Intermission Arc: Fire Wood
"Alright, Team Sodaa-"
"We don't have Draco, Soren," Oxton interrupted. "It's not really Team Sodaa anymore..."
The young Luxio frowned at his friend for a moment before hopping off of his head. "I say we stay in this forest tonight. We've already come a long way since Superbia. Akemi, Absence, what do you two think?"
"I think it's a good idea," Akemi replied to which Absence nodded in agreement.
"Do you guys think that this place might be a bit dangerous though?" Oxton questioned.
Soren cocked his head. "We're a Luxio, a Gardevoir, a Weavile, an Espeon and not to mention, a gigantic Steelix. Things would be a bit more safer with Draco, but I think we'll manage. Besides, he's less irritating when he's you know, not here."
"Let's get a fire started then," Akemi stated. "All we need is-"
"Draco..." everyone said in unison.
"Figures he'd not be around when he's useful," Absence remarked. "We'll just have to start it ourselves."
"I...can help...if you'd like?"
The team of young Pokémon turned their attention to Princess Eeva. For a moment, they had completely forgotten that the young Espeon had accompanied them as she had remained silent for the entire trip. There was still an aura of distrust between the remaining members of Team Sodaa and the Superbia Princess. The only one she had actually held a conversation with was Soren.
"How exactly are you going to do that, Princess?" Absence said irritably. "You know, if your sister, Flarea, were here, we'd definitely be able to get a fire started."
Eeva frowned and then gave the Weavile a smirk that was all too similar to her elder sisters. "If Flarea were here, I'd think that an ice type such as yourself wouldn't be in a good position."
"Don't forget that I'm also part dark type," Absence shot back. "And you're a psychic type. I don't think you'd fare too well against me, so you better watch your mouth..."
The two glared at one another while Soren, Oxton, and Akemi simply looked on wide-eyed.
"You know," Akemi said. "This is actually the most I've ever heard Absence talk..."
"Tell me about it," Oxton added.
From his many arguments with Draco, Soren could tell that the situation between Eeva and Absence would definitely interfere with their objective. He had noticed that every since he had evolved, he was becoming much more observant than he had been as a Shinx. Moving in between the two, Soren managed to prevent any potential attacks from being fired off.
"This is what we're going to do," Soren explained. "Eeva, you can go look for fire wood. Absence, Akemi, and I will stay here and set up camp. Ox, you'll go with Eeva. Does that work for everyone?"
The girls all nodded their heads, but Oxton seemed a bit unsure.
"S-Soren," he whispered. "I-I don't know..."
"Don't worry, Ox," Soren assured his friend. "She's totally harmless compared to you. You trust me, so just trust her. If she tries anything just yell my name and I'll be there in a flash."
Oxton and Eeva made their way through the forest in their search for fire wood. They didn't say anything to each other, but every once in a while, Eeva would catch Oxton glancing at her worriedly.
"If you're staring at me because I'm pretty," Eeva started, channeling a bit of Glacea's personality. "I don't blame you."
"I-I'm not staring..." Oxton replied. "I'm just being cautious..."
"Of what?" Eeva asked curiously. "Me? Psychics aren't that good against steel types. Besides, I have nothing to gain from attacking you or Soren or that stupid Weavile that got in my face earlier."
"Well you can't blame Absence for acting the way she did," Oxton retorted. "I'm sure dozens of other Pokémon from the resistance would have treated you worse. I mean, your family caused the deaths of-"
"I'm aware of my family's destruction," Eeva interrupted. "It's been thrown in my face every day since I was born. It's not easy growing up with six older sisters. Mother always expected the absolute best, Leafea hated me, Joltea, Vaporea, and Umbrea always ignored me, Flarea scared me, and Glacea...well I saw some things that a young Eevee should never see..."
Oxton listened to her as she went on and on about her childhood. Unlike Soren, he had always been a good and patient listener and the more Eeva talked, the more questions he had to ask.
"Let's talk about you!" Eeva interrupted, quickly changing the subject. It was obvious to Oxton that she was uncomfortable with the subject of Ci Natas. "Tell me about what happened to you growing up."
"Well..." Oxton started. "I met Soren when we were very young and I can say that I've never had a dull day in my life. I've always been afraid of just about everything from the smallest Caterpie to the largest Gyarados, but whenever Soren wanted to go on some crazy adventure, I'd be right there with him. I guess I would rather be scared than bored out of my mind..."
It took a few more minutes before the two finally found some fire wood. Eeva had used her new psychic abilities to load it up on Oxton's large head. He seemed to be more at ease with her now than he had been earlier and had even offered to let her ride on his head instead of walking.
"Um, Eeva," Oxton said, finally breaking the silence that had returned while they were gathering the wood. "I have a question."
"Yeah, what is it?"
"Do you like Soren?"
Eeva nodded her head. "Sure, he's a sweetheart, but I'll definitely say that he's lucky to have a friend like you."
"Really? It's the other way around to most others."
"Well, I'm not most others, am I? Now, let's get back..."
Akemi smiled as she looked around the area. She had done most of the actual work setting up camp while Soren had spent most of his time trying to calm Absence down from her earlier confrontation with Eeva.
"Are you alright now?" Soren asked her.
"I'm fine..." Absence told him. "I'll just do what you said if she makes me mad. I'll claw at that tree over there..."
"Good. Now, let's set up-"
"Nothing left to set up, Soren," Akemi said as she let out a laugh. "I took care of everything. The only thing we need is some fire wood..."
"Did someone say fire wood?"
Oxton and Eeva made their way back to the group and the five of them proceeded to start the fire. They ate what they could and told a few stories to lighten the mood. The more they enjoyed themselves, the more Eeva found herself thinking about her friends and how they were doing and although they would not admit it out loudly, the four members of Team Sodaa had Draco on their minds. They worried for his safety, but were content in knowing that the proud Charmeleon could handle himself. As they prepared to rest for the night, Soren went over to Oxton.
"So, how was it?" he asked. "Did Eeva give you a rough time."
"Nope," Oxton replied as a smile formed on his face. "It was fun, but now, I need to get some sleep. Night, Soren."
Oxton burrowed himself underground as Soren locked eyes with Eeva. She gave him a slight grin and he responded with a confused expression. There was a strange sensation in his chest and he felt the star on his tail briefly light up.
"Goodnight..." Eeva told him.
Soren nodded and recomposed himself. "Um, yeah, goodnight, Eeva..."
AN: Wow, nearly TWO years since the last update. A LOT has happened, but no excuses can make up for it. If you guys are still reading, I hope you enjoy the conclusion of this story. With the final battle coming up, I can't just abandon things now. Anyway, I know this chapter was filler-ish, but that's most of the entire Intermission Arc. Once we get to the final battle, the important things will start happening.
Thanks again for reading!