Birds: The Curator sends out invitations to dinner and a show

 

Posted by Kurugi on April 3rd, 2009

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Roy, Daemon, and their pokemon were suddenly surrounded by several large men with equally large staves. 

"You two are coming with us." One of them grunted. Their bodies were completely covered in cloaks except for at the arms, where their bulging muscles flexed threateningly as they spoke. Roy looked between each of them, trying to find a spot with enough room to run, but the brutes were just too big. Daemon, in an attempt to snub them, floated higher and tilted her head up in disgust.

"You can ask nicely or just go away. The Poke Goddess of Time does not--" And that was as far as she got before an enormous hand grabbed her ankle and yanked hard, slamming her body momentarily onto the floor. She rose back up involuntarily, half-concious and whimpering as the same hand grabbed her hair to hold her in place. Another of the men held a stave to Roy's shoulder and poked lightly, nearly sending him to the floor.

"Move!" One of the giant's commanded. Roy held up his hands in surrender. He saw his and Daemon's pokemon being led off by a small group of Magmar and Spearow that looked just as vicious as their masters.

Max, Polaris, and Hari were just behind Vermil and Saffy when they entered the chamber of books. Polaris instantly began sketching the beautiful room. It would have made an excellent piece, had he the chance to finish it. But a hand on his shoulder pulled him from the work. It was Max, but he wasn't looking at Polaris, or Hari, or the other two. He was watching their 'guide' leave, watching the look in the curator's eyes as he closed in on Saffy and Vermil and, Polaris couldn't explain it, but it seemed as if he was watching behind them as well. 

Without saying a single word, Max knocked Polaris and Hari to the ground. Polaris looked up in shock at the attack, only to realize that it hadn't been an attack at all. Three very large, very dangerous looking men with staves fell upon Max. Max kicked one, punched another, and ducked away from the third's massive arms. All he had managed to do was hurt his hand and give the other a slight itch. The first two grabbed his arms from behind and twisted them painfully, while the largest took place to punch him. Max threw all his weight into lifting his legs and kicking out, connecting with the giant's face as searing pain traveled through his arms. The giant stumbled back into a wall, rubbing his face. When he pulled his hand away, there was blood on it. Polaris and Hari watched in horror as the now angry giant sent his huge fist into Max's gut and face again and again. The young man passed out from the pain long before the giant stopped hitting him. When he finally did, he was panting.

"Put extra restraints on that one." He huffed. Eev let out the most vicious growl its small body would afford it and lunged at the giant, only to be knocked out of the air by a quick flying spearow. He bounced off of the wall and fell limp to the ground.

"Now..." The giants turned to Polaris and Hari, dropping Max to the ground. Polaris shielded Hari's scared eyes from the bloody sight. Picasso was cornered by two Magmar that were closing in with vicious intent.

"You two will come quietly, won't you?" He still hadn't quite caught his breath, but his voice remained strong and threatening. Polaris nodded nervously, letting his eyes wander to Picasso. The Smeargle was terrified. He looked back to Hari, whose eyes he was still covering. The young boy had passed out in fright. In his sleep, he mumbled something about someone named 'Carmen'. The artist hoisted him up, cradling him with the boy's head rested on his shoulder and holding Picasso's hand as he was led away. One of the giants threw Max over his shoulder and picked Eev up by the tail.

"Mis, Mis..." Carmen watched her master being carried in Polaris' arms with tearful eyes. She fluttered high above them to stay unseen.

Vermil watched the brutal beating Max was given. He had thought the thug was a tough man, which only made the cloaked men more frightening. 

"Ah! Lemme go!!" Saffy screamed, Vermil turned to see the curator holding her arms behind her, and suddenly had the feeling that something very large was behind him. Two large hands grabbed his shoulders and forced him down to his knees. Vermil saw Max in his head again, saw him put everything into fighting back. He saw Polaris, openly scared but keeping under control. He wanted to emulate one of them, to have just a little of their strength...

Oddly, though, he copied Hari, and passed out from fear. The giant actually relinquished his hold on the boy, thinking he'd harmed him. Vermil was foaming a little at the mouth, and his eyes had rolled entirely back into his head. Saffy was more stunned than anyone else. The curator let out a malicious giggle.

"Well, there goes your last knight in shining armor, missy. Hee hehehe!"

---

It was the oddest 'parade' any of them had ever seen, let alone been a part of. They had floats, music, even a crowd, but that was where the normalcy ended. The entire group was bound to the last float, which was made to look like some kind of stone altar. Saffy was tied down to the altar itself at the top of the float, as the most important. Hari and Vermil were strapped the altar's base, symbolizing that they were the least threatening. Picasso and Polaris were tied to posts on either side of the altar, facing forward instead of toward it. Roy, Daemon, and their pokemon were tied down in chairs facing the altar, to torment them. Max and Eev, who were both barely conscious, were tied to the front of the float, the farthest from the altar facing away from everyone, with Max's arms wrapped around the post behind him.

The parade was leading to the base of what looked like a dormant volcano. Just before the entrance, the other floats turned away, all heading either left or right. Their float, however, went straight inside. It was pulled by the giants that had captured them, with the largest in the front, his nose still broken and bleeding. 

"Mis, Mis!" A familiar voice whispered urgently in Hari's ear, waking him up. It was very dark, and he couldn't move, and either they were in a very soft earthquake or he was on something that was moving. But none of that mattered.

"Carmen!" Hari almost shouted in happiness. The Misdreavus shushed him.

"Quiet back there!" Someone yelled. Hari wasn't sure what was happening, but that voice sounded scary.

"You're alright!" He whispered. 

"Mis!" Carmen flew to his restraints and started biting at them. Rope? So that was why he couldn't move. But why...?

Hari remembered seeing the big guy named 'Max' getting beaten half to death. He remembered a comforting hand go over his eyes to protect him from the sight. Then he remembered why he passed out. Hari started to shake and sweat and nearly passed out again, but Carmen nudged him to get up. He could move again. 

They were deeper in the volcano now, deep enough for the magma to shed a small amount of light on the caverns around them. Polaris considered the surroundings, wishing that he had his hands free to sketch the rock walls made so beautiful by the almost eery light.

And suddenly his hands were free. He held them out in front of him in disbelief, until he realized that the ropes around his waist had started to loosten as well. After his feet touched the ground and he was free he turned to see his savior, a small boy with smaller glasses who looked ready to fall over in shock. Polaris smiled down at him and patted his head.

"Good job. Who's left?" Hari pointed in the direction of Roy, Daemon, and Max. Polaris looked in the still dim light at the ones that were already free. Saffy, Picasso, and a Misdreavus that the artist assumed was Hari's missing friend, were hurrying as quietly as possible to untie the others. Vermil had curled himself up into a ball and closed his eyes tightly. Polaris decided it would be best to leave him for now.

"You help the others," the artist whispered, "I'll get Max."

Max woke up to the feeling of something tugging at his hands. He didn't ask who it was or how they were free, he just grunted "Eev first."

The tugging stopped abruptly, as if confused. Then Max saw a pair of hands taking his Eevee down from his ropes. The light got slightly brighter as the hands returned to his binds. It wasn't just magma light anymore, they were nearing open air and sunlight. Max started thinking.

"Who got us out of these?" His voice was a little raspy and choked.

"The young boy's pokemon. It found us." Polaris' voice.

"I have a plan, but you'll have to leave me here."

There was a pause. Max's hands were completely free and he snatched up his other pokeball.

"... What kind of plan?"

---

The curator was the first to step into open air. The breeze always felt wonderful at the top of the volcano, a peaceful distraction from the grim deeds performed there. He waited until he heard the wheels of the float stop, and then he started speaking without turning around.

"Beautiful, is it not?" He spread his arms wide. "The sky stretched forever above us, the peaceful silence... the potential danger." His mood darkened as he looked down into the volcano. 

"For as long as anyone can remember, my people have dealt with the danger presented by this volcano. But it is not merely the magma bubbling in its depths. Do you know why you are here?" He waited for an answer. There wasn't one. He shrugged, they usually didn't respond.

"Very well, I shall tell you."

"Um... curator?" 

The curator's eye twitched. He spun around in indignation, to demand what was so important, but his mouth merely dropped open.

They were gone. All except for the thug had disappeared. He looked unconscious, his head hung and his body mostly limp.

"WHAT?!" The curator screamed. "This is impossible! Where are they?? Where are they?!"

The largest giant thundered up to Max, grabbing his head and lifting it to face him.

"Well? Where did they go??" He barked. Max opened his eyes, giving the giant the coldest stare he could muster...

And then broke into a huge smile. 

"Headbutt!!" He yelled, swinging his arm around from the post. But it wasn't his fist that connected with the giant's head, it was the small, rock-like pokemon clutching his fore arm. Aron's headbutt sent the giant all the way to the curator's feet, completely unconscious. At the same time, the rest of the group jumped out from underneath the float, them and their pokemon ready to fight. The curator pointed a finger and screamed "It's a trick!! Get them! Get them now!!"

Roy stood behind his pokemon, unsure of what to do. Two giants ran up, each bringing out their pokemon. One was a Magmar, the other a Spearow. Roy backed up a little, but Duke and Spark took the opportunity to strike the most threatening poses they could. 

"Duke? Spark?" Roy looked at each of them, confused. Then he nodded in understanding.

"Right. You want us? Come get some!" The Spearow and Magmar charged, and Duke and Spark returned the favor. The giants' pokemon were more experienced, but Spark and Duke had advantages. Spark sent the strongest bolt of electricity it could muster through the Spearow, nearly killing it with the force. Duke blocked Spark from a fire attack from the Magmar, taking the brunt of the fire and not getting too hurt himself. The Growlithe then through himslef at the Magmar in a tackle, with Spark coming from the other side. The sandwich tackle brought the Magmar to its knees, taking it out.

Just when Roy thought he had won, the giants rushed at him, knocking down Spark and Duke.

"Hey! That's not fair!" Roy was cornered by them.

"We don't play fair, kid!"

"What a coincidence!" Max smashed a staff into each of their heads. Aron was clutching the tip of the staff, and made it easy to bring them down. Max rested the staff on his shoulder and let Aron climb down. "Niether do I."

Roy was about to thank him when they were interrupted by an explosion. They looked over to see a very angry Daemon throwing exploding poke balls at the giants.

"I'll teach you bullies how to treat a lady!!" She screamed. Her pokemon simply stood to the side, trying to avoid being injured by their own trainer. Max jerked his head in her direction and spoke to Roy.

"That could be useful later on."

Roy just gave a nervous laugh.

Polaris and Picasso had a little more trouble. He had intended to leave the fighting to the others, but the young girl named Saffy was attacked by one of the giants.

"Haha! An easy win for me!" He laughed, bringing out his Spearow. To the surprise of everyone, including himself, Polaris stepped between the giant and Saffy. The giant just laughed louder.

"Two easy wins? This is truly my lucky day!" But Saffy had taken the opportunity to sneak her Venonat out.

"Venonat use leech life.... on the big guy!"

"What?!" The giant was sapped of his strength. Venonat then used a quick attack on the Spearow while its master fell to the ground, dropping his staff and panting. Polaris picked up the staff, raising it above his head and closing his eyes.

The staff connected with the giant's head with a loud smack, and he crumbled to the ground. Polaris dropped the weapon in disgust and turned to Saffy.

"Are you alright, miss?"

Everyone, even Hari, stood brave and fought back against the giants and their pokemon. 

Everyone, that is, except Vermil. He hadn't even left his place under the float. He was simply curled up, arms wrapped around his knees and rocking back and forth with his eyes closed. He would wait there, he decided, until someone told him it was safe to come out.

Finally the last of the giants either ran off in fear or was beaten down. All that was left was the curator. He turned to run, but was knocked down by a small brown furball behind him. Eev ran back to Max, climbing up onto his shoulder. The thug had a hunting knife in his hand, which he was using to sharpen the staff in his other hand to a point. He kept his cold eyes fixed on the curator the whole time.

And, to everyone's surprise, the old man started laughing. It was the kind of loud, high-pitched laughter that one expected to hear in a mental institution. The curator wiped his eyes and stood up, still giggling.

"It doesn't matter, hee hehe! It's already too late! Eeehehehehehe!!"

His laughter was drowned out by a loud screech from the depths of the volcano. A strong rush of wind and heat nearly knocked them to the ground. 

There, in the air above the volcano, hovered a giant bird that looked to be on fire. The curator laughed again.

"Ahahahaha! Behold! The legendary bird of fire! Moltres!"

A blast of fire came at the group, forcing them to scatter. The large bird pokemon swooped down on them, attacking anyone too slow to duck. Hari was almost that person, before Saffy pulled his feet out from under him. Max jumped up, brandishing his 'spear'.

"Daemon!" He called to the floating girl. She looked at him curiously.

"Give me one of those pokeballs!" She looked puzzled, but pulled the ball from her sleeve and tossed it to him. Max waited for Moltres to swoop again, and spoke sidelong to Polaris.

"Get everyone back onto the float."

The artist looked confused. Then his eyes widened with realization, and he was off. 

Polaris rounded up everyone, convincing them that they didn't need to know why, they just needed to get on the float. He had to search for Vermil, finally finding him under the float and having to drag him out from his hiding place. The boy screamed when he saw Moltres, and scrambled up onto the float to hide behing the altar. Polaris yelled to Max.

"Max! We're ready!"

Moltres' eyes flashed when Polaris yelled. It's attention turned to the group on the float, before a sharp pain in its shoulder brought it back to Max. The thug had thrown his spear, hitting Moltres just bad enough to anger it. Good, that's all he needed. He waited for it to swoop down at him, with the Daemon ball ready in his hand.

Just as Moltres came down, Max turned and sprinted to the float. In a single motion he leapt, spun in the air, and threw the ball into the face of the giant bird pokemon. The force of the explosion sent Moltres back, and pushed the float enough to send it back down into the sloping caves. They rolled down and away at great speeds, leaving the danger behind.

Moltres was angry. It had been beaten, more or less, and the group had escaped. It turned to the curator, who was still standing in place and gazing up at the great bird in terror.

His screams echoed down to the group as the left the caves, escaping the volcano.

The End

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