Target: Lotad (Simple, 5-10k)
(The title isn't theft, it's an homage :P)
A pair of figures jogged down the dusty trail, laboring in the sweltering heat. The taller of the two had blonde hair that flashed in the sunlight, and a shirt that matched the cloudless sky; the smaller had four legs, orange fur, and black stripes on its back. Together they paced themselves, panting and sweating on the windless day.
Together, they were headed for Sweetwater Lake, fed by mountain streams so it stayed cool even in the dead of summer. It was becoming a ritual for Evan and his Growlithe, Legend, to jog there at least twice a week to stay in shape. The trail to get there was more than a mile, however, and they usually wore themselves out just getting there.
The blackberry bushes on the side of the road, normally overflowing with juicy fruit, had dried up under the drought; everyone in Springrose City hoped they would return in the fall, but unless the weather changed soon, they didn’t have much of a chance to. A few Nidoran, both male and female, took what shelter they could find under the bare bushes, ignoring the pair as they went by; Evan knew they were suffering just as much as the plants, and didn’t want to overtax them with battles.
After half an hour had gone by, the pair finally caught sight of the vast blue lake. It was larger than the city nearby, normally, which didn’t say much; but with the drought, it was beginning to shrink. A band of old mud ringed the lake, drying for the first time in decades, and the normal pier that allowed diving now ended in three feet of water. The two carefully walked over the treacherous ground, finally reaching their goal of clear, cold water to splash in.
Growlithe, being a fire-type, never went very deep; Evan knew he could swim fairly well, but that he didn’t like to do so. Evan himself had no such compunctions, however, and practiced his backstroke, never going too far from the shore.
The two began to hear a loud, distant buzzing noise from the trees that ringed the lake; Evan thought he recognized it as bug Pokémon shedding a cocoon, but had never heard what sounded like so many of them. The volume increased steadily, and he began to see flickers of motion among the bare trees.
He swam back to where Growlithe was splashing in a puddle. “Legend, you may want to keep an eye out – sounds like a bunch of something are hatching, and fresh-hatched bug Pokémon tend to be hungry.”
They moved closer to the pier, hoping that whatever was making the noise would pass them by. As they crouched among the supports, reeds, and lily pads near the dock, the noise changed; it became higher pitched, much like the sound of insect wings in flight.
Suddenly, from the trees came a massive swarm of yellow- and black-striped Pokémon; Evan had never seen so many Beedril together at once. They started moving over the lake, but more were appearing; they reached the halfway point with no end in sight, and kept growing wider.
Evan knew they were in trouble when a few peeled off from the swarm to come investigate. “Legend, be ready to use your Flamethrower attack, but let’s hope you don’t need to.” More and more began to follow the inquisitive few, and Evan’s hopes fell. They were already under the most defensible position in sight, and Growlithe couldn’t keep them from coming under both sides of the pier.
Evan thought furiously. He knew better than to try and stay underwater; the Beedril would simply wait above the surface until they needed air. Growlithe could probably turn some of the lake to steam to conceal them, but that would dissipate quickly; it was already too late for that tactic. And there was no way that they could outrun them, but Legend would quickly tire if he had to defend full-time at full power.
The situation looked hopeless, and Growlithe was already beginning to blast gouts of fire at the oncoming swarm; though a few were burned, more were ready to take their place. One of the lily pads rose a few inches from the water, revealing a swimming Lotad; it shot a blast of water at one of the Beedril that had gotten around Legend, knocking it into the water.
The majority of the swarm was still moving over the lake; Evan thought that if they could swim to the far end, they might have a fighting chance. He knew, however, that his Growlithe couldn’t swim and fend off the swarm at the same time. Struck suddenly by an idea, he asked the Lotad if it was willing to help them escape; it nodded, blasting another Beedril, but this time with a cloud of bubbles that popped against Beedril, knocking it askew enough to reconsider lunch.
“Legend, if you hop on Lotad’s pad, he can swim to the other side of the lake, and you can keep up the defense!”
The Growlithe barked in assent and leapt several feet to land squarely on the pad. Lotad began slowly swimming across the calm water, Evan keeping pace with a backstroke beside it. Legend barked, spun, and flamed; every time he leapt, another Beedril fell smoking to the water, or veered off to rejoin the main swarm.
They reached the halfway point after what seemed to be forever; Lotad wasn’t a very swift swimmer to begin with, and with the burden that needed a stable platform, it slowed him down even further. Growlithe was beginning to tire, Evan could see; each burst of flame seemed smaller than the last. Again, he began to lose hope that they’d see the end of it; at least the Lotad would be protected from the poison stingers.
The buzzing of wings began to diminish; Evan looked at the trees to see the last few Beedril trickling out of the woods. “Legend, keep it up! I can see the last of them now!”
The puppy Pokémon growled as it nodded, and began blasting with renewed vigor. They had made it three quarters of the way across the lake; Evan wasn’t sure what they’d do when they got there, but the end of the swarm was just passing the halfway point in the lake. All that remained were the stragglers, but Legend was clearly exhausted; an oncoming Beedril took the full brunt of a flame attack and flew through, nearly unscathed. Lotad saved the day again, spinning quickly and releasing another blast of bubbles that hit the Beedril in the face at the last second.
“Legend, just one more attack – hit the surface of the water and make a cloud of steam to hide us!”
Growlithe did as commanded, and a small cloud of hot steam shielded the trio from view; the remaining stragglers, faced with being left behind by the swarm, buzzed back to the main horde in annoyance. Evan’s arms ached from the strain of swimming; Growlithe lay down on Lotad’s pad, who swam the rest of the way to shore, where the boy and dog collapsed.
They laid there panting for several minutes, Lotad trying to aid them by spraying a fine mist of cool lake water in the air over them.
“Legend, you did a great job out there. You saved both our lives. Thank you. And you,” Evan said, turning to Lotad, “Without you we would have been sunk. Thank you too.”
Lotad grinned, pleased with itself. Growlithe simply panted some more on the bank.
“You know, Lotad, we made a great team back there. What do you say to joining up with us to go see the world?”
(In case it wasn't obvious, trying to get a Lotad)