Categories > Games > Pokemon > The Fire in Their Eyes

Chapter 2

by Pillowrabbit 0 reviews

Strange things have been happening.

Category: Pokemon - Rating: PG - Genres: Fantasy - Warnings: [V] - Published: 2016-08-20 - 2146 words

“Another one?” she asked, breathless, her sides heaving as she fought for air. Leaves lashed at her face as she ran, mud splattering on her clothes with every step she took. The air was tainted with the scent of oncoming rain.

The other nodded. “Spotted in this forest, just up ahead. A Nidoking.”

Dread crept up her spine. Not again, she thought. “And you’re sure it’s ours?”

She couldn’t say any more. Didn’t need to, for as the bushes parted up ahead and the first drops of rain fell, she could spot a tint of purple, the bellows of rage and her teammate’s frantic shouts.

Her stomach dropped. No.

But it was. The telltale red ribbon around the Nidoking’s arm told it all. She skidded to a halt.

It was surrounded on all sides by eight of her own people. Outnumbered. Barraged by attacks. Yet it fought back easily, landing in blow after blow.

A teammate was blown back effortlessly like a leaf on the wind. He yelled as he flew backward. Candela pitched forward just in time to catch him before he crashed into a tree.

“Get more enforcements!” she told him. She shook his shoulders. “Do you understand me?” she said, yelling to be heard above the angry roars. “We need as many people we can find!”

A sudden movement. She ducked just in time as the Nidoking’s tail swiped the air above her, seconds where her head had been. Twenty pounds of pure force. A blow like that would’ve crushed her skull.

Candela leaped back. “Victreebel!” she yelled, sending it out in a flash of white light. “Leaf storm!”

Instantly, the air became alive with wisps of green blurs, sharp-edged and quicker than lightning. They whizzed past her cheek. The Nidoking clenched its eyes shut and blocked its face with its thick arms. It bellowed angrily. The deafening noise was enough to make her knees go weak, but she didn’t flinch. She couldn’t. One wrong move, and they’d lose without knowing what hit them.

She turned to the others. “What are standing there for?” she spat. “Help me!”

Instantly, her teammates gained footing again. With her Victreebel in the lead, it was easy for them to raise their spirits. A long, uphill climb.

Candela dug her heels into the mud. The rain whipped past her, driven into needles by the wind.

“Hold your strongest attacks until the last!” she told them. “Drive the Nidoking backward! We have to corner him fir--”

The breath was driven out of her lungs. She could actually feel it whip past her, as though slapped by an invisible hand. Her eyes widened. Her own brown eyes met the Nidoking’s own, and in the seconds that passed, she knew. She understood. She saw the power held in them, the fury, the wild anger, red-hot and unrelenting. It was too late to do anything. No time to scream, to dodge, to duck. She had underestimated it all.

If she had time, she would have spoken to it. Her lips parted. You were one of us once.

Then the claw glinted in the light and struck. She closed her eyes and braced herself.


The pattering of rain on leaves.

A whoosh of air centimeters from her face.

A bone-crushing noise, a sickening thud, but it was not her own. Her eyes flew open just in time to see a girl flying through the air, her body spiraling. Up and around. It struck her then, to notice how small her body was, how frail. The girl flew like a bird and plummeted toward the ground like stone, noiselessly and without so much as a cry.

Silence. The Nidoking’s heavy snort, its hot breath washing over her.

It was only then, when one of them let out a mournful cry, did Candela finally feel her legs working again, hear her heart hammering in her chest. She took a step forward. Then another. It was as though she were in a dream. Her mind felt light-headed.


The girl’s body lay crumpled in the mud, face-down, sprawled like a broken doll. Like a butterfly, she thought.

Not again.

Candela’s breath shook. She touched the girl’s arm. The body did not stir. The shouts of her teammates and the bellows of the animal were far behind her now, echoes in a cave. She could see only the girl, unmoving and silent.

“Poli! Poli!”

It snapped her out of her thoughts. She blinked. The girl’s Poliwhirl hopped over, its little legs toddling then coming to a stop beside her.

“Poli? Poli.”

It fell silent. Candela saw the things swimming behind its eyes. Confusion, maybe? Then disbelief. Then, finally, sorrow.

How many of her people had to fall before it was finally over? Slowly, Candela brushed her hand over the badge of red on the girl’s crumpled shirt. Mud-stained and dirty, but still the brightest red she ever knew, burning like an ember against the slought of rain. She furrowed her brow.

Valor. That’s what she was. What she was meant to be.

She couldn’t trust herself to speak, but when she did, her voice did not waver.

“Come on, Poliwhirl.”

It glanced up at her.

“We haven’t lost yet.”

Her teammates were still carrying on, even as she had crouched over the girl’s body. Fighting on valiantly. Despite herself, a flare of pride bloomed inside her chest, brighter than any flame.

“Victreebel? You with me?”


She straightened and commanded, “Solarbeam!”

Victreebel grunted and readied itself, tendrils drawn in tight. The Nidoking lunged.

“Poliwhirl! Hydro pump! Give it the best you’ve got!”

The Pokemon launched itself toward the Nidoking. The hulking monster did not slow its pace. If anything, it only quickened, claws outstretched, jaws parted wide. Rows of gleaming teeth, razor-sharp.

The blast of water shot into its chest, sending it skidding backward a couple of feet. Then another, and another. A Vileplume, a Golduck, a Persian. Slowly, they were all fighting back, working together, casting the beast away.


A shudder worked its way through Victreebel as the orb above its head glowed, growing brighter and brighter. It seared her eyes, but she didn’t look away. Not when victory was in their reach.

The force of it was strong enough to steal her breath away, to make her short hair lash against her ears. Startled shouts from her crew. A deafening roar, shaking the earth.

Then a different roar, a pained one, as the solar beam hit its target straight on the mark. The light withered away and was gone.

Candela hesitated. Then, cautiously, she walked toward it.

Its flanks heaved where it lay, its face hidden behind a mass of bruised armor and thick plates. She stopped a few feet away. She crouched down.

“You,” she said, keeping her voice firm but steady. Flashes of the girl’s crumpled body. She couldn’t break down now. “Look at me.”

The Nidoking snarled, an ugly noise. She squinted closer. No, she hadn’t been mistaken. The ribbon tied to its arm was only a frayed thread now, weathered by the battle, but it was, unmistakably, a shade of red. The same color they all wore.

“Don’t you remember me?” she breathed, a fist crushing her ribs. She forced herself to stay calm. Her crew gathered around her. “I’m Candela. Leader of Team Valor. You were in our Team. Remember?”

Slowly, it lifted its head. Candela thought she saw a glint of something in its eyes, a glimmer of understanding, maybe. It stared straight at her.

Then, it opened its mouth. She found herself gazing into a black pit.

“Candela!” someone screamed. “Get out of the way!”

She jerked backward, but it wasn’t enough. There was no time to move. All she could do was peer into its eyes as it charged toward her, quicker than a blink.

Hot breath. Black, beady eyes. Rows and rows of fangs.

So this was how it all ended.

“Hydro pump!”

A violent thrack! The sound of something beating against rough hide. Then the Nidoking fell, crashing to the ground. Its snout landed right in front of her. It twitched a little, then stopped.

Candela sucked in a breath through her teeth. Her body was tensed up so tight it hurt. Her pulse hammered through her ear.

The Blastoise lumbered toward her, the last of the water dripping from its cannons. Then a figure. A slim, tall figure.

Candela had never seen her before, but she could tell, with a passing of her eyes, who she was. It was obvious. The straightness in the stranger’s back, the quiet power in her stance, her silvery hair parted neatly behind her neck. The steel in her gaze, sharp as a hawk’s. She didn’t just see her; she saw through her, as piercing as an arrow. Cold as ice.

For a moment, all Candela could do was stare. Stare at her reflection in the woman’s eyes; brown-haired, muddy, adrenaline still pumping through her.

Then, the spell was broken. Candela jolted upright. She hissed, “Why have you passed here?”

Her crewmates pressed closer, flanking her on both sides, and she forced herself to relax, to think things smoothly. Blanche was clearly outnumbered; there was only one of her. But maybe it was a trap? Maybe her henchmen were hidden all along the forest.

The woman’s lips twitched. It was only a passing of a second, but Candela caught it. Was she mocking her?

Blanche dipped her head and bowed a little. “Greetings. My name is--”

“I know who you are, and you know exactly where you are. Turn back this instant, or we won’t hesitate to attack.”

Still, Candela couldn’t help but replay that voice again. Smooth and flowing, like a swift-running river. But a sternness underneath, a bitterness that spoke of blizzards.

The woman smiled at her. Tight-lipped. A gesture of politeness, she knew. She did not smile back.

“Blastoise,” she said, turning toward her Pokemon.

Candela stiffened, readying herself. But to her surprise, Blanche brought out a Pokeball and whisked it away in a white flash.

“I am not here to fight,” she said. “Just to talk.”

Talk? Candela almost laughed. What did she think she could do? Just waltz in and chat over some tea and biscuits, like they were old friends?

“I know what you are thinking,” said the thin voice,” and believe me, I don’t care for it either. But you’ve known of these strange happenings, hm?” She nodded at the fallen Nidoking. “The sudden attacks. How your Pokemon can suddenly turn against you without warning. As though they don’t even recognize you, like they’ve transformed into devilish beasts. You know what I mean.”

Candela tensed when the woman cast her gaze toward the body of the girl. Someone seemed to flicker in those blue eyes. “How many have you lost?” Blanche murmured.

“None of your business!” she spat. Then, cautiously, she forced her hackles to lie smooth again. In a stern tone, she said, “What do you want from us?”

She tilted her chin high. “I have a proposal,” she said. “This has been going on for months now. My own Pokemon suddenly snapping and attacking everything they see. I have lost many of my own people.”

Candela arched an eyebrow. “So have you found what it is? A kind of drug? A disease?”

She almost wanted to punch herself. Talking to an enemy clan. Her own mates cast sidelong glances at her, although they knew enough to keep quiet.

Keep your guard up, she told herself. She can’t be trusted.

“I wish to speak to you in private,” the other said.

“Oh?” Candela straightened herself up, making herself look taller. She planted her feet firmly on the ground. “And what if I don’t want to?”

It was unsettling, how the enemy showed no spark of emotion in her unwavering blue eyes. She turned. Candela followed her gaze, and couldn’t help but wince when, once again, they fell on the body of the broken girl.

The question was silent, but it hovered in the air. Candela felt her crew’s eyes burning into her back, judging her, questioning her. She heaved a shuddering breath. It was as though the sky would split open, as though the ground would shatter and yawn, at the choice she was about to make.

This isn’t real. But it was.

She narrowed her eyes. “Say one wrong word, make one wrong step, and I won’t hesitate to set my people on you.” Briskly, she turned her back to her and headed back up the trail.

Wordlessly, Blanche followed.
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