"So you found him like this?" A masculine voice uttered from the corner in the room, a wealth of displeasure in his tone. The Blaziken stood tall, arms folded, coolly watching the Combusken fret over the Weavile in the bed. The Weavile appeared to be conscious yet those crimson eyes were eerily blank. Mentally no one was there, a mere husk, a shell of his former self.
To have him in my home… The Blaziken’s amber eyes narrowed, grip tightening. He rejected the idea vehemently when Cherie hauled him home yet those pleading eyes of hers always made him cave in. Now those eyes filled with concern, looked at him as she nodded.
"Yes. He was mumbling about someone," she turned pensive, trying to recall the name. "Kia? No… That’s not it," she muttered. Her eyes sparked to life as she suddenly exclaimed, "Kiara! Yes!" She quickly covered her beak, flustered by her sudden burst of energy.
Silently shaking his head at her outburst, he turned his gaze to the Weavile. The dark type’s maw kept moving yet nothing came out of it. “He’s lost…,” the Blaziken muttered. He had seen such an expression before
"Don’t say that!" Cherie said adamantly. "I’ll bring him out of it! I swear!"
"Cherie. Be realistic," Rainer snapped. He saw her flinch at his sharp tone but this was something that needed to be said. "I know you have this… compassion in you but you waste it. Especially on him," he added with sneer.
"It’s not a waste! I made a promise, dad! I intend to keep it!" She quickly put on her scarf and sweater, heading for the door. Or she would have if the Rainer wasn’t blocking the way.
"Do not be foolish for him," he spoke through his beak.
"No one will do it and you know this! I know there has to be herbs out there that will help! There just has to be," she muttered, trying to squeeze past him to no avail.
"Stop it! It’s winter! Nothing gr- Cherie!" She managed to slip pass him already out the door.
"Goodbye!" The door slammed shut, the silence deafening. The Blaziken moved his disgruntled gaze at the Weavile.
"For your sake, she better come back safe…"
"Um… Did I get lost?" Cherie muttered to herself, eyes darting back and forth warily.This wasn’t the way to the market… She could tell she was on the bad part of the city, where poverty and bandits called this place home. This is area lacked sunlight, almost as if the sun itself did not want to shine on such a deplorable district. Most of the buildings she came across were either boarded up, ravaged for parts or simply just falling apart to the point of collapse. Her heart went out to those who lived in such a horrible state.
“Why aren’t the guilds doing anything about this?” she mumbled, grasping her scarf tightly. She thought the guilds kept watch over everything in the city. This area was neglected for quite some time. Maybe I could get some info here…
CRUNCH! She jerked at the loud noise, cautiously moving her foot to see what she stepped on-
"Eeek!" She squawked at the broken skull, nearly making a dash in the opposite direction, towards safety. I wanna go home!! She bit down on her scarf in an effort to calm herself. She couldn’t afford to panic! Especially when she had a job to do. Just calm down Cherie… It’s a skull… A freaky lookin’ skull. It’s not going to hurt you…, she chanted to herself. The sound of crackling had chill running down her spine. Someone was clearly here, amused by her panic.
Putting on a face of determination, she resumed a pose, claws reflecting off in the dim sunlight in such a display. “I-I’m not a-afraid of y-you,” she sputtered out, eyes skating across the darkened area.
“Eheheh…,” a brooding voice began from her right. She whirled, purging her lips, keeping her pose. She had to remain a threat to this stranger. She could see a strange shade of violet eyes from the shadowed alley watching her with amusement.
“I-I’m not in the mood to p-play games with y-you!” She swallowed, remaining firm. She cursed her inability to keep her voice stable in this front of the stranger. Her legs refused to comply as well, trembling despite her best to stop.
“Oh dear lass. Why are you so afraid? You have wondered in the wrong part of town. Haven’t your parents told you not to wonder far from the light? Who knows what may lurk in the darkness,” the masculine voice continued with distinct glee this time.
She scowled, flames spewing out of her beak in response to her anger. He’s toying with me! “I have you know my dad knows full well what I am doing! Who ar- WHOA!” A strange purple aura enveloped her, lifting her airborne with ease. “LET ME DOWN!” She squawked, flailing about in an effort to get down. Is this Psychic?! She was much too high in the air for her liking. What if it faltered? She gulped, squeezing her eyes shut tightly.
“Not till you apologize young lass,” the voice uttered, those eyes glowing vibrantly.
“Fine. Fine! I’m sorry!” She apologized, clasping her claws together pleadingly. A small chuckle then she felt herself lowering to the ground. She peeked through her eyes to see who this mysterious Pokemon was. She stared at the direct eye level of a Delphox who clearly bore a smirk at the fowl’s distress. She wanted to desperately wipe that sly smirk off his face. It appeared the fox was quite old, most of his fur appearing to have lost some luxurious sheen. Even some of the fringes of his ear tufts were turning gray in response to his growing age also at the fringes of his ‘dress’. The distinct pattern on the dress wasn’t that of flames but instead one of a shooting star that fascinated her.
“I didn’t know you guys get different patterns,” she mumbled, ogling the pattern.
“We all can’t appear to be the same, lass,” The Delphox waved a paw dismissively, reaching back to pull a staff out of his tail. He prodded the fowl with it, boring a disappointed smile. “Rather scrawny aren’t ya’ lass?”
She snapped her beak at the wooden staff only to have it pulled out of her reach. “I’ll have you know that I’m average okay?!” She quickly retorted.
Clearly amused by her reaction, the fox leaned against his staff, tail sliding side to side leisurely. “Aye… I’ll let that slide for that for now. Now lass,” his eyes turned serious, any amusement he previously felt was gone. “Tell me why you are here. The truth now. I am in no mood to play games now.”
She shivered at the frost in his tone. “I-I,” she began quietly.
“Speak up,” he barked.
Taking a deep breath, she continued in a louder tone, “I got lost…? But maybe it’s a good thing I got lost…?” she seemed puzzled by that fact as well. She could have sworn she was on the correct path but nonetheless that mattered not now. “But maybe you can help me!”
The Delphox sighed, pinching the bride of his nose, scrutinizing the fire fowl. “This is a dangerous area. The Slums is a not a place for you to be, lass,” the Delphox reprimanded, his eyes losing its luminous glow.
The Slum- She squawked as she plummeted to the ground, rubbing her sore tailbone. “Ouch! Maybe you could have warned m- Wait!” The fox already was turning away from her, ignoring her words. She grabbed the fringes of the fox’s dress bringing him to a halt. “Please! I need some herbs for my brother!” She pleaded.
“What makes you think I can help you?” The fox retorted sharply.
“Because… I think you can.” A silence weighed the area, making her anxious for the reply. Finally the fox turned around to face her, eyes appearing to be dreary.
“Follow me. My name is Sael. Welcome to the Slums, lass.”
"Watch your step," the aged fox warned the young fowl beside him. She let out a small squeak as she nearly tripped over yet another skull with an expression mixed with disgust and fright. This was not a place for such an innocent one like herself. If she dared stray from his side, she would be considered easy pickings. He pinched the bridge of his nose, frustrated that he had got stuck playing babysitter.
Abruptly, he came to a halt at the frightened note in her voice. He glanced at her quivering form when she suddenly gripped his paw but she wasn’t looking at him. Slowly he observed the color draining from her face being replaced with a sickly green color. He followed her gaze; a bitter similar taste of revulsion filled his expression as well at a sight.
“You don’t need to see that,” he hissed, shielding her eyes from the horrific scene. Some Murkrow and Mandibuzz hovered over some unfortunate sickly civilian. May you find peace with the Maker.
“Come on lass,” he encouraged, ushering the Combusken in the direction of a shack. It appeared raggedly, wood splinting off hazardously on the roof and sides. But he called this small shack home. The wooden door opened with a loud creak that had the small fowl flinching. Ignoring the small reaction, he pushed her inside, shutting the door behind them.
Dust floated in the air disturbed by the sudden rush of air. The shack, despite its outer, was warm and cozy inside with a coating that covered any holes. It was rather simple with a small table set, a bed, a bookcase and two comfortable chairs across from each other but a firm layer of dust coated the ground and bookcase.
“I really need to dust in here,” he muttered, followed by a light sneeze. Using his tail, he brushed aside any dust in his path as he made his way to settle in one of comfortable seats. He noted when the Combusken didn’t follow him, hesitating by the door.
With a smirk he gestured at the chair in from of him, “How about you take a seat right there? I won’t hurt you,” he uttered with a haughty laugh.
Her beak thin at his arrogance. Never in her life had she met anyone such as this. And the state of this shack… Her eyes scanned the small room with distaste. “Why is it so dirty in her-” She paused when he held up a paw.
“Are you offering to clean? I will be truly grateful if you may,” he chortled, grasping his paws together to place his chin on top of them.
Cherie grasped the armrests, threatening to dig her claws through them. His condescending tone was beginning to grate her nerves. “It’s Cherie…” She gritted her teeth.
“Such a pretty name,” he murmured, grasping his paws together to place his chin on top of them. “So Cherie. You are looking for this miracle herb to help your brother…” He sounded skeptically. “It’s midwinter, lass. What makes you think there is anything to aid your brother now?”
“I know there are some herbs that thrive through the winter! I just don’t know what area to go searching in…”
“You have all this herb knowledge and you don’t know where to go.” He heaved a sigh, eyes glowing. Twiddling his digits, a strange purple aura enveloped a filthy book from the shelf. Levitating the small book in front of him, he gently blew off the dust to examine it. “What are his symptoms?”
Anticipation rose inside her as she watched the fox bring the book to him. It was pure luck she found someone to assist her! “He’s catatonic… He doesn’t respond to anything we say to him but his eyes were opening and his lips were constantly moving before I left.” She gave a small shudder, recalling the sad state her brother was in.
“Hm…” He clamped the book shut. “I don’t believe an herb will assist you. This sounds like he’s battling with something mentally. Perhaps you can ju-”
“I can’t wait any longer!” She rose to her feet, her voice rising each second. “He can starve or something can go wrong! To leave someone in that state for any longer can lead to some lingering effects in the future!”
“I suggest you sit down before you do anything rash. You are in my home and I can kindly introduce you to the Murkrow outside if you like,” his tone dark. His eyes narrowed, still luminous with psychic power.
Shuddering, she resumed her seat casting wary glances toward the door. She could still ‘see’ what she saw back. The- She grasped her arms tightly, a shadow over her expression. Is that how it is outside the city..? She blanched at the thought, grip tightly.
“J-Just please… I-If you cannot help… Just guide me in the right direction then. I won’t stop searching.” She couldn’t stop searching. I can’t lose another… Not when I just found you!
“You know the moment you leave that I can’t protect you from the dangers outside this shack,” he chided. He gritted his teeth when she nodded slowly. “You still wish to foolishly endanger yourself for a fool’s errand?” Gripping onto his staff, he slammed it on the ground before promptly stabbing it against her chest. “Do you understand how naïve you are? What about your father? I’m sure you have a parent that cares deeply you. Then your brother…,” he bit out. “I’m sur-”
“I know all this! I know this is completely stupid! But no one else will do it! You see! I gotta be the brave one for once and find a way to save my brother! What if it was your brother or sister laying there helpless? Wouldn’t you search for a way to save them?!”
A tick in the Delphox’s jaw told her she had stuck a nerve. Too soon she felt her feet being lifted off the ground by the familiar Psychic. This time she didn’t panic, remaining frozen as she stared down into the fiery eyes of the fox.
“My family is dead. You know nothing.” She instantly regretted her words but he continued with, “So you want to run this fool’s errand despite my words. So be it.”
The Psychic suddenly dissipated to her surprise. She let out a squawk as she crashed on the hard floor with a wince. Stifling the urge to rub her tailbone, she glared at the fox with flames bursting at the side of her beak.
“That’s it,” he encouraged. “Show that fire inside. Show you are not a pushover. Trust me. ” He picked up the box again, shuffling through the pages before finally neatly ripping out a page to hold out for her. “You will need this if you want to go save anyone.”
She hesitated before taking the page out of his grasp. A map. A marsh?
“What you seek is in this marshland to the south of here. I cannot accompany you on this journey. My old bones cannot handle the stress. But if you have any problems as you travel through, simply say my name. They should not bother you any further from that point.”
She cradled the paper closely, eyes gleaming with hope. “Thank you…”
“Don’t thank me yet. The area is dangerous. Do not linger in the marsh any longer than necessary les you get into trouble, lass. Keep that fire going inside you and you shall be okay.”
Unable to stop herself, she wrapped her arms around the fox with a tight hug. He stiffened, clearly surprised by her act. Slowly, his arms wrapped around her in return with a weak hug of his own.
“Remember my words…,” he whispered.
The Mienfoo laid limp in the mud, battered, bruised from the beating he received. His assailants, a trio, towered over him sporting looks of triumph. Gritting his teeth, he dug his paws into the muck. He desperately wanted to return the favor. He was proud he gave one of them a proper beating before falling. He glanced at the bloody nose of a Krokorok who hovered in the background, somewhat afraid of the fighting type.
"Look at him!" a feminine demure voice exclaimed from the trio, a Kirlia. His attention focused on her, lips peeling back in a silent snarl. Her voice grated his ears akin to that nails scraping againsy chalkboard. She haughtily held a hand to her mouth, her jade eyes filled with venom. "He didn’t put up much of a fight! What happened to the so-called King of the block?!" Her head reared back as she chortled at the Mienfoo’s miserable state.
The fighting type rolled his eyes at the female’s childish taunts. He only laid here due to her dishonorable tactics. He cursed his inability to acknowledge the ambush in time. He was so hungry… And the fleshcap was so tempting… How naive he was to think that a free meal would be simply sit there ripe for the picking. What disgusted him the most was the use of goons.
"Three on one tactic…," he managed to grunt out, a slight accent clinging to his voice as his opaque eyes focused on the Kirlia. "You are weak." He spat on the Kirlia’s feet, his message clear.
She let out a loud shriek, even her own minions forced to cover their ears at the dreadful sound. “How dare you!” She screeched, her foot stomping the Mienfoo’s head in the flith. “You are the one in the mud! You are beneath me!”
Her lips curled into a sneer as she beckoned her minions. Only one answered, a Marowak coming up to stand beside her. She whirled to hiss at the Krokorok who ignored her call. The croc whimpered, cowering before the fairy. Rolling her eyes, she returned her focus to the Marowak who she leaned against now.
"Well Taras. Victor chickened out. You won’t chicken out on me, will you?" The Kirlia inquired, fingers dancing on the ground’s type shoulder.
Taras gave a loud snort. “You should have known to not bring a hatchling to a thing like this.”
The Kirlia gave a slight pout “I know but I had such high hopes for Victor.” She glanced at dark type, her gaze darkening. “When we get home, we have to chat,” her voice lowering a lethal whisper.
The Kirlia gave a slight pout “I know but I had such high hopes for Victor.” She glanced at dark type, her gaze darkening.”When we get home, we have to chat,” her voice lowering a lethal whisper.
Tara gave the Kirila a reassuring pat on her back. “Go easy on the guy. He tried…” His voice trailed off as he watched the Kirlia’s hair rising, power crackling in the air. “Taras,” she started, her voice emanating power as her hands, now deadly claws, tightly gripped his shoulder nearly puncturing his rough skin. “Do not stand up for this fool!” She commanded, eyes transitioning to a cloudy shade.
The Marowak nodded immediately, cringing at her booming voice. He knew well not to mess with her when in this volatile mood. Immediately she calmed down, eyes returning to their normal color. “Good,” she chimed, clasping her hands behind her back. “Now can you be a dear and teach him a lesson?”
"With pleasure," he murmured, caressing his beloved club as a strange thick accent entered his voice. "Ol’ Maggie here hasn’t seen any action today. Do try not bleed all over her, man. I just cleaned her. Move ya’ Missy. I don’t wanna smash ya’ pretty little feet."
"Do try not to make a mess, Taras. I know you have a tendency to get carried away…" With a giggle, she complied with the Ground’s type wishes, rubbing her nails against her dress, beaming at their shine.
Something snapped in the Mienfoo as he witnessed her pure arrogance and clear dismissal of his existence. As if he was an insignificant bug type to be crushed beneath her feet.
"No," He snarled, springing on his feet. His attackers backed immediately, surprised the Mienfoo still had energy. He pointed at the Kirlia, his paw dripping with poison.
The Kirlia hid out of his view, behind the Marowak. “What are you waiting for?! Get him Taras!” The ground type didn’t respond those her command, paralyzed by fear. As he stared in the Mienfoo’s eyes, he swore he saw something that spelled out the end for him.
"M-Mistress… We should take our leave," Taras’ voice trembling.
The Kirlia bit down on her lip, the odds stacking against her. When the Mienfoo took a hostile step towards them, she decided then it wasn’t worth it. “Taras, Victor,” she hissed, grasping the Marowak’s rough arm. “It’s time to leave.” Delivering a baleful glare towards the Mienfoo, she towed Taras away with Victor eagerly following after her.
The Mienfoo watched them go, waiting till they vanished out of sight. Relieved, his legs gave out on him, collapsing in the mud. His gamble paid off. Gnashing his teeth, he struggled to get in a sitting position so he could at least be mindful of his surroundings. Something orange was heading his way. Another threat? He could make out the orange shape as a Combusken. By the clothing, he knew immediately she didn’t not bother in the area. Nonetheless he could not…
"Hey! Do you need some help?" The concern blatantly obvious in her voice.
"No. Leave me be," his tone curt. However she ignore his words, inching closer. His gaze couldn’t help but to stray to her claws inching closer to touch. He cringed, backing away. "Don’t touch me!" He spat. Was he trembling? He was trying to best not to… Regaining a firm grip over his emotions, he glared at the Combusken who backed off due to his reaction.
She appeared torn. “B-But you’re-” she paused then continued taking a different approach. “U-Um my name is Cherie. Can you tell me your name at least?” She said softly.
He hesitated. “Kai…” Said reluctantly.
"S-So you’re hurt pretty bad," she said fiddling with her claws. "Can I help? I know I can’t leave you like this. My conscious will beat me up if I do," she rubbed the back of her neck.
Struggling to get on his feet once again, he waved off her insistence. “No thank you.” He staggered but maintained to rebalance himself. She pouted.
"Well… Can you come with me then? That way I can make sure y-"
"Where?" Her persistence was too much. It was better to comply than hear her fussing.
"A marsh. South of here?" She reassured herself by looking at the map. "Yup."
"I know where. Follow me." With a limp in his step, he walked in the direction of said Marsh with Cherie following eagerly after.
“Are you sure this is the place?” The Combusken questioned the Mienfoo standing some distance away from her. It was a long walk to get the entrance of the marsh, the dangers of the Slums ever lurking a distance away from them. All the while, she kept close to Kai who had a keen sense of direction. She saw those peeping eyes monitor them as they traveled through yet they dare not cross a threshold to be a threat. Was it Kai’s presence? Every time they laid eyes on him, they immediately skated away with a look of fear. It only made her cling as close as possible to him without actually touching him.
“Yes,” he gestured to the darkened gnarled trees in front of them. “There is a small hole through there we can squeeze through to get inside. Stay close to me. The Poison types are quite restless at this hour.” His gaze flickered towards the setting sun, brows ceasing with worry. “When the sun sets, we may have to set camp. Haunters and Phantumps tend to be little pranksters when night sets upon the land. I’m sure you can provide us with some flames to ward them off, no…,” he trailed off, noting the sudden paleness on her feathers. “Is there something wrong?” he asked cautiously.
“No no!” She let out a small squawk to her embarrassment, shaking her head at his question. “I am… fine.” She inhaled deeply, trying to regain her composure. “I-I-Is there a-any deep water parts..?” she inquired cautiously. She had to know.
The Mienfoo cocked his head at the question, pondering. “As I recall… Around this season, the water will come to our knees.” He made no comment at her sigh of relief on at his words, making his way towards the small hole he mentioned earlier. “Is that all? If so we don’t have any more time to dawdle…”
“Yes. Yes!” she chimed with renewed enthusiasm. She watched as he crouched on the ground, crawling through the small hole. She waited till his form disappeared to do the same. The touch of muck against her feathers made her feel disgusted but she plowed through, ducking some of the knotted branches that appeared in the path. When she appeared on the opposite side, she cringed at the dirt and muck that coated his feathers and newly knitted sweater.
“Ew… Gross…,” she mumbled, trying her best to get the mud off of her.
“You’re not grossed out by a little mud, are you?” Kai’s voice came from some foliage to the west. He appeared to be as dirty as she was but it didn’t bother him as much as he calmly brushed some of it off.
“You aren’t bothered by it? Bleh… I don’t know you can stand it…,” she groaned.
“There’s no point in brushing it off. You will only get dirty once again. We are in a marsh after all,” he explained calmly, beckoning her to follow.
She stuck her tongue out at him but followed after him nonetheless.The darkness surrounding them made shivers crawl down her spine. Holding her claws some distance apart, she focused on the thought of flames… Two small blue wisps sprang to life between her claws to float above, guiding them along this hidden path. For a time there was a silence, something she found she was uncomfortable with.
“So how could you know so much about this place?” she began, taking the opportunity to make idle chit chat. She still didn’t have knowledge of him to go off.
“I go here often to speak to a friend,” his reply brief, curt. Not a subject he did not want to dwell on.
She pursed her lips at his tone. Not much of a talker… Something she was becoming all to use to as of late. “I get the impression you don’t want to talk to me.”
“You will be right. Once I’m done assisting you, I plan on returning home and resting,” he stated as matter of fact.
She shuddered at the lack of warmth in his tone. Cold… “B-But why would you go back to that place? It’s bad! Like horrible! I don’t see how anyone can live in such a place.”
“The place you call ‘horrible’ is something I call my home. I have no way of escaping it. I have accepted this because I have no possible way of leaving.”
His lack of emotion behind of his voice bothered her. “What ties you there? Do you have someone to protect?”
“Then why?” She questioned, slowly becoming frustrated by his cryptic responses.
“I simply must. Even at the expense of my life… I feel like I must. I feel as if I can make a change there,” his voice crackling at the end. She felt sympathetic towards him, understanding his response and intense emotion. He shook his head sternly, whatever emotion he showed at the end lost. “You’re asking too many questions. Why are you so persistent,” he grunted out.
“Maybe I can help you… What I tell you, you can get out this place and still remain helpful towards it without having to suffer?”
A small scoff escaped him. “I will tell you that is a fool’s dream. As much as this search for some cure you are searching for-” He noted the constricting of her eyes as his words stung some part of her as she opened her beak to retort. He simply held up his paw. “I wasn’t finished. It may be a fool’s dream but I know there is such a thing called a miracle,” he murmured, his stride becoming more brisk.
Cracking a small smile at his words, she picked up the pace, avoiding mud puddles as they went. She examined the map again to make sure they were on the sure destination. “Lunar Shade…,” she mumbled to herself, completely unsure. “Surely doesn’t sound like any herb I heard of…”
Kai came to an abrupt halt, snatching the page from her grasp.
“Where did you get this?” He demanded, tense.
“Um… An old Delphox named Sael gave it to me… Why?”
“No. It’s not an herb; it’s a flower that only blooms in this area at night. It’s quite noticeable by its brilliant cerulean glow when the moon strikes perfectly. We cannot remain here at night. The flower will close up again by sunrise. It’s the spores inside that are necessary.”
“Why would he send me to a flower…,” she muttered, baffled by the strange fox’s ploy. She scrutinized the Mienfoo, his knowledge about this flower making her quite suspicious of him. “How come youknow so much about this flower?”
He swiveled on his heels to glare at her. “I know so much about it because it is commonly used in this area to treat mental illness. It is not commonly known outside of the Slums due to its… status but wecommon folk know much about it.” He made another motion, his steps hurried. “The clearing is just ahead. We can wait there till the flowers bloom.”
She can see the brilliant light that broke through the darkness. Eager, she hurried as well to get out of this dreadful place. As she rushed through into the light, she inhaled deep, drawing in a peaceful, alluring scent. How she felt ease now… The ground covered with small blue pods, waiting patiently to bloom. How sharp in contract was this pure area compared to what she waded through. She almost afraid to thread through the clearing. What if I mess this up!? What if taint them…
"It’s alright," Kai assured her, striding past her. Listening to his words, she walked, careful to not step on any of the pod. The air was so clean, so crisp… She couldn’t help but to shut her eyes, a peaceful aura draping over her.
"The night is almost upon us…," the fighting type murmured, eyes on the sky.
Her eyes snapped open as she peered up as well. He was right! How long have they been traveling?! It was but a fleeting moment. However she watched as the area was slowly beginning to glow. The pod began to give off a luminous cerulean glow, enveloping the entire area. She clasped her claws together, eyes filled with awe they bloomed, releasing similar luminous spores in the air.
"T-This…" She had no words for this wondrous sight, her heart in her throat.
"Everyone’s first time is like this," Kai whispered, grasping a flower carefully in his paws, watching her completely enthralled by the sight of swirling orbs. He saw no harm in allowing her a few more precious moments to enjoy this sight thoroughly.