As Silus continues on his journey towards Safflower City, for his third Gym badge, our heroes take a stop in Crocus City to allow Clair to compete in her first Hora region Pokémon Contest!
"Are you sure you don't want to come with us?" Clair asked, looking somewhat concerned. She was talking to Silus.
"I told you," Silus was replying. "I'm not a big fan of Pokémon Contests. Even less of a fan than Nathan is, though I suppose that's just because Nathan doesn't like participating in them and doesn't mind watching them."
"So, what are you going to do while we're in there?" Nathan asked, curious.
"I'm going to go train in the forest for a bit." Silus replied, giving the thumbs up. "I'll be fine."
"Well, if you insist." Clair sighed, defeated. "Let's head out, Nathan."
"Alright," the younger boy replied. "See you in a few, Silus!"
"Yep, good luck, Clair!" Silus waved back, and began his walk towards the woods on the outside of town.
Roost in the Trees! Edit
The woods were fairly quiet as Silus made his way through the thick trees to a clearing. There, he sat his bag on a nearby tree stump, pulled out his Pokéballs, and released all four of his current Pokémon from confinement. Monferno, Abomasnow, Deino, and Charmander. All four Pokémon whooped and grunted their approval at being let out of their Pokéballs.
"Well guys, we have the day to ourselves. Let's have a picnic and get some training done." Silus announced, drawing cheers from the assembled Pokémon.
However, just as they did so, a fairly large shadow passed over head. Silus paid it no heed, and attempted to pass out his Oran Berries to his Pokémon, but Monferno was clearly bothered by the shadow, which continued to pass over the clearing. Looking up, whilst simultaneously shielding his eyes from the sun, Silus spotted the source of their distress. Soaring high above them, circling the clearing, was an immense bird Pokémon. Silus guess, just by a glance, that it was nearly as big as he was. Quickly, he reached for his Pokédex.
"Braviary, the Valiant Pokémon and the evolved form of Rufflet. For the sake of its friends, this brave warrior of the sky will not stop battling, even if injured." the Dex reported.
"I see, so its a Braviary." Silus repeated, looking back into the sky.
Suddenly, Braviary tucked its wings and swooped downward, landing in the clearing, and raising the gathered Pokémons' alert.
"Now, now, you guys." Silus waved, calming them as he approached the large bird Pokémon. "It doesn't seem to want to harm us."
No, in fact, Braviary seemed distraught. It continued to caw frantically, flapping its wings as though it wanted Silus to approach it. And so, approach it Silus did. Resting a hand on the enormous bird's shoulders, Silus calmed the evolved Pokémon.
"Bra! Braviary!" the large bird cawed once more.
"What is it, Braviary?" Silus asked, looking genuinely concerned. "Is something the matter?"
"Brave!" the bird Pokémon replied, trying in vain to get Silus to understand it.
Suddenly coming up with a solution, the bird Pokémon took flight once again, circling over head before hovering just above the treeline on the right side of the clearing. It was clear to Silus that Braviary was trying to get him to follow it. Whatever was bothering it, it needed his assistance. Never one to turn down helping a Pokémon, Silus simply nodded at it and gave chase as it took off over the abundant trees of the forest.
Pokémon in tow, Silus took off into the woods, every now and then glancing into the sky to make sure Braviary was still within the range of his sight. Before long, they came to a large opening in the forest, where a river ran through — likely the same river which ran through the center of Crocus City. On the opposite shore, wing trapped by a large, fallen rock, was a smaller bird, with a similar color scheme to Braviary. Silus, for the second time that day, pulled out his Pokédex.
"Rufflet, the Eaglet Pokémon. Rufflet will challenge anything, even strong opponents, without fear. Their frequent fights help them become stronger." the Dex chimed.
"So that's what was going on!" Silus exclaimed, a light bulb coming on. "This Braviary must've noticed Rufflet was hurt and couldn't free it, so it needs us to help. Abomasnow, Wood Hammer on that rock!"
Abomasnow waded across the river, its arm glowing bright green, and smashed the rock which was holding Rufflet down. Braviary, seeing its friend was free, swooped down and landed next to it, whilst Abomasnow helped Silus across the river. Instantly, Silus could see a problem, which was only confirmed by Braviary's look of concern. Weakly, Rufflet tried to spread its injured wing and take to the skies, but to no avail; rather, shrieking from the pain.
"I can't leave Rufflet like this." Silus mused. "Its wing needs time to heal. Braviary! I have to take Rufflet to the Pokémon Center!"
"Bra?" The Pokémon seemed to ask, not understanding.
"If Rufflet doesn't get medical attention, it could be in serious danger out here." Silus tried to explain to it. "In the city, there is a place I can take it to. It will get better if we take it there."
Braviary stared intently at Silus for a brief moment, then nodded, as if it understood him. Then, in a surprising course of action, Braviary bent down, leaning over the riverbed, and spread its wings, pointing backwards with its beak, as if to indicate for Silus to get on. Silus, somewhat bewildered by this, gave it a perplexed look, only for it to nod again.
"Well, if you insist." Silus replied, returning his Pokémon to their respective Pokéballs, and then scooping Rufflet up into his arms.
Slowly and carefully, Silus mounted the enormous bird Pokémon, suddenly amazed that he was about to fly on a Pokémon's back. Once Braviary was sure that Silus and Rufflet were safely clinging to its back, the large bird flapped its powerful wings and launched itself into the sky, causing Silus to yelp in surprise. Silus was suddenly floored by the revelation that he was flying, soaring high above the forest, on a Pokémon's back no less.
Braviary flapped its wings to gain speed, brilliantly ignoring the obvious addition of weight on its back, as it throttled through the sky, with the city's skyline finally coming into sight. Laughing from the trill of the ride, Silus clung tight to Braviary's neck, putting his trust in the Pokémon as it dipped and dived through the air, continuing to pick up speed as it went.
In no time at all, Braviary was soaring over the city, tucking its wings and diving towards the entrance of the Pokémon Center. People who were walking out of the Center, or around its entrance, noticed the giant, diving Pokémon, and dove themselves to get out of its way. Flapping its wings furiously, Braviary brought itself to a smooth landing, just outside the door of the Pokémon Center. Taking this a cue, Silus clung tightly to Rufflet and dismounted the bird Pokémon.
"I'll be right back." Silus noted, and then he was off towards the Center.
Gaining Braviary's Respect Edit
Minutes later, as the evening sun began to set, Silus returned to the waiting Braviary, who looked up, searching him for answers, since he hadn't returned with Rufflet. Silus stroked the large bird Pokémon's head feathers, and began to explain to it what was going on.
"Nurse Joy is going to bandage Rufflet up and keep it at the Center overnight." he explained. "Are you going to stay?"
"Brave!" the bird Pokémon replied, flexing its wings to indicate a 'yes'.
Silus nodded with a smile, "Then so will I."
"Silus!" a female voice rang out, snapping him out of his daze. "We've been looking all over for you."
"Oh, hey Clair." Silus replied, as Nathan and Clair approached him.
"Wow!" Nathan gasped. "A Braviary!"
"What's going on, Silus?" Clair queried. "I though you were training in the woods."
"Well, you see..." Silus began.
Over the course of the next several minutes, Silus explained to the two of them what had happened when he had ventured into the forest. Clair and Nathan both looked on amazed as he retold his account about how he and Braviary had made their entrance.
"Oh yeah," Silus added, finishing the narrative. "How did your Contest go?"
Clair grinned mischievously, reaching into her pack and pulling out a shiny new ribbon, "Read 'em and weep." she cooed.
"Lyra was there too, Silus!" Nathan chimed in. "But she lost, so she's heading for Safflower City to get her next badge."
"Guess that's where we'll head next too, then." Silus replied. "But for tonight, I need to stay here. I made a promise to Braviary."
"Bra!" the bird Pokémon cawed in agreement.
"Well, I'd rather sleep in a bed than a tent." Clair consented. "So, its fine with me."
Later that night, the moon beating into their room, Silus found himself unable to stay asleep, so resorted to rolling out of his bunk, and stepping into the foyer; leaving Nathan and Clair to sleep peacefully in their room. There, near the waiting bench, he found that Braviary was also awake, perched restlessly by the door that led to Rufflet's room.
"Can't sleep either?" Silus asked, leaning up against the wall next to Braviary.
"Bra..." the Pokémon replied softly.
Silus observed Braviary, the worry clear its eyes, confirming the Pokédex's entry claiming that it cared immensely for its friends. Wrapping his arms around its large neck, Silus pulled it close to him in an embrace, and then proceeded to gently stroke its neck feathers. He could tell just by touching the bird that it was tense. He also noticed it watching him very carefully out of the corner of its eye.
"Don't you worry." he assured it. "Rufflet will be fine."
"Braviary!" the Pokémon cooed, giving him what could only be assumed to be smile.
Back in Flight! Edit
The following morning, Nurse Joy officially released Rufflet to return to its home in the wild, and so, Braviary, Rufflet, Silus, Clair, and Nathan all ventured out to the clearing where Silus had met Braviary, and began to say their goodbyes. Rufflet indicated its gratitude, before taking flight, giving Silus an affectionate squawk, and then ascending until it disappeared. Silus then approached Braviary, ruffling its head feathers once more.
"I'm glad I decided to come out here, Braviary." he told it. "I'm happy that I could help you and Rufflet."
"Brave! Braviary!" the Pokémon cawed approvingly in response.
Suddenly, Braviary lowered its head and spread its wings, though it didn't take flight. Instead, it held this posture, and glared at Silus intently.
"It wants to battle you." Clair suggested.
"Battle me?" Silus asked, perplexed.
"It clearly has become attached to you, Silus." Clair stated. "It respects you for the way you comforted it and took care of Rufflet. I think it wants to battle you to see if you're worthy of being its trainer."
"Is that so?" Silus said, turning back to the Pokémon. "In that case... GO!"
Tossing a Pokéball into the air, Silus released Monferno to battle for him. Braviary lowered its head further, acknowledging its opponent. Monferno seemingly recognized the fire in its eyes, and matched it with its own determination. Without warning, Braviary took to the skies, its wings glowing bright blue, as it hurled several disks of air at Monferno. An Air Slash.
"Now, let's show them what we've been working on, Monferno!" Silus declared.
"Mon-ferno!" the monkey Pokémon replied.
"Overheat!" Silus commanded.
The monkey Pokémon's tail flame immediately flared up, as it released a tremendous stream of flames, knocking the Air Slash out of the way and slamming into the Valiant Pokémon.
"Now, next up, Acrobatics!" Silus continued.
Monferno leaped into the air nimbly, landing on Braviary's back and delivering a swift chop to the bird Pokémon's neck, sending it into a dive, which resulted in it smashing into the ground.
"Woah!" Nathan exclaimed. "When did Monferno get that strong?"
Clair chuckled, "He and Silus have really grown together. Overheat and Acrobatics. Those are signs that Monferno has reached its peak." she deduced.
Reaching for his empty Pokéball, Silus enlarged it with a swift press of its central button, hurling it towards Braviary, which was then sucked into the ball. The ball landed, and began to teeter back and forth until its middle button finally lit up red — indicating a capture.
"Looks like I got a new friend!" Silus yelped triumphantly, retrieving the ball. "What do you think Monfer—"
Silus froze in his tracks, as the celebrating Monferno began to glow an intense white, engulfed in light energy, which then grew to the size of Silus before the light faded. The Pokémon standing before him was no longer Monferno. It was bigger, but had the same sly grin. Trembling, Silus retrieved his Pokédex to see what was now before him.
"Infernape, the Flame Pokémon. Infernape tosses its enemies around with agility. It uses all its limbs to fight in its own unique style." the Dex reported.
"So, you finally did it." Silus said, almost in a whisper, tears welling in his eyes.
He threw his arms around Infernape, who was now his size, and embraced the Pokémon that had began his journey alongside him. Infernape seemed equally pleased by this, and embraced his trainer back.
"It evolved." Nathan stated, bewildered.
"Its no wonder." Clair added. "Not only has it been at Silus' side the longest and gotten the most experience in battle, its also been trying for a long time to evolve for Silus. I guess these last two days with Braviary showed it how much Silus loved Pokémon, and his battles with as many facilities and trainers as possible, thus far, has shown it he wants to get stronger. So, it reciprocated those feelings. Its natural for Pokémon to pick up on those desires."
To Safflower City and Beyond! Edit
"So, Safflower City is our next stop?" Nathan asked, as the group approached the road out of Crocus City.
"Yes, that's where Silus' next badge will be located." Clair answered.
"One step closer to the Hora League!" Silus declared.
And so, with a new friend in tow and Crocus City behind them, our heroes continue their journey towards Safflower City, and Silus' third Hora League badge.