Episode 31: Flight to the Desert
After returning from the ice caves, the group departed from Chairo and made their way back to Hese early the next morning. While most of the group was in high spirits after retrieving Saidas' Aquamarine, Dawn was unusually quiet.
"What seems to be the matter?" Kissa asked as the group stopped to rest on a hill overlooking Hese. "You haven't said a word ever since we left Chairo."
Dawn sighed. "Before we left, the mayor of Chairo told me that my mother had been spotted in a desert town. Ever since she disappeared long ago, she was long presumed dead...but is it true she is alive? If she is, then what has she been doing all this time?"
"Fear not, Bowmistress of Anima--your mother still loves you very much, and has not abandoned you." a familiar voice began.
[BGM: In the Presence of Gods]
"Deami..." Ash gasped as a red light appeared before the group and formed into the shape of the fire goddess.
"Is it true my mother is alive?" Dawn asked.
Deami nodded. "Your mother yet lives, and has made her home in a city of the desert, where my ruby lies."
"But how do we get to the desert, much less survive in it?" Misty asked, concerned.
"The desert lies across the sea from here, and we have no Pokemon that can fly..." Brock agreed.
"One awaits for your aid somewhere on the plains--find her, and she will take you wherever your search for the Necklace beads leads you." Deami assured the group. "I will tell you more when you arrive in the desert." With that, she disappeared in a red flash.
"I hope none of you are afraid of heights..." Kissa sighed as the group made their way into one of the rare forested areas around Hese.
"Nonsense! We build gliders in the village!" Janine assured Kissa.
"Wind aura knights took me flying all the time while I was in training!" Misty agreed. "So why should I fear being in the air?"
"Should we tell them the tale about why Wartortles have cracked shells?" Kissa giggled as the group approached a river.
[BGM: Resting in Camp]
"Nah--we don't need to hang on by our mouths, anyway." Brock replied as he began gathering some clay from the river bank and rolling it into a ball.
"I suppose we are camping here?" Janine mused as Dawn began pitching her tent.
"May as well--we've been traveling all day." Misty agreed. "Ash, would you mind going to gather some wood for a campfire?"
"Sure!" Ash replied and started into the forest, watching all the while as Brock cut the clay ball in half with a small knife and began working one half into a bowl shape.
"Pika?" Pikachu wondered as he watched Brock work for a moment.
"We can ask what he's making when we get back to camp." Ash assured Pikachu as he ran down the forest path, picking up sticks and branches all the while.
[BGM: The Hunt is On!]
Suddenly, Pikachu noticed a large net draped across several trees in the distance. "Pikapi!"
"What is it?" Ash set aside his bundle of wood and looked into the trees above him, where Pikachu frantically pointed out the netting. Some familiar brown feathers clued him in on just what the giant net held--a Pidgeot that was uneasily sleeping.
"Pika pika pikachu?" Pikachu asked.
"I don't know who caught the Pidgeot or why, but they somehow hoisted the net into the trees in hopes they could possibly come back for it later." Ash explained before climbing up into the tree nearby, where the net's bindings were connected. "If I just cut the net loose from the tree..."
Suddenly, the Pidgeot woke up and let loose a terrified screech, nearly sending Ash falling to the ground. "Peace--I'm not going to hurt you." he assured the frightened Pokemon. "I'm trying to get you out of here..." he explained as he drew his sword.
The ringing of a sword being drawn spooked the Pidgeot even more, making it squawk and scream as it struggled to flap its bound wings. Ash just calmly severed the bindings with a stroke of his blade before jumping down onto the ground, sending the net falling into a makeshift bed of leaves Pikachu had made.
"What's going on here?" Misty led the way into the clearing with the others, where Ash was gently sliding the net off of the captured Pidgeot.
"I found this Pidgeot trapped in the forest canopy, and I'm trying to set it free." Ash explained as he heaved the net into a bush.
"It's going to take more than a person and a Pokemon to set a bird of this size free." Janine cautioned as she examined the many knots binding the Pidgeot's wings.
"Plus, who could've wanted to capture a Pokemon this big?" Dawn wondered.
"Poaching is forbidden on these lands." Janine added as she began working on untying the knots, only to rear back when the Pidgeot screeched again.
"We're only trying to help you!" Dawn assured the Pidgeot, but this proved fruitless as it screamed again.
"It's no use..." Misty sighed. "We can't cut it loose, and magic would harm the Pidgeot..."
"But how to calm it down so we can set it free?" Kissa yelled over the Pidgeot's panicked screaming.
[BGM: Brock's Ocarina: Lament for Mina]
A low whistle-like noise suddenly drifted through the woods, calming the Pidgeot. The girls saw their opportunity and began working to undo the knots.
Pikachu looked around, interested in the noise, but all Ash could see was the girls fratically undoing the knots. He then spotted Brock in the distance, playing the strange lullaby-like melody on a newly made ocarina.
"Pika..." Pikachu gasped, impressed.
"So that's what you were making earlier today!" Ash gasped.
"Marista showed me how to make an ocarina once--but Amhran Hall is not exactly close to a river." Brock explained. "So I never really got the chance to practice making one until now."
"He learned to play one from a fellow apprentice in his class--a lass named Kenja." Kissa added.
"What about the song? Is it special?" Ash asked.
"I just made it up on the fly." Brock confessed. "I think I'll call it 'Lament for Mina'..."
"Mina..." Dawn mused. "'Wind' in the holy tongue..."
"A fitting name for a Pidgeot." Janine agreed.
"Keep playing that song...I think she likes it!" Misty suggested as she continued undoing the knots around the Pidgeots left wing. Brock nodded, and resumed the haunting melody that drifted skyward into the night...
To Be Continued...