Title: "Tales of the Kingdom Beasts"
No. of Characters: 20,082
Target Pokémon: Gligar [Medium Level; 10,000 - 20, 000
Combee [Simple Level; 5000-10,000 characters]
TALES OF THE KINGDOM BEASTS
The craggy, meter-thick rocks towered up on either side of the mountain, which acted as if they were guards that watched over passersby. But alas, there was no sign of life anywhere. In every direction stretched a sea of unfriendly, bitter, and ominous black granite. The rocks formed shapes like drooping faces, each formation as bizarre as the other. The faces leered at the two children as they treaded the hardy mountain soil. The girl possessed a cloak wrapped tightly around her, with only the ragged crimson hem of a skirt and worn black boots showing beneath. Her face was pale as Aron steel. The girl beside her stumbled on lace-less boots, her ankles nicked with unhealed cuts. The cloak flurried behind her like a grey wing, which was frayed at the bottom. A thick, blue scarf was tied around her forehead as the violent winds swept her hair.
“Oh,” moaned the first girl, “I’m too tired. We’ve got to stop, Lorraine!”
To this exclamation the second girl paused, who let the cold breeze skim her face. She shuddered as the wind’s icy fingers touched her cheeks. She turned wearily back to her companion and uttered,
“Not yet, Clarisse, just a tad bit longer. I want to get beyond these rocks.”
“What you want, fine.” Clarisse scoffed, in a most irritated manner. “Lorraine, I’m frozen stiff. And so are you. It might not be too long before we mistake each other for some Abomasnow should we continue under the present conditions. Not to mention we could encounter another one of those Rhyperior we met earlier. You know the one that knocked both my Eeveel and your Weepinbell? The one we had to run away from? Come on, let’s stop and sleep—and camp here for a while.“
“I’m too cold to start a skirmish with you,” Lorraine replied grimly and marched on ahead, suggesting her disapproval over Clarisse’s suggestion. Her friend waited for a brief moment before grudgingly struggling on behind. She caught up to Lorraine and they walked together, both their heads bowed down low to the torrential tempests that blew against them. Clarisse glanced at her best friend and saw the redness in her cheeks and ears. Lorraine usually had a rosy face, but this was different. She shivered herself and drew the cloak towards her. Lorraine’s sense and calmness was comforting now. At first it had been annoying, quite annoying for her in fact, as if she did not care about what went on around her. But now Clarisse understood a lot more and it helped ease and quell her fears. In a rush of affection, she clutched Lorraine’s whipping shroud and pressed it around her numb body. Lorraine looked up in surprise and then smiled gratefully, as she pulled it tighter to her sides.
“Thanks,” she said weakly. Her voice cracked but she quickly turned her head away. There was a small sniff and then the girl raised again, her hand outstretched to the vague horizon. “See that cleft? That’s where we’ll stop.”
“How long do you reckon it’ll take us to get there?” Clarisse asked, as Lorraine shrugged,
“I can’t be sure. I don’t know, perhaps a day or so.”
She put out an arm and gave Clarisse a hug. “Gosh it’s cold,” she muttered sourly, then tucked her hands into her cloak.
Wind tugged at their hair so that it waved their heads wildly. The landscape was scuffed with cliffs, faces haughty and uncaring as the girls passed beneath them, cowering with the power that seemed to bore heavily down on their shoulders.
"I dislike it here, Lorraine. I feel uncomfortable,” Clarisse murmured, as she grabbed a rock and brushed it with her fingertips. Lorraine cleaned the piece of stone enough to reveal its cool, blue coloration, and then she hid it in her pocket.
“Don’t!” Lorraine hissed through her swollen lips. It came out in a rasping cough so angry that Clarisse jumped. At her inquiring glance, Lorraine closed her eyes and shook her head in a stubborn manner, “Just don’t.”
Suddenly a huge gust of turbulent wind was hurled at them, a veritable gale that whipped up pebbles and other fragments into a frenzied dance among their feet. Lorraine’s scarf was caught in its searching fingers and spiraled up into the hazy stratosphere.
“Oh dear Focus Blasts, no!” she cried, and let her cloak billow wide again and her arms stretch as she clawed at the air. “Please, not that!”
The two watched helplessly as the blue scarf drifted about in the squall, whipping and coiling until it snagged on a branch of pocketed granite at the very summit of a cliff. Calmly and carefully, Lorraine began to climb up the rock face, red fingers clutching at any hold in her path.
“Leave it, Lorraine, you’ll be killed! It’s not that important!” Clarisse yelled, frantic with utmost worry. If another gust just as before came whipping again, it would knock her dearest friend out into oblivion.
“It’s my only link with home, Clarisse. Don’t you remember what Aurora said? That scarf was as if it was guiding us home.” She laughed at the memory. “Absurd, but I’d like to believe that. It’s important to keep us together!”
The words Lorraine had blurted were icy to Clarisse. The mention of Aurora, her best friend and Lorraine’s sister cut her hard. When they find Aurora? What if it was never? It seemed like eternity since the friends had been separated.
Although, the length of ‘eternity’ Clarisse pertained to in her mind was two weeks ago. It started at their hometown of Sundervale, three miles West of Clackwing Range, which was their present location. In the town spread news of a huge threat to its villagers, a threat in the form of a newly awakened dragon. Apparently, the monstrosity was disturbed from its slumber by miners from Sundervale itself, who were on a dig up in the range for some spheres and other precious gems. What they uncovered, however, was not a measly fragment of shiny rock but a chamber, the chamber of the dragon to be precise. Out of the mining crew only one managed to return to Sundervale, who had first-mouth of such news. He claimed that he had been spared by the dragon in order to tell to his village what he had witnessed, and to warn the people of his coming, and that the dragon shall claim the village children as the price for his awakening. No one believed the miner, as Sundervale has not heard from a dragon since eons. But soon they regretted neglecting the miner’s words, and in the span of three days, a towering, blue vision of death extinguished the clouds that soared above the quiet town.
The dragon, in all the abomination that he was, let out ear-shattering roars that proclaimed his name. And what a vile name it was. Salamence.
Just as what the miner foretold, Salamence took the children of Sundervale. He did not devour them, only took them back to his lair, which was situated at the highest peak in Clackwing Range. He scowled, as he flapped his crimson wings, and said, “You have a month to bring me the nectar made by the Ocher Vespiquen. Should all of you fail to do so I shall be enraged, be more wrathful than how I am now, and shall be forced to consume your youth. My deals are exact, and if I do not have with me a plate filled with glistening nectar within such time, I shall deliver the immediate consequences.”
The people knew exactly why Salamence wanted the nectar. It was the only substance in all the land to put dragons to slumber. However, one was more likely to slay Salamence than to find an Ocher Vespiquen’s hive, and considering everyone at Sundervale cowered at the dragon’s breath, no one dared to oppose him. As such, they were left with a problem they did not have the courage to resolve.
Courage was found, however, on two of the children Salamence carried back. They had plummeted off of Salamence’s back while he was in flight, and would have had suffered a fatal fall if it was not for one of the children’s Eevee using Protect to ensure the safety of their landing. The Eevee’s owner was named LORRAINE, and the other, Clarisse, was her friend. Before they descended, Lorraine’s older sister and Clarisse’s closest friend, Aurora, dropped them a scarf, the very thing Lorraine now sought after. They were determined to rescue the children, most importantly Aurora, and return them to quaint old Sundervale.
Lorraine leaned dangerously out from her perch, spread like an eagle on the rock, as her hand worked its way towards the shelf.
“Do be careful,” Clarisse shouted again, the girl gnawed on her fingernails with anguish whilst doing a little dance to keep warm. Lorraine’s fingers drew nearer and nearer to the fluttering scarf, they brushed the cloth, stroking it and then lodging it between thumb and index for a fleeting moment but it was tugged free by a sudden rush of air. Lorraine stumbled as she lunged for it. Clarisse screamed but her friend hung on determinedly, her green eyes following the scarf as it flew from her grasp.
Without thinking, Lorraine scrambled after it, arms over her head, as she raced towards the piece of fabric.
“Lorraine! Watch out!” Her friend called out, who tried her best to get off the cliff as fast as her small body allowed her.
A huge crevice welled open before her, a black gap with the flicker of red light far within it. Some force was dragging the scarf into it, sucking it down.
Clarisse leaped into the air, her fingers clutching so tightly it hurt her palms. Up into the air she climbed, over the gorge. The sound of beating drums filled her ears and heat embraced her in a furious flaming heat.
In a spontaneous, unprecedented turn of events, something flew to the falling Lorraine. It was purple, with horns, had gripping claws and a pointed tail. Just in time the mysterious creature caught the nine-year old in its membranous, stretched-out wings, which saved her from the fiery demise that would have been her fate. Lorraine opened her eyes; only to witness a Gligar had saved her. The gorge filled with molten rock rattled and boiled, as if out of exasperation. Clarisse stood awestruck while she got down the stone cliff, only thankful to the Gligar for having rescued her friend.
The FlyScorp glided downwards, avoiding strong currents of air as it prepared to land. The Pokémon made contact with solid ground in a near-perfect display, which attests to its species’ remarkable and renowned adaptation to flight and aerial maneuver.
Slowly, Lorraine got off the Gligar from its smooth backside, with the coveted scarf still in hand. Clarrise ran towards her friend, eager to find out if she has been hurt. Fortunately, the Gligar had saved Lorraine just in time, preventing any injuries that would otherwise befall her. Lorraine assured Clarisse that indeed, she was unharmed. Then she realized that she wasn’t holding her sister’s scarf, sending her into panic. She turned to her rescuer, only to see that the Gligar was wearing the scarf. The girl stopped the Pokémon from gliding away with the scarf.
“I’m most certainly grateful, Gligar.” Lorraine spoke, as she gestured the Pokémon to give the scarf back. “May I ask you to return my scarf?”
But Lorraine did not receive the reply that she had wanted. Instead she got a protesting remark from her apparent savior, who was resisting returning the scarf to its rightful owner. Lorraine pleaded, but still the Gligar did not comply. Clarisse was about to suggest battling the rebellious Pokémon, but then she remembered that both her Eevee and Lorraine’s Weepinbell had been knocked out by a rampaging Rhyperior they had encountered earlier.
“I really wish Eevee had full health,” Clarisse muttered with a sigh. “Then we could battle Gligar for your scarf.”
Lorraine had mixed emotions. She was angry that Gligar wouldn’t return her scarf, but was at the same time thankful to the Pokémon for having saved her. She asked for it again, saying that it is really important for her to have it. The Gligar seemed to disregard her pleas, and with a gust of wind it flew away, into the vortex of cold, turbulent wind. Without hesitation Lorraine hastily followed the Gligar, determined to claim back what was hers. She didn’t even look back at Clarisse, who was complaining that they have limited time and that she should just let the scarf go. Lorraine didn’t seem to notice this, as she was focused in pursuing her savior-turned-thief. Having no other choice, Clarisse chose to follow. The Gligar lead the two into its habitation, a tunnel-like cave inside the mountain wall. The room was surprisingly well-lit, and further inside the cave was the scarf thief. Once Lorraine saw the Pokémon, she shouted for it.
The Gligar did not attempt to flee this time. It approached Lorraine and Clarisse, holding what seemed to be an assortment of Aspear and Sitrus Berries. Alas, Aurora’s scarf was nowhere to be found. To this Lorraine clamored, her maddened shouts echoed through the cave.
“Where is the scarf? Where is it?!” Lorraine said, while Clarisse was trying to keep her friend’s anger at bay.
It was then that a Combee emerged from behind the stalagmites. And on its left wing was a piece of blue fabric, having a mark that was familiar to both the girls. The Combee’s wing appeared to have been injured, judging from its labored flight patterns, and that the piece of fabric was used as a makeshift cast to support it. The Gligar laid down the berries and raised its claws, a sign that Lorraine could not distinguish from surrender or combat. This was affirmed when the Gligar spoke,
“I did not mean to cause you any trouble,” The Pokémon explained, as the Combee hid behind him, as if it feared the cave ‘intruders’. “But as you see, I needed something to help Velis’ wings recover. I happen to be gliding by when I caught eye of your perilous fall, and I saw your scarf. I rescued you out of good intention yes, but I was also thinking of Velis’ welfare.”
“You could have asked us for it,” Lorraine objected, her anger seeming to slowly dissipate.
“Instead you had to glide away and bring us here. You’ve made us go off course, and now we’ve lost time—a commodity which we do not have.”
“Ah! I had to result to such measures with valid reasons attached to them.” The Gligar uttered, as he picked the berries again. “I heard your friend saying that your Pokémon are injured? I only fled so that you would follow me here, so I can give you some comestibles to feed your Pokémon. They will give them the energy they’re going to need--”
Lorraine interjected. “I appreciate that, but still, you could have told us.”
The Gligar continued. “Another reason is that a hailstorm is coming, and my cave will provide us with shelter. If you find these reasons to be unjust, you may take your scarf and depart from my domicile.”
Lorraine blushed, guilty of her rash judgments. “I apologize, for my actions...”
“I am too.”
Clarisse intervened, happy that everyone was appeased. To clear all uncertainties, Clarisse proposed introduction of their names. She and Lorraine introduced themselves to the Gligar and the Combee, whose names they revealed as Sorin and Velis respectively.
Sorin then offered the promised berries to the girls, who released their Pokémon from containment. “Sitrus is good for a Pokémon’s health. It’s safe to eat, even for humans like you. It tastes extremely sour, but that’s the vitamins at work. Also, you might want to give them some Aspears –they have unique properties that allow Pokémon to withstand the cold we’ll be encountering tonight.” Weepinbell appeared to like both berries, but Clarisse had to make Eevee eat them, explaining that it would make her feel more energized.
Curious of the Gligar’s medical expertise, Clarisse began to ask who he was and why he’s here. Sorin revealed that he used to belong to a doctor, and that his trainer was, before being tragically killed almost two weeks ago, in an expedition on this range. His trainer told him to flee while he still could, and that he should save himself. He tried to go back but there was no hope. And since then he had devoted himself to caring for anyone in need that would pass the Clackwing Range—like Velis, the Combee who he rescued when an avalanche hit her while at flight.
As they ate, the hailstorm Sorin had predicted began; the clouds outside fired the range with bullets of stone-cold ice. Clarisse could not help but ask as to how Sorin’s trainer died. Lorraine apologized for her friend’s possibly insulting question, but Sorin brushed it off and said that it was all right.
“My Trainer, he hired an expedition of miners, you see. He was investigating claims of the strange power coming from the gems in this range. The expedition did not turned out well. The cavern they so happened to have dug into was a chamber—a chamber of a—“
“A dragon.” Clarisse said, with seriousness in her eyes, and Lorraine felt goose bumps crawling over her skin.
The Gligar was shocked—how could these two girls know what had happened to his trainer?
Lorraine swallowed the berry, and she began to explain. “We know that tale. We are from the town of Sundervale, the same town where your trainer hired his men. You know the dragon your trainer awoke? Well, he’s kidnapped all the children from our town, including my sister—who is, by the way, the owner of that scarf. We managed to escape, and now we’re trying to get the other children back.”
“I admire your bravery, but surely, Salamence is powerful—his strength is evident as he was able to wipe out the entire team of miners. You expect two children such as yourselves to fight him and succeed? Don’t be so foolish. You two will only get yourselves killed.”
“That is irrelevant. We have the heart to save the other children.”
Velis, the injured Combee, began to approach Clarisse and Lorraine. Her shyness was gone, and was inspired by how much the two care for others. Velis began to sob, “I hope you meet your sister again, and that you succeed in your travails...” The Pokémon told Lorraine.
Then, a startling revelation occurred to the girl—the Combee, the one that she was holding at the moment, was, undoubtedly, an Ocher Combee! She could not be mistaken—Velis had a deeper orange tincture to her body, the trait that earned Ocher Combee and Vespiquen their name. Lorraine looked over to Clarisse, who she knew was thinking the same thing.
“We will meet my sister again, I’m sure of it.” Lorraine started. “Oh, and Velis, you don’t happen to be an Ocher Combee now are you?”
Just as expected Velis confirmed that she was truly an Ocher Combee, but Velis was clueless why Lorraine would ask her that. A gleam of hope suddenly coursed through the children’s minds.
“Salamence gave a condition to the people of Sundervale, which, if met, would make him set the other children free.” Lorraine continued. “That condition is to bring a plate of honey made by an Ocher Vespiquen. We have two weeks left to deliver it to his lair, which is on the tallest peak here: Flarekite Summit.”
“And now you want me to ask my queen to give you the honey?” Velis replied, to which the girls eagerly said yes. “I shall lead you to our hive, once the hailstorm ends and when my wing recuperates.”
“I can not express how much I am thankful, Velis, and to you too, Sorin. Without you we wouldn't have met an Ocher Combee.” Lorraine said.
“And we would be out there, freezing to death too.” Clarisse added. “Won’t you come with us?”
Sorin was not sure at first, but he decided that he wouldn’t let Salamence harm another living thing. “I shall be with you on your journey. I shall aid you in this journey, and I swear my loyalty to you. I shall do this in the name of my fallen master.”
“It is settled then,” Lorraine said with relief. “After the hailstorm has cleared and Velis’ wing feels better, we will get Salamence what he wants, and free my sister and the rest of the children.”
Lorraine then turned to her best friend, and she whispered, “I told you we will see Aurora again. Just believe.” And soon after sleep had enchanted each one of them. It was just a matter of time, Lorraine thought. And she and Clarisse would be reunited with Aurora once more.
***To be Continued...***
For the Grader: