The little, yellow mouse continued on running. He wasn't running away from something, he was looking for any survivors of the destruction rushing past him. Suddenly, the mouse stopped. He just stood there and took in what he saw around him, more destruction. He saw burnt, decrepit remains of trees and grasses that had been burned down. It might've been midday, but the scenery was giving off a grayish brown color, almost as if it was an old photo. The Pikachu wept, it wasn't his home, of course, but this was the third time it happened. He had seen this before, a forest laid to rest with fire, but this was by far the most destruction he'd seen. Looking around, the questions rose in his head again. Who would do such a thing? Why would they destroy Pokémon habitats and leave such utter destruction in their wake? He had come up with the answer to his first question before. He knew exactly who would do this, monsters who didn't give a shit about the health and well being of Pokémon, human or otherwise. He'd ruled out humans, partially because they wouldn't readily do this to Pokémon, the little creatures that trainers caught to be friends and partners were too likeable for so many humans to burn down three different forests to such a degree. The forests, Pikachu remembered as he remained standing there, that were burned down were Viridian Forest, Eterna Forest, and this forest, which Pikachu had never been to before. Given that, he was still determined to find out why such monsters would do this, and the Pikachu began running again.
Meanwhile, on a slightly raised cliffside, a Cyndaquil was looking down at the Pikachu who was now running. She remembered when the Pikachu was standing still, he was cute…no, strike that, he was ADORABLE. The only thing stopping her from leaping on the Pokémon when he was standing still was how creepy it would be to him, seeing a Pokémon randomly attack him out of love! Still, she was determined to follow this Pikachu and get to know him. As such, she began running beside and above him. Moments later, the Cyndaquil was able to see that the ground the Pikachu was running on stopped suddenly and came to a drop off. A sheer fall of, she didn't know how long, but she couldn't see the bottom from her raised position as she ran up to it. In fact, she felt like this was familiar, but knew it wasn't. It had changed, obviously, but she could've sworn she knew this area. At any rate, she jumped down from the cliffside at an attempt to stop the determined Pokémon. The Cyndaquil rolled a bit, not a Rollout, but an all out tumble! She was scared for a moment as time seemed to slow her approach to Pikachu, the last thing she wanted to do was send him down the cliff which she was trying to save him from. 'No, not again! I WILL save him!' the Cyndaquil thought as she continued to roll towards the oblivious yellow mouse.
The Pikachu, suddenly and quite abruptly, felt something roll into his back. It was at this moment that he saw the cliff. However, at the same time, the rolling that was thrusting him forward caused him to roll with his back skidding on the dry ground. It felt quite obvious that the forest had been burned with nothing spared. The dry, blaze-calloused ground dug into the Pikachu's back, causing him to grit his teeth as he and the unknown fire type Pokémon skidded toward the cliff! The Pikachu stopped short, however, with only his ears hanging over the cliff. He looked down; the Pokémon poking its head between his legs was indeed a fire type. It was, he figured seconds later, a Cyndaquil. It looked terrified, with its hands dug into the Pikachu's waist.
"No! No! I won't let you go! Not again!" the Cyndaquil screamed, its 'eyes' glued shut. It didn't take long after, partially due to the Pokémon's voice, for him to realize that this was a girl Cyndaquil.
"You're okay. Besides, I would like to thank you for saving me. It wasn't until you were doing so that I saw the path end." He humbly said. Words could not express how thankful he was. But, he was still curious what she was talking about earlier. What did she mean by 'Not again!'? He got up, all the while, helping her to get on her feet. She was still hugging onto him, tight, almost as if trapped in a hug.
"You can let go now." He said. The Cyndaquil let her hands drop and retained standing on all fours.
"Thanks. I was terrified that I'd lose you, and I don't even know you." She said, getting on her two back feet and hugging the Pikachu again. She began crying this time, she actually saved him!
"What's wrong?" He asked. He had no idea what the Cyndaquil was feeling, but that didn't mean he couldn't feel remorse for her.
"Well, let's just say that's not the first time. I remember a time when somebody was, unknowingly running toward their death, as you were, and I didn't do anything!" the Cyndaquil said, continuing to cry. All the Pikachu could do was comfort her, letting her cry over his shoulder.
Suddenly, but not as quickly as this moment started, the Pikachu perked up his ears. He heard something, like a bird Pokémon flying towards its target. He looked around behind him. There it was! The Pikachu saw what looked like a Honchkrow flying towards the ground. It didn't take much longer to figure out that the Pokémon's target was them! Thinking quickly, the Pikachu ushered the Cyndaquil behind him and let out a massive Thunder attack. The Thunder attack slammed into the Honchkrow as it was flying towards them, electrocuting it and causing it to fall down the drop off that, moments earlier, the Pikachu was saved from. Both Pokémon standing on the cliff looked down, tracking the Honchkrow that was falling to its death!
"What was that!?" the Cyndaquil asked. He knew that she saw what Pokémon it was attacking them, so he read further to what she actually meant by her question.
"I have no idea what the Honchkrow wanted with us, but I guess we're even." The Pikachu said with a slight laugh.
"Yeah, I guess we are." The Cyndaquil said, laughing slightly. She still didn't know him. She bumped into him and saved him, yes, but she didn't even know his name.
"By the way, what's your name?" the small fire type asked.
"Sparky. What's yours?" Sparky asked in return. It would have been rude to just blow this Pokémon off. Besides, she had something about her that Sparky liked. It wasn't just that they had saved each other, but maybe. All the while, he couldn't help thinking that she looked kinda cute.
"Dana." Dana said. Suddenly, Sparky began crying. It was as if the very mention of the name sent him to tears, which indeed it had. He couldn't help but remember a Pikachu with a notch in its tail, causing it to end in a heart shape. This Pikachu was shiny also and she had been Sparky's friend since they were Pichu. This Pikachu, whose name was also Dana, perished in the fire that destroyed Viridian Forest. Dana, the Cyndaquil, noticed Sparky began crying.
"What's wrong?" It was Dana's turn to ask this. She felt bad for him, yes, but she also wanted to make him feel better. It was unhealthy to keep feelings of loss trapped inside; she knew this all too well. Sparky began:
"When I was a Pichu, I made quite a few friends, none more so than a Pichu named Dana. I had just hatched from my egg, and, as with all Pichu, I began walking immediately. It was when I was walking around that I saw her, a shiny Pichu that had just hatched from its egg. I walked up to her, introduced myself, and got to know her then and the ten years afterward. It was on the tenth year when they came. They burned down all of Viridian Forest. The Raichu elder hustled us out. I scanned the crowd; I didn't see the shiny Pikachu that I had come to know. I screamed out her name. As if she heard me, she came stumbling out of the blaze, burns covering her entire body and tears coming from her eyes. Afterwards, she collapsed to the ground. I was the first one by her side. She grasped my paw and said:
'Sparky, thanks for being there for me. I really enjoyed getting to know you.' With her last bought of energy, she pulled me close and kissed me on the lips."
"Oh, that's terrible. I'm so sorry!" Dana said. She hadn't started to cry, but was obviously shaken. She, once again, got on her hind legs to hug the now crying Sparky.
"It's okay! I'm past it. However, when I find out who's burning the forests down, I will personally kill them for what they've done! Not just for Dana and myself, but for all the Pokémon who have lost someone in the fires!" Sparky said with a burning ambition. Dana couldn't help but feel sorry for him. As a result, she wanted to help him. Not just because she now felt sorry for him, but because she liked him. It was odd really, she didn't know why, but when he was explaining what happened to his friend she started to like him even more.
Sparky and Dana kept walking along the path they started down minutes ago. As they walked, they couldn't help but absorb the scenery around them. Fire had destroyed this place, and even though it was known that there were survivors, it still felt as though life had disappeared from this wood. Sparky stopped and a few of his tears wet the ground that was starved of moisture. Dana stopped as well, she didn't like seeing him so beaten down.
"What is it, Sparky?" She asked. Dana looked at him with a serious look, almost sad.
"I just remember Viridian Forest looking the same way as I left it." Sparky said.
"Wait, you left? Why?" Dana asked. He hadn't mentioned this yet. Now that Dana thought of it, it made perfect sense why he left, but it still came as a shock to her.
"Yeah, I left, because I couldn't live with being without Dana. I also left in an attempt to find answers to why Pokémon would set fire to my home, let alone Ground types!" Sparky's face lit up with determination, as it had done a few minutes ago.
A few minutes had passed, and Sparky and Dana soon came across a rather large clearing with what seemed to be a water fountain in the middle. The water fountain was nothing special, but running through the middle of the clearing was a tremor of ground. This tremor had caused the ground the fountain was sitting on to shift downward about a foot. Despite the fact that the shift in the ground had split a water fountain straight down the middle, there was no water in the 'trench' of Earth. Whatever had caused the tremor was quite strong, and caused the fountain to collapse on itself. Sparky went down to investigate.
"Be careful, Sparky." Dana said. Sparky gave a quick nod and thumbs up to the Pokémon behind him:
"Don't worry about it. I'll be fine." He reassured. Dana let out a sigh. She didn't know why she was so worried about him…
'Maybe I'm starting to like him.' she thought to herself. She immediately dismissed the thought, however, mostly because it felt odd that she would start to like him so soon after she had met him.
Meanwhile, when Sparky touched ground inside the tremor, he noticed how there was no water on the ground and flowing out of the fountain. "Mmm…maybe the tremor was here before the fire. But that still doesn't explain who would do either of these things…" Sparky mumbled under his breath.
"You find something Sparky?" Dana asked.
"Not really. Wait a minute…" Sparky asked. Sparky was about to turn around and lift himself out of the tremor, when he spotted something out of the corner of his eye. Sparky noticed that there was a purple bandana stuck between some rubble and the fountain. He walked toward it and grabbed from underneath the rubble and held it up. It was a dust covered, partially soaked, purple bandana with an insignia on it that showed a thickly drawn plus sign in red ink and a line on a slight diagonal under the plus sign, also donned in the same red ink. Immediately after Sparky picked up the bandana to look at it, Dana noticed the insignia on the bandana.
"Oh no! They're here, too." Dana said, looking worried.
"Who's here, Dana?" Sparky asked.
"That bandana…I-I-I know who that is. It's Team Nensho." The name brought back to mind terrible memories. Dana remembered the smell of burnt trees and smoke almost as if the fire was still burning in the forest. She remembered the panic of her parents not being there to comfort her as the tears ran down, never hitting the ground. The memories were so bad, that they made her shiver. Sparky noticed Dana shuddering:
"What's wrong, Dana? Who are they?" Sparky asked, his face looking puzzled and quite curious at the same time.
"They're a band of thugs and they storm any parishes made by the survivors of the Great Fires and kidnap them. I don't know what they do to their prisoners, it must be something awful, but they make it so that the captured Pokémon can never fight back." Dana explained.
"How do you know all this, Dana?" Sparky asked.
"They took my parents from me! I remember when they came. I was living in this very forest, before it was like this, and they stormed the clearing where we lived. Being that my parents and I were the only Fire-types in the forest at the time, we were seen as extremely valuable. So, with all of us huddled in a corner, they came for us. All the other Pokémon, including me, got away safely. However, my parents did not! I heard one of the Pokémon, a Steelix, gave the order to burn down this forest. I was terrified! I just wanted my parents here with me and for the bad Pokémon to be gone! The Steelix ordered other Pokémon, a Rhyhorn and a Sandslash, to get rid of the other Pokémon and me. He said 'I want those Pokémon captured ALIVE. We don't want a mistake like in Viridian, right Rhyhorn.' 'Right, sir.' I heard the Rhyhorn say in self pity. So they burned down the forest, but most of the Pokémon got away." Dana explained.
"Oh my Mew, that's terrible Dana!" Sparky said, now consoling her.
"And to make matters worse, after Team Nensho left, a handful of survivors committed suicide because they couldn't live in fear of those Pokémon returning." Dana said further.
"Well, we have little choice then, we've got to stop Team Nensho, for you, me, Dana, and ALL the Pokémon in this forest! What did you say this forest was called again?" Sparky said.
"I didn't. This is Aiyashi Forest. Actually, before we do that, we should continue down this road," Dana pointed her nose off to the right of the ruined water fountain. "I happen to know that there's a parish full of survivors, they may be willing to help us in our fight." Dana suggested.
"That sounds like a great idea Dana, let's go. Wait, did you say Team Nensho is responsible for the Great Fires?" Sparky said as he hoisted himself up out of the lowered ground and helped Dana up as well.
"I'm pretty sure that's what I heard them say, but I can't remember exactly." Dana said.
"That's okay, Dana, we'll still be able to catch them at some point." Sparky said. Dana was so happy, she turned down the fire erupting from her back, hoisted herself on her rear two legs, and hugged the Pikachu standing before her. She didn't know why, but all of a sudden, she couldn't be happier that she was with him. Sparky returned the hug, but rather loosely, he thought it was sort of weird. After he just met Dana, and they both shared tear-jerking stories of their lives, he didn't feel anything in particular. He shrugged it off as Dana released him from the hug. Dana noticed Sparky blush a bit.
"What's up, Sparky?" Dana asked.
"The sky." Sparky said in response. It was weird enough Dana hugged him out of nowhere, but he didn't want this moment to turn romance-y. On top of that, he felt for Dana the Cyndaquil what took him ten years to feel for his fallen Pikachu comrade. Therefore, he changed the subject with those two words, not wanting to dwell on what he was starting to feel for the Fire-type echidna.
Soon after, Dana and Sparky arrived at the parish. The parish itself had 6 tents pushed toward the forest of burned down trees. Two of these tents housed a make-shift hospital and what seemed to be a shop. There were also two other tents making an L-shape with the shop and hospital, one appeared to be a groomer and the other one obviously belonged to the 'mayor' of the parish. It was easy to tell that the remaining two tents were that of inhabitants of the parish. It was sad to see that there were so few survivors here, but at the same time, it was reassuring. Not just to see other Pokémon that had been through the hardship that they themselves had been through, and lived, but also because these survivors were able to find it in themselves to keep on living, no matter what the cost.
Sparky and Dana began to walk around the parish. Behind the parish, loomed a tall, dark, and menacing mountain. From the looks of it, the mountain had an evil and sinister air about it. Sparky had never seen a mountain as large as this before, and couldn't help but shudder in fear at the sight of it. Suddenly, a wise, old Golem walked out to the Pikachu and Cyndaquil to greet them.
"Welcome, my name is Elmore. We hope you can make yourselves at home in this parish."
"Thank you, by the way, my name is Sparky and this is Dana." Sparky said. Dana gave a small welcome nod as Elmore began talking again:
"Well, come on in my tent and I'll give you a proper welcome."
"Thank you, Elmore." Dana said as she followed Sparky and Elmore.
As Sparky walked into the mayor's tent, he noticed there was a rather tall mountain behind the Pokémon Center and Mart tents in the parish. When they all got into Elmore's tent, Sparky begged the question, quite hastily actually:
"Elmore, can you tell us what happens up on that mountain behind this parish?"
"Sparky, we should be patient. Besides, we should tell him about ourselves first, don't you think?" Dana asked.
"Yeah, you're right." Sparky asked. So, Sparky and Dana began to tell their stories. Sparky went first. As he was telling his story for the second time, he couldn't help but tear up a bit. He always teared up when he thought about it, but it was much worse now. He began to question why he was even telling Elmore this, and debated not finishing his story. Dana, however, wanted him to say it through to the end.
"Who knows what the mayor knows, Sparky? Maybe he can tell us more than we know now, we just have to trust him." Dana said, with an encouraging undertone in her voice after Sparky was done with his story. The Cyndaquil was now on her hind legs and hugging Sparky before she got down on all fours again and told her story. After Dana's story, Elmore voiced his opinion:
"Well, it seems you both had quite the experiences with Team Nensho already. As for what happens on the mountain, none of the Pokémon here like to speak of it. But, in your case, if you both want to try and stop them, I'll make an exception. What happens on that mountain, we know little about, but the little we do know is extremely horrific. Pokémon that have been taken up that mountain come back half dead and suspiciously, they always die right before telling us anything about it. The Pokémon that come back half dead are the lucky ones that escape, I've heard security is so tight, that most of their victims can never escape. Pokémon go up to that mountain and unheard of things happen up there. I've heard that they prevent the Pokémon from attacking and fighting back."
"Who told you that last bit of information, Elmore?" Dana asked.
"The Pokémon that runs the shop here knows more than anyone, but he rarely mentions it. I'm assuming because of the things he's seen so many horrific sights."
"Thank you, Elmore." Sparky said with a respectful nod. Dana and Sparky began to leave and explore the parish when Elmore stopped them.
"If you still want to go after them be very careful!"
"We will be sure to look out for each other." Dana said. Afterwards, the two left Elmore's tent.
"That's terrible what happened to those Pokémon that got captured." Dana said in a mournful tone after they left the Mayor's tent.
"It is, Dana, but we shouldn't dwell on it so much. We should enjoy ourselves and walk around a bit." Sparky said. Dana nodded, if they thought of it too much, they wouldn't be able to have fun after a while. The clearing the parish was in was quite large, despite there being only six tents. There were even a group of Pokémon cubs playing. However, there were also adult Pokémon watching over them.
The child Pokémon playing were a couple Shinx, a Pichu, a Marill, and a Natu. The Pichu was being ganged up on by the Shinx, while Natu and Marill tried to protect it. They were obviously roughhousing though, because none of them launched a fully fledged attack. The Pichu paused, though it wasn't clear at first because one of the Shinx was on top of it.
"Get off of me Simba." The Pichu urged. It was clearly struggling to get out from under the Shinx it called Simba.
"You have to try and shock me first Roxanne." Simba said. Though he was teasing, he refused to get off of Roxanne. He didn't really want her to try to attack, but it was funny to him if she'd try. Partly because she wasn't really aggressive, she used her looks to win battles, not her lack of skill.
"C'mon Simba, honey, get off of your girlfriend." The Natu shot back with a sly smile on his face.
"S-s-s-shut up, you know she's not my girlfriend!" Simba said with a blush. With that, he finally got off of Roxanne. As soon as she got released from her friend's underbelly, she noticed a Pikachu standing by.
The Pichu ran up to him, she had always wanted to meet a Pikachu. However, after the Great Fire, she thought she'd never have the chance to meet one again. And now here was one, the Pokémon she looked up to and wanted to evolve into one day. She had so many questions, but all that came out was:
"….Hi." Needless to say she was embarrassed, and her face had given way to a bright red blush.
"Why, hello there." Sparky introduced. Roxanne was still as shy as ever. That is, until her mom came over.
"Say hello to the nice Pikachu, Roxanne." The mother Jolteon urged as she walked over to where her daughter was. Roxanne ran behind her mom's rear left leg when she came over.
"I'm so sorry about that. Roxanne is very shy. It's nice to meet both of you, I'm Valencia." Valencia said.
"Hi, Valencia, I'm Sparky and this is Dana." Sparky said. Roxanne was still behind her mother, but now she was shaking in fear. Indeed it was a Pikachu, but she thought they were all dead. Where was this one from? After a few minutes, Roxanne mustered up the courage and came out from behind her mom, walked up to Sparky, and asked:
"Excuse me, but where are you from? You're a Pikachu, right?"
"Of course he's a Pikachu, Roxy." The Natu said in a matter-of-fact tone.
"I can see that, Navi, but I've always wanted to meet one." Roxanne said, slightly flustered. She was just so excited to finally meet one, she couldn't help it. Sparky chuckled a bit:
"It's fine. To be honest, I've only ever met a Pichu one other time. Anyway, I'm from Viridian Forest."
"Cool. I've always wanted to meet a Pikachu. But I always end up running from any Pokémon I meet. I hope one day I can evolve and become stronger like my dad." Roxanne said.
"Roxanne!" Valencia snapped.
"What is it, Mom?" Roxanne asked.
"It's nothing. Now go back to playing with your friends." Valencia said, trying to hold back a few tears. Roxanne nodded and turned to go play with her friends some more. Sparky walked over to Roxanne and knelt down to her level:
"If you really want to be a Pikachu, keep training as hard as you can and do your very best." Sparky said.
"Thanks, uh…., what was your name Big Guy?" Roxanne asked.
"Oh, my name is Sparky." Sparky said again.
"Thanks, Sparky, I'll sure try." Roxanne said. With that, she dashed behind Sparky and went to play some more. Sparky caught a glance of Valencia as he walked back towards Dana. She just glared at him and stormed off to watch the kids some more.
"What? What'd I do?" Sparky asked. Dana shrugged.
"Well, it's good to see the child Pokémon play despite what's happened." The black Pokémon with red hair said from behind the counter of the makeshift shop behind the two Pokémon. Dana and Sparky turned to look at him, he had a piercing look in his eyes, but at the same time, Dana could tell something was on his mind.
"Indeed it is, but who are you?" Dana asked. The Pokémon's blue eyes seem to gleam in the light. Despite the destruction and death around him, the Pokémon seemed quite calm, albeit suspicious. He had never seen a Pikachu before. But then again, almost none of the Pokémon here had ever seen one of Zane's kind before he came either.
"My name is Zane. I am a Zoroark. Also, I am the shop clerk and storekeeper. What can I do for you?" Zane said. Just as Zane finished introducing himself, Sparky noticed that there were two piles behind him.
"Excuse me Zane, but what's in those piles behind you?" Sparky asked.
"I'm glad you asked….um…what was your name again?" Zane asked.
"I'm Sparky, and this Pokémon standing next to me is Dana." Sparky said.
"Glad to meet you both. Anyway, the piles behind this counter here are filled with hold items for Pokémon, Berries, and Potions." Zane said as he pointed from the biggest pile to the smallest. "I dole out these goods to travelers and survivors of the Great Fire that stole the life from this forest. My rule is that if you plan to stay here, you can get one hold item to your type's advantage and one berry a day."
"What about the Potions pile?" Dana interrupted.
"That pile is reserved for emergencies only AND the hospital next door!" Zane said harshly. He didn't mean to snap, but he came across Potions and other medicinal supplies so rarely, he felt he had to emphasize how important they were. Dana cringed, she didn't mean to strike a nerve.
"I'm so sorry, I didn't mean to-" Dana started.
"It's okay, it's just…it's been nothing but suffering ever since the Great Fire here in Aiyashi Forest." Zane said. Zane felt like crying, but he tried as hard as he could to hold a tear back.
"It's gonna be okay Zane. Dana and I are going to kick Team Nensho's ass." Sparky said, his voice bursting with confidence.
"Good luck with that." Zane said as he stifled a laugh. "I'm sure Elmore told you what goes on at that mountain. I've seen Pokémon that are very dear to me go up that mountain, and they NEVER come back down. The ones that are fortunate, or unfortunate, enough to escape are far from saving even if they manage to come back to this parish." Zane had a look of remorse on his face, nearly tearing up as well. He looked as though he had lost a Pokémon that meant a lot to him.
"What's wrong, Zane?" Sparky asked, wondering what exactly had happened to Zane.
"N-nothing, I just get so choked up when I think about what we've all been through! Despite surviving the Great Fires, we have to stay on guard for when they come off the mountain. It seems as though we're still in Hell, even though the blazes of which have passed." Zane explained.
"Oh, that sounds terrible!" Dana said, trying to comfort the Zoroark who was now on the brink of tears.
"It is, but because of what happens up on the mountain, no one has been fool enough to go up there of their own accord. It's painful to know friends and family are up there, being tortured, while we sit here and do nothing. However, no one values other's lives over their own because of what we've all been through." Zane explained further.
"We could go up there, Zane. All we need is some time to prepare." Sparky asked. Zane broke out into a laugh. Sparky glared at him. If he was capable of learning it as a move, he would've paralyzed the Zoroark before him. Immediately, Zane stopped laughing.
"Wait, you're serious? You know that there is a little or no chance of you coming back down once you ascend, right?"
"Yes!" Sparky said, determined that they would win. His eyes seemed to glow with anticipation and he looked as determined as he did furious as he looked around Zane's tent at the peak of the mountain behind it.
"Well, let me start you off with a magnet, charcoal and a Sitrus Berry. And may I suggest further that you stay at least one night to save up your energy." Zane said as he handed Sparky the magnet, charcoal, and berry.
"Thank you, Zane. And I think we'll take your advice, too." Sparky said with a slight nod towards Dana.
"Well, it was nice meeting you two. I'll see you guys tomorrow." Zane said. And with that, Sparky and Dana were off to the Pokémon Center.
"Oh, wait, one more thing guys," Zane said as Sparky and Dana turned around. "If you guys ever want to join me on an item excursion, you're welcome to join."
"Wonderful, we'll keep that in mind. Thanks again Zane, later." Sparky said as they entered the tent next door.
"Why hello there, can I help you two?" A friendly looking Clefairy said as she walked toward Dana and Sparky.
"Well, not really, we're just spending the day taking in the scenery of the parish and making ourselves at home." Sparky said. It was clear he had a serious look spread across his face. The look on Sparky's face discouraged Clefairy as he told her his story. He still felt remorse and guilt for watching Dana die like that, but it no longer caused him pain. Nor did he dwell on it anymore. When Sparky finished his story, the Clefairy formally introduced herself:
"My name is Claire, and I'm the Pokémon in charge of this hospital tent. Do you need a place to stay as you rest?" Claire asked.
"Yes we do, but would we be staying here?" Sparky asked.
"No, you'd be staying in one of our other tents. Besides, we'd be happy to have someone new here. A nice change of pace, and I think the kids will enjoy it, too." Claire said.
"Well, that's good. Can you tell us where the tents are?" Sparky asked.
"You mean you haven't noticed any yet?" Sparky and Dana both shook their heads at Claire's question, "The tents are hidden behind the six major tents and amongst the trees." Claire said as she stepped outside. Sparky and Dana scanned the parish for a couple minutes and still couldn't find any.
"Wait, there's one!" Dana said, pointing her snout between the trees to the right of the shop and hospital tents. The tent itself was about ten feet away, but still in plain sight of the parish. The trees, Sparky noted, were great cover. He had to strain and walk forward a bit just to see the doorway.
"But, that still leaves one question: why would you hide the tents among the trees?" Sparky asked as he noted the tent Dana pointed out.
"Ah, yes, that's a good question Sparky. Why would we do so? Well, partly to honor those that have been taken up the mountain behind us, and partly because Team Nensho's cronies are a bunch of idiots." Sparky and Dana both laughed a bit at this.
"If we were to put the tents out in the open, even if they were empty, they would still think somebody was in there. I suggest that if you decide to reside in a tent, you keep the tent amongst the barren trees." Claire explained.
"Thank you, Claire." Sparky said.
"You're welcome." Claire said. After she said this, Claire peered outside at the sky. It was getting dark. "You two should probably think about calling it a day." Claire added.
"Now that I think of it, I'm getting pretty tired." Dana said with a yawn. She was pretty tired, after all, she met and barely saved Sparky today, found out more about Team Nensho, and explored the parish and heard about the mountain behind it. Sparky nodded. They both left Claire's tent with a wave goodbye and headed toward the tent Claire suggested they take. They were beat.
"Sparky, before we head in the tent to sleep, I wanna try something, I want to see if I can cook that berry Zane gave us." Dana said.
"Well, let's get setup." Sparky said. Minutes later, there was a fire pit with dried bush and rocks surrounding it. Dana shot an Ember attack to start the fire, and because the bush and twigs were so dry, the fire started fairly quickly. Afterward, Sparky and Dana sat next to each other and cut the Sitrus berry in half. They both picked up some twigs lying on the ground some ways from the fire and stuck their halves of Sitrus berry on them and stuck them in the fire.
"Tonight feels wonderful. It's nice and warm out, and I've met you, Dana. I don't see how this could get better." Sparky said
"Awww thanks. Dana blushed. She looked away seconds later to hide her face. She didn't want Sparky to know she felt something for him. Despite the fact it was obvious Sparky had moved on, she didn't want to burden him. She didn't know why, could it have been because it felt like Sparky's friend since birth was watching over them.
"Dana, are you okay?" Sparky asked. Dana turned her head towards Sparky:
"Yeah, I'm fine." Dana said with a slight blush. "I'm sorry." Dana added quickly. Sparky shook his head:
"No, no, it's fine. To be honest," Sparky looked up at the night sky, the embers disappearing in the black above them that seemed to be surrounding them even more now that the forest was dead. Sparky now had a blush had spread on his face, not a deeper color than his cheeks, but still noticeable in the night sky and against the burning fire.
"Well…um…to be honest Dana…I kind of am starting to like you too." Sparky said with an intent look at the sky. He still somewhat shy about it, but he was really starting to like her. With that, he took a bite out of his Sitrus berry half.
"This is delicious!" Sparky said.
"Thank you, but I think it could be better." Dana said with a blush. Minutes later, when they both finished their berry halves, Sparky and Dana both decided to go to bed. Later, in the tent, Sparky and Dana both relaxed enough to curl up to get some sleep. Sparky didn't realize it, but Dana had snuggled up to him. Dana turned around on her side and began to blush again:
"Goodnight Sparky and thank you." Dana said before she kissed him on the check. She liked him, and he liked her back, she couldn't be happier as she nodded off to sleep.
"What!? Say that again! I don't believe you!" Yelled a booming voice from the far end of a great hallway. The Pokémon before him was sweating and quivering. If the plan had gone off without a hitch, the news would've been better, but it wasn't. And on top of that, the heat was getting to the Pokémon. He was somewhat used to it, but being that this Pokémon was part Steel type didn't make him feel any better about being the bearer of bad news.
"W-w-well, you see sir: Vinny was defeated." The Steelix said.
"What!? By who?" The voice boomed again.
"Well, that's just it. We don't know." The Steelix said again. His body was quivering in fear at what his boss might do.
"What are you waiting for then? Go to the base of the volcano and find out! NOW!" The voice commanded.
"Oh, and before you go, I will send you down there with some backup this time. Don't fail me again!"
"I-I-I…won't sir! You can count on me!"
"You'd better be right. Now leave me in peace and do your job!"
"Yes, sir!" The Steelix said as he slithered out of his boss' Hall and made his way to the parish at the base of the volcano.
"Any resistance to my master plan will not be tolerated! Whoever these Pokémon are will soon suffer the consequences of meddling with my desires!" The Pokémon sitting in the throne at the back of his Hall muttered to himself as the Steelix who had failed him before left his sight.