Book Three: Redemption, Chapter Three-
The sun hung high and wearily in the afternoon sky as the lone woman plodded down the long, deserted, beaten path between cities of champions. Shade had left her to be once more, and not even the sound of living things were around to keep her company, only the falls of her boots. Despite the smoldering heat, she maintained her dark vestments and fought off unconsciousness. She had been travelling like this for days now, and, for the amount of time she had done it before, it still had not gotten any easier. To worsen the situation, a faint buzzing had grown in her ear. Striking the side of her head, Rei immediately dispelled it as an affect of the heat, but louder and clearer it grew yet. It was the revving of an engine, coming from behind her.
She turned to spy a driver atop wheeled machine. Goggles donned, long, blonde hair flowing in the wind, clouds of dust in the wake of her mad rush. Rei recognized the signs and knew what was coming her way. It was a Rider, one of the biker rogues not skilled enough to have made it into Rocket but that still had a rebellious side seeking to be quenched. They approach lonely travelers and take all of their worth before speeding off. Since the fall of Rocket, their main and only competition, they have been more active than ever. Almost on her, the Rider swerved her iron steed, barely sliding to a stop before running into Rei. A swell of dust gathered by the skidding wheels let forth and doused her entire body.
"Aww," the outlaw mockingly soothed in her hyper voice as she pulled her eyewear to rest on the top of her head, "now look what I've gone and done. I'm sorry." Little did she know, but Rei found herself looking cleaner with the dust. The chrome machine glistened in the high sun, all but the lackluster word "Karkadan" emblazoned on its side. At the head of the metallic beast was fashioned the likeness of a mythical creature, with a long jagged horn sprouting from its forehead. Mud and grime splattered camouflage pants freely hung from her legs as a muscle shirt, presumed to once be of a white nature, wrapped over her body. Golden thunderbolts and a dog-tags dangled from her ears and neck. The only clean spot on her was where she just removed her spectacles. The motor still running, the Rider flipped the kickstand with a thick, black boot, leaned over the handlebars, and winked. "So, how you doin' today, good lookin'?"
"Ugh," Rei moaned with her face in her hand, "not this again." The rogue's face went from puzzled to disgusted.
"You wish!" scolded the bandit. Rei was somewhat relieved, despite the fact that the woman now was drawing a long, jagged sword. "Electra's the name, and I'll be your raider for the evening," she toyed. "Now, we both know how this works, doll," she hastily insisted, tapping the blade on her shoulder, "so let's not waste anymore time then we have to."
"Oh," Rei pawned in an innocent voice, "I perfectly do. Right now, I simply give you everything I own, starting with," she whisked the gun from its holster, "my bullets." A look of utter domination shone on her face as the motorized brigand turned completely white. Involuntarily, her body had already set escape in motion. As the wheels peeled out in the loose soil, Rei lowered her pistol and blew out one of the spinning tires, sending the bike flipping into the air. It landed, horn down, and threw Electra off and tumbling along the ground. As she shook off her daze, she looked up to find the twin barrels back in her face. Sweat poured down her. "You're lucky I'm saving these things, kiddo, and I've already wasted one on your steed," Rei notified the thieve, slinging the gun back as she turned around, "which, by the way, is now mine." Walking away, she crossed the firearm around the back of her neck. With a clang, it caught the notched edge swung at her. "Too predictable," she ridiculed, dropping her free elbow into the robber's stomach before executing a roundhouse on her lowered head. The groans and coughs coming from the ground were all the certainty Rei needed as she rocked the iron mount from its vertical position. Dragging it along, even though it slowed her pace now, it would pay off for her later.
The sun came to setting on her long trip, and the terrain had returned to uninteresting and uneventful. Amid the motionless, a warm gust of wind picked up, soothing the weary wanderer. Its satisfaction did not last long as its sudden arrival troubled her. Then, Rei saw it. In one of the mirrors of the cycled charger, burning against the fading sun set in the night sky, a flaming stallion sped from the horizon. It overcame her in an instant, bringing with it the searing gale. The burning bronco halted in its tracks, not overstepping its bounds by an inch. Rearing its snarling head, it brandished its smooth length of horn menacingly at her. Upon its back was mounted a dark rider, who, swinging around off the mustang, landed in its mane's light. It was none other than Electra, with busted lip, holding her bruised gut. Slowly, she lifted her sword, pointing in accusation.
"You have something of mine," she panted, "and I aim to get it back." With a snap of her fingers, the fiery mare stepped forth, bearing its teeth. "And, to keep things interesting," she added, ripping a cord from her belt, sending the three vessels attached to the earth, "I'll just let Mindbender, Raiju, and Dig-dug join the party." Rei followed her example before parrying the serrated blade. Karkadan darted forth to end the struggle, but its charge was redirected as a horde of slithering tendrils pulled the Rapidash away from its target. Surging with energy, the Jolteon leaped forth to deep-fry the jellyfish but was intercepted by a stream of flame. Amidst its assault, the trembling ground broke open as three heads popped out, followed by a frenzy of paws tore the Flareon's belly asunder. However, the Dugtrio's work was cut short as its hole filled with putrid, viscous fluid. The nauseating stew frothed forth from the cavity high into the air. So high, in fact, that the Muk separated from the ground altogether, cupped as if contained within some invisible bowl. With beaming eyes, a distant, scrawny figure maneuvered the basin threw the air. The Alakazam's spell broke as a wall of flame rose around it and Cinder flew through to force it to the earth.
Repetitive blows were fended off by Rei until Electra fatefully struck down from above. Catching the edge in-between the recess of the two barrels joining. Bringing her hand around to the opposite side of the cutter, she pulled herself off the ground, rising her legs, spread out before slamming her boots together on the rogue's hand, forcing it to drop the weapon. Now in Rei's possession, she continued somersaulting backwards. Upon landing, she hurled the knife in the Rider's direction, who easily dodged it, but that was not her target. It continued onward towards her very own Flareon, who spotted it amid its mauling of the Esper. Leaping from its opponent, the sword sped by. What Cinder did not notice, however, was the crouching Jolteon behind it and the ball of lightning it had fired. Raiju's thunderstorm was channeled to its nearest possible mark, the spoon-bearing Mindbender, sizzling the psychic. Alerted to the second enemy's position, he altered his descent to pounce upon the electric beast.
Galloping with all its might, the fire horse could not break the tentacles that bound it. Salvation came through a crack in the earth as a triad of heads popped through. Revealing its razor claws, the mutant mole hacked through the bondage. Free to run wild, Karkadan charged toward Rei while Squishy flailed in pain but found its hooves fettered to the earth. Streams of acidic slime launched skyward as the thinly spread Goopy condensed to its location, but jags of rock sliced through its fluid body as Dig-dug manipulated the earth. Seizing the opportunity, the Rapidash's body became lit by a flaming aura that fired into the heavens. Parting the atmosphere, an explosion released a red haze that blanketed the battlefield in a scorching mist. Engulfing itself in a blaze, it singed all that remained of the Muk from its form. With the poisonous sludge laying in a still puddle, they set sights on aiding their master. In mid-sprint, the two became distracted by a blinding radiance.
It had been forgotten to this point, but a vortex of shining particles gathered into the pungent flower of Poppy. The Vileplume expelled the burst of energy, swallowing the duo. Unlike its partner, Karkadan braved the blast and, stomping its flaring hoof, sent a sparkling path along the ground. When it reached were the large petaled monster stay, it violently erupted in column of fire. The Rapidash smirked as darkness returned. The clouds gathered once more, denser than previously. A looming presence became known to its hind side. A pin-point torrential shower swiftly formed a whirling maelstrom that drowned out the fire horse's spark. Taking dominion over the summoned tide, the Tentacruel pulled its flow in way of the last remaining foe, however, the Jolteon sensed the rushing waters and split into two shadows. Cinder was not as fortunate and was swept away in the deluge. Seeking out Raiju's new position, Squishy guided the waves into a powerful torrent. Speeding to the mark, it smiled as the illusion cleft once more. While pummeling Electra into the ground with bloody fists, Rei became distracted by noise before her and peered away from her brawl to find the crashing deluge coming her way.
The mass of water barreled on towards her and struck, feeling as no more than a drop. Rei's spent eyes parted, staring into a cloud filled sky. Again, a droplet struck her face before the downpour ensued. Straining to move, she found herself spread out over the ground, the rain water cooling her aching muscles. Her feverish headache was dispelled by the heaven's wash. Forcing herself, she sat up to take in her surroundings. No tread or track was present less her own pair that led to her present position. Still queasy, she pulled herself out from the forming mud while holding her head, pondering what, or if it, had happened. Peering down, her pistol was unnoticed and unholstered in her hand. Checking the ammo, she found the stock shy a bullet. The whole situation made her brain hurt.
"It's too hot," she stated, shedding her black jacket and slinging it over her shoulder, as she continued on her way.