Lost & Found

The sun was just rising over the horizon illuminating the world with a soft red glow. For the Steel Fists, the largest pride of Lucario to migrate out of their native Sinnoh, it was time for the guards to swap. Joel pushed himself off the rock face he had been leaning against with a slight sigh his gaze flicked once to the cave where they kept the traitor but she had never caused a problem in the three years they had held her so he wasn't overly worried, he took a few steps away from the entrance scanning the horizon for his replacement.

Curled up at the back of the cave the traitor stared out at the entrance to the cave her paws digging into her knees. Her form illuminated by the morning light; she was curled into a ball resting against the back of the cave it was clear she was close to starving, her figure gaunt and seemingly fragile, her eyes however spoke of a far deeper suffering. Gingerly she lifted a hand gazing at the circle of bone where the spike had been removed; they had taken her spikes, her honour and even her name! Her eyes bore into Joel's back; he had been her brother yet he hadn't so much as glanced at her or tried to talk through the entire five hours shift. A small strangled sob escaped her mouth before she clamped it firmly shut, she had promised herself she wouldn't cry anymore.

Taking a deep steadying breath she slowly pushed herself onto her feet, her legs trembling and threatening to give under her weight, she closed her eyes and focused feeling the aura running through her. That was one thing they hadn't been able to take from her and her long seclusion in this prison had given her the time needed to refine her aura control down to a fine art. She gave a heavy sigh, she had to get out of here, she couldn't stand it any more! This time she meant it, she would leave this cave and the pride behind her! Closing her eyes she said a silent farewell to her friends and family as well as apologizing for letting them down. Again. As she opened her eyes again she concentrated her aura focusing on the muscles and bones of her legs; the energy revitalising the weak muscles and allowing her to run much faster than before, if for only a while.

She bent down and took another deep calming breath, her eyes running across the tree line, before taking off the familiar tingling settling into her leg as she sprinted out towards the trees. Joel grinned as he saw Taz'rit approaching "Hey Taz!" he called happily his grin only growing when Taz'rit flinched at the nickname.

Taz'rit shook his head, Joel was the only one who would get away with calling him Taz, "So I'm taking over from you Jo?" he called back.

Joel chuckled and nodded "Yeah" he said his smile all but disappearing when he saw their prisoner making a run for the tree line "Hey!" he called spinning on his heels, Taz'rit following a split second later when he noticed her as well.

She glanced over her shoulder to see Joel and Taz'rit in close pursuit, her eyes widening in surprise and fear. If they caught her they wouldn't put her back in the cave, she would be killed! Closing her eyes and attempting to calm her mind she forced more aura into her legs; the feeling of pins and needles building into an almost painful ache.

Joel frowned as he saw the traitor speeding up "How is she running this fast?" he muttered "Her legs muscles shouldn't be able to support this.

Taz'rit closed his own eyes for a second feeding a little aura into his own legs to close the gap "They can't" he called back to Joel "She's overloading them with aura, she has maybe five minutes before her legs rip themselves apart"

Joel gave a nod boosting his own legs and catching up with Taz'rit "Well this chase suddenly became much easier" he grinned confidently

A heavy pain ran through her legs, the ache getting worse with each passing second, she could almost feel her leg muscles being torn apart and her bones being snapped by the force of her aura. A whimper of pain escaped her mouth and she screwed her eyes shut tightly trying to ignore the pain, trying to ignore the almost inevitable conclusion of this chase.

Nick was walking down the old country lane taking in the sights and sounds of the countryside, this was what being a trainer was all about. He paused when he heard rustling in the trees to his left his hand reaching for the pokeballs on his belt and settling over the leftmost one as he waited to see what had made the sound. He spotted a blue blur roughly a second before it slammed into him, the impact bowling him over, a cry of pain and shock escaping his throat before being abruptly cut off as whatever hit him landed on his stomach knocking all the wind from his body. He glanced down at what had hit him, his eyes going wide with shock. It was a Lucario! His attention however was quickly returned to the bushes as Joel and Taz'rit stepped out their eyes firmly locked onto the Lucario in his arms.

She stirred slightly glancing at the human she had hit for a second before she noticed her perusers; with a startled yelp she struggled to her feet and tried to continue running however the sharp pain flaring through her leg proved too much and she merely collapsed on the path after one step.

Taz'rit stepped forward an aura sphere hovering in his palm "It's over traitor" he snarled levelling the attack at her head.

Nick jumped to his feet moving between the two parties "Why kill her?!" he demanded

Taz'rit eyes flicked to Nick as though noticing him for the first time "Stay out of this, human" he growled, this chase had worn down what little patience he usually had.

Nick frowned "Come on look at her! She can't even stand, you've won, leave her be!"

Joel sighed shaking his head "We're going to kill her." he stated simply his eyes boring into Nick's "If you insist on being the hero you will die too."

Nick glanced down at the stricken Lucario who was slowly trying to drag herself to safety her face locked in a pained grimace he knelt down resting a hand gently on her head "Don't worry I'll protect you" he promised before straightening up "Go Scrap!" he called tossing a pokeball into the air. With a flash a bright light a Charmeleon materialised next to Nick "Hey buddy" Nick grinned patting Scrap on the back. Scrap grinned his response his eyes flicking between the three Lucario as he assessed the battlefield "We're protecting her" Nick supplied pointing.

Joel and Taz'rit glanced at each other and grinned "A Charmeleon?" Joel chuckled "Not bad, but do you think you really stand any chance of winning"

Scrap gave a snort embers swirling into the air and Nick smirked "I guess we'll find out soon enough, Scrap flamethrower!"

Scrap gave a small nod and took a deep breath before releasing a strong stream of flame straight for Joel, Joel easily sidestepped the attack running forward and closing the gap between himself and Scrap "I got this one" he called to Taz'rit

"Don't come crying to me if you get singed then" Taz'rit chided smirking slightly

"Yeah right, like this stupid lizard could...." his reply was cut short as Scrap took advantage of the lapse in Joel's concentration to blast him in the face with an ember, it wasn't a strong attack but it was at point blank and had a type advantage on Joel, he cried out in pain stumbling back clutching at his muzzle. Scrap wasted no time in pressing his advantage loosing a flamethrower, Nick winced in sympathy for the Lucario who was now bathed in fire crying out in agony.

Taz'rit frowned darting forward and slamming his palm into Scrap's chest sending the unfortunate Charmeleon sailing a good few feet into a tree, a loud crack signifying the strength of the impact, the foe dispatched he turned to Joel "You sure showed that stupid lizard" he said his voice thick with sarcasm as he put a supporting arm around his friend "Come on let's go back home, we can deal with the traitor later."

Joel nodded slowly "Yeah" he agreed weakly.

Taz'rit and Joel quickly disappeared back into the forest, Joel silently swearing that next time he would break Scrap in half.

Nick watched Joel and Taz'rit until they were out of sight before turning his attention to the Lucario on the ground who was regarding him and scrap with a mixture of awe, fear, and gratitude. Scrap peeled himself off the tree slowly grunting as he did so, Nick looked up "You ok?" he asked concerned for his friend.

Scrap dropped to the floor stumbling slightly before catching himself "Char Char" he said giving a thumbs up

Nick shook his head "Yeah right, there's no way you took a hit like that without some injury"

"You can talk to him?" the Lucario spoke up pushing herself into a sitting position

Nick frowned "Not really, I've just know him long enough to know about his stupid cavalier attitude." Scrap gave a snort at that, walked over to Nick slowly and tapped his pokeball with a happy sigh disappearing in a soft red glow.

The Lucario nodded "Oh.. I see"

Nick leant down next to her looking her over, she was skin and bones! She shouldn't even be able to use aura speech let alone being able to move at the speed she had been when she had hit him. "What happened to you." he mumbled

The Lucario's face darkened at the question and she stayed silent.

"Oh.. you don't have to tell me if you don't want to.. sorry if it's personal" Nick frantically backtracked "Umm so do you have any family?" he tried another tact

She glanced in the direction Joel had gone her expression darker still "Yes" she said very softly

"Oh" Nick replied softly wondering what exactly had happened to her "Umm so what's your name?"

This time she began to sob, softly, "I don't have one" she heaved taking deep breaths as she fought to bring herself back under control.

Nick frowned "Don't have one?" he echoed "Well do you want one?"

"Huh?" The Lucario glanced at Nick her eyes shining with tears she wouldn't let herself cry

"Well?" Nick smiled

She nodded slowly "Yeah.."

Nick smiled alright then "How about...." he paused for a while in thought "Hope?"

She sniffed and nodded "I-I like it" she agreed throwing her arms around Nick and hugging him tightly tears trickling down her face, she had found a new family!

Nick, a little taken aback by the sudden hug, slowly wrapped his arms around her as well "Hope it is then" he said softly

Hope nodded burying her head in his shoulder "Thank you" she sobbed.