Jewel of the Air

Prologue
Returning

I lay on my back with my eyes closed and beak parted in a smile. I felt the soft, green grass on my back and the warm sun on my snowy white chest. I lazily opened my eyes and gazed up at the pure blue sky above me. A flock of Pidgey flew overhead, cooing gently in the air.

I heard the distant roar of an aeroplane, fast approaching. I find it amazing that humans need these huge hunks of white metal in order for them to fly. They have to fill them up with fuel and hurl them down a runway hundreds of meters long, just for them to take off. All I need are my wings. The red-tailed plane soared over my head, at least ten kilometres above the earth's surface and yet, still easily heard.

I followed the plane's path with my eyes until it left my view, then closed them again. I felt a warm breeze tugging gently at my crest and seven-meter long tail feathers. The breeze grew slowly stronger, and slightly cooler. In a few minutes, the breeze had turned to a wind. A cold harsh wind, penetrating my blue feathers to the skin.

I grumbled and unwillingly opened my eyes, staring back at the rocky ceiling of the cave I called home. It was still night-time. I watched my two meters of tail flap around Sapphire's ankles and brushed Glacier's tail from my face. I wanted to go back. It had been two years since we had last seen Sapphire and her Pokémon. Winter was clearly coming fast and Sapphire had learnt to fly. I didn't know if he could cope with long distances yet, but it was worth a try.

I gently shook Glacier awake. He grumbled and rolled over, turning his back to me.

"Glacier? Come on, wake up. I need to talk to you," I said.

He grumbled again. "Can't this wait?" he moaned.

"I want to go back," I said simply.

Glacier rolled back over and pushed his ruffled crest feathers from his eyes. "I know what you mean. Do you think Sapphire can cope?"

I shrugged. "Never too soon to find out," I replied, watching the two-year-old roll over in his sleep. His wings were mature enough to fly for quite a while, but I didn't know about three days straight. We may have to take a little longer.

Glacier thought it over. "Sure, why not. How about we leave when he wakes up, maybe after breakfast?"

I nodded. "I'll go get a fish or two," I said, rising to my feet. I walked to the edge of the mountain and dived off, gliding down to the snaking silver river below. For the first time in years, I'd be able to see the only human friend I'd made once more. I couldn't wait.

While I was down there, I glided to Shelly's cave. She and Ruby, her Smoochum, were still sleeping.

"Hey Shelly," I said, spilling air from my wings and gliding into the entrance of the cave.

Shelly groaned and rubbed her eyes. "Hi. What brings you here?" she mumbled.

"We've decided we're going to visit Sapphire. Do you want to tag along?"

"Heck yeah! Oh yes! How long's it been? Two years? When do we leave?" she cried, jumping into the air.

"In the morning. Well, later in the morning. I'll come by when the sun's up."

"Great," she smiled, "seeya then!"

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