Thick tree’s towered tall above me, marking the beginning of Ilex Forest. The leaves were the greenest, plushest I’d ever come across on all my travels, and it calmed me to know that there were still places that the humans hadn’t destroyed; still beauties of nature that were pure and untouched. I had always loved Ilex Forest for its calming demeanour and simplicity. It was the perfect place for a hermit – a traveller weary with lack of sleep – to come to and relax, without having to worry about the hustle and bustle of the outside world.
I returned to Ilex forest every year without fail. It was my home away from home – possibly more homely than my real place of birth. I made many friends within the emerald walls of the forest, and every year they would rejoice at my coming, and we would spend hours on end, doing absolutely nothing, but enjoying it because of each other’s company. This year had been a particularly difficult one, and I had had many near-death experiences. Meeting my old friends again would be a joy beyond everything.
I pushed through the thick undergrowth and entered the humid confines of the forest. Immediately, my tensed muscles relaxed, and I retracted my wings, knowing full well that while inside the forest, I faced no harm. I knew the forest as if it were living, which in my eyes it was. There was forever the buzzing of small insects giving noise to this otherwise silent forest. The trees seemed to know where to grow in order to preserve as much shade as possible; the outside sun would beat down uselessly against the thick canopy, desperate to get in, but never succeeding.
After half an hour of calm trekking, an old friend of mine burst through the trees in front of me, and skidded to a halt at me feet. Nyla was a young Farfetch’d, by far the youngest and most youthful of my friends. She always had a smile plastered to her face, and was fidgety like anything. But the moment I saw her grief-stricken face that afternoon, I knew something was wrong. Nyla was never upset. Never.
“Diska! Oh, I’m so happy you came! It’s been horrible! They came, and destroyed everything! We tried to stop them, really we did, but they were too strong! I don’t know what to do! No one’s left to help me! Oh, I’m so scared!”
She burst into tears, and flung herself at me, wrapping her wings around my midriff, and wailing loudly. I let her cry to her heart’s content, and it went on for a good hour. She continued to mumble incoherently, and I just let it slide, knowing that she would calm down eventually, and would then be able to tell me what happened. After her tears had dried up, and I had her sitting down next to me, I asked her what was going on. For a moment she looked like she’d burst into tears again, but she controlled herself, and began to explain.
“It began about four months back. The humans came with those big yellow monsters you told us about, and began to tear down the trees. For a while we were all scared of them, as they seemed to rip apart the trees so effortlessly, but eventually Hierdan cracked, and one night he attacked the humans’ camp. He was shot before he could even lay a paw on them…” she trailed off, her voice quavering again.
I let her take her time, and let my mind wander. It seemed just the thing Hierdan would do. Those bulldozers would have killed hundreds of helpless Pokémon, and Hierdan was too selfless for his own good. He was spontaneous to breaking point; how much could one lone Mightyena be expected to do?
Nyla continued her tale. “We were all broken. Hierdan was one of the best fighters we’d all known, and to see him killed so quickly was frightening. The most we could hope for was that his death had been quick and not painful. We retreated further into the forest, knowing we’d have to come up with a strategy to win. We wished that you’d come quickly, but the others were getting restless. Eventually, Nahul, Eliadon and Avaron set out, intending to ambush the humans and try to scare them off.”
Here, Nyla paused again, and once again, I let my mind wander. Nahul, Eliadon and Avaron – what a team! Nahul was a Treeko of immense experience, and great fighting skill. His strategic thinking more than made up for his small size. Eliadon was the resident powerhouse, being a Raichu of incredible power. She could summon a Thunderbolt in seconds that would put even a Zapdos to shame. And Avaron was the brains of the operation. That Sandshrew’s mind was so complex and impressive that there wasn’t a soul alive that was smarter. I returned my attention to Nyla who had started talking again.
“The three of them managed to take out quite a few humans, but even they got shot. In the end, it was only Ghoram and I left. Ghoram was really upset about everything that had happened, and one night just told me to stay behind, and tell you everything, and that he was going to give fighting the humans one last shot. I begged and pleaded for him not to go, but he was as stubborn as ever, and left. That night, I heard his roars amidst the yells of the humans, but eventually even he was silenced. That was three days ago. And now, I’m the only survivor.”
I sat there, stunned. If the humans’ bullets had managed to penetrate a Rhyhorn’s thick hide, then there was little chance of any Pokémon surviving. From what I gathered, the humans were making a path through the forest, and that meant that trainers would soon be swarming through the place, battling any Pokémon in their sight. I gritted my teeth angrily and snapped my pincers. But the sight of Nyla’s innocent face brought me back to reality, and I knew that I would have to restrain myself for her sake, if not my own.
“Come, Nyla. We’ll think of something. Until then, let’s find somewhere to rest. I’m really tired. We’ll discuss what to do later, okay?”
Nyla nodded, before adding, “I know a good place to sleep. It’s surrounded by trees so only Pokémon like us who can fly can get there, and the humans will have to use their yellow monsters if the want to reach us.”
“Lead the way,” I said, sounding a lot happier than I sounded.
Just as Nyla had said, the clearing was the perfect protection against the humans. True, the comparatively weak branches would do little to stop a human in a bulldozer, but it would at least give us time enough to get away if we were attacked in our sleep; those bulldozers made one hell of a racket. As soon as we reached there, Nyla curled up into a little ball and fell asleep quickly – evidently she had been keeping awake for a long time so that she wouldn’t miss me. I felt horrible. All of this could have been prevented if only I had reached here earlier. None of my friends had ever met a human before, and knew little about human machines. I, on the other hand, had travelled far and wide, and knew a lot about humans. One good attack to the bulldozer’s engine and it would be out of commission. If only I had hurried.
Guilt is a terrible emotion, and the sight of Nyla’s gently heaving body, the last of my greatest friends, only spurred it onwards. I lay awake for a long time, staring up at the intertwined branches that formed the canopy, thinking about years past. They would never happen again. Never would I see Hierdan fighting over the smallest of matters; never would I see Nahul reprimanding Hierdan for his rash actions in battle; never would I see Eliadon completely destroying all that was in her way; never would I see Avaron deep in contemplation of things none of us could ever understand; never would I see the blundering gentle giant Ghoram being more afraid of a Caterpie than the rest of us; but most importantly, never would I see Nyla smile.
Eventually I fell asleep, but it was a troubled sleep. I saw the faces of my late friends swarming in and out of my vision, but never talking. Nyla was standing in front of me yelling, “It’s all your fault!” and crying copious tears. I tried to explain to her that I had hurried, but she wouldn’t listen and turned away…
I woke to Nyla’s cries.
She was circling high above me wailing my name out loud, but the familiar drone of an automobile engine drowned her wails out. Immediately, I was on my feet, my wings stretched far, muscles tensed, and pincers snapping viciously. I saw the long yellow hands of the bulldozer uproot tree after tree, metaphoric to death itself. Watching it from here, it seemed indestructible; an aide of the devil himself. But I knew I had to keep a calm composure if I were to do any damage to it. It was then that I noticed the gun.
Four men were walking beside the bulldozer, and one of them was holding a double-barrelled shotgun in his hand – aimed straight at the circling Nyla. I swore under my breath and prepared for a charge. My wings buzzed to life and I rose five feet off the ground, hovering on the spot. One of the men noticed me, and said something to the man with the gun. The man with the gun shook his head, and continued to point the gun at Nyla.
Nyla looked down and saw me awake, and smiled with sheer pleasure. She paused in her banking to come down to me, and that was the biggest mistake of her life. Indeed, it ended her life.
As soon as she stopped circling the man with the shotgun fired a quick bullet, and with a soft thud, the pellet buried itself in Nyla’s chest. She dropped like a brick; that smile frozen unnaturally to her face. But it was no longer a smile of pleasure: it was a demented smile of pain and death. The sight of her fallen body, and the bullet wound now leaking blood seemed to plant itself behind my eye. All thought of calmness and composure was lost. I was angry, now.
I hovered on the spot for a long time, staring deep into the human’s eyes. One of them backed off, but the other three held their ground. The man with the gun raised it up and took aim.
I was ready.
Summoning the gift that nature had given me, I dodged the flying bullet, side-stepping it quicker than a blink of an eye. Agility was one of my favourite moves. I bowed my head down low and darted forward. To any Pokémon, that would have been a well executed Quick Attack, but to the humans it was unbelievably fast. I rammed headfirst into the human with the gun. The force sent him flying backwards into a tree. Blood trickled form his mouth. He was taken care of.
“Holy sh*t!” one of the men swore. “What the f*ck is wrong with that Scizor?”
I flew over to the gun and picked it up in my pincers. I looked at it with all the hate I could muster. It was another killing machine that the humans had made. I hated everything they did that caused pain and suffering. But it seemed to please them to no limit when a new form of torture was invented. I clenched tightly, and the gun snapped in two. I then looked at the remaining three men. I could see them shivering in fear.
Ten seconds later and they all suffered the same fate as the man with the gun.
The man in the bulldozer had long since fled the scene, and was probably running back to the camp to tell the other humans about me. I didn’t care. If any of them came close to me they would die. They killed my friends. They killed half of my soul. They. Would. Die.
I landed in front of the bulldozer, shaking in spite. I raised my pincer high in the air, and closed my eyes. I was about to perform the move that had killed many before; the move I had sworn I would never use unless in the direst of circumstances. Metal Claw. When I opened my eyes, my right pincer was glowing the brightest of whites. Thinking of Nyla’s dead body, I brought the pincer crashing down straight into the engine of the bulldozer. Never would it tear down trees again.
By the next morning I had killed every human in the forest.
I really didn’t know what had come over me. I guess all my pent up frustration was let out on the humans who had destroyed my life. They had killed my parents, they had destroyed my birthplace, they had killed my friends, and they intended to destroy my home. I just couldn’t have it. No way.
But I paid dearly for that. Before that night, I was revered in Ilex Forest as a protector. As a great warrior who would help the Pokémon in their time of need. But after I had killed and murdered so many humans, they were wary of me. More than wary; they were scared of me. They called me a killing machine. The very thing I sought to undo. But I had succeeded in doing what I intended. I had avenged my friends’ deaths.
Revenge is bittersweet, is it not?