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>  The Stones That Build Us (CW), 4 years ago // Wilderness around Odonton
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17 years old
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 Alexis Nyte posted at May 27 2017, 07:45 PM
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Alexis stopped for a moment to catch her breath, leaning her back against a tree as puffs of air escaped from the scarf wrapped around the lower part of her face. The trek up the mountain wasn't intense, not being too far from a well worn path, but her parcel made the hike more challenging. She straightened herself, hefting the pack to relieve the pressure of the straps momentarily, before continuing. The 13-year-old didn't mind the extra work; she had actually begged her father to let her do this and was very excited to reach her destination. The winter had been longer and harsher than anyone, including the Pokemon of the mountain, had expected. It was early spring, but the snow still laid thick on the ground and nothing was growing yet. All of the Rangers were busy helping people and Pokemon alike, so she volunteered herself. Carefully packaged in her bag was food for certain wild Pokemon who needed the extra care. She had completed three of her four deliveries and the last the one was the one she was most stoked for.

About a year before, her father found a female Beartic caught in a cruel poacher's trap; her leg had been badly injured. With the help of his own Beartic, they brought the Pokemon to the Pokemon center for care. Alexis was allowed to help and when the female was finally recovered, she had a few new human friends. It was common practice to keep in touch with certain Pokemon, not only to help them but for information on things going on in the woods. The teenager had been thrilled when she found out that the Beartic (who she named Snowfall), was expecting cubs. Her father and she had visited them a week before and now she was getting to bring them food.

When she passed a fallen log next to a frozen stream, Alexis knew she was getting close and picked up her pace. She carefully extricated herself from the brush surrounding the clearing near Snowfall's cave and unhooked the pack's straps from across her chest and stomach. "Snowfall! Cubs!" She called as she lowered her burden to the ground and waited. Nothing. There was no answering grumble and no stampeding Cubchoos. The girl didn't think much of it, she wasn't the suspicious person she would become. She walked further into the clearing, rounding another clump and brush and stopped.

Her cerulean eyes immediately found the blanket of crimson across the pure white snow; it was a startling contrast for the monochrome colors of winter and her brain was having a hard time processing it. Finally, her eyes moved, following carpet of blood to--Her eyes widened and she reached up to rip the scarf from her mouth so she could breath, even though it wasn't the issue. Before her laid the body of a Beartic, pink and red showing across it's body instead of it's white coat. Snowfall was dead and her pelt was gone.

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 Alexis Nyte posted at May 28 2017, 03:01 AM
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Alexis fell to her knees and doubled over as she retched, adding more colors to the ground in front of her. She was sick until nothing was left and tears streamed from her eyes in her body's effort to expel everything. Her ears were ringing and vision was blurred. The only sounds in the clearing was her gasping and a faint call coming from a distance. A call she didn't register at first, her mind consumed with the horror in front of her, but when it got through her senses, it was like an electric shock. Her head snapped up, vision clearing as he mind leaped back into action. "Cubchoo." Her voice was a hoarse whisper, her throat hurting from the effort of speaking. Alexis heard the call again. It was coming from a distance; not too far, but not in the clearing the cubs called home. She staggered to her feet, forcing her trembling limbs to move, and ran.

The spikes on the soles of her boots dug into the snow, allowing easier purchase and movement across the slick forest floor. She tore through bushes and brush, ignoring the branches that clung to her coat and scarf and scratched at her face. When she broke through the woods, she found herself standing on one of the mountain's worn trails. Up the trail from her was a snowmobile with large canvas bags tied to the back. Next to the vehicle was a man who was securing the three Cubchoo cubs in a net bag made of thick rope to the top of the load. She moved forward. "H-hey! She called, not really thinking about what she would say or could do to stop this person. When he turned to look at her, she froze in shock for the second time that day. "You." Her words weren't accusing, but more of just a statement.

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 Alexis Nyte posted at May 29 2017, 05:32 AM
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She knew the person standing thirty feet from her. His dark auburn hair was kept in a long braid like hers with his bangs hanging over the left side of his face. He had a black mask pulled up over his mouth and nose, but he was wearing the same gray winter jacket and winter camouflaged scarf. She had met him the day before, within the walls of Odonton City. He was getting some supplies from the general store and had stopped her outside to ask if he could take her picture. He'd had a camera around his next and said he was a photographer. She'd been a little embarrassed and asked why. He'd said that he loved the contrast of her red hair against the snow. Alexis mind flashed to the crimson blood across the white ground and she was almost sick again. "Red on white are such royal colors, don't you think?" His voice echoed through her mind. He took her picture and they talked for a little bit. He mostly took pictures of Pokemon and was looking forward to venturing up the mountain. Then another memory surfaced, one that shook her to her core and her eyes widened at the realization. She had told him how to get here. Her shaking hand went to her mouth and her breathing became more rapid.

His voice brought her back to the present. "Hello again, darling." He gave the final knot a last yank and took a single step toward her. She could hear the smirk in his voice. "Your directions were very good, so I thank you." Red, hot anger flashed through the teenager and she dropped her hand to clench it at her side. She glared daggers at him, her blue eyes shining from her tears. "You are a monster! Release those cubs!" She demanded. Why hadn't she brought any of her parent's Pokemon?

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 Alexis Nyte posted at May 29 2017, 07:08 AM
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The poacher threw his head back and laughed, a sound that rang off of the trees and stones around them. He removed a Pokeball from his jacket pocket, pressing the button to expand it, and shook a finger at her. "Now, now. Finders keepers." He chastised as he released the Pokemon from within. The white glow took on a lithe form on four legs and revealed the sleek purple body of a Liepard when the light subsided. Alexis's mind raced, trying to think of something, anything. She reached down and pulled a knife from her boot, holding it low between them; she was trying to look confident in her skills with it even though it was just for utilitarian purposes. The smile and humor left the poacher's expression. "Don't be stupid, girl." He cautioned in a growl and the dark Pokemon took a few steps closer to her.

When the teenager didn't move to engage, the smirk crept back into place on the creep's face and he scoffed. "I don't have time for this." He turned his back on Alexis and climbed onto the snowmobile. The Liepard sneered at the girl before joining the man. The cargo tied to the back of the vehicle stood a few feet tall, partially blocking Alexis's view of the poacher and his Pokemon. She was jerked out of her stupor when the engine started. "No." The word was soft and for her ears only. She couldn't let that monster take those cubs. She couldn't let him get away with what he'd done! The redhead propelled herself forward, the spikes on her boots dug into the snow covered ground and keeping her from slipping. The vehicle had just started pulling out when she was close enough to leap up and cling to the rough canvas of one of the bags, feet catching the back of the snowmobile. The cubs were still a foot above her head and gripping the cloth with the hand holding the knife was difficult, but she was managing.

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 Alexis Nyte posted at May 31 2017, 12:31 AM
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The vehicle jerked forward, making her cling tighter, but he didn't seem to notice he extra passenger. Gritting her teeth, she carefully pulled herself up, using her planted feet as the contact points for her balance. A ragged sigh of relief escaped her lips when she managed to reach up with her free hand and grab the thick rope of the net. The Cubchoos were mewling unhappily, but when she got closer to them they started crying out for her. She hastily tried to hush them, but purple and yellow head popping up over the cargo made the point moot. The Liepard growled and turned back to call to the poacher. A second later, the snowmobile jerked violently from side to side a few times. Alexis cried out in alarm as her feet lost their traction and she was nearly flung off.

In her attempt to hold on, she'd also lost grip of her knife and it went flying off into the air. She cursed under her breath. What was she suppose to do now? How was she suppose to save them? Looking up into those terrified, black eyes, she strengthened her resolve and glared defiantly up at the dark type. The cruel Pokemon had pulled itself up higher so it was standing above her. "Get rid of her!" The poacher called from the driver's seat. The Pokemon smirked, raising one paw as a dark purple light formed around it and shifted into the shape of three long claws. It struck down, causing Alexis is flinch back away from the attack and making her slip back down several inches. The attack had only grazed her, but the sharp pain caused her to cry out. She could feel the warm blood running freely from the gash down her face. Her cerulean eyes swam with tears, but she locked them on the cubs. She drew strength and courage from their shivering forms.

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 Alexis Nyte posted at Jun 3 2017, 06:24 PM
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The Liepard hissed down at the persistent girl in annoyance who glared right back at the dark type defiantly. She firmed her resolve again, gripped her holds tightly, causing her knuckles to go white at the effort, and began pulling herself up slowly. "Don't worry, cubs. I'm coming. I won't let him take you." She spoke quietly, not because she didn't want to be overheard, but because she lacked the breath to speak much louder. One of the Cubchoo reached through the net and laid her paw on Alexis's hand, eyes wavering with gathering tears. The purple-furred Pokemon slapped the paw away, exposing the teens hand. The absence of color began taking over the Liepard mouth as she gathered some sort of energy. It coated her fangs, making them look longer and sharper just before she sunk them into her hand. Alexis screamed in agony as the Pokemon's teeth buried into the thumb joint of her right hand.

Right as her left hand lost its hold, the Liepard released her, allowing the girl to fall from the vehicle and strike the compacted snow and ice. The momentum sent her tumbling off the path and into the woods. All she could sense was the dizzying movement of rolling and tumbling down the steep mountain side then an intense pain and not being able to breath when she came to a sudden stop against a pine. She gasped and choked, having a hard time getting her diaphragm to start working again. Pain, not being able to inhale, and the emotional despair of the entire ordeal were the last things she remembered before darkness claimed her.

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 Alexis Nyte posted at Jun 14 2017, 06:29 PM
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When she first woke up, she didn't think it weird to be staring at the ceiling of her bedroom. It wasn't until she went to move and pain shot through several parts of her body did the memories come flooding back to her groggy brain. Snowfall, the poacher, the Liepard, and...the cubs. She looked around her room, but no one was there. Pushing back her heavy covers was proving to be difficult with a cast on one arm and bandaged on the opposite hand. "Mom! Dad!" Her voice was scratchy and hoarse from disuse, but it only took a few seconds for the door to fly open and her mother to rush in. "Oh, honey. It's okay, lay back down," She tried to sooth her daughter into calm. The teenager shook her head, feeling the pull of gauze and medical tape on her cheek. "No, it isn't. Snowfall. Snowfall is--" She broke up as tears welled up and the near panic and pain made it hard to speak. The little redhead stomped down on it, taking a quick breath to carry on. "The cubs are in trouble. A poacher was there and he took them!"

Kasai reached out and stroked Alexis's hair in a calming manner, but tears reflected in her own blue eyes. "We know, honey. When you were late coming back, your father and Grump went out after you. They found--well, they saw the Beartic cave and followed your tracks." The older woman couldn't help but reflect on how terrified her husband must have been at the scene, the crushing worry about what could have happened to his only child, but she wouldn't burden her hurting girl with that. She leaned forward and gently hugged Alexis, who resisted at first, still focused on her anger and wanting to take action. After a few seconds, the raw emotions overtook her and she leaned into her mother and cried.

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 Alexis Nyte posted at Jun 16 2017, 08:36 PM
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Alexis cried herself back to sleep, her body and mind still needing the rest to work on recovering. When she awoke again, it was the next day and her father was there to greet her, slumped and clearly exhausted in a chair next to her bed. As soon as he noticed she was awake, he gave her a big smile. "Hey there, sunshine." He greeted as he leaned forward, using one of his favorite nicknames for her. He had especially loved using it when she was younger and feeling pouty or grumpy, to which she would reply with a bigger pout. That day was not the day for their game though and looked back at Uriah Nyte with pleading eyes. "Did you catch him? Did you find the cubs?" He tried to keep his smile in place, but she could see the tightening around his eyes. "Not yet, baby." The teenager turned her head away, fighting more tears. He didn't make any false promises about finding the poacher or empty words of encouragement that the cubs would be alright. He and his wife didn't lie to their daughter like some parents did to protect them. When she was younger, instead of making something up, they would simply tell her she wasn't old enough yet. As Rangers, they both felt their child needed to know the world really worked; not all at once, but gradually as she grew and matured.

Uriah allowed her a moment of silence before breaking it. "If you're feeling up to it, I can get Charley down here." Charley was a volunteer at the police station who did sketches for the wanted posters and police and ranger briefings. Alexis looked back to her dad and nodded eagerly. Maybe knowing what the guy looked like would help. Uriah nodded. "Okay, sweetie." He got to his feet and paused a moment, his green eyes watching his daughter closely. "Did you want to talk about it?" Alexis seemed to think about it before shaking her head. She needed to talk about it, but her father wouldn't push her until she was ready. He nodded again and walked out the room, leaving her door open. A few seconds after him leaving, Grump lumbered into the room. It wasn't always easy, having a Beartic wander around the house, but he wasn't often inside, preferring the cold and snow. The old ice type laid his head on her bed and the girl gratefully rolled over and buried her face in his frosty fur.

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 Alexis Nyte posted at Jun 18 2017, 05:35 AM
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Later that evening, Charley was over and sitting with Alexis in her room. Her mother helped her sit up and it wasn't until that moment that she learned of all of her injuries. She knew about the slash down her face, the bite on her hand, and something was wrong with her newly casted arm. The arm was broken, but she also had two cracked ribs, three bruised ribs, and two hairline fractures on her clavicle. The pain meds were doing a great job, she felt stiff and had some discomfort, but not a lot of pain.

She explained how she had met the man the day before, and even though she felt it led to him finding Snowfall and her cubs, she was glad since it helped her describe him to the artist. When Charley was done, her drawing was that of a lean built man with long hair kept in a braid and long bangs that swept to the left and partially obscured that eye. His eyes were slanted and rimmed in red eye shadow and ears had several piercings. There were two drawings, one detailing with his face and hair while the other showed the mask he was wearing up in the mountain that covered his mouth and nose. After confirming with Alexis about the picture's details, she gave the girl an encouraging smile and tried ensuring her that they would find him. "Are you going to make copies of that?" She asked before the woman left. Charley turned back and nodded. The redhead fidgeted with the edge of her blanker with her bandaged hand. "Can I get one?" She finally asked, looking up. The smiled and nodded again. "Sure thing, sport. Hang in there. Feel better." Alexis gave the best smile she could, weak as it was.

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 Alexis Nyte posted at Jun 18 2017, 09:53 AM
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4 years later

Alexis sat on the roof of her house, despite the snow covering it. The climb up had been a bit more difficult, but nothing she wasn't use to. She was turning 17 in just a few weeks, but she had yet to get her parent's blessing in heading out of Odonton City. She reached into her pocket and pulled out her wallet to slip out a piece of folded paper. The paper was worn and the creases from the folds were deep, but the picture on it was still perfectly clear. Slanted, narrowed eyes stared back at her from the aged image. The teenage spoke the truth when she told her parents she wanted to be a lone Ranger and travel around Ho'ohiki helping Pokemon. But the main reason she wanted to go was to track down poachers and not just any poachers, but Him. Before she could do that, she needed a team; a strong team. It had been 4 years, but she was willing to wait longer while building the strength of herself and her Pokemon partners.

A noise from the side of the roof cause her to jerk out of her thoughts. She quickly refolded the paper and shoved it into her pocket. A familiar head sporting brown hair bobbed into view. A few soft curses came from her father as he finished his climb onto the roof, only slipping a few times. He looked around and quickly spotted his daughter. "Hey, sunshine. What in blue blazin is it with you and your mother and heights?" He asked, not really expecting an answer, as he carefully sat down next to her. The redhead shrugged, pulling her knees up to her chest and wrapping her arms around them. "What's up, Dad?"

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 Alexis Nyte posted at Jun 19 2017, 01:05 AM
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The man stared at her for a long moment, one of those long moments that eventually made her squirm a little; she knew he was thinking about how big she had gotten and how he didn't want his 'little girl' growing up. Just before she could moan a complaint at him, he smiled. "Your mother and I got you an early birthday gift." He retrieved a small box out of his jacket pocket; it looked like a good sized jewelry box, and handed it to her. Even though she had one necklace she wore all the time, she wasn't really a jewelry girl, but she smiled a thanks and opened it. Then she stared at it. Nestled in the silk lining was not a necklace, earrings, or a bracelet, but a pokeball. Alexis blinked at it several times before looking up at her Dad. "A...pokeball?" She asked, not daring to hope for more.

Uriah smiled at his daughter. "A Pokemon. You'll need a partner, if you're going to head out after your birthday." Her eyes widened and a large grin immediately followed it. "Really!?" She asked as she rotated into a kneeling position. His smile grew as he nodded. The redhead threw her arms around her dad, careful with the box holding the pokeball; her Pokemon partner. "Thank you!" She let go a little faster than what he liked, but her attention was on her gift. She plucked the ball out of the box and pressed the button to expand the size. Her father interrupted before she could release it. "Woah, woah, sunshine. Let's get on the ground first. He might fall off the roof."

"Oh, right!" The teenager moved with scary speed as she got to her feet and ran/skated to the edge of the roof. Uriah felt his heart in his chest, but she deftly slipped over the edge of the roof and descended to the ground. He released the breath he'd been holding. Maybe he was getting too old for this, he thought as he followed her at a sane pace.

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 Alexis Nyte posted at Jun 19 2017, 02:00 AM
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Alexis barely had her feet on the snow-covered ground before she was pressing the button to release the Pokemon. She had no idea what to expect, though she suspected it may have been a Rufflet or a Cubchoo; so when the light shifted into a figure on four feet, she was a confused. The light dissipated, leaving behind a orange and cream furred Pokemon with black stripes. The teenage beamed. "A Growlithe? Oh, wow!" She dropped to her knees in front of the fire type, who cocked his head to one side curiously. "Hi, there. I'm Alexis and I'd love it if you would be my partner." The Growlithe stared at her a long moment, then his mouth opened in a happy pant and he bounded forward to jump on her chest.

The teenager allowed herself to be knocked back, laughing as the puppy Pokemon stood on her chest and licked her face. Her father, having finally made it down from the roof, approached and chuckled. "I see you've met my daughter. I told you you'd like her." The fire type yipped in agreement, both of their breaths coming out in foggy puffs. She grinned up at the Growlithe. "What do you think about Singe? For your name?" She asked and the Pokemon considered it for a moment. She liked that he seemed to be a thinker; fire type were usually spontaneous and lacked self control. They would react before thinking. He nodded his head, his tongue lolling happily with the movement. Alexis laid her head back in the snow, blue eyes finding her father's brown ones. "Thanks, Dad."

Fin

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