Yay for no Writer's Block! =D
Ash and Max are amongst those lucky enough to escape… Ash, still unconscious, travels without his loyal partner to the intriguing Orthan kingdom… Could the luck that has long supported him to keep Pikachu have disappeared? Or are there other facts that may have triggered this disappearance…?
Even outside that place… I can’t feel freedom.
Being in these lush fields relieves my anger and soothes my spirit… but none compared to freedom.
Even my office gave me a larger sense of freedom…
The office at the Headquarters in Viridian…
I converse with other prisoners outside… it is the only time where I can socialize.
They granted me that much.
But now, I don’t know if it’s a privilege or just a gift before I’m being sent to another penitentiary.
I met some old Grunts I trained… they have been here for far longer than I have. It’s only natural, it seems; they have been arrested in Kanto and they have been put into prison in Kanto. We talked about the projects. I shared my ideas and ideals. I shared my thoughts and revealed knowledge they wouldn’t otherwise know if they were still my subordinates.
And still, they all made me the same question.
What became of those three idiots and the boy they were after…?
It seemed like a flock of birds in the sky above the sea. Birds of all varieties and colors, sizes and aspects…
Their number wasn’t the only resemblance to migrating birds; all of them had the same destination, and they flew close and together, as if fearing to leave anyone behind.
There wasn’t a pattern or an organized movement to them, though. Only one distinct bird flew ahead of all, and it was probably their leader.
This bird, carrying a caped human on its back, proudly exhibited its blue feathers, sparkling like crystals in the stormy skies. Its long tail, covered in a shimmering dust, created a trail that some dared to follow close behind. Vigilant red eyes focused in the path ahead, as the Articuno guided the immense flock.
Max eventually lost track of how long they had been flying. Hours left uncounted, but he didn’t really care.
The same way he wasn’t even troubled with the boy on the Dragonite’s hand; despite knowing he’d already passed out quite some time ago.
The boy, called Ash apparently, was reluctant about leaving the ship.
Max recalled it was because of a Pokémon, and then something about his friends.
The Pokémon… Pikachu. Yup, that was it.
Thinking about it, that always left him puzzled, intrigued about how a person could connect itself so much to a Pokémon.
He was sure he’d never leave his Typhlosion, Flame behind; but heck, he wouldn’t just leave it lying around for nothing.
So no wonder that Pikachu was left behind.
In that mess, you’d be surprised if anyone came out alive.
His thoughts were interrupted by his Dragonite’s call. The Pokémon was signaling Max, pointing down at the boy.
Max carefully got up and walked to the edge of the dragon’s back, trying to get a clearer view of the involuntary passenger.
He could see it squirming between Dragonite’s claws, and the Pokémon was having some difficulty in holding it.
“Get him up here, Dragon.” Max commanded, and the Pokémon obeyed. “’Bout time.” He commented when Ash was on Dragonite’s back. “You’ve been out for the past hours.”
Max knew that the boy was confused, partly because he didn’t answer. Instead, he looked around aimlessly.
“You’re in the middle of the ocean.” Max bluntly said, walking over to the top of his Pokémon’s head. “’N we’re escaping the shipwreck where you nearly died.”
Ash was still stunned, both by the height and the people who followed all around, forming a massive group. A Staraptor flew close to his head and nearly stole his hat with the breeze caused by its strong wings’ flapping.
“Still not talking, eh?”
Max sounded nearly like an elder talking with some young inexperienced scout lost in the woods; but he was practically Ash’s age.
Max didn’t know about inexperienced, but everything in Ash pointed out he was feeling lost; lost in the world, lost in the ocean.
Well if he wasn’t replying a rhetorical question, it was time to stab the knife.
“You got your Pokémon with ya? Your… other… Pokémon, with ya?” Max tried to make it sound the least rude he could – to try and test the boy’s reaction. He managed to pull one off: Ash was about to reply at the first question, but then retreated at the continuation.
“See? How hard’s it to talk?” Max satirized, showing a grin only he could see. “Mind sharing your team, mate?”
Maybe it had been too soon to ask it; the knife should have gone deeper first.
And he was right; Ash didn’t reply. He was sobbing on his own corner of the Dragonite’s back, for a reason Max just couldn’t fathom.
“Would you just look at me?” Max yelled, getting up. “I said: LOOK AT ME. Are you going to hide your face from the world for the rest of your life because you lost someone?! I get it that you’d cry for some time, but you’ve been crying ever since you left that ship and that almost cost you your life, boy!” Max was now in front of the trainer, looking down at Ash’s dark cap. Theirs were almost identical, except for the color difference. “Ya gotta go on. Ya gotta give up on the past.”
Max got down on one knee and patted the boy on the back.
“You can’t get stuck with the past forever. You gotta move on and live for those you lost.” His voice softened, lowering to something like a whisper. “Think about it. Do you think they would’ve wanted you to mourn them endlessly?”
Still no response. He was starting to lose his good faith over the boy.
It was time to use another card.
“For all you know… they may still be alive.”
Ash’s eyes instantly met Max’s at the sound of his words.
“Al…Alive?” He stammered, completely hit by the new hypothesis. Max didn’t really get why he sounded so surprised, but if it was working, he didn’t care either.
“Well, yeah. Did you see them dead?”
“No. You instantly escaped.” Max quickly interrupted, giving emphasis to the first word. “Which means, you don’t know about whether they’re alive or not.”
“I guess…” But once again, Max didn’t even let him speak.
“Which also means it’s no use crying, ‘cause you don’t have anything to cry for.”
“Then stop crying already! Wipe those tears off your eyes and say something!” Max was getting carried away by his own outburst of conclusions, and that was obvious when he got up and pointed at Ash in a movie-ish fashion.
“OI!” Someone suddenly called from one of the Pokémon that flew close to Dragonite.
Ash could swear he saw a cloud of black smoke appear over Max’s head that instant.
“Thanks for interrupting me, wise guy.” Max muttered to the man riding a Pidgeot. A man, though he seemed to be about Max’s height, and his face didn’t really resemble a full grown man, perhaps because half of it was covered by his long, deep azure hair which curved down on the right side of his face along with his clothing – blue and white traditional clothing, as if he was taken from some old village story.
Either way, he didn’t seem satisfied with Max’s response to his call, and instantly narrowed his visible eye to show it.
“We’re reaching Orthan in some minutes. Get ready to land.” He communicated with an annoyed voice.
“Yeah? And who’re you to know that?”
The boy-man showed his teeth and jumped off the Pidgeot, clenching his fists in anger.
“Hey! Who allowed you land on my Dragonite?!”
“Myself! The Elegant Master of Flying Pokémon!” He reached for the inside of the cloth-like coat, taking out a silvery object hanging from a very thin string. It had the appearance of two symmetrical wings, polished to its brightest.
“You’re… Falkner?” Max slowly said; it came as no surprise to him that yet another Gym Leader would appear before them. Falkner above all, and that other Hoenn Gym Leader, Winona.
“That’s right; and my father’s over there leading this whole crew to Orthan!” Max felt like Flakner had grown two inches for having a father leader. “If it weren’t for him, you all would still be lost in the sea!”
“How influent…” Max muttered to himself, arms crossed as he watched the Gym Leader brag about the infinite qualities he had when compared to his father. He glanced at Ash, who was still looking down at Dragonite’s bright scales with a gloomy look upon him. “See this guy? You wanna end up like this lunatic?”
“Lunatic?!” Falkner suddenly yelled in Max’s face, grabbing him by the collar. “You repeat that and I’ll-…!”
“And you’ll let him go.” Another man appeared behind, mounting an Articuno’s back.
He seemed like a pilot in all aspect; the leather jacket, tainted with a chestnut color, along with the goggles on his head actually made him fitter of driving a pilot rather than being a Pokémon trainer. A long cape flew behind him, flapping at the wind’s taste.
“But dad, I-…”
“You nothing. For Arceus’s sake, you always said you were against Kanto people and now you’re arguing with a fellow Johto citizen?”
Upon his words, Falkner seemed to realize he was right, as he slowly let go of Max.
“Don’t think my father will be always around the corner to save you from me.” The Gym Leader muttered, walking backwards to the edge. As soon as he was one step away from falling down, Falkner brushed his hair with the hand and showed a cocky smile. “I’m watching you!” Max groaned at the word of warning, rolling his eyes.
With that, Falkner jumped down with a flip, disappearing from sight, reappearing once again on his Pidgeot’s back, which flew away to mix itself with the rest of the flock.
“Your son there needs to calm down or he’ll get into a mess you won’t save him from.” Max added, but the man and his Articuno were no longer there.
Instead, a large mass of green land stretched as far as the eye could see; five majestic mountains rose from the land, disposed to seem like the face of a dice. One of them stood in the middle of a bay that separated desert from forest, dividing the kingdom into half.
Yes, a kingdom… its castle stood high on the top of the mountain in the south westernmost end, a majestic construction in white stone with blue roofs, shinning under the sun that opened above them, since they needed to lower their altitude rather early in the trip because some we’re bringing Noctowls, Pokémon who weren’t too large and couldn’t fly too high.
Max could see their destination now: just over the bay, on the northern side, where a big port town occupied the shore with tall buildings tainted gray, like a polished stone sprinkled with dark powder, over a long, golden beach.
“That city yonder…” Someone said from his side. “Is Caitla Port.”
The trainer noticed that a Charizard had been flying by their side for quite a while, and riding it was one of those persons to whom we would certainly call rouge, judging from the hair, which was tinted with a dark blue color reminiscing the night sky, randomly spikes as if he had just woke up like that. But then he remembered that it in all of the regions he had been to, their tastes for fashion were always almost alien like. In fact, he was surprised to have found a relatively normal dressed person.
“The captain there told us we have to go there. We have to land there and wait for further instructions.” The guy said. Max noted that he was basically pretending to be an assistant or something.
Before he could reply, though, the Charizard dove abruptly, speeding up towards the port below them.
“This is it.” Max hummed, more to Ash than himself. “Get a hold of something to keep you from flying away now. We’re gonna have to spin down to avoid diving.” ’Cause I just know you wouldn’t hold on if I did that.
But again, and even if he wasn’t expecting an answer, the boy remained silent like the air when he tightly clutched the dragon’s back scales.
Max disdainfully watched this, thinking to himself if it wouldn’t have been better to just leave the trainer to join his friends at the ocean bottom.
He’d faced similar situations to it, and that’s what made him what he is; but never had he encountered such a depressingly sorrowful trainer.
As the Dragonite began to dive in spiral patterns, Max kept his cap from flying away, gripping the radiant scale armor with a single hand.
The movement was sickening and horribly confusing at first, but as he became adapted to it, his mind realized the world was now upside down, and the land was approaching his head at a speeding rate. The air buzzing in his ears didn’t help since it made it seem like Dragonite wasn’t even flapping its wings; Max’d rather not even check.
I have to make a decision… He thought, not willing to concentrate on the flight anymore. Either he changes… or I’ll have to go on.
Fact was, Max wasn’t in Orthan to travel for adventure. His pride in journeying derived from his large collection of Badges and Ribbons, but mainly Badges. Ever since meeting a certain white-haired boy in Hoenn, Max had gotten into his mind that collecting Ribbons was something for the weak.
Taking him along will only be a drag for me… he can’t go like this.
The wind’s pressure on his face was starting on increase as Dragonite’s speed exponentially rose, so Max was forced to sustain his breath in order to not get an overwhelming amount of air into his mouth – and, who knew, some random bird flying around. The air around there didn’t seem very tasty either.
But before Max could even blink, the world suffered an agonizing twist as land and sky switched places again, nearly throwing the trainer down due to the dragon’s momentum.
Luckily, Dragonite caught him in the nick of time, placing him on the ground again with a contented groan.
“Nice catch!” Max commended, adjusting his hair before putting his hat back. A quick check on his equipment showed everything was in order; nothing was lost during the flight.
A surge of concern rushed his mind at the thought; the boy!!
“Dragon! Where is he?!” He frenetically spun around in search of any sign of the boy, but all he could find was an immense crowd surrounding the trainers who had just now jumped off their preciously rare flying partners. His eyes then met Dragonite’s, but all the dragon did was shrug.
And the fact that none of the two knew where the boy was left Max even more troubled.
“Damn…” He hummed, covering his face in embarrassment – trying to hide the tears he didn’t dare to shed.
“Damn…” Dragonite also heard it now; but knowing his trainer’s pride, the dragon didn’t bend down to try and comfort its trainer.
Was it some kind of irony? His plans on leaving the trainer behind; had they been heard by some superior entity, and then made true to its own rejoice?
Never, in all the years Max travelled, had he lost someone in a flight he himself forced.
So why now, at the verge of a fresh start? No… it couldn’t be right… He had to be dreaming…
Ultimately, Max couldn’t avoid it anymore; it had been a too deep blow in his own honor… and everyone would hear his own lament, echoing with the few tears Max couldn’t keep anymore as the boy fell on his knees…
As the crowd began to surround Max and his Dragonite, the trainer started to wonder what good would it do to just stay there… The boy was doomed to fall in some Pokémon’s paws anyway, so why even bother caring about whether he was safe on his Dragonite’s back or not?
He saw the boy fight; and honestly, any compliments he might have said were simple courtesy. Their fighting styles weren’t related in any way. Nor were their goals.
So, taking the boy along would only delay Max’s arrival to the next Gym.
Surely, knowing he could have been responsible for his disappearance wasn’t a pleasant thought; but it was nothing Max couldn’t live with.
And as Max always said, it was no use crying over the past.
It was decided for him. He didn’t want to be accounted for complaints of any kind. Especially not for a floating corpse.
“Dragon” He whispered, getting up slowly with the care of covering his face with the cap. “Let’s get out of here. Fast.”
The Pokémon sought to look its trainer in the eyes, but quickly realized he wouldn’t.
Out of options, the Dragonite clutched Max and took flight, spreading a dense cloud of sand that provided the perfect distraction to keep anyone from following them.
In fact, as the cloud settled, neither one could be seen, leaving the crowd stunned with the Pokémon’s speed to disappear.
Something wasn’t right.
He didn’t have trouble carrying the girl on his back when David first placed her there.
Crossing the sea within a thick fog capable of leaving even the most experienced sailors wondering just where in the world they were, Pidgeot easily carried out the task of safely transporting that young girl to the port town; he did, in fact, nearly land.
Nearly because just as he found a good place to land, the weight he was supposed to bring doubled for some reason.
And Pidgeot couldn’t afford stopping somewhere to check whatever was hanging on his talons.
So instead, the Pokémon kept flying as if it were nothing – which, in spite of carrying the weight of over two persons, wasn’t for his enormous size.
His sharp eye – and eagerness to land – rapidly spotted the perfect place to do it: a small hut on top of a hill overlooking the sea, built from straw and wood.
It had to be a good landing – for him, at least. His “other” cargo would have to handle itself on its own.
A large patch of soft-looking grass was just by a plantation of Aspear and Oran Berries, which were just what he needed.
The pasture below shook under the bird’s flutter to lose speed, finally stopping on the turf with the perfect landing. Unloading the girl was the next task – and with a gentle swing of his back, the girl slid from the back to the left wing over the smooth feathers, and then to the ground, on the fresh, morning grass.
The weather in Caitla was rather warmer than the frigid sea, and also much clearer, so leaving the girl there while waiting for David shouldn’t be much of a problem.
If it were a human, the Pokémon would have smiled in contentment for finally being able to eat some of those juicy berries from before; but as he prepared to hop his way to them, Pidgeot remembered something. That other thing that significantly raised the weight on his back earlier; where was it?
Almost pretending to be a Noctowl, the Pokémon’s gaze found nothing around except for a few Rattatas which were curious to know what such a big Pokémon was doing there.
And then it hit him; taking a step back and looking down at the ground, he saw a cap trapped in one of his talons, and a hand firmly hanging on to his right paw.
The glove covering it was almost completely ripped apart, much like the cap, pierced by the razor-sharp talon David insisted in keeping that way, but it wasn’t a pretty scenery either, since even the hat was covered in dirt.
Following the hand to the body it belonged to, Pidgeot found yet another boy who, in spite of his multiple wounds, kept holding on to the Pidgeot’s paw. A trail of soil, probably a result of being dragged across the grass, followed the boy all the way to his chest, where the jacket was shred all the way to the shirt below.
The Pokémon was confused. What to do? Good person, bad person? Talking wasn’t an option, obviously.
“Where…” He coughed, finally releasing his grip. “Where is she…?”
Pidgeot opened his beak to chirp, but instead stepped away from the boy’s sight.
As the girl’s green clothes came into view, the Pokémon noticed a certain shine appear in the boy’s eyes. They regained vitality, or at least enough to breathe a word before collapsing.