Cyclone eyed the berry suspiciously, having never been offered such a thing, especially by a creature of a different species. She had heard about how some of the more clever predators used tricks and traps to catch their prey. And that Jill certainly looked to be a predator, with her long muzzle full of serrated teeth. Still, she didn’t seem to carry any ill will. Why would a random stranger offer a gift and expect nothing in return?
Feeling on the verge of death anyway, Cyclone felt she had nothing to lose, so she pecked at the green Lum berry, finding its skin surprisingly easy to break. She tore into chunks of berry flesh, the unusual variety of flavors from the juices somehow making the fruit all the more appetizing. As she finished it off she found herself feeling better than ever, the gravelly feeling from her throat and chest completely gone and her body at a more comfortable temperature.
Cyclone’s chipper mood quickly died when she took in her surroundings once again. So it was not a fever dream; Creeping Forest was truly obliterated, and surely this dry heat wouldn’t be good for the diverse foliage that grew here. She realized how lucky she was that she survived the ordeal, having spotted some gnarled avian bodies amongst the rubble. Feeling as vulnerable as ever on the ground, Cyclone quickly took to the skies, a little too quickly in the absence of the forest canopy.
Although the Lum berry was vitalizing, it wasn’t satiating, and Cyclone found herself hungry again. She spotted a small purple creature, a Rattata, limping along the forest floor. Cyclone had never eaten a living thing that wasn’t a bug, seeing how her species were relatively small and built more for speed than for strength. Surely the tiny mammal would put up a fight, a far cry from the usual vacant insects Cyclone preyed upon. Well, time to once again put her dive bomb technique to use.
Just before the desperate bird gained altitude to ready herself for the attack, she noticed two more beings strolling through the woods, another purple mammal with an unusually long tail that seemed to end in a hand, an Aipom, and a Pidgeotto. Why a Pidgeotto would be hanging out with another of a different kind eluded Cyclone. She glided to a broken tree to spy on the unusual pair.
The Aipom excitedly bounded to the Rattata, who flatted itself and bared its impressive incisors in defense.
“Heya buddy, don’t be like that! I saw that you needed some help! We can bring you to Tao Village and get you all fixed up.”
The Rattata calmed a bit and twitched its whiskers inquisitively. “You... don’t want to eat me...”
“Of course not,” the Pidgeotto added in. “We’re Rescuers! We’re just doing our job, we know a lot of people need help since the Sorbet disaster!”
Sorbet, Cyclone thought. Why does that sounds so familiar... oh... didn’t I hear someone say that name last night?
The pair continued their conversation with the Rattata, the little rodent becoming more at ease as they spoke.
“You guys... you’re so nice! How can I ever repay you?”
“If you’d like,” the Aipom said, “You can join our team and help out other people when you get better.”
“Ah... I’d like that very much! Thank you!”
“Pleasure is all ours, Twitch. I’m Hand-Banana and this is Sanders. Welcome to Team Tickles!”
Cyclone almost blew her hiding spot by laughing. She couldn’t believe what she was seeing. That poor rat was clearly walking into some elaborate trap, though the Aipom clearly wasn’t predatory. The two purple mammals hopped on the back of the Pidgeotto and it flew off. How shameful, this proud bird carting around living snacks.
Part 9 of "Flight and Fight," written by
and drawn by me