Published: September 14, 2013
A blast of fire impacted with the wall of an underground cavern. The light from the flames temporarily illuminated the room, clearly identifying the source of the powerful attack to be a Cyndaquil.
The fire mouse kept up the assault for several more seconds before he couldn’t hold it any longer and the attack faded. The room darkened again as the Cyndaquil’s back flames were also extinguished after the display, leaving him panting heavily.
Kuba continued to look down at the ground as he tried to catch his breath. He had been training for a while now and fatigue was beginning to set in on the rescuer. However after a little while his breathing was finally beginning to return to normal.
He turned back towards the entrance to the cavern before looking up at the grainy ceiling. The surrounding’s of his training ground couldn’t help but remind him of his most recent mission where he found himself in a similar underground environment as he joined Chill and a couple of other rescuers in an attempt to rescue Gunpowder.
While the mission was ultimately a success, the Cyndaquil wasn’t personally satisfied with his performance. He had ended up captured by the Cofagrigus and the rest of the group needed to come back and drag him out of the cave.
A slight frown appeared on the fire mouse’s face as he recalled the most recent of setbacks. “I shouldn’t have gotten overconfident…” Kuba trailed off in quiet frustration. “I should have remained aware of my surroundings the entire time.”
The rescuer turned back towards wall he had been attacking again before he paused. “Doesn’t seem to matter how hard I try…something always goes wrong,” Kuba laughed bitterly.
This new train of thought began to bring out further memories of missions past. “I always seem to either get myself nearly killed, get someone else hurt…sometimes both…” he trailed off as he recalled a certain incident with an ice dragon that got both himself and his partner injured.
The thought of his currently missing partner only further cemented his poor mood. “Kiri…” he trailed of as images of his currently trapped in the past Mareep partner raced through his head. The Cyndaquil had faith in the electric sheep, that she would be ok and that she would make it home safely.
But with every day that went by without her return he grew a little more worried. This was compounded by his own frustrations at his inability to be there to help her. “She’s facing who knows what type of danger in the past to get to try and get home…and I’m just standing here!” the Fire mouse yelled as he took a vicious swipe at the ground with a paw as his back flames lit up briefly.
A couple of huffs could be heard before a solemn expression came over the Cyndaquil’s face. “I nearly got killed on my last mission and I can’t do anything to help my partner…” he trailed off emptily. “Am I really capable of doing a good job as a rescuer?”
The Cyndaquil couldn’t quite believe that he had even asked himself that question. When he left to come to Tao he was so confident and sure of himself and his ability and now he was considering the idea, however briefly, of leaving the rescuers.
A small laugh escaped the Cyndaquil’s lips as he shook his head. “What are you doing? This is the type of thing you’ve always wanted to do and now you think about quitting?” he asked himself as a small tinge of disgust could be heard in his voice. “What would Kiri think? How would she react after working so hard to make it home if I told her I even considered quitting?”
The very thought caused the fire mouse to chuckle slightly. “Come on you’re being ridiculous Kuba,” he criticized himself in a much firmer tone. “Just keep going, keep working hard and things will turn around…they have too…” he trailed off, doubt still lingering slightly.
There was a moment of silence as the Cyndaquil turned back towards the wall and gazed upon it. Suddenly his back flames erupted again as he prepared to attack and continued his training.
Night had just fallen now as the Cyndaquil was trudging back towards his team base. His body was sore from the long day’s effort and exertion as he came upon the walkway leading up to the house.
He stopped when he heard footsteps from behind the building. His body tensed as he took a defensive pose as he heard the footsteps getting louder as they approached from the right side of the building. Kuba was tired but was ready to fight if the visitor proved to be hostile.
The fire mouse instantly dropped his battle stance when he saw the source of the noise approach from around the corner. It was a Mareep with a blue scarf around her neck and a Gracidea flower worn just above her right horn.
Kuba just stared at the electric sheep in disbelief, as she continued to exam the team emblem fondly, completely unaware of the fire mouse watching her. She took a couple of more steps before turning her head and jumping in surprise at the sight of Kuba.
The two locked eyes as they stood in silence, just staring at each other. After several seconds a smile formed on the Mareep’s face as she began to walk towards the entrance of the base.
“Hey Kuba,” Kiri spoke as her smile only grew bigger as she continued walking. The Cyndaquil’s eyes followed her movements closely, face still in shock before she stopped in front of the entrance to their base. “I’m back.”
Kuba’s expression remained the same as he just kept staring at the electric sheep. This was beginning to worry Kiri as she tilted her head slightly in confusion. ‘Did something happen while I was gone? How long was I gone anyway?’
She didn’t have time to take this line of thought further as she felt herself lifted from the ground. The Mareep let out a squeak of surprise as she was tackled in a hug, causing the pair to spin in a complete circle before coming to a landing.
“You’re back,” Kuba spoke simply as he tightened the hug. Kiri looked down to see a pair of tears coming from the Cyndaquil’s eyes. This caused the Mareep to tear up herself as she placed a paw on his back.
After a few moments the pair split from the hug. The partners couldn’t stop smiling as they wiped the tears from their eyes and giggled intermittently. Finally Kuba stepped forward towards the door. “I suppose you might want to come inside after being away for a while?” he asked with a smirk as he held the door open for her.
“I suppose so,” she replied with a laugh as she stepped inside the base, yawning as she entered. Kuba followed her in, shutting the door behind him. Kiri looked around at the base, a little surprised at how little had changed, besides an old looking bell she didn’t recognize.
“I see this place hasn’t changed much,” she spoke with a small laugh.
“You’ve been gone a while but not for THAT long,” the Cyndaquil spoke with a smirk and a chuckle. Silence fell between the two before Kiri spoke up.
“How long has it been since I disappeared?” she asked hesitantly.
Kuba looked up as he thought about this for a moment before responding. “Pretty close to a month now I think,” he spoke as he turned back to his partner. The electric sheep hung her head sadly at this. “I take it not that many day’s went by in the past?”
“No,’ she replied simply as she shook her head. “We were only in the past for about a week and a half,” she added as she let out another yawn and sat down.
There was silence between the pair as the Cyndaquil briefly contemplated how that could be possible before deciding it wasn’t important. “So what exactly happened in the past? I know you ran into Devonshire and had to go after that Zoroark.”
A look of complete confusion came over the Mareep’s face, causing Kuba to chuckle as he made his way over to a drawer and withdrew a letter from it. “You mentioned it in this, remember?”
“Oh right, that!” she exclaimed, a small blush coming over her face as she giggled slightly. The Cyndaquil smiled slightly at this before getting back to the matter at hand.
“You said that that Zoroark was also responsible for the Sorbet incident?” he asked seriously, causing the electric sheep to nod in reply.
“Devonshire sure seemed to think so,” she replied simply.
“How did you guy’s go about catching her?” Kuba asked curiously, causing his partner to look away nervously before turning back towards him.
“Well, Hawkrow, Kalvin, Devonshire, Caldera, Dr. Quaak and Vergil and I were traveling in a group in an effort to find the Zoroark,” Kiri began before letting out another yawn. The Cyndaquil was watching her with interest before she continued. “After a while I ended up getting separated from the group…and then the Zoroark used another illusion on me.”
The fire mouse felt his body grow tense upon this as he remembered the same thing happening to his partner on their most recent mission together. “It was a different illusion,” Kiri chimed in quickly.
“I was actually able to see through it this time though,” she spoke as her tone lifted slightly, causing her Cyndaquil partner to beam back at her. “She instantly ambushed me after words though,” the Mareep added, causing Kuba to frown. He definitely did not like this Zoroark.
“I was just able to hold her off long enough for the rest of the group to find me and capture her though,” the Mareep spoke, the smallest of smiles coming over her face.
“Pretty nice work considering the situation,” the fire mouse spoke with a grin, causing Kiri to blush slightly as she rubbed the back of her head with a paw.
“I really didn’t do anything that impressive,” she spoke dismissively before Kuba gave her a stern look, implying she should give herself some credit.
"So what happened after you captured her?” the fire mouse asked curiously. His partner hesitated as she tried to figure out how to describe it.
“I’m not sure on the details exactly…” she began as Kuba tilted his head in curiosity. “After that Jasmine somehow teleported all of us to the Tao of the past but became really sick in the process. We needed to go get medicine from the tree of life to cure her, that’s where my letter left off right?”
“I don’t think you specified you were going to the Tree of Life but otherwise yeah,” Kuba replied as he nodded. Kiri let out another yawn, even larger than the previous one’s before preparing to speak again.
“Why don’t you get some sleep Kiri?” the fire mouse proposed to his partner, catching her by surprise.
“Oh no, I can keep telling the story tonight, really!” she insisted as she waved her paws.
“Kiri it isn’t a problem, you’re clearly exhausted so you should get some rest!” he exclaimed as he stood up and took a couple steps around the base before turning back to the electric sheep with a small chuckle. “Besides, I’m pretty sure you’re still going to be here in the morning this time.”
Kiri’s expression was a mix of shock, bemusement and annoyance as she let out a sigh before she started chuckling. “Don’t even joke about that,” she said with a pleading look in her eye.
Kuba simply nodded before chuckling lightly again. “I know…but seriously get some rest Kiri, we can catch up in the morning, okay?” he asked the Mareep with a caring look.
The electric sheep was still unsure before she finally relented. “All right, if you’re really okay with this…” she trailed off. The fire mouse replied with a smile that Kiri matched before spreading out slightly, leaning her head on her front two paws and closing her eyes. “Good night Kuba.”
Kuba watched his partner for a few minutes in silence before he began to walk towards her. The Mareep’s ears twitched slightly as she heard the movement but she kept her eyes closed. The footsteps continued to get closer before they stopped just next to her.
Kiri opened her eyes as she felt something brushing up against her. She saw that Kuba had lain down next to her, repositioning himself slightly as he rubbed up against her.
“I missed you so much Kiri,” he whispered to her as he pressed up against her one more time. The electric sheep blushed in response as a large smile forced its way onto her face. She then placed her tail on top of Kuba’s back left paw as she lightly rubbed her head against his.
“I missed you too Kuba,” she whispered back, causing the Cyndaquil to smile back. The pair then both closed their eyes as the now reunited team drifted off to a peaceful sleep together.