[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]Route 1/Late Afternoon
(B: 48 | P: 52)
Buck was sure that he had never moved quite so quickly as he barreled his way through the undergrowth, desperate to just get as far away from that town as possible. That cursed, wretched place. The place that had brought him so much pain since he had arrived. Except for claiming his prize, his precious Razor Claw, none of that trouble had been worth it.
When he figured he was a good distance away, Buck clamped his Claw between his teeth and scaled a tall tree, climbing its truck with little effort despite his injured knee. He ignored its persistent sting as he reached the highest branch possible and sat on it, bringing his legs close to his body and wrapping his arms around them. Woe...
His bottom lip trembled and a sniffle escaped his throat as he thought of the fallen Chandelure and how violently, mercilessly and randomly he was killed. That Lairon girl...
He'd only shared a few words with her - all of which had been rude and sarcastic - and then she was dead as well, murdered by that crazy Lucario. And now Unique...
The Sneasel knew that he couldn't take much more of this. He'd been in this town for little more than a day and already he felt like he was losing his mind. He wrapped his arms around himself and sobbed into his knees, looking up for a brief moment to catch sight of his Razor Claw tucked between his two fingers on his left hand."What ... are you doing?!"
he spoke aloud, quickly covering his mouth and eyeing the surrounding area for any undead that might've heard him. Realising that he was safe, he stared down at his prize with trembling hands. You have it ... You have the Claw! It's exactly what you came here for. Norma Jean was right about the whole thing. What are you still doing here? Take the Claw and go before ... before you're next!
In between his frantic thoughts he vented his frustration by raking his claws on his free hand on the truck of the tree, leaving long, thin marks in their wake.
But as he took a look over to the rooftops in the distance, knowing that by leaving he would be abandoning Panthera and the others, Buck cursed under his breath and shook his head. "Get over yourself, Buck,"
he mumbled. "They need your help."
Images of Jacques and his tyrannical, murderous grin flashed through his mind and he felt himself shiver with revulsion of the vile creature, but if he left and made the journey back to Johto knowing that he'd left the only friends he'd managed to make throughout this nightmare with that ... thing
, Buck knew he would never forgive himself. It's not just you anymore.
The weight of what had happened still held supreme over the Sneasel's mind and he slumped back down again, telling himself to just have a few minutes alone before heading back. You fled like the coward you no longer are. Huh ... are they even looking for me?
Panthera flicked her tail defiantly and marched off into the forest to look for Buck. The anger that had been bubbling on her usually soft surface was starting to ebb away as she placed her priorities on Buck and finding him before he got himself into trouble. She knew that the Sneasel's already fragile mind would've been cracked even further by that incident, and she reckoned that, if anyone else died today, she might not be able to take it.
Noticing that Flame was behind her, she cast the Infernape a sorrowful gaze. "I'm ... sorry for dragging you into this. I never would've done so if I'd have had the choice. If ... if you want to go then you can go. I don't want you to end up getting hurt, or worse. Also, I--""What ... are you doing?!"
Panthera stopped in her tracks as she heard a stricken voice from somewhere above. Looking up, all she could see was the thick canopy broken only by the occasional gap of sunlight. Head raised high in the air, ears perked up and alert, she glanced at Flame. "Did you hear that? It sounded a little like Buck. I think he's in one of these trees."