You are Prey! Watch out, the Hunter is looking for you.
"Follow me, don't look up or at others," I told Fay without hesitating. I had the urge to look around me, to see if someone else was looking at me. But I didn't. At a calm pace I joined the crowd of people at the center of the square, weaving a path to the heart of the herd.
Around me people were muttering nervously, looking around trying to spot their mortal enemy. Others were sliding their gaze over the crowd with a contemplative look, trying to see who was their prey. It was rather easy to see whoever was designated as a Hunter because they had a determined look over them, instead of the cautious gaze. An almost animalistic atmosphere hung in the air.
"Shouldn't we run?" Fay asked.
I shook my head, "Not yet." I made sure no one was looking over my shoulder, before showing Fay the message on the Pokédex.
Until your Tattletail will share your location…
"We blend in, and after our location is shared again we run." Hunters only knew locations, not faces and Pokémon. The moment the game started I was standing at a secluded spot, easy to spot. Assuming my mysterious Hunter required about 3 seconds to process both the fact they had to Hunt someone, and my location, I should have been gone before he'd spotted me.
At least that gave me some respite, I glanced at my previous location, trying to see if someone, a Hunter perhaps, would be near it to investigate it.
"Fay, keep your eye on that spot," I tilted my head. "See if someone approaches it."
The timer was ticking down. Around me some people began to leave the crowd, others joined it. I opened the second message I got. The rules of the game.
Quickly I flipped through the rules. Nothing really noteworthy. No property damage, no going inside private property, no moves above Class 3 were allowed etcetera. However, a few rules were interesting to me. For example, Teleporting, Flying above city limits and rendering the Tattletail physically impossible to reach was not allowed. Another interesting rule was that a trainer and their Pokémon were considered 1 team, and not allowed to be more than 40 meters apart. You weren't allowed to show your Pokédex, Pokewatch or any other device to reveal your status as Hunter or Prey to other players and taking the wrong Tattletail was also forbidden.
Breaking any of the above mentioned rules counted as an immediate loss.
Quite the game after all. More interesting than yet another battle. I looked up at the stage where Flamera was looking at the crowd with an amused look. Behind her I saw the Charizard that previously acted as her bodyguard. I narrowed my eyes; it carried a red tag around the end of its tail.
Around me some people were already making teams, discussing strategies and so on. Friends and rivals were naturally drawn towards each other. I tried to see if Ash was around but he had already vanished. I saw a large group work together. That was interesting, considering showing your status as either Hunter or Prey was forbidden as well. No doubt there were some wolves amongst the sheep.
"No one has come by so far." Fay said. "But there are several invisible Pokémon who passed the spot. And I saw some people looking at it."
I nodded, not to be unexpected.
"Hey," a guy next to me tapped me on the shoulder. I turned around. It was a dude a few years older than me. He was partnered with a Scyther behind him who carried a blue ribbon like a headband. "My name's Jordan, this is Blade." He pointed at the Scyther. "Both our Pokémon look rather agile. Want to team up? I'm being Hunted, strength in numbers you see?"
Fay looked at me. Her muscles tensed. "He's lying."
I shook my head. "Aye, sorry no thank you. I am waiting for my friend, we want to work together."
He eyed me suspiciously for a short second. His gray eyes studied me and for a second I thought he was about to assault me. However, he shook his head and shrugged. "That's your loss." He walked past us, not sparing us a second glance.
I released a small sigh of relief. He wasn't our Hunter at least. But he figured out the exact meaning of the rules as well. You are not allowed to show your status. But you can just mention it and or lie about it.
I looked at the timer, about 2 minutes left before my location would be shared. Before I had to make a decision.
I knelt down in front of Fay. "Okay, I need your opinion on this. We can camp and just run until the sun goes down and win that way. Unless we mess up, it should be a solid strategy."
Although the Hunter appeared to have an advantage, they had a deadline. And unless they had a massive speed advantage, us moving in straight lines should be able to throw off any potential Hunters.
"Or?" Fay caught on.
"Or," I smiled, "we can do this the fun and more risky way. We can try to lure out the hunter, have some fun and most importantly. Not spend the entire day running."
Although I enjoyed the game, I didn't want to spend my day on the run. I had to be prepared for the eventual end of the world. Also, if I lose, it wouldn't really matter that much, since the town would soon be destroyed by Dialga and Palkia.
Fay stared at me. Her eyes and Aura fuming with energy. With a courageous voice she said. "I think we should do what a knight would do."
I patted her on the head. Which caused her heroic facade to break and her face to turn red.
"Good answer," I rose to my full length. "Now, this would be the most heroic way to win this game."
I navigated further through the crowd that was growing thinner at a rapid pace. People left for their own safety, or to hunt. I kept a close eye on the count down as I pushed people aside. Fay was trailing behind me. Cautious as well, and hopefully ready to disappear at a moment's notice.
I stopped in front of the front stage and looked up. It wasn't that big and I could climb up easily.
As I walked up the stairs I could see eyes piercing my back. I stuck out like a sore thumb. However, I pretended not to notice and continued my march on the stage.
A Charizard blocked the way, and a wind was put up like a physical barrier. This Charizard was smaller than the one Hylla owned but still, the wingspan was impressive.
"You got a question?" Charizard slightly lowered its wings to reveal Flamera behind them. She gave me a rather annoyed look. As if I wasn't supposed to get onto stage, which admittedly, I wasn't.
The dragon did give me a threatening look and softly growled at Fay. Fay shivered for a brief moment, but didn't back down.
"Yes," I said. "how do you feel about teaming up for this game?"
"Excuse me?" Flamera gave me a frown.
I considered the right words. "I saw the Charizard's ribbon," I pointed at its tail where the Tattletail was practically on fire. Disguising it amongst the flames. It was a clever hiding place.
Flamera's expression changed like a stormcloud. A dark grin showed on her face. Her brown eyes almost gleamed with satisfaction. "Oh, so you noticed?" She pushed down the Charizard's wings and got closer. "Well, color me surprised." Her eyes fell down on Fay. "And this is your partner?"
"Yes, her name is Fay. My name is Dust. And right now I am being Hunted." I gave her a sheepish smile. "You want to team up? I help you catch your Prey, and you help me protect me from my Hunter, sounds like a good deal."
"You think I am a Hunter?" She asked innocently. "Even if I was, how can you be sure I am not your Hunter?" There was an edge to the way she said it, it sounded almost seductive.
"She didn't lie…although she didn't say much of anything," Fay muttered. "Dust, you still think this is a good idea?" Fay asked cautiously. I could feel the time running out inside my head.
"You are a Hunter," I stated. "If you were Prey you'd be long gone. But you're not, you are out in the open where every hunter could spot you." Assuming of course she wasn't trying the same thing as I was. "I bet that's why you hid your Charizard's ribbon as well, no one thinks you are in this game, until you snuck up on your prey and take their Tattletail."
There was also something else. The way she was looking at the crowd. She was looking for someone.
Now, there was a miniscule chance she had been looking for me. But if such was the case, I would know within 31 seconds. And take Charizard's tail.
"Besides, if you are my Hunter, I'd take your Tattletail first." I pointed at the Charizard's tail. I wondered what material the ribbons were made of, since it caught fire but didn't burn up.
"Haha," Flamera laughed. Her Charizard scowled. "You are right, I am a Hunter. I like you," she grinned and extended her hand out. "I accept your offer."
"She isn't lying…" Fay said with a frown.
I shook her hand before quickly turning around. "Can I pet your Charizard?" I almost did it without asking but I really value my hand.
"Please?" I begged. "I will explain it in a second."
I did it. Again I was surprised by how soft the snout of Charizard was. The scales were really shiny and clean. It was a mar-
My Pokédex buzzed. I didn't need to look to know what it said. My location was shared.
Flamera also received a message. She pulled her phone from one of the dress's luscious pockets and opened it. My eyes drifted towards Charizard's tail as I awaited a sudden betrayal.
But nothing happened. Instead Flamera's eyes fell on the crowd. Even though Fay appeared to be within reach.
I relaxed slightly. "Okay, I think we should run."
"Yeah," Flamera said without taking her eyes off her phone. I couldn't see what she was looking at exactly but I assumed it was the coordinates. "Let's leave via the backstage area." She put her phone away and straightened a long orange lock. "Follow me."
I took one look back. If my Hunter was in the crowd. They would certainly know who their Prey was now. Hopefully it was enough.
Flamera walked past some security guards and pushed aside a black curtain, revealing the backstage area. It wasn't much of an area. Just speakers, metal beams and light setups put under a small tent. But it was much more quiet and peaceful here.
Somewhere the child inside me felt really excited, I was inside the Pokémon world. Having fun and sneaking out on the back like I was escaping from the paparazzi with a celebrity.
Nothing but fun and games.
We soon found ourselves inside one of the many alleys Alamos Town had. The roofs were a possible hiding spot and maybe behind one of the many food stalls. But I doubted it. Fay at least kept her eyes skyward. And Charizard's presence was also doing a great job of creating something of a clear area around us. We did get a lot of stares, or Flamera did. Her purple skirt-dress and bright orange hair made her stand out. There were still a lot of people, which was unavoidable with such a big festival, but at least no one with a visible Tattletail.
I quickly checked the timer to see how long it would be before the next location share. "Okay, do you have any clue who your Prey is?" I looked at the sun. I estimated about 2 to 3 hours before the sun would touch the horizon.
Flamera shrugged. "I already know who my target is," in an exaggerated manner she started studying her nails. "It's a girl with a Dragonite. I located her twice in the crowd."
Of course, the stage did provide Flamera with a good vantage point. I would be amazed at her observation skills, if it wasn't for the fact she was kind of cheating with the whole, playing in the game you run, thing.
"Let's focus on your Hunter instead, my Prey can wait." Flamera folded her hands together. "I am really curious what your plan is."
In other words, entertain me.
"You sure?" I hesitantly asked. I had an idea, but I didn't want to come over too aggressive with my approach.
Flamera nodded. "This game was designed to display the skills of the participants. Let me see if you are worthy of knighthood Dust."
"I want to swap Pokémon." I said, "I get to command your Charizard, you get to command my Riolu. If my Hunter is smart he would know that I am his target, not you. And if I command your Charizard, my Hunter might think he needs to get Charizard's Tattletail."
"Oh my," Flamera mussed. She put her hand in front of her mouth to stifle a laugh. "You really did think this through. Although trickery? that is not a very heroic trait."
I shrugged. "I argue the Sinnoh Knight didn't spend time thinking about ethics when he was hunted."
"Fair enough." Flamera stepped towards her Charizard. She whispered something in its ear. The dragon type gave me a wary glance. Meanwhile, I turned to Fay. "Are you still okay with this?"
Fay nodded. "Of course I am okay. We agreed, everything to become the Sinnoh Knight."
"Exactly," I exchanged a fist bump with my little knight.
"Remember what we promised each other," Flamera stroked Charizard's face. The dragon hesitantly growled an acceptance.
Flamera faced me. Her brown eyes were sparkling with excitement. "He agrees to help you. Now you have acquired a dragon, what is the next step for the knight?"
Fay and I smiled.
A/N Wow, did that just happen? Did I update only 2 weeks after the last update…wow. Okay, so quick question, what do you guys prefer? Quicker updates like this, but with shorter chapters, or do you want longer chapters with maybe 1 month between each update. Voice your opinions.
I hope this chapter was up to standards for you people out there.
Talking about standards, I wrote a new fic. HOLD ON, yes, I see you guys in the back already leaving but trust me. This is good. I wrote Half Hearted Hero, you guys liked that, right? Trust me. This fic you don't want to miss.
The fic is called Pokémon: Path to Victory. You should find it very easily on my profile. Go check it out. It takes about 15 minutes at most and if you reach the end of the fic you can brag about it to your friends.
Chapter edited by: Arxalier.
Welp, that's it for this time. Don't forget to take a snack and a rest, we got a whole insane world of Pokémon left to explore.