The male versions of Nidoran may also be tough, but they’ll never be as strong as the Nidoran female.
Aurinko was woken the next morning by a warm, gentle stroking along her side. She winced when the strong but gentle hand of the Safari Zone man ran over the spot where Musta had pierced her side. Her war-wounds would take a while to heal properly yet.
“Ooh, sorry Little One,” he apologised, “forgot about that. You feeling better?”
Aurinko smiled up at him. She was feeling better. He smiled back down at her, gave her one last pat on the head and left. Aurinko was left with the brown earthy Pokémon and the pinkish smoky one. Both were staring at her, the brown one with sorrow and pity, the pink one with awe and a touch of fear.
Aurinko rolled her eyes. “Must you stare all the time?” she growled at them.
The two Pokémon dropped their eyes to the floor, then the brown one carefully raised them again. “What are you?” it whispered, “You look like a Nidoran, but your fur’s all white.”
Aurinko sighed heavily and rolled over, facing the wall behind her cage. “Yes, I’m a Nidoran, well done,” she muttered, “and I’m white too, well noted. I guess that’s why I’m here. Nidos hate pale fur. White fur is even worse, so my father,” she spat the word, “attacked me. He tried to kill me, but obviously didn’t. You happy now?”
There was silence behind her.
“Right, I’ve told you my story, you tell me yours,” she directed at the brown Pokémon, “But keep it short, I’m tired.”
“My family was caught in a herd of stampeding Tauros,” the earthy smelling Pokémon began miserably, “They killed my mum and my dad, then went for me. I‘m lucky I survived at all.” He tapped his skull helmet with the broken bone club he held in his left paw. “This was Mum’s,” he whispered, “It’s all I have left of her.”
Aurinko didn’t say a thing. At least the brown thing had a more dramatic story than the pink thing. “So, what are you, anyway?” she demanded at her two companions.
They looked at each other. “I’m a Vulpix, and he’s a Cubone,” the timid voice of the pink Pokémon answered. Aurinko nodded, not interested in knowing their names, she would just call then Vulpix and Cubone.
Once Aurinko had dosed off, her two companions whispered to each other about their new neighbour.
“I think she mean,” the Vulpix growled quietly.
“Well, it doesn’t exactly sound as though she’s had the best life,” the Cubone defended, “I mean, her dad tried to kill her just because she’s white.”
“Yeah, but we no do things to her,” the Vulpix retorted, “we be friends, she go all nasty bight and be mean.”
The Cubone struggled a bit with the Vulpix’s odd combination of words, but managed to make it out. “I see your point, but you need to have a bit of sympathy. From the sounds of it she’s lucky to be alive.”
“I dun care!” the Vulpix’s voice rose a little too loud for the older Cubone’s liking, and he was shushed irritably. “She should be nice to us. We try be nice with her, she be nice with us.” It seemed simple enough to the Vulpix, but the Cubone knew that changing someone’s idea about the world when all they knew was pain and rejection would be less than simple.
He sighed. “Whatever you say, young Vulpix, whatever you say.”
“How long are we going to be here for?” Aurinko asked impatiently when the week was up. She nosed at her leg, annoyed that she was unable to scratch it. It had healed enough that the itching of her sweaty fur under the cast overpowered the dull throbbing ache that had been there since she arrived.
The other Pokémon shrugged. They had given up trying to converse with her, she was always picking on them, despite their efforts to be nice to her. Now they just couldn’t be bothered. If she was going to be hostile, they would too.
The man from the Safari Zone came in again, as he had every morning for the past week.
“Okay, my little man,” he said to the Vulpix, reaching his hands over his cage walls, “You’re off!”
The Vulpix jumped up, resting his front paws on the front of the cage, wagging his fluffy white tails madly. The Safari Zone man lifted the Vulpix with strong hands and carried him down the corridor between the two rows of cages.
“Okay, so he’s gone,” Aurinko smiled, relieved, “guess it’ll be you next,” she directed at the Cubone.
“Probably,” the Cubone answered.
The night before, the dangerous smelling purple thing at the end of the row had been taken away, also much to Aurinko’s relief. The cage there was now empty, but the Cubone had explained that sooner or later it would fill again. Aurinko got the feeling that the Cubone had been there for quite some time, given that he seemed to know the ins and outs of the place back to front.
She again wondered how long she herself would be there for. She was anxious to go out and see the world, namely to evolve, then return home and kill her father, not that she could bring herself to call him her father. He was her attempted murderer.
For the whole time she had been here, Aurinko had puzzled over why the trainer who had found her wasn’t actually training her. Sure, she was drastically injured, but she had thought, from what her mother had relayed onto her brothers, that trainers caught you just so they could pit you against other Pokémon. So far she had been stuck in either a glass box with a big pink Chansey standing over her, or in a cage next to a Cubone and an annoying young Vulpix that for some reason wasn’t growing up. Where was all the action she had been promised? She wanted to evolve, sitting in a cage with a white brick for a leg was no way of doing that.
She flopped back down on the pillows. There was nothing to do here but think about things, sleep and eat. True, it was better than being half killed, but still, boredom was getting slightly more than tedious. There was no use talking with the Cubone, he was sad all the time. Literally, all the time. She raised her head to see the Cubone’s head bent in sorrow, fondling his broken bone club. Aurinko rolled her eyes and lay down to go to sleep again.
She was woken by a raucous squawking from the cage the Vulpix was previously in. She pressed her ears to her head with her front paws and frowned at the newcomer, a creature totally unlike anything she had ever seen or heard before. It was about the size of Aurinko herself, but that was where the similarities ended. It was brown and had two flappy things that came out its sides, vaguely like the Vulpix’s tails. It had two nobbly pink feet with sharp claws on each toe. Its left foot was wrapped in bandages. Its mouth, which looked rather like a Nidoran horn split in two and coloured pink, was where the horrible racket originated.
“Would you mind shutting up!” Aurinko screamed at the thing, “I was sleeping before you came in here!”
But the thing ignored her. It continued squawking and struggling to break free of the trainer’s grip. It managed to clamp its horn-mouth around the tender skin between the trainer’s fingers, and the trainer screamed out in pain, releasing his grip on the Pokémon and sucking his fingers, hoping it seemed to suck the pain away.
As the creature flew awkwardly up to the rafters, the trainer growled up at it, and as he walked away, obviously giving up, Aurinko could hear him muttering something about a ‘Dumb bird’.
Aurinko looked up at the bird, blinking at the light coming from the glowing balls stuck to the ceiling. It had quietened down now, and was running its horn-mouth over its wings as though it was cleaning itself.
“You quite finished?” Aurinko shouted at it. It again ignored her, and went on preening. Aurinko sighed heavily, glared hard at the bird’s small black eyes and got herself as comfortable as her leg would allow.