Well, this is my first try here, and I'm trying to get a Swablu, so wish me luck.
--- Tears: A Swablu Story ---
Pushing past the dense cover of the trees, I finally reached the path to the shrine atop the mountain. Beside me, my Ralts, Josei, gave a little chirp at the sense of adventure and adrenaline and excitement I was feeling, and she rushed ahead of me onto the cleared pathway, tripping a little at each step and stair. I snickered at her very embarrassing movements, and she turned around to glare at me with downturned eyes under her hair and a set mouth. I kept a smile, though, and followed after my excited Ralts.
Before this, coming through the forest on my adventures, we came across a traveling monk. He was tired, and hungry, as his packs had been raided by Rattata. I wondered why, exactly, he had decided to travel without sleeping or eating, instead of simply waiting for someone to pass, but I felt bad about being so condescending to the weak man. Josei and I gave him a little food, and he told us all these wonderful tales about Pokemon, and history, and adventure. However, the one that struck us most was a story about the nesting of all the Swablu within miles of this place.
The story was this: hundreds of years ago, there was a general of the army of a country at war. His only Pokemon was a Swablu, which evolved into an Altaria, and was a strong, powerful fighter from the general's endless training of it. However, his Pokemon had become apathetic and calculating, lacking all the joyfulness and love of life it once had. He tried to reconcile with his beloved Pokemon, but she scorned him and continued in her ways. The general knew that the only way his Altaria would ever regain the love she once had would be to stop the fighting. The two armies had met at a mountain pass for a large-scale battle, but the general tried to bring peace. He failed, and was killed in between the enemy of his country and his own soldiers.
When his Altaria heard of this, she flew as fast as she could to the spot of his death. Upon seeing his dead body, she sung a beautiful tragedy song of the Trainer she had lost. When the Swablu of the area heard this, they immediately rushed to the site of the beautiful singing, and were overcome by the sadness in the Altaria's voice. They also began to cry, and sing, until their voices were heard by all the people of the land. The people also began to weep at the sadness of the voices, until the entire land was overcome by the Altaria's grieving. She decided to live her life helping her kind. A large shrine had been built there by the two countries after the war, to preserve the new peace and friendship that had sprung from their mutual sorrow, and to protect the life's work of the general's Altaria. The Swablu now go there every year, both to remind themselves of the lesson in the story and to have their children born at the now-sacred place.
Josei and I, after hearing the story, were so intrigued by it, that we decided to see it for ourselves. He then smiled at us, and explained that he had visited there many times, and would tell us where to go. With his directions, we set off through the forest to the two mountains that the ancient battle had taken place on.
As Josei finally decided to slow down and walk with me, I thought about how beautiful and peaceful it was here. How could anyone even dare do such a gruesome thing in such a wonderful place? To fight? To kill here, of all places? Josei sensed my anger, and tugged on the leg of my pants, her hand the exact opposite color as their black. When I looked down at her, she gave me this compassionate, soothing, "It's going to be alright" kind of smile, and the anger dissipated. I decided to just enjoy the moment.
Soon, the incline became steeper, and we began doing a mix between a trudge and a march up steps that were made with an obviously meticulous care. That is, until I got hit in the head by a large fruit. It didn't hurt much, but it was kind of annoying. What mischevious Pokemon they have in these mountains. Throwing fruit at people isn't very nice. Then, when I looked down, I saw that it wasn't so much a fruit as a soft acorn. I wondered if something is wrong with the trees. However, before I could let my mind wander about biologically weak fruit seeds, we heard a pack of grunts and growls behind us. Josei and I froze where we stood, slowly turning around like something out of a horror movie. Standing there was a pack of Machop, poised to attack. There had to have been six or seven of them. "Um... hey, guys. How's it going?" I asked, hesitantly. Josei noticed the slight fear that I developed, and grabbed the leg of my pants again. Then, I looking closer at them, I saw that their stomachs were sunken in. I must've been right about the trees. Maybe they aren't growing. I felt so bad for them. However, Josei had no qualms about attacking the Pokemon who had threatened her partner. She was very protective of me like that.
"Guys, we don't want any trouble. What if we gave you a little food, huh?" I asked them, still hesitant and scared. Then, Jo gave a tug on my pants leg, and stared worriedly at me, twitching her head at them. That made me realize what she meant when she grabbed my pants: she was afraid of how vicious and desperate these Machop were to get food. One lunged at me, but Josei used Psychic to knock him against the side of the mountain, causing him to faint instantly. I stared at her, a little dumbstruck. Go, Jo. Now, the Machop were a little scared, but one was still bold enough to begin to lunge. However, even before it got the chance to attack anyone, Josei shot at it with a Confusion. It was instantly Confused, spinning around, knocking into its friends, and finally falling down.
Now, the Machop were angry. Each went into an attacking stance, but I wasn't feeling sorry for them anymore. They were robbers, and who knows if they'll hurt someone else later? I realized I had to knock them out. Mentally, I switched into battle mode. "Josei, Double Team!" I yelled in command. She smiled at me, and quickly glowed white to make at least 10 mirages of herself, surrounding the group of poised Machop. I gave another command: "Future Sight, Jo!" Each clone immediately began forming white-blue balls of energy, and then shot them in sync up in the air.
I exhaled, and a few charged at the shadow clones. "Magical Leaf, Josei!" The clones about to be attacked each quickly formed small blades of psychic energy, and shot them at the attacking Machop. They each fell, and then there were but two. Then, right on schedule, the Future Sight attack shot out of the sky, instantly KOing the two remaining Machop. In the end, I still felt a little bad. I left about a third of our pack of food there for them, and Josei and I continued on the path.
Then, after hours of walking, we passed the side of the mountain and reached the shrine. The exterior (from what I could see a couple hundred feet away) was simple, done in a pleasing shade of cream, with its detailing and roof (a traditional, Japanese pagoda style) done in a gray. As we got closer, I saw that a large yard had been cut out of the center, and realized that it was probably where the Swablu went to. About another half an hour of walking brought us to the open doors. As we passed in, a short man with graying hair rushed over to us.
"Hello!" he yelled, still running across the courtyard at the center of the temple--that was actually much larger than I thought it was. His large robes were billowing about him, a... rotund body with a pleasant face that was marked with age. When he reached us, he panted hard, pausing as he spoke to us: "Just--hah--one--hah--moment, please... Hoo. Now, welcome to the Shrine of Altaria." I smiled at the name. It was fitting, if not a little too obvious.
"I'm Xeni, and this is Josei," I said, as I introduced ourselves. She smiled, waving.
"Again, welcome. I am sorry, though, the Swablu only just left us a few days ago--if that is what you were here to see, of course." I'll admit, I was a little disappointed, but I did really want to see what had become of the shrine.
"No, it's fine," I assured him.
He smiled at us. "Well, since you are here, I can give you a room if you'd like to stay for a few days."
"That would be perfect," I said gratuitously, and with a smile. He motioned us to follow him, passing through the garden courtyard. However, his path didn't lead directly straight, something I realized when I saw the enormous statue of a weeping Altaria that was directly in front of us (and behind it was a wall that encompassed that side of the courtyard, so further proof). There was extra attention paid to her teardrops, which went in a broken path down her body. Surrounding her on the statue were a group of four flying Swablu, each heading away from the Altaria in a different direction. "Wow..." I gaped at the beautiful, colossal monument.
The man (I assumed he was a monk and the caretaker of the shrine) chuckled at my remark. "Beautiful, isn't it?" He took a sidelong glance at me from behind him. I nodded, still a bit star-struck. "That's been here for over two hundred years. It's the Altaria of the legend crying, and her children leaving to spread the legend to the world."
"Children?" I asked, confused by the remark he made.
"Why, yes. Do you know the legend?" I put my hand into the air, making a "so-so" motion, and made some sort of noncommital noise, like "Neh." He chuckled. Then, he began to explain: "According to legend, after the Swablu came, one single Altaria came at the singing. It was a compassionate male, who wanted to ease the pain of the beautifully tragic female Altaria, the one trained by the general. They became life-long mates, having four Swablu--that's them depicted on the statue. It's said that both they and all of her descendants thereafter have little markings under their eyes: their mother's tears. See them? They look a little like diamonds?" As we got closer to the colossus, I saw the markings. That sounded very unrealistic to me. It makes for a nice story, though. I looked down at my Ralts, who sensed my minor disbelief. She shrugged. I smiled, because of how incredible it is when she does that.
As we turned, the statue out of sight, I noticed a little moving white ball of fluff waddling in the courtyard. "I thought you said that all of the Swablu had gone."
"Well," he replied, "they did. Except for that one. It won't leave. All it does is hide under its wings. If anyone even comes close to it, it screeches so loudly it wakes everything within a mile of here."
"Huh," I stated simply. How lonely.
After a few more minutes of walking, we reached the room he had lent us, and waved us goodbye to tend to a dinner he would bring up. I set my pack down next to the bed, and Josei snuggled up on a set of pillows I laid out for her as a bed. I read for a little, until he brought up dinner, and then went to sleep.
A few hours later, in the middle of the night, I woke up. It had to have been only 2 o'clock in the morning. I rubbed my eyes, trying to get a better focus on my surroundings. Finished, I stood up from the bed, and walked outside. After opening the door and walking out, I heard this beautiful sound: a fluxing crescendo of a trill that rose and fell harmoniously. It was beautiful, and meticulous and--sad. Terribly sad. It was music that I could imagine listening to if... if something horrible had happened. If someone or something I loved had died. As I quickly walked outside the room, into a corridor directly adjacent to the courtyard, it got a little louder. I was close. Peeking through one of the openings of the corridor, showing the garden courtyard in full view, I saw it: it was the lonely Swablu, the one that hadn't left yet, trilling in that tragic pattern. It made me wonder, Was this the song that the Altaria of the legend sang? It definitely could be. I could cry. Me, waking up and clamoring about as I do in the morning, woke up Josei, who also padded out to see what the singing was. When I saw her, I made a shushing motion with my fingers and mouth, and she nodded, with little tears in her eyes. We continued listening, until the sunrise completed, and the Swablu curled up into its little fluffball and sat down. I was stupefied. That was incredible. It must feel so bad because of something. I--I want to help it. That's when I decided I would help the lonely little songbird if it was the last thing I did.
We left our hiding spot, back to our rooms, and approached the Swablu with a little food from our bags. We got fairly close, and nothing had happened yet. Both Josei and I plopped down in front of it, sitting stiffly, waiting for something to happen. Nothing did. It was a standstill. Then, Josei gave a trill, and used telekinesis to push her food in front of the Swablu. It moved a little closer, grabbed the food without revealing itself, and rushed away. I snickered, and my empathetic Ralts glared at me. I sighed, and we moved back to it. It was feasting on that morsel of food we brought it under its wings, making loud chomping noises and ruffling its feathers. We sat down about two feet in front of it, and just waited.
It finished the food, and waited, as we did. The pause was unbearable. I desperately wanted it to just run into my arms for giving it food (even though it had voluntarily starved itself), but I knew that wasn't going to happen. I made the first move: simply outstreching my hand a bit to the Swablu. It flinched at the move it expected me to make(touching it or whatever), but then relaxed when that never came. I pushed my hand a little closer, still not touching it. It didn't move this time. Then, finally, I carefully placed my open palm on its incredibly downy feathers. Ralts tugged on my arm, and motioned with her head that we should go. I felt bad about leaving it, but we did, in the end.
That night, we had dinner with the monk (whose named I found to be Jason), and I told him about how we wanted to help the poor creature. I think he knew we were hiding something, but he didn't press and we didn't tell. We went to sleep early again, and caught the Swablu singing again, still unable to see the front of its body. Its beauty was unbearable.
That day, Josei and I went back to the Swablu again. This time, we had our entire pack of food to leave for it. All we did was touch it quickly, and leave without another word. Jason was still suspicious of us, but in a good-natured way. We caught it singing again that night. Does it sing every night? I wondered.
After hearing the Swablu sing, Josei and I decided to go back to sleep. Hours later, we were suddenly woken up by a loud crash. Rushing out, we saw the Machop from earlier that week. Still hungry and tired, they had somehow found us here. That wasn't what shocked me, though. The group was attacking the Swablu, who wasn't defending itself. They wanted the food we gave it. Josei gave me a look that said, "Are you coming or what?" I nodded gravely, and we rushed to the scene. Jason was also there, trying to yell at the Machop to leave: he didn't have any Pokemon, and was completely unprepared for such a thing to happen. The Swablu was getting severely damaged now: bruises covered most of any of its body that you could see past its sheilding wings, and there was a little blood on the floor.
Josei rushed to the side of the pummeling group, with me behind her. "Magical Leaf!" I yelled. She attacked perfectly, hitting three of the group of, at the least, 20 Machop. This group was larger than the one we fought before. Josei used a quick Confusion on the Machop directly in front of the Swablu, leading the attack on the bloody bird. I jumped in front, taking the attacks. It was horrible. The Machop were desperate, and they used all the energy they had on attacking us. Josei was trying her best to knock out as many of the Machop as she could, but she wasn't strong enough to take out 10 Machop at a time, much less 20 angry ones. It was an outright massacre.
That is, until Swablu joined in. Flying up behind me, it used a somewhat weakened Dragon Pulse, knocking the attackers a few feet back. She swooped in front of me, now, using some of the quickest Fury Attacks I had ever seen on the swarming Machop. Yet, their power still wasn't enough to beat the Machop, some of which had recovered enough to completely surround the three of us. Swablu was facing the ones to my left. Josei, the ones on my right. I had no idea what to do. They were advancing for some final attack. Then, it came to me. "Swablu, Sing! Josei, Hypnosis!" They two of them knocked out each and every Machop, as they fell to the ground in sleep. We were all panting, hard, and my chest and legs had never felt so sore. We'd won, though. Jason slowly walked up towards us (and the sleeping Machop he was being wary of), saying, "I'm sorry I couldn't help. I wish I wasn't so much of a coward." My wonderful Ralts then walked up to him, tugging on the leg of his pants, and gave him a smile. He smiled back, the makings of tears in his eyes, and said, "I'm going to get these guys some beds. Maybe, some time later, they can help me out with the Shrine. You all should get rest. I'm fairly sure I packed some Potions in the bathroom. I'd use them." He then began patching up the Machop, and carting them away. I looked down at the Swablu, as I could really see it now. Then, I realized.
It had the diamond markings under its eyes: the teardrop markings that the Altaria's children are said to have. I stared at it with this stupid grin, and it smiled. It was adorable. Josei then ran up to the Swablu, making excited chirps and trills that the Swablu seemed to understand, and they quikcly struck up a friendship. I smiled again.
"Would you like to travel with us?" She nodded, and Josei and I smiled. I guess we accomplished what we'd wanted to do.Looking at my new friend, I laughed, and said, "I think I'm going to call you Namida: 'Tear.' So beautiful, and yet so tragic." It chirped again, and we all laughed.
The next day, the three of us--Josei, Namida, and I--all prepared to leave. Jason left us a ton of food, to replace the pack-full we'd lost coming up here. "I wish you luck on your journeys, Xeniaph," he said solemnly, as we were saying our goodbyes at the entrance.
"You know, Jason, would it be okay if we came and visited every once in a while? It is beautiful up here, and I'm sure Namida would love it. It's still her home. Hell, I'd love--"
"I'M GONNA MISS YOU GUYS!" Jason blubbered comically into my white shirt. "AND YOU BETTER COME AND VISIT! I'LL TRACK YOU AND MAKE YOU COME IF YOU DON'T!"
"How's Swablu season?" I asked, smiling at how he actually tried to keep his emotions in check. As I'd realized over the past few days, he was a very emotional person.
"Yeah! That's perfect! Well, it would be about two weeks before a year from now. So, then," he replied.
Namida gave a chirp in agreement, and I smiled. I wonder if I can help her. You know, to help her with whatever she was so sad about. "Yeah," Jason replied to her. I wonder if Josei can hear him in her Pokeball, even though she's resting from yesterday. I bet she's laughing her ass off.
"Don't worry, Jason, we will. Take care. And make sure those Machop help you out! They need to pay you back for the damage they did to the door!" I yelled, as we began to walk away from the heavily beaten wood of what was once a door. He smiled, yelling back an agreement or a comment or something, but I couldn't hear him anyway. Namida began to fly, rising up higher towards the mountains that surrounded the shrine. Then, she swooped back down, hitting me on the head with a cartoon-like thud. "Hey!" I yelled up at my... somehow chuckling Swablu. I didn't even know Swablu could laugh, let alone supress them. I smiled. It's going to be nice, having someone else around--but then I realized.
"Wait!" I yelled up at her. Namida looked down at me, and began fluttering down slowly, gliding on the gentle mountain breezes. When she got there, landing in front of me, she cocked her head in question. Almost like, "What was it? I was having some fun!" I chuckled at the expression, and simply said, "I never actually caught you." Namida opened her mouth in amazement, and then began pecking and chirping angrily at me. I wasn't sure if that meant, "That's what you called me down for?!" or "How could you be so stupid as to forget that?!"
"Sorry!" I replied, not sure exactly as to what I was sorry for. She perched herself back on the ground, huffed, and waited. Then, I enlarged one of my Pokeballs (I only carry a couple at a time; I don't really catch Pokemon), and threw it at her head. Hitting her right above the eye, she looked a little dazed as the red beam from the now-opened Pokeball enveloped her and took her in. It began writhing, hopefully waiting for its new occupant to accept it, going once... twice...
--- The End ---
Well... I'm not sure about how this turned out. I think it deteriorated as it went on... Oh, well. I'm just dying a little for this adorable Swablu with little tear markings under its eyes. :) So, what's the verdict?
*EDIT*: Hm... Two days, so far...
Oh, s**t! Wait! ... [edits story]... Well, finally. Now I have 21,007 characters. Hooray! :D --spaces count, right? D: If not, I only have 18,000-something... Grr! Why don't they specify these things?! I almost didn't end it with a possibly unsuccessful catch, because they didn't tell me. I had to see it on the grader information.
*EDIT* Nombre Deux: Three days... Can't anyone grade this? Like, losing my mind here...