Wastes of Will
As Zane proceeded into the desert, Defender, who was close by, asked him a question.
"Vigil, where's all the grass?" He asked. Zane turned to the Golduck, and noticed a look of discomfort on his face. That was only natural. He was a Water-type Golduck, and this was not a particular climate he liked, or was used to.
Zane decided to retell a story his grandfather told to him, partly for information, but also partly for the sake of interest. As he walked deeper into the hot area, he spoke.
"Let me tell you a story, one that was told to me by my grandfather when I was a child. A little under a hundred years ago, this place was quite different. The rainforest's water extended into this part of the land. There was even a river closeby that connected Poseida Village with the nearby industrial city of Eternity. However, a great battle took place between members of the Gold Tribe and a Regigigas, a powerful Pokemon bent on destroying all of Valkaria. The final Earthquake caused the surrounding climate to collapse and crumble, and the environment was permanently destroyed. Ever since, nothing has grown, and the place became known as the Wastes of Will."
When Zane finished, the group walked on for a while before Hoodhide spoke up.
"Vigil," he said. "This place is very dangerous for those who do not know of it. I know little about the place, what I do know is that the heat will be intense after a strong while, and more importantly, we must steer clear of the factories we will encounter. They are under control of the Silver Tribe."
Zane nodded, replying. "Yes, but most of the factories are located around the other paths that go around the wasteland, the shorter paths. If we go straight through the wastes, we should pass unnoticed, and unspoiled."
Sword and Shield and Speculum had a conversation a bit to the back of the group, while Hazone approached Zane as they walked through the treacherous terrain.
"It seems you have been doing well, Vigil." Hazone said to him, offering smile. Zane nodded returning the smile, and a joke.
"You've looked better." Zane said, to which Hazone responded with a laugh.
"Ha! That I have..." He trailed off for a moment, before becoming serious again. "I don't suppose you've had any word of General Catria's whereabouts, have you? Word rarely reached the ears of those in the torturehouse."
Zane gave Hazone a concerned look. He shook his head, to which Hazone frowned. They both knew what it most likely meant. The two of them walked silently for a while longer, the temperature slowly picking up as the group proceeded deeper and deeper into the Wastes. Zane took a look behind them. The forest was almost completely out of view now. In fact, nothing could be seen on any side, only more nothingness. If Zane's grandfather's story was true, the battle must have indeed been immense. In between what used to be the luscious village of Poseida and a great natural rainforest lay nothing but an empty scar on Valkaria. It was a scar of war, and if the current conflict persists, there may be many more.
Gladius proceeded to the front of the group, next to Zane and spoke.
"Vigil, how much time do you expect for us to traverse this wasteland? Do you have, you know, any general plan in mind, or you want us to use brute force and cover as much mileage in a day?"
Zane thought for a moment how to approach the wastes. He recalled his past experiences of the wastes to help his judgment.
"Belas requested us as soon as possible. However, if we simply walk for hours on end with little break, we will all be tired before we make it to Poseida, and I wager we shall need our energy." Zane paused to look at the sun, which was slowly setting in the horizon now, and continued to speak.
"The worst times to be out in the open is midday and midnight, around then. The climate is too hot during midday, and far too cold during the night. We proceed ever morning a bit before sunrise and cover as much distance as we can before the sun hits the top of the sky. When that happens, he rest in whatever shade we can find until the sun is at this point, closer to setting, and much more cooler. When it is deep in the night once more, we shall rest. We continue this cycle, and we should have enough energy, and enough food to last us through the wastes. We should be in Poseida in...two days from now."
It was going to be harsh, yes. But Zane and the others knew of the risks coming in. They would have to make the most of it.
"Belas should have a banquet for me when I get there." He heard Sword and Shield say. Zane couldn't help but smile as he proceeded. It was nice to see the others in high spirits besides the obvious situation they are in.
The group continued to travel through the Wastes of Will for a while as the air began to get cooler and cooler. Night had come, and visibility had become less easier. The Alpha Alliance troops had a much harder time, not being conditioned for such things in the way Gold Tribe members have. The others of the Gold Tribe, Zane included, would give extra food rations for them, just so they would keep up. When Zane looked up to examine the moon and star's positioning, he was able to determine it was around midnight.
The group stopped for the night. A fire was started by a Charmeleon Alpha Alliance soldier using what wood they could carry from the forest. The company of 20 or so Pokemon sat together next to the fire in a large circle. Some talked amongst themselves, but for the most part, the Gold Tribe and the Alpha Alliance didn't talk to each other much from a few words here and there. It wasn't so much that they didn't like each other as much as it was that they didn't know what to say. There was a cultural difference between the way a soldier of the Alpha Alliance acts to that of a member of the Gold Tribe. General Hazone was a bit different, freely speaking with the Gold Tribe, but for the most part, the Alpha Alliance soldier could never understand the honor and dignity the Gold Tribe members exhibit, and the Gold Tribe members could not hope to explain it to them. Nevertheless, there was a silent respect that resided there between the two sides, both of which risk their lives to protect the Alpha Alliance.
The sky was beginning to brighten, and the air grew warmer. It was time to move on again. One more day lay ahead of them, and if they made good time, by this time tomorrow, they would be in Poseida.