He was almost there. A few more sections of shelves, and he'd be free. He reached out a clawed hand...
Something was wrong.
The floor in front of him stretched out longer and longer. The doors seemed to drift casually into the background. But they were still... they were still right there.
He grunted and leaned forward, running as fast as he could. His back throbbed, and his legs strained to push him forwards. He could feel the air rushing past, he could see each long stride if he glanced at the ground, and yet the other side of the room loomed in the distance, inching towards him at a snail's pace. As he stared at the approaching exit, the carpet and the surrounding shelves seemed to twist and curl sideways, skewing his perception further.
Still he ran, his calves cramping, his lungs straining for air; the doors were moving slowly, but they were still coming closer, and closer, and he was there, and—
Lexy appeared from the periphery, positioning himself squarely in front of the wooden doors. His tail was visibly frizzed, fur sticking out in all directions. "I believe you have something of mine."
The Sneasel snarled and changed course, aiming to veer around the unimposing Pokémon. Lexy casually stepped in front of him once more, crossing several feet of floor in a single stride. He held out a small hand. "Please return it."
Skive screeched to a halt and scrambled in the other direction. Whatever that Eevee was doing, he knew he was still faster; he could skirt the perimeter, find another exit. The place was huge; surely there'd be more than one way out.
It took him a moment to notice Lexy was strolling along next to him, not even jogging yet keeping pace perfectly. Skive snarled and swung wildly with outstretched claws, but hit only a brown blur as Lexy ducked and stuck out a foot.
Skive tripped and went sprawling, clutching his prize close to his chest as he tumbled across the carpet, each roll on his injured back feeling like another fireball hitting him. He climbed to his feet, hurt and panicked... and Caldera loomed in front of him.
The Sneasel held the binder out in front of himself in the first strategic act of his life. "Get back, or ya'll burn this too!"
Only a couple feet behind him, Lexy barked out a laugh. "This is an invaluable collection. You think we wouldn’t fireproof the books when one of the curators is on fire?
This hadn't occurred to Skive, whose grasp of the elements was tenuous at best. But he made up for it in experience; without a second thought, he flung the binder towards Caldera. The incoming Flame Burst hit it in midair and popped in a bright orange fireball, giving the Sneasel just the moment of confusion he needed; he ducked under the collision, grimacing and biting back tears as the heat seared his back anew, and crouched below the hovering ghost. Shadows clung to his claw even in the bright light, and he leaped upwards with a snarl, grasping the chandelier Pokémon from underneath and punching with all his might.
The Dark-shrouded fist shattered one of the panes of glass, plowing the full force of Faint Attack directly into Caldera's flame. There was a sickly, empty noise, the sound of the wind blowing out a candle amplified many times over, and Caldera crashed to the ground, flames flickering weakly.
The library lay quiet. Skive limped over to the Deino binder, which lay open on the floor. Sure enough, it seemed to be in perfect condition. He looked towards the doors and saw nothing; Lexy had disappeared. A grin spread across the victor's face; another big talker had proved to be a coward.
He jogged for the doors and strolled out of the library with his stolen binder.
Fifth excerpt of a library story by