Sought After

Things were quite tame in Pokemon Village, Kalos, for centuries. No one knew about the place, or it's inhabitants. The pokemon sustained successfully off of the 'multi-berry' tree ever since it's mysterious plantation as multiple berry trees intertwined into one. Well, this was until a thief stole copious food supplies from both the tree, and the village. The real change happened when the young thief was caught.

The story about how a runaway alternatively coloured Hawlucha spelt both the prosperity and demise of the small hide-away, and her new-found bonds within the large family.

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1. Prologue: The Thief

"Thief! Thief!" A wailing voice came as a clumsy, panicked Noctowl stumbled through the bushes. "The thief is back, my stores are emptied of berries! Someone get Cindy - Oh heavens! What am I to do?" She continued to shout, almost aimlessly.  Some Pokemon were attracted to the commotion, and began showing their concern for the distressed owl, offering to replace her food stores. After a short while, they all watched the air for a familiar red streak. Whispers went around. 'Where's Cindy?' 'She'd usually respond by now,' among other words and phrases. The Noctowl, especially, felt that confusion the heaviest.

A high whistle rang in the forest. The small group looked upwards to the sparse canopy, and just as suddenly as the sound came, as did a flow of heat as a large feathered Pokemon flew just overhead. Red in colour, it circled a moment, before landing elegantly just in front of the tearful Noctowl. The bird ruffled her wings and shook her head, small embers shedding from her feathers - embers that were warm to the touch, but not enough to burn.

"Cindy!" The owl cried, stumbling forward and wrapping her wings around the larger Pokemon, as much as she could. Cindy chuckled fondly, and patted the Noctowl on the head with her wing softly, before speaking.

"What seems to be the problem, Gwyneth?" The tall Pokemon - A Talonflame - spoke calmly. Her presence causes immediate relaxation, be it because of her natural radiating heat or her tone of speaking. A much loved protector of the village, telling off ne'er-do-wells and warding off humans.

"Oh, Cindy, it's happened again, that dastardly Murkrow has stolen from my storage! That was 3 months collecting, I just don't know what to do." Gwyneth almost sobbed. "How am I to feed my chicks? They can't live on weak Pichu alone, it's just not right-"

"I'll handle this," The Talonflame interrupted Gwyneth's panicked rambles, with another pat to her head. "Did you see where the Murkrow went?"

The Noctowl gestured to dense forest - the exit to the village - with a shaking wing. "There, Cind, they went there," She said, with a whimper. "Please get my berried back, it's all I have to my name." Cindy nodded, and rustled her wings slightly, preparing chase.

"It's time to catch that thief once and for all," The Talonflame said, a serious tone taking place. "Gwyneth, I'll see to the crow, go get Rosetta. Regardless of whether I catch them or not, Rose needs to know what's happened."

The Noctowl nodded, and stepped back as Cindy took off. Her grace is limited in take-off, instead replaced with raw power, as wing beats flushed warm embers swirling around her. The Talonflame went where Gwyneth pointed to, and followed what she recognised as the scent of the thief.

The forest just outside the village was heavily wooded, part of the reason no human has gone this far.. Cindy's vision was exceptional, but she knew she would have to adapt to the low light before honing in on the Murkrow, instead following scent. Despite the density of the forest, The Talonflame guided her bulk and weaved through trees with utmost precision and expertise. She's had to chase down individuals many a time through the thick forest. It's a no-brainer to most, 'Just run into the dense part of the forest, the stupid big bird couldn't possible fit through.'

Cindy's eyes adjusted, and she immediately focused on a darker spot amongst the rest of darkness, perched in a crevice in a tree - as opposed to a branch, oddly enough - cradling specks of colour between it's wings. It was eating, quite messily, it's stolen spoils.

Aha.

Cindy honed in on the thief, her focus completely locked. There's no escape now. No witty tricks or hiding near humans. But, unusually, the Murkrow stood and fluttered off almost as soon as the larger bird noticed them. But Cindy's flight was near silent - definitely not within a Murkrow's hearing range whilst it was eating, and even though she glowed a soft red from her heat, she was too fast to notice in such a split second. No reason to be discreet now however, she thought. She had to give valiant chase.

The Talonflame cried again - a shrill whistle - as she followed the thief in the woods. She flew faster than ever before, determined to catch the wrong-doer. While the thief had size on their side, Cindy had aerobatics and speed. It's surprising how much one bird could deplete the stores when allowed to take freely. It was never able to reach the Grand Tree - multiple berry trees intertwined together, 9 feet tall, as it's so often bustling, and Cindy kept watch of it as of late.

A crack. The thief was too hasty, and it's right wing came in contact with a tree. It cried out and tumbled down, coming to an ugly stop. The sound it released didn't sound Murkrow, either, it was more of a piercing screech and growl. Cindy knew they'd have to patch up it's injuries - it's only right - but the bird couldn't get away now.

The Talonflame circled around a couple of times, to lose altitude, and landed with a graceful thud. The thief had crawled a few feet, making headway for dense bushes, before Cindy put her sharp foot down on the thief's tail. She almost pulled her foot back in shock when she felt a texture she didn't expect. Fabric? Why, this Pokemon's wearing a cloak! Whatever it is, it's not a Murkrow. 

The thief can only whine at this point, it's broken wing limp. It was a sorry sight, and Cindy couldn't help but feel bad. She picked up the smaller Pokemon gently, taking care to position the broken wing so it wouldn't wave in flight, but instead be held tightly to the chest, before she took off again, weaving delicately through the dense forest, back to the clearing of the village. She took care not to shake the smaller Pokemon and to fly as smoothly as possible.

There was a crowd at this point - there always was, after a chase. And when the crowd realises Cindy had something tucked in her talons, they gave out a cheer. The Talonflame felt herself beam with pride as she came to a gentle landing, allowing one foot to land first with the Pokemon in the other. It was a frail, tiny little thing, no doubt quite a young bird, but still larger than a Murkrow. It only just could be carried in one talon.

The thief whined again, curling up in a tight ball. It cradled it's injured wing close to it's chest. From the crowd came Gwyneth, who's just encountered the anger stage of grief, absolutely livid, her wings were raised and feathers close to her body.

"You! How dare you! You little, little--"

"Gwyneth, stop," Cindy spoke, somehow above the owl's angered cries. "It's injured itself. It's only young. Be the better Pokemon."

The Noctowl's frame relaxed slightly looking at the Talonflame, but she knitted her brows again looking back down at the sorry lump. "I understand - Cindy - but, this delinquent has caused me a great deal of stress. I have a right to be angry, you know!" Gwyneth hissed, trying her best to be confident in her standpoint, but not disrespectful to the most skilled hunter in the town.

"That, you do," The Talonflame said, her voice softer than you would expect. "But you shouldn't take it out on them straight away. It was eating quite hastily, the youngster's likely an orphan." She said, taking the foot wrapped around the small Pokemon and settling it on the ground, letting it lie free. It didn't move, however. "That would be my job, if Rose agrees to it."

Gwyneth's features soothed again, this time for certain. She gazed at the black lump on the ground and back up at Cindy, stuttering. "An...Orphan? Oh dear, that's...that's no good."

Another bustle in the crowd, and out came another pokemon. "Step aside, Gwyneth," it spoke, it's tone much more condescending than Cindy's. "I'll investigate this matter."

"So glad you can join us, Rose," the Talonflame hummed, most appreciatively. Only then, did the Pokemon soften, whilst looking at the taller Pokemon, before hardening again and watching the thief on the ground shake. "What should we do with them?"

Rosetta - an older Hawlucha, who holds all authority in the village - approached the Pokemon on the ground, and tugged on it's tattered black cloak. It whined in protest, pulling the cloak back over with a clawed hand. The crowd had their eyes on the small Pokemon, for what they expected to be just a wing, there were claws, as well. The realisation sank in that this is not a Murkrow to the rest of the crowd, and solidified in Cindy's mind that they are dealing with a very odd, crafty Pokemon.

Rose realised she would have to be more gentle. The Hawlucha kneeled down to be lower to the ground, next to the Pokemon. "Hey," she whispered, a softness now in her voice. "It's okay, you don't have to be afraid." She pulled on the cloak again, this time slower, and watched as the smaller Pokemon didn't pull it back over. "Would you like to sit up?"

There was a moment of hesitation, before the Pokemon pulled itself to sit up with it's good arm. It hissed and whined as the pain in it's right arm shot up again, and nearly collapsed on its side, before Rosetta caught it and helped it sit upright. Rose walked around the Pokemon to sit in front of it, rather than to it's back, and examined it. It had a hood pulled over most of it's face, save for the beak. It had the beak of a Murkrow, she thought, before she noticed a string wrapped around the Pokemon's face and hood. Rose reached to pull at the beak, before the Pokemon used it's left arm to slap at hers with a hiss, and shuffled backwards.

"It hasn't had the kindest of people around it, has it?" Rosetta asked to herself, pulling her arm back towards her. She halted Cindy as the Talonflame began to approach the Pokemon again, angered by the act of violence towards the village's head. "Give them space, they're afraid."

The Hawlucha produced an Oran berry from a small fabric pouch around her waist, and presented it to the Pokemon. "I know you're hungry. You're not in trouble, I promise." The Pokemon didn't respond, still sitting stiff with it's legs to it's chest. The cloak covered most of the Pokemon, except for the false beak, wings, and feet. It definitely did seem Murkrow at a glance. As there was no response, Rosetta placed the Oran berry down on the ground in front of the thief, and just watched. Her patience with children was outstanding, it took Cindy aback. Rose knew that Cindy would've loved to scold the thief, and glanced back at the Talonflame with a glare. The larger Pokemon let out a 'humph', and stepped back again.

After some hesitation, the Pokemon lifted it's hood ever so slightly, revealing a golden eye that was locked on the berry, before it reached forward with the same hand, letting the hood drop again. It patted the ground around the berry feeling for it, before managing to pick it up, and popped it in it's mouth. Rosetta saw as it's mouth was lower than the beak much like her own, and was confused, and concerned.

"Do you have a family?" Rosetta almost whispered after a moment of silence. The Pokemon at wiped the berry juice from it's mouth and went back to cradling it's legs, not speaking. "If you don't, we can't just let you run around doing this. We won't be as nice next time." the Hawlucha said, this time a little more roughly.

"Breaking arms isn't nice." The pokemon finally spoke. It's voice was deep, raspy female, and young. They didn't speak confidently either, and stuttered a bit. "It hurt, it wasn't nice." They repeated.

"I didn't break your arm, sweetheart," Cindy stated, as calmly as she could, "You hit a tree." Rose could tell this was quite trying for Cindy, she was getting annoyed at the softness to what she'd label as 'delinquent'.

The pokemon just grumbled, and pulled their legs closer with their left arm. Rosetta sighed and sat down cross legged, quite patiently. "Can you take your hood off?" She asked, knowing she'd tread on thin ice with the youngster. The thief shook their head in denial, to which the Hawlucha tutted to herself and asked again. "...Can you take your hood off? You'll get another berry for it." She took another Oran berry out of her pouch and tossed it in the air a few times, almost juggling it. The Pokemon's head lifted only slightly and she pulled her hood up again, revealing the same piercing golden eye. It watched the berry intently, with clear want. Oran must be a favourite.

They didn't move, instead they just watched. Rosetta stopped chucking the berry, and instead held it softly, and began reaching her arm forward slowly and low to the ground, towards the Pokemon. They recoiled a bit, before laxing, and beginning to reach forward too. Before they could take the berry, a voice came ringing from above.

"THIEF!! THIEF! I'VE GOT IT! I'VE GOT THEM!" a young voice cried as a Pokemon of similar size came violently flapping from above, tackling the thief, with no grace whatsoever. The hooded Pokemon screeched and hissed in reaction, being thrown onto their back by the young Pokemon. They squabbled in panick, throwing off the other pokemon with force and clumsily sat up and scooting backward, the false beak crumpled and hood drawn back slightly. They growled and stared at the other, gripping their right arm in the returning pain.

"Pablo, no!" Rosetta snapped at the breathless pokemon. Pablo was another Hawlucha - very young and energetic, and wanted to be the hero, like Ciny usually is. He was looking at Rose, looking for pride, before his smile dropped when he realised he's acted too late, and looked between the two in some guilt. "They're terrified, look at what you've done!" She snapped again, pointing to the thief.

"They were gonna to take your berry-"

"I was giving this to them." the adult Hawlucha responded, frustration in her voice. The other Pokemon sat still staring at Pablo and growling, unmoving out of fear.

"Oh," Pablo muttered, quite embarrassed in front of the crowd. He averted his gaze to the ground, before looking back up to the thief. After surveying the Pokemon in front of him, he simply stated, "You're a weird looking Hawlucha," with a giggle and a smile. The thief growled loud at the remark.

"Pablo, don't be rude," Rosetta started, going to stand up to scold him elsewhere, before Cindy stopped her.

"He's right, Rose, look at them," the Talonflame hushed, gazing warily at the Pokemon. Rosetta at first was quite shocked at how Cindy would agree about somebody being weird, but moved their glare to the subject, and her features softened again in realisation and concern.

The thief moved their attention to the elder Hawlucha, and after noticing their face has been seen, promptly pulled the hood fully over their face with their good hand, and pulled closer to themselves. They tried to hide as much of themselves as possible, and be as small as possible. They were shaking violently at this point, obviously terrified. It became clear to most of the onlookers this pokemon did not want to be seen.

Rose didn't move nor speak for a moment, instead just watched the quivering Pokemon with curiosity. She thought for a moment, before continuing on to speak again. "I...apologise for this pokemon's behaviour, dear, he's overwhelming sometimes," she reassured the thief, who lifted their hood to meet Rose's caring eye. "Do you have a name, darling?"

The pokemon's attention looked downwards, and darted on the ground as if looking for a written answer, before pulling the hood back over and rocking gently. "I dunno," they mumbled, "I dunno, I dunno." They repeated themselves as if it'll decipher some kind of real answer. They began to shake in their voice, and their words trailed off into soft sobs.

Rose shuffled forwards to the scared Pokemon, stopping when they winced and only continuing when they relaxed. She was shushing to the pokemon softly, and was able to pull them into a loose hug, being careful not to apply too much pressure on the right arm. They tensed and gasped slightly, before leaning into the embrace with a whine.

"It's okay, I understand," the elder Hawlucha cooed caringly, petting their head over the hood. The crowd mumbled to themselves slightly, before Gwyneth stepped forward, seriousness etched on their face.

"I can adopt them, Rose," the Noctowl stated quietly. "I was quite rude earlier, it would be the least I can do. I'm sorry, dear."

The thief took a deep breath in response. They reached up and pulled on the crumpled paper beak until the string snapped, and tossed it aside, before throwing their hood back. This was, Rosetta thought, most definitely a Hawlucha, but her colours were unusual. Reds were replaced with blacks, greens replaced with royal purples, whites replaced with raspberry reds, with a lime crest and eye rings. Their eyes were glistening golden, a much stronger yellow to Rosetta's or Pablo's. They reached their arm up and wiped the tears away, before looking at the Noctowl.

"No thank you," they replied, quietly, before looking up at Rosetta. Gwyneth reacted in slight offense, getting ready to say something else in protest, before catching her breath. "I'm fine," the Hawlucha stated, before moving to stand, and wincing at the pain in their arm. "I'm fine," they said again with a whine, when Rose went to help them stand. "I can go. Sorry," was all they said as they started to walk away.

"...Please don't go," Pablo piped up to the hooded Hawlucha. They turned their head to look at Pablo with some wild fear in their eyes, before seeing no aggression, and watched. "You're cool looking, I wanna be your friend."

The purple Hawlucha looked again for a hint of teasing or joking or something, and saw only honesty, For a moment she watched silently, before tilting their head sideways in wonder.

"You want to be my friend?" they asked, confusion in their voice.

Pablo nodded quite enthusiastically, before standing and walking towards them slowly. There was no wince from them however, instead they seemed quite comfortable letting Pablo near them already. When close enough, Pablo reached for their left hand, and held it quite tight, before looking at both Rosetta and Cindy, taking in a big breath.

"Can they be my friend, ma?" he asked proudly, as if he knew he would get a yes. Rose's breath hitched, before she glanced over her shoulder to Cindy, who gave a doubtful shrug. The elder Hawlucha knew she had to decide herself, and watched the biggest of smiles grow on Pablo's face. The purple hawlucha seemed confused, but in awe at the excitement the other has in just knowing them. They were content, and it warmed Rose's heart, and she felt she couldn't say no.

"I don't see why not, but I think you mean sister. You don't need to ask to be friends," Rose half-sighed as she stood up, checking herself. "Or brother, I can't say for certain. What do you want to be called, young one?" she asked again. The hooded Hawlucha shrugged with her good arm.

"I dunno. Sister, please," the Hawlucha stated. At the very least she knew whether she was a boy or girl or something  else. Rosetta nodded in understanding, happy to be getting somewhere.

"Alright. What should we do about naming?" The elder Hawlucha asked, watching the thief inquisitively. "Do you have anything in mind, or?"

"Lula," Gwyneth piped in. "If--If she'd like that, of course. It's just a nice name." The purple hawlucha looked at Gwyneth with a glint in her eyes. She stared at the Noctowl, before smiling slightly.

"Lula's a nice name," she said, looking back at Rose. "Lula, Lula," the Hawlucha repeated to herself a couple more times, getting used to the sound of it. Rosetta nodded and smiled, before taking Pablo's hand.

"Then that settles it," the elder Hawlucha hummed. She looks at Pablo, still smiling. "We need to take Lula here to the Audino, she broke her arm."

"Oh! Ouch," Pablo responded, even cringing a little at the thought. Lula laughed a bit, though it resembled more or an exhale, before wincing on remembering the ache in her arm. "I'll take her!"

"That would be lovely, thank you," Rose sighed again, letting go of the younger Hawlucha's hand. He began walking, with Lula following close behind, gazing at the crowd anxiously, before the two disappeared amongst the tall grass towards the Audino in mention. Rose watched them move into the grass, and when she knew they were gone, she shifted her attention to the crowd. She shook her smile off, almost embarassed, and addressed them. 

"I understand that this child has caused stress with their actions," Rosetta begins to speak in a strong voice, "But she is only that; a child. She was likely desperate, and you would likely do the same if you were in the same situation. From now on, I'd like you all to treat her with respect, and as family."

Gwyneth stepped forward, humbled by the experience. "I don't have a problem with that, Rose," the Noctowl began, slowly, "It's just about her colour. Do you know what causes the colour in the child?"

Rose nodded.

"She's what a human would call a 'shiny' Pokemon," she started. "For us, the odd colouration could mean difficulty in survival, but they're greatly sought after by humans.This is likely why she's so afraid, she's probably had a terrible encounter with one."

Rosetta took a deep breath. "She's very valuable, no doubt," she said. "I would expect her human's looking for her. I can't say much to certain, but I have a feeling going back to her human is the last thing she wants to do."

Cindy stepped forward in understanding, watching Rosetta intently. "I'd expect you want me to be on high security, Rose?"

The Hawlucha still watched the crowd, and nodded. "No human will enter this place as long as Lula stays. She's clearly run away from something, and that something isn't welcome here." Rosetta said sternly, walking forward. A gap opened in the crowd, allowing her to walk through.

"That goes for the rest of you. Report any sightings of humans to Cindy immediately." She sighed. "That is all."

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