedrills were guarding their hive! Why are we attacking them anyways? They haven’t done anything to us.”
“For the hive!” He mimicked the reconaissault team leader perfectly, also taking a mock-heroic stance.
I couldn’t help but let out a shaky chuckle before continuing. “I’m serious, Tal!”
“Look, Drez, does it matter why? It’s not like we have a choice! You’ve seen what happens when someone flies off. It’s either sure death by the blood bands or possible death by the enemy. It’s all the more reason why we have to win!” Talvoc stated.
I sighed. I knew he was right, but still, it was so unfair.
“Tal…” I whispered, “I’ve been thinking about this plan I had.”
“Oh yeah, Drez? What plan is that?” he questioned curiously, hovering in closer.
Checking behind me, I made sure that the blood bands weren’t nearby. I continued to whisper, “I think we should lay low in the battle- wait until things get really intense. When they do, we should fly off and never return. Alive and well… and free.
“You must be off your honeycomb! That’s crazy!” Talvoc protested.
“Why is it crazy?” I asked, a bit irritated.
“Desertion, Drez? In the heat of a battle, too?! Tell me, where would we fly to? We’re on a damn island!”
“There’s a few human hives nearby… along with a… what’s it? A Pokemon center!” responded I, losing more and more confidence.
“Humans? Humans HATE us. They think we are all over-aggressive jerks out to kill them!”
I scoffed, “With this upcoming raid I can see why.”
Talvoc whacked me between my antennas with his stinger.
“Ow!” I cried, holding my head. “What the hell was that for?!”
“Get your head in the game, Drez! I promise we’ll be fine. Just don’t fly off!”
Looking into his angry red eyes, I nodded before turning my head away in disconcertion.
“That’s the spirit, Drezzy!” He gave me a playful whack with his stinger on the arm. “Just be happy we’re out of the confines of the deep, dark hive which we are so nobly protecting today!” exclaimed Tal with a dramatic emphasis on the last three words.
Then a familiar voice of authority shouted out to all the Beedrill, which caused us all to go silent.
“Listen up, team!” the team leader said. We all formed a line and we crossed our fore-stingers across our chest like an X in our traditional saluting fashion.
“At ease.” We uncrossed our stingers and hovered expectantly. “As I’m sure all of you know, in a few minutes we are going into battle. We may be fighting our brethren, but we are not fighting our brothers! No true brothers of ours would wish to drive us out of our own territory! So we must fight for our freedoms!”
“Freedoms?” I scoffed under the tiniest of breaths.
Out of the corner of my eye I noticed Talvoc mouthing along with the leader in an apparent mocking fashion.
“Now we shall nobly protect our home and we will fight for the hive!” he went on to say.
Tal’s impression was in such perfect sync that I couldn’t help but let out a crack of laughter. Unfortunately, I wasn’t the only one who noticed Talvoc’s impression seeing that the team leader buzzed over to us. We quickly straightened our posture and tensed our muscles.
“Something funny, you two?” he asked us, peering down at us menacingly.
We quickly shook our heads, crossed our stingers and bowed our heads in salute. “No sir! Sorry sir!”
He continued to sneer at us before turning to only Tal.
“Have you heard this speech before, Talvoc?”
“Are you sure about that? Tell me how the next part goes!” the leader insisted.
I looked over at him nervously while he paused.
“No mercy. No retreat?” Tal answered, a little hesitantly.
He nodded. “Good, and don’t you forget it! If we weren’t in wartime I’d have the two of you cleaning up after every newborn Weedle with your teeth.”
We both swallowed uneasily.
“Now, I would put the both of you on point guard, but this is a detrimental battle and since you are both greenstingers, you will be at the rear of the column to watch our flanks. From there you can watch how real soldiers fight, and maybe then you’ll earn some respect!”
He then conked our heads with the blunt sides of his fore stingers and gave the signal to get into positions. Tal and I rubbed our sore heads and looked at each other. I sighed and went with him behind the aerial formation shaped like one of our stingers, except thicker.
“Remember,” the lead Beedrill reminded again, “aim for the head, you’ll be sure he’s dead. Aim for the body, the hit is shoddy.”
“See? Flank guards; I told you we’d be fine!” Talvoc said while we flew into our positions a good deal behind the tip of the formation. I forced a smile, but fear still gripped me. I hovered in my place beside my friend and waited.
Some say that waiting is the worst part, but they couldn’t be further from reality.
I saw the team leader raise his right stinger. He then moved it forwards- the grim indication that it was time to disembark. The hum of our wings took on a higher, faster pitch as we began to fly forwards in sync. The afternoon sun seeped through the trees and highlighted our yellow bodies with an orange gleam. The wind was still constant, but our wings were powerful enough to bypass the potentially annoying breeze.
Before my first mission I was in the ignorant and confident “I can’t die! Not ME!” train of thought, but since then my view has changed. Now I’ve been thinking, “It could happen to me. I don’t want to die!” Most of the vets have either accepted their deaths or are fighting desperately to keep alive. It’s usually the ones with the greenstinger mentality who are quickly killed by the enemy, while it’s usually people like me who are killed by the blood bands. The vets on the other hand are the ones who usually make it out alive…usually. Me, I’m still looking out for myself. I need to stay alive. What’s worse is that, in the history of our hive, there has never been a retreat order-or so I’m told. It has either been a glorious victory…or death.
I was snapped out of my trance by an order given by the team leader. “Eyes open for hostiles!” he shouted.
Hostiles. That’s what we called them, the Beedrill from the other hive, although I did not know how hostile they even actually were.
Although Talvoc and I were back watching the flanks, there were two Beedrill farther behind us. We recognized them by the green bands on their stingers. The two blood bands following our team buzzed from side to side, keeping a close eye on each soldier.
“Do the blood bands have any remorse for killing their own brothers?” I wondered to myself.
Talvoc began to ask me, “How much longer, do you think?”
Answering with a shrug, I commented, “Not long enough. You just can’t wait can you, Tal?”
“Noise discipline! Shut up you two and keep alert for hostiles!” the team leader scolded, yelling back at us.
Sighing, I continued flying. It was only a matter of time now. I took a good look into the sun; I knew full well that this would probably be the last time I would ever see it. I ogled the orange orb and admired its beauty for all that it was worth. One couldn’t help but wonder if pokemon went to the sun when they died. It seemed like it would be an ideal place- warm, relaxing, and home to limitless possibilities. I continued to ponder my life as well as the afterlife while I was lost in the glorious trance of the sun’s hypnotizing hold.
“It’s so beautiful,” I mumbled in awe.
“What?” I heard Talvoc say, but I ignored him and continued staring in wonder.
I was quickly awoken from my blissful daydream by the haunting words of one of my team members. “Shit! Hostiles, dead ahead!”
My stomach knotted up. I tried to see our foes but I couldn’t look over the team and I also couldn’t break formation. All that I could see was the grass clearing below that we were in, surrounded by many trees. It made for a good battleground, one would think.
“This is it, comrades!” the leader shouted out. “Victory or death!”
And with that the charge had begun. Everybody, including me, flew faster. After looking upwards, I looked to Talvoc, who nodded. We kept formation but flew upwards to get a better view of the hostiles. Once we could see above the reconaissault group the hive- as well as the Beedrill foes-were in plain view.
I nearly felt my heart stop.
There were so many of them I couldn’t even begin to count! Their numbers dwarfed ours without argument. Where the hell was the rest of our forces if this hive was so damn important to attack?! Were we simply the group that was sent to test the water for the others!?
I felt every part of me tremble; I struggled to even fly on. The daunting amount of hostiles hovered in front of their hive, no bigger than our own. Unlike us, they were not in formation and haphazardly awaited our approach. The team swiftly approached them; all I could hear was the hum of our wings and the occasional order from our leader.
One of the guys on the end of the stingerhead formation suddenly broke off and began to fly back towards me and Tal.
“Hey! What are you doing!?” a Beedrill’s voice called out.
The guy looked absolutely terrified. “We have to get out of here! Th-they are over three times our numbers! We can’t win, we have to run!”
“Hey, buddy, wait a minute!” Talvoc tried to say, but it was too late. He had already moved past us and was flying away. The blood bands behind us saw him make a break for it. I had to do something this time. This time…
I turned to fly after him. “Hey, stop it! Please come back! Don’t do it!” I yelled. It was hopeless; he just ignored me. I began to fly to the rear, but Talvoc’s stinger held me back.
“Let me go, Tal! I have to stop him!” I pleaded, struggling to get free of his hold.
“No… it’s too late,” he solemnly answered.
He was right. I saw that one of the blood bands had caught him with a snare thread which was launched from his mouth (again, ‘snare thread’ was known to others as ‘string shot’. Why they gave these functions the names that they did baffles me.) Anyways, they caught him and one of them was nearing him. The other one kept a watchful eye on me, much to my terror. The blood band raised his stinger over the tangled Beedrill while the other one kept staring at me.
“Come on, Drezdk, let’s get back in formation,” Talvoc mumbled mournfully.
I let out a pathetic whimper as he turned me around. We began to fly just in time to hear the guy’s soul shattering scream. I struggled not to show any emotions while Talvoc and I caught up with the group.
The hostiles remained next to their hive and we grew even closer. I admit I was surprised that we still hadn’t reached the enemy after falling behind. It was like they didn’t want the battle to start without us.
Talvoc looked at me. I turned away, unable to look anyone in the eye right now. “Are you okay?” he asked me.
“Not in the slightest,” I mumbled back.
He nodded and continued flying. The ten Beedrill ahead of us raised their right stingers above their heads in an attack stance. Tal did similar and I followed his action. We also raised our posterior stingers and put our left stingers across our chest in a blocking position.
I looked at Talvoc with evident worry. “Don’t worry, Drez, I’ve got your back.”
Nodding, I followed the team as they charged towards the enemies. The daunting swarm of hostiles hovered around in anticipation, waiting for us to draw first blood. I don’t know why they waited instead of attacking us and being done with it. Maybe they really didn’t want to fight unless they were directly attacked.
We flew nearer. Nothing would stop us now. A burst of something seemed to accompany my fear. It made me want to fly faster. It begun to take over me. Tal seemed to be feeling similar. We neared. Closer. Closer. I could see into their eyes. Almost there. Nearer. Almost! There!
The leader drove his stinger into the nearest Beedrill, dropping him out of the sky. The hoard of thirty descended on us. The two Beedrill next to the leader were taken down instantly. I didn’t know how but I just knew that they weren’t in the air anymore.
Then, to my left, the unmistakable violet of a death splinter caught my eye. I ducked and the needle barely clipped my antenna. I could hardly feel it but I knew it brushed by me. A very small trickle of my green blood dropped down my antenna and curved around my eye.
I had almost died. Remaining in the exact same spot, I was stunned. My worst fear had almost become realized. This incident made me feel both relief from surviving and extreme terror for the revelation that I might not be so lucky next time. My insides seemed to bundle themselves into a horribly tangled knot.
All that I could see was yellow, black, and white with the occasional purple. I had no idea what to do. I looked down at the ground. It became littered with freshly fallen bodies of Beedrill, both good and bad, if you wanted to put it like that. A new bug would fall every five or ten seconds, wounded or dead. My next instinct was to look for the shooter of the death splinter in the midst of all this chaos. I tilted my head upwards and saw three hostiles in the air above us. They were sharpshooters- precisely picking off our ranks with well aimed, single death splinters. My first thought was, “Better avoid them.” So I did. I made agile, zigzagging maneuvers as one tried to fire at me. I put myself in closer to the fight, near the hive, so that they would cease firing at me for fear of hitting their own.
My fear remained strong, though. There were thrusts of ivory fore stingers and toxic main stingers every which way. There was a guy in front of me all of a sudden. Two jabs were thrown at me, which I had to dodge and parry with my white stingers. I noticed the team leader stab my assailant in the neck with his main stinger. Shocked as I was, I managed to return the brotherly nod he promptly gave. He perforated two more hostiles simultaneously with his fore stingers before I lost track of him in the moving throng. There was an obvious reason why he was the reconaissault team leader.
There were yells of the soldiers and the clangs of clashing stingers echoing throughout the battle. I turned around and saw one of the blood bands fighting a hostile. The enemy clubbed the side of the blood band’s head, catching him off guard. Then, with a stunning aerial maneuver, he spun around and stabbed both of his fore stingers into the blood band’s abdomen. The hostile quickly ejected his arms from his victim, causing the excess weight of the body to plummet to the grass. He then went back to the frenzied battle.
“That’s one out of two,” I thought. Later I would feel bad for thinking that way, but as soon as both of them were dead, we could get out of there… mostly.
Another hostile charged at me. I managed to swerve out of the way, causing him to stab nothing but air. I kicked him-KICKED him of all the things I could have done-in the wing as he passed by; he fell into a tailspin and plunged towards the ground. To my relief he caught himself before hitting the ground. He shook it off, flew back up and looked for another Beedrill to fight.
“Now there’s something we didn’t learn in training!” a familiar, oddly upbeat voice said from behind me. I turned and saw Talvoc looking at me out of the corner of his eye as he finished driving his stinger into a foe’s upper body. I could only recognize two other guys from the team, not including Tal.
“Tal! Things aren’t looking good up here! We should go down-”
“Drez! Look out!” he yelled.
I turned around to see one of the sharpshooters spit a snare thread at me. It wrapped around my wings as well as my left stinger. Unable to fly, I began to fall to the ground.
“DREZ!” Talvoc yelled, diving after me. I wasn’t sure if I’d survive this fall so I decided to prepare for impact as if I wouldn’t. I swallowed in anxiety. The fall seemed to take forever. Talvoc raced towards me but I was falling too fast for him to reach me. I took a good look at him and felt myself hit something soft. After catching my breath, I turned my head and saw that I landed on two piled up bodies. Rolling onto my stomach, I stood up on my feet and tried to use my right stinger to snap the thread.
Tal flew down and cut the thread for me. After nodding, I became airborne again.
“Thanks,” I said sheepishly.
“No problem, Drez. I’ve gotten you out of stickier situations than that. Now let’s get back in the fight!” he answered.
“What?!” I asked, almost offended. “You want to go back up there?!”
“What do you suggest we do? Fly off?” he replied sarcastically.
“Yes! That’s exactly what!”
“We can’t leave, Drezdk!” Talvoc yelled.
“Tell me, Tal, how many of our guys do you actually see left up there?” I asked him fiercely.
We both looked up. To our shock, we saw the team leader fighting off four Beedrill at the same time. He punctured one of them in the head before one stabbed him in the chest. Even then, he thrust his left forestinger into the hostile who stabbed him and he began unloading death splinters from his main stinger into the remaining two. I admired his courage and tenacity, but I had to look away when two more hostiles came to finish him off.
I let out a soft weep before collecting myself. I looked back up at Tal, who had his stingers crossed and head bowed in salute for our fallen team leader. He hovered back towards me so that we were face to face. He was angrier than I’d ever seen him.
“We have to- I have to fight! How can we just let him and the others die for nothing?!” he shouted at me.
“If we die then WE will have died for nothing as well! This whole assault is a farce!”
“A farce?! You’re saying that their deaths are a farce?! If this assault was worth all of their lives then it MUST be for something!”
“IT’S NOT!” I yelled back.
He grimaced. “Even so, we can’t fly back to the hive! They’d kill us!”
“The hostiles will kill us if we stay! Besides, we don’t have to go back to the hive! Remember the pokemon center I talked about? Now come on, it’s only a matter of time before one of them sees us!”
“If we can hold out a little longer, reinforcements will- Sh*t! Two incoming!”
Tal turned around and saw two hostiles coming towards us. He raised his main stinger and shot three death splinters. The second large, violet thorn hit one of the Beedrill in the wing. He spiraled out of control and into the ground. I hovered and prepared to defend myself for the second one, but Tal rushed forward. He clashed fore stingers with the enemy. The hostile tried to take a jab at him, but Talvoc aptly parried the attack and jammed his right stinger into the enemy’s head. He turned around and then tensed up.
“DREZ!! BEHIND YOU!” he screamed, raising his main stinger up.
I turned my head slightly to the left and in my peripheral vision saw the glint of an ivory white stinger coming towards me. Before I could even react, a toxic pin shot by my head and went through my wing. Not only did it tear through my wing but it pierced my attacker right between the eyes. His head shot back and he limply fell to the ground.
I turned around to see that Talvoc had saved me. There was something different about him. He looked stunned. I gaped at him in utter shock; there was a death splinter sticking out of the dead center of his chest. There was a hostile hovering some distance behind him- a sharpshooter. I felt utterly helpless and confused.
What has happened?
I hovered in my spot before it happened.
“TAAAAAAAAAAL!!!” I cried at the top of my lungs. Filled with an unexplainable fury, I flew faster than I ever did. Past Talvoc I flew and straight towards the hostile with a one track mind. He tried to shoot me down. I dodged the violet needles and charged the daunted Beedrill, raising my stinger. Before he could defend himself, I thrust my stinger in an uppercut like motion. My fore stinger drilled into his chin with such force that it exited the top of his head. The sharpshooter’s whole body went limp and he slid down on my stinger with blank red eyes, leaving a small smear of green blood on the stinger. For a split second, I had hated what I had become, but then I turned to see Talvoc, still hovering but beginning to fall. The blank face of my foe stared at me before I quickly got him off with a disgusted flick of my arm.
I turned and flew with all of my strength towards my best friend. Talvoc began to fall. Racing to catch him much like he had done for me was what I did. He was almost out of my reach, but I caught him in my two stingers before it was too late. Tal looked up at me and gave a faint grin. I slowed my flying as we neared the ground. Gently, I placed him in a patch of grass, untouched by bodies or carnage. My arms slowly slid out from under him.
“Tal? You’re going to be alright Tal, do you understand?” I reassured him. He simply looked at me before looking down at the pin sticking in his chest. A small trickle of blood came from the wound and dripped down his side.
“I can’t move,” he weakly mumbled.
“It’s okay. You’re going to be okay. I just need to get this thing out of you and you’ll be okay!”
I put the pin in a vice using my fore stingers and carefully pulled out the needle. He grimaced, but smiled after it was removed.
“I… sure… saved your stinger…” he mumbled with a slight chuckle.
“Yeah… you did… You’re a hero,” I answered, starting to tear up. “It won’t be for the last time, okay?”
He lightly nodded and let out a weak smirk. His face seemed grow blanker, but he still stirred. Tears now leaked from my red eyes.
“Tal?! Look at me! You’re going to be fine! Do you hear me?! I’m going to bring you to that pokemon center and you’re going to be fine, okay? We’ll be away from all this!”
“…Drez? Remember… when we were Weedles… we got in trouble for hiding that Kakuna… in that honeycomb?”
“Yes, Talvoc, I remember…” I said, trying my best to smile. My tears dripped onto him. The hostiles seemed to take pity on us. They went back into their hive with only a few guards remaining.
“Drezdk…” he quietly murmured.
“What is it, Tal?” I asked him.
“You’re… my best friend…”
“And you’re my best friend, Tal. Hang on, don’t give up yet. You need to stay alive! Please! Don’t die! I can’t do this alone!” I blubbered.
He weakly nodded.
“Drezdk… I need… you to…”
“What is it, Talvoc?”
Then he was completely still.
A true friend.
He remained silent. I trembled.
My very best friend ever since we were Weedles.
He was… gone.
My sorrowful scream filled the air. Collapsing over him, I shamelessly cried. I held his limp body tightly in my stingers for many minutes.
“Why did he have to die? He wasn’t a bad guy! He didn’t do anything to deserve this! Maybe if he hadn’t tried to save me he could have killed that sharpshooter before… WHY DID IT HAVE TO HAPPEN TO HIM?!” These questions raced around my grieved mind.
I wept until I heard something-buzzing. It was the reinforcements.
Hostiles began pouring out of their hive once more, readying for battle for a second time. If I stayed, this time I would surely die. Tal’s words echoed in my head.
So I did. I selfishly ran. I didn’t fly… I ran.
Into the forest, I clumsily sprinted. Out of the battlefield and into the sanctuary of the forest. I leaned against a tree and let out a few more sobs.
“How could he be dead?”
It was there I heard a louder buzzing. I got myself up and tried to cease my tears so that I could hear the noise. Then the sound stopped. My heart sunk when I saw the creator of the buzzing. From the bushes staggered the owner of that unmistakable light green band attached to a fore stinger. It was that blood band; he had a large gash on his stomach.
“You weren’t thinking of running, were you?” he gruffly interrogated.
I remained still. “You,” I thought coldly to myself. It was the same guy that stared at me earlier.
“Were you?! Answer!”
Ignoring my past tears, I answered as calmly as possible, “Let me pass.”
“You can’t escape, young Beedrill,” he explained.
“Please,” I begged, scared stiff. “Let me go!”
The blood band shook his head. “… TRAITOR!” he yelled, raising his main stinger to shoot me.
“No!” I cried out.
“DIE!!” He took aim.
My fear turned to that same feeling that I had felt when we attacked the hostiles and… just before Tal died. It made me do something I never dreamed I would ever do. I roared and charged him on foot. Stingers raised, I grew nearer to him. Before he could change his course of action, I rammed him into the tree behind him. His main stinger dug into the very edge of my abdomen. My right stinger impaled his chest, pinning him to the tree, and my left pierced his abdomen. All wounds seeped emerald blood.
“Tell me… who is the real traitor?” I snarled in pain.
Then, I removed my stingers from him and allowed him to fall to his arms and knees. Stepping back in shock, I looked down at my minor, yet still incredibly agonizing wound in my black and yellow body. I would be fine, but he wouldn’t.
He wheezed, “…Kill me…”
Looking down at him, I answered, “No… I won’t.”
He chuckled through his pain. “Why not?”
“Because I’m not like you,” I answered simply with contempt in my voice.
“Oh?” he said with another labored laugh. “So you say… but you indeed are,” he answered matter-of-factly. “Whatever noble actions… you take… from here on won’t… matter. You… will always be… a coward… a traitor… and a soldier… like me.”
Shaking my head fiercely in denial, I shouted, “No!”
“You know… it’s true, Drez,” he answered. “…You can’t escape it.”
“…What did you call me?” I asked in pure coldness.
No one calls me that name, but…
A voice flashed through my head. “Drez… run.”
Through heaves, he answered, “I… called you… Drez. What does tha-”
“MY NAME IS DREZDK!”
I roared and brought my right stinger above his head before driving it downwards and killing him instantly. After a dying twitch, he collapsed forwards onto the forest bed. I removed my stinger from his head and wiped the blood on the grass.
The buzzing of reinforcements grew louder. I looked down at my still bloodied stinger in self-hatred.
“He was right,” I thought.
I backed away from the body, more blood soaking the already green grass in the shaded forest.
“Traitor…” I mumbled to no one.
Through the trees I could see the hostiles make ranks in front of their hive.
“What do I do?! They are too close, I can’t escape now! I can’t fight… not again,” concluded I, nervously.
“I only have one option that won’t result in sure death.”
I had a plan, although it was risky and difficult to pull off. I had practiced it when I was alone to a certain extent. It was to fake a crippling injury- although only so much of it could actually be faked. I came up with the idea shortly after noticing that my lower pair of wings were quite agile in comparison to the upper, bigger wings.
I started out by spitting a glob of sticky snare thread onto the insides of my lower wings. After this I had to get a grip on my lower wings, which was incredibly hard to do with our ever so awkward stingers. I had to use my closest stinger to the wing to reach over the upper wing and grab the lower one and use my farthest stinger to reach over and grab the other side of the lower one. Once I had a grip, I had to yank the lower wing upwards. I let out a sharp cry since half of the base of my wing ripped when I did this. The wing fibers which were ripped would heal, though. Ignoring the throbbing, I attached the lower part to the upper wing by using the sticky thread. I collapsed to the ground in pain.
There. It was done. I made it look like I had lost a wing in battle by attaching it to the upper one. My wings were so thin that they wouldn’t be able to tell the difference. Then I had to do the other one as well.
Before preparing myself to move the other wing, I sighed and mumbled again.
Later that night…
The battle never happened. The reinforcements seemed to have postponed the assault until a later time. I remained in my place in the forest. The pain from my wings stayed constant, but I began to get used to it.
I looked out of the bushes onto the dark, corpse-ridden battlefield. My mind was made up; I had to do this. Unable and unwilling to fly, I walked out onto the seemingly derelict battlefield. Unconcerned whether the hostiles saw me or not, I approached my friend and knelt down beside his still self.
“Hey, Talvoc,” I said. “I’m back.”
Looking down at him, tears entered my eyes again. “I am so sorry! I’m sorry about what happened! I’m nothing but a hypocrite… and a traitor! Why? Why couldn’t I be like you? You died saving me, and… and I couldn’t even save you. You’re a hero. I’m…not.”
I took Talvoc in my stingers and began to carry him towards the forest. A hostile from the nearby hive flew in front of me, blocking my path.
“What are you doing?” he asked me, imposingly.
Tearfully, I pleaded, “Please, just let me pass.” I was surprised when he nodded and stepped aside. I immediately felt a wave of respect for this Beedrill who was known to us as a “hostile”.
“Thank you,” I answered, walking by him.
“Hey…” he said with some amusement. “You’re that guy who kicked me today, aren’t you?”
Stopping in my tracks I paused and answered, “Yes.”
He let out a hard chuckle and said, “I’ll see you around.” Then he flew back to his hive, still tittering slightly.
I sighed and walked into the forest. From there I continued to carry Talvoc back towards our hive. Looking down at my friend, I thought to myself, “This wasn’t supposed to happen!”
In my arms was Talvoc. Tal, my inseparable friend. I realized the situation and dropped to my scrawny knees. Looking at him seemed to zap all of my energy and emotions, except for that of sadness. My will to continue moving instantly vanished. All I did was remain on my knees, holding Talvoc.
Then a Beedrill on patrol burst through the leaves and flew down in front of me. He carefully evaluated the situation. I couldn’t have cared less about his presence.
“Oh shit…” he said in almost disgust, seeing my ripped wings and Talvoc. “Are you part of the reconaissault team?!”
“I was…” I mumbled.
“Crap… I’d better get you back to the hive,” he said.
“How far are we from the hive?” I asked him.
“Not very far, about twenty seconds by wing… You can probably walk there in no time,” awkwardly exclaimed the patrol, noticing his blunder when mentioning the word wing. Of course I wasn’t offended, though; my wings were still fully operational, although no one else would know.
After nodding, I placed Talvoc at the base of the tree. “Make sure that nobody lays a stinger on him,” I commanded, beginning to walk back to the hive.
“Uh, yeah, sure thing,” he answered. “You’re the hero.”
I stopped walking for a moment before saying, “No. I’m not.”
The next day…
That’s what they kept calling me.
“A hero of the reconaissault squadron who all died honorably for our hive,” they kept saying.
A hero is something that I’m not.
When I asked why they called me one, they answered with, “For not dying.”
It baffled me. I was not the one who should be called a hero! It was Talvoc… the team leader… the ones who gave their lives are the ones who should be called the heroes! Not me! Not the traitor!
After climbing up the hive last night I was greeted with cheers and welcomes. Zurik, one of my other friends who was a patrol for the hive, gave me a hug upon my return. He was a good friend… but he was not Tal. We both wept after I told him about what happened to Talvoc, since he was Zurik’s friend, too.
He said that he would talk to the higher ups for me. Since they believed I could no longer fly, they gave me the new duty of foot patrol around the hive. Admittedly I was worried that they would kill me for no longer being able to perform my previous job, despite the fact that my team was wiped out. Perhaps they wouldn’t dare kill a hero. Nevertheless, I had a new duty now- a duty no less perilous than my previous one. I could still die from the hostiles if they chose to counter attack or perhaps from a hungry pokemon who wanted an easy lunch or who wanted to attack the hive.
Starting our late afternoon patrol, Zurik and I walked from the hive to where Tal lay. I think Zurik chose to walk as well because he was afraid he’d alienate me by flying. So we walked with our main stingers dragging in the grass. We approached Tal’s still temperate body and knelt down beside it.
“Thank you,” I mumbled just low enough so that Zurik couldn’t hear. We both crossed our stingers and bowed our heads.
Then I took a small vine from the ground near by. I cut it into a small piece and spat a small snare thread on each end before putting the ends together to make a ring shape.
“What are you doing?” asked Zurik in puzzlement.
“Honoring his memory,” I answered simply.
I placed the yellow point of my main stinger just above the end of Talvoc’s fore stinger. To Zurik’s confusion, I injected poison into the tip, and then lightly hit the stinger so that the small tip of the fore stinger came off. Thanks to the poison, the point came off perfectly. I did the same thing to his other fore stinger.
Zurik stared at me in pure bewilderment. After that, I pushed both cone-shaped, ivory tips to the vine I had lying in the grass. I spat snare thread on the flat edges of the cone, stinger tips. This neutralized the poison and allowed me to attach the cones to the vine. They fit the vine perfectly.
Despite his initial reactions to me cutting off the ends of my friend’s fore stingers, Zurik began to understand what I was doing.
“A necklace?” he asked, watching me place the vine around my neck. The stinger tips stuck firmly to the green thread and weighed it down so that it rested on my chest.
I nodded in answer. The orange sun filtered through the leaves of the surrounding trees.
“Aren’t you going to bury him?” Zurik questioned.
I shook my head.
“I can’t bury him,” I answered.
“Do you need me to help?” he offered.
“I said I can’t bury him!” I shouted. He quickly backed off. “He… he would have wanted to be out in the fresh air. Tal always hated being cooped up in that hive. He was so happy to be in the daylight.”
There was a long silence until Zurik broke it. “Are you going to come back here every day?” he quietly asked, a little insecure about asking the question, himself. I nodded again. He knew I would stay true to this promise so he said nothing more.
I looked up at the giant orange ball in the pink sky in awe.
In my head, I asked, “Are you up there, Tal?”
Like I had guessed, I received no answer from the magnificent orb of life.
“Drez… Will you be alright?”
I paused and looked down at the necklace which was hanging from my neck. After, my crimson eyes lifted up to face Zurik’s.
“My name is Drezdk.”
And there it is. Now to go and post my next chapter of NITWOMP.