After a night, a day and another night of doing absolutely nothing, we took off with the last bag, mostly Pikachu, and headed for the forest. We didn't talk during the whole day of flying. I don't know what Shocker was thinking about, but I couldn't get my mind off my tail.
An Articuno's most prized possession, gone. Sure it'll grow back, but for seven years I'll be the tailess, or at least short tailed Articuno. All the time pictures of that Articuno my mother's friend had haunted me. I couldn't get the vision out of my mind. I must look like that right now. An Articuno without its tail is like, like a Slowbro without its Shellder, or a Kingler with two small claws, it just doesn't happen. My beautiful tail, seven metres long, burnt to a stub no more than five centimetres.
We landed by the moonlight and joined up with the river again. I dipped my tender foot into the fresh and icy water; it felt so delightful, all cold and tingly. I would have to see the Pokécentre for more than one reason now, but I doubt that they'd be able to do anything about my tail.
I carried my poor detached tail with me as we flew, slightly clumsily, to the forest where the Pikachu lived. To have so many, this guy Jack must really like them, or like torturing them. We landed late in the morning, once more with the river, and I hopped around on one foot as I somehow managed to de-ball the final Pokémon.
This time there were big animals with pink flowers on their back [Venusaur], black balls, also with pink flowers on their heads [Vileplume], some yellowy things with big pink mouths and long vines, [Victreebell], the Pikachu and the Jynx, Shelly.
Squeak ran over to me at full pelt and leapt up onto my chest, hugging me with tightly closed eyes and a deliriously happy open mouth.
I knew it would come, and I had prepared myself for it the whole three days, but I still wasn't ready for it. "Oh my god! What happened to your tail!" I couldn't bare it, to think of that battle again. I put the tiny Pikachu down and started wailing again. Before everyone stated crowding around my rear end to inspect the damage, Shocker ushered them all away into the forest, but Squeak refused to leave me, for now.
"Are you okay? What happened?" he squeaked, his tiny voice full of sympathy as he nuzzled his cold wet little nose into my feathers.
"Had a battle with a Moltres. I really don't want to talk about it right now," or ever, I added to myself, "Ask Shocker about it, he saw. He's probably telling everyone right now, if you want to go and listen." I tried to hold back tears.
"Are you sure you'll be okay?" he whimpered.
I gave a reassuring smile. "I'll be fine," then burst into tears again when he'd bounced off into the greenery.
When I'd recovered a bit more, I hopped off to the group of Pikachu and the odd grass Pokémon by the river.
"... That fire spin was the worst I had seen," Shocker was saying, "but Snowfall somehow managed to survive it, but that screech, I'm sure it would have grabbed the attention of a few in the volcano." He paused a while when he saw me entering, but, not wanting to loose the attention of the crowd, or just to save me from the sympathetic mob, he continued.
When the story came to an end, I gave a smile and a loose clap with my wings. It wasn't that loud, but everyone heard it. Suddenly, every head turned to me, eyes filled with a look, not sympathy, more like admiration. It just dawned on me. I had beaten a Moltres. I had beaten the God of Fire. To these creatures, I was a hero. Then the questions started hurling at me.
"Did it hurt when your tail came off?" "What did the fire spin look like?" "How did you manage to do a blizzard when you were so hurt?"
I opened my wings for silence and opened my beak. "I have a question for you all. Does anyone have healing properties, 'cos this foot really hurts."
One of the Vileplume stepped forward. "I won't be able to heal it, but I can put a stun spore on it to numb it and stop it from hurting so badly."
"That'd be great, thanks." I sat down in the leaves, the offending leg outstretched. A look of shock spread throughout the crowd when they saw my foot, and I must say, it wasn't the most pleasant sight I had ever seen either.
The Vileplume lowered her flower and started shaking it. A golden powder started to fall from the centre and landed on my leg. Instantly, my leg went numb. It was a weird feeling, but at least it didn't hurt any more.
"Thankyou, that feels much better."
"You're welcome, but you'll have to get to a Pokémon centre as quickly as you can, as the pollen won't work forever. It'll probably ware off by tonight."
"Okay, I'll be off then. Shelly? Do you still want to come?" I asked her.
"Heck yeah! Even more so now that you're a hero! You won't drop me will you?"
"I never dropped Shocker, and I think he felt pretty safe up there. Hop on!"
She waddled over and climbed on my back, arms wrapped tightly around my neck.
"Not too tight, you might choke me!"
"Heh, soz Snowfall, that better?"
"That's fine, but don't tighten your grip when we take off. Here we go!"
I flapped my wings again and took off.
"Woah! Oh, this is so cool! I've always wanted to fly! Wow!" cried the Jynx. She was much heavier than Shocker, I could barely feel him, but I could still fly easily enough with her.
We were flying for about an hour when she started asking me a few questions, thankfully not about the tail.
"So, where in the mountains are you from?" she asked
"The cave above the river on Big White, you?"
"Little further upstream, nearer to the river. There's a big clump of trees there, made my home in there. So, like, how'd they get your egg? Would have thought Big White was inaccessible to humans."
"So did I, but somehow, they got up there and nicked it, while we were fishing, so we came to look for it. Then Jack caught Glacier."
That kind of ended the conversation.
The town came in sight pretty soon. We flew until the sun went down, and just glided down outside the Pokécentre when the last remnants of the day blinked out.