Rabbit Heart. [WWC]

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    Default Rabbit Heart. [WWC]

    Pokémon being captured: Vulpix, Natu and Slowpoke.
    Required amount of characters: 30,000 - 60,000.
    Actual amount of characters: 35,287.

    Uh, I don't know what to insert for these rambly author-y notes. I don't think anything special needs to be mentioned here. SHRUG. Enjoy the story, I guess.

    ***

    ”Take a stand.”

    Those words have been the words which my cowardly, pacifistic self has never wanted to hear. Although no real danger ever touches these woods, I’ve heard what my elders have said about past wars -- how humans and Pokémon alike went out into the fields, how they charged. How they fought. Their recollections of the stories, while probably a lot more grandiose than the real events, all had told the same message, albeit not directly: fights were perhaps the most horrifying, devastating things to be involved with. Either way, in a fight, one would win and one would lose -- but when that’s put on a larger scale, such as in a war, the stakes are made much higher.

    Lives are lost: friends and family die, blood taints. Communities are torn apart, the rift never to be joined back together again -- at least not for an unwholesome amount of time. The ceremonies for burial are long; hard for those who are grieving. Everything is painted bleakly, and no colour really touches the perceptions of those who survive ever again. Deep down inside, something terrible remains. Even though it may never be let out, it still exists -- and it alters your personality and your insights. You can never see things in the same way again, and that’s what scares me. That’s why I’m cowardly, why I don’t fight.

    However, I fear that I must become the lion-hearted one: that one day, I must take a stand.

    And that terrifies me.


    ***

    Snow swirled down from the sky, descending towards the ground in the direction of the wind. It was mid-winter, and the snow had already blanketed the earth below, which was usually emerald green and full of life in the dry season. The trees of the forest, those that had leaves, were coloured white by the substance, and the area had that magical feel that winter brought about. Although the Pokémon who inhabited the area did not celebrate this particular time of year in the same way as the humans did, they had their own festivities to be getting on with, and the forest was far more jovial at this time of year than during any other -- although most would be settling down to hibernate, there were still more participants in the celebrations of these times as the weather enabled more activity.

    The young ones of the forest particularly enjoyed the winter, and so it was that they played day in and day out, so long as their parents let them. So it was that one morning, as soon as the sun had risen into the sky - rather late in the morning, in fact, seeing as it tended to rise later during these times - that one creature found herself awoken rudely by her best friend, who was jumping on top of her. The rusty-brown, many-tailed fox yawned loudly as she woke up, stretching her limbs across the grassy bed on which she laid. She groaned as the other Pokémon kept jumping on her, wearily swiping the bird off her body. Her milky brown eyes fluttered open, and she looked at the stony ceiling of her family’s den. The morning’s light filtered into the cave, illuminating it -- and there was that strange glow, too, that one usually associated with light reflecting off snow.

    “It’s about time you woke up,” her friend chirped at her -- he was a smallish, colourful-looking bird. His body was almost spherical, and primarily coloured green. His bright yellow beak poked at her, his black eyes opened wide with indignation. He flapped up once more as she dragged herself to all four feet, so that he could remain in her line of sight -- he flew effortlessly, and most of the time it was like he didn’t even think about it, which could possibly have been the reason why he crashed into so many things.

    “I’m... uh... sorry?” she half-apologised, looking at the Natu. She brought one paw up to her face and began rubbing her eyes on it, to get the sleep out. Yawning once more, she lowered her paw and stood firmly in place. “Why are you so eager to wake me up, anyway?”

    “Don’t be stupid, Hestia,” the Natu replied brashly, glowering at her, almost as if she’d done something seriously wrong. “It’s the winter months, and this is the first day of the festivities!”

    “I know that, Nim,” she protested, “so you can drop the ‘stupid’. The question is why you’re so excited. Nothing special happens on the first day, and I think I’m getting too old to play out in the snow.” That, strictly speaking, wasn’t true -- Hestia was still quite a young Pokémon herself. In fact, at her age, the others would still be out playing all the time, but Hestia was one of those kinds of ‘children’ that thought they were too mature for this, or too old for that. However, once Nimbus had dragged her outside, she began to rethink her declaration that she was too old. It was still snowing, and there was inches upon inches of it outside the den -- it was almost too irresistible.

    “What do you think now?” Nimbus said -- rather smugly, Hestia noted. Flying-types seemed to be rather flighty, and she thought that they must find it hard to conceal things because of their rushed mannerisms. However, in a serious situation, they were good to rely on. In any case, a mixture of his smugness and how she had previously declared herself too old infuriated Hestia somewhat -- and she didn’t want to renounce it, because that’d make her look ridiculous. Even though she was young, she still felt keenly the expected grandeur and propriety that was exemplified by others of her species and of her evolution, Ninetales.

    “Okay, I’ll admit, the snow is tempting. I won’t play in it tho--” The rest of what she said went unheard, as Nimbus roughly barged into her and knocked her face-first into the snow. She quickly removed her face from the glacially cold powder, and looked indignantly towards her friend, with only her head protruding from the deep snow. Nimbus hovered at a safe distance, so that she couldn’t damage him much if she tried to use Flamethrower on him. He’d been on the receiving end of one of her Fire-type attacks before, and he could safely say that he didn’t enjoy the experience -- much as Hestia didn’t like being dumped unceremoniously into things: for example, snow.

    “You’re getting into the spirit already! Do you want to play some more?” Nimbus asked tauntingly. Hestia glared in his direction, and burst from the snow without warning. She looked menacingly towards the Tiny Bird Pokémon, and opened her jaws wide, flames already gurgling in her throat. She unleashed them in his direction in a sudden burst of anger and fire. The crimson column swirling as it blasted towards him, Nimbus simply blinked, and although Hestia couldn’t see it, he had vanished into nothingness. However, he reappeared only a few feet to her left.

    “What was that for?” she demanded, turning towards him. Her eyes were wild, and she seemed on the verge of unleashing yet another Flamethrower at him.

    “Wow. Calm down, Hestia. It was only a joke.” Nimbus had never seen Hestia this angry before -- in fact, thinking on it, she’d never been angry at all before. At least not in his presence. For the most part, Hestia was a mild-mannered, shy kind of creature, and she’d never purposefully attempted to hurt him before -- the incident with the Flamethrower the last time was an accident. She’d gotten overexcited whilst they’d been playing, and when she laughed, she accidentally unleashed a column of fire similar to the one she’d just tried to strike him with.

    “It wasn’t very funny!” she burst out at him, but it was only half-hearted. Already, she was calming down, just as Nimbus had told her to -- despite her seemingly fierce attitude, she thought that, if he tried, Nimbus would seriously hurt her, and that command to calm down shocked her into doing what she’d been told. Even though she didn’t realise it, she had a subconscious fear of near enough everything, and so even when she was angry, usually a single command from anyone would get her to stop. There was a deep-seated need somewhere to just stand back from everything. She knew she’d get hurt if she got too involved.

    “Oh, Hestia...” he murmured, her quavering tone obviously telling her fear -- he knew how scared she was, but never had any words to help her. He just wished that she wouldn’t be scared of him -- not that he’d ever admit it, but he actually tried to get a rise out of her from time to time, simply to test how far she’d go. By doing this, he could find her limits. Like it or not, there would probably be one day when she was needed to cross the limits that she simply didn’t want to cross, and although the light-hearted Nimbus was thinking too far ahead, he somehow knew that his plans were right. If nothing else, he had to get her to at least be comfortable with the world -- she needed to stop being so afraid. And so it was that, cleverly, and piece by piece, he was building the blocks to her confidence, and Hestia didn’t even realise it.

    “I’m sorry,” she spoke simply. “I don’t know what came over me... we can go and play now, if you want.”

    She didn’t sound very sincere or certain of herself, but Nimbus ignored that. He simply led her off into the snowy depths of the forest. After a while, they laughed again.

    ***

    It all started going wrong when they came here. The humans. Nimbus had won the small argument that day, and I began to enjoy myself over the next couple of days -- I think Nimbus even introduced me to some new people. The other creatures that lived in the forest. I wasn’t one to socialise, I admit. I usually sat out of their games, feeling self-conscious and shy. If I joined in, I ran the risk of the others not liking me -- and I didn’t like not being liked, if that made sense. I was afraid I’d embarrass myself, or blurt something out that was wrong. I even told Nimbus about my insecurities, rather than my parents -- that was a first. He listened patiently, and then he looked at me. He’s scary when he gets serious.

    “Look, if you’re holding out for universal popularity,” he had said, “then you’re going to be waiting an awfully long time.”

    I got the gist of it, and the severity with which he’d spoken pushed me to join the others. I was forced from my little bubble, and I found the experience uncomfortable to say the least. However, they noticed how awkward I was, and it was almost like they had sensed my fear -- even the bigger ones saw how afraid I seemed, and a little part of me told me to suck it up, stop being such a coward. But I’m not brave in the slightest. I can’t even say boo to a Swanna. They knew that somehow. They treated me nicely, gently encouraged me to emerge from my shell -- I did loosen up a little, but not all that much. I played with them, but I felt a detachment. I felt that I didn’t belong.

    They still treated me the same, no matter how trying I was to them -- the worst thing was that I couldn’t help it. Whenever I tried to speak, my guts twisted and I just squeaked. When I played, my bones felt heavy, and I didn’t feel all that great. They had patience, though. They dealt with it. I was finally coming around, participating and generally enjoying myself -- but the humans arrived. It was the day before our grand festival in the forest, but they came in and ruined everything.

    The confidence that had built up retreated into the back of my mind, and my rabbit heart took over.


    ***

    It was early morning once more, and the sun had arose in the eastern section of the azure sky -- there were a few patches of clouds around, but otherwise, it was relatively good weather. The snow was still extremely deep all over the forest, and the barks of trees were tinted white by the frost -- although the sky was clear, it was very cold outside. That didn’t really matter to Hestia, of course -- as a Fire-type, she wasn’t as susceptible to the cold temperatures of winter, as, say, Nimbus was. She had an inbuilt resistance to all things cold, and so she stayed warm no matter what -- she enjoyed the winter just as much as she enjoyed the summer, even though there were drastic weather changes to each.

    Today seemed like a kind of special day. Hestia woke in her den, feeling refreshed from the long sleep she’d had. Stretching as she walked across the stony floor of her den, she shivered slightly. Standing at the entrance to the den, she looked back at her parents, who were both asleep -- sighing, she padded out into the snow. Every step she took, her paws sank into the snow, but she didn’t really mind. In fact, she turned it into her own little game as she moved onwards, and started practically dancing through the snow -- she probably looked ridiculous, but she didn’t entirely mind. No-one was watching her, so she could let herself go for a little bit.

    “Practising for a dance, Hestia?” came Nimbus’ voice sardonically. Hestia, shocked by his sudden appearance, promptly fell over, disappearing into the snow for a few moments. When she burst out of the snow, she looked up at Nimbus in shock, and Nimbus couldn’t help but let out a few short chirps that annoyingly sounded like laughing. The way her head was just popping out the snow was priceless -- she just contrasted from the snow so vividly, as her fur was a reddish-brown, while the snow, of course, was clear white. She removed the rest of her body from under the snow, glancing at the Tiny Bird Pokémon.

    “I hate it when you do that,” she told him meekly.

    “Do what?” he chirped innocently, giving her a sly wink. “C’mon, Hestia. Let’s go see the others.”

    Hestia’s insides wrenched as he said that, but not as badly as they did whenever he first said that. She’d gotten used to the bunch of youngsters that hung around by the lake in the woods by now, after having mingled with them for a few days. In fact, she almost considered them her friends at this stage -- although not quite. She was still only comfortable with being around Nimbus. The others freaked her out slightly, as she wasn’t used to being thrown into the middle of a large group -- as a creature who’d lived in a den most of her life, she’d led a seclusive life so far. Even in years before, she’d only hung around during the festivities with a singular companion, usually away from the bustle of the celebrants.

    They travelled together for a little while, and after about half an hour they came to the lake where all the youngsters congregated. It was the day before the big festival, and they were all buzzing with excitement. The lake itself had been frozen over as it usually had every winter, and so some of the Water-types had found temporary homes elsewhere. The crystal-like ice looked magnificent, and some were already sliding over it cheerfully. The surrounding trees gave the area a secure atmosphere, which was possibly why the adults let their offspring play here -- it made everyone feel as if they were safe. Snow blanketed the surrounding banks, and some were blasting snowballs at each other cheerfully. The air was full of excited and happy cries as they all played together.

    “Hey, Hestia.” The voice was firm, feminine -- but kind and encouraging. Hestia’s ears pricked up, and she turned to face whoever had spoken. She sighed. It was Royalie, a Slowpoke that had greeted Hestia on her first day with all of them. She wasn’t dim-witted at all, like most of her species, and Hestia found her quite entertaining to listen to. However, it was because of her intelligence that Hestia found her frightening -- well, that was what she told herself, anyway. She always had to find a reason for her cowardice in most cases.

    “H-h-hello, Royalie,” Hestia responded, shying away slightly from the Slowpoke slightly. The pink platypus-like creature looked concernedly towards Hestia, and then helplessly at Nimbus. Nimbus simply flapped his wings, almost like a shrug, but continued to watch them both. He just wished that she’d settle down and socialise. He didn’t understand why she was afraid of everything, but he was determined to help. The way she was so frightened constantly pained him to see.

    “How about you come with me, hey?” Royalie suggested, and she led Hestia, still trembling, towards the Pokémon playing on the lake’s frozen surface.

    ***

    “Are you ready to begin operations, Lance?” a woman’s voice demanded through the walkie-talkie which a seemingly lone man, obviously Lance, carried. Her tone was serene, but Lance knew she was twisted -- as was he, of course.

    “Yes, I am,” he replied simply, holding the device close to his mouth. He was shaking slightly with anticipation of what they’d encounter -- their plan was actually quite simple, but he knew that the Pokémon contained in the woods were wild. Dangerous. If they entered, they immediately placed themselves in the midst of a multitude of hazards, and the creatures were probably the least of them. At least once they were contained, they wouldn’t be able to do anything -- it would be capturing them that was the problem. Most of them would fight back.

    “Good. Are the others with you?”

    “Not as of yet, ma’am.”

    “Blast them! This is damn important. I need to get more reliable employees.” She cursed herself, forgetting she was still transmitting, and her choice oaths were vile, to say the least. Lance’s face blanched, but he chuckled nervously to make it seem like he wasn’t actually afraid of his boss.

    He was only a simple Pokémon poacher, but he’d found himself enlisted in a bigger project, one that involved a whole lot more work -- he didn’t even know half of their plans, mainly because she wouldn’t let him find out. He knew that when the time was right - probably after he’d captured these Pokémon - they would finally tell him. He didn’t even know why they had to abduct the Pokémon from this place in particular -- maybe they held some ties to H, his boss. Although their were plenty of Pokémon elsewhere, she was adamant that they had to take the Pokémon from these woods -- their plan wouldn’t work otherwise.

    A few minutes away, others were walking -- many others, in fact. All were dressed in camouflage gear: from their heads down to their toes. In truth, the camo outfit wasn’t exactly warm, and they were being thrust out in the dead of winter to capture some stupid Pokémon. They’d all been convinced it was for a greater cause, although they wished that they didn’t have to be so cold in order to achieve their goals. They trudged through the snow, being as quiet as they could be, while Lance turned to them and waved to them. He urged them to hurry up, and they obeyed. Lance was sort of seen as H’s cohort, the one who she trusted the most. In that way, he had power over them that he hadn’t actually realised.

    He was actually quite intimidating physically. He was tall, muscular -- whenever he flexed, it seemed he would rip his clothes. He wasn’t even wearing the same camouflage outfit like the rest of them. That was probably because he was smarter -- camouflage gear in the winter-time was definitely not the best choice. It didn’t blend in with the snow. Lance’s skin was so white it almost looked like some kind of ghostly blue, and how he was decked out in all white clothing didn’t make him look any more alive. His hair was shockingly purple, but his eyebrows were mismatched -- one was vibrant green, and the other dark red. His actual irises were also strangely mismatched, with one being milky brown and the other a deep blue. They were the only features that gave him any kind of liveliness, but made him look horribly outlandish at the same time. It seemed like he had been thrown together with no real regard, and although this comical attribute lightened his appearance, he still invoked fear somehow.

    As they finally approached, he gave them all a disapproving look. “You took your time,” he remarked, sniffing disdainfully. “H isn’t pleased about your tardiness.”

    Someone snorted towards the back of the ranks.

    “Is there something that’s funny?” he called, his tone a lot harsher. Some of the other poachers towards the front backed away a little. “Good. Now, you all know what our plan is -- we need to get in there and capture as many of them as we can for H. The nets will debilitate them once captured. Only once captured. We can’t guarantee you won’t be hurt in the process of getting them in, so be careful -- be stealthy. Use some of the devices that you’ve been provided with if necessary... which it most probably will be. Split up into pairs and scout. When you’ve finished, rendezvous at this point. Most of the forest should be scoured if we all make one trip through, but time is not an important factor in this mission. Good luck.”

    His face grave, Lance pulled one of the troops towards him grimly -- one of the more intelligent men in the group, who went by the name of... well, some unpronounceable name. He thought it was spelt Yngvar or something similar. He was foreign, and spoke with a thick accent -- however, he was a trusty partner when he wanted to be, and altogether useful. “You’re working with me,” Lance said shortly, and Yngvar nodded. They both whirled, heading into the trees to begin their mission.

    ***

    Yelps filled the air as two figures emerged from the trees, and immediately set upon them all ferociously. Hestia looked, alarmed as many of the other youngsters were swooped up into nets without a warning. Both of the humans - she recognised them as humans, at least - were tall, strong. One looked like he’d been made out of odd socks -- he was completely colourless, except for the fur above his eyes and on top of his head. The other seemed to be darker, and donned a strange kind of fur that hung from his face and blocked the view of his mouth. They shouted in their strange human language, which she shockingly could comprehend.

    “They all seem to be very young,” the bearded one remarked, dumping a brown-and-white creature, resembling a fir tree, into the strange contraptions that they carried.

    “The younger, the better,” the colourfully-haired one remarked. “They’ll have more untried power, more vivaciousness.”

    Even from what they said, Hestia could tell that whatever they were doing, it wasn’t good for her -- as if that needed to be said. It was obvious. But she stood, frozen in fear, watching as all of the others were snatched up carelessly. Nimbus, who had been trying to help Royalie get the others from the area, looked over to Hestia -- she was simply standing there, helpless. She had to snap out of it. Muttering an apology to Royalie, he nosedived towards Hestia as one of the humans prepared to capture her -- all she was doing was looking up at him helplessly, her milky brown eyes uncomprehending. Nimbus crashed into her side, just in time for the human to miss her. Instead, the human caught Nimbus in his trap.

    Hestia, who had ploughed into the snow, was snapped out of her fearful trance by the sudden impact. She bolted herself upright, glancing towards the human that had caught Nimbus. Her only true friend. She didn’t know what to do. She shook her head vigorously. Her stomach sank. All the pressures smashed into her mind at once, and she couldn’t handle it. She was going beserk with all the conflicting feelings -- anger, fear, sadness, loneliness. She was angry at the humans for attacking their forest; she was scared of them at the same time, too: they could hurt her seriously; she was sad because they were capturing those who she’d gotten to know, and was lonely for the same reason.

    She couldn’t handle all of those negative emotions -- not all at the same time. Her mind reverted into its most desperate state, entering the instinctive fight-or-flight mode. “I’ll find another way to save you!” she cried at Nimbus, before fleeing the scene. She had to enlist the help of the more powerful creatures -- her parents, any adults that were about. As she ran back through the forests, she voiced her need for help with an almost overwhelming desperation. No-one answered. Were the adults struggling with humans as well? Had they all already been captured?

    She came upon her den, and looked inside -- the stone surroundings seemed bleak. Not safe. The den was probably the most noticeable feature of the woods, and the humans would definitely have been here already. She padded inside, her eyes still wide with panic -- but no, her parents were still there, talking with each other. Her father, a canine kind of Pokémon -- not an Arcanine, actually, but rather a Lucario. Hestia found that her father being a Lucario was actually kind of strange, because he and her mother did not look at all like a couple.

    He looked over as Hestia entered, and his red eyes seemed to be looking into her, rather than at her. They glowed as they sensed something, and he looked back at Hestia’s mother in surprise. The spikes that stuck out from his chest and his hands were enveloped in a blue energy -- obviously a sign that he was about to fight. Hestia’s mother got up, her golden fur rippling and all nine of her tails stretching as she arched her back. She gave a low growl in her throat, and Hestia quickly ran over to the both of them, turning around. They could all sense that the humans were about to arrive, and were preparing to defend themselves.

    And they were there.

    If they were trained Pokémon, they would never have attacked the humans. Unfortunately for the poachers, they weren’t trained Pokémon. They were wild.

    Hestia’s father, Mars, dashed towards the two humans that had appeared, and launched a terrific punch into his gut. The human gasped as he was thrown backwards into the snow, but quickly recuperated. He got up, and flipped a shotgun from his back, aiming it fully at the Aura Pokémon. Hestia almost blacked out at the sight of the machine -- she had been taught how deadly human technology was. However, Mars opened his jaws wide, whirling his head forcefully towards the human, a turquoise orb of energy forming in his mouth. The human began to have second thoughts -- he glanced at his partner, who had been busy with Hestia’s mother, Rhea.

    Mars launched the energy from his mouth, and it came out as a beam of pure, draconic power. It was Dragon Pulse, an extremely powerful Dragon-type move. Used on a human, it could probably knock them out cold. It shattered the human’s gun to pieces, striking him full in the chest. His eyes glazed over, and he toppled backwards. He let Rhea handle the other human -- she was snapping at and shooting searingly hot flames in the human’s face, but he seemed to be dodging skilfully. Eventually, he knew that the Ninetales would get in a lucky hit, and so he brought something from his pocket -- some kind of silver whistle.

    As he blew it, Hestia’s parents froze in what they were doing, and toppled to the ground. Hestia had been staying out of the fray, as she knew she was too inexperienced. The human looked at her, like he’d just noticed her standing there.

    “And why weren’t you affected, young one?” he cooed, walking over to her. She tried to growl, but it came out as a jittery squeak. Her enemy chuckled. He brought one of the contraptions that the others had been captured with earlier from over his back, and swiped at her. At least, he would have.

    The moment she’d seen her parents collapsed, anger began to take over fear. When the human brought out his device, she was outraged. Swiping would have been his final mistake. She opened her mouth and gulped down some air, the flames whooshing up past her throat, tickling it slightly. She unleashed them with full force upon the human. The column of fire seared every inch of him, piercing through every fibre of his essence. In other words, he was truly burnt. She had triumphed over her fear, and had defeated a danger in the process -- she would have cheered with joy, but she was still shaken by what she’d done. Her confidence hadn’t built fully yet.

    She bolted to her father, who was still out cold. Her mother was stirring, however, which was a sure sign that she wasn’t dead, at least -- that was what she’d feared the most when they had went down. Their deaths would have crushed her. Rhea hazily regarded her daughter, her eyesight a bit blurred. She sighed quietly, blinking a few times. She noticed out of the corner of her eye the human, still writhing on the floor, burned like she’d never seen before.

    “That was brave of you,” she told Hestia. “You were finally brave.”

    “I... it was nothing, mother,” Hestia replied shakily.

    “It was everything, my sweet. You saved our lives.”

    “B-but I didn’t save the lives of Nimbus, or any of the others. They... they’ve all been captured by the humans,” she sobbed. “I ran away. I’m such a coward. I don’t deserve to be called brave.”

    “Sweetheart, you are brave. It’s in your blood. And you are able to save your friends still -- I just know it’s not the end. If you go back, you can track the humans. Use your senses, your nose. You can find them and free them. I believe in you, my sweet. Go.”

    “But-- I... I...”

    “No buts, Hestia. Go! Save your friends! I’ll look after your father.” Her tone was not one to be argued with, but it was almost imploring at the same time. Hestia turned to the exit of the den.

    “I love you,” she told her mother. Then, she dashed, the snow practically melting out of her way as she ran. Her mother was right. She could still save the others.

    ***

    She was sprinting through the snow, her legs moving automatically. Her legs bunched together as she ran as fast as she can, then extended just before she hit the ground. She felt like she was flying -- she’d never ran this quickly before, but it seemed like she could have gone this fast for days upon end. She was on a high now, and determined to save her friends -- her heart was beating in her chest loudly, like a bird trying to escape from its cage. That small part of her didn’t want to go, didn’t want to face the things she most feared -- but she knew that she had to. Even though she felt like she didn’t belong, the others were captured -- she felt like it was her responsibility to free them. They’d only treated her with kindness, and encouraged her. This was the least she could do to repay them.

    Then, of course, there was the matter of Nimbus -- for many years, he’d been her only friend. She couldn’t bear it if he was taken away from her, especially since the others would be gone, too. She’d told him everything, even things she hadn’t told her parents. She trusted him completely and utterly, and he’d listened like a true companion. How would she be doing anything in the world justice by just letting him go? Additionally, there was something about Nimbus that she liked, and her brain almost did a somersault whenever he was near -- she knew that it could never be real or practical, but she liked him a lot more than she let on. She sort of hoped that was a reciprocal feeling. Was that why she was charging through her fears? Was it only for him?

    In any case, she at least hoped he’d be worth it.

    After a good fifteen minutes of that solid running, she slid to a stop. She wasn’t actually heading anywhere specific, and she’d just realised that -- sniffing the air, she detected something. Nimbus. Without actually putting much effort into it, she’d caught his scent. Her dark, button nose sniffed the air once more, giving her a certain direction. She bounded off again through the snow, heading due west to where Nimbus was -- and where Nimbus was, the others were sure to be. Those two humans were working together, she was sure of it. They wouldn’t split apart, and they wouldn’t have dumped the others elsewhere.

    She eventually arrived near where they were, and skidded to a halt once more, using her rump to slow her down this time. She caught her breath as she looked over the bushes -- the two humans were there, and they had various nets and cages laid about. It was a clearing in the midst of the forest, and the sun shone upon the area, illuminating everything in perfect detail. Hestia sniffed the air once more, and Nimbus’ scent was a lot sharper -- he was definitely here. Her eyes swivelled around the area, surveying it for any sign of Nimbus. She spotted Royalie, who nodded at her in greeting. She was in some kind of metallic cage, and her eyes were mystified.

    Nimbus is here, Royalie spoke into Hestia’s mind -- Hestia wondered where she learned that particular skill. Apparently telepathy was hard to pick up.

    Is he okay? Hestia asked the question in thought. It seemed that Royalie had made a temporary psychic rapport, as she actually answered.

    He’s fine. You seem... different.

    I... I’ve been trying to conquer my fear. I’m still afraid -- being here seriously frightens me. Is there any way you can distract the humans?

    I can’t do anything -- the cages are sapping our power. It’s hard enough to even speak to you. You’re going to have to come up with a way yourself, Royalie said gravely.

    Great. Hestia picked herself up, and looked towards the humans -- they seemed to be transferring the Pokémon into those cages, perhaps for easier transport. They were chatting to each other in a light-hearted manner, which aggravated Hestia given the current circumstances. They were at the forefront of a major poaching, and yet they were joking around? That offended her. Those creatures, although she still hadn’t fully accepted it, were her friends, her companions.

    Without knowing why, she stepped out into the clearing. She let out a bark, and the two humans turned simultaneously, cages falling to the ground. They made no sound as they hit the snow. The bearded one recognised her from earlier, and he cocked his head slightly, as if confused by her appearance. She regarded him spitefully, and let out another bark -- but she wasn’t exactly a sight to be feared. She looked too cute to them for that. They simply laughed at her attempt to try and intimidate them. She looked around as they laughed, searching for Nimbus. There he was -- he was in a cage behind the two humans, which must have been why she couldn’t have seen him before. She gave him a short wink as they made eye contact, but his expression was clearly bewildered.

    She padded towards the two humans, her eyes glowing a golden colour. The two crumpled, falling to either side of her. She simply walked past the both of them, her eyes still glowing that golden colour -- her Extrasensory attack was subduing them easily.

    “As soon as I let go of them, I’m going to break you out. They’ll be too dazed to attack, but that’s only going to last a few moments. Once you’ve broken out... well, we’ll improvise,” Hestia stated. This was clearly not the time to ask questions.

    All of a sudden, her golden glow subsided, and she breathed fire upon the door of Nimbus’ cage. The lock melted, and Nimbus bashed the front of his cage open. He looked at Hestia, still surprised at what she was doing. She was being brave, and risking herself to save everyone.

    She turned to the humans, and Nimbus flapped his wings by her side, his power returning by the second. They could do this.

    “Who are you, and what have you done with Hestia?” he muttered to the Fox Pokémon.

    “I am Hestia. You can ask stupid questions later. Let’s go, bird-brain.”

    And with that, the two of them charged. Hestia’s rabbit heart dissolved into nothingness.

    Only her lion heart remained.
    Last edited by Buoy; 2nd January 2012 at 09:05 AM.

  2. #2
    I eat Frogs AmericanTreeFrog's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rabbit Heart. [WWC]

    This will make a fine addition to my collection.

    Graded and deleted, my master Nemo.
    Last edited by AmericanTreeFrog; 6th January 2012 at 12:23 AM.
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