The sun was low in the sky. Its glowing edge kissed the horizon as it slowly inched ever lower, signalling the beginning of dusk. An orange glow emanated from it and cast beautiful shades of red and pink on the few clouds that dotted the sky. It would be the perfect setting for a pleasant stroll, but to one girl it was wretched and she wanted it to just end.
A heavy sigh escaped the redhead's lungs as she walked along a gravel path leading only god knew where. Her feet seemed to drag slightly, and her posture was a bit slumped. There were bags under her grey-blue eyes, both of which were struggling to stay open. Her clothes were dirty and she had bruises spattered across her body. A few small scratches dotted her arms and face. The girl was a wreck, a tired, stumbling wreck that needed nothing other than sleep. But she was miles from any town or place to bed down, and she needed to keep moving. It had been a rough day for the girl, something that she wish never to happen again. She knew travelling was dangerous, but she never thought she'd have to deal with the danger herself.------------------------------------Earlier that day------------------------------------
Dawn was only two hours away when a girl was awoken from a deep slumber to the sound of rustling and a crying pokemon. The sounds of a struggle roused her from her sleep, but her mind was foggy and she needed a moment to figure out what was going on. Next to her, a pink pokemon was thrashing about in the arms of a stranger. They were trying to pick him up off of the ground, but he was making that incredibly difficult for the thug. It only took Quinn a second to realize that this person was trying to steal Slug. She was scared and unsure about what to do, at first, but after a moment she gathered herself."What the hell do you think you're doing?!"
She growled as she reached for her bag. She didn't have a weapon other than her hunting knife, but he wanted the thug to think she did. A risky move, but it was all she could think of. As she reached for the bag another figure walked up behind her and pointed a sword at her back."Don't move."
They spoke with the intent to intimidate Quinn. She froze. 'What do I do?!'
she thought as she watched Slug struggle and slap his tail against the thief's legs. "OW, calm down ye bastard!"
He growled with a deep, raspy voice. Quinn's eyes started to water ever so slightly. She was scared, and even though she'd had plenty of experience fighting her brothers, she'd never fought an unknown assailant before. How would they react? Was she going to be killed? What about Slug?
Her thoughts started to focus on her pokemon, and she realized that she needed to do something. If not for herself, then for him. A wave of courage washed over her, and for a while she felt like she could take on the world. In those seconds she also felt like she wasn't even controlling herself, like she was watching someone else fight with her body.
Quinn reached back, grabbed the ankle of the thug behind her and pulled as hard as she could. The man lost balance and went crashing to the ground. As he did so, the tip of his sword grazed Quinn's cheek, leaving a small but noticeable cut. He hit the ground with a sickening thud, his head smacking against the hardened earth. Quinn's lips turned upward into a fiery, determined grin as she turned her attention to the other human. She grabbed her bag, tossed it over her shoulder, then took the thug's sword.
The man that was struggling to steal Slug was too distracted by his job that he didn't notice Quinn grabbing his accomplice's sword until she was holding it up to his face. Quinn had no experience with a sword, but she was faking it in order to scare the man."Let him go."
She growled. Quinn pushed the sword forward an inch, just to startle the man. He took a step back from the pokemon. "Ye don't wanna do this girly..."
His hand moved toward the dagger on his hip, but he stopped when Quinn pushed the sword closer. "Get back!"
She exclaimed, and the man took another step back. Quinn noticed his eyes trail away from her toward his friend, and she swiveled around just in time to dodge the man's grab.
The grabber couldn't compensate for his weight, and he fell forward into slug and tripped over him. Slug cried out, hurt from the kick. The man fell into his accomplice and the pair fell to the ground. Now was her chance.
Quinn pulled Slug's pokeball out of her bag and recalled him. Then, as the men were scrambling to get up, she turned and ran. She had no idea where she was going, but she was going to run for as long as she could. The girl could hear the men chasing after her, and she just told herself not to look back and to keep going."You bitch, I'm gonna kill you!"
The injured man yelled. His head was dripping blood, but he was still determined to catch her. "Yer pokemon is mine!"
The other man called out.
Quinn shuttered, she was still running on adrenaline but that didn't mean she wasn't scared. She ran and ran, as fast as possible. She led the pair of thugs into the dense treeline along the roadside. She was hoping to lose them in the brush. This turned out to be a mistake as her foot snagged on a root and she went tumbling down a slope. She crashed into bushes and branches as she fell down the hill into a creek. She laid there, disoriented and breathing heavily. She needed to rest, but she could hear the men coming. They were cussing and yelling as they drew nearer, and Quinn needed to get away. She managed to get on her feet, but grimaced at the pain that her new bruises were causing.
She started running away again, but she couldn't run anymore. She needed to hide. Quinn looked around and found a large, dense bush to jump into and knelt. She hid there with her hand on her mouth to keep her from breathing too loudly. She watched through a gap as the men walked by."Where'd she go, eh? Did ye see 'er?""No, I didn't ******** see her."
Their voices trailed off as they continued to search along the creek. Quinn sighed when they were out of earshot, and slumped down onto the ground. 'What do I do now, Slug'
she thought to herself as she rolled the full pokeball around in her hands. She figured she needed to stay there for a while, just in case those thugs came back. But for how long?
Quinn stayed there for hours, her body ached and her rump was asleep but she felt she needed to stay as long as possible. After the day had passed and the sun started to fall, she decided it was best if she started trying to find an inn to stay at. She needed rest and food. She had been walking for about a mile, and as she saw the sun setting she worried that she would never find a town. She needed to make a call. Find a place to camp for the night? Or keep searching for a town?-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Now here she was, battered and bruised, travelling along an empty road in search of a safe place to sleep. The sun was falling rapidly, and the darkness was closing in. A chilly breeze sent goose bumps up Quinn's back and arms. She started to wonder if she would ever find town, or would she be better off just making camp now while there was still light. 'If I keep going and don't find an inn, I might lose my chance to make a good camp while there's still light.'
she reasoned with herself. So she'd decided, it was time to set up camp.
Quinn walked off the road a few paces and found a small grassy area that was big enough for her, Slug, and a fire. It was sheltered by trees, and surrounded by plenty of dry branches and twigs for a fire. It was a lovely spot, and if she hadn't been so tired and desperate she would have loved it. But, she was exhausted, and all she wanted was a warm bed and a good stiff mead. She sighed at the thought of a gut warming drink of honey beer, longing for the sweet taste of her favorite beverage. Maybe she could have one soon, as soon as she found a town.
The redhead bent down and sat her bag down on the grassy earth. Her body ached, and she groaned as she stood back up. She stretched her arms above her head and tried to stretch her back in an attempt to ease her pains. She remembered that when she was younger, her father would have her stretch whenever she felt sore. He would say "Bodies get stiff and injured if they don't stretch even when they're sore."
So she stretched some more. It hurt, but once she was done, the pains felt a little more like a good pain after exercise than what they really were. It was lucky, she figured, that she didn't receive anything more than some bruising and cuts. She could have died!
Another shiver ran down her spine at the thought of her own death, and in that moment she felt alone and scared. Quinn bent down, rummaged around in her bag, and pulled out her pokemon's capsule. She released the slowpoke, who shimmered into existence in front of her. He started thrashing and crying out, and it seemed he thought he was still being attacked. Why? Quinn wondered for a split second. Does time stop for them in there?
A wave of fear crashed over Quinn, and she had no idea why. She stood there and felt terrified even though all she wanted was to help her pokemon. Wait, her pokemon. He was part psychic, was he...making her feel this way? She shuddered at the thought of a creature being able to influence her in such a way, it was frightening for a girl who had no experience with psychic pokemon. What should she do? Is it always like this? Can he always make her feel like this? Quinn struggled mentally and pushed past the fear. She gathered her strength and knelt down next to her slowpoke."Slug...Slug it's okay!"
Quinn did her best to calm the pokemon down, but he just kept thrashing and the feeling of fear wasn't leaving the back of Quinn's mind. What should she do? She tried to put her hand on him and give him some pets, but he thrashed and smacked her hand away with his tail. "Ack!"
her hand stung from the sudden blow. She sighed, and sat down. What could she do?
A thought popped into her head and she realized that she had one thing that might work. She leaned over, grabbed her bag, and pulled out a leather pouch. The girl untied a string, opened the pouch, and pulled out a piece of sweet meat. It was just pungent enough that she thought it might pull Slug out of his hysteria. She put the pouch bag in her bag and turned her attention to the slowpoke. She held her hand out flat, palm facing up, and placed the meat on it."Slug, I have some food for you..."
She cooed. The pokemon didn't hear her, and he kept whimpering. "Slug, please? I have some food for you."
She inched her hand closer to the pokemon's nose.
The pokemon's thrashing stopped and he opened his eyes. He was shivering and scared, but the smell of the food had pulled him out of his trance. The fear that had flooded Quinn's mind washed away. Slug was still scared, but the feelings he had pushed onto Quinn were gone. It seemed he could only do that under stress, and honestly that relieved the girl. She wanted to get used to the psychic powers on her own terms."It's okay little guy, those jerks are gone."
Quinn comforted Slug. "I have this for you."
she said as she presented the food to Slug.
His shivering stopped and he tilted his head. He was still cautious, but he really wanted that food. Slug looked around, and when he determined it was just the pair of them, he inched forward and took the meat from Quinn's hand. The moment the sweet and salty food touched his tongue, all thoughts were erased from Slugs mind. It was delicious to him and now he just wanted more. The slowpoke wiggled his rump and walked up to Quinn. He knew that, unlike those evil humans, this human was might be good. She gave him food and love, and that was what was building his trust. She had saved him, and he appreciated that.
Quinn gave the slowpoke a pat on the head and said, "There you go, see? They're all gone."
She and Slug sat there for a while as she petted him. As his fear completely subsided, Slug curled up next to Quinn and enjoyed the attention she was giving him. He felt he couldn't express how much he appreciated the girl for what she did, so instead he just provided her company. Rugged hands caressed the pink pokemon gently. Quinn enjoyed the slightly warm feeling of Slug's smooth skin and his slow, rhythmic breathing. It was soothing for her to just give her friend some love and attention.
The calmness of the situation made Slug relax even more, and he nuzzled his head under Quinn's arm. It was a safe place to him, a warm place. He could just lay here with his head hidden for hours while receiving pets. All he ever wanted in life was relaxation and calm. He wanted to sleep and eat and be at peace. Who didn't anyway?
As the pink creature laid there, his eyes began to feel heavy. He was tired from the excitement of the day, but he couldn't help but feel scared. He didn't want to get attacked again. As he thought about what happened to him earlier in the day, his heart began to beat faster and a wave of panic washed over him. His fear sent a small twinge into Quinn's mind, a tickle, a feeling like there was some unknown thing that wanted to harm them. It was a feeling of fear again, and Quinn realized that her pokemon was afraid again. Quinn wasn't all that glad that his emotions could effect her in such a way, but she had a slight feeling that this might come in handy somewhere down the line."Don't be scared little guy"
She spoke softly as she stroked Slug's head, or at least what she could reach. "It's all going to be okay, we're safe now."
Slug pulled his head out from beneath Quinn's arm and gazed into her eyes. He could feel that she was calm and that she was sincere. His eyes began to water a tad as he realized that his human was indeed a good one. He was happy to have her.
Calm returned to the pair, and Quinn smiled. She was glad that Slug was beginning to trust her. All she had ever wanted was a companion, but she'd never thought it would be a slowpoke. But, as it turned out, slug was a great one. He was stubborn and lazy at times, but his willingness to trust and to love made Quinn feel like she was doing something right. Like she was important.
After a few more minutes of petting and relaxation, Quinn stated "Okay Slug, time to make a fire and try to sleep. Sound good?"
The slowpoke smiled and let Quinn get out from underneath him.
Quinn let him relax and fall asleep while she gathered twigs, branches and kindling for her fire. She built a small pyramid with the sticks and used her flint to set some kindling aflame. The girl gently sat the burning kindling in the middle of the wooden structure and blew on it until some of the sticks had caught fire. She smiled, proud of her handiwork, and sat back down next to Slug. She pulled her bag over, pulled out a small blanket, and snuggled up next to her now sleeping pokemon. She grabbed the bag and used it as a pillow. It wasn't that comfortable, but it would do."Goodnight Slug."
She yawned and placed her head on her makeshift pillow. It took a little while, but as she listened to her pokemon's soft breathing she was lulled to sleep. Hopefully she wouldn't be woken up again.