The heavy paw tread and the bright coat of the blaze red dog Pokémon drew people’s attention as it walked down the streets of Canalave city. What kept their attention was the girl sat astride it. She was looking up at the buildings she passed in wonder. She had been to Twinleaf town and Sandgem town before but they were nothing like the massive port city. Her clothes were clearly hand made from animal skins and leaves. Her hair was free of tangles but clearly hadn’t been brushed or combed in a long time and her face was clean to an extent. Anyone looking at her would assume she lived in the wild and they would be right on the money.
“Man this place is so big huh Archy?” Her voice had a musical tinkle to it but it was obvious from the roughness of her words that English wasn’t her first language.
The odd pair emerged on a square with a fountain in the centre. When Archy had reached it the girl slid off his back and paddled her bare feet in the water. She let out a few squeaks of joy as it moved between her toes.
“Hey you aren’t meant to be in that fountain you know?” The girl turned to the speaker her teeth bared and her hand reaching for the bow strapped to her back. He was tall; so much so he would tower over her if they stood side by side. He pulled his glasses off his face and began polishing them on his shirt. “It’s not a law exactly but it’s one of those things you know?”
Archy growled deep in his throat but the girl jumped out and landed next to him in a crouch wrapping her arms around his neck to calm him. “Who are you?” she barked. “And water should be free! It just comes out of the ground in lakes and stuff.”
The man replaced his glasses and thought for a moment. “That’s a very good point but here in the city things are a bit different. You see the water has to be pumped from its source to here and that requires power and that requires the gathering of recourses. It’s a chain of supply and demand and it truly has no end.” He sighed and dug around in his pocket before withdrawing an apple and holding it out. “Peace offering?”
Her hand snapped out to grab the fruit and she sniffed it curiously. After somehow determining that it was ok she bit into it and the boy giggled as he watched the juice run down her chin.When she had finished half of it she held it out for Archy who crunched it down in one bite. When she was done and using her sleeve to wipe her face the boy walked over and sat on the edge of the fountain next to her. “So my name’s Sebastian. It’s a pleasure to meet a girl so full of life as you are.”
The girl looked up at him for a moment before simply saying “Devan” and turning back to her Pokémon and making sure he was ok.
With that done she got up and swung herself back onto his back. “So you’re going then? Anyway I can see you again?” Sebastian said getting up. The girl interested him he couldn’t deny that. She was nothing like the girls he had grown up with. She was interesting and fresh and new.
She turned her head slightly “Thank you for that apple.” And with that the Arcanine loped away living Sebastian alone in the town square.
Devan had got quite the strange look from the man at the desk of the hotel when she got a room to stay in. It was starting to really make her appreciate how rare a person that Sebastian kid was that he didn’t treat her like a freak or an idiot because of how she was dressed and how she looked. But eventually the clerk seemed to decide that money was money and gave her the key to a room on the second floor.
As she entered Archy pushed past her and sat himself right in her path so she couldn’t go any further inside. Shutting the door with a sigh she crouched down so they were on equal level. “OK what’s up?”
He let out a growl followed by a series of barks. Devan sighed again and shifted to a more comfortable position. “Yeah I know I handled it poorly but it’s way too late now. Probably never see him again.” She got up and jumped over Archy so she could move to the window and throw it open. The chill breeze on her skin made her feel a lot better. She sat on the sill and closed her eyes, just letting the wind ruffle her fringe.
But her companion wasn’t letting her get away that easy. Her padded over and let out a rumbling growl.Devan sighed and replied without turning her head. “Yeah, yeah you made your point already. No need to harp on at me.” This wasn’t a little town like Twinleaf or Sandgem, finding someone who didn’t act strange around her was a miracle. And she had scared the guy off. Archy realised she was feeling a bit down about that and came over to sit near her and licked her foot.
They sat there for a long while neither one of them speaking. It was peaceful and the night was quiet and calm. Devan enjoyed the night, it was colder and full of life that most people missed because they were asleep and assumed everything else was as well. But there was no nightlife in the city other than the odd human passing beneath the window. And something else was wrong at the edge of her senses.
Archy stood up his hackles raised and Devan leaned out the window searching the skyline. Both of them had smelled the smoke and now she could see the flames reaching up at the starless sky. Without thinking she had tumbled out of the window and landed on the ground in a crouch. With a wump the fire Pokémon landed next to her and the odd pair ran off into the night.
Sebastian looked up at the flames in horror. It was his apartment building that was burning. The flames had started at the roof and were working their way down and luckily they had yet to reach his floor but he still had only one thing on his mind.
His Pokémon were still in his apartment.
Before he had even made a conscious decision his feet were already carrying him to the front door. No one else was stupid enough to go into a burning building so the way was clear from him to cross the entrance hall and then takes the stairs two at a time till he reached his floor.
There was no actual fire here yet but the hallway was rapidly filling with smoke. Sebastian dropped to the floor and began crawling for the last door on the left. As he grew near he could hear the sound of claws scratching at the inside of it. “OK guys, I’ve got you, calm down.” He choked out as he pulled out his key and unlocked the door.He smiled as the twin eevees ran out to greet him mewing in fear.
He pulled them close to him and turned back to the corridor but the fire had crept up behind him and now had engulfed the stairs. Luckily he had the whole corridor between him and the white hot flames so they weren’t dead yet. Unluckily he had already got enough smoke in his lungs that his head was spinning and his eyes were hard to keep open.
The only thing he could do was crawl to the wall and prop himself up. Holding the eevees firmly in a hug that might be goodbye he whispered. “Avalon, Excalibur I’m sorry.”
Through the foggy mist that had swamped his brain he heard the smash of something breaking and then someone yelling and trying to get him up. “Take them.” He said and held out his Pokémon but the stranger refused. He just repeated himself over and over. It was so hard to focus and hold onto his consciousness right now but this newcomer had a far better chance of getting them to safety.
When Devan and Archy reached the street outside the building there was a huge commotion. It sounded like there was someone who had run in after his Pokémon or something. The fire crew would be here any moment but with a fire the merest hesitation could make all the difference between someone surviving or not. Devan knew that from experience.
It took them a few seconds for her to spot the fire escape on the side of the building. Before she could go more than a few steps however a hand grabbed her arm. She turned to find a man sat in a strange silver chair. “Are you going in? Please while you are there my wife and children have yet to come out.” She didn’t have time to chat so she nodded at him and pulled herself free.
Archy already had a head start bat she jumped and clambered much faster than any one could have taken the stairs. By the time she had neared the top her keen ears could pick out a dull thumping noise. It was coming from the window a few over from the fire escape. There was nothing she could do from here but at least it gave her a starting spot.
“OK Archy this floor.” As he moved inside she pulled a scrap of cloth from the pouch at her hip and wrapped it over her mouth and nose. Joining him in the burning building she looked around to gain her bearings. The air was wavering in the heat so much it was almost like being underwater.
Logically the window would connect to the first apartment on the left so she ran forwards and burst through the door. One good think about the fire; it was weakening the doors for easier access. One bad thing about the fire; it was also weakening everything else.
There weren’t any actual flames in this room but it was full of smoke. It was starting to dawn on Devan that there was something very wrong about this fire but she couldn’t work out what it was. Now wasn’t the time to be dwelling on this however so she shook the thoughts out of her head and moved to the sound of coughing coming from the next room. It was a grim sight that awaited her.
One child was thumping at the window with a tiny clenched fist and the other was trying to rouse the mother. Both were racked with horrible coughs that chilled Devan’s blood. She had to get them out of this building first. “Ok pups come here and I’ll get your mother.” They struggled against her grip but she scooped them up and plated them on Archy’s back. Nodding her head she signalled him to take them out the way they came.
Without watching them leave she turned to the mother and placed her head to her chest and listened hard. It was faint, more like a bug’s heart beat than a humans, but it was there. Where there’s life there’s hope.
Slinging the woman’s arm over her shoulder she pulled her up with a grunt. The woman was older than her and quite a bit taller so it would have been trouble even if the woman wasn’t dead weight. Each step was agonising and the heat was getting to her quite badly by this point. But just one step at a time. One foot after the other until she reached the window.
Archy had just returned at this point and was stood on the balcony of the fire escape. Just a few more steps Devan was thinking when she heard the crack followed by a long drawn out creak as the metal staircase came free from the wall. Devan’s heart sank as she saw Archy panic and leap the rapidly growing difference. His back paw nearly slipped but he scrambled inside and they both watched the fire escape crash into the building opposite.
This was getting worse and worse but at least she had saved the kids. Even if she died here then she could rest easy knowing it hadn’t been a futile effort.
But she could rest when she was dead now was the time for action.
No one had been hurt any more than they were so this was just a slight setback. Devan pulled a pokeball from her belt and released the Pokémon held within. Its bright orange shell sparkled in the light of the flames and it gave a skittering cry. This might not be the perfect environment for the giant lobster Pokémon but it had something that would come in real handy.
“Crawly Crabhammer on the floor. We’re going down one way or another.” While the Crawdaunt raise its claw Devan quickly shifted her grip on the woman and placed her on Archy’s back before getting up behind her so she could keep her balanced. Both Pokémon turned to her and she nodded.
The claw came down and the floor cracked almost right in half dropping the group down to the next floor. The impact knocked the wind out of them even though they had all braced for it. through the dust Devan could just make out a body. That must be the boy that had run in. “Hope he is alive still.” She muttered.
But as they moved towards him there was a crack beneath them and the floor under Archy’s feet fell away just as he leaped forwards. For one moment that lasted for hours they hung suspended in the air. Devan broke the big rule of heights and looked down. From a single look she could tell they couldn’t go any further down. The entire floor below was orange. She couldn’t even make out anything that wasn’t on fire.
Ok big think was not to panic and just take one thing at a time. The boy was next he was...”Oh you have GOT to be kidding me.” It was the boy from the fountain. Devan shared a look with Archy and moved over to him. “Come on Sebastian let’s get you out of here buddy.”
But to add to her problems he was delirious and kept trying to force his eevees on her. After a full minute of arguing she had had enough. The air was split by the sound of her palm impacting his face. “LOOK I’M NOT LEAVING ANYONE BEHIND SO GET THE HELL UP!” She heaved him up and placed him on Archy’s back. He wasn’t resisting and when she placed his arms around the mother and indicated for him to grip the Pokémon’s fur he did so with no more complaints. Now she would have to get around herself though since she couldn’t burden Archy too much.
Luckily the rubble had made an almost staircase she and the two Pokémon could use to get up one floor and then from there they had access to the real staircase. The way to the roof was mostly unimpeded other than debris here and there they had to pick their way through.
Her plan was simple she just had to hope she could find what she needed. Hopefully there was a water tower on this or one of the surrounding rooftops. She was rewarded for her perseverance at the sight of a large metal cylinder. What complicated her plan was the fact the roof crumbled before her eyes splitting them from the tank.
“No big deal. Crawly I want you to burst that water tower and then use surf to get as much of the fire as you can.” Orders given she grab her bow and an arrow from her back. This was a bit of a special arrow. It had built into it a pokeball. She put Crawly into it and hardly taking time to aim she pulled back and fired. It was a big enough target she didn’t need accuracy.
As the arrow flew it was buffeted by the updraft of the flames but it still hit home. What followed was an impressive display. Crawly’s claws broke the metal in a few short blows and then her eyes flashed and the water flowed up. It spread out like a huge blanket before falling down at them.
At the last moment Devan realised she should duck her head so that the weight of the water didn’t snap her neck back. It would suck to die now after all this.
The roar of the passing water deafened her and she heard it for a long time after it was over. But soon her ears cleared and she could make out happy barking and the clacking of claws. Opening one eye and then the other she saw the flames were gone. A quick check said the other two were still breathing.
She let out a sigh and collapsed against the wall. The she sat, exhausted, until the fire crew finally arrived and came to get her.