Black Albino

Twenty-five
Escape

Female Nidoran...are generally very docile, running from danger rather than fighting it.
Nidoran Information Page

The two poison pin Pokémon bounded through the dawn-lit zoo paths, attracting much attention from the other Pokémon in their enclosures.

“Aurinko,” Talvi panted from behind her. She wasn’t used to running, having only had a few square metres to move around in for much of her life. “Do you even know where we’re going?”

Aurinko didn’t respond, mainly because she couldn’t give an answer. She had no idea how she’d come in. The box she’d been carried in blocked her view of all but the sky. She bounded on, enjoying the feel of the wind in her fur. Ironically the zoo enclosure was the most free she had ever been. Before then, she had never seen real sunlight aside from the glimpse of the milky morning she’d seen when her father attacked her.

At ‘home’, she’d been trapped in the dark burrow, not allowed out because of the embarrassment her mother would have suffered. The Pokémon Centre was little better. It wasn’t black, but she was still trapped in a glass tube. In the Rehabilitation Clinic her cage and plaster cast prevented her from moving anywhere. But in the zoo enclosure she could at least move, even if not very far. Then the Xatu arrived and trapped her mind, forcing it back again and again to her first day out of the burrow.

But now she was truly free. No burrows, no glass tubes, no plaster, cages or Perspex. She was free, and a little thing like not knowing where the exit was wasn’t going to stop her.

“Aurinko, I need a rest.” Talvi’s voice was weak from exhaustion, and she lay down in the middle of the path between the Kangaskhan enclosure and the building that signified the entrance to the Safari Zone—Aurinko’s old warren—though neither of the two Nidoran knew this.

Aurinko rolled her eyes, but she secretly needed to lie down as well.

“Where are you two off to?” the Kangaskhan asked through the fence. A joey sat in her pouch, its head cocked as if it too were wondering where the two Nidoran had come from.

“The exit,” Aurinko asked. She paused. “You wouldn’t happen to know where it is, would you?” she asked hesitantly. She wasn’t one to show her weaknesses.

The Kangaskhan shrugged. “I’m pretty sure this is the back end of the zoo, though, so you might want to try heading in that direction,” she told them, pointing with a strong looking brown furred arm in the opposite direction to the building.

“Thanks,” Aurinko replied, barely audible. She turned to her companion. “Ready?”

“Just a few more minutes,” she panted, then groaned when Aurinko shrugged and leapt off in the direction the Kangaskhan had pointed. Heaving herself back up onto her feet, she took off after the albino, though less enthusiastically.

After asking directions from several more Pokémon, they eventually reached the exit to the zoo; large, iron-barred gates that no human would be able to get through, but that the two Nidoran could squeeze through with little effort.

“So where are we going?” Talvi asked, staring around her with wide eyes at the houses and roads swarming with people and cars that made up the city of Fuchsia. “Back to your warren or mine?”

“Neither,” Aurinko answered, her voice flat. “I don’t trust any Nidos, particularly those part of a mob.” They wandered the streets in silence for a while before Aurinko eventually voiced her plan she had been musing over in the zoo.

“Do you know how weak a mob full of pale Nidos would be?” Talvi sounded mortified at the idea, and froze in her tracks beside a large, metal cylinder that emitted a rather pungent stink.

“You can’t seriously believe in that,” Aurinko scorned.

“What? You don’t?”

“What the hell makes you think that story is true?” Aurinko stared down at the smaller but slightly darker Nidoran.

“Because I’ve never won a battle against any Nido darker than me.” Her red eyes were unwavering.

“So? That doesn’t mean anything! You only lost because you thought you would and because you were never taught to fight. It’s got nothing to do with colour!”

“How would you know? You’ve only ever had one fight in your life, and you were lucky to come out of it alive! Why? Because you’re white.”

Aurinko was absolutely fuming. All this, coming from someone she would have thought would be a little more sensitive than this, on her side.

“Well,” she said, her voice soft and menacing, “If that’s so true, why don’t you knock me down right now. According to your theory, you should have no trouble, given that you can’t get any whiter than me.”

Talvi looked up at the larger Nidoran, but didn’t attack. Her face still registered anger and frustration, but she wouldn’t attack the one who had freed her from the zoo. “Aurinko, you’re a friend, I couldn’t attack you.”

“Typical,” Aurinko muttered. Taking this as a sign of defeat, she spun around on the footpath and continued on through the hard, solid surface of the city, determined to gather together as many pale Nidoran as she could. They couldn’t all be like Talvi, there must be some willing to take their revenge back on the darker of the species, not accepting the pathetic myth that seemingly all Nidos did.

Part one of her plan was to get some combat training, just so she could prove herself to any pale Nido stuck in the orthodox Nido ways. Maybe even some dark ones. Where she was going to get training she had no idea. ‘Trainers’, as her mother had called them, didn’t seem to be half as dangerous as first expected. So far the worst she had gotten was being pointed at and called albino. How that was supposed to be worse than being almost killed in her own mob, Aurinko couldn’t guess. But either way, it appeared that she wasn’t going to get any training out of them.

By nightfall the buildings had shrunk and thinned out, giving way to tree-lined streets and median strips paved with well-manicured lawn rather than cracked cement or smog-ridden artificial turf. Not used to travel or being so active during the daytime, the two Nidoran nestled under a bush and dozed off.

“Well, well, well, if it isn’t a pair of lovely little Nidoran.” The hissing voice woke them not long before the sun rose.

Yawning and stretching, Aurinko woke from her sleep and opened her eyes, finding half her field of vision taken up by a massive, flat purple head with a large black mouth and angry, yellow and red eyes. Her ears stood up on end at the sight of the Arbok’s belly patterns and its flickering tongue, picking up scents from a much smaller, but far more deadly mouth.

Aurinko shoved Talvi in her urgency to wake her up and escape. Her reaction to the snake was much the same as Aurinko’s, although hers involved a yelp of fear, at which point she bolted off at lightning speed down the road after the white streak that was once Aurinko.

Forgetting their previous exhaustion from the travelling of the previous day, the pair of poison pins tore through the streets and out past the town limits to the meadows beyond, but they didn’t stop there, not even with the grass for cover. Arbok weren’t known for giving up on a chase. It would continue to slither after them until they were either caught or managed to escape.

Panting, the two scanned the crisp, dry grass for anywhere they would have a hope of hiding. Talvi glanced behind her to see the grass rippling in the path of the amazingly fast snake.

“It’s catching up!” she called to her companion.

“I know,” Aurinko mumbled, veering off to the left. Puzzled, Talvi followed, willing to try anything to escape its clutches.

Aurinko knew it was almost as dangerous as staying out in the open with the Arbok, but she had to risk it. She dove into the tunnel and ploughed along it, hoping that the plum coloured serpent wouldn’t fit down the hole as much as she hoped no Nidos would attack her. She hated being in a warren again, but she only planned on staying here a few minutes, just until the snake had given up.

Her pace slowed to a halt, and she stood gasping over her feet, her shoulders heaving.

“It’s gone,” Talvi breathed, taking up her favourite lying down position.

“We’ll stay here until it’s definitely gone,” and until I get my breath back, she added in her head. She had absolutely no intention of staying in this warren. Any Nido who entered a foreign warren was at risk, let alone a white one.

Voices echoed from further inside the warren that made Aurinko’s hairs stand on end. She jabbed her horn into Talvi’s rear, forcing her to move on.

“Quick!” she whispered, “Someone’s coming! Move it!”

Talvi looked over her shoulder to see for herself, just as a pair of heads rounded the corner—two Nidoran of average pink and blue colouration.

Their conversation ended, and their faces recognised first shock, then anger. “Who’re you?” the male demanded, “And what are you doing in our warren?”

“RUN!” Aurinko yelled, and Talvi didn’t hesitate to make a dash for it, Aurinko’s horn at her back the whole way.

Aurinko was frustrated at her slower pace, and kept looking over her shoulder to see the slightly more than angry pink face of the male not far behind. Finally they burst out into the open once more, to see the surface swarming with Nidos who had now exited the warren, the danger of the Arbok having passed.

Their shocked, horrified and livid faces stared at the pair, and brought back horrible memories for the young albino. About fifty meters to her left Aurinko spotted who she guessed would be the head male of the mob—a Nidorino just as dark as Musta had been. This mob obviously followed the same theory as Aurinko’s own. Naturally, the head male’s face was dark with fury, and he took off, thundering through the grass towards the fleeing invaders.

Though she was exhausted, Aurinko increased her speed, knowing first hand just how much damage the head male could do. But this time she wasn’t so naïve as to try and stand up to him. Ignoring the pain in her lungs and the rasping of her throat, dry as a desert and cold as an iceberg. Ignoring the pain in her side and leg.

She glanced backwards to see the head male had stopped, satisfied that he had scared the horror from his territory.

Aurinko and Talvi both walked on a little further and collapsed in the grass, far too exhausted to say anything. Aurinko was already beginning to question her escape. The sun had barely reached the top of the hills in the distance, and already they had almost become breakfast for a deadly Arbok, and had been lucky to escape from the pale-hating head of another Nido mob. She was yet to decide whether it had really all been worth it.

twenty-six