A/N: Here we go, chapter 5 ahoy! I'm really sorry about the time it's taking me to update, but I've got exams and stuff going on, and revision has to come first, I'm afraid. Not too much happens in this chapter, but it's paving the way for more exciting stuff later. Enjoy!


"I can't believe we made that." Sarielle said, shaking her head while the others caught their breath. "I mean, there were hundreds of humans, and not one saw us…"

"Aside from the smaller one." Sarol pointed out, completely fatigued by the stress of the whole train incident.

"Wow…" Freezachu breathed, looking up around them. Saffron city was even bigger than Goldenrod, and its huge skyscrapers seemed to reach the very sky. The others looked and became dizzy at the whole scale of the giant city.

"Why do humans need such big buildings?" Sarielle wondered aloud.

"We'd better go." Gabzy said, looking around. "Even if we keep to the shadows, it's likely a human will bump into us sooner or later."

"Okay, let's go." agreed Ritzo.

The Pokémon wandered around the city for a while, doing their best to keep in the shadows of buildings, which was not difficult, as the sun was setting and making the shadows thrown by the buildings extremely long. However, there were seemingly no wild Pokémon in the city at all. It was very odd, as not a singly feral Pokémon was to be seen. However, much to their distaste, there were a large number of trained Pokémon, some of them walking with their trainers, but many just being carried. Teddiursa, Meowth, Eevee and Torchic seemed to be everywhere, decorated with ribbons of every color and their fur styled and brushed until it shone. Even Freezachu was angry when he saw the treatment of them. Sarielle and the others had to talk Gabzy out of attacking some of the trainers who were prissing over their darling Cleffa or Chikorita.

"Look at them!" Ritzo muttered, very angry. "They're being treated like dolls! They've never been in a battle in their lives!"

"And they look happy! It's all they've ever known!" Sarol said sadly.

"They've been bred for looks." Gabzy hissed furiously, "look at them! No Meowth naturally has eyes that big or whiskers that long!"

"This is just sick…" Ritzo said, disgusted, "imagine if this happened everywhere; Pokémon would just die out. These ones have no survival instincts at all!"

"And at least the trained ones get to fight sometimes…" Sarol sighed, "these guys just get entered into shows and stuff..."

"Oh my God!" came a yell from behind them, "A Swinub! Here of all places!"

All of the Pokémon's hearts stopped for a second, before realizing that they had been spotted. Or, to be precise, Sarol had. The rest of them had been around a corner and had avoided being seen by the trainer.

"Run!" hissed Sarol to her friends. The four Ice Pokémon took off in one direction, Sarielle somewhat reluctantly, while Sarol ran determinedly in another, a pair of humans of the age of about eleven chasing after her.

Still keeping in the long shadows thrown by the tall buildings, Sarol ran as fast has her small legs would allow. Her low ground clearance was a huge drawback, she had to use all the energy in her body to try and keep up a pace fast enough to outrun the two human children. But it was no use; they caught up with her and one of them threw a Great Ball, out of which materialized a Venomoth.

"I've never seen one of those before!" the boy exclaimed. His friend nodded, looking very jealous. While they recognized her as a Swinub, apparently neither noticed that she was a shiny; either because they were in the shadows of a building and it was too dark to tell, or because they had never seen a Swinub before and did not know what a shiny looked like. Either way, Sarol was truly terrified; the huge moth Pokémon was much larger than she was and if she was captured, she would never see her friends again.

"Confusion!" the boy shouted. The Venomoth's large compound eyes began glowing a bright purple and the small shiny Swinub was immersed in a bright purple glow. The Swinub screamed in agony as she felt her mind being almost compressed with pain. Using all of her strength the shook off the pain and retaliated by using a Power Snow attack. The Venomoth was taken by surprise and did not have time to dodge. The icy flurry hit the Venomoth's wings and large clumps of ice and snow formed on the underside, making it too heavy to fly properly. The moth did not drop completely to the floor, but it was obvious it was having a hard time staying up in the air. Its trainer decided that Sarol had been sufficiently weakened and threw a Pokéball at her. Sarol saw the boy reach for his belt and realized that he was either going to recall his Pokémon and send out another one or try to capture her. As neither option was favorable to her, she turned and tried to run, but the confusion attack had left her somewhat disorientated and she had an even harder time running than she had before. Still, he tried to move her short legs as fast as she could away from the two humans when she suddenly felt something hit her on the back. She turned around to see what it was, but all she saw was a bright light.

'Where am I?' came her first thought. 'Am I dead?' Sarol was extremely disturbed; she could no see herself. She couldn't see anything. All there seemed to be was endless white light and her own consciousness. Suddenly, her thoughts flicked back to the boy and his Venomoth. 'He must have caught me! Oh no… oh no…' panic suddenly gripped the small pig Pokémon's heart and she fought the space she was in with all her mind. 'I need to get out! This is a mistake! I have something I need to do! Let me out!'

As if someone had been listening to her thoughts, she was suddenly expelled from the light. Sarol found herself lying on her back on the cold gravel of a back street of Goldenrod, two human children and a Venomoth staring at her.

"Aw, no way!" the boy shouted, pouting. "That was my last one!"

"My turn!" said his friend happily. He advanced on Sarol, who had flipped over onto her feet. The second boy reached for a ball on his belt, but his hand was stopped by a beam of snowy ice shot form the Swinub's mouth.

Not even pausing to see what his reaction to this was, Sarol turned and ran as fast as she could, flat out sprinting, the escape from the Pokéball instead of draining her actually giving her new strength. She needed to find Ritzo and the others… if only to help Freezachu save Stalegeon. Her low ground clearance helped her change direction quickly and she dodged between buildings and did not stop running until she was sure she was free of the two pursuing trainers.

"Sarol! Sarol, where are you?" Sarielle called, her musical voice echoing off the graffittied walls of the surrounding buildings.

"Saro-l!" Freezachu, very upset. He was blaming himself for the Swinub's possible capture, as if it were not for him, she would still be with her friends in the Ice Path. His overwhelming sense of guilt was surpassed only with his grief for his melted friend.

Normally Gabzy would have told them to shut up, but it was nearly dark and there were few humans around, especially around the back lanes. Also, he was, deep down, worried about the shiny Swinub, especially after seeing the treatment of other captured Pokémon within the city. He dreaded to think what they would do to a specimen as rare as Sarol.

His thoughts were rudely interrupted as he was suddenly barreled into by a mass of silver.
"What the-?" he began, before a delighted Glacéguin, Delibird and Freezachu dashed over, all shouting "Sarol!" happily. Deciding not to ruin this happy moment he stood and brushed himself off, smiling inwardly at the display of affection the four friends were showing.

"Do you have any idea how long it took to find you guys?" Sarol said, panting. "I swear, I must have searched half the city!"

Ritzo was about to respond when suddenly the back door of the building they were hiding behind burst open, scaring them half to death. They all froze, but the man that stumbled out of the door was so drunk they could have performed a musical number and he wouldn't have noticed. The door swung a few times, filling the air with the strong scent of fried food.

"This really isn't all that safe here, is it?" Sarielle said quietly once the human had vanished.

"I'll say." Sarol said dryly.

"We should probably keep on moving," Ritzo stated, "we should travel as much as we can in the dark; it's great cover and I for one do really not like cities during the day." The Pokémon murmured their agreement and they set off, traveling westward towards Celadon City.