Team Inferno in
Meeting Again for the First Time
The night air was filled with the sound of loud gagging, followed by soft sobs.
BLEEEEEEEEEGH!! KOFF-KOFF!! BLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEGGH!!!
Regis groaned as he lied on one side of the bed and Elinor lied on the other, both of them wide awake with worried expressions on their face as the chorus of vomiting and sobbing continued.
“Mister Regis…Miss Elinor…”
“We know, Bellatrix,” Regis said, frustrated and tired. “We know.”
Bellatrix blinked her blind eyes, standing at the doorway with worry as her perked ears swiveled until they traced the source of the vomiting: the bathroom, where one Growlithe kneels before the toilet. A red flush painted her cheeks as her tongue hanged from her jaws, drips of snot dangling from her nose, and tears cascaded from her eyes. She hiccupped and sniffled, coughing heavily along with her soft sobs before she dipped her head into the toilet bowl and gagged, once more. She had pretty much emptied her stomach of all its contents, so she was pretty much dry-heaving by this point.
One thing was for sure…Alexis, leader of Team Inferno of the Explorer’s Guild…was in great pain.
It’s been like this since her partner, Daniel, had left, due to his grudge against is twin brother Wallace…and what’s worse, she found out he has been running around with the likes of John the Houndoom, often known as “Killer Flame” John. Knowing well what John was capable of, plus the fact that her best friend was now in league with him…it just began to tear her apart on the inside…literally.
She tried to stay positive, true. She would still go out and see friends…maybe try and make new ones…but it was no use trying to fool herself. No matter what, Daniel would always be her best friend. Knowing that, Alexis found it hard to roll with punches like she always did.
Days pass, and suddenly, Alexis starts feeling nauseous during the day and found it hard to keep food down. Then, she started losing weight, so much so that her vest would sometimes slip off her shoulders, and following that came the unrelenting pain in her lungs when she coughed. Finally, there was the fever. Her normal body temperature was beginning to rise to a point that the Fire-type couldn’t handle.
It was like the very situation itself was killing her.
Just then, Elinor entered the bathroom and stood beside the sickly canine, placing a paw on her shoulder.
“Alexis,” the cat whispered. “Come on, lass. Let’s get you back to bed and I’ll make you some tea.”
“…Okay…!” Alexis whimpered as Elinor led her out of the bathroom and into her bedroom, where Bellatrix sits on the bed, waiting. The Liepard soon got the Growlithe under the covers, placing a damp rag on her forehead.
“Bellatrix, keep Alexis company for me, won’t you, dear?” Elinor asked.
“Yes, Miss Elinor,” Bellatrix said, curling up beside the canine, who breathed heavily with a pained look on her face while Elinor quietly left the room.
“Danny…! Danny…!!” Alexis whispered as tears fell from her eyes, once more. “Please, come back, Danny…!!”
Bellatrix’s ears fell to the sides of her head sadly as the young dog sobbed, and soon after, tears of her own started to form in her eyes, as well. Outside, Elinor had to choke back a sob as she headed to the kitchen while Regis hung his head to the point where his eyes hidden beneath his head-fur.
Downstairs, lying on the living room sofa, Kuro blinks his good eye as he looks outside the window, staring up at the full moon in the sky, obscured by dark clouds. He sighed as he curled up and folded his ears back, trying to drown out Alexis’ cries…with one thought in his head.
‘…Daniel…you messed up big time…’
The following morning, Bellatrix and Kuro are walking through the streets of town, on their way back from the pharmacy, getting medicine for Alexis in the hope of curing her condition. The young kit, holding a pouch of some kind around her neck, padded along beside the Poochyena, who let out a long yawn and smacked his lips.
“…Hey, Kuro?” Bellatrix asked.
“What?” Kuro asked.
“…I’m really worried about Alexis,” the blind Shiny Fennekin answered.
“…Yeah…we all are,” Kuro answered, grimly.
“You think this medicine will be able to help her?” Bellatrix asked.
“I don’t think this is a sickness that can be cured with just medicine,” Kuro replied. “What Alexis is going through is really a battle of wills.”
“A battle…of wills?” Bellatrix repeated, tilting her head curiously.
“She’s torn up about losing her best friend,” Kuro answered. “The shock and sadness of losing Daniel and knowing that he’s running around with the enemy is something she can’t bear. I think the only way she’ll be able to fight through this is if Daniel comes back.”
“…But what if he doesn’t come back?” Bellatrix inquired.
“…Then we might have to fear the worst,” Kuro answered, closing his eye.
“You mean…Alexis might die?!” Bellatrix questioned as tears soon formed in her eyes.
“N-no!” Kuro answered, startled by her tears. “She won’t die!! I…I hope.”
Bellatrix sniffled as her tears began to fall, to the lupine’s dismay. He sighed as he turned to face her and said “Listen, Bellatrix. I know things look pretty dire, but we have to have faith that Alexis will fight through this.”
The lavender-furred fox sniffled and wiped her eyes with her paw.
“Now, let’s hurry and get home,” Kuro told her. “The doctor said this might help with Alexis’ nausea. If that’s taken care of, maybe we can finally get her to eat something, and then maybe her fever will go away, too.”
“Right,” Bellatrix agreed as she followed Kuro back to the house.
“Alexis! Alexis, dearie, I made you tea!”
There was no answer.
Elinor quietly padded up the stairs and walked down the hallway, stopping in front of Alexis’ door, which was open just a crack. Nervous yet curious, the Liepard slowly opened the door…only to gasp in horror upon seeing an open window, the drapes fluttering in the breeze, the various plush dolls that Alexis bought for Bellatrix in the corner…and an empty bed.
“REGIS!!” Elinor cried as she ran to the master bedroom, her sleeping husband having woken up from her hearing her cries. “REGIS, ALEXIS IS GONE!!!”
“WHAT?!” Regis questioned.
“I went to check on her…and her room is empty!” Elinor said, sobbing hysterically. “The window was open, as well!!”
Kuro panted as he ran through the streets of town, nearly running into several bystanders. He had gotten back to the house, five minutes ago and had learned of Alexis’ escape. Bellatrix didn’t go with him because she was too busy crying.
“I can’t believe that idiot would be so reckless!” the Poochyena shouted. “You’d have to be an idiot to be going around with a fever and barely able to stand!! ALEXIS!! WHERE ARE YOU, DAMMIT?!!”
The Growlithe panted as she walked into the forest, wobbling back and forth and dribble falling from her mouth.
That’s right…she was searching for Daniel. However, because of her fever, she had grown very delirious. She thought she was heading into town…but she was really going the wrong way.
“I’m gonna find you, Danny,” she whispered. “I’ll…I’ll bring you home…I promise I…I…!!”
BLEEEEEEEEEEEEGGH!! The canine gagged and vomited bile on the grass, collapsing right onto the puddle, not long after, panting even more. Then, she heard a rustling in the bushes, followed by an ominous hissing. Her blurred vision caught the sight of purple scales, slithering along the ground, and then she saw blotches of black, red, and yellow.
A hungry Arbok opens his jaws, preparing to devour Alexis whole…until a yellow blur lunged at the snake, two fangs sinking into his snake. The Growlithe panted as she lied on the grass, but then her eyes rolled into the back of her skull…and everything went dark.
She opens her eyes, and the first thing she sees is a cedar wood ceiling and four walls. She groaned softly as she tried to get up, yet found herself tucked under a quilted blanket and her head resting on a cool, soft pillow.
“Oh! You finally came around!”
Alexis looked to her left and saw an Absol wearing a golden necklace with some sort of stone in the middle. It was a dark blue with lighter blue stripes in the middle.
“Who…who are you?” Alexis asked, hoarsely. “Where am I?”
“I’m Nova,” the Absol answered. “You’re in our house. You collapsed in the forest and were about to get eaten by an Arbok, but Damien found you.”
“…The forest?” Alexis repeated. “I thought I was in town this whole time…wait, who’s Damien?”
“My friend, of course,” Nova answered. “Hey, Damien! She’s awake!”
Not long after she spoke, the sound of small footfalls hitting the floor filled the air. Soon after, a Shiny Arcanine appeared in the room, an orange scarf with black stripes wrapped around his neck and bandages wrapped around his right front leg. His expression seemed unfriendly, his eyes staring down at Alexis with seriousness.
“Hey,” he said. “You okay?”
“…I guess,” the Growlithe answered. “So…are you Damien?”
“Yeah,” the larger canine answered. “What about you? What’s your name?”
“It’s Alexis,” Alexis answered. “Uh…listen. I’m glad you saved me and all, but do you think I can go home, now?”
“Absolutely not,” Damien replied, sternly. “You keep moving around so much, your fever’s gonna get worse, and then where will you be? 6 feet beneath the ground is where. Plus, you’re skin and bones. You need to eat something, and before you say anything, no, I don’t have any of that meatroot or fleshcap or whatever it is those idiots in the city try to stuff down your throat. Here, you eat what you’re born to eat, and that’s REAL MEAT. Got that?!”
“O-okay,” Alexis answered, nervously, “but what about my friends? They’re probably worried about me.”
“I’ll have Nova go and tell your friends where you are,” Damien answered. “That okay?”
“Yeah…I guess it’s okay,” Alexis answered. “My friends are a Poochyena with one eye and a blind Shiny Fennekin with a flower mark on her back. You can’t miss ’em. Oh! And if you see a Furfrou with a funny hat on and a Liepard with long, lavender hair, tell her for me, too.”
“Sure thing, sweetie,” Nova smiled before she headed outside, dashing off towards Andalusst. The two canines were left in the cabin, glancing at each other with a somewhat awkward silence. After what seemed like hours, Damien spoke up.
“So…Alexis, huh?” he asked.
“Yeah,” Alexis answered.
“Where’d you get that name from? Did somebody name you?”
“Well…I guess I named myself.”
“You named yourself?”
“Yeah…I remember…back when I was still in my egg, I heard someone say ‘Alexis’…so I figured that was going to be my name.”
Alexis blinked at Damien tiredly, but then she glanced back up at the ceiling.
“I’ll just get dinner started,” the Shiny Arcanine said as he turned and left the room…with a small grin creasing his lips.
‘Alexis, eh?’ he thought as he glanced at the young pup. ‘So we meet again…for the first time.’