It was morning in the Sinnoh region. The sun was barely in the sky before a certain Buizel was awake to greet it. Zel had followed his usual custom of being the first to wake up in his family. His parents weren't far behind, however, each rising from their sleep less than 10 minutes after Zel. River, however, was a different story. Even after everyone was already fully awake, River could still be seen snoring away the start of the morning, and breakfast, away.
"River, you're missing breakfast," Mist started, "Wake up, or there'll be nothing left," The only sounds after that was more of River's snoring. Mist sighed after a minute, and then turned and asked, "Zel, could you go wake up your brother?"
"Could I finish my breakfast first?" he asked. Zel was happily eating the last of a Pecha berry when his mom requested he wake River, "And if River doesn't wake up, could I have his breakfast?"
Mist let out a small chuckle at his request, "You can finish your share, but then wake up River, and don't eat any of his food. He needs to eat too."
"Alright, mom," he said as he finished off what was left in his pile. He picked himself up and headed deeper into the cave, where River was gently snoring away. His sleep was about to be interrupted though…
When he got right next to River, he shouted at the top of his lungs.
There was no response. River sure was a heavy sleeper. After the failed attempt, Zel decided to use a more physical method of waking his brother. He got down right next to him and started prodding at his body.
"C'mon, wake up!"
"C'mon, River, wake up!"
"Go away Zel…"
"Not until you wake up."
Hearing that River was awake, or, rather, conscious, Mist decided to speak up, "River, if you don't wake up, I'll give your breakfast to Zel."
Hearing that made Zel's mouth start to drool. He had noticed in the pile that was made for River a delicious assortment of berries, but one in particular, a nice, big Wacan berry, his favorite.
"You can go back to sleep, River…" Zel said with a huge grin on his face. "I'll take good care of your breakfast."
His mother spoke up immediately after that, "Zel, no, I was kidding. River still has to eat."
Hearing that made Zel's smile fade to a hurt look, "But you said-"
Mist cut him off, "If he's willing to share what he doesn't eat with you, then that's fine, but he still needs to eat something."
A loud yawn brought everyone's attention back to the sleeping Buizel on the ground, "If he wants my breakfast, he can have it," River said in a sleepy tone, "I'm never hungry until lunch, anyways…"
Suddenly, a voice that had been quiet the entire time spoke up, "River, get your lazy tail out of bed and eat your breakfast!"
Everyone turned to look at the one who said that. It was Wake, who, until now, had been silently sitting near the cave opening looking for any signs of trouble. He was getting slightly irritated at River's attitude, and decided to take some initiative in it.
"Your brother is five years younger than you, and he does more than you do!" Wake stated, "Even when you were his age, you were still the same lazy bum you are now!"
River had finally sat up in his bed of leaves, but merely replied, "I wasn't as bad 5 years ago. Zel's constant wailing kept me up half the time," he let out an audible yawn soon after.
Hearing that smart-aleck remark only made Wake more irritated. Mist was trying her best to calm him down, but River's attitude had finally gotten to him. He had put up with it for a very long time and had finally reached his boiling point. He tried his best to get River to try fishing with him, to no avail, but now, he was ready to drag River out by his tail to teach him. Instead, he got a rather clever idea.
"Then how about I let Zel be the first one to be able travel into the forest without one of us with him?"
When he said that, all eyes were on Wake. Zel was almost unable to contain his happiness. Being able to find other Pokemon to play with was something that he wanted to be able to do for quite some time now. River simply stared, then turned his head, believing that this was just another joke. Mist, however, believed Wake was serious. She worried about what might happen to Zel, should he be able to venture into the forest without one of them with him.
She tried her best to reason with Wake, "You can't be serious. He doesn't even know how to control his abilities."
"Don't worry. I won't let him go if he's not able to hold his own against me," Wake smirked, then turned to Zel, "We'll have our little scrimmage match in three days. However, during that time, I want you to learn to control your moves. I'm not sending you in there if you are unable to defend yourself."
Zel almost couldn't believe his ears. Two almost unreal things had been said. Going into the forest by himself, and having to fight his dad? Half of him was almost unable to contain itself with joy, but the other half was filled with concern. If he was unable to meet his dad's expectations, he wouldn't be allowed into the forest. He realized he had some serious training to do, and what better teacher than your dad?
"Do you think you could teach me to control my moves?" Zel asked his father.
Wake simply smiled and happily replied, "Of course. I may be fighting you, but that doesn't mean I'm not going to help you."
Mist still had her doubts but trusted Wake's judgment. She knew that if Zel could hold his own against Wake, he would be fine.
River, however, started to get increasingly concerned about what was just said. He was starting to believe that his father was serious in letting Zel go unsupervised, but still tried to call it a fake, "You're bluffing. Even if Zel is able to beat you, you'll never let him go."
"It's that attitude that's the reason why you're not allowed in the forest," Wake said with a hint of anger, "Maybe stories of Zel's travels into the forest will get you to change that."
"He'll never do it…" River simply stated.
Zel, meanwhile, was getting even more pumped up at everything that has happened. If he could do this, he might finally get some respect from River, "I'll show you! C'mon, Dad, what are we waiting for?" Zel shouted, not wanting to waste anymore time. He wanted to learn as much as he possibly could.
"Heh, alright, let's head outside. I don't think your mother would approve of us training in here."
As Wake and Zel wandered off out of the cave, Mist still had her concerns but decided to take advantage of the moment to handle a different problem, "You want your breakfast now, River?"
"Whatever…" He said, as he lazily got up from his sitting position to walk over to his pile of berries that had just been sitting idle the whole time, "He'll still never let him go…"
Zel followed Wake to a place not too far from their home. This was one of few places where Zel and River could be at without their parents, but probably because the area is still in eyeshot of the cave. Wake started off by moving some boulders about half his size into a makeshift target area.
For the rest of the day, taking breaks every so often, Wake taught Zel everything he needed to know about what he can do.
"Focus as much energy you can into your tail and fire it at your target. This is how you use your Sonicboom attack."
Zel had already used a Sonicboom in the past, but it was entirely by accident. He had gotten River so angry at him, that he ended up being pinned under River, which was odd considering Zel's increased size. Flailing around, he ended up trying to smack River off with his tail, and ended up firing off a few uncontrolled Sonicbooms. River did not speak to Zel for a long time after that accident.
Now, though, he was learning to control it and be able to use it whenever he pleased.
"Now, try to smash up some of these rocks with a Sonicboom," Wake directed.
Zel was trying to focus as much as he could into his tail, but every attempt ended up as nothing more than a refreshing breeze.
Not wanting Zel to get discouraged, Wake tried again to give advice, "Try not to think about it too much. Remember the first time you used it, against River. You weren't thinking about using the attack and it came out."
Zel chuckled a bit, and then relaxed himself. He tried to focus any energy into his tail as calmly as he could. After a minute, he jumped and swung his tail around and a much more powerful wave of energy came forth. It traveled at impressive speeds and smashed into the boulders that were used as targets. The resulting impact ended up splintering the boulder into small chunks.
As Zel landed, he became overjoyed with his recent achievement.
"Very impressive, Zel. Now you just need to learn to use that power in the heat of battle," Wake said, wondering if he would be able to recreate that power under pressure, "Try it again, but this time, run at the target and imagine that there are multiple attacks coming at you."
Zel nodded and ran full speed at the target area. He started jumping from side to side, dodging the invisible attacks, until he at last jumped in the air and attempted the attack. Swinging his tail around, he was able to produce another powerful wave of energy. It smashed into the target and had the same effect as his standing shot.
Once again, as he landed, he was overcome with joy. He started hopping around and cheering at his recently awakened power.
Wake was a little surprised at Zel's progress. He wasn't able to fully comprehend the speed at which Zel was improving, "We might have to have our match sooner, or I might be in trouble," Wake joked to himself.
Unknown to both Wake and Zel, they were being watched. River wasn't able to resume his usual tendency to sleep as much as he could. No, he had too much on his mind to be able to sleep. He decided he'd spy on Zel as he trained, "That brat… Why does he get all the attention and special training?"
"Because he takes action to try something new, unlike you."
River jumped when he heard that. He quickly turned to see his mom, Mist, standing there holding a basket of freshly picked berries.
"Maybe if you were more like Zel, you'd be able to do what Zel is achieving," Mist said to River, "Do you even know why your father suggested this whole idea in the first place?"
River, not wanting to think about it, gave no response.
Mist caught his lack of care for the subject, but continued anyway, "He suggested this to try to teach you something, something you lack. Responsibility. Zel is 5 years younger than you, and your father is trying to prove that he is a more responsible Pokemon than you are, River."
"So? Why should I care about responsibility?" River asked in a blunt, uncaring tone.
"Responsibility is what will make you successful in life, River. You won't always have us around to take care of you. You've got to learn to take action and not be such a lazy Pokemon."
"Just leave me alone…" River told his mother. He was in no mood to talk about the subject anymore and started to walk in the direction of the cave.
"Oh, River…" Mist simply stared as her frustrated son walked away. She turned to check on Zel and Wake, who were now practicing Zel's Water Gun attack, which, by the look of things, was going well.
"I hope this works, Wake," She said to herself as she also started to walk back to the cave.
It was late now, and the sun was starting to get low. Wake called out to Zel, "Hey, I think it's time to get back home, we've done enough for today."
"Yea, alright," Zel responded with unusual enthusiasm. He didn't want to show it, but he was exhausted from all this training.
"We'll work on Aqua Jet tomorrow, son," Wake stated as they walked back, receiving a simple nod from Zel.
Back at the cave, Mist had already divided the berries up for their dinner. Since Wake was training Zel, he wasn't able to catch any fish for them to eat, so berries were all that was on the menu. Zel was incredibly hungry and wasted no time in eating at his pile of berries.
Mist had decided to keep her and River's talk a secret for now, but the expression of pure hate was on full display in River's face. He shot a few angry looks over to both his father and brother, none of which were caught by either of them. Zel was too busy stuffing his face, and Wake was telling Mist about Zel's progress.
With the day almost over, everyone decided it was time for bed. Zel walked over to his bed and simply collapsed down onto it and was out like a light. The day's training really wore him out. Wake and Mist settled down on their beds and also fell asleep relatively quickly.
River, however, was unable to sleep. Just as before in the afternoon, he had too many thoughts running through his mind. All he could think about was his parents treating Zel much better than they treated him.
After what seemed like hours, the natural need for sleep finally started to overtake River's mind, and he too fell into a deep slumber.
The night went by quickly and the forest soon found itself under the radiant waves of the sun once again. However, there was someone missing from the usual morning picture. Even after the sun had been in the sky for 15 minutes, Zel was still able to be found spread out on the pile of leaves that is his bed. All the training with Wake the day before really tired him out.
However, one Buizel hadn't changed his habits at all. River was also found still on his bed, but there was something wrong. The leaves that made up the bed were all ruffled and spread out, like someone had shuffled their feet right through the bed. River had so many thoughts running in his mind that when he went to sleep, his thoughts manifested into nightmares.
Both parents, after they had awakened, saw River's condition and decided to wake him and try to find out what was wrong. It was very unlike River to toss and turn like that during his sleep, he always slept as still as a rock.
Mist decided to take the first action in waking River. She slowly walked over to River's bed, trying her best not to wake Zel in the process. She gently nudged at River's side.
"River? River, wake up, dear," She said in a quiet tone, trying her best not to wake Zel.
"Uhhnnn… No…" River mumbled, still fully asleep. He started shifting in his sleep again, concerning both parents greatly. Mist decided she needed to wake River, now.
"River? River, please, wake up," She said in a much louder tone, now more worried about River than if she woke Zel.
River again just shifted more in his sleep. "No… Don't… Don't leave… Me…"
Now, Mist was really frightened. She was ready to use her Water Gun attack to wake him up, but something happened before she was able to act. River's eyes shot open and he sat up almost instantaneously.
His eyes were darting around, looking at everything in the room. The look on his face was one of pure terror. His breathing was very heavy and erratic. It looked like he had just been trapped by a Dusknoir.
Mist immediately tried to comfort River, not knowing what had put him in this state of intense fear. She was about to find out.
"River, what's wrong? Tell me what happened."
"No! Get away from me!" River shouted, pushing his mother away and bearing an extremely angry look on his face. He had gotten to his feet and was taking an aggressive pose towards his parents.
Wake was now the one to speak up, "River! What's wrong?"
"Get away! Leave me alone!"
As he shouted that, he instantly ran right past both his parents and out of the cave. After he was out, he immediately ran for the woods. He wanted nothing more than to be away from his parents.
Of course, they weren't gonna make it easy for him to. Wake was on his tail almost instantly.
"River! Get back here!" Wake glanced back at Mist, "Stay with Zel, I'll get River!" He ran full speed in the direction that River was heading. Mist, meanwhile, was in shock at what had just happened.
"Oh, River… What happened?" She turned to see Zel still dead asleep on his bed, oblivious to the fact that his brother is running away,"Why are you doing this?"
Wake was in full pursuit of River, who, for being a slacker, was pretty fast on his feet. They were dashing through the forest at full speed, jumping over bushes and rocks alike. All the while, Wake was trying to reason with River.
"River, stop this! You don't know where you're going!"
"No! Get away! I don't care where I go, as long as it's away from you!"
The chase was getting to be very deep into the forest now. Trees were an almost inescapable obstacle. River tried to use that to his advantage, but his father's keen eyes were always dead set on him. Also, since Wake knew the topography better, he was able to maneuver around the trees much more easily than River could, slowly closing the gap between them.
Finally, Wake was in range to tackle River to the ground. He did just that, and the two of them skidded along the ground. Wake picked River up and restrained him the best he could, but River was still adamant on getting away from his father.
"Urrggghhh… Let me go!"
"Not until you tell me what's going on! Why did you try to run away?"
"Why should you care?"
"I'm your father, River! That's why! Now calm down, and talk to me. Why did you run from us? What were you dreaming about, before all this started?"
River didn't want to answer. He was still struggling to break free from his father's hold on him, but was unable to. He eventually exhausted what energy he had left. From the running and the struggling, he was completely drained.
Wake again tried to get him to talk, "River, what is wrong? Tell me."
Finally relaxed from exhaustion, River submitted to his father's request, and spoke what was troubling him, "Why do you treat Zel better than me?"
Wake did a quick double take after River blurted that line out. He found it hard to believe that River even thought that.
"You don't really think that we treat Zel better, do you?" His father asked.
"Yes… You're letting him into the forest. You're giving him all this special training. What reason do I have to 'not' think that?" River said scornfully.
Wake sighed before answering, "River, we're doing this to teach you something. You need to learn-"
"Responsibility, I know," River cut him off, "Mom told me the exact same thing."
Still unaware about the talk between Mist and River, Wake was a little surprised that he knew what they were trying to teach him.
River continued. "But, don't you think you could've found a better way to teach me, instead of dragging my little brother into this?"
"We tried, but you shot us down at every moment we tried to teach you," Not wanting to stay in the forest much longer, Wake decided to try to get River home, "C'mon, let's get back home. Can I trust you enough to let you go?"
"…Yes." River said, with a bit of reluctance.
His father released his grip on him and he fell to the floor. After getting up, and brushing himself off, they pair started to walk off back towards their home. Wake was still a little cautious of River, and kept a close eye on him, but as time passed, he started to believe that River wasn't going to try anything. That was the mistake that was going to cost him.
When they were halfway home, back in familiar territory, River started to fall back a little. Since Wake was no longer keeping such a keen eye on River, he was completely unaware at what was going to happen next.
River picked up a large stick and started to move towards his father. Before Wake could realize River was behind him, River clocked his dad in the back of the head with the makeshift club. The powerful Floatzel was instantly knocked unconscious from the hit and began to collapse to the ground. The back of his neck was almost immediately starting to turn red from blood.
River tossed the stick aside and started to rub his paws. He swung the stick with such fury, he nearly injured himself in the process. He began to walk off in a different direction, but stopped and turned to look at the Floatzel he had knocked out. "I don't need you, or Zel, anymore," he said, and with that, he walked away from his injured father and off back into the forest.
Back at the cave, Mist was getting increasingly worried about Wake and River. It was sunrise when River decided to run, and the sun was almost in the middle of the sky now. "They should've been back by now…" Ever since River started to run, and Wake following him, she had just been staring out at the forest edge. A sound from behind, though, had reminded her about her other son, Zel. He had finally awaked from his extended sleep, unaware of what had transpired while he was asleep.
Stretching his arms out, he groggily yawned, then turned to see his mother still just staring into the woods. Not knowing anything was the matter, he called out to her, "Hey, Mom, what's for breakfast?" Zel's insatiable appetite was as apparent as ever.
Mist just turned to see her son in his regular happy mood. She, however, was in a state of worry and fear. She still knew that Zel deserved to know what had happened while he was asleep, "Zel… Something happened."
Bearing a confused look on his face, Zel stared at his mother, wondering why she didn't answer his question about breakfast. He could tell something was amiss, though, and tried to find out what it was.
He looked around the cave to see if anything was out of place. His father's absence was to be expected, he thought, so he paid no mind to that fact. What did catch his eye, however, was the state in which River's bed had been left. All thought of food instantly dropped from his mind, and he only focused on River. He was never out of bed before him. In fact, he was never out of his bed at all! He bore a very concerned look when he turned to his mother, "Mom? Where's River?"
Mist wanted to tell Zel exactly what happened, but something prevented her from doing that. Turning her mind back to the length of time it has been since she last saw either River or Wake, she decided to go in search for them, but she couldn't leave Zel alone at the cave, so she had to take him with her. "Zel, we need to go somewhere. We have to hurry, though. There's not much time," she explained.
At that moment, Zel knew something was wrong, and he knew it was centered on his brother, "Did something happen to River?"
Still wanting to explain, but still finding herself unable to, she simply replied, "There's no time right now, Zel. Just follow me."
"Al…right," Zel replied as he got up from his bed and followed his mother out of their home and into the forest.
Mist didn't know exactly where Wake and River were, but she had a general direction. As she led the way, Zel had many thoughts running through his mind, 'Did River get captured in the night?' he thought to himself. All he knew was that his mother was extremely shaken up at the moment, and decided it best to just follow her commands for now.
They didn't have to walk for very long before they came upon a very grim scene. In the distance, Mist saw what looked like an orange, yellow, and red blob lying on the ground. After she got a few feet closer, she instantly froze up and stared in disbelief.
Zel saw his mother stop moving and decided to see what caused her temporary paralysis. He peeked around from behind his mom and saw the same blob lying on the ground. It hit both the Floatzel mother and Buizel son at the same time, exactly who this blob was.
Both instantly began to sprint over to the fallen Floatzel. He was just starting to regain consciousness as they appeared next to him, which was surprising considering his injuries. Mist was quick to command Zel to give his father some room, while she attempted to rouse Wake further.
He started to wriggle a little, signaling that he was awake, but he was still incredibly weak. His tried to get up onto his feet, but found himself too weak to be able to do anything of the sort.
As he opened his eyes, he saw Mist and Zel, but not the one who he set out to get. He could feel his ears ringing and a massive pain throughout his head, but he didn't know exactly what caused this pain. His first instinct was to find out about the missing family member, "Uuhhnnnngggg… Where's… River?"
"Wake, you're bleeding badly from your head. We've got to get you bandaged up before we worry about anything else," Mist said. She gathered up some leaves from the nearby trees and started to wrap them around his head like bandages. Zel, meanwhile, was exploring the immediate area, looking for any sign of his brother or, to his knowledge, the attacker. What he found, though, scared him half out of his fur.
"Mom? Dad? You might want to take a look at this," he said, pointing to a large stick in the brush, one end of it painted red and the other having small strands of orange and cream colored hairs stuck to it. Both Mist and Wake didn't want to believe that it was River who had done this to him, but that stick was all the evidence they needed to confirm that's what had happened.
"Dammit! Why did I take my eyes off of him?" Wake yelled out, cringing in pain afterwards. The wound on his head was almost covered up, but nothing could be done about the pain. Mist tried to calm him down, so that he didn't hurt himself any further.
"Wake, you've got to relax. I'm almost done patching this up."
"But what about River!" Wake shouted, again causing his head immense pain.
"We'll worry about River later. Right now, we've got to worry about you! Zel, get on the other side of your father. Let's get him back to the cave," Mist directed.
Zel just stared at the weapon used by his brother against his father, completely oblivious to what his mother just asked of him. He still couldn't believe that River would even have done such a thing. His mother was quick to snap him back to reality, and his injured father.
"Zel, we've got to get your father home, where it's safer. Please, come help me."
"Oh… Uh, ok…" Zel replied, looking back briefly at the stick before helping his father to his feet.
With the aid of his family, Wake was able to make it back to the cave, but he was still incredibly weak. Mist spared no time in gathering what berries she had to try to restore some of his strength. Zel just crawled on top of a rock and started to try and piece together what had just happened. His normal, energetic self was replaced with a worried and hurt Buizel.
"Why did River do this?" Zel asked, trying to get some answers.
"I don't know, Zel…" Mist replied as she set down as many berries that she could find, "Wake, what happened back there? What do you remember?"
Wake was sitting against the wall of the cave, trying to keep himself awake. He was quick to grab a berry when Mist set them down next to him. As he munched on a restorative Sitrus berry, he tried to remember what he could.
"I remember chasing him deep into the forest. I kept trying to reason with him, but he just kept yelling at me to 'stay away.' I was able to catch up to him and tackle him to the ground," Wake started to slide from his upright position, but Mist was quick to catch and correct him. After another berry, he continued, "I had to restrain him so he couldn't get away again. He was finally willing to talk a little after exhausting himself, and said that we treated Zel better than we did him."
Hearing that made Zel almost start to cry. Deep down, he couldn't help but feel responsible for what had happened to his brother and father. His mother sensed this, and immediately went over to comfort him.
"Zel, it's alright. You did nothing wrong," Mist said in the softest tone she could make, "Your brother is just confused a little, that's all."
"No… He did this because of me," Zel stated, "Dad's hurt and River's gone all because of me."
"Zel, no. I was the one who suggested the whole idea in the first place," Wake said, "You did nothing wrong. There's no one to blame for this, not even River."
"How come there's no one to blame for this?" Zel asked, believing that someone had to be responsible.
"Like your mother said, he's just confused," Wake replied. In truth, he actually didn't know if there was anyone to blame, or what River's intentions were.
"So, what happened next?" Mist asked, wanting to know the rest of the story.
"We talked a little more, then I asked if he was willing to go home without me having to carry him there," Wake again started to fall over, but he was able to catch himself this time and continued, "He said yes, so I let him down, and for the start of it, he seemed to have calmed down. I guess I trusted him too much and let my guard down. I didn't even see it coming…"
Zel finally broke down and started to cry. He got up from the rock he was sitting on and slowly walked deeper into their cave home, to where he and River slept. Wake was finished with his recollection and focused on eating something to restore his strength, while Mist went over to Zel to try to comfort him.
"Zel, you know you did nothing wrong," Mist said.
But Zel was too caught up in his own mind to hear her, just like before. He just continued to stare down at River's bed, which still had all the leaves strewn about, "Why did you leave, River? Why?"
Mist sighed, then decided it would be best to leave him be for the moment. She went back to check on Wake's condition. With him out of commission for a while, if any predators decided to attack, they would be in immense danger.
Mist went out to get some better bandages for to use for Wake's head wound. When she returned, she started to replace the old leaves with the newer ones.
"Wake, when I'm done here, I want you to get some rest," Mist ordered, "That's the only way this'll heal."
"How's Zel holding up?" Wake asked.
"I don't know…" Mist replied, casting a quick glance to see what Zel was doing.
Zel was still sitting next to River's bed, crying at having lost his brother. Mist had left him some berries, in case he got hungry, but he never even touched them, not even the Wacan berry she had left on top.
Everyone was wishing that River would walk into the cave before they went to sleep, but that's all that it was, a wish.
As night began to fall, Mist decided that they should all try and get to sleep. Wake had already been sleeping beforehand, still not fully able to keep himself awake. Zel just crawled onto his brother's bed and curled up into a ball, slightly crying as he tried to sleep. Eventually, Zel was able to fall asleep, though it was far from restful.
Mist was the last one awake. She simply stared out of the cave towards the forest, wondering where her son was. As she, too, lay down on her bed, she silently wished for her son's safety.
"Oh, River… Please… Be safe."
Over the next few days, everyone's focus was on finding any sign of River. Unfortunately, there was never any sign of him. Zel was always found just staring out at the trees, just hoping that he would see his brother walk out of them, but that vision never came true. While Wake was resting, Mist decided to go into the forest to actively look for River. She was never gone for more than half an hour though, not wanting to leave Wake or Zel for too long. Each day that passed, the family grew the more concerned, over not only what could've happened to River, but what it was doing to them.
Zel's normal abundance of energy was no longer present. All that was seen was a depressed Buizel. Wake's condition was improving, but he was still in no condition to fight. The days did pass by calmly, with no surprise attackers, but the danger always lurked.
On the third day since River's disappearance, the day was passing by rather quietly. Wake was still sleeping, his injury just starting to heal up, Zel was continuing looking at the trees, and Mist was just sitting, worried for River's safety.
Zel's eyes were keen to see any movement in the woods, and today, he was not going to like what he would see.
Out of the corner of his eye, he noticed the brush rustling a little. He immediately put his focus to that area, where the rustling continued.
"Mom? There's something in the woods…" Zel said in a very worried tone.
Mist responded by looking in the direction of the trees. She, too, saw the rustling and tried to make out what it was. She noticed that there were multiple figures in the brush, and that got her extremely worried.
"Wake… Wake, get up…" She said as she tried to rouse Wake from his sleep, "Wake, there's something in the forest, get up."
Wake slowly started to rise from his sleep, "Urgh… What's happening?"
"I don't know, but there's something in the forest," Mist responded.
"What is? What's in the forest?" Wake again asked, but this time, the answer was much clearer.
Out of nowhere, a large Mightyena leaped from behind the brush and sprinted for the cave. Wake immediately tried to get up. He still believed that he is still the one to protect the family from danger, but he was too woozy from his head injury to be able to do anything. Finally, he gave up and called out to Zel, "Zel! You've got to take care of him!"
"What? But… I can't… There's no way," Zel replied as he watched the black figure getting closer to his home.
"You can! Just remember the training! You can do it, Zel!" His father shouted, starting to get all the more unstable.
The Mightyena was fast approaching. Zel simply stared; paralyzed with fear. It didn't help that the Mightyena's ability, Intimidate, was also adding to that fear. A stream of water passed by Zel, as his mother responded to his inactivity with a Water Gun of her own, but it wasn't as powerful as Wake or Zel's, even though she was a Floatzel. It didn't do much damage, and the Mightyena just shook off the attack and continued for the cave.
As the wolf Pokemon arrived at the cave, it instantly went for what it thought the easiest prey, Zel. Zel just stood there, still paralyzed with fear, and closed his eyes as the Mightyena jumped for him with its jaws opened wide.
A bloodcurdling scream could be heard moments after, but it didn't come from Zel. Mist had thrown herself in front of Zel, to save him from the attack. Zel's eyes shot open when he heard the scream, and couldn't believe what he saw. The wolf Pokemon had its teeth sunk into Mist's upper arm. Deciding to change plans, it proceeded to start gnawing at her arm; its powerful jaws were threatening to rip off her arm, which was now starting to be stained red.
To repel the beast, she fired another Water Gun at the Pokemon, this time aiming for where his mouth was slightly cracked open. She managed to choke the wolf Pokemon with water, and the beast let go of her arm to be able to breathe. Mist instinctively grabbed where she was bit, trying to keep pressure on it to keep it from bleeding. It was badly damaged, but she could still feel her arm, meaning that the bite hadn't done extensive damage.
After seeing his mother being injured by this Pokemon, all the fear of the Mightyena itself was replaced with a new fear: A fear of losing the rest of his family. He had already lost River, and was not going to let this Pokemon take away what he had left.
Zel walked out in front of Mist; with a new look in his eyes, a look of determination and anger. He was determined to prevent this beast from causing any more harm to his family.
The Mightyena moved in for another attack, but this time, its attack was met with a powerful Water Gun attack, courtesy of Zel. The blast of water repelled the beast much more effectively than the one used by Mist. The wolf Pokemon lost its balance from the stream of water and fell over to the ground. Zel immediately followed up by firing off a few Sonicboom attacks towards the beast, each one hitting its mark, causing significant damage.
The wolf Pokemon responded with a loud howl to the sky, signaling that more trouble was on its way. Seconds later, another Mightyena jumped from behind the brush to join its pack-mate and proceeded to team up against Zel. However, Zel was about to get an advantage.
Still injured and holding her wound, Mist decided to use the last of her strength to help Zel. She focused a natural energy into her, then shot a brilliant white light towards the sky. Moments later, dark clouds started to form in the sky. After the cloud blocked out the sun, it had started to rain. Mist had used her Rain Dance move to give Zel an advantage in the fight. Buizels and Floatzels both have the ability Swift Swim, which raises their speed to incredible heights in the rain. When she finished, she collapsed to the ground, next to Wake. The rest was now up to Zel.
As the rain fell around him, Zel felt as light as a feather and more powerful than ever before. He quickly sped right past both charging Mightyenas and fired of an even more powerful Water Gun at both of them. The increased power was able to take the already injured one out of commission, but his friend was still able to get back on his feet and decided to try to attack the defenseless Floatzels lying in the cave.
"No! Get away from them!" He shouted, as he felt his body encased in a sphere of water. He never got the opportunity to practice the move, but he still was able to produce an amazing Aqua Jet. He sped towards the Mightyena, easily able to out-speed it, and smashed right into its side. The impact sent it flying a long ways away from where it got hit and also knocked it unconscious.
Zel broke the attack, and got back into a defensive position, ready to protect his family from any more potential attackers. Unfortunately for him, there were plenty more. Another group of two Mightyena jumped from the brush. They ran to separate sides of Zel to try to attack him from both sides.
Zel braced himself for the oncoming attacks, clenching his paws in anger and anticipation. However, something happened at that moment. He started to feel a strange sensation around his right paw. Looking at it, it was glowing with a dazzling white light. It also felt very… cold.
The Mightyena were both closing in fast, and, snapped back into the situation, Zel decided to test what this light in his paw does. As both of the attackers went in to bite him, Zel jumped at the last second to dodge their attacks, and caused them to crash into each other. He then followed up by swinging his paw down on top of both of the dazed Pokemon. Half of his paw hit one, while the other half hit the other Mightyena. Both Pokemon had their faces plowed into the ground, but that wasn't the only thing to happen. A creeping chill started to engulf both Pokemon as they were slowly being encased in ice.
From the cave, Mist simply stared in amazement at what had just happened. Zel learning to use Ice Punch at this time simple baffled her. She just stared motionless as she was about to get another huge surprise.
Upon seeing that four of their pack has already been beaten by a little Buizel, the Alpha of the pack called out for every one of them to start to attack. With a loud howl, the remaining Mightyena, about eight more of them, charged from behind the bushes.
Zel was still wondering how he managed to freeze those last two Pokemon, but was instantly brought back to the battle when he heard the loud howling sound. Bracing himself for the worst, he focused another Ice Punch into his paw, and prepared himself for the final assault.
Seemingly out of nowhere, a figure encased in a sphere of water emerged from the woods. The figure smashed into each of the Mightyena, one by one, taking them all out with just one hit.
The Alpha of the pack, now in a blind rage, started to run full speed towards Zel. Zel simply smirked and met the Alpha with a powerful uppercut of his Ice Punch. The hit instantly froze the Alpha and sent him flying into the air, crashing back down yards away. After seeing that their leader had been defeated, all the Mightyena picked themselves up and made a mad dash for the forest.
The sky started to clear up as the effect of Mist's Rain Dance started to dissipate. Now that the danger was over, Zel could focus on who the figure that helped them out was. After the stream of water broke, he could make out that it was a Buizel. After the Buizel landed, he turned to face Zel and his family. Tears started to well up in Zel's eyes as he got a good look at just who the Buizel was.
Zel started to run as fast as he could towards his brother. When he got within five feet of him, he jumped up and tackle-hugged River to the ground.
"Hey! What was that for?" River asked in a very upbeat tone, and even laughed afterwards.
"I thought I'd never see you again!" Zel said, holding back his tears as best he could.
"I thought I'd never see you again, either. I'm sorry, Zel…" River responded in a somber tone this time, "Where's Dad?"
"He's in the cave…" Zel replied.
Back at the cave, Mist simply stared at the two brothers, unable to believe that her son has returned.
"Wake... It's River. He's back. River's back!" Mist said, growing louder with each word said.
"What? He is?" Wake asked in disbelief, "Help me up. I need to go talk to him."
Mist responded by helping Wake to his feet and keeping him steady on the way towards the brothers. She had managed to bandage up her arm with some spare leaves that were not used for Wake's injury.
When the family all met outside the cave, there were mixed emotions throughout the family. Silence also overtook them for a minute. Wake was quick to break the silence.
"River, what happened to you?" Wake asked in a stern voice, "Why did you nearly kill me?"
River hung his head low and closed his eyes. After a minute, he finally spoke up. "I wish I'd have never done that to you… I resented you for treating Zel better than me, with all the training and that stuff. I had so much anger inside me that I lost sight of who you were. I didn't see you as my father, I saw you as someone trying to hold me back. I thought that I would be better off if I was by myself than if I was with you, anyways.
"That day… I was almost glad that I was rid of you. I went on trying to improve what skills I already had, but with no one else there, I started to realize my mistake. I wanted to return, but I was afraid of that you'd not want me anymore."
River was starting to get choked up. He was trying his best to hold back his emotions, but they were stronger than what he could hold back. "But I was wrong. I was wrong to think all those thoughts. I was wrong to think that I could do better on my own. Nothing that you guys do has ever hurt me in any way. You were all trying to help me."
River had started to cry now, but he still had one more thing to say, "Dad?" Wake's attention was already fully on River, "I'm sorry for betraying you."
The whole time, throughout River's speech, everyone was trying their best to hold back their emotions. Zel was right next to his brother, happy to levels that are unexplainable. He just couldn't believe that this was the same River from a few days ago.
Mist and Wake also couldn't believe the change in River's attitude. Mist wanted to go over to River to hug him, but was unable to because she was holding Wake up. Wake, meanwhile, simply smiled.
"River, my son, you will always have us with you. We are a family, and every family does have its bad times, but, in the end, things always work out," Wake stood himself up, without Mist's help, and walked over to River.
"Welcome home, River," Wake said, while hugging his son.
River blinked his eyes a few times, not able to believe that his father had so easily forgiven him, "So, you're not mad at me?" River had to ask.
"No, I'm not. I'm just happy to see you're safe and with us again," Wake replied, tears now starting to well up in his eyes.
"Heh, well, we have Zel to thank for that." River said, earning a few confused looks from his family, "It was my memories of Zel that caused me to see my errors. Zel had someone with him when he was training, someone to direct him, help him, praise him. I also began to miss him as my brother. I've not been a very good role model for him, but he somehow ended up being totally different from me. He also ended up being a kind of role model for me, I guess…" River turned to his brother by his side and smiled, something that he rarely ever did.
Zel simply replied by hugging his brother even tighter than before. The rest of the family also moved in to share a happy family hug.
"It's good to be home."