Welcome to our POKéMON CENTER. We can heal your POKéMON to perfect health. Shall we heal your POKéMON?
Nurse, Pokémon Gold Pokémon Centre
The Safari Zone staff didn’t know what they should do with Aurinko. Releasing her back into the Safari Zone was out of the question. If a Nidorino had attacked her once already, what was there to stop the same one attacking again? She was too young and too weak for her albinism to be tested on, so the head warden, known affectionately as Slowpoke, decided to put her in the zoo, where she’d be safe.
Aurinko lay unconscious in the Pokécenter for three days, and the nurses and Chansey alike were unsure as to whether or not she would live. But by the end of the third day, at around four o’clock in the afternoon, her tiny white body twitched suddenly, and she began choking on tubes running into her body through her mouth.
The Chansey watching over her quickly came to her side, lifted the glass lid of her and gently pulled the tubes from Aurinko’s mouth. Aurinko coughed a bit more, then groaned as the pain ebbed from her wounds, washing again through her body. She swallowed hard to try and control the pain.
“Shh, shh,” the Chansey hushed above her, tenderly running her stubby hand over her fur. Aurinko was stunned. This was the first time in her life where anyone had shown not hatred for her, but affection, real, genuine affection. The Chansey began to sing a sweet, soft melody.
It reached Aurinko’s ears and immediately soothed her. The pain was still there, but not so heavy. Aurinko smiled a painful smile, the first since she’d been born, and closed her heavy eyelids, drifting off into a more natural sleep.
Aurinko recovered well, with the help of the nutritious eggs of the Chansey and the tender care of them and the nurses. By the week’s end, the bandages from her head and side were removed, but her broken leg, encased in plaster, wouldn’t heal for months.
The same Safari warden who had taken her in and visited her every day arrived again to take her back to the Safari Zone. He wrapped her warmly and comfortably in blankets, then placed her in a cardboard box and carried her out to the car, thanking the Pokécenter nurses and Chansey for their care of the young albino.
“There you go, little one,” he told her, “I knew you’d live.” He smiled down on her, and Aurinko smiled back. Now that she was out of that living hell, maybe her life would turn around. She could tell from her brothers’ and mother’s descriptions that this gently smiling creature was a trainer, and was bound to teach her how to fight. Aurinko needed to learn to fight, to defend herself from attackers, and this trainer was the one to do it.
Aurinko sniffed again at the cast enclosing her leg and cringed slightly at the pain it brought her to turn around. Although now unbandaged, her side still hurt greatly. She didn’t know what the hard white stuff was, but it made it hard to move. She hoped it wouldn’t be there for too long.
She watched outside the car window at the city of Fuchsia passing her by. Strange, cube shaped structures with tops the colour of her brother Kani lined the strange black earth she was being transported on. Other vehicles like the one she was in passed by her, travelling in many different directions, but all staying on the black earth.
Suddenly the car stopped and the man got out of his side, then walked around and lifted Aurinko out as well, carrying her into one of the pink-topped cube structures. Aurinko couldn’t see over the sides of the box, but her nose and ears picked up scents and sounds of many Pokémon she had never smelt or heard before. If her leg didn’t hurt so much, she would have put her paws over the side of the box to see what was going on out there.
The trainer put her box down and lifted her carefully out, placing her in among fluffy blankets and soft pillows.
“There you go, little one,” he said warmly, “When you’re all well again, you can stay with some other Nidoran. I won’t let you get hurt like that again, don’t worry, little one.”
Aurinko smiled and snuffled around in the blankets, finding the most comfortable position. After several minutes, she decided that there was no comfortable position. Her hind leg was still painful and with the solid plaster cast it took great effort to drag it anywhere. Eventually she just collapsed, totally exhausted, and took in her surroundings.
She was in a largish cage, in the corner of which were brown bowls of water and small brown pellets. Outside the cage Aurinko saw a white tiled floor stretching its way down a long corridor lined with six or so other cages like her own, each housing a Pokémon of some description.
Right down the end of the corridor there was a long purple one with a huge fan at its head end. There was also a white bandage around its middle. Aurinko didn’t know why, but it just felt dangerous. She shivered and was relieved it was on the other side of the room.
She could only see into two of the cages down the corridor, the two closest to her. To the left was a bundle of rugs, inside which was a breathing mass of pinkish orange fur. It smelt dangerous as well, and sort of smoky, although Aurinko had never actually smelt smoke. She decided not to wake the fur up to see what it was, it might get annoyed.
The other creature was looking into Aurinko’s cage, studying it’s new neighbour. It was a strange little brown thing with a big white skull over its head. The skull had a large hole over the Pokémon’s left eye, and the bone it held tightly in its paw was broken. The arm was wrapped in the same hard white plaster that encased Aurinko’s leg, only its paw was left free. It smelt a lot like Aurinko’s burrow, all musty and earthy, only there was no smell of Nido on it at all.
The brown creature stared at Aurinko with such sorrowful eyes for so long that it began to make her feel uncomfortable.
“What?” she snapped, making the brown Pokémon jump, “Do you hate white fur too?”
The brown Pokémon was startled. It blinked several times, and Aurinko could see its eyes shining with tears to come. It gave a tiny, almost indistinguishable shake of its head.
“Well stop staring then!” The creature nodded just as discreetly, but didn’t stop staring. Aurinko sighed heavily and turned around, covering herself with the blankets so the thing couldn’t stare at her any more. It did continue to stare though, its mournful eyes peering through its cracked skull. Eventually it lay down to sleep itself. But continued to think about the strange white Nidoran.
Aurinko woke the next morning with a shock of pain in her leg, so great she cried out in anguish, and her mind went back to the day she was nearly killed. She cried again, scratching at the plaster around her leg, trying to make the pain stop. She didn’t notice the earthy or the smoky Pokémon watching her, both with sympathetic eyes.
The trainer ran back into the room carrying a small plastic thing filled with a reddish orange liquid in his hand. He came to Aurinko’s cage and tried to calm her, gently stroking her and whispering, “It’s okay, little one, it’s okay, you’ll be all right, it’s okay,” over and over again.
Aurinko tossed her head and threw his hand off, whimpering at the pain her leg caused her.
The Safari Zone man had seen this kind of thing before and was not worried. He held her head firmly but gently in his strong hand and poked the metal spiked end of the bottle into Aurinko’s mouth, then squeezed it, releasing the strangely soothing red liquid into her throat.
Aurinko was breathing heavily when she lay her head back onto the blankets, and there was still a throbbing pain in her leg, but it no longer hurt so much. She lay motionless, feeling the gentle caress of the trainer’s hand fondling her ears, until the potion took effect and the pain subsided. Then she turned her head and licked the hand that was stroking her so tenderly.
The Safari Zone man smiled and took the bottle around the room, feeding it to the other Pokémon who were distressed from their pains.
Out of the corner of her eye, Aurinko noticed the brown Pokémon staring at her again. She shot a glare in its direction. It dropped its eyes and turned away from her. Now she could see the smoky smelling Pokémon. It had a long tapering nose and big, dark eyes. Its front righht paw was wrapped in bandages, and it held it up from the blankets, as though it hurt it to put it down. Its ears were long and skinny, but much smaller than those of a male Nidoran, and it had a strange puff of fur between them. Aurinko thought it looked quite silly, and not half as dangerous as it smelt.
It smiled when it saw her. “Hi,” it said simply.
“Hi to you too,” Aurinko replied, a hard edge to her voice.
“So, ah, what happened to your leg?” the smoky pinkish Pokémon asked innocently. He was a young one, probably about the same age as Aurinko, perhaps younger.
“My daddy,” Aurinko spat out, “almost killed me.”
The smoky Pokémon blinked, then opened his eyes wide. “Wow! Cool!”
“Cool?” Aurinko was horrified. “You try living with a Nidorino horn as big as you in your head, then being slammed into a tree. See how you feel after that.”
The Pokémon hung his head. “Sowwy,” he whispered, “I just think it cool how you lived it. Okay, I go now.” And he turned around, cuddling up into the blankets.
“What happened to your leg?” Aurinko asked after a while.
The smoky Pokémon mumbled into its blankets. “I was climbing a tree and I fell down and hurt my ankle,” he said gruffly.
“Oh,” Aurinko replied. Hah, she thought, I better than you.