First off I would like to sincerely apologize for this taking so long. I wouldn't blame you if you thought I abandoned this, I would too. I never expected the personal and writing issues I had while writing this chapter. Personally, college has utterly destroyed the time I used to take to write this. Everything written here was written while I was on break inbetween semesters, add that to the fact that I've been going summer too, and well yeah. On the writing issues, I struggled with this, there are like ten different versions of this chapter, I hope this one is decent. So yeah, for a long time I would stare at what I had written before, think it sucked, start over, and then have to abandon it because of school. All I can say is that I hope you're still interested in reading this, because I'm still writing. Hopefully the next one will come sooner too.
Then There Were Others
As the days passed, I managed to stay out of trouble long enough for my wounds to heal. As soon as that happened I left that annoying, barren, crowded, fruitless place and headed back toward the mountains. I had hoped that I might find another meadow, but no matter how hard I searched once I got there, I couldn't find one like the one I had been to before. There were only small grassy areas that couldn't support me for long durations. It was frustrating, but something I was used to. Still, I wanted to curse those whom where the cause of my current search.
It had been my last major battle in the weeks that had since passed. It wasn't that I was avoiding battles, but more like I just hadn't been challenged, probably as there was nothing really worth fighting for in that dirt pile. Oh well, at least I had plenty of time to look for the next place I'd stay.
On this day however, I came across to what my stunned eyes told me was an orchard of red round fruits, yet there was not a single Pokémon in sight, nor a single scent marking to be found. I was surprised because there was no way this much food could be left untouched. There had to be a catch, but everywhere I looked I couldn't find it. Besides the weird thorny vine like things that ran between the sticks coming out of the ground in front of it, there was nothing out of the ordinary. After staring at it awhile I couldn't sense any danger coming, so I threw out my vines to the nearest tree branch and hoisted myself over.
Wandering over to the trees I began picking the fruits one after the other, as they were the best thing I had eaten since I couldn't remember when. So sweet and juicy, they almost melted in my mouth.
When I went to pull off another fruit, it caught, or rather… it was being pulled back in the other direction? I glared at it. Why should I even be surprised?
Well, all it took was one big jerk… and it finally came off, along with the obvious answer to why the fruit suddenly had a mind of its own. Lowering it to my face revealed the little yellow fluffball attached to the other side.
I stared at the thing until it suddenly twitched and opened a pair of dark brown eyes. We looked back at each other for a few seconds when it blinked a few times. Then suddenly…
…a bright flash radiated around me as I felt electricity course through my body.
Not that it really did anything, since I found out over time that I had some sort of immunity to it, and this was far from the worst one could get. The small amount of static danced across my skin and I felt a slight tingle. After three seconds it was over, and I waited for its next move-
-which was to fall to the ground with a thud.
I waited for a moment while it laid there as limp as a grass blade with swirls in its eyes. Finally shrugging, I took a bite of the fruit. I sighed, vaguely wondering if there were more of them around here and how many other fruits they had managed to nibble on.
Ah yes, Pichu, the little yellow rodent that lay in front of me with its black tipped ears, collar, and tail. It also had these two red spots on its cheeks, which was where it kept its electricity. They were kind of like Rattata in that they were small and fast, but they lacked the fangs.
And of course it had the reputation of having the most worthless attack ability known to Pokémon. You see, instead of biting like the other rodents, they used their electric attacks to fight off their predators. This in theory made sense for things like bird Pokémon who seemed to be weak to it. The problem was they didn't have enough power to counter but the weakest birds, and they only got one shot since, of course, they knocked themselves out with their own attack.
Yes, that's right, they couldn't use their own abilities without hurting themselves. Stupidest thing ever, no?
Therefore they relied on their speed because if they got picked up by anything like Fearow then it was all over.
So, I ignored it, but not my surroundings, because where there was prey, there were predators. Though on the other hand, Pichu were known as skittish, and would try to avoid trouble since they knew their predicament all too well. Either way, I would have to keep up my guard.
Sure enough, after eating a few more fruits, an eerie feeling started to settle over me. It was kind of hard to describe, like something was watching me, but I didn't know what. Taking my mind off the food, I slowly began to back up into a more open area.
There was something out there, and I had to be ready.
Suddenly, I heard the swift sounds of something running across the grass, and could just see the blurs coming. Not even hesitating I whirled out my vines in a sweeping motion to hit whatever it was.
My potential attackers recoiled across the ground to reveal themselves as…
Two of them to be exact. They were struggling to get to their feet after the hit they had been given. I stared at them curiously, while they shook the dirt off and wobbled toward me. Just what did they think they were doing?
Stopping right in front of me, their bodies tensed in a battle stance, while I blinked.
"(What did you do to him?)" one of them demanded.
"(Him?)" I questioned, though I had a pretty good idea of what he was talking about.
"(Yeah, look at what you did to our friend!)" he said while pointing to the other Pichu that lay in front of me.
I walked over to the "him" in question, tapped his limp body with my foot, and watched as nothing happened.
"(I didn't do anything. He knocked himself out.)" I stated, with emphasis on the last part.
The Pichu on the left, the one who had been talking, began, "(Well you must have done something!)"
I raised an eyebrow. "(Like what?)" Then I decided to toy with them. "(If I had wanted to do something to him, he would be laying here in pieces right now.)" I grinned wickedly.
"(Oh yeah!)" he challenged, I noted with a bit more fear in his voice.
"(Hey, don't make it worse,)" the other one hissed.
The first one glared at him. "(Make it worse? Have you forgotten? We're here to rescue Chupi!)"
The one on the right muttered back a disgruntled, "(I know!)"
"(Then it can't get any worse than it is already!)" he shouted.
"(Not if you try to get her to maul us in the process!)" the other cried.
I could have stood there watching them entertain me for a while longer, but it was beginning to get old. There were better things to do than watch a bunch of fuzzballs duke it out. Besides my curiosity was starting to get the better of me, and I almost I wanted to know why two Pichu would be so stupid as to attack someone in open broad daylight.
I sighed. "(Hey guys, can we get this over with? I don't want to stand here all day.)"
"Lefty", as I called him for sake of convenience, shouted, "(You'll wish you'd never met us by the time we're through!)
I muttered, "(That's what I'm afraid of.)" Something told me that that would prove true before all was said and done, though definitely not the way he was thinking.
"Righty", I had to differentiate him too, asked him, "(You have a plan?)"
Lefty nodded. "(Yeah, we confuse her.)"
They shared a smile before using their speed to instantly vanish, or that's the way it appeared. I could still hear them moving if I tried hard enough. It didn't matter though, because I knew in the end they would attack me head on, since they had no other choice, and that's all I had to wait for.
Standing there, listening to them dance around in their complex little pattern, I had to admit they were at least using a strategy to compensate for what they lacked in power. That wasn't something I had seen in my opponents for a while. At least it would make this more interesting.
Then there was sound just in front of me, so taking the opportunity, I threw out my vines to block, and sure enough there was an "oomph" as a result. Smirking as the yellow ball rolled across the dirt, I felt my senses go off, and jerked my head back to the left just in time to see the other one lunging at me. My vines were already extended, thus seemingly, there was no way I could call them back in time to hit. I was wide open as it appeared.
I had to hand it to them -- they actually were trying to give themselves the best chance they had to win this.
Too bad for them I was far more experienced at playing this game.
As soon as he was about to hit me, I tossed my leaf around, slamming him back against a tree. Immediately I unleashed a torrent of leaves that soared through the air with blinding speed. The little Pichu only had time to blink and gasp in horror as he saw them close in.
I smirked at the result.
Meanwhile, his companion gasped in shock.
Maybe it was cruel, but a lesson had to be taught about who you should and shouldn't mess with. And based on the sight before me I guessed that I did a pretty good job of it. Before I could start snickering I said, "(You can open your eyes now.)"
Brown eyes began to open, looking bewildered from their owner's expectation of being in a lot more pain. But instead, his body was still intact, and the attack that had been about to slice him into a dozen shreds a second ago was gone. Looking around, he followed everyone's gaze upward to about an ear length above his head…
… where several leaves were dug into the tree by their sharp edges. Now that the force behind them had ended, they hung more limply, and one of them slid from its place in the tree to float softly to the ground. It danced lazily through the air in a zigzag pattern before landing on the Pichu's gazing face.
It was all I could take before breaking into laughter.
That was enough to shake Lefty out of his daze, making him glare angrily at me. He shouted, "(What are you laughing at!? You're the one who missed!)"
I stopped long enough to snicker, "(Hardly, they went exactly where I wanted them to. You're just lucky I'm not in the mood for sliced Pichu, since the mess would spoil the fruit.)" Okay, so I was having some fun. So what?
"(You liar! I could have dodged them at any time!)" he shot back.
Even his companion could only sigh.
I snorted, "(Right, just keep telling yourself that. Especially when your strategy was flawed. It could be worse than this right now.)"
"(Oh yeah!)" he dared.
"(Yeah.)" I answered while tossing another dozen leaves, this time in their general direction. They scattered immediately -- well almost all of them, I thought while looking at the limp ball of fur that still hadn't moved yet off to my right.
After the conclusion of one of the shortest battles ever, I figured it was time to get back to more important things. Besides, there was still plenty of daylight left, and a lot of new area to search, so who knew what other kinds of fruits I might find if-
My head jerked up in an instant. Something had rattled the branches on one of the trees not too far away. Instantly I began searching for whatever had made it; for whatever was stalking this place.
But I didn't hear anything after that. It just got quiet, eerily quiet. Not that everything in the forest went still, but… something was off.
I couldn't tell what though.
I ran back toward the clearing where I had been, because it felt better to be closer to an open area rather than be surrounded by forest. Peering my eyes around in all directions, I hunted for whatever might be out there. Everything looked normal, but my instincts were going off like a warning cry.
Once I got there, I didn't see anything that was different from before. Nothing was in the clearing, nothing was in the sky, nothing except that annoying duo of Pichu who were… staring at… the sun…
Wait a minute?
Staring at the sun? Yanking my head in the same direction to figure out what they were looking at, I was met with bright light. Rapidly shutting my eyes against the pain, I waited for it to dull, before squinting to see what it was.
But there was nothing there.
Then what was going on? I looked back at them to see they hadn't moved, instead continuing their weird behavior of gazing at a burning ball of light without it somehow bothering them. Were they completely out of it?
Or as it suddenly became obvious, it was much worse than that.
The shadow swiftly ran across the ground in front of them, so fast it vanished as soon as it appeared. Backed up against a tree, I searched everywhere trying to find it before it found me. Unfortunately, I didn't have to wait.
As a few leaves on a nearby tree fluttered, I looked upwards to see that it had finally emerged from the light in which it had hid.
The brown plumage with the black triangles, the great cream split head crest, and those haunting red eyes, it was all there. It was the parts that made up one of the worst predators of the forest, as their victims didn't know what had happened until it was too late. Silently stalking their prey in the dark of night, or when they least expected it.
The great bird Noctowl.
Noctowl were infamous because of their eyes. You see, therein lied their secret weapon; the ability to make Pokémon who made the mistake of looking at them completely oblivious to all. They would send those affected into some sort of weird dreamlike state where they couldn't really fight back. Although it only lasted a short time it was ridiculously effective on their prey, and predators alike.
Whenever they woke up it was already too late.
Their abilities made them especially famous as nest robbers of young Pokémon who had the unfortunate fate to come across them. In that situation, Noctowl would use their eyes to incapacitate anyone there and make away with the sleeping child. They would be far enough away so that their parents couldn't respond when the daze wore off, and no one would know what happened.
Unless by some miracle the young just happened to distract it long enough before they could escape…
... thus giving enough time for the parent to intervene if they hadn't gotten too far away.
A chill ran down my spine. That was definitely a rare occurrence, and for most that opportunity never came.
My eyes settled back on the Pichu. They were still staring dazedly at the sun. In other words, they didn't stand a chance.
They had looked into the eyes of Noctowl, and now they would meet their fate. I looked around, there weren't any other Pichu coming to save them, not that they would be so foolish.
My gaze settled on their limp companion who they said they were going to "save". And now there was no one coming to their rescue this time.
I snorted. That was a familiar situation.
This is what happens when someone finally loses the game.
Yet despite the fact that it wouldn't be the first time I saw something like this, right now all my stomach could do was churn.
Deep down this didn't feel right.
The Noctowl wasn't after me. Once it took an easy meal it would fly off to eat somewhere away from thieves. Besides, it was none of my business. It never had been.
Despite this, every muscle in my body tensed up as the Noctowl came in for the final dive after it had decided they were under its control.
I couldn't help but shudder. Why was I watching this? All I was doing was taking the risk of being spotted.
I knew the reason I had made it this long was from standing on my own four feet, fighting all the time with no help from anyone else, and if I lost that it was over. There wasn't going to be anyone else to defend me, and likewise I had no one to defend.
You made your own way in life, and what you saw wasn't always pretty. Even if you didn't like the way the world worked, you certainly couldn't go around trying to stop the harsh facts of life from occurring every time it happened. In a world where everyone couldn't care less about anyone besides themselves, such thoughts were silly.
Risking it all for someone else, for no real reason, was a quick and stupid way for the game to end.
Yet for some reason I couldn't tear myself away. Staring at the situation almost as if I was in daze myself, it played out with chilling familiarity.
This was the finale, and I was its witness.
Gliding swiftly through the air, it was getting closer to the ground every second, claws outstretched in anticipation of its prey.
Meanwhile I felt frozen by a feeling that I wouldn't often admit to feeling: fear.
Watching the sinister scene unfold I found that my body had suddenly frozen up. So much was running through my head at that moment that my thoughts were chaotic and emotions on edge for reasons I couldn't even explain. All I knew was that it felt like everything had gone horribly wrong.
I turned toward the sound, and there it was circling around the nearest tree.
As its eyes bore directly into mine I saw its claws outstretch... for me. This was it.
If only they knew what was about to happen.
A silent flap of its wings focused my eyes on it, and despite everything I couldn't stop myself from glancing at those fiercely intense eyes.
Gasping as I saw it again, my body went numb. I couldn't move. I couldn't think. I could only stare at the scene unfolding in front of me.
There was no way for them to escape, no one to save them, and no second chance as it eventually came for the final assault.
My mind finally began yelling at me. It's coming back! It's coming back! Do something! I tried desperately to move. I didn't want it to get me again. But how could I stop it? What could I do?
Their fate was sealed, wasn't it? For who had the power to actually fight fate? Who could change destiny?
Unfortunately, I found the only thing I could do was scream.
My ears stung as a sharp cry erupted from the predator, and it was suddenly being pummeled. Knocked this way and that, a terrible barrage nearly sent it to the ground. Struggling to stay aloft it searched desperately for what started the attack, but it never got the chance to figure it out.
A dark blur shot out of the forest, striking it down instantly. The once invincible hunter crashed to the ground calling out in agony over the pain that had surprised it. It struggled to make sense of the vicious assault that came out of nowhere.
At the moment its concentration was lost, the spell it had lain over its unsuspecting victims was finally lifted.
"(Ow, my eyes!)"
"(What's going on?)"
Rubbing their watering eyes, the confused Pichu squinted in different directions in an attempt to figure out exactly what had happened. But they didn't seem to be getting any closer to finding the answer.
Until they heard that cry ring out in the air.
"(What's that?)" With that question left hanging in the air, they looked for the startling noise, only to find an even more startling sight.
There on the ground, finally getting to its feet was one of the scariest creatures they had ever had to worry about facing. It was rubbing at its head repeatedly with its wing, seemingly taking no notice of the rodents, but they certainly took notice of it. They gasped, before automatically shutting their mouths and wondering where it had come from.
Before they could even ponder that, the bird turned and caught sight of them. They stared at each other a moment in a strange sort of standoff, of hunter and the hunted. Unexpectedly, out of the blue a branch snapped off of one of nearby trees and before they could even react...
…it reacted by finally struggling to take to the air, and disappeared into the distance.
They looked at one another in confusion for a moment. "(Did that Noctowl look scared?)" The baffled question arose. But it was unthinkable; what did it have to be scared of anyway? Yet it ran away, spooked from a branch breaking?
"(Hey, guys? What's going on?)" Chupi, who had finally awoken, asked his companions baffled.
"(I don't know, but- Hey, look up there!)" Lefty suddenly shouted, pointing up at the tree where the branch had broken.
There up in the tree, and in fact a couple of the other trees, were several leaves embedded in the bark. Not to mention the cuts and slashes on the branches that showed how they'd gotten there. Looking back at the branch that lay on the ground, it too had apparently been cut through to the point where it had broken off.
Maybe that explained the ruffled appearance of the bird, and bloodied spot they had seen between its eyes.
"(Where did this come from?)" Chupi asked Lefty.
"(It almost looks like…)" he began to answer.
"(Look,)" Righty whispered interrupting him.
They turned to see what he was looking at, and I found all of them now staring at me.
I stood there for a second without betraying an emotion, before turning to run away without speaking a word.
Now when it was warm, the mountain meadows were way better than the ones in the thicker forests farther down, since they didn't have all the trees choking out the sunlight. Of course the higher you climbed the colder it got, and once the sun went down at night any warmth that was left over from the day instantly disappeared. That was the tradeoff.
Knowing all of this as I got closer, I would never miss an opportunity to get as much warmth and energy from daylight as I could.
Though, on the other hand, sunbathing carelessly could land you in a whole lot of trouble, as I knew firsthand.
Those thoughts were interrupted by my coming out of the woods, out onto a break in the trees that was a fairly good size. Now basking fully in the sunshine, I shivered off the cold, taking in the newfound warmth, while my feet adored the soft mountain grass that was begging me to relax. After all that walking, this place was almost perfect to stop and sunbathe.
I sighed. Too bad it was only almost perfect.
Of course there would have to be a path running right though it, meaning that anyone from human to random Pokemon would be led here if they were to go toward the pass. It was the only way from here to avoid going into the mountains.
So as I stood there in that little grassy area with the path running through it, I had a mental debate with myself. Should I keep up the pace like I had been since I left the orchard? Or should I give in to my body's tired begging for rest and sun?
My eyes were already beginning to droop, and the pathway smelled like it hadn't been used in forever.
Finally unable to keep my eyes open any longer, I gave in.
After all, how much worse could things get compared to what I had already seen?
"Boy, it sure is freezing up here."
"Look, there's even snow on that mountain."
"That's cool. It must be just like winter over there. Why don't we go and see if we can ski?"
Ski? Or maybe it's sky? But how can you sky?
"That's a great idea! I can see myself now, spending all morning on the slopes and all afternoon at the lodge. Uh, I think I may have just hit on the perfect sport for me… downhill skiing."
"I think your brain's going downhill."
You know, this couldn't get any weirder. I mean what the heck is a ski? Or is it sky? Are we going up into the sky? Or maybe down somewhere? I think it was down.
"Forget skiing! I found something that's even better. Just take a look over there."
Is here there?
"It's a Chikorita."
"(Yeah, it is.)"
It seemed like I was there, but I wasn't. I just wanted to escape again back into the obliviousness of relaxation, but I was being pulled away. It wasn't fair.
"It's so cute."
"Looks like it's sunbathing."
Cute? Sunbathing? What?
"I smell something sweet."
"Yeah, that's the scent that comes off the Chikorita's petals."
"It's a little like the way Casey's Chikorita smelled, remember?"
Chikorita… smelled? Scent? Chikorita… I'm… Oh crap.
"Think it's a wild Chikorita?"
Yep, this is what I get for questioning fate. Having everything come back to bite me in the butt. Ha ha, real funny. I get it, the joke's on me.
"Chikorita: the leaf Pokémon. Chikorita emit aromas from the leaves on their heads, and they love to sunbathe," an eerie emotionless voice rang out in the air.
Um, okay? Now that you know that startling new information, can't you go away? I mean, I have better things to do right now, and none of it involves whomever you are.
You think maybe… just maybe… if I keep pretending that I'm still asleep they won't try to catch me?
"Okay, I'm going to catch this one!"
Of course. That's so funny I forgot to laugh.
Oh well, might as well get this over with. The sooner I kick their butts, the sooner I can get back to my search… for a new place to stay… after being ripped away from the old one… by humans.
Opening my eyes, I leapt up off the ground hoping to startle my opponent, who was probably trying to catch me off guard. As if. It was not going be that easy, not by a long shot.
"(If you want me… you're going to have to pay for it,)" I growled, meaning every single word. Today was not going to be a repeat of last time.
Taking a moment to see what I was facing, I found in front of me stood a boy. He had dark hair covered by a red and white thing, dark eyes, and tan skin. More of that familiar, yet strange, fur covered him like every other human. There was black on his middle which itself was covered by blue, before turning to white where his arms came out. The lower half was covered in blue too, and his feet were black and white.
However, I found myself paying more attention to what would probably be my opponent on his right shoulder. A feeling of disgust settled in when I saw the yellow fur, black tipped ears, red cheeks, and jagged tail. I think it was called a Pikachu, also known as the next form of Pichu, except not as useless.
Today was just not my day, was it?
"If this Chikorita belongs to anybody, tell me now!"
Say what? He thought I might belong to somebody? Calling me disgusted right now would be an understatement.
Is that all humans take us for? Creatures meant to be collected by them? Pokémon have little worth to them outside of battling, it seems.
Though for some reason, his friends had fallen to the ground, and his Pikachu had a look of exasperation on its face.
"If you don't, I'm gonna capture it!" he continued.
Grr. How annoying. Who did he think he was anyway?
"(Are you kidding me?)" I muttered.
"Don't say I didn't give you fair warning!"
He couldn't shut up, could he? Oh, I'll give him a warning all right.
Before I could carry that out however, the girl behind him spoke. "Keep it down, Ash! Or you're going to scare Chikorita away!"
Scare me away? They really didn't consider me much of anything, did they? I am really going to enjoy this battle.
"(I'm not scared,") I taunted. "(I'm not afraid… of anything you… are going to throw out… of those cursed balls)" I was chanting by now, swinging the leaf on my head around to show my challenge. I dared them to come after me. If they wanted to battle me then they were going to know they weren't dealing with a coward.
And apparently the squinty eyed boy noticed. "It's not scaring so easy."
"Huh?" questioned the boy and girl.
"This one looks like a pretty tough cookie," he stated.
At least he seems to have some sense.
"It's not backing down a bit," commented the girl. Even though I thought Knotted Hair looked stranger, she still looked a little odd with her red hair somehow sticking out of the left side of her head like that. So I guess I'll call her Red? It's convenient.
"I told you it was tough," responded the same boy. Now he definitely looked weirder than anybody I had seen before, I didn't know humans could keep their eyes closed and still see. I would keep that in mind as I dubbed him Squinty.
Red turned to him and questioned, "I thought Chikorita were supposed to be sweet."
Time to put an end to that myth.
The other boy - didn't Red call him something? I guess I wasn't paying attention - didn't seem deterred in the least. "If you ask me, there's nothing sweeter than capturing a tough one." He smiled, before turning the thing on his head around and throwing a cursed ball with a cry of, "I choose you, Bulbasaur!"
"(Let's get started!)"
Rather than face the electric attacks of the Pikachu, it seems he chose another Grass Pokémon. Like it would have better odds. Anyway, looking at the green reptile with a bulb on his back I wasn't too impressed.
But maybe the boy hadn't underestimated me like I thought. "Don't let this one fool you! It looks nasty!"
My opponent took one look at me before turning back to say, "(If you say so.)"
I growled. How dare he. "(You're about to find out!)" I yelled charging him head on.
"Go, Bulbasaur, grab it with Vine Whip!" screamed the boy.
Before I could dodge, familiar green vines flew out from his bulb to knock me off my feet. Tumbling a few times I regained control and managed to land standing up. Not hesitating I tossed two leaves at him in retribution. I knew it wouldn't do much, but I wanted to see how strong he was. Let’s see if he can match his words.
"It's using Razor Leaf!" Squinty yelled.
The boy's - wasn't he called Dust or something? - confidence had not been doused however. "It's not going to beat Bulbasaur that way."
"(Not in the least,)" my opponent agreed grinning, while tossing his own leaves to take out mine. Once his little display was over he laughed, "(That was easy.)"
Mark my words, that piece of dirt is going to eat it.
Red commented, "Bulbasaur sure seems confident."
"Maybe a little too confident," Squinty suggested.
You know, maybe... he might be the least annoying human I've ever met.
"Bulbasaur, use Tackle attack!"
"(What!?)" I let him get too close to dodge! Darn it! Thanks to that human I let my guard down!
He slammed into me before I could blink, my body rolled across the grass before coming to a stop with my legs sprawled out. I tried to catch my breath.
The boy didn't waste a second. "Okay, Chikorita, now I'm going to capture you!" I looked up to see him throw the cursed ball, the ball he was so sure would end my freedom.
For a moment it felt familiar.
I heard her yell, "Go Pokeball!" I turned my head just in time to see one of the cursed balls coming at me.
But this time I was ready.
Hopping to my feet instantly, I waited for the right moment when it would come within range. My mind replaying the last time I had done this, I whirled my leaf at it with everything I had. For a second I felt the cool smoothness of the ball strike my leaf, then fly rapidly back toward the boy who had the reflexes to catch it with his hand before he could be hit.
I wonder what would happen if a human was hit with the ball?
"It's tougher than I thought," he muttered looking surprised.
"(You'd better believe it!)" I screamed.
No more games. It was time to put them in their place.
"Hey! Look out!" The boy saw my attack in time to yell, but too late for Bulbasaur to react.
In the maneuver I was so used to, the point tips of my vines collided on his forehead, tearing through the scales that were supposed to protect him. He screamed out in shock, the boy gasped in disbelief, before he tumbled backwards intro the earth. Coming to a stop, he was moaning in agony while he lay clutching his head with his front legs.
I can't say that I wasn't smiling at the scene.
"Bad break. That Chikorita's good," Squinty praised.
"I have to admit, Chikorita's a great competitor and it's really cute," Red agreed.
Wait a minute? Are they praising me for thrashing their friend's Pokémon?
Um... Aren't they supposed to be on his side?
Er, they must want me for themselves or something.
Meanwhile the boy, um what was his name again? It was a human "A" word. At? Ache? Ask? Er, something I can't be bothered to remember, pulled out his ball and ended Bulbasaur's humiliation. "You did a great job. Now you deserve a rest."
Great job? I blinked. Why is he lying like that? I've seen humans do it a few times before, and it's kinda low if you ask me. How can you honestly tell someone with a straight face they did great after they got their butt kicked? Bulbasaur may have been an arse, but still...
"You may have gotten lucky against Bulbasaur," he began while grabbing another ball, “but your luck's about to run out, Chikorita."
Oh, so it was luck? He'll be lucky to come out of this intact when I get through with him.
"I choose you, Charizard!"
And then something appeared, that even I have to admit sent a chill down my spine.
And nearly knocked me off my feet, literally.
A huge orange dragon with wings and pure fire burning on its tail was staring back at me.
…WHERE THE HECK DID HE GET A FREAKING MONSTER!?
"(You think I'm afraid of you!)" I challenged, dragging myself back to my senses.
I faced a monster once and lived to tell the tale, now I would have the chance to defeat one. And if anybody had a chance it was me… right? I tensed. Right.
Now all I needed was a plan.
"Let's win this one, Charizard."
"(Of course,)" it growled, like it was stating the obvious.
Well, you know what they say; it's better to face your problems head on, or in my case, ram into them. Hopefully the insanity of such a move will catch it off guard and buy me some time.
Or the monster could just lift up a foot to stop my attack in its tracks. Drat.
Still, like the stubborn one I am, I dug in and poured all of my strength into pushing back. Because, hey, it was still buying me time.
What? Did I just hear it yawn? Oh, come on!
But what was I going to do? How do I topple something that can stop me with just one foot? How can I-
All I needed was the right moment.
"This one is pretty tricky, Charizard; use your Flamethrower!"
Too bad it never got a chance to finish that sentence. "(You're mine!)" because my vines wrapped around its other leg and pulled it out from underneath it. When you add that to the fact its foot was still in the air, well… let's just say I got to see a dragon fly.
"Ahh!" a familiar voice cried out.
Of course, even better was the fact that dumping it on its back unleashed on the boy the attack that was meant for me. Ha! I said he wouldn't get out of this unscathed, but this – I snickered – was too perfect.
Hey? Wasn't his name… um, something like… Soot?
Well, it fits.
"Hey! Don't use it on me!" he cried.
"(How is that my problem?)" the monster grumbled scratching its head with its claw.
Since they were distracted I took the opportunity, to toss some leaves at them. Let’s see their reaction to this.
"Burn those leaves with your Flamethrower!"
It only took a second for every single leaf to be incinerated. "(Shoot.)" They weren’t as distracted as I thought. I guess it's time for my backup plan, but how was I going to get it to work?
"Now, finish it off! Tackle attack!"
"(Prepare for the end!)" it roared, taking to the air with its wings.
The look in its eyes told me that the monster was obviously pissed off from before, and meant it was going to plant me into the ground. Though now that it was airborne, possibly I stood a better chance. I had to time it just right.
It's speeding up…
Only one shot…
My vines flew at their target as fast as I could throw them. Not that I knew a monster's weakness, but that spot between the eyes had never failed me before… most of the time, anyway. And the sensation of the tips digging into its scales before they flew outward in a whipping motion, plus the stunned look on its face gave me some hope that it would succeed this time too.
I held my breath.
Everything stood still, I heard Soot gasp somewhere off in the distance, but I was too focused on the results of my attack.
Pain took over the monster's features. I watched it try to remain in the air, completely forgetting about me as it sailed way overhead. It looked like it had lost control…
Then it dawned on me…
I had won.
No, really… I'd just won.
A wicked smirk erupted on my face for the whole world to see.
I had beaten a monster! I had beaten a freaking legendary monster! I was… wow… I had just completely owned an invincible beast in every way! I must be invincible! Go me!
"What an upset! Charizard is headed for a fall!" Squinty yelled.
Do you hear that world? Chikorita can make the most powerful of opponents fall before her! Take that, fate! Bwahahaha!
No one, and I mean no one can stop me now. I'm free to do whatever I wa-aaaaaaaah!
What the? I had been yanked off the ground and into the air! But how? I mean- Oh crud! I let my vines get hooked on the monster's scales! Stupid! So very stupid!
Now it was taking me down with it.
"(Ahhhhhhh!)" This is not fair. Not fair at all. Okay, so maybe I gloated a bit too much, but this is ridiculous! Why couldn’t I control my own destiny?
But a small little voice in the back of mind, one that I was trying very hard to ignore, said that maybe I did…
…when I forgot to retract my vines. Crap.
"This is bad!" I heard Red yell from somewhere.
"There're gonna crash into that mountain!" Squinty added.
Mountain? This couldn’t get any worse, could it?
"(Argh!)" I heard the monster roar behind me.
"(Ahhh!)" I didn't even have a second to brace myself before I was slammed into the hard rock. My body went numb... the pain overwhelming everything... all of my senses went blank... Darkness was beckoning me to escape... but I was trapped... gravity caught up to me... dragged me back down... to the earth... as fast... as it could...
"(Ahhh!)" I... hit... hard...
...I... can't... breathe…
...so... much... pain…
...maybe… it… me?
...I… don't… know…
...I… can't… hear… myself…
"Charizard, are you okay?"
...please… light… where… light…
...dark… so… dark… alone… run…
"You were great, return!"
…return… take… me… back… I've got… to go… back…
…pain… this is… my body… move… got to… move…
…get… up… get up… get up… now… they're coming….fight…
…the light… it burns…
…brown… orange… green… so many colors… too many…
"(Fight me,)" I don't… back… down…
"After all it's been through, it still wants to battle?"
…a challenge?... disbelief?... eyes… brown…
"It can hardly stand up."
… red… blue… concern?...
"(I… don't… need… your… pity…)"
… eyes… too many… worry…
…darkness… relief… escape…