Snowdrift

Three
Lesson One--Humans are Ruthless

I was too sad, lonely and worn out from the battles to continue flying that night, so I slept by the bush and rose with the sun the next morning. I was flying for just half the day when the snow had melted and in its place were rocks, soon to be replaced by grass. What a sight! To see the whole world blanketed in green rather than white! And oh so many trees! By the time the sun began to set in a blaze of orange, I was coming to the edge of a huge forest, the river running straight through it.

I looked behind me and saw the mountains of my home, far behind me, just touching the horizon, lit orange by the setting sun. I kept going. I would not stop until it was too dark to see. In the light of the full moon, that meant all night I would follow the winding river to wherever it would lead. Articuno have great stamina and can fly literally for three days, probably more if we didn't need to catch food.

By midday the next day, I was clear of the forest. I had not seen any Pokémon in the forest, probably because they were all asleep, but those that weren't were probably petrified of the massive blue bird gliding noiselessly over their heads. But I just swooped down for fish, never bothered with anything more.

Near the edge of the forest was a town. Not very big, but a town nonetheless. There were many houses and a few huge buildings. One had a great spike on top, probably to pick off unwary flying Pokémon, just so they can torture them some more. Another big building was shaped like a great dome with a strange sheet of shiny stuff on top that looked like ice or water, but would surely have run off or melted in this sun. There was another giant building, kind of like a box made of rock with tiny holes filled with more of that strange clear stuff.

I had reached my destination. A town by the river. Now, how on earth do you find an Articuno and an Articuno egg in it? I flew to the big dome building and looked down through the top. Inside was a whole mass of humans and a big space in the middle, where a Seel and a yellow mouse-like creature with pointy ears were battling, with their trainers yelling orders from each end. The human who had captured Glacier had neither of these Pokémon, so I moved on to the building with the spike.

There was nothing at all inside this building, so that left the big stone box. I landed on a tiny ledge outside one of the holes and peered in.

I got the most horrible fright. My dear Glacier was perched on a rail at the ceiling of the building, from which small spikes pointed downward, some making light, others shiny and steel grey. Glacier was looking fearfully down to the ground. I was wrong about the guy not having any mouse things. There stood more than twenty of the little yellow things, their smug trainer staring over them.

He yelled something to the yellow things and they clamped together, clenched their little paws and screamed in one big voice, "CHU!!" Then followed a brighter than bright bolt of lightning, aimed straight at Glacier! When the light dimmed and I could see again, Glacier was lying on the floor, out cold. The human showed no sympathy.

He walked over to Glacier and started kicking him in the side, in the head, in the stomach, anywhere to make him wake up. I couldn't take it any more.

I yelled out at the guy, anger burning in my eyes, colder than ever. I screeched as loudly as I could, making me almost hoarse. "You bastard! Come out here where I can get you! Leave my Glacier alone or you will be no more!!!" I wanted to say something more harsh, but at the time, I couldn't think of anything better. It wouldn't have mattered anyway, I don't think he understood me.

He gave Glacier one last kick in the head and called his other Pokémon to him, possibly for protection. I flew back and rammed the hole as hard as I could with my beak, shattering sharp broken bits of the stuff everywhere. I stood once again on the ledge and talked with the little yellow creatures.

"Please don't shock me. I'm just here to get my mate out. If you want, I promise I'll get you out of here and back to your real home."

The creatures huddled together, and I was afraid they were going to shock me anyway. But they turned around and faced me. Then one, the biggest one, spoke to me. "How do we know that such a big bird wouldn't just drop us in a pit and try to eat us? You saw what he made us do to that other bird."

I flew down and shook my head. "There's no need to worry. Articuno only eat fish and stuff like that. Never tried a, uh..."

"Pikachu" finished the lead yellow creature.

"Yeah. And I can promise you, I wouldn't really want to. Fur bugs me, particularly static fur." I finished with a smile.

The Pikachu huddled again, talking in whispers. By this time the waiting human was getting impatient. "What are you waiting for, Pikachu? Thunder attack!"

The Pikachu ignored him, still in their huddle, whispering. Then I heard what would be my doom. There were small sparks erupting from the group, making little zapping noises. Once again up came the cry. I turned around, shut my eyes and covered the fainted and bruised Glacier with my wings. I saw the flash of electricity behind my closed eyelids, heard the roar of thunder and Pikachu, but felt no pain at all.

Cautiously, I opened an eye and swivelled it round to the group of Pikachu. The bolt of electricity was not aimed at me, but at the trainer. When the light dimmed once more, it was the human who was out cold.

I raised a brow at the Pikachu. "I guess this means you're in?"

The big one spoke again. "We find it hard to trust such a massive creature, but we're willing to give anything a try to get away from him," he said, jerking his head at the unconscious man.

I grinned, but the pleasure faded quickly. How was I to get Glacier out? Along with twenty odd Pikachu? They must have an idea. After all, they had been here for who knows how long.

"Would there happen to be anything to wake Glacier up?" I almost begged.

A different Pikachu spoke. "Yeah, there's this stuff called revive. Really good too. It's guaranteed to wake him up. He'll still have a headache and be bruised all over, but we can't really do anything about that. Jake keeps it in that little box in the wall over there," he said. Every head turned to the box in the wall. "Only trouble is, we can't reach it."

"Do you know how to open it? One of you could climb on my head and I'll lift you up there. You can't be that heavy."

"I know how to open it!" piped a tiny little squeaking voice from the back. The tiniest Pikachu in the group bounced over to me and stood to his full height, no more than twenty centimetres. "He used to carry me around and stroke my fur. I've seen him open that box heaps of times. Really easy!"

"OK, climb on!" I bent my head and walked to the box. The little Pikachu reached out to a circular thing and started twisting it back and forwards, then he yanked it. Nothing happened. He tried again. Same result. The third time didn't work any better.

"I don't understand it. I did just what he did every time! What's wrong with it?" cried the Pikachu, slamming the twisty thing back at the box.

"It's OK, don't worry about it. Is there anything else that could wake him up?" I asked, trying with everything I had not to get angry.

"Well, there's the Pokémon Centre, said the lead Pikachu, looking thoughtful. "Trainers can take their Pokémon there and the people there heal you. Really nice too. It doesn't matter that you can't speak human, they've got Chansey helpers there we can talk to."

"But how do we get him there? It's too hard for me to pick him up, let alone carry him there. Wait, I've got an idea!" I glided over to Glacier and opened my wings in a mist 'attack' that would hopefully revive him. It didn't work. He just lay there, not moving. I hung my head in dismay. Would we ever be able to wake him? I felt a little paw on my leg and looked down to see the tiniest Pikachu sitting there.

"I think I have an idea!" he squeaked.

four