It was lovely to be in Olivine again. Kotone inhaled deeply, the salty smell of the ocean welcoming her with open arms.
Her hand glided over a pocket, feeling with Silver Wing inside. The Kimono Girls, along with Professor Elm, told her the same story; she had to return to Olivine.
She smiled down at Azumarill, whose ears twitched happily. It was finally time to explore the islands! The only issue was getting there safely, and knowing which island to start in…
“Hmm, before we go, let’s grab a bite at the diner!” Kotone did miss the delicious homemade food of the Olivine diner.
While waiting for her meal, Kotone had taken the wing out of her pocket, observing it once again. What was this used for, exactly? Why was it given to her?
She sighed, putting it down. One of the Kimono girls had mentioned a summoning of some sort. Maybe it called in some epic, giant bird… that was all hers to capture.
With a smile, she let some of the ceiling light reflect off the wing. It really was beautiful.
“Excuse me, lass? But is that a Silver Wing you have there?”
The voice made her jump, and she turned to face a sailor peering over her shoulder.
“Uh, yeah… why?” Maybe he knew about it too. “It’s for Whirl Islands, right?”
The sailor frowned. “You aren’t thinking of going, are you?”
The smile left her face. “I-is there a reason I shouldn’t?”
“You must have heard the legend surrounding them, correct? No young kid like you would want to go…”
“Legend? No, I haven’t heard.” Kotone shook her head. Now curious, she pointed to the adjacent seat. “What is it?”
“Legend is the islands are horribly unsafe, and bad kids are sent there as punishment. None of them have ever returned, so some think it’s true,” he began. “It’s really why no one’s gone near them…”
She was trying to process what she heard. Bad kids? Did he mean criminals, or kids who had committed things such as misdemeanors or things not as severe? It’d be quite the cruel punishment for not cleaning a room, not doing chores… it didn’t make sense.
“That can’t be true…” Kotone shook her head. “Why to Whirl Islands?”
“I couldn’t tell you, simply because I don’t know. All I know is of their danger,” he replied.
Kotone glanced at the wing again, biting her lip. Perhaps it was best she stayed away. No worth in risking her life over a Pokemon, right? There were plenty of rare Pokemon out there for her to capture.
“But, it is only a legend…” He felt a bit bad for crushing her ambition. “No one really does know if it’s true.”
“Where did you hear it from, then?” Kotone raised an eyebrow. It had to be passed down from somewhere.
“An older man who lives here tells that to his kids, and it started spreading like wildfire. Who knows if it’s the truth, or a father trying to make his kids behave,” he shrugged. “What it really is, no one knows.”
Those words made her feel a little better, at least. The fear still lingered, but a sense of adventure was making her want to go.
Yet she couldn’t go alone. For great adventure, to a perilous place, a friend was needed.
“Y-you’re serious?” Hibiki’s eyes lit up on the screen. “You want me to explore Whirl Islands with me?”
Kotone nodded. She was currently in the Pokemon center, talking to her fellow childhood friend over a video chat. “Well, it’s dangerous, so it’s best we go together, right?”
“Of course!” He nodded, grinning widely. “I’ll fly over, and we’ll totally prove that creepy myth false.”
“Right,” she nodded. “I’ll be by Route 40 waiting for you.”
“Sweet! I’ll be there soon!” With a click, the screen went black.
Kotone stood up, shaking off the last of her nerves. It was just a myth, right? Just a myth…
Once the two met up, they sailed out to Whirl Islands. The roaring whirlpools were anything but welcoming, eager to destroy anything in their path. With Hibiki’s Feraligatr, the two glided over, facing one of the caves.
It certainly didn’t seem welcoming. Cold air blew from it, carrying a musty odor. Kotone held back the urge to gag, taking a step back on the wet sand. Maybe this wasn’t a good idea…
“Come on! We gotta explore!” Hibiki took her hand, leading her into the pitch-black cave.
“Hold on…” Kotone sent out her Ampharos, who instantly lit the room up with a bright flash. “Well, we can see now…”
So far, the myth seemed false. No evidence was there to prove dead kids were lying around. No skeletons, no corpses…
Hibiki pointed to a ladder leading to a lower level. “You ready to check this place out?”
“As… as ready as I’ll ever be.” And that was honest. This place was giving her the chills.
With another burst of light, the second room came into view. As they went deeper into the cave, the musty odor seemed to get stronger and stronger. Ampharos was starting to whine, not wanting to go on much further. In the complete silence of the cave, the faint sound of rushing water could be heard.
“Hey, Kotone! That wing in your pocket is glowing!” Hibiki pointed out.
“Wha- oh…” Kotone went to pick it up, squinting. Why was it so bright…? “I guess it is meant to summon something…”
“Let’s follow the sound of the water. Whatever it is, it’s gotta be there,” he held his hand out again.
She took his hand, and the duo went deeper into the darkness.
They reached a room with a waterfall, crashing down onto the small lake with great force.
“Kotone, where’s the wing?” Hibiki asked. “Oh, don’t tell me you lost it!”
“No, it’s in here…” Even Ampharos’ flash wasn’t lighting the place up. It was dim light, at the best. She was lead by the glowing of it, going out to grab it.
A faint growl stopped her dead in her tracks. Kotone looked up, facing two bright red eyes. In the faint light, a large silhouette of a bird could be seen.
The bird now roared, causing Kotone to stumble back. It was obviously unhappy at being woken up.
“Hibiki! Run!” Kotone scrambled away from the beast, avoiding a blow from its tail. Hibiki wasn’t anywhere to be seen or heard over the roaring. Maybe he ran away without her... what a coward.
With a stroke of luck, she found a small crevice, diving into it instantly. Her hand landed on something hard and brittle, it shattering completely.
“What on earth--” With a look of horror, Kotone realized what she had touched was a skull.
Squinting, she realized that more skeletons littered the room. Were these the bad kids?! Almost gagging, Kotone held her breath, the odor bringing tears to her eyes. In the far back, she guessed, corpses were slowly rotting away.
She had to get out, and quickly. Crossing her fingers, Kotone dashed out of the crevice, barely avoiding another blow from the enraged Pokemon.
Kotone ran and ran until she hit light, collapsing on the cold floor. She was still in the caves, completely unsure of where the exit was.
Shuddering, she looked to see icicles decorating the wall. Another thought crossed her mind – that beast wasn’t the only thing that killed them. The kids must have frozen to death, and starved as well.
They had been lost in the labyrinth, tortured by a slow coming death.
It took hours, but she had managed to find the exit, sinking slowly onto the cold sand. She was safe! About to cry in joy, one last thing occurred to her.
Hibiki Was Nowhere In Sight.