Chapter 4: Flight Of The Z4
The walk through the Ivadirin Forest was a slow one; the path was narrow and constantly twisting and turning. It really was a natural maze. To Orange, however, it seemed to take an eternity; Violet was leading the way, and had insisted upon allowing her new Caterpie to ride on her shoulder. Though Flutters appeared happy with this arrangement, the same could not be said for Orange, who spent most of the time cowering behind Red, much to his amusement and slight annoyance.
"Orange, come on," sighed Red for what had to be the ninth or tenth time. "It's a Caterpie. It's not gonna hurt you at all."
"You don't know that," replied Orange. "They have a mean Tackle attack, you know.
"Why don't you like Bug Pokémon anyway?"
"Because-" started Violet.
"Don't you dare!" Orange threatened as menacingly as he could while keeping his distance from the Caterpie. "Don't tell him!"
"Tell me what?" said Red.
"Nothing. It's nothing," Orange replied a little too quickly, his face reddening. Violet smirked at the sight of him but kept quiet.
"Hey!" came a voice from behind the trio. They simultaneously wheeled around and saw a young boy making his way through the dense, scrambled foliage. He was wearing a white shirt and brown shorts, a wide-brimmed hat, and he carried a butterfly net over his shoulder. "Are you three Pokémon trainers?" he asked.
"Yeah, we are," replied Violet. "I'm Violet, and this is Red, and this is Orange."
"Cool. My name's Jimmy, how about a battle?"
"Sure," Orange stated, but Violet interrupted him.
"Excuse me, Orange. I think this is as good a time as any to let my newest Pokémon gain some experience."
Orange said nothing, but hastened to stand directly behind Red as Violet and Jimmy stood and faced each other, leaving a large amount of admittedly narrow space between them for the battle.
"Two Pokémon each?" asked Jimmy.
"Fine by me," said Violet.
"Weedle! I choose you!" exclaimed Jimmy as he threw a Poké Ball. In a flash of light, a small, light yellow creature emerged. It was similarly proportioned to a Caterpie, and sported a large red nose. In place of Caterpie's Y-shaped antennae, Weedle sported a shining silver horn. Violet held her Pokédex out and aimed it at Jimmy's Pokémon.
"Weedle, the Hairy Bug Pokémon," the Pokédex droned. "Weedle possess an uncanny sense of smell, which it usually uses to tell different kinds of leaves apart. It fends off predators with its large, poisonous stinger."
'Let's go, Flutters!" Violet exclaimed to the Caterpie on her shoulder. Flutters chattered enthusiastically in response and leapt off, landing expertly on the ground and staring down Weedle.
"Weedle! String Shot!" ordered Jimmy.
"Dodge it!" called Violet.
From the tip of Weedle's horn exploded three strands of what appeared to be white silk. Flutters rolled off to the right, evading these strands altogether.
"Flutters, Tackle attack now!"
Flutters dashed forward as fast as its stubby legs would allow, and it plowed into Weedle's side.
"You gonna take that from the likes of a Caterpie?!" exclaimed Jimmy. "Weedle, Poison Sting attack!"
"Weeedle!" responded Weedle as its horn began to emanate a soft, purple glow. Then, a barrage of glowing purple needles were launched from its horn.
"Use String Shot on the needles!" Violet commanded.
Flutters unleashed multiple strands of string from its mouth, each string managing to get stuck on a poison needle. On Violet's order, the Caterpie then jerked its head in all directions, swinging the strings around. Finally, it broke off the String Shot strands from its mouth, causing the needles to fly back towards Weedle.
"What the..." muttered Jimmy, apparently too stunned by the Caterpie's skill to order any sort of defensive maneuver. Far too late, he noticed that Weedle had been struck by its own attack, and was now struggling to stay upright.
"Finish it, Flutters! Use Tackle!" Violet ordered triumphantly.
Flutters charged forward again, and slammed Weedle to the ground. This time, it did not get back up.
"Lucky shot," snapped Jimmy as he held out the Poké Ball, recalling Weedle. Then, he took out another Poké Ball and enlarged it. "But with this one, you don't stand a chance! I've just caught this one, but it's really powerful!" And he threw the ball. "Z4, I choose you!"
In a flash of light, a cube-shaped yellow Pokémon with numerous black and red markings appeared. It appeared to be about half the size of Orange's 44hy. As it floated in midair, it emitted a continuous low-pitched buzzing noise. Immediately, Orange let out an impossibly high-pitched shriek and slumped to the ground, unconscious. Violet held her Pokédex out again.
"Z4, the Box Bee Pokémon," it stated. "Z4 has the power to grow incredibly pointy stingers from any point on its body. Commonly found in forests, where they travel in large swarms."
Flutters, meanwhile, though still conscious, wasn't reacting to Z4's appearance all that much better than Orange was. It inched backwards, giving off weak, nervous cries.
"You got this, Flutters," Violet said soothingly. "Use String Shot."
"Z4, Horn Drill now!" commanded Jimmy.
Neither Pokémon obeyed, however. Flutters merely started to cry, while Z4 simply rose up into the air and increased the volume of its buzzing.
"Come on, Flutters," pleaded Violet.
"Z4! Get down here this instant!" Jimmy roared.
At this, Z4 dove back down- and right at Jimmy. Jimmy began backing off nervously as a rapidly spinning horn-like protrusion erupted from the front of Z4's body.
Red opened his mouth, but before he could say anything, a chorus of ominous buzzing noises started up in the distance. Nervously, Red, Violet, Jimmy, and Orange, who had just regained consciousness, looked in the direction of the sound, and saw a horrific sight in the sky.
No fewer than three hundred Z4 were visible in the sky, and they were all making their way towards the group.
"It's... whole... swarm..." Orange muttered weakly before passing back out. Red and Violet exchanged panicked glances.
"RUN!" exclaimed Red.
Violet scooped up the unconscious Orange in her arms. Jimmy tried to withdraw his Z4, but once it joined with the oncoming swarm, he gave up the attempt and tossed the Poké Ball aside. As the four trainers made a break for it, a whimpering noise made Violet screech to a halt.
"I forgot Flutters!" she gasped. Turning around, she shifted Orange so her right arm was free. She then held out the Poké Ball, and called out, "Flutters, return now!"
A beam of red light burst forth from the ball's button, but by that time, the Z4 were closing in on them. One of the Z4 blocked the beam as two more closed in on the Caterpie.
"No!" exclaimed Violet. Without thinking, she dropped Orange to the ground and charged into the oncoming Z4.
"HEY!" exclaimed Jimmy. "What are you doing?! Charging into a swarm of Z4 is nothing short of suicide!"
Violet, however, did not heed this warning, and pushed her way past several dozen Z4. This, however, angered them. Their buzzing immediately became deeper and more menacing, and several of them sprouted numerous spikes.
Flutters watched as its trainer fought through the murderous swarm of Bug and Poison-types, fully realizing for the first time that this human really, really cared about it. Touched by this realization, the Caterpie sprang into action. It began rapid-firing its String Shot in all directions, causing many Z4 to get stuck to each other, including a duo who were about to sting Violet from behind. It began to make its way towards Violet, but at that moment, two Z4 slammed into Flutters from either side, nearly squashing it. The Z4 then began to rise up, intent on carrying the Caterpie away. Upon seeing this, Violet held out the Poké Ball and tried recalling it once more, but again, the beam was blocked by multiple Z4. As tears formed in Violet's eyes, Flutters struggled and squirmed from between the two Z4, but to no effect. Then, suddenly, the two Z4 were blinded as their captive began to glow brightly with white light.
Violet gasped, her eyes wide, as her little Caterpie, glowing brightly, started to change shape, and knocked its two Z4 captors aside in the process. The bright light had the added effect of scaring the Z4, it seemed, as many of them were flying away now. As this included the two Z4 that held the Caterpie in midair in the first place, Flutters began to fall. Violet ran forwards and caught her Pokémon in her arms just as the glowing ceased.
Flutters was definitely not a Caterpie anymore. Its wormlike body was now completely solid, encased in a steel-like green shell. "Metapod, Metapod," the new Pokémon said.
"Cool," grinned Red as Orange began to regain consciousness.
"Awesome!" exclaimed Jimmy. "Your Caterpie evolved into Metapod!"
"Huh... do what now?" muttered Orange as he unsteadily climbed to his feet, only to jump about a foot in the air when Violet proudly showed him her newly evolved Pokémon. Red, meanwhile, held out his Pokédex in the direction of Violet's Pokémon.
"Metapod, the Cocoon Pokémon, and the evolved form of Caterpie. It is encased in a nearly unbreakable shell for defense. Its Harden technique only improves on this defense."
"Yeah, cool, whatever," Orange stammered. "Now can you please put it back in its ball- LOOK OUT!"
For at that moment, one of the remaining Z4 darted forward, a large horn protruding from its front. It dove right at Violet's back. Violet wheeled around and shrieked at the sight. Flutters, however, wriggled out of Violet's arms and lunged forward, its shell now glowing with green light.
"It's using Harden," observed Jimmy. "And that Z4 is using Fury Attack."
Z4 and Flutters collided in midair. A loud crunching noise was heard, causing Violet to inhale sharply- but as the Metapod landed on the ground, it became clear who had won out; the Z4 was withdrawing the shattered remnants of its horn back into its body. It then gave three sharp buzzes, and led the few remaining Z4 away.
"That," breathed Jimmy, "was close."
"Too close," agreed Orange. "Vi, did you really charge into an oncoming swarm of Z4?"
"I had to save Flutters," replied Violet. "Besides, it's not like they actually managed to harm me or anything."
"You're extremely lucky," insisted Jimmy. "It looks like the most you got were a few scratches."
At this, Violet looked at her arms, and realized that they were indeed covered in tiny scratches.
"I'm gonna get going," continued Jimmy. "I want to see if I can catch a more obedient Z4."
"Good luck with that," said Red.
"Thanks! Bye!" called Jimmy as he started heading off in the direction from which the group had come in the first place.
"It's getting late," stated Violet once Jimmy was out of sight. "I think we should set up camp."
"Oh, HELL no!" declared Orange. "There is no way I'm gonna camp out in a forest just teeming with Bug-types!"
"Well, Red and I are," said Violet, "so if you want to go off by yourself into the Ivadirin Forest in the middle of the night, be my guest."
"Damn you," snarled Orange as he pulled a tightly rolled up, bright orange package out of his backpack. He unfurled it and let it fall to the ground, allowing Red to see that it was in fact a sleeping bag. Violet did the same thing, setting up a purple sleeping bag.
"...uh..." Red began.
"Hmm?" said Violet, looking up. "Let me guess, Red- you don't have a sleeping bag?"
"I do," Red stated, taking a crimson rolled-up object out of his backpack, "but it kinda ripped."
"That's no problem!" exclaimed Violet as she picked Flutters back up. "Flutters, can you use String Shot to fix Red's sleeping bag?"
"Metapod," replied Flutters, moving in a manner that seemed similar to nodding. Red unrolled the sleeping bag and held it up; it had split right down a seam on the side.
The Metapod set to work, slowly and carefully releasing sticky strands of string which glued the bag back together.
"Thanks, Flutters," smiled Red as Violet returned her Metapod to its Poké Ball.
Within minutes, Red, Violet, and Orange were all in their sleeping bags, and nearly asleep. Just as Red was about to drift off to sleep, a loud crunching sound in a nearby bush (which appeared to have gravel, roof tiles, and large drops of water in place of leaves) made him sit up. Peering into the darkness, Red could see the shadowy silhouette of a person approaching them.
"Psst!" hissed Red. "Orange! Violet! Wake up, quick!"
"Mmph... wha? Red, what are you- WHAT THE?!" screamed Orange as he suddenly noticed the shadowy figure coming closer.
"Hey!" shouted Violet. "Who are you?!"
End of Chapter 4.