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Old December 16th, 2007 (11:20 AM).
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silverfrost silverfrost is offline
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    Location: NY
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    Chapter 13- Eight Arms, One Horn

    Eralynn convulsed beneath the water as she tried to break free. She pulled one of her hands out of the tight grip of Rhylan, and fiercely tore through the water. She wanted to hold him with both hands, but also had to try to get them both closer to the surface somehow.

    She stopped struggling for a moment to look around and try to find some way out. All around her, she could see tiny specs that looked like dirt floating. Faint light glistened off of the floating pieces, and she looked up to see that she was in the middle of the stream of light that poured down from the small surface. They were still close enough to the top of the water to get back…

    Just then, Eralynn noticed something else against the light. There was a small ring around the opening of the water that sat upon what looked to be a shelf of rock. The ring was made of something that appeared to be seaweed mixed with straw.

    Erlaynn’s eyes widened, however, when she observed what sat on these circular shelves. She saw large, ivory, oval shaped rocks sitting side by side, nestled in the layers of seaweed.

    “Rocks,” she thought. “No, those aren’t rocks.”

    Eralynn now understood what was happening. She now could easily see why Noctowl did not want them to look into the little pools of water.

    The opening that she and Rhylan had been dragged into was actually where these creatures nested. It was where they laid, protected, and then hatched their eggs. Since Rhylan was so curious about the waters around him, he probably thought that a mere glance into them would not cause him any harm. Unfortunately, the creature to which these eggs belonged did not think that Rhylan was just taking a look into the water. The surface was much too close to the eggs for comfort, and even just going near the liquid circles was a threat to the mother of the eggs.

    “No wonder we were attacked,” Eralynn thought sadly, as she sympathized with the creature that was only trying to protect its young.

    She knew that Rhylan just wasn’t thinking when he stared into the pools, and she realized that it was his fault that the creature felt threatened and was doing this, but she had to do something, and there was sadly only one way to get the monster’s attention.

    She looked down to see Rhylan still clutching her hand, and she knew she had to let go for the time being. He would be angry with her, she knew, but this was the only way. She made a face at him, lowering her eyebrows and opening her mouth as if to speak under water. When all she got in return was a confused face, she pulled her hand from his tough grip, knowing that he would understand what she was trying to tell him eventually.

    Did she have time? She didn’t know, so she swam towards the surface as quickly as she could. Her breath was not quite gone yet, since all of this had happened in an instant, but she knew that Rhylan could not hold on much longer, and she had to hurry.

    She got to the rock nest soon, and reached out to grab one of the large eggs. Up close, they were smooth, with spots on them. Eralynn assumed that these were probably clumps of dirt from the sea floor. Some of the eggs had a piece of seaweed slung on top of it, perhaps caused by the struggle.

    She needed to grab one without the restraint of seaweed. Fortunately, there was one straight ahead of her. She had to wrap her entire left arm around it in order to hold onto it as she swam. She clutched it tightly until she finally reached the surface. She reached out to grab the rocky ground that bordered the water, and slammed her right hand onto it, relieved to feel the hard rock floor again. She gasped for breath as she gently set the huge egg down. Rubbing her eyes to get the water away from them, she looked around, still with slightly blurry vision.

    Aerance was intelligently standing right in the middle of the path, looking terrified and guilty. The moment that she laid eyes on Eralynn, she broke into a sprint, slamming her hard hooves against the even harder stone beneath her.

    “Aerance! Rhylan is still down there! Help me up,” Eralynn pleaded with the fire Pokemon.

    Aerance obeyed, and immediately bent down to allow Eralynn to grab hold of the reigns on her neck. When the dripping wet Eralynn got hold of them well, Aerance began to back up, pulling her out of the water as fast as she could.

    Eralynn knew she had to get out of the water soon, but she did know just how fast the creature would notice the fact that its egg had gone missing. It would not be very long, however.

    She was nearly out of the water entirely when something rose from it and slammed against the rock floor. It sent shards of obsidian flying everywhere, and Aerance jumped when one hit her in the side. She stood on her hind legs, kicking in fear. She turned and galloped the other way when the creature attempted to hit her directly.

    The sudden movement caused Eralynn to shriek with terror and let go of Aerance. She was almost out, though, and no longer really needed Aerance’s help. She pulled herself the rest of the way out of the water, still in a laying position. Looking at what had hit the ground so hard next to her, she could see the same red tentacle reeling back to slam the ground once more.

    Breathing hard, she knew she had to move fast. Her plan was a success so far, but she had to carry out the rest without getting harmed. She rolled over towards the right, where she had set the egg. She put her left arm around it once more, and pushed herself up from the ground with her right. As she stood, she pushed off to sprint away from the creature’s nest. She ran as hard as she could, wary of the furious Pokemon behind her.

    She could feel the earth move as, she could only assume, the creature’s tentacles were slamming against the hard ground. She nearly tripped twice due to what felt like a short earthquake.

    She soon reached the path upon which they had calmly traveled before, and stood there, waiting for the beast to emerge from the hole in the ground and come after her. Aerance stood next to her and watched, wondering what she was planning on doing with the giant egg.

    It did not come out, however. Eralynn guessed that it thought she was still standing by the nest, since it continued to hit the ground over and over. She needed to get its attention.

    “Hey! You want this back?!” She shouted, hoping it would be able to hear her beneath the depths.

    Her voice pierced the air and startled Aerance, making her shift in her stance.

    Then, she saw what she had hoped for. Another tentacle grew out of the water, slamming against the stone. Another, then another, then another…

    “How many legs does it have?” She asked aloud, feeling her fear increasing with every passing moment.

    After seven tentacles were revealed, an eighth was thrown above, as well. This one, however, held something and did not hit the ground with the force that the others had. It squeezed the limp body of Rhylan, carelessly throwing him around while it tried to pull the rest of itself above the nest.

    And then, Eralynn saw it in its entirety. As it forced its way above, its large, round head was revealed, and was nearly as large as Eralynn. It had a cylindrical snout beneath its eyes, almost resembling a very short elephant trunk. Its eyebrows were lowered in anger, and its big eyes were burning with rage. Its eight tentacles sprouted from only its head, and were spotted with rough, yellow suction cups. It stood and stared fiercely at Eralynn as its appendages writhed beneath and around it.

    She took a step back and looked down at the egg in her arms, which was what the sea creature wanted so badly from her. Then, she looked back at it, and at what she wanted from it in return.

    Rhylan remained in the clutches of the sea Pokemon, arms and legs dangling lifelessly. His clothes were pressed tightly against his body, and his hair was darker and flatter against his head from being in the sea. His face was pale, with eyes closed and mouth open.

    Eralynn clutched her chest with her right hand as she wondered just how bad his condition was at this point.

    “Could he have already drowned?” She asked herself in a panic.

    She watched as the creature lifted its head towards the sky and let out what sounded like a deafening roar. It slammed the ground with one of its many arms, and glared at Eralynn still, waiting for her to return its prized possession.

    Eralynn had to make sure it knew what she wanted, as well, and she took a couple of steps forward.

    “You want this back?” She yelled clearly.

    The creature let out a similar roar as it began slowly approaching her. It propelled itself using all of its legs, which allowed a great deal of control in its movement.

    As it got closer and closer, Eralynn felt herself backing away without even thinking. She had originally planned to stand her ground, but her terror was too great to allow her to be brave in this situation.

    Suddenly, though, she stopped walking. She put both hands on the egg that she held and raised them up into the air in front of her face. She pulled them back further, to show the Pokemon that she was not surrendering the egg, but aiming to throw it at the ground.

    It stopped walking and opened its eyes in shock. It stood frozen before her, as she threatened the life of something that it loved the most in this world.

    “If you want it back safe, you must give me the boy!” Eralynn demanded in a shout.

    The creature made a gesture in response, extending its tentacle towards her and the egg, but purposefully missed them, as if solely reaching out for its child. It suddenly looked a lot different. Its eyes no longer held the look of anger, but that of sadness and defeat. It stopped standing tall and let itself drop lower, towards the obsidian ground.

    Eralynn felt awful. She had stolen the egg. She had taken a baby from its mother and threatened its life.

    “But, I had to, right?” She asked herself. “Our lives were at stake, even if it was Rhylan’s fault...”

    She felt the creature’s sadness flow through her, and pondered what was right and what was wrong. She thought that perhaps, she could simply try to reason with it rather than threaten it. After all, as the dying Mightyena had told her, “Only when you listen will you understand.” Perhaps it was correct.

    The creature immediately took advantage of Eralynn’s racing thoughts, and whipped a tentacle out towards the egg. It was wrapped around it almost instantly, and it pulled its young away from her.

    She fought back, however, refusing to release the egg from her grip. She was pulled this way and that, feeling as if her arms might come off themselves. She was yanked off of the ground a couple of times, until she couldn’t hold on any longer. With one last shake, the creature threw her backwards, causing her to land on top of Aerance.

    The flame horse was knocked on her side, whinnying and kicking before Eralynn could get off of her. Eralynn struggled, though, and was able to push herself away, allowing the Ponyta to get back on her feet as well.

    Eralynn looked around her, trying to understand what was happening. What could she do now? The creature had its egg back, and it still held onto the unconscious Rhylan. She had no choice. She had to attack it somehow.

    She turned back towards Aerance, and quickly grabbed her bow and arrows. She strung the bag of arrows around her body, and positioned the bow at the side of her head. Reaching back instinctively for an arrow, she grabbed one, set it against the bow, pulled it back, and sent it flying for one of the Pokemon’s tentacles.

    Eralynn watched the arrow soar straight for it. It would be a direct hit!

    However, although Eralynn’s aim was perfect, it was not enough. She felt the life drain from her body as the arrow hit the creature’s tentacle, but did not pierce it. It merely tapped it and bounced away, as if she had thrown only a small twig.

    Eralynn turned to glance at Aerance, who held the same look of disappointment. She turned back to look at the eight-armed Pokemon.

    It was apparently done playing this game, as Eralynn saw it turn back towards its nest in retreat. Still, this was not quite a retreat. It had won. It had both the egg and Rhylan in its clutches. Eralynn could imagine it all clearly. It would go beneath the surface to return the egg to its nest, and then… let Rhylan drown.

    She could no longer control herself in her anguish. She fell to the ground, letting out a scream to mourn the future loss of her Prince. She felt tears gathering and clutched her chest to hold her broken heart. Was there nothing more she could do?

    Aerance, standing silently behind her friend, felt her sorrow. She couldn’t stand watching her best friend in so much pain. The guilt that she felt was unreal. She had just waited safely on the surface as Eralynn and Rhylan could’ve been drowning. She had run away when the monster had attacked her and Eralynn above the water. She was terrified of that water Pokemon, though. After all, she was a fire-type, which always had a great weakness to water.

    The flame horse shook her head, pushing away her fears and cowardice. She snorted confidently, and began to run after the very creature that she was so scared of.

    It had only a little ways to go until it would reach the hole of the nest again. It moved slowly and nonchalantly, as if Eralynn and Aerance were no longer there. It was as if it had not just been extremely upset and in a fight with them.

    Eralynn looked up when she first heard Aerance’s gallop, and she stood immediately as she realized what her closest friend was doing.

    “Aerance, no!” She called out, trying to stop her.

    Aerance ignored Eralynn’s order, knowing that there were more important things than her own safety. She sped up instead, and already being infinitely faster than the eight-armed Pokemon, she had already caught up to it within seconds. When she was right beside it, she leapt forward and to the side, landing on the solid rock right near the edge of the beast’s nest. She felt her hooves skid a bit at first as she gained her balance, but this happened sooner than the creature could react.

    She now stood before it, blocking it from returning to its water-nest. She held an intimidating stance, knees bent slightly, as if ready to tackle the creature at any moment. The flames on her mane and tail grew slightly, just like a guard dog’s fur would do when facing an unwelcome intruder.

    Eralynn watched in awe and admiration. Her sweet and brave friend was trying to save the Prince despite her weakness towards this type of Pokemon. Eralynn wondered if her fire attacks would do the trick against it.

    “Aerance! Try using your fire blast!” She shouted as loudly as she could.

    Aerance reacted instantly to her friend’s request, and her mane and tail flames grew even more. She opened her mouth and threw the fire attack at the creature. The burning symbol went flying towards it as the big creature tried to defend itself. It raised two tentacles in front of its face as the attack hit.

    “Good, Aerance!” Eralynn yelled, hoping that would be enough to stop it.

    The creature looked down at its tentacles, where the flames had hit. It had a few dark patches, where it had been burned slightly. It lowered its eyebrows, making a face to indicate that it was no longer at ease. It aimed down towards its burned arms, and shot a gentle water gun at the injury. Then, it glared ferociously at Aerance, ready to strike back this time.

    “Aerance! Watch out!” Eralynn ordered, but she was too late.

    As fast as Aerance was, she was not fast enough to avoid three tentacles sweeping at her at once. One swung in from the left, one from the right, and one from above.

    The Ponyta jumped, avoiding one swing. Looking up, she bolted to the side, evading the strike from above. She could not get away from the last tentacle, though, which had been shot at her at the same time as the upper blow. It slammed directly into her, sending her flying to the side. She whinnied in pain and hit the ground hard.

    “Aerance!” Eralynn shouted, terrified.

    Without thinking, she ran towards the monstrous Pokemon that had just attacked her friend. She saw it raising its tentacles to hit the Ponyta once more, and knew she had to stop it.

    It did not notice her approaching it from behind, but she had to get its attention. She knelt down by one of its tentacles and picked it up. She stood up and pulled back, trying to bring the creature as far from her friend as possible. Even while using all of her might, however, she could only drag it a few inches away from Aerance.

    Fortunately, though, this did the trick. The enraged Pokemon turned around, now focusing its attention on Eralynn.

    “Yeah, that’s it,” Eralynn said quietly to herself. “Turn this way! Come get me!” She now yelled at it.

    She turned to run, but right away, she felt something around her legs. The creature had grasped her with its arm and squeezed tightly, forcing Eralynn’s legs together. Without her balance, she fell face-first on the stone, bashing her knees against the hard surface.

    “Argh!” She groaned in pain.

    She reached down to her kneecaps and rubbed them, already able to feel serious bruises forming. Meanwhile, the creature was dragging her body towards it, ready to end this battle once and for all…

    Aerance, now facing the back of the creature, began to stand up. She felt dizzy as her wobbly legs tried to keep her from crashing to the ground once more. She shook her head to break the confusion away and looked up to see what was happening.

    The moment she saw Eralynn being pulled closer to the creature, she leapt into the air towards the water Pokemon. Without hurting it, she landed, setting one of her hooves on top of one of its tentacles, as if telling it to wait.

    Eralynn looked down and around the creature when she felt that it had stopped dragging her. She was shocked to see some sort of light coming from behind it. The sea creature turned its head slightly, as well, trying to see what was holding onto one of its legs.

    The light that Eralynn had seen was not that of fire, but something else. Looking closer, she saw that it was a bright white, like a sort of intense moonlight. The glow was… in the shape of a Ponyta.

    “Aerance!” Eralynn shouted, unsure of what was happening to her friend.

    She watched as the glow started to grow into a slightly different shape and size. What Eralynn could assume were Aerance’s mane flames grew larger, as well as the size of her body. Her legs became longer, making her quite a big taller. More magnificent, though, was what sprouted from her forehead. A thin, pointed horn slowly grew there- a tool of a warrior.

    The light began to fade as the change was complete. In place of the sweet, innocent little fire horse that Eralynn once knew was now a majestic, noble unicorn. Aerance’s new form had some kind of strength about it, with muscles in her chest and legs, more powerful flames on her tail and mane, and, of course, the hard, tough horn she had developed.

    “Rapidash,” Eralynn whispered, mesmerized by what Aerance had become.

    She had seen Rapidash before in books when learning about Team Devastation, and which Pokemon were good to use to fight against them. She had learned that Rapidash were extremely fast and tough. They made excellent partners in battle, using their horn as a spear to fight with. Also, with a Rapidash, a warrior could make a quick and safe getaway, if necessary.

    Eralynn remembered that the chief advantage here was speed, and decided that that’s how they could get Rhylan back.

    “Aerance, use agility!” She called out to the Pokemon.

    The fire unicorn snorted and obeyed Eralynn. She stepped off of the monster’s tentacle and turned to the side. She began to run, which turned into a sprint, which then turned into… a flash of color and light. Aerance moved so quickly, that Eralynn could not even begin to pinpoint where she could be at any given moment.

    The sea Pokemon, now confused, tried to retaliate by whipping one of its tentacles at the fast fire Pokemon. Aerance, being quicker than lightning, stopped for a moment to calculate the tentacle’s path. Right before it could reach her, she was off and running again. It looked as if she had simply disappeared or even teleported away from the point at which she stood.

    “Wow,” Eralynn said in amazement.

    The creature continued to swing its tentacles wildly, nearly hitting Eralynn a couple of times. No matter what it did, however, it could not land a hit against Aerance.

    Eralynn, now concerned that the Rapidash had forgotten their main objective, decided to give her an attack to use.

    “Aerance,” She began, but was interrupted.

    Aerance had stopped running from the attacks, and was now bending down, ready to jump at the sea creature. She pushed off hard from the ground, sending her body flying towards it. Eralynn could see that she was headed straight for the very tentacle that held Rhylan. Head lowered and horn exposed, she landed a direct hit with the tentacle that grasped the Prince.

    The creature roared in pain as the unicorn’s horn that was harder than diamonds pierced through its flesh. Its arm swung around, still clutching Rhylan’s body.

    Aerance stepped away from it, still avoiding its flailing tentacles with her drastic increase in speed. She knew that she had to do something more to stop it. She had to make it drop Rhylan somehow. She stopped running once more and readied herself.

    As Eralynn struggled to free herself from imprisonment, she watched her friend begin a frightening attack that she had only seen once before.

    Again, Aerance’s eyes began to glow a bright red. Flames somehow rose up from the ground, causing the rock floor around the unicorn to break and crumble. The fire rose up around her and began to spin as it reached further up. It kept going, until Eralynn could no longer see the end of it. Within the fiery cylinder, she could only see the shadow of her dear friend. She watched as she could vaguely see Aerance lowering her head to strike once more.

    “She’s combining attacks!” Eralynn thought to herself, extremely impressed with the Rapidash.

    Aerance once again crouched lower and then blasted off like a rocket, heading straight for the arm that held Rhylan.

    The creature lurched back as Aerance attacked, unable to do a thing. It let out a roar as both Aerance’s fire and horn collided with the underside of its tentacle.

    Finally, it was enough. The sea Pokemon dropped Rhylan from high in the air, only concerned with its own pain.

    “No! Aerance, don’t let him fall!” Eralynn pleaded desperately.

    Aerance ran to him like a bolt of lightning, and was just quick enough to catch the falling Prince on her back. She kept running away from the eight-armed creature, making sure it couldn’t grab Rhylan again, whose body was now safely draped over her back.

    At last, Eralynn felt the creature’s grip on her loosening, and she quickly pulled her injured legs out. As painful as it was for her to stand so fast, she knew she had to in order to make sure she could get away safely. She felt her knees throbbing, and looked down at them to see brownish-purple marks beneath her skin.

    However, the sea creature was not actually going after her. Instead, it retreated back towards the water, still holding the egg that Eralynn had tried to take from it. It submerged, making the water splash up onto the rock around it.

    When Aerance noticed that it was safe, she started trotted back towards Eralynn, making sure that she wasn’t going too close to the pools of water around the area. She remained especially far from the one that the creature had just returned to, and made it back to the path undamaged, where Eralynn was now also standing.

    The girl raced to Aerance, who still carried Rhylan. She grabbed his arm and pinched his wrist, placing her fingers on the underside of his arm. She sighed with relief when she felt a pulse.

    “He’s alive, Aerance. He’s alive,” she said, and she began to cry.

    She wrapped her arms around his neck and rubbed her cheek against his. Sniffling, she looked back up at Aerance.

    “Thank you, Aerance. You were so amazing. He might not be alive right now if it wasn't for your courage,” Eralynn told her appreciatively.

    She looked back down at Rhylan. His face was still paler than normal, his hair and eyebrows were wet, and his lips were blue. His cloak was dripping wet, and Eralynn realized she had to get him to some sort of shelter, so that he could warm up properly. For the time being, she removed his cloak and put her’s, which was much drier at this point, around him.

    “Aerance, can you do me a favor?” She asked.

    The flame unicorn snorted and nodded her head in affirmation.

    “Can you try to keep your mane warmer than usual for Rhylan? He’s going to need something extra to help him dry off. Try not to make it too hot, though,” Eralynn said.

    She moved him closer towards Aerance’s mane, making room for herself to climb up. She grabbed hold of the Rapidash and tried to pull herself on.

    “Jeez, Aerance. I forgot you’re much bigger now,” she said as she struggled to swing her leg over.

    She eventually got on, though, feeling much higher up than normal. As Aerance trotted along the path, Eralynn could feel that everything in the ride was different. The once bumpy but tolerable gait of the Ponyta was now transformed into the graceful and strong gallop of a Rapidash. Eralynn almost felt like a real warrior riding Aerance the Rapidash, instead of the playful, trickster child that once rode Aerance the Ponyta. (That wasn’t to say that Aerance’s form mattered at all in regards to their friendship, of course.) She could also feel more warmth coming from her mane, and she sighed with relief.

    Her thoughts changed from Aerance’s gallop to more serious matters. They had to find shelter, but where? The land was still the same everywhere she looked: a flat rock floor interrupted by occasional pools of dark water. The fog was also still there, making it hard to see too far in the distance.

    “Aerance, I think we just have to make it across the Ridge of Obscurity. Otherwise, we won’t find anywhere to rest. We may not even be able to find any food,” she worried.

    She heard her stomach growl with the mention of food. She realized that none of them had eaten a thing all day, and they did not have any extra berries from before. They had to get out of here somehow.

    “Aerance, we have to move fast! Let’s go!” She requested of her companion.

    With a whinny, Aerance set off into a much faster gallop.

    Eralynn clutched the reigns tightly and squinted into the distance. She did not know how long this path went on for. She did not know whether or not they would starve to death, or if they would become dehydrated. She dared not drink the water of the sea creature’s nests on either side of her. She wondered how long it would be until exhaustion would plague her and Aerance.

    Most of all, she wondered if any of them would be able to return to Derelon City...
    FanFic: Stir of The Thunderstorm (Please R&R.)
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