I was once free in the volcanoes, living with no one but myself. I liked it that way. We are solitary creatures, we Moltres. None of the other fire Pokémon in these mountains respected me anymore. Not one. They used to bow trembling before me, but eventually, they managed to band together. They found my weaknesses. They overthrew me. So I left them for another region, where there were no other Pokémon.
But this life of nothing soon led me to boredom. I wanted to see the world, to see what else there was but my endless world of fire. So, I made it my destiny to see other places, then maybe, just maybe, my added knowledge, wisdom and perhaps even power could win me back my dominance in the volcanoes.
I flapped my wings and tore off into the sky, each wing beat creating a dazzling display of red and orange on the clouds. Once I had reached my desired altitude, I barely needed to flap my wings, for the burning updrafts from the volcanoes did all the work for me. All I needed to do was steer.
I glided for days, not seeing anything new. Maybe the whole world was like this? I thought to myself. What a boring existence. But I flew on, not noticing any change but for the increasing cloud cover and slightly cooler temperatures. Unfortunately, this added cloud cover brought rain, and at times even storms. During these times, I had to dive down to the safety of the volcanoes. It was boring, but as every fire Pokémon knew, even those without flames on their body, rain meant intense pain, and storms were potentially death.
As I flew on, the storms and rain grew more and more frequent, and the temperatures cooler still. I forged on. This must mean something interesting was coming up.
How right I was. Rocky mountains soon replaced the bubbling magma of the volcanoes, with not a drop of red to be seen. Suddenly I had to flap my wings occasionally in order to stay in the air. I had never experienced that feeling before, and it felt all too strange.
After a few more hours, the mountains were being coated by a strange white powder, much like ash, only colder than cold. When I landed to inspect it, it turned to water, forming a puddle around my feet. I jumped up hastily. I dropped down into the valleys between these strange mountains. Where was all the lava? The fire? The intense heat? What was this place?
I could no longer glide. I had to flap my wings all the time to stay aloft and for a bird with no previous need for flapping, this was a very exhausting task. I flapped and flapped, but I could see the strange white powder rising up towards me, closer and closer it came. I wouldn't be able to keep this up for long.
I decided at that point that I should turn back. But which way were the volcanoes of my home? I wheeled around the mountain and found a river. If the river flowed down to the flatter land, maybe it would be warmer there, I decided, and flapped my way along it. But no matter how hard I flapped, I couldn't stop the river coming closer and closer to me.
Then white powder began falling from the grey, cloud covered sky. Oh, the pain of it! That white powder was even worse than rain! It drifted slowly from the sky like ash, but it was so much more painful than ash. It dug into my feathers and melted into water. It stung my crest, wings and tail, making little hissing noises as it hit.
I clenched my eyes against the frozen ash and flapped for all I was worth, but it was no use. I gave up and dropped from the air, falling only a few metres into the white powder by the river. I didn't bother to open my eyes, didn't bother to lift my aching body. These frozen mountains would kill me, and there was nothing I could do about it. I lay panting in the deadly puddle of water, caused by my own fire, and drifted off into a sleep I was sure I would never awake from.
I don't know how long I was out for, but it must have been a while. I awoke, the aching pain still all over my body. I couldn't see much, but there wasn't enough flame coming from my wings, I was sure of that. I rolled over and groaned at the pain that shot through my head at the simple movement.
I was in a cave, of that I could be sure, but how did I get there? I blinked a few times and cleared my vision slightly. I could see a small wood fire burning beside me, and through the flames I saw a smudge of blue.
The blue smudge moved slightly.
"Ssh," it said to me, "don't say anything now, just rest." The blue smudge's voice was soft and smooth, warm as lava. It sent a warm tingle up my spine and I almost felt my flames flare up a little.
"Who are you?" I rasped. I mustn't have used my voice in a while, even I could hardly hear it.
"I'm Snowfall, an Articuno, but you have to rest now." An Articuno. I had heard stories of them. Legendary bird of snow, they called them. I guessed that white powder must have been snow.
"Thank you," I whispered, but I could say no more, for I had drifted off again, only this time it was merely sleep, not unconscious.
When I woke up, I could see well again. I saw the Articuno named, what was it? Snowfall, that was it, carrying logs of wood and dumping them on the fire beside me.
"Feeling better now?" she asked me with her smooth, warm voice.
I nodded, and it didn't hurt as much to do so that time, although there was still an ache. "Much better," I croaked. My voice was stronger now. "Thank you for saving me, Snowfall. I'm Inferno, a Moltres. I've heard about you, but never really known."
"Would you like something to eat? I can go and grab a fish if you like," she offered. I just realised how hungry I was and nodded, coughed and lay my head back down. That simple action sent a pang through my head again.
While she went off to get some kind of food, I took the time to study my surroundings. I was in a small cave with the fire beside me. I draped my wing over it. Ah, that felt better. The entrance of the cave was blocked up with a strange clear white substance, which melted at the heat produced inside the cave. I saw a small hole in the far corner that must have been there both to let Snowfall in and out and to stop the cave from flooding. Snowfall had gone to great lengths to save me. I must find some way of repaying her some day.
I saw movement through the strange wall and Snowfall's head poked through the hole and she wriggled through, dragging a Seaking in her beak. She placed the fish at my feet and watched me. I instinctively tried to cook the fish with my fiery breath, but burst instead into coughs.
"Ssh," Snowfall whispered, "It's already dead."
I laughed a hoarse laugh and coughed again. "I always cook my food before I eat it, makes it taste better," I explained, "Don't seem to have the puff for it right now though."
"Would it help if I put it on the fire?" she offered.
I shook my head, "No, that's okay, I'll just eat it raw." Why bother? I was ravenous. I hacked into the fish and barely noticed the different taste. It wasn't that bad, and I felt so much better afterwards. I let out a satisfied sigh and lay back by the fire, this time treating my other wing to it. I just realised that Snowfall had gone, probably to get her own fish, and sure enough, she squeezed back into the cave with her own fish.
"Thank you." It was such an inadequate word. This bird of ice had saved my life, and yet, in this strange land, all I could do was say thank you. I wished there was more. "I feel much better."
"What brought you to the mountains anyway? I would have thought a fire bird would want to stay with fire, not the complete opposite."
I shrugged. "I wanted adventure, but I got lost. I had pretty much given up hope, then you found me."
"I'd help you home, but I have no idea where that is. You've probably got more of an idea than I do."
I didn't have the faintest, but it would be better for her not to go to where I lived, her wings might melt, by the looks of them. "That's okay, I may as well stay here. I can put up with it, now that I've got a friend." I smiled up at her. She smiled back. I just knew we'd be friends forever.
But we were only friends for a month. No, I didn't find my way home, we found humans. They had many many Pokémon following behind them, almost too many to count. I didn't recognise any of them.
Snowfall was looking worried. She wanted to turn back, she obviously didn't like the look of those Pokémon. But hey, we were gods, what could they do?
"If we can defeat all of them, then we'll be the most powerful Pokémon on the planet!" I insisted.
She sighed, a worried tone in her voice. "If we must, but it just doesn't look safe. Are you sure?"
"Course I'm sure!" I answered, then dived down to the humans, hoping she's follow.
I landed behind them and screeched my screech that used to make all the fire Pokémon tremble with fear. The humans and their Pokémon whisked around, jaws dropping at the sight of me. Not only was I a god, but I was fire, in the ice and snow of the mountains.
"I thought we were looking for Articuno," said one man, "Where's a God of Fire doing here?"
"Who knows, but how about we grab it anyway," replied another.
I felt Snowfall's presence beside me as she spread her wings and cooed softly. Not as dramatic as I had hoped, but it got the right reaction.
"There's your God of Ice, boy, now get 'em!" the man ordered, and at once, a storm erupted from the Pokémon, complete with thunder, lightning and torrential downpours.
I opened my wings and spurted out the hottest fire blast I could muster. But they extinguished my fire before it even hit them. Snowfall shot out snow from her own wings that would have knocked me out instantly, but even that took no effect.
"Inferno, we can't do this, let's just go, please?" she pleaded, but I was determined. This would earn the respect of every Pokémon in the volcanoes.
I felt the snow beside me stop and saw out of the corner of my eye that she was turning away. I could just hear her mutter something, but couldn't make out the words from the crackling of my own fire.
I ignored her. She was abandoning me. I thought she was going to be my friend forever, but now she had turned on me. My eyes narrowed and I blasted out white-hot fire at all the Pokémon. I could do this on my own, I didn't need her help.
I saw one man throw a red and white ball at me, but I ignored it. What could it do that these Pokémon couldn't? Suddenly the mountains around me disappeared. I had the strangest feeling of being nowhere, unable to move. I figured I must have been in the ball. I struggled with everything I had, blasting invisible fire from my invisible beak.
Then the mountains returned. That bird had let me almost be captured by humans. I turned and glared up at her, my eyes burning with a more intense fire than ever before.
"You're going to pay for this! Snowy!" I screeched at the traitor, as I was again reduced to nothing. I struggled again as hard as I could, but my strength was drained. I couldn't escape. I was gone.
I was held captive in that ball for who knows how long. But eventually I was let out. I was in a cage with steel bars and barely enough room to stretch my wings. In front of me was a sea of people, all staring up at me with scrutinising looks on their faces, all peering forwards to look at the majestic bird of fire. I couldn't stand this.
I flamed hard and long at the bars, hoping at least to melt them enough so I could pry them open, but all they did was go red hot, nothing more. I realised that people were calling out numbers from the sea at my feet. I had no idea what they meant, but they were all looking very anxious.
Sooner or later a man to my left whom I hadn't noticed before yelled out, "Sold, to the woman in the red dress!"
I didn't know what sold meant, but the woman in the red dress was looking more than happy with herself. I guessed she was the one I had been 'sold' to. I was reduced again to the little red and white ball that was to be my master until I could escape it.
I was let out again into an even smaller cage, and at once bright white flashes of light blinded me, leaving coloured dots in front of my eyes. How was I supposed to escape if I couldn't see? I realised that must be the point of the flashes, to stop me from escaping.
I turned away from the flashes and covered my face with my wings, hoping that I might just be able to see again. Even through my eyelids I could see the flashes.
"Leave me alone, would you?" I screeched. I shot out a powerful fire blast, using the flames on my wings, crest and tail, as well as from my inner fire sack. The flashes stopped. I smiled evilly and opened my eyes again. People were staring at me with slightly blackened faces.
"For the last time," I said with malice, "Leave me alone." I said the words very slowly, in case they misinterpreted it. They still stood there, dumbfounded.
The woman in the red dress ran over to me. "Moltres, honey, be nice for the good media people. Please, Sweety?" I puffed a lick of flame in her general direction. I was no one's honey or sweety.
"Take me home," I hissed at her, "now."
"Moltres darling, I don't know what you're saying, but be good for the camera people. Please?" I puffed a few more flames at her, catching that red dress of hers on fire. I smiled to myself. No one messes with the god of fire and gets away with it. I screeched as loudly as I could, piercing the ears of anyone within a one kilometre radius, most of all the 'good camera people.' They dropped their black boxes and covered their ears with their hands and cried out in pain.
I noticed on the cage that there was a small lock thing keeping the door shut. I blast fire at it so hot it could have knocked out a Charmander. When the smoke had cleared, there was a dripping silvery liquid where the lock had been. I smiled again. Nothing could contain me.
I shoved the gate open and took off, spreading my wings once again. I didn't know where I was going, but it was away from here, that was for sure. Or not. I saw a red beam of light heading straight for me. The light from the Pokéball. I dodged it three times, but eventually it had me. I wasn't giving up. I struggled and struggled inside that ball, and finally, I was out. I flapped again and began to glow red all over. I flew along slowly and steadily, then tore off and speeds managed only by a sky attack. Like I said, nothing could contain me.
But where were the volcanoes? I could have been on the opposite side of the world for all I knew. But there must be volcanoes somewhere near here, there just had to be. I wouldn't be able to live without them.
I flew on and on over the forestland, but I didn't see anything new, just trees, trees and more trees. Then I saw it. Right on the horizon, there was a tiny bump, a bump that could only have been a mountain, hopefully one with lava inside. That sight spurred me on. I powered along into the night, the sky turning orange with every flap of my wings. I could still see the dark outline of the mountain against the star lit sky.
But then I felt a stinging drop of water on my crest. It was definitely rain. I was forced to dive down amongst the trees and seek refuge from the rain, however heavy it might become. But under the canopy, it was no better. There was nothing to shade me but trees, which had taken on an eerie orange glow. The rain came down harder, and I felt it pelting relentlessly at my flames.
I looked up at the dark sky, but the stars had disappeared. I could see nothing but rain and the odd flash of lightning. I couldn't take much more of this, all because of her. Why didn't she just let me die? The past month or so had been pure torture to me, painful and solid. But I wouldn't give up yet, I had the mountain in my sights. So near and yet so far away. I let out a blast of fire at the trees around me, burning off a bit of the frustration in me that wouldn't leave until I was home again.
The trees caught alight and I burst more flame at them, a full-blown fire blast. I smirked at the flickering bush fire, and burst out more fire, all the while the rain pelting at my feathers and flames.
"Go away!" I screeched at the rain, "I can beat you! I can beat you easily!" I cackled hysterically at the falling water, resisting its pain. I lay down against a scorched and still burning tree trunk and smiled evilly at my own carnage. I heard a crack above me, and looked up in time to see a great burning branch plummeting down to me, then the world went black.
When I awoke, there was no more rain, no more lightning and no more burning bush land. I was in a cage again, but this time I was too weak and aching to do anything about it. There were no bright white flashes, but there were still scores of people, all talking into strange black boxes held by more people, some black boxes were pointed at me, but they didn't seem to be doing anything, so I let them be.
I groaned and rolled my aching head over. At once everyone moved over to me, pointing their black boxes at me.
"Stop!" yelled one person, "Don't get so close, you might anger it!"
It, eh? Well, I thought, bit late for that now, 'it's already angered. I struggled to my feet and felt a fire deep inside me, burning harder and stronger than the fire in my wings, tail or even fire sack. This fire was more a mental fire than a physical one, but it would still fuel my physical fire.
"Go away, or I'll blow white fire in your faces," I warned them, my voice menacingly quiet. I opened my wings and turned all the fire on my body to white, just to prove to them that I could do it. They paid no attention to my warning, and so suffered the consequences. I flapped and blew the hardest, whitest fire blast I could manage, scorching everyone there that I could see, and turning the steel bars around me to liquid.
Despite every ache and pain in my body, I flapped my wings and threw myself into the air. I would eventually make it to the volcanoes, no one could stop me, no one.
I looked down to see another town and a forest a little way ahead. Whether or not it was the same forest I couldn't be sure, but I decided to make for it, and to keep on flying. But just as I reached the forest, I heard a loud crack and felt something rush past my ear. A second crack saw another thing zip by my leg, shaving off some of my skin.
I looked down to see three people pointing long steel bars at me. Another crack showed that this was where the flying things were coming from, but that one missed me. I screeched at them to leave me alone and dove down, glowing orange. I skimmed along the ground and blew more fire, only blue this time, at the three humans, then turned and flew up again.
I was crying with frustration. Why were these people after me? So what if I had torched them and their forest, it was their fault in the first place. Wait, no it wasn't, it was all her fault. Snowfall's fault. I roared in anger when I though of her happy little face, so innocent looking, and yet so deadly. I'd get her back for this sooner or later, but first I had to get home.
I wheeled around and headed back out over the forest, flapping as hard as I could. I could sense that my flames were getting lower, but that didn't bother me too much, I could make it home. If I could just find out where home was. I closed my eyes and sobbed in the air, not knowing where to go, how to get there, what to do. There was no hope anymore. None.
Even as I was flying I could feel the red light pulling me into yet another Pokeball, to yet another cage, more black boxes, flashing or otherwise. When I was let out again, I just flopped onto the ground.
"I give up," I wept, "Just let me die, please, just let me die."
"There you go, Moltres, you're free again now." What was that voice? Somehow, it sounded, I don't know, almost nice. And what did it mean by free?
I opened my eyes and blinked away the tears, then gasped at the sight before my eyes. It couldn't be true, just couldn't be. It wasn't my volcanoes, anyone could see that, but it was close enough, volcanoes are volcanoes, spread out for me. I smiled an evil smile and dove into the volcano, without looking back for fear that it might just be a trick, that I wasn't free at all, that these volcanoes were just here to tempt me, show me what I couldn't get. But now they were mine.
I stayed in those volcanoes for years, winning the respect and admiration, on some occasions even worship, of the other fire Pokémon there. They looked up to me, they obeyed me, and they feared me. I was the bird who took on humans, and won. I was the bird who wouldn't take anything from anybody. I was their leader, and they knew it.
But one day, a greater evil invaded my world, and none of my subjects were there to help me. This evil was the same evil I had made friends with oh so many years earlier. This evil had a name. Her name was Snowfall.