Black Albino

eighteen
Grieving

It is small, but its horn is filled with poison. It charges then stabs with the horn to inject the poison.
Pokémon Gold Pokédex Entry

Kuu reached the forest just as the sky was beginning to lighten. He had been edgy all night, wary of even the slightest noise. The rustling grass could just be from the wind, but it could also be from the silent wings of a Noctowl. He felt safer once he had reached the forest, there were more chances for him to hide. Plus the shade of the trees kept the sun off his back. Having travelled all night, he lay down under a tall pine for a well-deserved snooze.

He awoke with the dappled sunlight streaming through the pines. He could see the forest more clearly now. There were so many trees that went so deep into the mountain that Kuu couldn’t see out the other side. They cast great long shadows that overlapped each other and gave the forest a cool, refreshing feel. A warm breeze, rolling up from the valley below, hushed its way through the needled trees. Some creaked and bent their branches.

As Kuu stretched, he could see a pair of Rattata chasing each other around a tree, and a third gripping onto the tree’s bark for all it was worth. The Rattata being chased was finally bowled over, and the one in the tree leapt down to join in the fun. Excited chitters emanated from the trio until a larger Rattata appeared and called them all off.

A flutter of wings from above him made Kuu tense up and duck for cover, flattening his ears against his back, but when he looked up, he could see it was nothing more than a Pidgey returning to its nest. He could hear peeping noises from up in the tree, and occasionally a little head popped up to grab some berry or other from its mother’s beak.

Kuu dropped his head and stared at the pine needles. He had no mother. A Growlithe had taken one each of his brothers and sisters; his other two siblings were living life as best they could with the mob. Only now did he realise how completely alone he was in the world. There was literally no one around to care for him, give him a hug when he was lonely.

He closed his eyes and let his tears run freely through his fur once more.

“Mummy, where are you?” he sobbed, “Why did you have to go? I needed you so much. You meant more to me than anyone in the warren. I know it was all my fault. I don’t know how, but I just know it was. I should have come down to the burrow sooner, or talked to Taishou about it more. Why did he have to, to,” he couldn’t say the word. It was too painful.

A sudden horrible thought came into his mind as he studied the brown lines of the dead pine needles. His mind went back to his first ever conversation with Taishou.

“If a Nidoran has very dark fur, he will be stronger than a Nidoran with fur that’s almost white.”

“Why?”

“That’s just the way life is.”

Hearing that again, he remembered that Taishou’s voice had shown a slight hint of resentment. Taishou hated pale Nidos, Kuu could see that now. Lumi was one of, if not the palest Nidorina in the whole mob. Could Taishou have killed his mother simply because of her colour? Kuu wouldn’t put it past him. But then, why wouldn’t he have killed her earlier? Why wait until now?

He looked up through the trees at the purpling sky and saw a flock of Pidgey stream overhead in a V-shaped formation. Could it have something to do with Daddy? Maybe Taishou found out that Lumi had mated with a species outside her own, and a powerful, shiny, black one at that. Taishou must have been jealous. He killed Lumi out of jealousy.

“How could you, Taishou!” he screamed, disturbing the Pidgey in its nest above him, “I trusted you! I’ll show you, I’ll bring Daddy back, then you’ll see, you’ll see! You don’t deserve to be the head of the mob! You killed Mummy for no reason! I hate you, Taishou! I hate you!”

He stomped through the pine needles, kicking them aside with fury, his vision clouded with tears of sorrow for his mother and rage against Taishou. How could he have trusted him? Taishou just wore a mask. He was all smiles and laughter to the young and dark Nidoran, but in reality he cared for nothing but colour. That’s why he seemed to like Kuu so much. It had nothing to do with him, it was his fur colour. Had Kuu been paler, he would have meant nothing to Taishou.

And even though Lumi was his mother, the mother of the blackest Nidoran ever born, she was still as pale as snow. Her being Kuu’s mother meant nothing to Taishou. Maybe her being Kuu’s mother only worsened the matter. That alone would have made Taishou jealous, seeing such a black child born to such a white mother. Taishou probably wished Kuu were his own child.

A pair of young Sentret skittered down a tree nearby, flew through the pine needles and darted up another one, chittering happily to each other. This only made Kuu angrier. What made these Pokémon deserve families when he himself had lost three of his family members and was days away from three others? He had only just found out about his father two, three days ago.

Kuu bounded on through the forest, neither knowing nor caring where he was heading. The rhythm of hopping got to him, and eventually he calmed down, glad now to have let his anger out of his system. He stopped and took a deep breath, then looked up at the silver sliver of the moon.

“I love you, Mummy,” he whispered, “I’ll never forget you.” This time only a single silver tear twinkled through his whiskers. Eventually he hoped he would be able to remember his mother with smiles rather than tears.

“Hey Nidoran,” came a squeaky voice from behind a tree. Although it was squeaky, it still held a dangerous edge to it. “This isn’t your territory. I suggest you leave.”

Kuu’s eyes peered through the darkness, trying to see who it was. “Why? I’m not doing anything wrong.” His voice was stronger than he felt. The creature couldn’t be a Long Claw, it would have attacked by now if it was.

“Leave now, or I’ll have to make you leave.”

Kuu swallowed, then frowned in determination. Running was the coward’s way out. Kuu didn’t want to be labelled as the first black coward. “Show yourself!” he demanded.

A small brown fur ball threw itself out from behind the tree and flung itself on him, slashing at Kuu’s face with its sticky tanned paws. Kuu ducked and closed his eyes, swatting blindly with his right paw, but his swipe met nothing but air.

The brown animal kept forcing him to retreat, until he ran into a tree. With nowhere else to turn, Kuu growled and dove forward, forcing his horn into the creature’s soft auburn fur, but only clipping its side.

The creature groaned and clutched where Kuu had hit it, but straightened and glared at Kuu, its beady black eyes dancing with a red inner fire. Kuu stepped back a bit, then let out his own fire, a rich intense blue. The leer came easily now, and Kuu barely had to think about it. He could see the sticky-pawed Pokémon hesitate slightly, just as the Noctowl had done.

Kuu took the opportunity to make his move and charged at it, knocking it on its back where he pinned it down. His heart racing, powered by adrenalin, Kuu stared hard into the pitch black eyes of his attacker. Its eyes didn’t meet his though, they were sharply focused on the deadly tip of Kuu’s horn, barely a whisker’s breadth from its left eye. It knew the black Nidoran would have only to stretch its neck out just a matter of millimetres before it could cause more pain than the Teddiursa had ever known.

Kuu didn’t realise how close his horn was to the Pokémon, let alone the fear that now plagued it’s mind.

“Why are you attacking me?” Kuu demanded, pushing his front paws on its shoulders for emphasis. “I haven’t done anything, and I never planned to.”

“Yes, I know, I’m sorry,” the Teddiursa’s now very worried voice pleaded, “It won’t happen again, promise.”

“You haven’t answered my question.” Kuu’s voice was smooth and controlled. Take control of their mind, and you have control of their body.

The Teddiursa stared straight at the tip of Kuu’s horn, ignoring the blood red eyes staring out from behind it. “Well, you see, um, I’m supposed to be on guard duty tonight and I was told to keep away any intruders. I’m really sorry, just please don’t hurt me!”

“Hurt you?” Kuu glanced up, noticing his horn for the first time, namely how close it was to the trembling mass of fur under him. He quickly drew his head back and let the creature loose. “Sorry,” he apologised, “Didn’t know my horn was so close to you.”

The brown fur ball smiled shakily, far from having recovered from its near-death experience. “Really?”

“Yeah.” He paused. “So, um, what are you, exactly?” he asked awkwardly.

“Me?” the creature squeaked, “I’m a Teddiursa. Ah, I’ll be going now. Seeya Nidoran.” It took to its word and skittled off through the pine needles, glancing back anxiously to make sure the black Nidoran wouldn’t follow.

Kuu just sat and watched it run off, not fully understanding why it was so terrified of him. Did Teddiursa have the same ideas about fur colour that Nidos had? Or was it just as scared as Kuu was of anything trying to attack him? Whatever the reason, Kuu was watching a second opponent running from him, and it made him feel good.

Nineteen