"Lyra!"How could that little witch have done something so down right evil? I gave her what she wanted, and what does she do in return? She murders my daughter, in cold blood...
James collapsed to his knees. Charlene was laughing in a shrill, evil, demented manner, but the depressing thoughts flooding his head clouded out his hearing.
It's... Game over. Marci's gone, to who knows where, or even when; Lyra's dead, either drowned in the waves or skewered on the rocks below. I've lost everyone I love...
Warm, salty tears streamed down the Bayleef's face. Charlene tried to say something, most likely mocking the waterworks, but the words never made it out for anyone to hear them.
Spawning from somewhere down the cliff, there was a massive explosion of blinding white light, followed by a pillar of fire reaching high enough to pierce the heavens. Then, silence. Even the tide wouldn't dare break the confusion-fueled, suspenseful silence.
A blur of red rocketed up towards the sun, then gracefully floated down the cliff's edge.
"What the-?" Charlene gasped.
A Volcarona hovered a few feet from her. The fuzzy, six-winged moth's eyebrows were at an angry slant, but a victorious, smug smile was plastered on its face.
"Surprised? Well, so am I" The Volcarona plowed through Charlene, knocking her to the ground, and took up a stance beside James.
James held a vine out to the Volcarona. "L-Lyra?"
"Hi daddy!" She answered with a beautiful smile.
James wrapped his vines around Lyra and the two hugged for a minute straight. Tears of joy and relief cascaded from James's eyes, and Lyra gently stroked his head for comfort. It was truly a wonderful feeling for James. Joy filled every crevice of being. Not only had his baby girl survived what had originally seemed like certain doom, but now she had grown into such a marvelous, beautiful young woman.
When James managed to straighten up enough to talk, he bombarded Lyra with questions. "Are you okay? You aren't hurt, are you? How do you feel?"
Lyra blinked for a moment in confusion as it took her a moment for her brain to register everything that had just been said to her. She glanced over her new body, taking in all the different aspects of it. Larva to moth brought many changes, ranging from size growth, alterations in legs, and even the addition of six extravagant wings. She adjusted the Luring Cap on top her head and tugged on the strap of the pink bow tied around her waist. "I feel like this thing's a bit too tight now."
For the first time since Marci went missing, James actually smiled. "Heh, well we an always go see Chrys after we're done here. Now.." He turned his attention back to Charlene and Donahue. "You ready to reclaim a letter and beat the stuffing out of those who deserve it?"
"Totally. But, do you think... I could try taking them on? By myself? I wanna test this new form. Well, that and I really want revenge for being chucked off a cliff."
James frowned disapprovingly. He disliked such recklessness, but at the same time, knew that she was no longer a little girl, but a young woman, and he needed to let her off the leash a bit more. He sighed in defeat. "Alright. Just... be careful, okay?"
"Yes!" A single word managing to answer James's question and express her excitement. Lyra fluttered about excitedly, pumping her arms in anticipation. Her body glowed a faint yellow color as she did.
"Is that... Quiver Dance?" James asked himself
The new Volcarona zipped up to her enemies and smirked at the two. "So, which one of you wants to try first?"
Donahue walked forward to attack, but Charlene held out a hand to stop the advance. "Hold up, fur butt. I can take the itsy-bitsy bug on myself." Charlene stepped forward to challenge Lyra, and the Volcarona took to the air.
A pink Ancientpower was loosed into the air almost immidiantly. Lyra saw it in time and gracefully danced around the rock. The Mawile fired a Focus Blast. The sphere of energy whistled through the air and exploded against Lyra's wings. Her altitude dropped as the impact disrupted wing motion, but she quickly regained it.
She began twirling around in the air, and two streams of flame started spiraling around her. Charlene expelled an Ice Beam from her iron maw, but when the ice got close to the flaming moth, it instantly evaporated with a loud HISS! from the sheer heat.
"What!?" Charlene hissed almost as loudly as the attack had.
The spinning fire paused on the tips of Lyra's wingspan and curled up into fireballs. A simple flick was all that was necessary to hurl the sparks and send them cascading down on top of the magenta Mawile, leaving her burnt to a crisp and down for the count.
Donahue quickly jumped in to take Charlene's place in the fight. He lept in the air with the assistance of Aerial Ace and made a slash at Lyra. She tried to maneuver out of the way, but the attack was much too fast to dodge. One of Donahue's claws raked into Lyra's stomach.
Lyra grasped at the gash in her side. The injury wasn't deep, but it did sting, and Lyra could feel the warm, red blood trickle on her hands. She quickly pulled the tightly tied bow strap over the flesh wound to act as a temporary bandage and turned her attention back to the action.
She vibrated her wings at such a speed that the three pairs appeared as two massive, trembling fans. The vibrations produced an odd wave of sound that sent the villainous Zoroark crumbling to his knees and clutching the sides of his head in an attempt to stop the noise from bursting his eardrums.
"Now, how about we see if we can get that letter back..." Lyra muttered.
She zipped up high in the sky, on level with the clouds. She spun around and a mass of thunderheads were drawn into an accumulating storm that swirled around her body. Once the miniature storm cell reached a decent proportion, Lyra took aim and fired a stream of gale-force wind and rain at her two aggressors.
The blast of wind had the Mawile and Zoroark tumbling into a rock and kept the, pinned there. The former let the letter slip through her hands in the tempest and it whipped around in the air, where Lyra promptly plucked it.
Lyra fluttered down to ground level and waved the envelope in James's face "Got it!" She proudly announced.
"That was amazing baby girl! So let's see, that was... Quiver Dance, Fiery Dance, Bug Buzz, and Hurricane?" James recited the Volcarona's new moveset from memory. "It's a very impressive set!"
Lyra performed a midair-pirouette and danced around James. "You know, this dancing stuff is really fun. I should do it more often!" She laughed.
James reached up and corralled Lyra around the waist with a vine, pulling her back down and snatching the letter from her grasp with another creeper, shoving it under his scarf where it belonged. "Alright, enough of that, we need to get back to delivering this. And looking for Marci."
He scratched his chin. "Hey, since you can fly now, why don't you get a vantage point and find a way down to the city?"
Lyra ascended into the air and glanced around. There, in the distance, lay a sprawling metropolis by the sea, gorgeously illuminated by the sun's reflection off the water. She found a path leading down to the city outskirts close by and shouted at the Bayleef "Hey, over there's a path!"
James gave her a tentacle variation of a thumbs-up, signaling that she had done well and could come back down. Lyra fluttered down and attempted to settle on top of James's back like she had become accustomed to. Unfortunately, her new-found size was a bit too much for the Bayleef to support, and his quivering legs quickly gave out under the weight, causing him to fall forward onto his face, and her to roll off and onto the ground.
"Ugh, I think you're a bit too heavy for that now; I just can't support the both of us." He grunted as he picked himself off the ground and dusted off. "You'll have to just walk- er, fly beside me."
Lyra gave a disappointed nod. Riding on her parents was an activity that she not only enjoyed, but it had become almost second nature to simply roost on them during the boring parts of their excursions. And if her daddy couldn't hold her up anymore, she knew that mommy couldn't either; she was almost a foot smaller! It was certainly a disadvantage of evolving, but she couldn't complain; the timing of it had saved her life.
She retook to the air and the two made their way down the path she had discovered.
The duo finally made it down the winding bluff path and into the city. What was there really astounded them both. Tao had a lot of citizens, but Alomomola City dwarfed the village by comparison. They walked for what seemed like an hour straight just to make a clear shot through the entire length. James's feet ached after the first path, even though the paved roads felt much better on his soles than the roads he was accustomed to. But he refused to rest; he scoured the entire town until the sun's descent warned them that there would only be about another hour of good light left in the day, just searching for any signs that Marci might have been transported here.
Finally, with the encouragement of the impending dusk, the two decided that the Mawile wouldn't be found, and switched their focus on finding the recipient of the letter. It hadn't occurred to James until now, but Fresnel hadn't actually told them who to deliver it to. He pulled the letter out and looked and the writing on the front. Scribbled front and center was a name: Anana.
Great, how are we supposed to find one person in this entire town in less than an hour? Bah, no sense complaining, I'll just have to start asking people if they know this chick.
"Um, excuse me?" James pulled over the first person he encountered, a Golduck. "Would you happen to know anyone named 'Anana?'" He inquired.
The Golduck raised an eyebrow in a questioning manor. James gave an equally confused look back. "Wait, you seriously don't know who she is?" The Golduck scoffed.
"Er... Should I?" James chuckled nervously.
The Golduck sighed and shook his head. "You folks aren't from around here, are you?" James shook his head no. The Golduck pointed to an older building that still managed to be taller than most of the surrounding ones. "You'll find her in the Merchant's hut, over there."
"Merchant's hut? I didn't know there were other guilds in the area. I wonder if she works for some branch I didn't know PK had." James thought. He thanked the Golduck for the help, and marched towards the building.
James pushed the heavy fabric door back and walked in. The floor was arranged much like PK's own shop, albeit perhaps a little bigger and older. The numerous rows of wooden shelves showed signs of aging unlike the newly refurbished ones in Tao. Ignoring that fact though, the stock was diverse and plentiful. Several things caught the duo's eyes, but they weren't here to shop.
"Hello!" A Kecleon popped out from behind one of the shelves; a big kind smile adorned her face. She resembled the merchant leader of Tao, but she was an electric yellow instead of PK's toxic purple, and she had a large tropical flower plastered on the side of her head. The two could be related...
"Can I help you? Anything specific you folks are looking for?" She questioned with a sweet tone.
"Uh, are you Anana?" James asked.
She nodded. "Yes, I am her. What do you need?"
James pulled the letter back out and tossed it at her. Anana managed to react quickly, but she still fumbled around with the correspondence before she actually managed to hold on to it securely.
"It's from Fresnel. The leader of Tao's Rescuer guild? He wanted me to deliver this to you." He sighed. He turned around and walked out the door, leaving an embarrassed Lyra and a dazed Anana standing in the shop.
Lyra sheepishly chuckled. "Uh, we've been out searching for someone all the day, not to mention some trouble with a couple of bullies. He's just... really tired." She fly over to the textile door, pausing to look back before leaving. "Sorry."
Anana stood in the same spot she'd been since the conversation began, still dazed with what just happened, with the letter loosely resting in her paws. "Um... Thanks?"
James started on the trip back, the sun setting behind him. Coming back, there was a much more obvious path through the bluffs, larger and smoother; much better then the path they had took to get there.
Lyra quickly caught up to him on the path. "What was that supposed to be?" She scolded. "I know we're tired and all, but come on! You could have tried to act nicer!"
James stopped in his tracks. He looked over at his daughter and drowsily smiled. "You know, you sound just like your mother."
That caught her off guard. She expected a disagreement, or an excuse, but certainly nothing like that. Her faced glowed red. But James noticed her face wasn't the only thing glowing. In the advancing darkness, it became more and more obvious that her entire body emitted a gentle, warm red glow from her Flame Body ability. It was truely a gorgeous sight.
"Hey! You two!" Some shouted at them from further down the road, breaking the awkwardness.
There was a dark brown colored Sneasel rushing down the path towards them. The scarf tied around her upper chest was the same shade as the feathers on her head and tail. She huffed, out of breath, and doubled over trying to catch it.
When she finally managed to regain oxygen, she stood back upright. "You two..." She snapped her claws, trying to recall the name she was looking for. "Uh... Chlorasteel, right?"
James and Lyra both nodded. The Sneasel's face lightened up into a smile.
"Good. You don't know how hard it is to find all you people. Anyway, I've been helping this dude Gabriel hand out trinkets and such to teams to help cope with missing team members. This... is for you."
She revealed a small plush from a sack she had been carrying and handed it to James. He took it and examined his gift. The doll was between 4 to 6 inches tall, approximately the size of one of his claws. The figurine was designed like a Mawile, and one wearing a brown dress and red ribbons. It looked... exactly like Marci
Such a simple gift, yet it filled his entire being with joy. He ran a claw through the mannequin's stringy hair and tightly hugged it.
"Th- Thank you."