As the smokescreen faded, the Hoothoot appeared to be very much knocked out. Kitty smiled happily, bouncing on her spot in celebration of her victory. Then she leaped over to Hoothoot, poking him with her paw before…snatching the little bird between her teeth. Noriko’s eyes went wide as Kitty bounched from branch to branch, all the way to ground-level, before setting the fried bird in front of Noriko’s feet. Kitty seemed more than proud of herself, waiting for the compliments on a job well done.
Noriko couldn’t manage to make the words come to her brain. Out of the blue, the mother Donphan started pushing her babies to the woods. A small sound could be heard in the distance – but it was getting louder and closer by the second. Donphan made a loud noise with her trunk, the bundles of joy gathering to her fast as light. Kitty had stepped behind Noriko’s legs, curiously trying to get a peek of whatever was making the noise.
A black helicopter with a bright red R-insignia on it started landing over the lake. Noriko hadn’t wasted time getting into hiding as soon as she recognized the sign of Team Rocket. For some reason the helicopter didn’t land – it hovered above the trees, blowing wind on the small area. The side-door opened and Noriko could barely make out a Weezing floating in the doorway…right before it released a Smokescreen all over the place. Donphan started making a very distressed noise: she had stayed behind! Not able to see anything, Noriko tried to hear what was going on instead.
Two sounds of feet landing on the ground hinted at a human presence. What bothered Noriko more was the distressed sound of Donphan, who was also stomping her feet from the sounds of it. Suddenly, the cries were muffled and something very, very heavy crashed on the ground. Was that Donphan?
“Tranquiliser darts loaded with Seviper venom”, said a female voice from the smoke.
“Nice”, a male voice replied, seemingly happy with their results. “Looks like this one’ll sell for a lot. Really long tusks!” Noriko bit her lip. Poachers, of course.
“We’re not out of the woods yet Ted, wasn’t there a Ranger spotted in the vicinity?”
“I wouldn’t worry about that, Bundy. Our intel tells us he’s the worst ranger in the academy!”
The duo seemed to get on the helicopter, which was rising up to the sky with Donphan on it. Luckily enough the smoke was clearing up and Noriko could see the helicopter heading for and over the waterfall. The sad sound of the little Phanphies crying after their mother could now be clearly heard. Of course Noriko was going to go save Donphan, but before she could get any further than that in her mind, there was loud noise from the bush…right before a young man popped out. He had on black overalls and a red jacket that Noriko recognized to be the iconic clothing item of the rangers. Despite such a high status, the rest of his appearance was less than desirable: messy hair, crooked glasses, and a visible sweat stain smack in the middle of his chest. His green eyes were striking though.
“Have you se-se-seen a Team R-r-rocket helicopter? I-I-I’ve been following it for hours! My n-names Deadalus by the way” the young man said, breath wheezing as he doubled over and tried to catch his breath. He still managed to stick out a hand for a handshake, but as soon as Noriko reached for it he pulled it back, re-arranging his dark hair instead. Noriko decided to go for a bow instead.
“Nice to meet you, Deadalus, I’m Noriko. And I have seen a Team Rocket helicopter, just a few minutes ago in fact.” She helpfully pointed toward the waterfall. “They went that way, but they’ve kidnapped a female Donphan that I want to save. Well, need to save is more like it; I can’t leave her babies without a mother.” Noriko picked up Kitty from the ground, turning her full attention to Deadalus. “This is my partner, Kitty, by the way. Since you seem to be a Ranger and after them, we’re coming with you. We can handle ourselves and won’t get in the way.” She stared down at Deadalus with all the determination she could muster, Kitty doing the best possible imitation of her trainer at the same time.