Jewel of the Air | Fifteen


Jewel of the Air

The Quest for Freedom

I wasn’t let out of my Pokéball for at least a week after ‘our’ win. I didn’t know whether that was because we were just not finding any battles, or whether it was because of my disobedience. I was betting on the latter though.

Despite the disembodied feeling the Pokéball brought me, I was able to do a lot of thinking in there over that week. Unlike what you may be thinking, I didn’t think about Mum and Dad much. They didn’t care about me anymore. They were probably laughing about having finally gotten rid of me.

But enough about them. I thought a lot about Splotch. The description of the – what did they call it? An Espeon? – was exactly like Splotch. I knew about evolving, I’d seen Goldeen and the odd Seel evolve. I also knew that in most cases, the Pokémon in question changed its personality entirely. I wondered if Splotch was one of those cases.

It would be nice to have a companion on my journey to nowhere, even if it was only Splotch. Who knows, she may even have changed for the better. Just as long as she wasn’t so noisy, I couldn’t stand so much noise. What was an Espeon anyway? I guessed it would look like an Eevee, but probably bigger and more powerful, maybe with a fluffier tail and collar, but what was I to know? She could have three eyes and wings for all I had been told.

I planned that I may as well try and rescue the little thing, just on the odd chance that she had changed. What? It could happen. But how was I supposed to get the little bugger? I thought this over and over again, never coming to any real solutions. We hadn’t been out of the Pokéballs together since I’d first met Thomas. What was I going to do?

Eventually I was let out again. We were outside, but we were on a thing carrying us over the water. I had no idea which way was closest to land, or how far it was, so I just stood there.

“Sapphire,” Thomas was saying, “I know how hard it must be for you to have a new trainer, but there’s really no reason to disobey me. I really love having you as my Pokémon, and I just want to be friends with you. I just wish I could understand you, so you could tell me what’s wrong. But for now, you just have to obey me until I have learnt to understand you.”

“Okay,” I said, “Let’s try this. Let me see Splotch.”

“I told you, I can’t understand you.”

I thought for a second, then reached out for the Pokéballs at his waist, tapping them with my beak. “Splotch,” I repeated, very slowly, then looked up at him.

“Do you want to see my other Pokémon?” Thomas asked.

I shook my head and tapped my crest with a wing, indicating the spot on Splotch’s forehead, then tapped the Pokéball again.

“Splotch?” Thomas asked. I nodded vigorously. Thomas smiled. “She’s evolved now. She’s an Espeon. Sorry, I must have forgotten to tell you!” he reached for the correct ball and released the bright red light which formed the shape of Splotch.

I guessed correctly that she would look like an Eevee only bigger and more powerful, but she looked sleek now, with no collar and a long, slender forked tail. Her once brown fur was now a soft, shimmering, silvery lilac that looked like the snow on the mountains at dawn. Instead of bounding around me, she sat elegantly licking her paw with her tongue. She still had the splotch on her forehead, but in a darker shade of purple than the rest of her. Her eyes were lovely diamond shapes. Even though she still had only one ear, she actually looked quite beautiful, although I would never admit it to her face.

She stopped licking her paw and smiled up at me. “Hey Sapphire, haven’t seen you in a while. Where’ve you been?” Her voice was still high, but smooth and silky like her coat, not annoying.

I tried to act casual at this miraculous change. “In that ball, mostly. Looking good Splotch.” Somehow, that name didn’t suit her anymore. “I’ve been thinking about an escape. You want to come?”

She shrugged. “Sure, why not. You know where to?”

“Nuh, but away from him,” I jerked my head in Thomas’s general direction. He had turned and headed for a place where there were lots of people gathered around drinking. “He never lets us out except to battle. Hop on.”

“What? Now?” Splotch looked surprised.

“When else are we going to get the chance?”

“Well, couldn’t we at least wait until we see land? You just said you had no idea where we were going.”

I thought for a minute. “I guess so, but let’s at least get somewhere that isn’t so crowded. I’m getting a little sick of all these people staring at us.”

“Sure. Uh, Sapphire, watch your tail.”

I flicked my tail up and glared down with malice at a little boy with a cheeky grin on his face who thought it would be fun to make me scream. But his expression turned guilty and he tore off at lightning speed when he realised that his plan for some fun backfired.

I felt four light paws land gently on my back and although she was bigger than she had been previously, I was surprised at how much less she seemed to weigh. She lay down and gripped my shoulders and I spread my wings, then dropped off the edge of the thing, catching the air in my wings and lifting off. I flapped a few times and turned around back towards the thing. Hundreds of people had lined the railing and were staring open mouthed at us.

I rolled my eyes and flapped up to the very top were there were no people, then landed and let Splotch off my back. Still the people below were staring at us, but we just ignored them.

“So what does it feel like to evolve?” I asked her, sitting down to watch the sun set.

She lay down next to me and rested her chin on her paws. “I dunno, it’s hard to explain. It’s like, um, being released from the Pokéball, like you’ve just gotten so much power that you don’t know how to use. Being an Eevee was fun, but I never really felt strong.” She shrugged and shook her head. “It’s just really hard to explain, but it’s like you’ve just been given unexplainable amounts of power, and, oh, I don’t know, you have to experience it to know what it’s like.” She snuffed a laugh, “Guess you’ll never know then, eh big guy?”

“Mmm.” I was a little envious of her at that moment. Articuno never evolved. We stay the same, just getting gradually more powerful rather than being able to get it all at once. We had to work for our strength. Those Pokémon that evolved were just taking the easy way out and I have to say, I was jealous of them. But at least I kept my personality. I like the way I am, and I don’t want to change it.

We just sat there in a comfortable silence, watching the sun dip slowly toward the horizon in a blaze of gold and the gentle breeze of the things motion ruffle our feathers or fur. I glanced over at her a couple of times, her now golden coat rippling with found muscle, her one long ear twitching in the wind, and her beautiful black eyes, glinting golden in the light.

I really wanted to give her a different name. Splotch now sounded so boring and childish for this creature of serene beauty and incomprehensible power, it just didn’t suit her anymore. She needed a name that would reflect her new personality and power. I wouldn’t be able to go up so someone and say my name was Snowy, that would just be embarrassing, Splotch would be the same for her now.

I dove down and skimmed the water for fish, but this huge body of water was very unlike the creeks and rivers I was used to fishing in. There was nowhere that I could perch and spy on the fish, then strike, and I didn’t even see a fish. I guess that was the price for freedom, we’d just have to go a little hungry for a day or two, but the next river I came across I was going for it.

All the time there were people calling out to us, yelling for us to come down, particularly Thomas, trying to coax us down with phoney promises like letting us out more often and giving us treats when we won battles. Yeah? Well I’d believe it when I’d see it. He had more Pokémon apart from me and Splotch, why weren’t they out?

But eventually Splotch was the one who spotted land. We had been up on the roof for a day, and I wasn’t in the mood for any more. She leapt deftly onto my back and gripped my shoulders with strong paws, but without digging her claws in. I spread my wings and dropped off the edge, lifting up in the air. But this time I didn’t turn back. I flapped my wings and soared away from the boat, drifting on the ocean air currents.

We flew much faster than the thing, pulling ourselves back to freedom, away from the confines of the Pokéball. Despite the extra weight, it was quite easy going, she barely seemed to weigh anything. I drifted along, the land growing larger and larger all the time. My wings were beginning to ache, but the land was still a fair distance away. I persisted.

I flapped up higher, so I could glide more, but the ocean below grew closer and closer. I clenched my beak and thought of freedom and what I could do with it. That powered me on. But it wasn’t long before I just couldn’t go any further. The sun was dipping once more to the horizon. I don’t think I had ever flown for so long, let alone with the extra weight, which was now taking effect.

Then a long, snaky neck lifted out of the water. The neck was attached to the big blue body and purple shell of a Lapras. Several other Lapras appeared from under the water along side it. I sighed with relief.

“Hey!” I called down to them, “Can you give us a lift?”

All the heads turned upwards to the sky. The biggest Lapras of the group, the one at the front, nodded. “Yes, we can.” The Lapras’ voice was smooth and soft and very welcoming. “Just glide down here and I’d be glad to take the pain from your wings.”

I swooped down and landed on the Lapras’ back, then flopped onto my chest, leaving my wing tips and tail to trail along in the water. I closed my eyes and felt the pain just drip away, like water of my wings and into the ocean. I felt as though I could just go to sleep right there, on the lumpy hard back of the Lapras.

“Thank you very much,” said Splotch to the Lapras.

“You’re welcome,” replied the Lapras, “Where have you been heading?”

I pointed to the land with an aching wing, wincing at the pain, “Over there, just to the land will be fine.”

“Glad to be of service,” answered the Lapras, bowing his head. At that point, I must have dropped off, sleeping on the gently rocking back of the Lapras.

Fourteen | Sixteen