Aerial Fire

By: Theodore Leung

            I sighed, laying my head on the grassy ground. I could hear it, the faint chirps of bird, though none of them would go near me, the one of the same species…

            The forest was, well, green. Lush with vegetation, the occasional beam of light shining through the dense foliage, it was an ideal place to stop for a break.

            I could feel my friend wrap some bandages around my left leg, patting the leg once he was done. I breathed a sigh of relief.

            "How you feeling Burner?" my friend ask. I smiled, flapping my wings. They didn’t seem to hurt as much as before. Those Hydro Pumps sure know how to take out fire.

            "Thank you Tim," I replied. The Cinnabar Special Operations officer nodded, patting my wing.

            "Just get some rest, you’ve had your share of action the other night," he consolidated. I took the advice, laying my wings on the ground, closing my eyes to get some rest. The air was refreshing, being back in the environment. Perhaps not my own, but still natural never the less.

            Again I sighed, wondering what have I become. A Phoenix? I have never seen a Moltres evolve before…my kin were always the same, perhaps growing in size as they aged, but never ‘going to the next level’ for lack of better words.

            I adjusted my position, getting a better look at my friend and trainer. Tim was hanging out more and more with that girl, Ryna I believe. They two were close, I could easily see it.

            I wish I had someone to be close too…seeing my kin was a rare treat, though it is becoming increasingly harder to actually detect him or her. The Moltres was a rare breed, only seen by few and caught by fewer. I wasn’t caught, I accompanied Tim because I needed to.

            I owed him, it was a life debt. He saved my life, and I am willing to follow him to even the coldest depths of Earth. Still, it was more then that. He said I could take my leave, something I would gladly do, but I was drawn to him. A strange feeling, like I was destined to be with him. We were a pair, going hand in hand. I was never able to shake the feeling, I was only able to embrace, and hope for an answer sooner or later.

            Again, I sighed, for one last time, closing my eyes. Tim said I needed rest, something I’m glad to do.

* * * * * *

            I laid my head down, my body aching with all this walking. I was depressed, scared, afraid…I didn’t know what to think…

            "Are you okay Flare?" the Charmander asked me. I looked up at Charles, not responding, only looking back down, unable to speak.

            He…that Flareon, he tried to…

            I held back the tears, the sobs, the whimpers. I only buried my face into my arms, afraid to face Charles, afraid that…something has happened…between us…

            "Flare?" he asked again. I didn’t raise my head this time, I just sat there, lifeless. "Are you okay?" he asked, more concern in his voice.

            "Please…leave me…" I told him. I might have broken his heart…he may reject me…if I told him what happened…he…we may not be friends anymore.

            "Flare…" he whispered, sighing. I couldn’t see, but I knew he left, I could feel it. Oh God, what have I done? Have I pulled away from him? I don’t know…only my tears may have the answer….

* * * * * *

            Did I do something wrong? I don’t know…she doesn’t seem to want me anymore…

            I stared at her, on the ground, in her shell, a shell I may never be able to penetrate again. She looked like she was weeping. I wish I could comfort her…but if she doesn’t want me around, I will respect her decision. Still, I’m afraid…that she doesn’t ‘like’ me…

            "You okay friend?" I looked over my shoulder, seeing the Sandslash standing there. I sighed, looking back over to Flare, vigilantly on guard. Slasher walked over to me, noticing my predicament.

            "Something happened Charles?" he asked. I sighed, not responding, only watching. He knew, I could tell. He knew what the problem was. I knew, even before he placed his claw on my shoulder.

            "Listen, I know you like her, and I’m pretty sure she likes you, but do you know what happened to her in that facility?" he asked. I turned my head to face my new ally, not making any changes in my mood. "I wouldn’t know, but it can’t be you who’s affecting her," he consolidated. "Give her some space, she needs to be alone sometimes…"

            I sighed, seeing how the Sandslash was right. I don’t know what happened in there, I just know something wrong happened. I may have saved the day, but am I really the hero?

            I exhaled, removing the Sandslash’s claw from my shoulder and walking back to the others. She needed time alone, to gather her thoughts and courage…

* * * * * *

            Everyone was down…their mood and confidence was below critical level. I didn’t know how I could tell, I just did. Flare and Charles aren’t even together at the moment. Something has to be wrong. Maybe it’s just me, maybe I’m paranoid.

            I glanced over towards Rocky, who was happily eating away at Pokémon food. No matter which way I looked at him, he was in a good mood, just some how, this hunk of rock was perky. Maybe I should ask him…

            "Rocky, can I ask you something?" I questioned, moving closer and sitting down beside him. He stopped eating and looked down at me. I must have been weird for such a big figure to look down at a small Pikachu. He smiled, and nodded. "What’s it like in a Pokéball?" That question has been bugging me for a while. I was always wild until Ryna found me, and she would NEVER put a Pokémon in one of those balls. She finds that sort of thing disturbing.

            Again, Rocky smiled, not disturbed what so ever by the question.

            "Well, it’s strange at first," he started, finishing off his Pokémon food. "You’re like unconscious, but you aren’t. you instincts are sharp, ready to fight upon the moment notice. Inside the ball, it feels like your eyes are closed, but they aren’t. Darkness surrounds you."

            "Scary…" I whispered, shuddering by the sheer thought of such an experience.

            "Not really, time seems to go really fast in the ball. It’s like you are sleeping, but you know you aren’t. You don’t have dreams, you sort of stare blankly at the darkness for a second, then you are called back out again."

            "I don’t think I could ever get used to that…" Rocky shrugged, as much as a large rock could shrug.

            "We all have our ways," he commented, continuing his eating. I sighed, agreeing with that last statement.

* * * * * *

                "How much longer do we have to walk?" I complained, my paws aching. Hydra smiled lightly beside me. We were making steady pace, despite all the complaints.

            "Keep walking, Spark," Lin said, her weight really starting to get noticeable on my back.

            "Well, if you’d get off my back, I’d be able to walk faster," I told her, trying to shake her off, but she stayed firmly glued to me. The Pikachu giggled at my futile attempt.

            "Okay, I get the idea," she replied, leaping off and running ahead. I exhaled, happy to get that load off my back, literally.

            "Feeling better Spark?" Hydra asked, grinning. I gave him a friendly whack on the shoulder.

            "You try carrying her," I retorted. The others behind us laughed, or at least most of them. Yeah, guess it was a good idea, we could use the moral boost. Suddenly, shots rang out, Lin running back in a panic.

            "We’ve got company!" she yelled out, leaping on Ryna’s shoulder. "Seems like we’ve just been discovered!" Everyone froze, hearing the faint shouting of humans and their orders to the Pokémon.

            "We need an escape plan, now!" I heard Sam shout, who was preparing for battle. Suddenly, Burner escaped from his Pokéball, spreading his wings high, uttering a loud howl.

            "Charles, Spark, Hydra, Lin, onto my back now," he ordered. "The rest of you, just hold onto my talons."

* * * * * *

            "But you’re in no condition to fly! Let alone take passengers!" my master shouted. I didn’t care, we needed an escape plan, and we were getting one.

            "I can do it," I said, without looking towards him. I could already feel the Pokémon climbing onto my back. "Tim, have faith, like how I always have faith in you." He instantly silenced. I didn’t want to say that, but I needed to get out of here as fast as possible, even if it meant my life. I know Tim will understand.

            I stretched out my wings again, flexing them to make sure they were well enough to fly. I could feel the additional weight on my talons, but it didn’t matter. Nothing mattered now, except to keep Tim safe.

            "We’re ready," the one called Ryna told me.

            "When ever you want to go," Charles said from above. I flex my wings one more time, then took off, trying my best to speed through the branches but make it safe for my passengers.

* * * * * *

            Well, this was the first time I was ever so high in the air. I held tightly to the Phoenix, not afraid of being burned since I was a water type. Still, falling off at this height would do no one any good.

            "Okay, everyone up there, your job is to keep and eye out for air patrols," Burner told us. We gladly accepted, if it meant our safety, sure, we’d do it. "If you can, try to throw them off course with some of your attacks."

            "Easier said then done," Spark muttered, looking around his section of the sky.

            "Live with it," Charles replied, also taking a section of the sky.

            "And how do you propose we distract these patrols?" Lin questioned, taking her zone. That’s a good question, just HOW are we supposed to distract these patrols? Chances are we won’t even be able to scratch whatever is coming for us.

            "Just try, that’s all I’m asking," Burner answered, increasing speed. The wind was getting bitter, like it was slapping me across the face. I guess the speed is necessary to get out of this area fast.

            "We got incoming!" I shouted, seeing three helicopters behind us. They were obvious Team Rocket controlled by the giant ‘R’ symbol on the sides of each aerial unit. "I got one!" I yelled out, spraying the front window of one with waterpower, temporary blinding the pilot and forcing him to peel off for a few moments.

            "Take that!" Lin shouted, spraying a helicopter with electric power. The unit began to emit smoke, also forcing to peel of, permanently this time, or face destruction at the hands of a Pikachu. When you think about that, that’s pretty sad. Ah well, I’m not complaining about anything. Duel fire power from both our fire types crippled the last one.

            I sighed, ready for the next squadron, whenever that might be.

* * * * * *

            "We’ve got more incoming!" I shouted out, panicking.

            "I don’t see them!" Charles shouted back. His voice was becoming panic stricken, unable to find the targets.

            "Where are they Flare?!" Spark shouted.

            "They’re down here…" Ryna whispered, looking below. Another helicopter below, but he was so far down that going to his altitude would mean no maneuverability, and would also mean no escape.

            "Burner, pull up!" Tim shouted, Burner obeying, but not before a massive cable flew upwards the wrapped around the Phoenix’s neck. "Burner!" Tim shouted. The cable was slowly pulling back down to the ground.

            "Get…the cable off…" Burner whispered, losing energy quickly. I could hear it, Spark and Charles attempting to burn the cable off, but if anything, this cable may have been fire resistant.

            Come on Flare…you can do something….

            Can I? I was useless…I couldn’t do anything…

            "I’m going to take that out," Tim said, hooking a wire to his suit. In a few seconds, he tied a triple pulley system to Burner’s talon, then slipped the wire through out six pulleys.

            "Tim!" Ryna shouted, stopping the soldier from going down. "Good luck…" she whispered, Tim giving a two finger salute.

            "Just remember to pull me up," he replied, tossing the other end of the wire to Ryna. She nodded, Sam also grabbing onto the wire.

            Good luck…

* * * * * *

            I looked down, noticing Tim’s new approach to things. I knew what he was going to do, but the time frame would be close for this kind of encounter. My master knew what he was doing, and I can only hope my Pokémon friends know too.

            "Spark, Charles, stop with the wire and get those 3 in front of us out of here," I said, with as much energy as I could muster the moment. I can tell both didn’t want to stop, thinking I was going to let them all down.

            "Tim is handling the wire," I whispered. I could hear them sigh, feel them walking on my back, ready to stop the next squadron of helicopters. "Have faith my friends…like I do…"

* * * * * *

            The darkness pulsed, and I knew what was coming up. A dark spiral seemed to appear, sucking me back into the real world.

            "Rocky, go! Take out that propeller!" I nodded, flying back into the world, and landing with a thud onto the roof the helicopter. Before anything else could happen, I grabbed the propeller blade, stopping it instantly. With all my strength, I began to pull the blade out of its socket. I could hear Tim issue his next order.

            "Slasher, let’s go! Hack this wire!" he commanded, releasing his Pokéball. The sound of the ball opening and the Pokémon appearing was all I needed to hear. Still we were losing altitude fast and Slasher better hurry the hell up. Adjusted my gaze, seeing the wire that held onto Burner still tight. Come on…hurry up and hack it up!

* * * * * *

            I could see it wasn’t working. As much as Slasher sliced at the wire, it wouldn’t break. I could see Tim urging him to keep on trying, but the Sandslash didn’t have what it takes. I needed to help…but what could I do? I was useless…

            My eyes flowed down the side of the wire, noticing the gun if was attached to on the helicopter. Gun? If we destroyed the gun, we could escape. But, who would do that? I couldn’t tell Tim, he was too far away, and everyone else was up above. Oh…I don’t know!

            It doesn’t matter now, Charles would do anything for me, I would do anything for him. I had to do something, I needed to get that gun. I slowly stood up, as much as I could while staying stable on this unruly ride.

            "Flare?!" Ryna shouted, holding Tim’s wire to the best of her ability. I didn’t care, I had to do this.

            "FLARE!!" Ryna shouted again, as I took to the air, leaping for the wire that held Burner. In a quick movement, I grabbed the wire, nearly losing my grip to the sudden change in direction. I held on with my dear life, sliding down. It was a matter of time.

            I could see Tim fly by, a look of disbelief on his part. I continued to slide, the friction was beginning to hurt. I don’t care, I needed to do this. Almost there…

            I unleashed a Flamethrower, toasting the gunner and dislodging the gun from its location on the helicopter. I could hear it, the metal grinding and bending in sheer agony, as the weapon snapped from the vehicle. I knew I succeeded, Tim recalling his Pokémon quickly. Then…it happened…

            I was falling, the shock and the sudden slack on the wire sent me flying, then falling. I could feel the air under me, how it was going to hurt, but I knew I helped my friends…especially Charles.

            I could feel the darkness…death approaching…it was over.