Sparky awoke to an extremely loud crash! At first, he thought Steelix and his cronies came back for revenge.
'What if they came back to kill me?' He thought. Sparky tried to block the thought from entering his mind, but when he closed his eyes to try and get more sleep, he saw Dana. The Quilava was collapsed on the ground, bleeding from the chest and mouth, pleading him to come over to her. No…he couldn't afford to think that…not now. Regardless of who or what made that sound, Sparky jumped out of bed. When he took a quick scan of the tent, he noticed no one else was with him.
'They must all be outside.' He thought. Not a second after this thought did Sparky start slowly, and quite sleepily, walking outside. Dana walked up to him. However, instead of informing him what was going on, a kiss was planted on his lips.
"Good morning, Sparky." Dana said after she broke the kiss.
"*yawn*…good morning, Dana." Sparky replied.
Meanwhile, outside, Naomi was wondering what was taking Dana so long to wake up her boyfriend, so she spun around and walked toward her brother's tent. Needlesstosay, she wasn't surprised by what she saw.
"Hey, lovebirds, we have to get going! We have to leave soon so we can kick the sorry asses of the Pokémon that burned down this forest!" Naomi shouted as Sparky and Dana were kissing again! Sparky and Dana both released their lips from the kiss and blushed brightly.
"Was that what you were coming to tell me, Dana?" Sparky said. The blush was starting to fade from his cheeks.
"Yeah, it was, but when I saw you were just waking up I was just so happy you were finally awake." Dana mumbled after clearing her throat. Sparky and Dana exchanged a brief smile before Naomi started dragging her older brother to where the Pokémon of the parish were all huddled. He noticed that in the middle of the huddle, a Pikachu and Jolteon were fighting, not to the death, but all the same. Sparky realized the couple fighting was Roxanne and her mother, Valencia.
"What's going on?" Sparky asked when he was dragged all the way to the circle of Pokémon.
"Roxanne and Valencia are having one final battle before she joins you to go up the mountain." Savvy said. She briefly shared a friendly hug with Sparky when she noticed he was awake.
"I'm glad you're finally up, too." Savvy added. Sparky smiled back at the Sneasel he had met only yesterday and then fixed his attention to the battle straight ahead of him.
"You're gonna have to try harder than that, Roxy! The enemies you could be facing won't give up so easily or hold back!" Valencia shouted. Indeed they wouldn't, and the Jolteon knew her daughter knew this. However, she couldn't stress that fact enough. Her daughter was going up the mountain behind the parish. She was going to have to, literally, fight for her life! Valencia skidded to a stop after launching a barrage of Electro Balls, which Roxanne had perfectly deflected with an Iron Tail. However, Roxy had left herself wide open after batting away the last Electro Ball.
"That was good," The Jolteon added, "but you left yourself wide open using your tail like that. Someone could easily take advantage of that by dashing up to you and using an attack like Body Slam."
"Well, how am I supposed to dodge an attack like that after what I just did?" Roxanne asked. She couldn't get her head around what her mom was saying. There was no obvious way to dodge a physical attack in that position, unless…
"You can't! It's impossible to do so. I just want you to be aware of what might happen." Valencia said with a simple shake of her head.
"Well then, why-? " Roxanne started, but noticed her mother ran at her. She quickly jumped in the air, out of the way of the oncoming Double Kick.
"Very good, Keep that energy up and be wary of your opponent's attacks! Not everyone's going to be like that Rhyperior you took down!" Valencia said as she tried landing Double Kick after failed Double Kick.
An hour later, Valencia and Roxanne had finished sparring. Everyone had a chance to eat some food before Sparky, Dana, and everyone had to leave. Even though he was full and well rested, however, Sparky could not keep the thought of losing Dana out of his head. He tried and tried again, but every time, that haunting image would just come back. Dana, Savvy, and Naomi had all walked up to him, seeing that the Pikachu was deep in thought, and Savvy rested a claw on his shoulder.
"It'll be okay, Sparky. We'll make those bastards pay, no matter what they throw at us!"
"Thanks, Savvy, but that's not really what I'm worried about…" Sparky said. His eyes were firmly on the ground underneath his feet.
"…I'm worried about losing any of you on our journey, especially you Dana. What if they succeed in killing one of us?" He added solemnly. He couldn't bear to lose any of the friends he made in this barren wasteland. He didn't even like to think about it, but the thoughts couldn't keep themselves away.
"Well then, that just means the rest of us will have to try harder then, doesn't it?!" Naomi said with a burst of confidence in her voice. She was not only saying that because it was true, but also because she hated seeing her older brother like this. It was bad enough when Dana the Pikachu had died! She couldn't just sit back and watch her brother give up, not when they were so close! Naomi remembered what the Elder said before Sparky left:
'Well, where ever he's gone, I hope that youngling knows what he's getting himself into. There's bound to *cough* be more hardships *wheeze* in store for him if he plans on doing what he said he was going to. *cough**wheeze*'
"Don't you worry about us, Sparky! We'll have your back no matter what! Team Nensho will pay for what they did to you, me, and every other survivor in all the forests they burnt down. Aiyashi Forest will be the last forest they ever set ablaze!" Savvy said. Somehow, the Ice-type Pokémon in tow with Sparky and everyone else had managed to bring the Pikachu's head up again.
"You know what? You're right! We can do this!" Sparky said, bursting with excitement.
"Wow that was quick…" Dana said with a straight and serious look on her face. Sparky had never bounded back so quickly before. Yes, when she met him, she was able to cheer him up again. But, this was like a split-second change in mood and behavior. Savvy just scratched the back of her head with one of her claws:
"Yeah, well…I wasn't expecting him to bounce back so quickly either." Savvy replied with a nervous laugh.
"Anyway, we should get going. The sooner we get up to the top of this thing, the sooner we can put an end to this ravenous and deplorable group of Pokémon." Sparky said with enthusiasm. As odd as it was that Sparky was suddenly bursting with so much confidence, it may as well have been flying off his cheeks in sparks of electricity. Everyone couldn't help but agree. They couldn't afford to let the Pokémon of Team Nensho win, there had to be someone strong enough to fight them. Someone had to stand up for the Pokémon who were barely able to make it by in the smoldering wood at the base of the mountain. Someone had to make sure these Pokémon had nothing to fear from this gang of renegades and vigilantes ever again!
About halfway up the mountain, Sparky's troop noticed that there were Mandibuzz and Honchkrow flying around, scanning the mountain for traces of Pokémon who would dare interfere with their leader's plan! Sparky noticed this, and quickly ducked behind where he could see the flying types and stood straight up against the wall.
"What's up, Sparky?" Roxanne asked.
"Quickly, before they see you!" Sparky whispered as he dragged Roxanne to the wall where he, Savvy, Dana, Naomi, and Zane were now all standing.
"What was that for?" Roxanne asked.
"Look there," Zane began, pointing in the air above him, "those Pokémon appear to be on patrol, guarding the mountain against intruders." He finished. Roxanne quickly glanced out in the open sky, and noticed the Pokémon flying around.
"Good eye, Sparky." Naomi acknowledged.
"Thanks, sis." Sparky replied in a hushed tone with a smile. There was no doubt in anyone's mind what they were doing, but something didn't make sense to Roxanne:
"But why avoid them? They are, after all, the Flying type. Most of us could easily take them down by clipping their wings."
"I want to avoid using energy that we may need later on. Just look how many Pokémon there are flying around us, Roxy." Sparky said, with a gesture of his paw. Roxanne looked out and counted ten Mandibuzz and Honchkrow flying around them.
"Sounds like a good strategy." Roxanne agreed in a hushed tone.
"So, what's the plan, Sparky?" Savvy asked. Sparky was trying to think. Team Nensho was obviously guarding their base with the utmost importance to try and stop any rescue attempt in its tracks. If any of them were caught, they would surely be captured and taken to be tortured, or worse, killed! Sparky didn't even want to think about that, so he quickly came up with a plan to sneak inside.
"Here's my plan: we'll slowly make our way up the mountain and when we get inside, we will…uh…" Sparky began. He was unsure of the rest of his plan because he didn't know what to expect.
"We could make our way to the dungeon where they hold the Pokémon." Zane suggested.
"Good idea." Sparky began, "We could make our way to the dungeon and see if we can set them free." He finished. Zane exchanged a nod with the Pikachu:
"Exactly." He agreed.
"Well, then. Let's do this!" Savvy quietly said. She started by putting her claw in the middle of a small circle the Pokémon had all made, to show her support for the plan. Shortly after, Zane, Sparky, Roxanne, Naomi and Dana joined in. Everyone had evil grins appear on their faces.
"To the end of tyranny!" Everyone said together in a whisper.
A good while later, close to a couple hours, Sparky and everyone else were just outside the door to the lair of the terrorists that had been causing pain and misery to the survivors of the fires that took their homes and loved ones! Oddly enough, they were all standing in plain sight of the patrols flying around the mountain. This would've been a problem, and would've led them to all getting caught in a matter of seconds, which tempted Sparky and all the others to attack all the patrols in a fury of fire, ice, and electricity. All of whom, that is, except Zane. Zane looked around at all of the Honchkrow and Mandibuzz now surrounding them and addressed the troop of Pokémon at his feet, readying themselves for attack:
"Remember to keep your guard up and fight them as best you can to deceive them! The plan, as far as I've thought of it, will not fail as long as we make it all convincing." Zane said in an enthusiastic and empowering tone before launching toward one of the Honchkrow, claws embedded in a deep purple aura, and landing on its back. Sparky was still very unsure about what Zane's plan was…the only thing convincing about it, was that he and everyone else would take revenge on Team Nensho! If that had not been the ultimate goal, well it wouldn't have been much of a plan at all, and Sparky wouldn't have gone along with it. While he was attacking with a barrage of Thunderbolts and Iron Tails, Sparky couldn't help but think of earlier, when he and Zane and everyone else were carefully walking up the mountain to its peak.
"But, why exactly do you want us to conserve our energy, Zane? What have we to gain from doing so?" Sparky asked a few seconds later. He still had a myriad of questions swirling around his head, and one of them was what he had just asked the Zoroark beside him.
"You should know, it was your idea after all. We have the art of surprise on our side." Zane simply said. Sparky scratched his head. He was even more confused now.
"Surprise, but how?" Sparky whispered. He knew that bursting out now would only lead to the worst moments of his life, and quite possibly, death.
"Well, Sparky, I have an idea. To be honest, you gave me the idea when you were fighting Herbert." Zane whispered with a smile.
"I…I did?" Sparky asked. Zane nodded:
"Indeed you did. Actually, it was what Herbert said." Zane replied. Sparky stopped and looked on in awe.
"What is it? Why did you stop?" Savvy and Dana asked as everyone else just looked at him.
"So, what's your plan, Zane? I mean, no matter what we do, they'll catch us if they know we're coming for them." Naomi asked.
"That's exactly what I want." Zane said calmly.
"W-what!" Everyone exclaimed, trying to keep their voices down. Zane simply nodded and crossed his arms:
"Yes, I want them to capture us, but not before we put up a fight. I want to deliberately get to the top of this mountain here, and then fight them. I got the idea when Herbert said this: 'In order for our plan to be complete we need to make an impression on these survivors… If these Pokémon didn't know who we were, eventually they would try and rebel…So it was his brilliant plan to show everyone who we were and give everyone a taste of what's to come.' From this, I got the idea of turning the tables on them." Zane explained.
"But they already know most of us, how would that work?" Sparky asked.
"Easy," Savvy began, "if we get to the top, then fight them, they'll know for certain that we've come to stop them. If we fought them now, we'd simply throw our lives at them, and they would potentially kill us on the spot! However if we wait, they'll likely think highly of us, as it were, and report it to the boss."
"Oh, I get it! If the boss knows we're all here, he'll most likely keep us alive and want to do us in personally." Dana continued. Zane nodded:
"That's my plan exactly ladies."
"But what if we're wrong? What if-" Sparky began to say.
"Don't even think of that big brother!" Naomi said, slapping Sparky's cheek so hard, it turned a deeper red than his electric pouch.
"Naomi, please!" Zane calmed Naomi and Sparky both down by stepping between them:
"Sparky, if we're wrong, just do what you can to survive and defeat as many of the cronies as you can!" Zane said with confidence. Sparky nodded and gave a slight smile:
"O-okay, then. I hope you're right."
"I hope I am, too, for everyone's sake!" Zane exclaimed as they continued up the mountain.
Moments later, a snake-like Pokémon coated in iron and a protruding jaw with massive teeth was standing in a grand hallway of sorts. Being inside a mountain, it wasn't very grand or glamorous. The room itself was intimidating, and being in the presence of his boss gave the Steelix a feeling of uneasiness and slight fear. However, the emotions he had inside did not surface as the Iron Snake Pokémon spoke:
"Master, we've caught the Pokémon that were giving the patrols outside so much trouble." The Pokémon said.
"Good." A voice shrouded in the darkness of the alcove boomed. The voice had a certain quality to it, and carried a sense of eeriness and fright with it. But at the same time, the voice was soft and cool, almost seductive in nature.
"What shall we do, master? After all, these are the Pokémon that have been causing all that trouble for you. These Pokémon have killed three of your subor-"
"Silence!" The voice cut the Steelix off, "Don't you think I know that, Rezan?" The voice finished.
"Yes, of course Master, my sincerest apologies." Rezan spoke.
"Now, as far as what I plan to do with the prisoners," The voice hissed."They'll try to kill me, without a doubt. Knowing them and when they decided to attack, they're probably hoping that I take pity on them and lead them here to fight me."
"Pardon me, Master, but that seems rather foolish of them." Rezan spoke.
"Yes, it certainly does!" The voice agreed.
"So, what is it that I shall do, Master?"
"Patience, Rezan, let them come."
"And when they do come, I have a little surprise for them." The voice said, erupting in laughter.
"If this wasn't our plan, I would break out of this cell and kill all of these monsters!" Sparky growled as he was thrown in the cell with his sister and everyone else.
The cell was damp, dark, and sickly looking. The bars were of the horizontal orientation which made it impossible for any Pokémon to make an easy escape. Sparky looked around: He saw what he feared most of all. The Pokémon in the cells surrounding them were, quite literally, beaten within an inch of their lives and just as sickly looking as the cells they were locked in. The cell bars were covered in a disgusting mess of hardened tears, blood, and sweat. Sparky's mind raced trying to think of how many times these Pokémon tried to escape. The sight of all these Pokémon and the sounds from their crying out was bad enough. The only thing that could top the crying, screaming, and the view of his surroundings, was the smell! By Mew, was the smell awful! It was as if a Purrloin or a Meowth crawled up and died and the carcass was left to rot for a month, and then smeared across every square inch of the prison hold. Sparky tried to block out his surroundings the best he could, but every time he tried to do so, he couldn't help but remember what the mayor, Elmore, had said when he and Dana arrived at the parish:
'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.' Sparky shuddered at the thought.
"What's wrong, Sparky?" Savvy asked. It was quite obvious that this question wasn't solely on the Sneasel's mind. Sparky could tell by the worried look in everyone else's eyes that they all showed concern for the Pikachu.
"Well, just look around! It's just terrible what conditions these poor Pokémon are in!" Sparky said, as if it wasn't obvious to everyone else. Dana came up to his side and nuzzled Sparky's arm:
"We know, Sparky, we know. And we really want to do something as bad as you do, but we can't."
"What are you saying?" Sparky said as he walked up to the cell bars.
"Sparky, don't do it! Don't be a hero!" Savvy screamed. It was too late: Sparky had gripped the bars as firmly as he could. As he did so, the Pikachu felt a surge of electricity flow through his body. A surge of electricity more powerful than anything he'd ever felt. The surge was so strong that Sparky flew backward into the wall behind him. Much to his dismay, the wall was surged with electricity too, though not as strong as the cell bars he had just tried to grab. The beaten and battered Pikachu had fallen to the floor and could barely stand up due to the fatigue.
"That's why." A voice called out from the cell next to them. The cell next to them housed a very depressed looking Shinx with his head rested on the floor and a face that was soaked with tears. He looked up weakly:
"I tried that when I first got here. In hindsight, I knew it wouldn't work, Team Nensho wouldn't be that stupid." Sparky walked up, as close as he could since there were cell bars between him and the Shinx that started speaking. It was painfully clear that the monsters that took all of these Pokémon captive did something to this lion cub to break his spirit. The Shinx looked up at the Pikachu standing before him and spoke:
"It's pointless to try and escape. Even if we manage to do so, it will just mean the end of our lives." The Shinx spoke. Sparky tried as best he could to comfort the depressed Pokémon on the other side of the bars.
"It'll be fine, little guy. You'll see. We'll all be able to make it out of here alive."
"But how do you plan to do that?" The Pokémon asked.
"We have a plan. Trust us." Zane spoke up.
"A plan? Nonononono, it'll just end in failure. It's pointless. It's not worth your lives to try and escape."
"Wait, aren't you the least bit curious what our plan is?" Savvy asked. She was now standing beside Sparky and Dana, trying to comfort the Pokémon.
"Not really…" The Pokémon started woefully. "By the way, my name's Ray." Ray introduced.
"I'm Sparky." Sparky said.
"Dana." The Quilava spoke up.
"My name's Savvy." The Sneasel said with a slash of her claws.
"I'm Naomi." Naomi spoke.
"And I'm Roxanne." Roxanne finished. Ray showed a slight smile on his face:
"I'm glad to meet you all. It's a shame we couldn't meet under better conditions." Ray's smile slowly turned into a frown.
"Agreed, but at least now we know each other." Savvy said with a smile.
A good while later, everyone had gotten acquainted and knew each other quite well. Sparky was even able to get Ray to laugh a little bit. It wasn't long, however, before the blue lion cub was solemn and on the brink of tears again:
"It's a shame what happened to all these Pokémon. I even wonder if everyone's forgotten about us. I wouldn't be surprised if they don't even care anymore."
"Don't say that! They still care about you! And we will make sure you and everyone else here can get to see their loved ones again!." Sparky said with confidence and a smile. Sparky looked Ray in the eyes, trying to bring a smile to the Shinx's face. At first glance, it seemed hopeless to bring a smile to the depressed Pokémon's face. After a few minutes, however, Sparky and everyone else noticed Ray's mouth starting to crease upward and slowly form a smile.
"You-you really think so?" He asked. Sparky and Dana got as close to the bars as they could, and even though they knew not to reach out and touch the Shinx's body to comfort it, they both still felt like they were doing so.
"I know so, Ray. We can break you and all of these Pokémon out of here and bring Team Nensho to its knees!" Dana said triumphantly. Ray seemed to grow a questionable look on his face, though he was still smiling.
"But how will we get out of here? The place is lined with guards and the bodies of dead Pokémon that have tried to escape. Beyond that, even if we were to get out, the guards would notice immediately." Ray said with a concerned tone of voice.
Savvy, as well as everyone else, looked around. Indeed, they were able to see carcasses of a dead Gligar, Girafarig, and Weavile, among others, on the ground. There were also Rhydon, Graveler, and various other Ground types walking around the hallway where the cells were located. Each of the guards was wielding a spear with an electrically charged spearhead at the end of a 6-foot staff that could obviously be used to bash on escapees' heads to knock them out cold. Looking around some more, Savvy was starting to think that maybe the only way out of the cell was down through the ground. Savvy walked toward where Dana, Sparky, and Ray were standing around.
"What is it, Savvy?" Ray asked, noticing that Savvy looked deep in thought.
"You have an idea, Savvy?" Sparky asked.
"Well, this is more of me thinking out loud. But what if we dug down under the cell bars?" Savvy whispered.
"But, we'll get caught!" Ray exclaimed in a hushed tone. It was at this moment that Zane and Roxanne had their attention grabbed by a Petilil.
"I could help with that." The Grass type said in a whisper.
"And you are?" Zane asked. He was intrigued by the Pokémon's desire to help along with everyone else.
"Oh, sorry, my name is Rose." The Petilil spoke. After everyone reintroduced themselves to the Petilil, Sparky spoke up:
"And what's your idea? How can we escape without them noticing?" He asked.
"Well, I'm a Grass type. I could get in a battle with these chumps and let you escape."
"But, what about you Rose, don't you want to escape too?" Sparky asked. He may have just met her, but Sparky still saw Rose as a good friend and cared about her safety. Now that she was thinking about it, looking on at Sparky and Rose, Dana realized that was one of the qualities she really liked about him. It wasn't self-sacrificial, but he still obviously cared for everyone he met, almost putting their safety above his. Dana walked up to the Pikachu she'd grown to love and the Petilil he was talking to.
"Oh, hello Dana." Rose said.
"Hello Rose." Dana replied.
"Anyway, Sparky, I'll get in a battle with them and you all can escape. Don't worry about me." Rose explained.
"You sure? I mean, don't you have friends or family you want to see again?" Sparky asked.
"Yes, but if I can't escape, at least I know I helped someone else escape." Rose said.
"Thank you, Rose. If we can, we'll come back for you and everyone else here." Dana said with a grateful tone in her voice.
"Alright, Shall we?" Rose asked. She looked on to Ray and the others that could Dig, which were pretty much everyone, and got into battle position.
"We are," Savvy began, digging a claw in the Earth beneath, "Thank you again, Rose."
"Not a problem." Rose said. Immediately after, everyone but Rose started digging under the cages and successfully got the attention of the Golems and others standing guard:
"Hey! They're trying to escape, get 'em!" As soon as the guards got close, Rose started mutilating the Ground types before her with barrages of Giga Drain, Sleep Powder, and Magical Leaf attacks.
With the barrage of attacks on the verge of killing the guards now behind them, Sparky and everyone managed to escape and started running to the exit. Sparky, however, ran about halfway and stopped.
"Sparky, come on!" Dana, Savvy, and Naomi whispered loudly to coax the Pikachu to move.
"Sparky, there's no time, we have to…." Zane started.
"You have to do what? Escape? Hah, good luck with that you pieces of shit!" A Gallade stood behind Sparky and Zane, causing them to turn around and run. Unfortunately for them, the Gallade was able to hold them both back and corner them.
"The name's Purotekutā and you will not get past me. The boss has a special plan for you all!"
To Be Continued…