Black Albino

Twelve
Daddy

Nido males have ears that stiffen at any sign of danger.
The Official Pokémon Handbook by Maria S Barbo

Kuu was again asked about the mysterious Daddy figure on his way back to the burrow after another practice session.

“So how’s Daddy treating you?” he was asked, this time by a Nidorino he didn’t know the name of.

“I don’t know, who’s Daddy?” Kuu had repeated. He was getting more than frustrated with this now. Whenever he asked, he got a vague response that said nothing about who Daddy was. He’d been told he was a boy Nidoran or a Nidorino, but that only narrowed it down to half the mob.

“He’s Taishou, isn’t he?” the Nidorino replied.

Kuu shrugged. He still had no idea who or what a daddy was, so how could he know whether or not Taishou was? He was sick of all these vague answers now, and when he returned to the burrow, he asked his mum what a daddy was.

Lumi sighed. She knew she couldn’t hide it from him forever. She called over Hamara and Jaa to tell all three of them about their father. When they were all settled in front of her, red eyes sparkling with curiosity, she began her story.

“A daddy is like a mummy, only he’s a boy.” This was a description Kuu could understand. Why had none of the other Nidos been so simple?

“For most Nidoran, their daddies are a male Nidoran or a Nidorino, but your daddy was special. He was long and graceful, but more powerful than even the strongest Nidoking.” The eyes of her children shone in wonder. This would be something to tell the other Nidoran!

“He was pitch black all over, which is why you’re so black, Kuu. Only even in his species he was special. He was one of the very special shiny Pokémon. You’ve probably all heard that darker Nidoran are stronger than lighter ones. I personally don’t believe that, but all shiny Pokémon are definitely stronger than others.”

“Why?” Kuu asked.

“I’m not sure exactly,” Lumi replied, “I think maybe it’s because they have the moonlight in them before they are born. If a single moonstone can turn a Nidorino into a hugely powerful Nidoking, then I guess shiny Pokémon have the moonlight in them, to make them even stronger, and it shines out through their fur, or their feathers, or their skin, or whatever. Does that help?”

Kuu nodded. That made much more sense than ‘That’s just the way life is’, what Taishou had told him in reference to how darker Nidoran are the strongest.

“Your father’s moonlight shone out through stunning silver patterns over his fur, he was beautiful.” Lumi’s eyes grew misty as she remembered back to that magical night, his silver fur shining out of the black of the night, his warm, comforting eyes, filled with love.

“Mummy,” Jaa whispered, mystified, “Why do you say ‘was’? Where’s Daddy?”

Lumi dropped her eyes to the floor. “I don’t know. I wish I did, but I don’t. If the other Nidos found out I had bred with a different species, they’d either kill me or throw me out of the mob, so he had to leave. I haven’t seen him since.” A tear rolled down her nose and splashed onto the dusty floor of their home, but she forced a smile and turned back to her three kits. “Right, enough for tonight, I’ll tell you more tomorrow evening,” she said briskly, and hustled the begging Nidoran to the sleeping area of the burrow.

His friend Noki met Kuu outside his burrow the next morning before training. He didn’t tell Noki anything about his father, for he suspected that his mother wanted that kept as their secret. He knew it was already tough on her being the lightest in the mob, even though she tried not to let on. Having it known that she had mated with a totally different species would make it even worse for her, and so Noki was none the wiser.

That day Taishou taught the boys how to defend themselves well against their opponent’s attacks. He told them everything Kuu had already figured out for himself: keep low and feet apart. He also told them to always keep their eyes on their opponent, unless, of course, they were performing something like Leer or Glare, at which point it would be stupid to look.

At the end of the session, Kuu suddenly remembered something he had meant to ask Taishou about.

“Taishou,” he asked when the other Nidoran had all left, “I was trying to teach my brothers and sisters how to do Leer, but my sisters can’t do it. How come? Am I a bad teacher?”

Taishou laughed. “Of course not Kuu! It’s just that the ladies can’t learn Leer. That’s why I teach only you guys, whereas my mate takes the girls. They can learn different attacks to us. More defendy kinds of moves. When I was teaching you guys Leer, the girls were all learning Growl.”

“Aaah,” Kuu said, nodding, “Could I teach them Tackle?”

Taishou smiled, “Definitely.”

Kuu smiled and hopped away, oblivious to the group of Nidorina silently watching the two talking from behind a bush.

Lop was the one to break the silence. “Well, I guess that clinches it. Taishou really is his father. I never would have known! Imagine! Taishou!”

“Do you think Kuu knows?” one of the other Nidorina asked.

Aanekas shook her head. “Doubt it. Doesn’t even know what a father is, poor kid.” She paused for a few moments. “I’m going to tell him.”

“Be gentle,” Lop warned.

“Oh come on!” Aanekas laughed, “What young Nidoran wouldn’t want to know he was Taishou’s kid?” And with that she bounded off after him. But Lop still wasn’t sure. Kuu didn’t seem like the kind of Nidoran who was into that kind of thing, strange though it was.

Aanekas easily caught up to him. She wasn’t exactly sure on how to tell him, and eventually opted for “Your daddy’s Taishou!”

Kuu just blinked and replied, “No he isn’t.”

“Yes he is!” Aanekas countered.

Kuu shook his head. His daddy was long and silky black with silver patterns, and he wasn’t even a Nidorino, let alone Taishou. Where on earth had she gotten that idea?

“Mmhmm!” Aanekas persisted.

“Why do you think that?” Kuu challenged, his gaze fixed with hers.

“You were just talking with Taishou then when all the other Nidoran had gone back to their burrows.”

“So? I’m talking to you now, but that doesn’t make you my mummy.”

“You told me that Taishou was the first to teach you how to attack.”

“Doesn’t make him my daddy. Just makes him the first to teach me how to attack.”

Aanekas was getting exasperated. Only now had she realised how little evidence she had to say that Taishou was Kuu’s father. “Well, who is he then?” Hah! she thought, that’s got him.

“Not telling,” Kuu stated after a slight pause. He didn’t want to let his mum’s secret out, but he didn’t want to lie either. “But he’s not Taishou!” He stood his ground, staring hard into Aanekas’ eyes.

Aanekas shook her head and sighed. “Whatever you say, young Kuu, whatever you say.”

“How could you?” Mayonaka screeched when she and Taishou had returned from each of their teaching classes. She began slashing at him. “How could you go behind my back like that? And with her!”

Taishou grabbed her paws and could see that her eyes were red and puffy. “What do you mean? What have I done?”

“Don’t think I haven’t heard!” Mayonaka growled menacingly, “Kuu’s yours! That’s why he’s so dark! He’s yours!”

“WHAT?” Taishou roared, thrusting her away from him, “Where did you hear this?”

“Does it matter?” Mayonaka roared back.

“Yes it does, because it’s not true and I want to set their mind straight!”

“Don’t get like this, Tai. Besides, the whole mob knows.” She turned her head away, tears still staining her midnight blue nose.

Taishou didn’t know what to do. Comfort his mate, convince her he would never go behind her back? Work out a way of winning back the mob’s trust? Then of course there was the ever popular getting angry and going on a rampage. Taishou selected the latter.

He’d always hated pale Nidos, just as much as anyone else. But to have a rumour spread about him and the lightest Nidorina in the mob, it was just unthinkable. If he exterminated her, there would surely be no doubt in anyone’s mind that the rumour was nothing more than words. Where the idea had come from in the first place he didn’t know. Maybe Lumi herself had been the source of the rumour, eager to earn herself a place in the mob. It was more than likely.

Jaa was playing with some of the other Nidoran and Kuu was teaching Hamara how to leer well when he saw Taishou head down his burrow. As he was having trouble trying to get him to do it right – it just didn’t seem strong enough to Kuu – he told his brother to wait there and made his way down the burrow himself.

He was met with a more horrible sight than that of Aamu hanging from the jaws of the Growlithe, more horrible than anything he had ever seen in his life. His ears stiffened, and he stood in stunned horror as his teacher, the one he had trusted for half his life, slid his long, gleaming horn out of his mother’s scarlet body. He gasped silently as Taishou drove it in again, this time into her now limp neck.

Kuu’s mind was totally void of thought. He couldn’t believe what he was seeing. Surely this monster wasn’t Taishou, not the Taishou who had comforted him over the loss of his brother and sister just the day before. Not the Taishou who had earnestly taught him how to defend himself against his attackers. Not this monster. This monster was more heartless than the Growlithe.

Taishou looked at the body for a few seconds, watching a drop of scarlet slide down his horn and drip onto a patch of still-white fur of the body that lay at his feet. He smirked at the body and turned to make his way back out. But the smirk disappeared instantly as he saw the tiny black Nidoran slowly backing away from him, a look on his face that was so horrified, so appalled that it could not be described by words alone.

Kuu was shaking his head in disbelief. His blood ran cold, and yet his heart raced, telling him to run from the creature of pure evil that stood before him. But all he could manage was a slow retreat backwards, which halted when he reached the wall.

This monster was more of a monster than the Growlithe, because this time the killer wasn’t a stranger, this time Kuu knew him. Or at least, he thought he did. But this heartless murderer standing before him couldn’t be Taishou. Not the same Taishou who had taught him earnestly how to defend himself from his attackers. Not the same Taishou who had just two days ago comforted him over the loss of his brother and sister.

Kuu never lost contact with the killer’s eyes. He could see in them what he was thinking. Something along the lines of ‘what do I say?’ or ‘what have I done?’ It was definitely a look of guilt, and Kuu knew now that he had the upper hand, and he planed to keep it that way. If you have control over their mind, Taishou had said, you have control over their body.

“How could you,” he spoke softly and clearly, with more than a touch of anger in his voice. “Try to imagine, you said, that someone has taken away your family and won’t give them back,” Kuu went on, not leaving his position from the wall. He knew that since he was black, Taishou would probably not touch him, but whatever had possessed his mind to kill his mother might possess him again, and Kuu wasn’t willing to be the target.

Taishou’s mouth opened as if he meant to say something, but stopped short.

“Never, did I think it would be you.” He shot a Leer at Taishou, and was happy to see him slightly recoil, then turned and left, leaving his mother and her killer in the burrow. He never wanted to go back there, ever.

When he left the burrow, he bolted to Hamara, telling him to run away as fast as he could. He looked over his shoulder, but could see no signs of Taishou, and slowed down. He panted, staring at the entrance to his warren, but Taishou didn’t appear. He turned to Hamara.

“I’m leaving,” he said simply.

“What?” Hamara panted.

“I can’t stay here,” Kuu repeated, “I’ve lost my brother and sister, and now Taishou’s got Mummy. I’m going to find Daddy, he’ll fix everything,” and with that he bounded off, away from the warren. Hamara caught him up and brought him to the ground.

“Kuu, what do you mean Taishou’s got Mummy?”

Kuu’s eyes filled with sorrow and he looked away.

“Kuu?” Hamara was worried now. This was no ordinary ‘got’.

“Like the Growlithe,” Kuu whispered, barely audible.

Hamara backed away, his mouth open and eyes wide in disbelief, then ran back to Kuu and hugged him, a salted river of tears running through his fur.

Kuu slowly eased him away, his own eyes bloodshot from tears. “So I’m going to find Daddy. I know what he looks like, and since he’s shiny, Mummy said they’re really rare, so he should be easy to find.”

Hamara nodded and watched his brother turn to leave. “I’m coming with you,” he said, determined.

“No, you have to stay here and look after Jaa. Both of you keep as far away from Taishou as you can. K?”

“K. Bye Kuu, good luck.” The two brothers embraced each other once again and said their fond farewells, then Kuu bounded off through the dry early summer grass, away from the horrible place he had called home for his whole life.

Thirteen