Jewel of the Air

Nine
Freedom

Oh, how great it was to stretch my wings once more! I flipped, rolled and dive bombed until the sun went down, when I glided down into the bushy undergrowth of trees. What would I do now, now that I was free? Look for Mum and Dad? No way. I sacrificed myself to that guy just to get away from them, there was no way I was going back. They didn't even try to rescue me. Forget them.

Go home? I don't think so. There's nothing to do there, it's so boring. And besides, I had no idea which way home was. Come to think of it, I had no idea where anything was.

Maybe I could go to a town, see whether all people are like that. According to Mum, they weren't all that bad, you just had to know your way around them, show them who was boss. I could do that. Next time anyone wanted to capture me, they had another thing coming. I wasn't giving myself up that easily ever again.

I saw a flash of brown shoot through the trees. I didn't know what it was, but I decided to investigate. Trying not to look like I was trying to find the creature, I peered under my crest at the bushes, and spied a quivering patch of brown fur.

I carefully stepped through the undergrowth towards the blue patch. As I neared, I noticed how tiny the animal was. It had its back towards me, its tiny front paws covering its eyes. What was it?

I gently tapped it with my claw, and it immediately sprang to life, streaking off through the trees like a blue bolt of lightning. There, that's what I could do, explore. That could be fun, maybe. I shrugged and nestled down for the night.




I woke the next morning and heard a slight rustling in the bushes. Pretending I was asleep, I carefully opened one eye and peered through the trees, but saw nothing, so I closed my eye and lay in semi-sleep. A tiny pair of paws on my neck jolted me awake. I opened my eye and saw the tiny brown animal I had seen in the bushes the day before.

It had big round black eyes, which were looking terrified, but inquisitive and curious at the same time. It should have had two ears, I'm sure, but its left ear had been torn clean from its head. Its right ear, long and velvety, was now twitching almost constantly, picking up each and every sound. The single ear gave the creature a slightly unbalanced look.

It had a stubby little nose, twitching even more than its ear. It had a huge, fluffy collar ruff and I could just see the tip of a very fluffy tail. The animal had a dark brown blotch right in the middle of its forehead. I wasn't sure whether that was dirt or markings.

Suddenly it seemed to gather up all its courage and smiled broadly down at me. "Hi!" I cringed at the pitch of its tiny voice, "I'm Splotch! What's your name?"

I closed my eye again and sighed. "Sapphire. What are you?"

"I'm a Eevee. Are you a blue Pidgeot? 'Cos I've seen a lot of Pidgeot, and they all have really long crests but you've got a really long tail. I was scared yesterday because Pidgeot eat Eevee and I'm a Eevee and I was really scared so I ran and ran. But then I got brave and came up to you." The Eevee paused for breath. "Are you a Pidgeot?"

I sighed again. "No, I'm an Articuno."

"Woah! Can you make it snow? 'Cos my mummy said that when it gets really cold in winter that's a Articuno making it snow and I really hate the snow, it's so cold and wet. I don't like the snow."

"That's great. Would you mind? I'm tired and I want to sleep," I groaned.

"Can I stay here with you? I'm lonely and lost and I can't find my way home and I want Mummy back so can I stay here with you?" When was this thing going to shut up?

"Whatever, just shut up and let me sleep."

"Wow! I get to stay with an Articuno! Wow!" The Eevee bounded around me a few times, then jumped up on my back and snuggled into my wings. I felt its breathing slow and I could tell it was asleep. Finally some peace.

I was woken fairly soon (I could tell because the sun still wasn't very high) by the call of "Go, Hypno!" A bright flash of light showed me a Pokéball was being opened.

"Hypno! Psychic!"

I was still not fully registering, and I didn't know what was going on. I saw the air around me go wobbly and turn a million different colours, so I decided I was dreaming. I closed my eyes, but then the pain started. It was horrible. It was the worst headache I had ever had the misfortune of experiencing. I clenched my beak and eyes shut against the pain. I could feel the tiny ball of fluff on my back tense up too.

Suddenly, the pain stopped. I realised that pain didn't come in dreams, it must be reality. Someone was trying to capture me again. I shook my head to clear it and turned to the trainer and her yellow Pokémon with a weird nose and a ruff around its neck and blew an ice beam at them. The pair flew back and landed with a thud on the ground. I spread my wings and took off. I wasn't getting captured, ever again.

The headache still lingered, and I didn't fly far before I began to feel a little dizzy. I shook my head again and blew a slight mist ahead of me, to cool my face down.

"Hey! That tickles!" I had almost forgotten the Eevee was there. I felt her stretch and hold on tightly to my dusty blue feathers. I'd need to preen sooner or later.

I flew on only a little way, but then my vision changed. I began seeing double. I blinked my eyes a few times, but it did no good. I couldn't see properly, and the headache was getting worse. I glided down towards the ground, but I must have blacked out before I landed, because I didn't remember landing.

Ten