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Old August 4th, 2007 (4:28 PM).
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silverfrost silverfrost is offline
    Join Date: Jan 2004
    Location: NY
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    Chapter 6- The Tunnel of Fire

    Aerance leapt in front of Eralynn in a flash. She was now the only thing that stood between Eralynn and Rhylan, and the vicious, evil Mightyena.

    “Aerance! What the hell do you think you’re doing?!” Eralynn asked her through gritted teeth.

    The flame horse glanced back and snorted impatiently, then stomped her front hooves against the ground, attempting to intimidate the growling Mightyena. She shook her head, flashing her fiery mane at them, but they just kept closing in.

    “Aerance, you’re going to get hurt. Now, stop this,” Eralynn instructed.

    Aerance whinnied with frustration and kept stomping at the ground in front of her. Meanwhile, Eralynn watched some of the Mightyena flinching as she did this. She was trying to distract them, to give Eraylnn some extra time.

    Finally realizing Aerance’s intentions, Eralynn lifted Rhylan off of her shoulders slowly, and set him over Aerance’s back. All the while, she was sure not to make any sudden movements. She still held onto him, however, as Aerance’s stomping motion might’ve made him slide off of her. Then, making sure that the Mightyena’s eyes were still on the Ponyta, Eralynn hopped on as well. She propped Rhylan up into a sitting position as quickly as she could, putting her arms around him and holding onto the reigns.

    The Mightyena were now close enough to seriously harm Aerance. One of them nipped at her legs, causing her to throw her front feet up into the air, whinnying insanely. Eralynn could not blame her for being scared to death. The wolf Pokemon’s teeth were sharp, and the look in their eyes sent a chill down her spine.

    They snapped at Aerance left and right, and she tried her best to avoid all their bite attacks by backing away. However, she did not count on there being more directly behind her. She was unable to dodge a snap from one of the Mightyena lurking there. She slammed her forelegs on the ground and kicked violently behind her, and Eralynn and Rhylan nearly fell forward and over the flame horse's head as she hit two of the wolf Pokemon, knocking them backwards.

    Eralynn held onto Rhylan and grasped tightly to the reigns. She pulled her weight back to steady herself, despite the Ponyta's understandable rampaging. Eralynn felt her worry growing within her. Aerance would not be able to escape the circle of malicious Mightyena surrounding her. It seemed that there was no way out of this nightmare.

    Her thoughts suddenly vanished as she realized Aerance was just standing still. She wanted to yell for her to run, to try and get away. She didn't understand what her friend was doing at first. Then, Aerance raised her head to the sky, and her eyes began to glow a zealous red. From the ground beneath which she stood, flames erupted brutally, surrounding the trio. Eralynn watched in awe as the fire swam around them swiftly, rising high into the sky. It formed a tunnel to the heavens, reaching a distance that Eralynn could neither see nor comprehend. She felt the sweat upon her brow almost instantly, as the heat around her dramatically rose. She also had to close her eyes tightly, the flames being so bright, the girl could barely see.

    Through all her veneration, Eralynn finally realized that Aerance had been creating some sort of shield around them- A shield of brilliant fire. She heard a loud whimper coming from behind her as she snapped back to reality, and recognized that one of the Mightyena must have tried to penetrate the barrier of flames. Had Eralynn been able to see them clearly through the twisting, cycling fire, she would have watched as one of them had dared to go through the flame. She imagined a deep burn on its nose that would likely scar it for life.

    Now safe from the Mightyena, Aerance kicked up her heels and sprinted forward. She effortlessly sprang over the group of them, showering them in flames. She only ran for a bit, then turned around to head back to where they had come from. She galloped hard through the trees, Eralynn struggling to stay on and hold Rhylan at the same time.

    The fires of the tunnel surrounding them eventually began to die down, and Eralynn glanced back, now able to see around her. She was confused when she didn’t see the Mightyena anywhere, but only the empty trail upon which she had found Rhylan getting smaller and smaller as they rode quickly away.

    She did not say one word while Aerance ran through the forest, past the odd grouping of trees, and back out onto the plains. She did not know what to think, since she had so many unanswered questions.

    What had puzzled her most was Aerance’s sudden ability to produce such a powerful flame. She knew that fire Pokemon had the power to breathe fire as an attack, but only after training. Eralynn and Aerance had never even started training, so it was practically impossible for her to know that attack, much less use it so well. Also, she’d only seen the attacks flamethrower and fire blast, and they looked nothing like this. Was this something different, or just a Ponyta’s version of one of the attacks?

    Her mind was completely clouded by this, and she still wondered where the others that traveled with Rhylan were. They could’ve been anywhere, for all she knew. She would have, of course, searched the area where she had found Rhylan, but the Mightyena left them with no choice. They had to escape, and she couldn’t blame herself for not looking for them. And now, even though the Mightyena had been out of sight when they were riding away, it was highly probable that they were still there. For once, Eralynn let her mind take control, and they escaped safely.

    * * * *

    They had ridden for a long time, and traveled a far ways across the plains. The sun was now high in the sky, as it was early afternoon.

    Upon realizing that they would need some sort of shelter for a little while, Eralynn decided it best to start looking for a good place to stay. They took turns traveling both through the woods and the plains, hoping to find a good resting spot.

    While walking through the dense forest, they came across a small valley. It was in the center of the woods, where the land dipped down into the beautiful area, thick with vegetation and especially colorful wildflowers. They decided to investigate the land here on the off chance that it would be a safe spot to relax.

    Eralynn marveled at this gorgeous spot, which provided her with something different than she had seen for the past couple of days. She stared at the long grass that grew around Aerance’s legs, nearly up to her stomach. At the heart of the valley was a small, freshwater stream flowing towards the North. Looking around, she spotted a charming little bridge that led over the water. There was a few feet of land covered in shadow underneath the bridge, right before the little, sparkling stream.

    “Someone must’ve lived here, once,” she said to Aerance. “Or else, maybe someone still does live here...”

    Aerance snorted, and kept walking forward, heading for the water.

    “Why don’t we just stay under that bridge? I think it will hide us well enough,” Eralynn suggested.

    Aerance agreed and picked up the pace. Once under the bridge, Eralynn climbed off of the Ponyta. Her muscles ached from riding all morning, and she was glad to finally be able to rest. She pulled Rhylan off, as well, and set him down against the bottom of the bridge.

    Now that they were stopped, she had a chance to examine his bleeding arm to see if she could help him. She pulled up the sleeve of his cloak, and she could see a long gash, still fresh with blood. She gasped, wondering what could’ve possibly happened to him. After riding for this long, the wound had still not closed, and this worried her.

    Suddenly, she had an idea. She bent down, ripping part of her cloak off. She had to pull quite hard to tear the seams completely. She then wrapped the cloth around his arm, covering his gash. She tied it tightly, making sure that there was still pressure on the wound to stop it from bleeding so much. Lastly, she laid him down into a more comfortable position.

    “Aerance, watch Rhylan for me, okay? I need to go find some firewood... and some herbs, as well. He should heal faster if I can help him,” Eralynn explained.

    She walked out from under the bridge and gazed at the plants around her. She wasn’t sure how she was going to find the only healing herb that she knew of, but it was common, and had to be around this area somewhere.

    While she searched, she ran over the events of the past two days in her mind. Something big was happening to her, but she couldn’t understand it. She had no idea why she had set out on this journey in the first place, but she was glad she did. And Aerance... what had happened to her? How had she learned such an amazing, powerful attack like that? It seemed Eralynn couldn’t think straight with all that had occurred.

    Eventually, she found the healing herb not far off in the woods. She picked it, also grabbed some firewood, and hurried back to the valley. Upon her return, she found Aerance sleeping, laying down right beside Rhylan. She smiled warmly at the thought of them and herself finally being comfortable.

    She allowed Aerance to nap for a while, keeping a lookout for anything suspicious or dangerous, then eventually woke her up. She was in need of her fire, and she had gathered the sticks, twigs, and branches into a small pile, ready to be ignited. Aerance exhaled gently, and embers flew out of her mouth and at the firewood, abruptly lighting it into a blaze.

    * * * *

    Later that night, Eralynn sat around the fire, allowing it to warm her skin under the moonlight. Desperate for food, she had picked Pecha berries during the afternoon for herself and Aerance to eat. Now, after eating until they were full, the two of them sat around the flames in silence.

    “I don’t know how you did that back there, Aerance,” Eralynn said, breaking through the quiet of the evening. “I’m just... proud that you’re so strong, I guess.”

    Aerance stared at her, perplexed, and listened on. The light of the fire glistened in the Ponyta's soft, almond-shaped eyes as she watched her human friend.

    “We didn’t even train... I’ve never seen that attack before, anyway, but it was amazing,” She kept losing her train of thought, since she barely knew what she was saying at this point. By now, she was exhausted, and she only wanted to break the silence, however it was to be done.

    Aerance only shook her mane and lay down, resting her head against the soft ground beneath her.

    Peering out into the forest that lay beyond the valley, Eralynn suddenly jumped. She thought that she had seen something glowing between the trees. She stared for quite some time, then got up and walked past the fire and closer to the water to get a clearer look. After a moment, whatever she had seen had gone, though. She listened for a moment, just to make sure she could not hear anything but the silence was filled only by the crackling fire and the sound of Kricketunes chirping loudly all around them. Eralynn felt somewhat silly and paranoid, and she shrugged it off, thinking it was probably nothing.

    “Wha... Where am I?” A groggy voice came from behind her suddenly.

    Eralynn spun around to see Rhylan squinting and trying to pull himself off the ground. He still looked sick, somehow, but at least he was awake. He accidentally put his weight on his injured arm, and fell back to the ground when he felt the shooting pain.

    Instinctively, Eralynn grabbed the herbs she had found and ran over to him. She propped him up and put his back up against the wooden bridge.

    “Here, eat these, Rhylan,” she instructed.

    Without really hesitating or thinking, he consumed the plants, still barely even realizing that he was awake now. If Eralynn hadn’t been holding him up, he would’ve just fallen back to the ground.

    Aerance crept up behind Eralynn, and they both examined him closely. His eyes opened and closed slowly as he began to wake up. His face was pale and there were heavy bags under his eyes.

    “Ow...” he mumbled while clutching his arm. Then, he looked up at Eralynn, who was still at his side, and gave her a goofy smile. “I... missed... you,” he murmured.

    Eralynn raised one eyebrow and glanced at Aerance, who looked equally confused. Then, to only augment their astonishment, Rhylan put his arm around Eralynn and placed his head on her shoulder, still smiling.

    “Uh... What the hell?” She asked as she pushed him off of her and laid him back down onto the earth. “Maybe whatever wounded him out there gave him a bump on the head, as well,” she sarcastically told Aerance. Perhaps it was the herb, or perhaps it was because Rhylan had been unconscious for so long, Eralynn did not know. Maybe he had been dreaming of something else. However, she knew for sure that he did not mean these things, and that he must’ve been very delusional.

    She and Aerance sat by the fire for a while, waiting for Rhylan to be fully conscious once more. Unfortunately, it was the middle of the night when he finally came to. He had been laying down the entire time, and finally, he was able to push himself up into a sitting position.

    Eralynn turned around and watched him rub his eyes and yawn. “You were half-asleep for a really long time,” Eralynn said to him.

    “Where... am I? I don’t understand,” he was groggy still, but then, a hint of panic was in his voice. “Oh my god, where are the others?!”

    Eralynn watched nervously as he tried to stand up. He was still wobbling all over the place, unable to obtain any real balance. He grabbed hold of the bridge behind him, using it as some sort of crutch.

    “Um, Aerance and I were hoping that you could tell us that, actually,” Eralynn exclaimed, rolling her eyes.

    Rhylan sat back down abruptly, and it nearly looked like he was falling over. He looked around himself hopelessly, as if trying to recognize something familiar, but Eralynn and Aerance were the only ones he knew around him. He put his hands to his forehead and looked down at the ground. “I was... with them... and....” He tried to tell Eralynn and Aerance, but it seemed that he could not remember the details.

    “Well, you do have a large, deep gash on your arm. Maybe that’ll jog your memory?” Eralynn inquired of him, hoping he wasn't going to give her information she already possessed, thanks to her mystifying dream.

    He looked down, then, to see the arm that was wrapped in a piece of Eralynn’s ripped cloak. He blinked hard, seemingly remembering what had happened to him. “I... something attacked me, I think. I remember running, and everyone was following me,” Rhylan paused for a moment. “Oh no, Pidgeot! Where is she? Is she okay?” He asked Eralynn desperately.

    “I believe Aerance and I saw your Pidgeot fly over us just before we found you, Rhylan,” she spoke calmly, not wanting to rile him up at a time like this. “She was headed north, towards Derelon. I'm assuming she was heading out to find some sort of help, seeing as you were still alive out there.”

    “Yes... that must’ve been her,” he tried reassuring himself. “Anyway, we were running from something terrible-” his memory seemed to be coming back as he went on, “-It was huge and gray... It had great, terrible wings and sharp claws and teeth. It was like a giant stone bird...”

    Eralynn just looked at him as if he was a foreign creature, not understanding very much of his mumbling. “A... stone bird?” She asked him.

    Just then, though, she recalled exactly what she had seen in her dreams. Witnessing the horrifying images and the dreadful attacks of the giant, gray Pokemon was her reason for coming out here in the first place. She had seen massive creatures lifting people away in their great claws. They were very frightening. Suddenly, Eralynn was much more interested in his story than she had been before.

    “Was there only one?” She questioned. She distinctly remembered at least two of them.

    “There were a few, I think. Pidgeot was flying away so fast, and I didn’t want to look back. I just hope she’s okay, now... And the others... I have no idea what happened to them... Something just clawed my arm and smacked me in the head and I was out cold. I don’t remember anything after that,” Rhylan told her, exhausting worry lingering in his voice.

    Eralynn stared at him in wonder. She had never seen Rhylan act like such a wreck. He was being so emotional, and she hardly knew how to respond. Normally, all they did was argue, but it seemed as if he was trying to confide in her now.

    “Do you remember where you were knocked out, though?” She asked, ignoring his obvious anxiety.

    “It was... somewhere in the woods, I think. Yes. Yes, that’s it... I remember seeing trees as I fell down,” he said, shaking his head in confusion.

    “Why were you the only one I could see, then?” Eralynn thought aloud. “Why would they just let you lay there like that, rather than capture you and take you away, like the rest?”

    Then, it hit her. Was it possible that the creatures who attacked them knew that someone would be coming to save them? It could’ve easily been some sort of trap for Eralynn. It was also an odd coincidence that the King’s son, the Prince of Derelon, was the one to be left for her to find. Perhaps whoever had captured the others thought that the King himself would come to Norsillon to rescue his son... Then, attacking the leader of the great city would truly be a blow to their resistance in this war.

    Her vision had surely been accurate, and she wondered how she was able to witness an event that had not yet come to pass. Perhaps this also had something to do with the Mightyena. Perhaps someone evil had sent her the vision in hopes that she’d come, and then they would capture or kill her.

    “But, why me?” She thought aloud, once again. “I’m nobody in that place...” and her thoughts trailed off, leaving silence under the small bridge in the valley. Why was it that she had seen these events take place? Was she supposed to rescue them? Was that what this voice wanted?

    After a moment of thinking, Eralynn looked up at Rhylan. He suddenly had a mixture of an annoyed and a confused expression across his face.

    “Why are you out here?” He asked her contentiously.

    “I came because I... I knew you were in trouble, along with the rest of the people that came out here.” She knew that the story of her vision would not suffice as an answer to that question.

    “So... you took it upon yourself to have a little adventure?” He was becoming angrier and angrier, now.

    “Adventure? Shouldn’t you be grateful?” Eralynn asked him defensively. “I mean, it took me a long time just to find you, and I got to Norsillon faster than most people could, so-”

    “No, I’m not grateful. How the hell did you know we were in trouble? And how did you get here so fast once you heard the news?” He was completely frustrated.

    “I just knew, okay?” She responded.

    “You just knew? What kind of hunch is that to go on? You just abandoned your city for this feeling that you had?” He inquired irritably.

    “Listen. I can’t explain it to you because you wouldn’t understand,” she whispered. “Just trust me. I had a good reason for coming.”

    “Yeah, well, whatever,” he snapped. He wiped his face with his hands while he spoke. “You’re so damn weird, you know that?”

    Eralynn just looked to the ground, quieted by Rhylan’s insult. Of course she knew, but did he really need to say such a thing? He was pointing out the obvious rather well, though. “Just because I’m not little Miss Perfect doesn’t mean you have to have your pride hurt over me rescuing you. Why don’t you just quit being so arrogant, and admit that you needed help out here?!” Her intense screams echoed through the still night.

    “Just shut up, and let me get some sleep, you freak,” he grumbled, and sighing heavily, he laid down, facing away from her and Aerance.

    The girl that had rescued the Prince huffed angrily and turned around to face the fire again. She would not deny that she expected this kind of behavior from him, so she just shrugged it off and decided to treat it like one of their typical arguments.

    Eralynn went to sleep that night thinking about their plans for the next day. She figured that they could stay under the bridge for a couple more days until Rhylan was healed. But then, they’d have to return home to Derelon City. It had already been such a dangerous trek out here that she wasn’t sure she wanted to take the same trail back again. There could’ve easily been more Mightyena that way, and she didn’t want to risk it.

    The Mightyena... She also wondered what happened to those that were back in the forest. She assumed that they had fled in fear, but she did not know how wrong she really was...


    FanFic: Stir of The Thunderstorm (Please R&R.)

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