Snowdrift

Fourteen
EggSale.com

"Right-o," said Sapphire after a satisfying meal, "What should phase one of operation Cuno egg be?"

"Phase one," replied Shelly, "was originally to find a kind human, so we can check that off. Phase two we have no idea about, that's why we tried to find you."

"Fair enough." Sapphire scratched her head, a puzzled expression on her face. "Well, I think that seeing as Articuno eggs are so rare, the people who nicked it probably want to sell it, so we'll look in catalogues for Pokémon eggs, maybe on the 'net. We'll get it back somehow. How long until it's due to hatch?"

"A month," I answered.

"We've got to work quickly then." She stood up and walked into a little room. Shelly and I followed her in. Inside was one of those 'computers' that I had seen at the Pokécentre, only this one was pale blue rather than green. Sapphire was seated at it, staring at the screen. She moved a little thing attached to it and light appeared on the computer's screen, forming a picture of a lake in the mountains with lots of tiny pictures all over it.

I walked timidly over and took a seat; Shelly grabbed one for herself. Suddenly a strange beeping sound came from the computer, followed by an awful screeching noise.

"Is that supposed to happen?" I asked.

"Yeah, it's just dialling up onto the Internet. That's where you can look at stuff from all over the world."

I was awed. The screeching noise stopped and a big white box filled the screen, with more tiny pictures at the top. In a white bar at the top of the box, a little line was flashing. Fiddling with her stone, Sapphire tapped at some of the buttons on a board in front of the computer and squiggly lines appeared in the box.

"Here we go, Egg Sale dot com. That should have something."

At once, a picture of three eggs filled half of the screen, one I recognised as a Moltres egg, the others unfamiliar to me. More squiggled filled the lower half of the screen. Sapphire typed in more squiggles into another box and the screen changed again.

"I just searched for Articuno eggs, but nothing turned up. Any other idea?"

"How about searching up rare eggs?" suggested Shelly. She obviously knew about this 'Internet'. I had absolutely no idea what was going on.

"Good idea."

More tapping and clicking and the screen changed again, showing pictures of eggs down the side. Sapphire scrolled down the page, telling me what each of them was. Those squiggles had some great significance.

"Abra, Bulbasaur, another Bulbasaur, Chansey, Charmander, Clefairy, Dratini, Farfetch'd, Jynx, Lapras, Lickitung, Mr. Mime. Nope, no Articuno. Hang on, here's mystery eggs, most people think Articuno aren't even real. They probably don't know what one looks like."

The screen changed and showed three more eggs. There was a Moltres egg, a Zapdos egg and a small pink egg with darker pink dots on it. I didn't know that one. No Articuno eggs. Sapphire scrolled down the page and showed one more egg. I gasped.

"That's it! That's my egg!" I cried, staring in joy at the monitor.

"It's beautiful," chorused Shelly and Sapphire together.

Sapphire tapped more squiggly things on the screen next to the picture of my egg. "It says here that it was found abandoned in the mountains to the north of here. It says you can only buy it if you have a big enough freezer to store it in, because since it was found in the mountains, it must be kept at the temperature it was found at. But it's so expensive! A million Pokéyen? I can't afford that!"

"Abandoned my foot! We were hunting! So how do we get it? There has to be a way." I pleaded.

She pointed to more squiggles at the bottom of the screen. "That's their address, where their storeroom is. It's a fair distance, but we could go there and steal it back from them."

"Good idea," I said, "But we have to wait until Glacier gets better first. I couldn't stand leaving without him."

"Hey, I know!" cried Shelly, "While we're waiting, you could train us! I've always wanted to know what a good trainer's like, unlike that Jack." She spat the name out.

"Sure thing. It's a bit late to start now though. How about we start tomorrow morning? You can come out with the rest of us to train."

"I'd love to. Where do we sleep?" I asked, giving a yawn.

She clicked with the round thing attached to the computer and the picture of the mountains appeared again. "Here, I'll show you," she said, getting to her feet and yawning herself. She led us out of the room and down a corridor. She opened a big, thick door and a blast of cold air rushed out, almost as cold as the mountains.

"There you go, just like home! 'Night guys!" she closed the door behind her and walked off.

"Oh, I haven't had cold like this for weeks!" I said, looking up through the ceiling at the stars in the sky above, "this is wonderful!"

"Look, there's snow on the floor and everything! Oh, brilliant!" said Shelly, her voice full of joy.

The door opened and Jewel and Scarlet walked in.

"Welcome to paradise, you two," said Jewel, closing the door behind him.

"It's almost like my cave," I replied wistfully, images of the mountain hideaway in my mind. I nestled down on the snowy floor, hid my head under my wing, closed my eyes and drifted off to sleep with a smile on my face.

fifteen