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Old July 13th, 2009 (06:20 AM).
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Grovyle42(Griff8416) Grovyle42(Griff8416) is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2007
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First of all, sorry for a few things.

Firstly (okay, I guess this is secondly), sorry for how long this took. My laptop broke down last month and it had my document on it and I was so far along in it that I refused to rewrite it.

Secondly/Thirdly, sorry for how long this chapter is. I was writing it and it slowly grew to this Onix of a chapter. It's the longest NITWOMP chapter to date at 30-some pages.

Anyways, enjoy and I hope you eyes don't melt out of yer skulls while reading.

Lost and Found



Mountains flanked the group from both sides while they left bright, energetic Mauville City behind them. They walked in the center of a relatively narrow, grassy valley which was caused by glaciation in the far past. This was evident because of the ‘U-shape’ the valley was carved like. The mountains weren’t overly large, but they were definitely impassible for most creatures. The afternoon sun was already blocked by their presence, so the valley was in shadows except for the tips of the uppermost cliff faces on the right.

The shade and the wind tunnel that the valley created were very relaxing to the travellers after that hot, muggy day. Kevin marched forwards leading most of the troupe. Alongside him scuttled Corphish and on his opposite side flew Strix, who was struggling to maintain his slow and steady speed. Behind them were Rachel and Blane, who were talking to each other alongside of Avis and Piplup. Blane was recounting his tale of his travels up to the point they met. Jeff straggled behind everyone else, partially because of the electricity and partially because he was navel-gazing about Hitmonlee and Treecko. The wood gecko was several dozen metres ahead of Kevin and Corphish- always alert for potential trouble ahead. He and Jeff hadn’t exchanged any words since the battle had ended and the teenager couldn’t help but wonder why. Jeff decided to walk up beside Rachel and Blane.

“Nice job with the battle, Jeff,” Rachel said, smiling. “I wouldn’t have been able to do that.”

“What was with Treecko’s Bullet Seed, though? It didn’t look like it worked,” Blane remarked.

Jeff wasn’t quite sure how to answer that. “…Uhh… He just has trouble with it, I guess.”

Blane pensingly put his fingers to his chin. “Have you two tried training?”

“Yes, we’ve tried training!” Jeff defensively retorted. After he realized that he replied somewhat harshly, he cleared his throat. “Umm… Ever since he learned the attack, it’s just been hard to control.”

Blane glanced down at his own pokedex. “Well… it’s not something that Treeckos learn naturally, so maybe that’s it. It’s no wonder it requires a load of training to work properly.”

Jeff looked ahead at Treecko, who was attentively scouting ahead. “Hmm… maybe that’s why he’s acting this way… Maybe…” he thought. “I just don’t understand anything about him…

Rachel glanced at Strix with worry, who was conversing with Kevin and Corphish. She looked back at Blane and Jeff. “I’m, uhh, sure you and Treecko will get the hang of it eventually,” she assured, half-heartedly.

Blane and Piplup eyed Rachel curiously. “Hey, are you okay? You seem kind of… uneasy.”

Avis adjusted her position on Rachel’s shoulder as her trainer turned her head to face Blane. “Oh… Umm, I’m fine. I just get a little worried when I’m not near Strix at all times. He can be really high maintenance and I don’t want him to get-”

Rachel cut off as soon as she glanced back to Kevin and Corphish. Strix was nowhere to be seen. Her heart sunk and eyes widened.

Avis muttered to herself and kneaded her forehead with her wing. “<Oh boy…>” The Pidgey flew off Rachel’s shoulder as her trainer went into a full run towards Kevin.

Rachel stopped behind Kevin, pulled his shoulder and forcefully turned him around. “Where’s Strix?!”

Kevin sheepishly glanced down at Corphish, who nervously looked back at him. “Uhh… he flew off?”

There was a long, tense silence. After a brief moment of shock, Rachel swung her right palm and slapped Kevin across his cheek. “Why didn’t you tell me or try to stop him?!” she yelled.

Everyone, with the exception of Treecko, looked on in flabbergastment with their jaws hanging slightly askew.

Kevin was momentarily stunned. “…OW! What was that for?!” he snapped.

“Uhh… Rache?” a bewildered Blane asked. Nobody could comprehend her sudden outburst and change in demeanor. None of them had seen her act so distraught before.

“You don’t have to slap me to get my attention, you know!”

The complaint and joke fell upon deaf ears; Rachel was too concerned with frantically looked around the sky and surrounding area for her pokemon. “Strix?! Strix?! Where are you?!” she called out with obvious desperation in her voice.

A still shocked Blane and Jeff glanced at each other before running forwards to try to lend her some aid.

“He couldn’t have gotten very far; we’re in a mountain valley pass, after all,” Jeff reassured.

Rachel wasn’t any more calmed by it. “Ugh, this is all my fault! I should have been watching him closer!” she worriedly exclaimed. She quickly craned her head around every which way in an attempt to spot the missing Zubat.

“Maybe he just had to use the bathroom,” Blane suggested, giving her an encouraging pat on the back.

While flapping her wings to stay airborne, Avis shook her head. “<He would have gone out of his way to make that known to me,>” she said with an exasperated sigh following her words. The Pidgey landed on Rachel’s shoulder and rubbed the side of her face against Rachel’s, hoping to comfort her since she couldn’t verbally. “<We’ll find him…>”

Jeff nodded. “Avis is right; right, Kevin?” he asked in forceful tone.

Kevin, who was still nursing his bright red cheek, indignantly nodded. “Yeah, fine… I guess.”

Blane nodded. “We’ll send some pokemon to go look for him. Jeff, you have two flying pokemon, don’t you?”

Jeff’s mind immediately flashed to Daedalus and Drezdk. Despite Daedalus being angry with him, he imagined that the Taillow wouldn’t object to help look for a missing pokemon. Drezdk was the one that raised concerns in his mind- because first of all, he wasn’t sure if his wings were healed enough and second, Jeff was under the assumption that he had never left the general vicinity around his hive, so if he went off alone, he could easily get lost or worse.

Jeff took out Daedalus’ pokeball and released the pokemon onto the ground. The Taillow appeared in the grass and glanced around. His brown eyes fixed on Jeff and glowered. “<So I guess this means you got your third badge?>”

Jeff evaded the question like it was a pinless grenade. “Strix has gone missing. Could you help us find him… please?”

Daedalus didn’t need to think twice about giving an affirmative nod. “<I’m doing this for him, not you… Just so you know,>” Daedalus said, with contempt towards the human clutching onto his words.

Jeff could feel himself shrinking back as if he was Ace, except he was without the shell that he desired at that point.

“What about that Beedrill?” Blane asked curiously. “Two heads are better than one.”

“Don’t you have any flying pokemon?” Jeff retorted, deflecting to Blane the attitude that Daedalus was sending towards him.

“Well… yeah, but Nurse Joy said that he shouldn’t move around, if possible. He was hurt pretty bad,” he replied.

“Great training there…” scoffed Jeff, who was now in a foul mood.

“It wasn’t my fault!” Blane retorted, also becoming angry.

“Guys!” Rachel yelled. “Please! Now’s not the time.” Immediately after saying that, she turned to Kevin. “Which way did he go?!”

Kevin stalled and glanced towards the forest ahead of them which was on the base of the cliff on the right side of the valley. He sighed. “The forest… Here’s what we’re gonna do. Jeff goes with his Beedrill and Treecko, Daedalus goes with Avis, and I’ll go with Blitz. Everyone else stays here in case he comes back. Does that sound good to everyone?”

The majority of the group nodded in agreement.

Daedalus hopped over to Avis, outstretched his blue wing, and placed it on Avis’ side (as was the Taillow custom). “<I don’t believe I’ve introduced myself. My name is Daedalus,>” he said with a smile.

Avis inwardly chuckled, but replied, “<I’m Avis. It’s nice to meet you, Daedalus.>”

“<You can call me Dae.>”

The Taillow immediately felt a looming presence behind him. He turned his head slightly and saw… Corphish.

The water type had his arms crossed and looked at him sternly. “<Aren’t you breaking your marriage vows to ‘your’ precious Peeko, birdbrain?>”

Daedalus gave him a half confused, half annoyed look. “<First of all, what are marriage vows? Second of all, shut up, Corp.>”

Jeff sighed and walked towards Treecko, who was standing with an exasperated expression that said ‘Remind me again why I’m travelling with these people?’

“Okay, Treecko. Are you coming?” Jeff asked with a smile.

The silent grass type merely blinked and walked past Jeff. He sat by himself near the edge of where the ones who were remaining were. The teen eyed Treecko, who was glancing up at the clouds while leaning against his tails. The thing that Jeff wasn’t surprised at was the fact he couldn’t understand why Treecko was doing the things that he did. He merely sighed and began to walk towards the forest alongside Kevin and the two avian pokemon.

“Trouble with your Treecko?” a grinning Kevin asked.

“He’s not my Treecko…” Jeff replied, particularly before Daedalus could comment on Kevin’s choice of words.

“Okay, then… ‘Trouble with that Treecko?’” Kevin’s grin grew wider.

“None of your business,” Jeff annoyedly responded, panning his eyes across the cliff face that flanked their right and that of the forest.

“C’mon! I’m your best friend!” Kevin continued, hoping to soften him up.

The teen scoffed. “You bet against me in my last gym battle.”

Kevin sheepishly grinned and rubbed the back of his head. “About that… Can I borrow forty bucks?”

Jeff ignored him and huffily kept walking.

“Come on! You and I both know that you’re far from being as good a trainer as me, so I’m gonna be the one to give you advice and stuff!” he said.

Daedalus and Avis, who were overhearing the conversation, gave each other an apprehensive look. Jeff’s head spun around to glare at Kevin. “Oh yeah! You’re a great trainer. You have a Squirtle who’s afraid of his own shadow and a murderous Scyther who’s been hiding in his pokeball since this morning!”

Kevin clenched his fists and shouted, “HEY! Back off, pal! That’s over the line! You wanna play like that?!”

Without allowing Kevin to continue speaking, Avis and Daedalus flew in between the two’s faces, blocking them. “<Let’s focus on finding Strix,>” insisted Avis.

Daedalus slightly nodded and looked ahead at the border of the forest that they approached. The woodland wasn’t particularly dense, but it seemed to go along the cliffside for a ways up the route. “<Now’s a good time to split up, anyways,>” Daedalus agreed, glancing at Avis and giving a nod for her to follow him. Kevin and Jeff didn’t give so much as a look at each other before going in different directions. While taking out Blitz’s pokeball, Kevin walked forwards, going parallel to the cliffside which was about a kilometre to his right. Jeff on the other hand started walking at a diagonal angle from Kevin, going into the forest slightly towards where the cliff below the mountains was.

Jeff stepped over a couple of roots and plants while taking out a pokeball from his belt. He pointed it at a portion of ground uncluttered by flora and tapped the center lock with his index finger. His eyes narrowed as a result of the white flare that burst from the pokeball upon releasing the pokemon. From the light emerged Drezdk, who warily inspected his surroundings. The last thing that he focused on was Jeff.

“<Oh… Hello… uhh… Jezz?>” he sheepishly asked, embarrassed that he couldn’t remember his name.

Brushing it off, the human warmly replied, “‘Jeff’… How are you, Drez…dek?” He made a conscious effort to try and pronounce the Beedrill’s name correctly, but ultimately he failed.

“<I am… okay…>” he said, rather unconvincingly.

Jeff felt guilty, especially since Drezdk had been through so much. “I’m really sorry I didn’t let you out sooner. I was so focused on getting that badge that I completely forgot. Sorry.”

Drezdk shook his head. “<Do not feel guilty about it. I needed that time to myself. What do you mean by ‘getting that badge’?>” the Beedrill asked, standing on his two black legs and using his main stinger to keep his equilibrium.

Jeff stalled, wondering how to describe it. “Well… humans and pokemon work together in a fight. Traditionally, humans come up with the strategy and the pokemon, who the human relays the strategy to, fights against another pokemon. Humans and pokemon do it all the time all over the world, and badges are basically the things that signify how a human and the pokemon are doing.”

Fear immediately struck into Drezdk’s heart. “<Y-you mean fighting? You mean I am supposed to fight another pokemon to the death?!>” the Beedrill fearfully sputtered.

“No, no!” Jeff hastily assured him. “No, of course not! It’s nothing like that. The pokemon just battles until they feel that they can’t continue, and if the human thinks that it would be too dangerous for the pokemon to continue, but if the pokemon is too stubborn to admit defeat…” His voice trailed off as an image of Treecko immediately jumped into Jeff’s mind. “Well, then the human can recall the pokemon. And of course the pokemon doesn’t have to battle if they don’t want to.”

A wave of relief swept over Drezdk. “<You are telling the truth, correct?>”

Jeff replied almost instantly, “Of course! I would never lie about that!”

Drezdk was still a bit unsure, so he outstretched his right arm and bent it so that his forestinger was pointed upwards. “<If you are promising this, then confirm it.>”

Jeff was very apprehensive. “H-how? And don’t you trust me?”

“<Do not take it personally, please… It is just that I had put my faith in my hive… and after what they did…>” He trailed off. “<Please, confirm it by locking your right forestinger with mine while they are pointed vertically,>” he explained, keeping the stinger in question in the same place.

“If only I had a ‘forestinger’…” Jeff said, examining his arm.

“<…Right. Just use whatever you call that, then.>”

Jeff nodded and raised his arm vertically to lock it with Drezdk’s. “So what is this? Some sort of Beedrillian gesture of promising? It’s just kind of like an upside down handshake- not as strange or as painful as I thought it might be,” Jeff mused.

Drezdk nodded. “<Z’yup! Traditionally, I could kill you if you ever broke the promise…>” The Beedrill watched as Jeff’s face seemed to freeze, and he had to suppress a small chuckle. “<…But my killing days are over.>”

Jeff relaxed for the most part, but he couldn’t get over that last statement. He was afraid to ask but his curiousity took over. “You mean you-…”

The Beedrill cringed and turned his head so that he looked off to the side at a tree trunk, averting Jeff’s gaze. “<I… did not have a choice. I couldn’t help myself… I-…>” Drezdk now wanted anything but to cease staring at that one slab of bark on the tree trunk. He much preferred going over every crack in the wood a million times to looking up at what he imagined was Jeff’s disappointed, accusing face, even for one second. Drezdk shakily sighed. “<I do not blame you for thinking me a monster. It’s one of the many negative things I could aptly be called.>”

Drezdk was stunned by the reaction he received- it was nothing that he had ever expected. He felt Jeff’s hand placed consolingly on his back above the wings. The bug type was expecting to be chastised, thought of as some horrible creature, or even physically beaten. He was constantly told in his hive how humans never understand the Beedrill’s way of life and how the humans thought them as bloodthirsty monsters. Drezdk could never get over the prospect of that stereotype- and after awhile, he even began to start to believe it. He felt very alienated prior to that moment. Drezdk couldn’t believe that Jeff wasn’t rebuking him in some way. The Beedrill immediately looked at Jeff in confusion.

Trying strenuously to muster up his best speaking ability and a flexible tongue, Jeff tried to the very best of his ability to get his name right. “…Drezd-k… You’re the farthest thing from a monster. In fact, you seem like one of the kindest, most decent individuals that I’ve ever met.” He gave a genuine, comforting smile and a pat on the Beedrill’s shoulder before retracting his hand.

Drezdk, who was still feeling quite vulnerable, stared blankly at Jeff. Despite the fact that he had killed others before, Jeff still thought he seemed kind- no- the kindest person he had ever met? How could that be? Drezdk wondered. This human was nothing like the ones that he was told about by his swarm. If this human was smart enough to know that Drezdk wasn’t truly an aggressive killer, than how could Drezdk himself have been so blind to believe that all humans were as unforgiving as the members of his hive said? “<He… doesn’t think me a monster? …And he says that I might be one of the kindest people he’s met? He believes in me and is actually trying to make me feel better?! He even went out of his way to try to get my name right… and he almost did too… I can’t believe it…>” Drezdk was at a loss for words for a few moments. The slow realization and comprehension of Jeff’s words slowly began to form a mixture of appreciation, gratitude, and guilt- but most of all, an overwhelming sense of pure relief.

Drezdk stared long and hard up into Jeff’s eyes before his own lit up and he gave an uncontrolled chuckle of elation. “<Th-… Thank you!…>” Drezdk felt that Jeff deserved to understand how happy he had just made him. Since all that he could muster was those two words, he instinctly decided to resort to an action that a Beedrill would do in this situation to show his overpowering admiration. Drezdk stepped towards Jeff, wrapped his forestingers around him, and pulled him into a tight hug.

Jeff was stunned for numerous reasons. Had he really had that much effect on the Beedrill? And… Drezdk, a Beedrill, was hugging him?! For a few moments, Jeff didn’t know what he should be feeling, but then it began very clear what he was to feel… the same things as Drezdk. After a few speechless seconds of incomprehension, Jeff decided the only thing that he ought to do was kneel down to Drezdk’s level and return the hug and all that it stood for. He slowly went down on his knees and placed his arms around the Beedrill, who he had just recently met.

He could hear a humming. The dull, yet pleased hum was coming reflexively from Drezdk’s fluttering wings. He could feel the contented Beedrill emitting soft vibrations accompanying the humming. It was an automatic response of a Beedrill when feeling strong emotions of happiness. The feeling of the dull vibrations was a strangely relaxing sensation, Jeff had to admit.

After several moments of the mutual hug, when it was really starting to sink in, a feeling hit him like a tidal wave- a torrent of warmth flooded through his body. Jeff was initially shocked at this sudden, strange feeling, but he quickly came to relish it. A feeling that, through all of his time of being a trainer, he hadn’t felt until now. It was the feeling that one of his pokemon actually cared about him. It was an undying warmth inside of him- Jeff imagined this must be what Charmanders feel like all the time. He felt that this one hug made all the disasters he had went through when trying to be a trainer, almost worth it. Almost…

“Thank you…” he murmured.

Drezdk released his amiable hold on Jeff and stepped backwards, also ceasing the movement of his wings. He glanced around the forest before looking back to the human. “<Where did all of the other pokemon and humans go?>”

“Oh… Most are out searching for a Zubat. That’s why I’m out here. How are your wings, by the way?”

“<They are healing… but I don’t wish to fly anytime soon… I hope that’s not a problem,>” Drezdk said uncomfortably, glancing back at his lucent wings.

Jeff nodded. “I understand.”

Feeling a bit guilty, the hornet pokemon suggested a different service. “<I’ve got excellent eyesight though… That’s why I was put in the team I was in, in the first place,” he said, eager to help out.

The teen smiled. “So you don’t mind helping to look?”

“<Z’yup! I would like to help.>”

Jeff nodded. “Fantastic! Let’s start looking.”

Drezdk obliged and walked along side him in search of the missing Strix.

--------------------------------------------------------------

Kevin trudged through the forest alongside the sizable Scyther, Blitz. The mantis hadn’t said a word the entire time after being released. Blitz’s wings hummed as he flew a couple feet above the mossy forest floor. Kevin glanced at him, not being entirely sure of what was going on with him.

“So… You see Strix anywhere, Blitzy?” Kevin asked, hoping to to get some sort of verbal response from his friend.

The Scyther merely shook his head and kept flying. Kevin sneered and walked alongside his friend. After a couple minutes of travelling in silence, he spoke up again. “…You’re acting like a big baby, you know that?”

Blitz turned to Kevin with a questioning look on his face. “<…Excuse me?>”

“Ever since you stormed into your pokeball for no reason, you haven’t said a word and you’ve been all sulky!”

Blitz’s response was a volley of slightly hastened wing beats. Kevin sped up to match the Scyther’s speed. He forcefully placed his hand on the mantis’ shoulder and spun him around. “C’mon, Blitz! Tell me what’s up!”

The bug pokemon glanced at Kevin, but his eyes quickly strayed away from him and off to the side. “<Do you promise to keep it a secret and not make fun of me for it?>”

Kevin nodded. “I’m already doing that for your other secret, remember, pal?”

Blitz grinned slightly and made eye contact with Kevin. “<Yes… Thank you… Erm, it is about your friend, ‘Jeff’, correct?>”

The teen shifted uncomfortably. “Right… Him.” He was aware of how unusually mean Jeff had been to Blitz.

“<You are aware of how I… almost killed him… correct?>” He awaited Kevin’s affirmation before continuing. “<Well… I wish to apologize sincerely and tell him what happened, but I am beginning to think that he will not listen to a single word that I have to say. I just want him to realize that I did not-…>” Blitz cut himself off with an aggravated growl. “<It is… frustrating.>”

Kevin chuckled slightly. “Heh, it must be. I’ve never seen you complain so much.”

Blitz shot an unsatisfied glare at his friend. “<I am not complaining…>” he said, placing stern emphasis carefully on each word.

The teen grinned but submissively shrugged. “What happened this morning before you locked yourself in your pokeball?”

The mantis grimaced, but was willing to answer Kevin’s question. “<Somebody mentioned a rain cloud and… I panicked. I turned around and almost accidentally hit your friend with my blade. I was ashamed and frustrated. I apologize, Kevin.>”

Kevin looked at him with a raised eyebrow. “What are you apologizing to me for? I don’t care about Jeff.”

Blitz’s eyes widened in surprise. “<Kevin, that sounded very mean.>”

The human grinned a bit. “I bet my awesome voice made it sound pretty cool too,” he said, smirking. “Remember who you’re talking to here, pal?”

The Scyther sighed. “<It does not hurt to be nice every once in awhile, you know.>”

Kevin folded his arms and glanced about the forest, still making an effort to look around for Strix. “I don’t go out of my way to be mean; I just tell it like it is. If you ask Jeff, he understands that. …That is, if Jeff lets you ask him anything,” he said. Kevin turned and saw Blitz cringing and he realized that he hit a sore spot. “…Sorry.”

Blitz shook his head. “<It’s okay, Kevin. I’m just happy that you have a bit of a heart in there,>” he responded, a small smile appearing out of the corner of his mouth.

His friend chuckled. “Hah, it’s reserved only for my best pals and occasionally cute girls.”

The Scyther glanced at him. “<You mean like Rachel? Is she ‘cute’?>” he asked.

Kevin laughed. “Why? Do you have a crush on her?”

Blitz blushed slightly, shuffled in his place and looked away from Kevin. “<By ‘crush’ you mean ‘romantic interest’? Please, Kevin, she’s a human. I hope I do not offend you, but I would prefer something more of my own species.>”

“Hahah. That’s generally a good idea,” the teen replied. Kevin thought about it for a few seconds and then burst out laughing.

Blitz eyed him in confusion. “<What is so amusing?>”

Kevin was tittering like a hyena, but he managed to quickly stop. “Heh… Nothin’, Blitz, nothin’.”

The Scyther stared at him, but looked away to search for any sign of Strix. “<Do you like her? Rachel?>”

The teen grinned. “She likes me, but then again, who doesn’t?”

Blitz sighed and shook his head. “<I can think of a few…>” He slowly flew around some trees; while doing this, he raised his scythe and looked at himself in the reflection of the blade. As he expected, Blitz saw the face of a collected but gloomy Scyther. He sighed and turned his head to see Kevin leering at him. He noticed that his friend’s trademark grin was gone. “<What is it, Kevin?>”

Kevin shook his head. “Nothin’…”

Blitz studied his face and eyes carefully. He knew that something was up. “<…You still think that I want to leave, don’t you?>”

The teen didn’t answer him. He just continued tromping through the forest beside the bug pokemon.

“<…Kevin… I…>” Blitz started to explain, but he cut himself off. The Scyther immediately stopped and sniffed the air. “<Something smells different…>”

Kevin looked at him curiously, but his attention was quickly diverted to a thick piece of foliage in front of them. It seemed impenetrable without the use of a hacking tool. The reason Kevin was fixated on the bush, however, was because it was shaking violently. Blitz raised his shimmering blades in a defensive stance and glared towards the foliage.

Suddenly, the plantlife stopped moving. Blitz didn’t like this one bit; he adjusted his positioning to be ready to cut anything that might jump out at them in two, in a wing beat. He looked back at Kevin. “<You should mo->”

Before he could finish, a purple mist burst out from the bush and clouded over them. They didn’t have even a second to escape it. “<Close your eyes and cover your mouth! Quickly!>” Blitz shouted, squinting in an attempt to see without getting the powder in his eyes. Kevin quickly complied and the cloud started to descend upon the two. The purple powder began to settle on their hides. Then it reacted.

“ARRCK! Damn it!” sputtered Kevin’s muffled voice from under his palms. “What is this stuff?! It burns!”

The grimacing Blitz was also feeling the agonizing effects of the fine, violet particles that engulfed their bodies. While the pain he felt all over his body was intense and burning, he had to concentrate on what caused the haze. Blitz let out a strained snarl and looked over his shoulder to Kevin, who was writhing in agony where he stood. “<H-Hang in there… It is poison powder. Just keep doing what I said and- URRMPH!>”

Blitz felt a large, blunt mass slam downwards onto his collar and side of his neck with such great force that he was instantly brought to his knees. The biting mist was still too thick; he couldn’t see what hit him or from what direction. He was in enough pain from the powder without having his exoskeleton almost shattered. Blitz had taken some blows in his life and that was a strong one.

Kevin was trying desperately to shake off the falling powder, but to no avail. “BL-BLITZ?! Y-You okay?!” he border-line screamed.

The Scyther grunted and attempted to damper his pained, heavy breaths. “<Per…fectly fine… J-Just do what I said until it all settles. Do you understa->”

Blitz felt something strike hard into the side of his face, sending him toppling to his side on the forest floor. The throbbing in his face was a grim companion to the searing pain on the rest of his body. His vision was horribly impaired now that the poison powder has had a chance to enter his eyes. The Scyther knew that he would not be able to win this ambush, though he would still try with all of his might.

Or so he thought.

Before Blitz could even use his scythe to support himself, he felt a large vine wrap around his neck and yank him closer to the ground. He attempted a gasp for air, but realized there was little untainted air to be had. The mantis struggled to remove the vine, but it was difficult with the appendages that he wielded. He then felt himself being dragged over roots and through a bush. With his last ounce of strength, he called out to his friend. “<Hang in there… for one more minute, …Ke-…>” And then his consciousness slipped him.

An agonized Kevin was walking around in circles aimlessly, calling out to his missing friend. “Blitz! Where are you?! What happened?! Say something!” Every inch of his body was burning, with the exception of his mouth and eyes. He couldn’t take it. Kevin removed his hands from his face and darted his eyes around feverishly. The poison powder had almost completely gone with the exception of a few wafts.

He looked down at his bare arms and hands and they were coated with the purple substance, which still felt like it was melting him. He managed to ignore the blinding pain just long enough to look around the forest. Blitz was nowhere to be seen. Kevin wanted desperately to call out to him, but he virtually couldn’t ignore the pain any longer. He drilled his hand into his back pocket and pulled out a pokeball, fumbling with it in his hands before getting a decent grip on it. He threw it indescrimately into the forest. There wasn’t a split second wasted from the time he threw the pokeball to the instant after when he began ripping off his toxin-coated shirt. He ignored the bright light of the pokeball releasing its occupant and threw his shirt to the side before taking off his poison-laced shorts and stripping to just his boxers and shoes.

A confused Squirtle emerged from the light and looked at Kevin, who he felt was acting very strangely. “…Squir?”

Kevin’s head shot in the direction of the water pokemon. “A-Ace! Use water gun on me right now! Get this stuff off!” he plead in pain.

Ace stepped back in fear and confusion. He had never seen Kevin this distraught and he was a bit fearful of what the human asked of him. “Sq-squirtle?” he whimpered.

Kevin growled, but tried his best to keep his composure. “P-Please, Ace. You gotta do this. For me…” he said, a forced grin appearing on his face.

The Squirtle stalled, but eventually nodded and stepped towards him. He took in a deep breath and released a very unimpressive torrent of water at Kevin. Kevin embraced the water and turned at every angle in an attempt to remove the poison. After becoming soaked, he backed out of the Water Gun and gave a nod to Ace before collapsing to his knees in a mixture of pain and exhaustion.

Ace gave a deeply concerned gasp and ran over Kevin’s side. He looked at his arms and legs and they were bright red, similar to a bad sunburn. The drenched teen forced a second grin of reassurance. “Th-thanks, Ace. You really saved the day,” he said, giving the Squirtle a pat on the head, who was smiling with hope and pride from the praise. “Think you can wash my shirt and shorts too?”

Ace nodded and began to water down the clothing on the ground. Kevin turned away from the water type and looked out into the forest. “Blitz…” he murmured. “…Damn it!” His fist pounded into the wet ground. Ace initially jumped back, but realized that something was very wrong. He hobbled over to Kevin and hugged him, even though he had no idea what had happened only five minutes ago.

-------------------------------------------------------------

Corphish sat atop a picnic blanket that Blane had rolled out for them. He sat beside Rachel, Blane, and Blane’s Piplup. As he munched on a slice of bread, Corphish had his eyes fixed on Treecko, who was sitting in the grass several meters away with his back to them. Piplup, also eating a slice of bread, sat down next to Corphish and glanced over to see what he was looking at.

The penguin looked up at Corphish curiously. “<What’s up?>”

“<Uhh… Thanks a lot! You made me lose count! I was counting how many of his scales were off-green,>” Corphish replied evasively.

Piplup gave him a sceptical look, folding his flippers and tilting his head. “<Come on… I’m not an idiot.>”

The crustacean sighed. “<Okay… I’m curious as to what’s up with him this time.>”

“<Maybe he just likes sitting alone and staring off into the sky,>” the penguin suggested.

“<He does, but I think there’s something else this time. He won the gym battle, so I don’t know what it is,>” Corphish responded.

The Piplup shrugged. “<Why do you care, anyways?>”

“<What d’ya mean, Happy Feet?>” Corphish asked, finding it fully necessary to tag on the nickname. “<He and I are the best of pals!>”

Piplup stared blankly at him before rebutting. “<I haven’t seen you two say a word to each other.>”

“<He’s kind of the strong, stubborn, rebellious, and silent type,>” Corphish said with a half grin.

The blue water type shrugged. “<If you say so.>”

Blane sat beside a very distraught Rachel, who was still carefully watching the treeline for a sign of the missing bat pokemon. Blane had his hand placed comfortingly on her shoulder. “Relax; he’ll be okay, Rache. He’s a big Zubat and I’m sure Strix can take care of himself… Besides, he’s got a whole search party going after him, too,” he tried to reassure.

“I should be with Avis and the rest of them,” she moped.

Blane ignored the last comment. “Why would Strix leave anyways?”

“… Because of me,” Rachel whimpered. She got a confused gaze from Blane.

“That’s ridiculous. Why would he leave because of you?”

She sighed. “He thinks I’m boring and no fun. That’s why he’s always hanging around Kevin! And Kevin, Jeff and you can understand them, but I can’t. Why would he want to be my pokemon?”

“Rachel, you’re being unreasonable. I don’t think that Strix thinks that at all. Besides, there’s plenty of reasons why he likes you!” Blane declared.

“Oh yeah? Like what?” she asked, challengingly.

Blane’s cheeks tinted pink slightly as he began to answer. “Well…”

Rachel groaned, taking the pause in a negative light. “That’s it, I’m going to find Avis,” she said, standing up on the blanket and beginning to walk.

“H-Hey!” Blane called out. “You didn’t even give me a chance to answer!” She ignored him and continued walking. “Wait a second! You can’t go into that forest without a pokemon! That’s the first thing everyone tells you!”

“<It’s not like you listened, Blaney,>” Piplup murmured with a sly grin curling on the edges of his beak.

Blane gave him a look until Rachel called back to him. “I do have a pokemon! I just need to find her!” she replied, tromping towards the valley forest.

Corphish turned to Blane. “<You sure know how to bring out the best in females, don’t you?>”

Piplup chuckled mockingly, prompting Blane to give them both a cold stare. “I hope she knows what she’s doing…”


-----------------------------------------------------------

Jeff trekked alongside Drezdk, who, for the first time in a long time, had a smile on his face. Of course, Jeff couldn’t see the smile because of the height difference and the fact that Drezdk’s mouth was in the niche under his chin, which made it hard for anyone to see unless the Beedrill was staring straight upwards. Despite the fact he couldn’t see the smile, Jeff could sense it was there.

They both looked around the canopy line and patches of sky that slipped through with hope of seeing the Zubat.

“<Jeff? What does a Zubat look like?>” Drezdk asked, not having seen a ton of other pokemon when with his swarm.

Jeff pulled out his pokedex, flicked it open, and pressed the buttons until he pulled up a Zubat’s profile. His finger tapped the picture and showed it to Drezdk, who nodded and didn’t bother to question what the strange piece of technology was.

“<Oh, okay,>” he said, continuing to walk along.

The teen smiled at how accepting Drezdk was, but the smirk quickly turned to confusion when he felt the dull edge of the Beedrill’s stinger against his torso.

“<Stop,>” Drezdk warned, keeping Jeff still. “<I see something.>”

The human stayed perfectly still and darted his eyes around. He saw absolutely nothing. “Are you sure?” The hornet nodded firmly in reply.

Neither of them moved a muscle. Drezdk kept his eyes fixated on something. After several silent moments, Jeff heard leaves rustling in the forest, several metres away to their left. Whatever it was, it was getting closer.

“Wow,” Jeff whispered. “You really do have great eyesight.”

Drezdk was about to thank him, but he cut himself off when he saw a figure. “<I see two unknowns,>” he warned Jeff in a hushed voice. His brief time on his assault squad was coming back to him. “<I personally think that we shouldn’t enter combat.>”

Jeff nodded and ducked behind a large bush with Drezdk. “Sounds like a good plan,” he agreed, remembering that Drezdk’s wings were still healing and that his only other pokemon with him, Atlas, couldn’t maneouvre well in this forest. They both stayed hidden. Luckily, whatever was moving was going parallel to them, not coming towards them.

Jeff slowly readjusted a few leaves which obstructed his view on the bush in front of him. He flinched upon seeing the sun’s orange glint reflect off of something and into his eyes. Though the sharp reflection of light wasn’t the only reason that he flinched, it was what the light was reflecting off of that really sent chills down his spine.

A scythe. A scythe similar to the one that had tried to slice him to ribbons a year prior. It was unmistakably a Scyther. But he noticed something odd about it- it was dragging on the forest floor. Jeff looked more carefully. The whole body was being dragged. He carefully looked at the unconscious Scytherian figure and noticed that a large brown vine with a leaf on the end of it was coiled around the chest, resting under the bug’s underarms and pulling it in short bursts before momentarily pausing. It was understandable since pulling a mantis of that stature can’t be an easy task.

Jeff was unsure what to make of this. He glanced at the Scyther's face, and he saw that the pokemon was about to disappear behind the foliage after whatever the vine belonged to

Drezdk was also carefully studying what he could from his concealment. He whispered to the human next to him, who was inspecting the scene, “<Jeff, I wasn’t able to catch a glimpse of the other one in time, but isn’t that pokemon who’s being dragged->”

Upon a good look at his face, Jeff immediately identified the Scyther. There wasn’t any way he could forget it. His eyes widened and, not long after, he found himself on his feet yelling in shock. “Blitz?!”

The unconscious bug suddenly ceased being pulled. Drezdk cringed at his companion’s foolhardy action. He suddenly felt like he was with his best friend Talvoc again, but in this case, that wasn’t a good thing. Jeff froze and looked in the direction of the large bush, behind which was the unknown assailant. Drezdk readied his twin forestingers and prepared for the worst.

In seconds flat, a blue haze of microspores surged through the bush and was ingested into the two. The reaction was fast-acting. Both Jeff and Drezdk’s heads started to feel light-headed and loopy. They started to feel really heavy.

“What the-…” Jeff attempted to utter, already nodding off where he stood.

Drezdk’s crimson eyes were dulling in colour. “<Jeff… What’s happening… to me?>”

Before he could get a fraction of an answer, the human was already falling to the ground, hitting his head on a nearby tree trunk as he dropped like a brick. Drezdk lazily turned his head. “<Je…eh… fffffzzzzz.>”

The Beedrill trailed off both in speech and in mind. He fell to his knees before slowly toppling to his stomach, unconscious.

-----------------------------------------------------------

The Taillow and Pidgey pair flew at a steady pace. They alternated in altitude, occasionally switching back and forth between above and below the forest canopy line, in case Strix was flying at a different height than them.

“<Why would he fly off suddenly?>” Daedalus asked his flying companion.

Avis briefly glanced up at him. “<Oh, Strix? He probably got distracted by a Beautifly and decided to follow it. I swear most Growlithes have a higher attention span than he does.>”

Daedalus grinned and pictured Corphish. “<Are you two friends? You and Strix?>”

Avis stalled but nodded. “<I guess you could say that… but most of the time I feel like his older sibling.>”

The Taillow chuckled a bit. “<I kinda know what you mean,>” he answered, assuming ‘sibling’ meant ‘guardian’ or something like that.

Avis turned to face him again, after checking around for the Zubat again. “<I know you do… You have that leader quality about you…>”

Daedalus froze in his place and stopped flying, only flapping his wings to keep himself airborne. Avis turned around and looked at him in confusion. He looked like he had just been kicked in the stomach.

“<…Daedalus?>”

The Taillow looked away from her. “<You’re wrong. I don’t have that ‘leader-quality’. Never say that again… please,>” he said, grimacing slightly.

Avis stared at him for a moment, but nodded. “<Umm, okay. I’m sorry.>”

Daedalus shook his head. “<…Why was that human of yours so worked up earlier?>”

“<Hmm… You mean Rachel, right?>” she asked the dark blue swallow, who nodded. “<Oh… well… I can’t really tell you. It’s a secret.>”

Daedalus nodded understandingly, but he was still curious. “<I swear on my honour as a Taillow that I won’t tell anybody.>”

Avis glanced into Daedalus’ eyes. “<I can tell that you don’t take promises lightly, either.>”

“<… You’re right,>” he replied, shocked that she could deduce that just by looking at him. “<How did you know?>”

The brown Pidgey looked back forwards. “<I can just tell tell things about some people. Mostly I can’t, but when it’s somewhat obvious…>”

Daedalus looked at Avis, intrigued by her and slightly embarrassed that that part of him was so transparent to her. “<Hmm… Does that mean you’ll tell me?>” he said with a sly, almost Kevin-like grin.

Avis nodded, somewhat reluctantly. “<As long as you promise.>”

Daedalus flapped vigorously with his left wing so that he could stay airborne while placing his right one across his chest to signify his promise. Avis chuckled, still scanning the area for Strix, and nodded again.

“<Well, it happened a few years ago when she was babysitting her brother…>”

The Taillow looked at Avis, flabbergasted. “<Sorry, but… ‘babysitting’? ‘Brother’?>”

The brown bird frowned, trying to think of a way to say it so that Daedalus would understand. “<Umm… first, a brother would be like a male hatchmate.>” When the Daedalus nodded in understanding, Avis continued. “<And ‘babysitting’ is like how a more mature flock member would watch over the nestlings.>”

The swallow nodded again and allowed her to continue. “<Well, anyways, she was watching her brother for the first time. She was mostly watching TV though and only half watching him when he fell down the stairs and broke his leg. She panicked and got all upset. Her brother was fine after he was taken to the hospital, but Rachel never really got over it. That’s why she’s so nervous about being responsible for Strix and I,>” Avis explained.

Daedalus nodded in understanding. “<Do you like your human?>”

Avis nodded. “<Of course- even though she can’t understand me. She tells me all sorts of stuff and I’m happy to listen, although I sort of wish that I could do the same with her sometimes.>”

“<You can tell me stuff in the meanwhile…>” Daedalus offered with a warm smile.

Avis stared at him and was about to respond, but something caught her eye. “<Is that… Kevin?>”

Daedalus looked down to see Kevin sitting on the ground beside Ace, but he saw something out of the corner of his eye. Something was walking towards the two.

“<Rachel?>” he asked himself out loud.

Avis craned her head to see Rachel stomping towards the still half-naked Kevin. The two avian pokemon nodded at each other before flying into a nosedive to go check out what was going on.

“You!” Rachel shouted, pointing at Kevin, who was sitting next to a surprised Squirtle. The teen looked, stood up, and turned to face her as she approached. “You say that you’re going to look for Strix, but instead I find you sitting around in your underwear doing…” The situation began to sink in. “What the hell are you doing?!”

When she looked at him, she expected him to respond with a witty and suggestive innuendo, but instead she got something else. “… I’m waiting for my clothes to dry off…” he said plainly, glancing over to his shirt and pants.

Rachel looked around and noticed that Ace was patting the back of Kevin’s leg and that Blitz wasn’t present. “Kevin… What’s going on?”

Daedalus and Avis were now flapping in the air next to them. Kevin grimaced and looked at the ground. “Something attacked us… and it took Blitz.”

“Kevin…” she said apologetically. Then she realized something. “What if it got Strix too?!” She swiped Avis out of midair and started hugging her. “Oh, Avis!” The Pidgey in question cringed momentarily before patting Rachel with her wing.

Daedalus flew over to the tree branch where Kevin’s clothes were hanging and tossed them to him. “<Standing around here feeling sorry for yourselves isn’t going to rescue them,>” he said.

Kevin’s trademark grin returned to his face. “The bird is right. We should go find them.” He turned to Rachel, clothes in hand. “Sorry, sweetheart; I know I have an awesome body, but I’m gonna have to get dressed now.”

“<I have a name, thanks,>” muttered Daedalus in contempt.

Rachel gave a fuming glare and walked past him. Kevin smirked, put on his garments, and scooped up Ace in his arms. “Don’t worry, Blitz; I’m comin’ for ya, pal,” he murmured to himself.

Kevin took off after Rachel, with Daedalus and Avis leading the way.

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[B]Claimed: Treecko, Grovyle, Charmeleon.
Co-Owner of Treecko/Grovyle/Sceptile Club.
Paired withAnastasia R.
PC Family so far: Cousin - ScytheMaster, Awesomest Sister - Diamondpearl876, Brother - Rebellious Treecko (PM one of us if you want to join it)

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