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The Power To Shine (pg)
, My first Poke-fic!
Member No.: 53
Joined: 13-May 05
If you have any comments/flames/etc. feel free to post them here.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Chapter 1 ~ An Unlikely Encounter
My name is Maya. I'm eleven years old, but I've been told that I'm mature for my age. I don't much know if I like the sound of that. Anyway, I guess you're wondering what's so special about an eleven year-old girl? Not too long ago, I'd have said there wasn't anything especially odd or memorable about me. But all that changed the day I met Hikari.
Hikari is really the special one; not me. I'm just an average girl. But Hikari is special. He's not only my new best friend, but he's my only friend. But before I tell you about Hikari, I ought to tell you a little more about me.
You see, where I lived, children were not allowed. I know what you're thinking: "what on Earth do you mean? How can you not allow children?" Well, when you have a king as stuck-up and pig-headed as ours, you might understand. One day, the king's royal carriage ran over a little boy's favorite toy and broke it. The king stepped out to find out why there was such a loud yelling going on outside his carriage, and the boy just ran up and kicked him in the shin. At the time, I thought it was really funny to see the king hopping around on one foot like a Hoothoot, and apparently so did a lot of the other townspeople, considering how loudly they laughed. But that was a mistake. The king was so angry and embarassed, he made a decree on the spot: no child shall ever be visible outside again. All children must remain indoors until they become adults. That's what he said. And as soon as he could race back inside his castle, he went and made it a law. And let me tell you something: you don't want to break one of the king's laws and let him find out about it. You could end up with your head abruptly separated from your body. So all the parents kept their children indoors, for fear of the king's wrath. The whole thing began three years ago, and it hasn't changed.
You might think, "if children can't go outside, then how do they play? How do they visit one another and make friends?" The answer to both is simple. They don't. Or at least, they aren't allowed to. And so, for three years, I didn't see another child, except in photos. I wanted to try to write to the others, but most other parents wouldn't allow their childrent to receive letters, for fear that they'll try to sneak out to visit their "friend." My parents didn't think that's the right way to look at it at all, but even they forbade me to do anything to upset the king. Most people were so scared of the king they'd do anything he wanted. It really made me angry to think that he could get away with acting like a spoiled child, when he wouldn't allow real children to be children themselves. And so, one night I decided that I had had enough. I wrote my parents a letter explaining my feelings to them, packed some food and other things I thought I'd need, and I just left. I had decided that I was old enough to make it on my own in the world, and since I'd gotten so far without anyone else's help, I certainly could continue to do so.
I had to make my way through the forest on the east side of the village before I could really be on my way, and although it looked pretty dark in there, I don't remember being really afraid. But it's amazing how long being in the dark in unfamiliar territory can change that. I hadn't gone very far at all before I realized that I no longer knew which way was forward, and which way led back to the village. That in and of itself was enough to make me nervous, but in addition to that, I was beginning to hear rustling and faint scraping in the leaves alongside the narrow path. At first it sounded like the work of a single animal, but it began growing louder by the second, and I realized that there must have been a whole pack of them. Not knowing what might lay in store for me, nor knowing how I could possibly deal with any kind of attack, I just helplessly froze in my tracks and listened, all the while my imagination fueling my ever mounting fears. I began to wonder if I might have made a mistake in leaving home.
Suddenly, inspiration hit me, and without allowing myself time to consider it further, I acted upon it. As fast as my legs would carry me, I ran toward a large tree up ahead of me. It had low-hanging branches - low enough for me to jump up and grab onto one. And I did so, quickly scrambling up onto it, hoping for all I was worth that whatever it was that I had left behind me couldn't climb trees. I soon found out what I had been running from, and when I did, I nearly fell out of the tree. Almost immediately after I had made it up, a large group of Poochyena came tumbling into the trunk of the tree. After shaking their collision off, they looked around, and one of them looked up. He must have seen me, because he began to howl. The others looked up, and upon seeing me, joined him with their own loud, haunting cries. Suddenly I decided that I didn't feel very comfortable being on the lowest branch anymore. I climbed up another couple of levels, and after convincing myself that I was finally safe, I sighed. Poochyena weren't often known to kill a human, but large groups could be dangerous, especially if they thought their territory was being invaded. I knew that because I had read all about them. I knew a lot about Pokemon, or at least, had read a lot about them. There wasn't much else to do by myself at the house. I decided that it would be best to try to make myself as comfortable as possible in the tree branches, and just sleep there for the night. I'd figure out what to do in the morning. Hopefully by then, the Poochyena would have given up and left.
After a very uncomfortable night, I woke up the next morning and found, to my relief, that the Poochyena had indeed gone away. I also realized that the forest was an entirely different place once the sun was up. It looked much less intimidating when you could see everything around you. And besides, this was the first time I had set foot outside the village, and I was intrigued. I resumed my trek after eating a quick breakfast from the rations I had packed in my backpack. I was eager to see more of what I'd been missing during the past eleven years.
I hadn't been moving long when I began to hear some strange commotion up ahead. My curiosity began to get the best of me, so I quickened my pace, realizing as I got closer that I was hearing the cries of many Pokemon. I moved quickly, but with caution. I didn't want to land myself in another sticky situation. Finally, I came upon a clearing, and as I peered out from behind a large tree, I was amazed at what I saw. There was a very large flock of swablu on the mossy ground, and they all seemed to be crowded around something. There appeared to be quite a commotion going on in there, and I didn't see what was going on at first, considering how many cottony plumages were all mingled together. But then I saw it - a bright flash of yellow as one Swablu hopped out of the center of the squabbling birds and tried floating out of the melee. Unfortunately, he found himself attacked on all sides by the other Swablu, and was soon swallowed up in the mass of angry feathers. Suddenly I understood what was happening. He had been born off-color. It was a very rare thing in the Pokemon kingdom, but every now and then a Pokemon is born with unusual colors for its species. In addition, the skin or coats of these pokemon have an unusual shine or luster to them that often upsets other pokemon. As a result, these poor creatures often starve to death, having been driven out of their own herds. I suddenly felt so sorry for the poor thing. Without thinking of the consequences, I charged out into the clearing, yelling and waving my arms with all my might. Miraculously, it seemed, this act achieved the desired reaction. The swablu, suddenly spooked, scrambled to escape, leaving behind quite a few tufty feathers in their panicked haste. I saw with uneasiness that the strangely colored one hadn't flown away. His right wing looked like it had been damaged, although I wasn't entirely sure, considering how oddly-shaped a swablu wing was to begin with. He was hunched over on his chest, with his stout little head drooping toward the ground. My first impulse was to scoop it up in my arms and comfort it like a baby, but even I knew what a ridiculous action that could be. He was a wild Pokemon, and most likely an injured one at that. He was more likely to peck my hands to bits than rest comfortably in my arms. But I thought I might as well try to approach him and see if he'd let me look at his wing.
"My name's Maya," I said softly, alerting him to the fact that he wasn't alone, so as to keep from startling him. "I won't hurt you, little swablu. Please let me help you."
His head shot up, and he cooed anxiously as I stepped more closely. I hesitated then, but an idea struck me. "Hang on a sec," I said, pulling off my backpack and rummaging around inside it for a package of crackers. "I'll bet you haven't had much food today. Would you like some crackers?" I found what I was looking for, and after setting my backpack on the ground behind me, I fell to my knees and began to break the crackers up into smaller pieces. "Here you go," I said softly, gently stretching my arm towards him, a large piece of cracker held lightly between two fingers. "I won't hurt you. Please understand, little guy."
When my arm began to move towards him, he squawked in fright, and tried to fly away, but only succeeded in flopping over onto his side. He scrambled onto his belly again, and his eyes told me how very frightened he was. I sighed and withdrew my hand. This wasn't going to be easy. I didn't want to scare him any more than I had to, but it was apparent that with his injury, he couldn't fly, and he would be vulnerable to predators, not to mention unable to find food for himself.
"You might as well get used to it," I said with a smile. "Because I'm not gonna take no for an answer. If we have to sit here all day, that's what I'll do. At least that way I'll be able to keep something else from eating you." But my smile faded as I realized that it might not be so easy as that. What would happen if something really big came along - something that might want to eat ME, for instance.
I was just about to try tossing a bit of cracker to him, when I heard an odd noise. It was an odd buzzing sound - almost like the whirring of a large fan - and it was coming from behind me. I turned around and found to my horror that we had a most unwelcome visitor. A beedrill - one that was almost bigger than me - was hovering less than ten yards away. It was glaring at me with its enormous, beady eyes, and I could tell by the menacing way it was brandishing its stingers that it did not like my being there one bit. I wanted to run away then; I wanted to take off so badly that my legs had already begun to ache in anticipation. But then I suddenly remembered the Swablu. I looked back at him and grimaced. He hadn't noticed the beedrill yet; he was still staring at me with mistrust. He couldn't be expected to defend himself. Not in his condition. It was up to me to drive the beedrill away.
Gulping nervously, I shakily got to my feet and put myself between the beedrill and my newly discovered, unwilling companion. I tried to make myself look as tall and menacing as possible, and with a voice that wavered slightly from my fear, I began to yell at the beedrill.
"Get out of here!" I shouted angrily, waving my hands at it in an attempt to scare it. "Go on! Beat it!" I stomped toward it a couple of steps, hoping to startle it and scare it away. It, unlike the swablu, was not so easily spooked. Quite the contrary, actually. It must have thought I was challenging it, because it began to click angrily at me, and its wings began to beat faster. I barely had time to duck before it zoomed forward, barely grazing my shoulder with its wing as it swooped above me. But then it saw the swablu. As the bird's golden plumage sparkled in the morning sunlight, all at once it seemed that the Beedrill had been driven mad with rage. It dove at the swablu then, and without stopping to think of the consequences, I dove too, scooping up the swablu and narrowly rolling away from the angry Beedrill's diving sweep. The swablu squawked in terror, and began to struggle to free himself from my arms.
"Calm down!" I cried frantically, scrambling to my feet and darting my head this way and that, trying to figure out where the beedrill had gone. "Ow!" I yelped as the swablu bit one of my fingers with its beak. I quickly set him back down on the ground and looked down at where he'd bitten me. He'd only made a shallow cut, but blood was already beginning to well up from it. "Aw man," I groaned. I barely had time to look down reproachfully at the him before I suddenly found myself sailing through the air, having abruptly had the wind knocked out of me. The beedrill had flown down and slammed into me from the right side. "Agility," I gasped as I skidded to a painful stop on my back some twenty feet away from where I'd been standing. "That stupid bug fooled me with his agility attack!"
As I planted my hands down beside me to push myself back onto my feet, I looked up and froze. The beedrill was hovering less than two feet above me, his deadly stinger aimed right at my chest. I felt my heart leap into my throat. There was no way I could dodge his attack at this range. A stinger that big would kill me! As I saw the mundane events of my life begin to flash before me, I saw an indiscernable golden blur leap atop my chest. It was the swablu! He was standing directly between me and the beedrill's stinger, broken wing and all!
"What are you doing?!" Was all I had time to cry before the situation suddenly resolved itself. With a sharp, piercing cry, his puffy feathers bristled out toward the beedrill, and he leaped upwards, creating a brilliant flash with some kind of unseen power. The beedrill faltered and nearly fell to the ground in astonishment. And without so much as a an angry click, he raced off into the trees.
At first my mind didn't quite comprehend what had just occurred. But as the swablu clumsily landed on my chest again and stared at me with his bright eyes, I understood. "Of course," I said in surprise. "That was your 'Astonish' attack, wasn't it?" He cocked his head to one side and kind of chirped at me. I laughed, so full of relief that I had completely forgotten my cut finger. "I guess now this means that you know I'm not going to hurt you, right?" I asked, gently lifting him off my chest and setting him onto the ground so that I could get up. He cooed at me and then hopped over to my backpack, and began pecking at the crackers that lay strewn beside it. "I'm going to call you Hikari," I announced with a broad smile as I walked up beside him and leaned over him to pet his soft back. "I guess it looks like I'm not going to be on my own anymore!"
Member No.: 53
Joined: 13-May 05
Thank you for the comment! I finished chapter two today. Here we go!
Chapter 2 ~ Chance, the Bug-Hunter
To say that I was happy to have a travelling companion was an understatement. Looking back on it now, I suppose it was three years' worth of repressed affection that had begun to surface, but I lavished all kinds of petting and attention on my new friend. And that's exactly how I saw Hikari - as a friend. I couldn't remember the last time I'd had one, and I was elated. I couldn't wait to see what adventures lay in store for us!
The walk through the forest was remarkably devoid of incidents. And I was glad, because I didn't want to have to try to protect Hikari from any more angry Pokemon. Even so, I had resolved myself to do so, despite what he had done for me with the beedrill. I really only counted that as a happy fluke; I certainly didn't expect him to do it again. And although he seemed much more at ease with me than he had when we first met, I still got the impression from him that he didn't completely trust me yet. I understood, though. I imagined that his life had been filled with bad experiences up until this point, and that he couldn't have been expected to warm up to someone right away.
Nevertheless, I was very happy. I'd never been able to actually touch a Pokemon before; I'd asked my parents for one when I was nine, but they told me that it would have been cruel to the Pokemon to keep it inside for so many years. And besides, they couldn't be expected to care for it or take it out to play, either. Before then, I had been too little to be trusted around them myself, and since our city didn't have a zoo, I never really got close to one. In fact, the only times I could ever remember being close to one was whenever the king's royal carriage made its weekly rounds through the village square. He'd had four enormous Rapidash pulling his carriage, but I remember them looking really scary, so I wouldn't have touched them had someone asked me to anyway.
Thinking about that gave me a weird feeling. I was sure that I didn't regret leaving home, especially now that I knew that I didn't have to be alone anymore. But some part of me wondered just how my parents were taking my absence. I hoped they weren't worrying too much. But these thoughts were too unsettling, so I quickly shook them away.
"Well, Hikari," I said brightly, hugging him a little more tightly. "I guess the first thing we'll have to do is get you to a Pokecenter. I don't know where the closest one is, but I think I remember my mom saying something about a town in the east. We'll head that way and see what we can find!
"Cuukukuu!" He chirped back at me. He poked his beak at his hurt wing - which I had wrapped in a crude splint made from sticks and some torn strips off a pair of pants - and he wiggled in discomfort. I shook my head. "Don't bother with it, okay?" I scolded him gently. "I know it's uncomfortable, but that splint oughta keep you from hurting yourself too much more. I'm not a nurse or anything, but I'm sure that's what I'm supposed to do with a broken wing. Anyway, we'll see when we find a Pokecenter. These woods shouldn't go on for too much longer. If I remember correctly, they're only a few miles wide on this side of home. The sun's sinking west right now; I'm sure that as long as we keep going away from it, we'll find our way out of the forest."
We trudged on, and as the sun began to dip lower and lower in the sky, I realized that it probably wasn't a good idea for us to keep moving much longer. We'd find ourselves travelling in the dark if we did. The incident with the Poochyena was still fresh in my mind, and I found myself looking nervously alongside the path to make sure we weren't being followed. After a few minutes, I decided that we'd better find a safe place to stay for the night. I was considering roosting in a tree again, when my thoughts were interrupted by the bellowing of a young boy.
"Aw right!" He crowed, leaping out of the brush alongside me and scaring me nearly half to death. "A trainer! Finally! Let's get to it! I'm just itchin' to see how all my training's paid off!"
"Wha- what?" I gasped, still trying to get over my initial shock. "What are you talking about?" I eyed him distastefully as he gaped at me in response. He was wearing a broad straw hat, had a large butterfly net attached to a cord that went around his left shoulder and down over his right side. He couldn't have been much older than me, but the way he'd jumped out at me had me wondering about his intentions. Maybe he wanted to try to rob me or something! I'd read about highwaymen in books, and although all the pictures I'd seen were of balding, ugly, middle-aged men, I supposed this boy could be one in training.
"Whaddya mean, what am I talking about?" He asked in a flabbergasted tone of voice. "I'm demanding a battle, o' course! Geez, what are ya, a newbie or somethin'?" It was then that he noticed Hikari. "Oooh, is that'cher Pokemon? Wow, I've never seen a Swablu that color before! Whadja do, dye his feathers?"
"I most certainly did not!" I retorted angrily. "And Hikari's not..."
"Flying type, huh?" He grumbled, rubbing his chin as if deep in thought. "Are we really ready for that kinda challenge yet? O' course, that one's kinda sickly-lookin'..." His voice trailed off as he talked it over to himself, and I was all the while getting more and more frustrated. He had completely the wrong idea!
"But Hikari's not.." I began again, and again he cut me off.
"Ah well," he said with a happy shrug. "Nothin' ventured, nothin' gained. That's what my dad always said." He grabbed a pokeball out of his pocket and hit the little button on it. "C'mon, Beady! Let's show her what'cher made of!" The pokeball snapped open, and what else but a beedrill materialized right in front of me.
"Yaaah!!!" I screamed, stumbling backwards and nearly flinging Hikari up into the air as I hit the ground with a hard thud. "Get it away from me!" I screamed. Hikari squawked indignantly at being jostled about so, and I sat up and rubbed my head where I'd hit it on a tree root. "Put that awful thing away! I mean it!" I shrieked furiously at him.
"Now it's my turn ta ask what yer talkin' about," the boy replied, tilting his head to one side in confusion. "Don't tell me you're scared o' bugs!"
"I'm saying that I'm not going to battle with you!" I replied ferociously, getting back to my feet and trying to regain my dignity. "Hikari isn't for battling! And besides, what kind of monster are you?! Can't you see he's been wounded?!" I was howling mad, and even the beedrill shrank away from me as I stepped forward. "I ought to slap you! That's what I ought to do!"
"Now wait just a minnit!" The boy stammered, trying to sound angry but not quite able to remove all the uneasiness out of his voice. "It's the rules! If I challenge you to a battle, you have to accept! It doesn't make any difference if your Pokemon are hurt or not!"
"Well for one thing, that's a stupid rule!" I spat at him, glaring at him furiously. "And for another, I'm not a Pokemon trainer, so I don't give a hang about your 'rules.' It just so happens that I found Hikari in the woods this morning, and he'd been wounded, so I'm taking him to a Pokemon center to heal him. So there!"
"But... doesn't that mean you're a trainer?" He asked, sounding very confused indeed. "Why would you do that if you didn't intend to keep him?"
"Well because I..." I began angrily, but then suddenly I stopped. That was something that had never occurred to me. Could I really "keep" Hikari, as that kid put it? I looked down at my friend and shuffled my feet nervously. "Hikari's my friend," I said in consternation. "He's saved my life and everything. I can't just up and say that I OWN him... That might not be what he wants."
"Well, Beady's been my buddy ever since we met," the boy replied, scratching his head in a confused way. "He's the first one I ever caught - caught 'im as a Weedle only a week after I set out on my Pokemon journey. But I'm sure he wanted ta be with me, after he got used ta me an' all. I guess I never thought about it that way before."
"I can't just tell Hikari that he belongs to me," I continued, beginning to feel a pang of sadness wash over me. "He might want to remain wild. I don't know if he wants to stay with me or not..." I looked down at him, and Hikari must've noticed that my attention was turned on him, because he looked back up at me and cooed in that matter-of-fact way of his. I suddenly felt very confused. How on earth would I be able to know for sure if keeping him with me was what he wanted? I couldn't really understand what he was saying, after all.
"Well, I'm no bird expert," the boy replied, walking forward and reaching out to pet Hikari on the head. He was rewarded with a sudden snap of the beak that just barely missed his finger. "Gah!" He exclaimed, jumping back and jerking his hand away, cradling it in his other one. "Well that cinches it! Like I was sayin'" he continued, eyeing Hikari distrustfully, "I'm no bird expert. Bugs are my area o' expertise. But I think I remember hearin' somewhere that swablu are pretty finicky, especially for the first week or so after you catch 'em. They don't take to their trainers right away. But this one really seems to trust you. D'you see the way he nearly took my finger off?"
"Well, you scared him!" I retorted, turning slightly away as if to shield Hikari from him.
The boy laughed. "Naw, he wasn't scared," he replied. "He just didn' like me. You're pretty lucky, 'sall I'm sayin'. For him to let you hold him like that, after you two only met this mornin' he must really like you. I don't think you should worry about him wantin' to be your partner. O' course, you don't have to take my word for it."
"So, you think he really does like me, huh?" I asked timidly, feeling my face flush a little as my excitement began to mount. "Are you sure?"
"Yeah, I'd say so," he laughed, shaking his head. "I wonder what you did to make him take to you so?"
I frowned then, and I told him about how I'd met Hikari, and about the event with the beedrill earlier that morning. He listened attentively, and when I got to the part with the beedrill, his eyes widened to the size of saucers. When I had finished, he whistled impressively.
"You were really, really lucky," he said with a frown. "A beedrill that size, and as mad as you described 'im, really coulda hurt you bad. If you hadn't of found this little fella, I doubt you'd be around right now."
"Yeah," I replied. "I owe my life to Hikari. And that's why I'm not going to let you hurt him by sicking that beedrill on him! Hikari can't fight right now, so I guess you'd better just forget it!"
The boy laughed and put his hands up defensively. "Naw, I wouldn't fight 'im now," he laughed, grinning sheepishly. "I'm sorry about earlier. I didn't realize what'd happened to you two. Although, I guess now I know why you reacted to Beady like you did!"
I laughed nervously. "Yeah, well let's just say that I won't be chasing after too many bugs," I said with an embarassed smile. "I'll leave that sort of thing to guys like you."
"Hah," he laughed merrily. "So, you... uh... say, what was your name, anyway?" He asked, suddenly realizing that he didn't know it.
"Oh, I'm Maya," I replied. "Maya Yamano. What's your name?"
"I'm Chance," he replied with a broad grin. "Chance Ferdinand. Bug-hunter extraordinaire!"
"That's a funny name," I giggled. "I've never heard one like that before!"
"I don't see anything funny about it," he sniffed rather testily. "It's been in my family for three generations now. What the heck kind of name is Maya, anyway?"
I laughed because I'd gotten him all worked up. "I dunno. Daddy said it was from some kind of ancient civilization. Anyway, where are you from, Chance? You wouldn't happen to be from around here, would you?"
"Naw, I've come a long way," he replied. "I come from a place called Redville. It's a really small town. If you blink once, you'll miss it! Anyway, it's a couple hundred miles out east."
"Wow," I breathed, very impressed indeed. "How did you get so far?"
"Well, I hitched rides when I could, but for the most part, I hiked it. I've been away from home almost two years now. I'm on my Pokemon journey, but I guess I'm a little late gettin' back," he laughed sheepishly. "My mom hasn't heard from me in over a month. I guess I oughta call her. What about you? Where're you from?"
"Er... well, I just started out," I stammered. "I lived in Beigeland, back that way," I jerked my thumb toward the west. "But it's only been about a day now."
"Wait, so you are a trainer?" He asked, eyeing me suspiciously. "I thought you said you weren't."
"Well, I'm not... or at least, I've never thought about becoming one," I replied, tripping over my own words. I sighed. "Look, can you keep a secret?"
"You're not a criminal or nuthin' are ya?" He asked suspiciously.
I laughed. "Of course not!" I replied.
"Okay then. Shoot," he said, nodding firmly at me.
"I ran away from home," I began. "I couldn't take it any more back there. Our king's the worst, and I don't want to live in a place where I can't even go outside, or see anything except the inside of my own house. I want to go out and explore the world. That's why I'm here."
"Oh, I get it!" Chance said, smacking a fist into one hand. "You're from that kingdom that doesn't let kids go outside, aren't you? I've heard about that place! Am I really that close to it?" He looked around nervously. "I don't want to be arrested or nothin'! Your king, that, that, Pinsir-boy or whatever his name is... does he know you've gone outside?"
"Well, we're outside the boundaries of the kingdom," I said, shrugging. "The capital city's where I'm from, and that's where he lives. The eastern boundary of the kingdom lies on the eastern boundary of the capital city. Oh, and his name's Pinschleroy, by the way. And I doubt he knows anything of the kind. Although he's made a law keeping us inside, he doesn't ever bother to check to make sure we're actually there. As long as he doesn't see a kid running through the street he's perfectly happy. I'm pretty sure he wouldn't mind if all of the kids in the city did what I'm doing," I laughed.
"Geez, I had no idea I was headin' towards that place," Chance said quietly. "I think I'd better turn around. Well, if you're headin' that way, you wanna keep me company? You could cook my dinner for me! I haven't had a good meal since I left Tealville!"
"Well, I do know how to cook," I said, frowning at him, and then eyeing the beedrill, which was waiting patiently at his side. "I had to learn pretty early, so that I could eat while my parents worked. But I don't know if I really ought to..."
"Aw c'mon! Please?" He whined. "I'm serious! I'm so tired of eating burnt food! And even Beady's had to suffer! He doesn't much like my cooking either! Besides," he added, waggling a finger at me with a sly grin. "I can help you heal your bird now, without having to wait for a Pokecenter. I have a couple potions in my bag back at the tent!"
"Er... well, I guess it couldn't hurt..." I stammered.
"Aw right!" He whooped, forgetting about Hikari and snatching one of my hands. Hikari sqawked grumpily, and I barely had time to shift him into my other arm before Chance had jerked me forward. "My camp's set up about a half a mile this way," he said eagerly, practically dragging me in the direction I'd been heading before I met him. "C'mon, Beady! We're gonna have some REAL food tonight! Let's hear it for our new buddy Maya!"
Beady clicked excitedly, and zoomed over and ahead of us. He began darting this way and that, all the while moving quickly forward. Every now and then he'd swivel his shiny head back toward us and click encouragingly. It was as if he was trying to lead us along.
"He... really seems... happy!" I panted as we raced along the path.
"You bet he is!" Chance laughed. "Beady's a really cool bug. He's helped me out of a jam lots o' times. And he's really friendly too. He knows that you're friends with me now, so he likes you already!"
"Friends...?" I gasped, doing my best not to trip as we leaped over patches of brambles and tree roots. "Did you just say I'm your friend?"
"Well of course you are!" He laughed. "What else wouldja be? C'mon! It's only a little bit farther!" We raced along the path as the sun set ever lower in the sky. It was already dusk. After a few more minutes of running, we came upon a small clearing. There was a modest tent already pitched and a few small boxes were piled haphazardly next to it. The remains of a dying fire were smoldering a few yards away from the tent, and I could hear the sound of running water off to the right somewhere.
"Here we are!" He exclaimed excitedly. "It ain't much, but for now, it's home!" He let go of my hand and turned to see what I thought of it.
"It's... very... nice!" I gasped, setting Hikari down on the ground and bracing my hands on my knees. I wasn't used to running like that. I supposed I was a bit out of shape. As I tried to catch my breath, Chance laughed with glee and raced into his campsite.
"All right! I'm gonna go get us some water! You work on that fire! We'll need it nice an' hot if we're gonna cook over it!" He cried, waving as he and Beady raced off in the direction of the water.
I sighed. "Well Hikari," I said with an odd smile that reflected the strange feeling I felt inside. "What do you suppose we've gotten ourselves into?"
He stretched out his wings a bit and, looking up at me with his bright eyes, hopped upwards a few inches and chirped with what seemed to be a happy tone.
"Yeah," I laughed, gathering a few sticks that were lying on the ground just outside the clearing. "I guess I'd have to agree with you!"
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