Pokémon Tricks of the Love Fast [Valentine's]

Started by Venia Silente February 15th, 2017 2:32 PM
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Venia Silente

Inspectious. Good for napping.

Male
on the second floor's nest
Seen 3 Days Ago
Posted 4 Days Ago
1,022 posts
12.6 Years
Hello there! About time I showed up.

This time, I want to present you with a slightly delayed Valentine's story, focused on Nidoran because why not? It's not like I haven't done it before. This story is also related to that one, though this one will be presented in the format of a two-shot instead. Why you ask? Well the thing is, there's a funny story about that, you see, the development for this story was quite a bumpy ride.

But why talk about that when all you want m'dear readers is to delight yourselves in a story about cute Nidorans and [email protected] being lovely? Yes you do. So I guess let's get right to the story and I can proide some commentary later.

Enjoy!




“Tricks of the Love Fast”





It was a dark and stormy night in the eastern lands of Suocé, but not in the western coast and the mountain forest where the Nidoran lived. No, the colony of leporine Pokémon, spread across some mountains and distanced from humanity's reach, was still enjoying sleep, but the the tendrils of sunlight peeking out from the eastern horizon would soon bring them up to action. As a crepuscular species, the Nidoran considered these early signs of dawn the call of Frith, the Sun bird, to face the challenges of a new day: to scamper off to graze, to explore the forest, to fight for mates and territory, to look for adventures or to keep watch for predators.

However, at a burrow near the eastern edge of the mountains and far away from most of the action, a Nidorina surrounded by her offspring had decided she would rather sleep five more minutes. Inka was well curled, keeping six furballs of teal or pink colouration close to her chest. Right behind her, her émar Baluarkos, a Nidorino from the surroundings, lay closer to the entrance to the burrow, his body half-blocking it, his snoring faintly echoing across the cave.

Truly, both adults would have preferred nothing more than to spend the morning together doing absolutely nothing. Alas, as parents of six, and of four and one in previous litters, they ought to have known better.

"...Ni~" came a growl.

"...ri?" followed a lazy growl-in-between-a-yawn.

"...ro?" came yet another call.

"...Ni!" repeated the first one, this time a full screech.

For what started as the little furballs around them slowly yawning and stretching awake and licking each other clean and calling each other good morning, quickly evolved into screeching and bumping around and poking their mother as the kittens demanded entertainment! And adventure!

"...Embleer hraka! Why this early?" came the hiss of the mother, freshly jolted awake by the repeated screeching and jabs to her back. The kittens did not seem to mind, they just insisted on grabbing her attention, forcefully at that.

Right by her side, Baluarkos lifted an ear. The Nidorino snorted and pawed at the ground lazily for a moment, then turned his head around and frowned at the spectacle.

"Language, darling. And good morning by the way."

"Is it, Ba'?" answered the female, slowly turning around to try and get the little Nidos off her back. "I feel like I just went to sleep..."

The Nidorino rolled his head in response, looking towards the hole leading to the outside world. Up above, he could see some sunlight making its way into the burrow. His ear then picked up again on the plight of the female for sleep, and he pawed at the ground to get the kittens' attention as he pointed them to the outside world.

"Do!"

"Ro!"

"Ni?"

Some of the kittens leapt off their mother's back and approached the Nidorino, hopping and squeaking as the colony’s excitable kittens were wont to do. Their father welcomed them with some cordial licking and with a paw press on top of them, to prevent them from escaping back to their mother. Afterward, he stood up with a measured and absentminded movement, circling around to try and shake himself well awake. "They just want to pla~y," he commented in between a yawn.

"Ro!" claimed one of the kittens in response, raising his paws to try and get to his father's muzzle.

"They're yelling -ro, so you give them attention," whined Inka as she flattened herself on the ground of the burrow. Much as she tried, the insistent calling from a number of fluffy rabbits was too much for her to ignore.

Baluarkos thumped on the ground, trying to get the kittens' attention; as that didn't seem to work he just picked up a random female one by the scruff of the neck and sat her right in front of him.

"Sleepy, dear?"

The Nidoran female just blinked up at him and resumed her screeching. Some of the other young Nidos who were circling around echoed her.

"...Food then?"

“Ni! Ni! Ni!”

Given that the screeching intensified, perhaps the kittens weren’t in the mood for a meal either...

"They already had their food," interrupted Inka as she tried to ignore two kittens climbing up her back. Baluarkos saw her chest go up and down in a sigh, which only made things worse as the kittens eagerly started playing in their “rollercoaster”.

"Alright, I guess what we should do is go outside."

"Yeah, you do that," the Nidorina grunted.

The male tried to round up some of the kittens and push them closer to the entrance of the burrow, but they insisted in staying close to their mother.

"Uhm..." the male mumbled, trying to think of something. "Come on kits, why don't we go out for some fights?"

That seemed to catch on the young males' attention, as they turned to their father ears flared up, and they eyed him eagerly. As if to emphasize his point, the Nidorino brushed his horn against the ground.

"Yeah, some moves an' stuff. About time they learned to Peck, too."

This got some of the kittens to climb off their mother’s back, at least.

"I can teach them all those things," mumbled the mother.

Baluarkos left out a mocking growl. "And I thought *I* wanted to sleep."

He heard Inka hiss some curses before curling herself further into a ball. The Nidorina’s shuffling brought her kittens' attention back to her, and some of them approached her. For a response, she finally turned around, still curled into a ball, to eye her mate and her family.

"Uhm, Scratch then. Or dunno, what else before they're headed off to the colony?" the male insisted. "It's not fair only the teachers there get to show off," he continued, swinging his horn for display.

"...You still insist on trying to teach them how to fight?" asked the female, letting out a glare that conflicted somewhat with the forming smile in her muzzle.

"Yeah, it's fun," answered Baluarkos as he took a look at the kittens going wild. He then picked up one of the kittens and placed him with the others, all gathered together looking for warmth and activity. He saw Inka frown at him and then turn around to face away from him, but he continued. "The troop just teaches them the usual, so I'd like them to learn one or two things for them to feel unique."

As the kittens continued to surround their father, Inka grumbled at the answer.

"...Maybe my special, charming trick, even," ventured the male lowering his head.

The kittens had picked on the mother's complaint and pointed their ears in her direction, but there was no further response by the Nidorina - she just wanted to get back to sleep. Lacking any answer, the kittens quickly turned their attention back to their father and growled, repeating their plea for activity.

Their pleas were quickly met by Baluarkos with a wink, the assorted Nidos quickly fell silent at their father’s answer, trading glances with one another.

"I don't understand why you insist on this," continued the female, She pressed her muzzle to the ground of the cave and shifted lethargically, not bothering to open her eyes. "It's not like you... suck at this," she said as he saw her chest go up and down in what he assumed was a sigh.

"But if you want the roolil to be ready to fight then perhaps it is I who should show them some moves," she stated flatly as the shifted in her place to try and keep the noisy kittens off her mind, eagerly welcoming the coming quiet.

Inka breathed a couple of times, glad that the cave was now in silence. Only then did she realize that it was quiet… indeed, too quiet... except for the very faint breaths of kittens. She raised an ear; they weren't being rambunctious or anything, they were just… sitting there.

The mother shifted around and opened an eye to see the four... five... six kittens well sat and lined up right by her side. The lot of them looked up to her with the same big pearly eyes and flickering ears and the same attentive, love-grabbing expression they learned from their father for when they really wanted things to go their way. Inka looked down at them, then up at Baluarkos who was sitting a short distance away, a half smile crossing his muzzle, and then down at the attentive kittens again.

One of the kittens, the youngest buck, eagerly raised a paw and pressed it against his mother's. Inka flattened her ears, she knew at that moment they had her against the corner. Her chest deflated.

"...Like, now?"




Not long after, the couple led their kittens to the world up the tunnel to outside the burrow. Baluarkos marched first, stepping on the short grass outside and taking a look at the hill behind him. It was still dark outside, and Baluarkos took it from the red-tainted sky that time for Frith to ascend was still a good while away; the kittens would have the time for some exploration and training.

The grumbling Nidorina and the six kittens of the couple marched out of the burrow next. The kittens were quick to spread around each doing their own thing, which mostly consisted in chewing some grass, pawing at the dirt, or trying to climb the ledges around the burrow. Inka sniffed around for a while before turning to her male, pointing him to guard the downhill side while she headed up the ledges to check that the burrow opening was safe.

After that came the time to secure the surroundings. Baluarkos instructed the kittens to keep close to the burrow and pay attention to their mother, then both parents went on their own way: Baluarkos to the first bushes and rocks downhill and Inka to the tree line uphill. All the while, the kittens observed with eager interest as their mother climbed the tree and scouted around.

The pair took their time to inspect the surroundings: scratching some territorial markings, listening for predators, and looking around for some familiar Pokémon in the area, all tasks which the sparsely populated hill made sometimes hard and boring. Unlike life in the more forested and protected hills to the west that served as the heart to the local Nidoran colony, the fringes where Baluarkos' family lived was a far quieter, but also more treacherous abode.

"No elil around," declared Inka, using the traditional term for the predators, as the pair got back to where the kittens were, "I think I can handle them on my own."

"You sure?" Baluarkos asked as he started rounding the kittens up, picking them up by the scruff of their necks and placing them besides his flank. a task made harder when the kittens decided to run circles around him. "I wanted to help with the basics and-"

"I can do that better," the female grunted, as she turned and leered at him, "in the meanwhile you go fetch us fresh food and herbs, you never know when one of them will get a scratch."

Baluarkos dropped his ears, taken aback. The kittens, sensing that their mother was about to train them, quickly turned to start running circles around her instead, growling and bumping at each other.

The male looked down at the kittens, who ignored him for their newfound entertainment, and back at their mother again, who kept her eyes trained at him, head slightly tilted. Baluarkos wondered if, from her expression, she was somehow as puzzled as he was. Before he could venture to ask about it however, the kittens started prancing around and clinging to her mother's side with their claws, trying to regain her attention.

The mother stepped back and thumped on the ground trying to call them to order, before looking back at the male and pointing him to the bushes uphill. Baluarkos blinked, prompting the female to repeat the gesture.

"I guess," was all he said before he waved the kittens a goodbye and marched uphill with heavy steps, to where he knew the good food was.

If the elil had not gotten to it first.




The Sun was already poking up over the horizon by the time Baluarkos was on his last round, and the lively green of the edge of the forest was now more visible, the trees and branches casting long but still faint shadows.

Baluarkos, sat on a patch of dirt right in front of some berry trees, looked to the horizon and then to the hill and the world below him, concerned. He then ran his paws across the ground, and started walking and sniffing around.

The first few runs for food had gone all right, just a matter of venturing into some relatively safe areas where he knew he could fetch food. As the couple was one of the very few ones living in that hill, competition with other Nidos for the food was not much of an issue, so that mostly left checking around for predators as usual.

The Nidorino sighed in concern and moved closer to his favourite berry tree to examine it. This last run was going not like the previous ones; the male had assumed no other Nidorino in the area would have ventured this far into the edge of the colony, to territory exposed to the strong Rock-type Pokémon or the "white wings of death". As such, he expected that none of them would even find the still young apicot berry tree among the bushes with the most juicy food that Baluarkos had kept hidden.

And yet here was his tree, almost picked bare of fruit.

A random berry sat a short distance away on the ground, crushed and trampled into the dirt. There were various footsteps in the area, and near the bushes he had found the scent of at least one Nidoran and some other Pokémon - maybe some Aron or Zigzagoon from the area.

Baluarkos gave a quick scan of the bushes’ surroundings. The location of the trees itself was still mostly protected and hidden, except for the presence of a specific intruder, masked by the scents of the trees themselves; but around the place and downhill there had been various indications of scuffles and skirmishes. He walked around his crushed fruit and dropped his head; there were far more signs of skirmishes than normal, and they looked fresh.

After thinking for a moment, the Nidorino headed to the nearby bushes. He had a bit of difficulty making his way through the steep ground or the large and slippery rocks, but all that also was of help - it made fights or easy ambushes unreliable; so it did not surprise the Nidorino that the marks on the tree bark and the ground downhill would lead him to a brook nearby., more open ground to where the action must have had followed.

Baluarkos frowned, realizing that the stream was the same water course that headed to his home burrow and then off to the next hill to the west - to the Colony.

Baluarkos emerged from the bushes and stood atop a ledge; his sight tracked the course of water as it snaked around downhill, reaching close to where his burrow was and then turning to the forest, to feed the grounds there. All the way the course seemed clean of intrusions.

He wondered if this had been a new species trying to settle in and mark territory in the area... which might mean there was also another Nido in the area trying to defend the territory. Baluarkos leaped down to the creek and followed it downhill, trying to check for traces of more scuffles.

As he made his way back to the burrow, Baluarkos grew worried. It was not only the presence of an intruder that had managed to find his berry patch that perturbed him, but on top of it all, the intruder had found and focused on his secret place. If Baluarkos could not defend it, he likely would not be able to defend the other, more numerous and spread-around ones.

The roaming of a potential predator or competitor did not worry him much - if it was a predator, Inka would take care of it as soon as it got close to the burrow. He was not that good at fighting. She would always stay close to the burrow to protect it and, as far as he knew, she would not ever lose a fight, not even against the cloud-like birds of death.

But he mostly scouted around the territory and collected food. If he couldn’t secure either, the defenses he put up would be for naught.

Plus, this intruder had taken away his favourite fruit. Her favourite fruit.

This, he decided, would deserve a horn ram or two.





Back at the burrow some time later, Inka had gathered her kittens and prepared them for the troop of Nidorino and Nidorina who would come pick them up. In fact, Inka could see the troop a distance away, occupied with keeping their trailing school of kittens secured amidst some rocks.

By this time, Baluarkos was returning from his last round, the Nidorino’s eyes looking tired and somewhat stressed. He obviously had found something along the way, though when Inka asked what had happened, the male brushed the matter off saying he could explain later before going to sit at a ledge, peering at the visiting troop.

The troop was spearheaded by a bulky Nidorino, who greeted Inka and Baluarkos with a bow, along with three or four Nidorina and Nidorino who only gave Baluarkos a passing, dismissive nod. Inka frowned, already used to her peers’ distant treatment of her mate, but said nothing to them. Instead, she stood on her hind legs and awaited for the leader to give the same briefing as every week: the troop was here to take the kittens to the communal grounds for a couple of days, so that they could be taught and trained while the adults focused on their stuff.

"...The usual," explained the leader Nidorino. "Gathering food and resources, and of course, protecting the forestland."

Baluarkos noticed the unflattering stares the lesser Nidos in the troop gave him when this last point was made. His ears folded back before he locked eyes with one of the males, and the two barely swung their horns at each other's general direction.

Not long after, Inka and Baluarkos's kittens were being round up by the troopers. One by one they gave their parli and marli a nuzzle. Inka licked each one on the left ear and instructed them to behave while in the communal grounds. Baluarkos too bade his children farewell, nuzzling them and reminding them, in a somewhat disappointed tone, to "stay charming" and to always pay ear to their surroundings.

Came the time to go, the adult Nidos inspected the surroundings to make sure that they were clear to go; this despite Baluarkos's assurances. A bit fed off of their usually dismissive attitude towards him, Baluarkos decided to approach one of the troopers.

"Say, if you'd be okay with that maybe I can accompany you to the next hill."

The Nidorino he spoke to, a younger but more muscular one with a long cut across his torso, blinked at him and shook his head. Certainly it was not rare for some parents to accompany the troop to the next burrow as a measure of security - and to keep the kittens entertained and obedient.

"We already have some parents with us," answered the male, looking away from Baluarkos.

The male ignored the hint and decided to try being just a bit more amicable. "We can always chat about things then! I'd like to see if any new families have tried to establish themselves in this area.."

"We don't need hlessi company, really," answered the male, not even attempting to hide his mocking of Baluarkos's social standing as an outcast. To his credit, Baluarkos did not react to the slur, he just waved his head to point to the brook that went down the mountain area and sardonically wished the troopers a fun trip downhill. After that he returned to the ledge he was previously on and kicked a random pebble away, he watched it roll downhill for a moment until it hit a tree.

In the end, the troopers just waved a curt goodbye to the couple and went off their way, circling a smaller marching troop of twenty-something kittens, Inka and Baluarkos' around them.

The two parents just remained as they were, together but separate; they waved some goodbyes and then stood there watching, once again, their family go.






Author's Notes



Background

Soooooo... this is only the first of two parts of the story. I swear, this was going to be a one-shot! Just a brief story about Nidorans being cute for Valentine's, who doesn't love that? But, well... it grew into a monster right under my nose. Whereas the previous story barely went over the 2k words barrier and the original model for this story was only projected to be four scenes and like 3k words long, all fluff no plot, it somehow twisted itself into a long story of xenofictional family values blah blah social criticism woof woof gender roles yadda yadda, of about 7k words long.

But that was not going to stop me from allowing you to experience the benediction of Nidoran cuteness! They are really an underrated species who deserve more screentime. So, after some discussion with my beta readers (hi there Virgil, Tracer and others!) I decided that, given the deadline and progress, it would be fit to split the story into a two-parter.

Actually, it would have been published very late yesterday, or today morning, but there were some weird issues around. Like, only now did I discover that the captcha of the new CDN PokéCommunity has since late last year won't allow me to create threads when I'm outside my house. Go figure, me, a virtual prisoner in meatspace. Add to that a horrible overnap of 4 hours plus the ensuing headache, and the usual annoyances of a work day... and here I am! I managed to do it!

Next Chapter

As such, that means that the next part of the story is inbound soon, hopefully before the weekend hits. As a fair warning, the release of the next part might be accompanied by some edits to this first part, in which case I'll let you know so you can re-experience the story whole.

The Setting

Some of you readers might be privvy to the fact that this story, like "Silly Human..." before it stars my two Nidoran characters Baluarkos (male) and Inka (female). This time we are seeing their life a couple of years after their erratic first encounter; now they have managed to find each other again and are living together in the wild, breeding cute little poisonous furballs. That means that, continuity-wise, this story can be considered a sort of indirect sequel to "Silly Human...", and of course takes place in The Suocéverse.

Glossary

One thing that some of you must have noted is the Nidoran dialect. It's basically Lapine from Watership Down, which totally fits rabbit-like Pokémon, so here you have a quick glossary of terms in case they were not obvious enough (I tried to make them as context-safe as possible):


* Frith - the name of the "Sun Bird", the deity that the Nidos worship and that here corresponds to the Legendary Bird Ho-Oh.
* émar - as a noun, one's mate; as a verb, to be a mate of someone, be it romantically or sexually.
* Embleer hraka - curses and expletives various, left to the imagination of the reader. {XD}
* roolil - kittens, plural (the singular is rooli).
* elil - a general term for one's "lethal foes", predators; the term is intended as a sort of superlative, calling someone an "ela" (the singular) implies no amicability is possible with them.
* parli, marli - father and mother, respectively.
* hlessi - a derogative term for an outcast, someone who lives on their own; the equivalent for us would be something like "hobo", except with a more charged social slur slant to it.


Credits

I, Venia Silente, am the author of this story, just in case that somehow was not clear enough. :p

Pokémon and creatures of the franchise are © Nintendo, Gamefreak et al, you know the drill.

This story references elements of Watership Down by Richard Adams.

Credits to Bits'n'bobstones (link), the online Lapine dictionary that I used as a source.

Beta reading was in charge of Virgil, Tracer, Tangent, Corvus Atrox and others from the WAAPT community and others related.





Well, that's all I really have to say for the moment. Stay tuned for the resolution of the story!


I hope you people enjoyed your Valentines!
Venia Silente - Consulting WorldbuilderSocial·🐘ⓜ · · Direct·
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Bay

She/They
Dani California
Seen 3 Hours Ago
Posted 3 Hours Ago
6,107 posts
15 Years
Aw, I remember Baluarkos and Inka from the last story, and haha they have a family now. The Nidos are definitely very cute and Baluarkos seems to be such a proud father there. I do like some of the world building concerning the Nido family system, though I am aware you've been worldbuilding this region/verse for a long while now. Looking forward to part two.
Miles Edgeworth
Foul Play [On Hiatus]

Venia Silente

Inspectious. Good for napping.

Male
on the second floor's nest
Seen 3 Days Ago
Posted 4 Days Ago
1,022 posts
12.6 Years
What is this? A delayed Valentine's update? Sure it is!

I had the idea of continuing the love story of that silly Nidorino that had been left incomplete back in 2017. Real Life™ reared its ugly head during the past week but I was able to push some content - and there will be another update coming that will take far less than a whole year~

But in the meantime, enjoy more Nidoran! This time with some focus on how do the males try to impress the females, and some focus on what life is like for a heap of rumbustious kittens!



Tricks of the Love Fast, pt. 2.1




Baluarkos looked up into the sky, morosely taking note of the windy autumn morning, then returned his attention to the various Nidoran around him and the Nidorino opponent in front of him. The Nidorino charged and Baluarkos quickly moved away and started circling around.

It had been some weeks after Inka and Baluarkos' latest litter of Nidoran had been taken off to the colony's communal grounds, that the Nidorino found himself walking into a clearing; and from there, past the creek by the family den, past the hillside where he said goodbye to his kittens, past the turns of the water course as it crept into the mountainforest...

"Ri!"

"Ni!"

"Da!"

Into the same grounds where the colony's kittens were being taught by the Nidorino troop.

"...You heard me, hlessi? Go fool around somewhere else."

The same grassy grounds where except for his family he was not much welcome.

The Nidorino chasing after Baluarkos was one of the teachers, a younger but bulkier and better taught male of the mountain's local troop. The Nidorino flickered his ears a couple of times and stood his ground, legs spread and horn low, while the students of various ages were looking at the situation. Some other adult males and females were looking from the distance, not bothering to intervene.

"Uh, I just happened here by chance," admitted Baluarkos, turning his sight away, "I though I could visit-"

"We are occupied with the kittens here," came a stern voice from another Nidorino in the troop, "so as to take visitors."

Baluarkos dragged his feet on the ground softly, he knew that certainly. The adults had the responsibility to care for the children and teach them, they had to be kept safe even more now that news of the white wings had spread. He had been wandering, worried, and he could not see it as fair that he (that he particularly, as the glares from the other males seemed to suggest) would be forbidden from catching up with them.

As if knowing to take advantage of Baluarkos' wandering mind, the younger Nidorino launched himself at Baluarkos and the two Pokémon clashed for a moment, pushing and kicking, until a bite from the younger barely missed Baluarkos' ear and the older male was forced to step back.

"As things are, we could be less busy if it wasn't because of you, even," spoke the Nidorino as he walked closer.

"You say- what, that I shouldn't be here?"

The Nidorino stomped on the ground, and Baluarkos saw how most of the various Nidorino around glared at him, he thought he saw the troop leader 'rino sitting on a fallen tree trunk and amusing himself at the situation; he pressed his position, and bared a fang at the other Nidorino.

"Pffuh. You is the problem," spoke the Nidorino waving his head. "A weakling, ignorant freeloader that somehow charmed that Nidorina into nesting at the more exposed side of the mountain."

Baluarkos' body flared at the affront, and he felt the world going silent around him. His eyes glanced for a moment at the patch of grass where the kittens were all looking, concerned - all the kittens including his. He returned to his attention to the offender and huffed. How dared he!

He did not wait a moment more before charging at the younger Nidorino, who did the same.






----






The older younglings gathered in clusters of puffy and pointy furballs and sat on the grass, screeching and pawing and taking sides at the skirmish that was suddenly taking place. Not far from there, the younger and more tender kittens had cuddled together into piles of warmth around the adult females, scared and crying at the development.

Many closed their eyes and pressed against their surrogate mothers as the two Nidorino below at the grass patches opened their joust with a few runs and circled around to slash with their horns, in their eagerness missing their initial openings. The two males were quick to circle one around the other, horn down and ears laid back. It took not long before they were being cheered from all over. by the older younglings who were finding their own fun in the surprise visit from the outcast.

"Awesome!"

"Teacher kick him in the-!"

"Show'em some moves!"

The teacher male shook his head and trained his eyes on the outcast and invader, how dared he put him in this position. The two males were only slightly attentive to the ruckus around them, but they were aware they had to finish this soon.

"They never do this in the forestland!"

"That's my dad! Come on! Bite his ear off!"

Baluarkos stopped his circling around for a moment and ventured a step forward; the other male responded to that movement by leaning to one side and pointing his horn lower so as to cover his ground.

"Teacher is awesome! Show'em what a Nidorino is like!"

"By Frith you're ignorant... that scruffy Nidorino is going to teach*him* how to fight wild."

"That's MY dad and he's very healthy!"

"Peck! Peck! Peck!"

The two Nidorino growled and leered at each other a couple of times, but neither of them backed down. Trying to appear more threatening that he knew himself to be, Baluarkos pawed at the ground a couple of times, gesture that elicited no response from the troop Nidorino.

"Now we're going to see sum'real fighting!"

"Who says the hlessi? Two Heart Scales over here? I have two- three! three Heart Scales over here!"

The two males lunged at each other and met with their forelegs raised; they kicked and bickered for a moment but they quickly lost momentum and were forced to dash each to their own side. Baluarkos heard the cries from his kittens amidst the cheering from the younglings.

"No way he's gonna win, my dad knows Poison Jab!"

"Peck! Peck! Peck!"

Most of the kittens were cheering, a couple of them were observing and taking mental notes. One of the female teachers sighed at the event, commenting to one of her mates on how often they saw things like this happen.

"Not this embleer hraka again!"

The two fighting males approached each other again; this time, after their first step they charged alongside each other until they reached the end of the grassy patch, and then they quickly circled and met each other horn-first.

"WHOOO HOOOO!"

The two Nidorino met head to head, their horns grazing each other's exposed ear though fortunately without causing damage.

Baluarkos roared at the other male. "I'm going to make you apologize!"

"To a disgrace like you?" The teacher pressed his head against Baluarkos' and attempted to bit his ear. "I'll do better offering my grassland den and my younger body to your female," he added, countering the older male with his weight.

The two lowered their heads, attempting to push the other back grunting all the while, but soon they started losing their footing; in their thirst for blood they did not really notice that some of the Nidorina in the group were keeping very close eye to their fight, each enjoying a thirst of her own, this much to the embarrassment of some of the male teachers who rolled their eyes and decided trying to bring the younglings back in order was a better investment of their time.

"Oh yeah? My dad fights white deaths for breakfast!"

"Pffff forest Nidos are too fat! Dad's pure muscle!"

The two adults were busy butting heads and trying to bite each other's front foot; at some point the teacher lunged at Baluarkos and attempted an overhead hit, with the older Nido barely managing to move out of the way before he was shoved by his opponent. Both males stranded each other until, noticing they were getting too close to the rocky edge of the terrain, they changed course.

"At least one thing you know how to do is run!" mocked the teacher, missing out on the disapproving stares from some of his peers.

All the meanwhile, the younglings were approving of the fight as a whole.

"Please Rovei, cover me with two Heart Scales! Mom has berries back home!"

"Ur dad can't even into territory!"

"PECK! PECK! PECK!"

After a few successful kicks, the Nidorino attacking Baluarkos had made the mistake of sending the older Nido rolling on the ground too close to the trees, giving him time to get on his feet and take some cover; now the teacher was having quite more trouble trying to land a straight hit on Baluarkos who just kept leaning from side to side and using a combination of horn waves and pounds to try and hold his ground, always one feet against one of the trees.

"Growing blind at such young age?" growled Baluarkos.

"You'll take a long nap under that tree," countered the teacher as he bounced around looking for more angles of attack.

Not that any more than a few attentive younglings were paying attention to that.

Who were paying attention were two older and rather unkempt Nidoran males, not part from the school group, sitting by some bushes a distance uphill; they awkwardly looked at the fight breaking out below, straining their senses to make out every detail.

"No! From the other side!"

"Did I hear four Heart Scales?"

"That's a scam! Oh you just wait when marli hears of this..."

After a few runs at each other, managing to land some hits here and there, both Nidorino were panting and well scratched, eager to try a new approach. Baluarkos made a run in for spearing his foe, but right as the teacher was about to anchor to the ground for countering with a lateral slice, Baluarkos brake and let himself circle around, slamming the other Nidorino on the face with his flank and read end and sending him a short distance away, tumbling until he bumped on a tree.

"Teacher! That's a foul!"

"He's busy fighting!"

"...Oh!"

The troop leader Nidorino was still watching the scuffle from his position; he noticed the noise the two 'rinos were making and sighed, he decided this had to end. As he pulled himself up and started walking towards the area where the two 'rinos were fighting, he took notice of how quickly they recovered and how much they insisted on more instinctive growls and roars, leaving behind their unfriendly banrer. Sure, he knew some of the females were reading into this too and shot furtive glances at the two fighters while they waited comfortably on the ground, savoring the spectacle – and the contestants.

Baluarkos tried to chase the other Nidorino but he took a turn around the tree and shot a couple poisonous stings at Ba's feet, the outcast yelping out of surprise as he took a detour and now become the one chased by his opponent, who was leading him right to the edge leading downhill.

All the while the troop leader followed, though he stopped on his tracks and took a long look into the horizon when he noticed something was amiss. His ears flared, he paid attention to the skies ahead. From the troop's vantage position on the hills, he glanced at the forest looking for anything that was moving, yet found nothing, not even the bugs who were usually feeding on leaves this time of the day. He ignored the teacher's aggressive and dangerous goading of Baluarkos for a moment and tended to the skies, to the puffy clouds that calmly glided towards the horizon.

Except for one that circled around and slowly went away... followed by a few others.

The troop leader turned tail quickly and headed uphill to a better position, grunting some quick instructions as the two bickering Nidorino straightened themselves up and looked at what was going on, confused. The leader then noticed the figure of a darker Nidorino climbing up a trail from downhill, some distance from them - of regal demeanour and efficient trotting in the slope of the hill, the Nidorino leader instantly understood him to be one of the chosen warren guards, the closest thing the Nidoran colony had to a police force.

And he could only be running towards the colony for one reason.

The leader and the darker Nidorino crossed eyes for a brief moment, and at a nod from the darker Nidorino the leader's heart skipped a beat.

"White deaths!" came the screech of alarm as the Nidorino leader turned to the adults. "Take the kittens to the mounds!"
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Dani California
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Oh boy, Baluarkos having a fight with another Nidorino. I think the fight is choragraphed well, showcasing the different fighting style those two have. And the crowds' reactions are fun to read too. The kids are still cute as always, haha. Hm, wonder what's up with that darker Nidorino...

While reading, I noticed there are some run-on sentences I feel you could have fixed. A few here:

As if knowing to take advantage of Baluarkos' wandering mind, the younger Nidorino launched himself at Baluarkos and the two Pokémon clashed for a moment, pushing and kicking, until a bite from the younger barely missed Baluarkos' ear and the older male was forced to step back.
Here you have a lot of action going on in one sentence. Perhaps the second sentence can start with Baluarkos' opponent biting his ear there.

The teacher male shook his head and trained his eyes on the outcast and invader, how dared he put him in this position.
I would slightly change this to: "The teacher male shook his head and trained his eyes on the outcast and invader. How dared he put him in this position!"

The two lowered their heads, attempting to push the other back grunting all the while, but soon they started losing their footing; in their thirst for blood they did not really notice that some of the Nidorina in the group were keeping very close eye to their fight, each enjoying a thirst of her own, this much to the embarrassment of some of the male teachers who rolled their eyes and decided trying to bring the younglings back in order was a better investment of their time.
This also has a lot going on. Perhaps one sentence talking about the Nidorina watching, and the other sentence with the male teachers dealing with the younglings.
Miles Edgeworth
Foul Play [On Hiatus]

Venia Silente

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On this odd-numbered year of Arceus of 2021... You guessed right!
Another Valentine's Update!

Before anything else tho, a bit of ear to the commentary left in previous entries.

And the crowds' reactions are fun to read too. The kids are still cute as always, haha. Hm, wonder what's up with that darker Nidorino...
We'll see more on that now but basically the darker Nidos are usually troop leaders or colony guardians. Takes a bit from the worldbuilding in Black Albino, too.

I would slightly change this to: "The teacher male shook his head and trained his eyes on the outcast and invader. How dared he put him in this position!"
That change was made in the revision now, but I won't update the post accordingly until I clear this year's entry, to keep things in order. As this was originally intended to be a one-shot (like five years ago lol), the organization and revision of the docs for this particular story is rather difficult.

But now, on to more Nidoran adventures. What follows is the first of two parts of this year's Valentine's, with the second to be published more or less by the weekend, since the chapter ended up being a lot longer than intended and deserving a split.



Tricks of the Love Fast


Episode 3.1





"White deaths!"

Baluarkos gasped for air as he rushed through the thickets, making his way down to the hill where the outcasts like him lived. He was close, so close… he only needed more strength.

All rooli flat to the ground! Follow me!”

Baluarkos ran past some rocks and turned to the right; he heard what seemed to be breath attacks clashing in the distance, and he saw above him some white deaths flying uphill.

At least he was sure now it was not too late.

The attack had begun only minutes ago, when he was still at the school gathering, with some of the clouds in the sky revealing themselves to be the white-winged deaths – dragon-birds who sang their prey to sleep.

The teachers had been quick to gather the kittens and lead them uphill to the thickest brushes they could find, while they sought a way to reach nearby crevices and caves. When the white deaths dove in, they were not alone. Baluarkos and the Nidorino he had been fighting with soon were tackled to the ground by a hairy two-headed dragon that Baluarkos had seen only once before, one that Inka called “Zweilous”, and two more showed up in the clearing.

When the Nidorino had just gotten back on their feet, they felt their bodies heavy, their minds fogged. Baluarkos would shake his head as something chimed in his ears telling to slow down. To catch some rest from his fight. He was tired and his breathing was raspy. But nothing would be wrong. The kittens were not in danger. There is no danger in the hills. This is a good day. The Sun is gentle and the grass swings peacefully. You deserve to just lie down and sleep.

With difficulty he registered one of the white-winged birds perched on a tree... singing.

Baluarkos’s legs had trembled then and as even the mental image of his mate and his den faded from his memory, he would welcome some rest. Like the voice said.

A crackle of thunder, a luminous arc would hit the tree, and the bird would flee, letting out shrieks and swears.

The darker Nidorino leading the troop leapt down to where the two other Nidorino had been fighting and prodded them with horn pokes -- still electrified, to the flank to get them back up. “Help me topple the black dragons,” he ordered the other male. “As for you,” he spoke next, turning to Baluarkos, “go off.”

Baluarkos had shaken his head and with as much aplomb as he could fake, he raised his horn to point to where his kittens were with the rest of the school group. “I can still fight,” he cried.

“Not here,” the darker Nidorino had answered. “Our fight.”

“But–“

The darker Nidorino pointed downhill. “Others are alone.”

Baluarkos breathed in and out for a moment, unsure, but he really had no better choice than to obey. If the dragons were attacking the schools, they’d have even less trouble getting to the exposed hill dens; dens like his, where at the moment Inka was probably alone. Even worse, they’d go after the Nidoran who had gone off to live alone, away from their parents, and who were still learning about the world outside. Two litters of Inka and his – their eldest offspring.

So he had turn and fled with the faint hope that even in the commotion he could at least find some of his young along the way.

He crossed paths with other Nidorina and Nidorino, each calling softly at every junction, he had to flatten himself against the ground every time he heard the soaring birds nearby; he had to turn away from the desperate fights breaking out in other dens so he could safely reach his.

He had found none of his young by the time he arrived to his den – also under attack.

As he emerged from behind some trees he took a two-headed dragoness by surprise and rammed her downhill. He heard a shriek behind him and he saw two Altaria taking off to reach a nearby tree. The Nidorino’s sudden presence distracting them, they took too long to turn towards the tree, from where Inka hurled a Water Pulse that managed to ground one of them.

“What are you doing here?” Inka yelled, swinging down from her branch as the other Altaria flew at her to lash out with blades of wind.

Baluarkos looked around, eyeing the opening of the den. “I– we need to protect the den!” he cried.

Inka got to the ground and was forced to tank a wind blade. She then pre-empted the dragon-bird’s breathing out a Dragon Pulse by flicking out a couple of poisonous stings to force him to veer off course.

“Weren’t you thinking it through?” she asked angrily, right before the Altaria swooped in and pressed her against the ground with his claws.

Baluarkos lowered his head and prepared to ram the Altaria away, but the rustling of some branches and brambles informed him that the Zweilous below was trying to get up. He saw her, by the corner of his eye, and hesitantly turned his back on his mate to intercept the other Pokémon.

He did not see Inka breaking free from the Altaria’s grasp and clashing claws to talons, but he did hear it.

“I guard the den!” Inka yelled, trying to grapple the bird to the ground. “Head off to find Maekrite and the others!”

The Zweilous shook his head and eyed Baluarkos with some amount of surprise; for an answer, the Nidorino rammed him again, but the Zweilous managed to hold his footing and tank the hit, biting at Baluarkos’s flank with one of his heads to steer him away.

“B-but the kittens-?” asked the Nidorino.

Still struggling with the Altaria, Inka shot the Nidorino an angered look. “Anyone out ground is–” she had to evade the Altaria’s attempt to peck at her eyes, and responded with a kick to the chest, “is vulnerable to the song! Go NOW!”

Baluarkos’ mind reeled at the idea that the two eldest litters would be exposed – he no longer had precise idea of their whereabouts as they were living on their own. By the corner of his eye he saw the Zweilous turning her attention to the two struggling Pokémon; if he wanted to get away it had to be before the Pokémon could follow him.

At least a part of Baluarkos still wanted to stay and fight – the part that saw the second, now freer Altaria get up from the water puddle left on the ground and approach the opening of the now unprotected opening of the burrow. Ba’s muscles tensed and with great effort he took a step back. The Zweilous stomped on the ground, one of her heads still dizzy, and groaned in pain as she stumbled about. The two of them saw the first Altaria shoving Inka back against the nearest tree and claw madly at her. The Altaria’s throat and beak shone green as he aimed for the Nidorina point blank and Baluarkos’s heart stopped for a second.

All the Zweilous and the Nidorino saw was a blur of teal motion grabbing on the Altaria’s beak and then a burst of light; the tree behind Inka exploded into a cloud of dust as a beam of light pierced it and went off to the ground beyond, and with the dust and bark flying around and the creaking sound of wood the two Pokémon came to realize the now split tree was about to come crashing down on them.

From his post Baluarkos could barely distinguish Inka’s arm raised against the Altaria’s head; he could clearly hear the bird now screeching in pain. The tree fell and as Baluarkos had to hop back to avoid the heavier foliage, the trunk obstructed his and the Zweilous’s vision just for a moment.

One stab. The dust lifted in mere seconds and Baluarkos and Zweilous saw the Altaria now limp on the remaining tree stump; no break nor time for dramatic sudden silence as the Zweilous, now infuriated, took her opportunity to charge roaring at the Nidorina.

That was the one opening that Baluarkos would have and before he knew he took it. Only when he straightened his step to get past some rocks uphill did he realize himself running long past the fallen tree and long past the softer bushes of the den’s surroundings.

Once again, he had fled.

He could hear cries and growls from the neighbour dens also under attack, he could hear the sound of some flying Pokémon taking off to head to the next mound, he could hear a sudden energy blast coming from a nearby den, he could feel a tremor through the ground as if another tree had fallen nearby. But his mind was now made to find the three youth still out there.

His mind only loosely registered the features of the terrain, just what he absolutely needed to guide himself to the whereabouts of the nearest hlessi troop he knew of. Later that day he would not even remember the large Nidorino he crossed paths with, leading a troop of Linoone and Ariados willing to help, nor would he remember that the Nidorino had asked him for directions to the nesting grounds as he rushed past.

Near the top of the hill he found a few other Nidorino, calling around and pawing at the ground for clues. He asked them some names, they asked back for other names, but no one could give anyone else any certainty. Going down and up for the next hill offered no new information.

A third hill however gave Baluarkos and the other parents more luck: a Noctowl who had – as usual for them – slept through the entire attack inside a tree trunk, told them of a troop of younger Nidoran that had taken off to the end of a nearby creek, following the trail the Rolycoly and the Spinarak used.

That was the direction Baluarkos and other parents went, marching for over an hour until the Sun was about to reach the center of the sky by the time they got to the end of the creek. That was where at least some of the Nidorino found their answers. After various calls for attention here and there, one of the Nidorino found tracks heading from the creek to a cove with a rocky roof, hidden by overgrown roots.

They approached silently, and one of the Nidorino gave a stern growl.

From the opening a number of puffy pink and teal furballs popped from inside the hole, blinked and cried out in surprise, and rushed out of the hiding spot to sit by their parents. Baluarkos could not help but give eager “berating” growls as he found two of his three youth and pushed them flat on the ground to lick them and check for wounds, much to their annoyance and embarrassment… but oh it was such a relief for the parents who found their rebellious offspring.

“...and you should not get into the other species’ turf without supervision!” reprimanded one of the Nidorinoin between licks.

“Didn’t the Linoone tell you about the mist mountain to hide in in case of trouble?” asked another of the parents to their own teen child, who shrugged off the question and called the mist mountain "boring".

Baluarkos could not help but smile down at his two furballs. He took a quick look into the cove, to find it littered with small gem shards, rotten fruit and what appeared to be some pieces of abandoned human machinery; he’d have to ask Inka about that one later. “How did you even get this far?” he asked the kittens.

“We were just following the spiders,” answered Lenia, the female of the pair. “They always hide things in holes.”

Baluarkos nodded, then thought it over for a second and blinked. The Spinarak were friendly to the Nidoran, but not always friendly. “You were- you shouldn’t do that without adults!” he retorted.

“Yeah yeah whatever we got that already,” grumbled one of the various youth in rebellious annoyance. “We are not roo anymore!”

One of the other parents buffed as he turned to the youth. “That’s no excuse to go around pestering other species!”

Still, they had gotten this far on their own. They had to live their own lives, like the teens of Baluarkos’ two previous litters had, and as Baluarkos looked around and downhill back to the creek, wondering how many parents had shared this group’s luck, he took a moment to remind himself of Inka back at the den.

Baluarkos’ ears caught one of the parents arguing with their roo.

“I’m big already! I can jab the birds if they try!”

“We’re not supposed to fight birds! They fly!”

“But the spiders teach to fight...”

“They’re spiders… don’t use them as an excuse.”

Baluarkos shut that conversation off his mind and thought back to his family. They would eventually have to live their deaths on their own, too, as the previous litter had done. Such was life.

His own kittens growled an apology – one that the Nidorino could tell from ear was half-assed and half-hearted, they’d sooner head off with their friends than let themselves be seen in public with their parents. Baluarkos did not have the mind to not reply with lots of licking their head fur now that he had the chance.

Baluarkos knew his luck was not tested in full today. He heard the other Nidorinos assembling to lead the kittens back to the feeding grounds, and somewhat hastily approached one of them.

“Oporca please would you mind, leading these children to the Linoone camp?” he asked with a bow.

The other Nidorino raised an ear at the question. “You not taking them there? Or home?”

Baluarkos pawed at the ground. “I still have one roo to search for,” he muttered, turning to look to the northern rock walls.

Oporca followed Baluarkos’ gaze and let out a sigh. “You not going to the flay grounds after, then.”

Baluarkos only shook his head.

The other Nidorino stared at Baluarkos long for a moment, then leaned his head to Baluarkos’ kittens. “Come, rooli. We’re going for a long walk.”

“I’m not a roo,” Baluarkos’ other young complained.

“You are still coming with me,” Oporca answered, stomping the ground once to make his point.

The two teen Nidoran blinked at the other male then at their dad. Lenia raised a paw and pushed it against her father’s leg gently. “Is Maekrite going back home?” she asked.

Baluarkos’ ears fell and he avoided his child’s gaze for a moment. His eye ventured for a moment to the Nidorino that had been arguing with his roo.

“No he is not,” he answered in the end.

The two kittens’ ears fell as well, and Oporca saw that a good time to chime in, nudging the two of them to move into the heap of warmth that the other kittens had formed; not even giving them the time to complain to their father.

Baluarkos waved the children goodbye and turned to Oporca, and the two Nidorino stared at each other for a moment.

“So you won’t buckle on this… He won’t either. Learned that attitude from you, I’ve seen that.”

Baluarkos raised his head and turned to face Oporca, pushing him only a little. For an answer, the other Nidorino pushed back gently and cocked his head. The two Nidorino looked at each other and then turned to pay some mind to the Nidoran-made heap of warmth and fluff that was growing impatient as the other parents tried to bring some degree of order.

“See, that attitude. He should be fine.”

Baluarkos was not so sure that the white deaths and the two-headed dragons would respond amicably to a Nidoran prodding them, but kept that thought for himself. After a moment, he only nodded; it was time to go.

He took a moment to collect his thoughts and then walked out of the cove and back down to the creek to drink some water.

Then he headed north in a beeline towards the higher mountains, covered in tall trees with hard and pointy foliage and hidden behind a dense mist. All the while keeping his ears pointed to the sky, just in case.

He had still one more urgent matter to check besides the fate that would befell his firstborn roo.

to be continued ~ Feb 18th Feb 22nd «

EDIT: moved the deadline slightly because I was told there was a nice thing I could still add to the subchapter.
Venia Silente - Consulting WorldbuilderSocial·🐘ⓜ · · Direct·
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Nidoran : Carnivine : Trapinch


Bay

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Dani California
Seen 3 Hours Ago
Posted 3 Hours Ago
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15 Years
Hey, so some days back you wanted me to check this chapter's tone and only now I have sat down to do that.

Spoiler:
I'm assuming you worried most about the scene with the Altaria's death? To be honest while the imagery of that can be a bit strange for a Pokemon fic (unless you're going for dark-fic), to be honest it isn't the most gruesome death I've seen. And considering death in Pokemon does happen, I wouldn't worry too much.


With that out of the way, oof over the dragon Pokemon going at the dens there. Baluarkos being a worried father and relieved over finding some of his kids was cute. Curious over how the second chapter will go Februrary 22nd already passed you missed your deadline = P
Miles Edgeworth
Foul Play [On Hiatus]

Venia Silente

Inspectious. Good for napping.

Male
on the second floor's nest
Seen 3 Days Ago
Posted 4 Days Ago
1,022 posts
12.6 Years
Hey, so some days back you wanted me to check this chapter's tone and only now I have sat down to do that.

Spoiler:
I'm assuming you worried most about the scene with the Altaria's death? To be honest while the imagery of that can be a bit strange for a Pokemon fic (unless you're going for dark-fic), to be honest it isn't the most gruesome death I've seen. And considering death in Pokemon does happen, I wouldn't worry too much.


With that out of the way, oof over the dragon Pokemon going at the dens there. Baluarkos being a worried father and relieved over finding some of his kids was cute. Curious over how the second chapter will go Februrary 22nd already passed you missed your deadline = P
Thanks for the notes, yeah I was worried about the tone for the chapter. Luckily for me, most people agreed it was not really an issue.

As for the deadline... yeah, the second part was originally going to be very short (we're talking about 800-1000 words, at most) but I got convinced that it needed more... stuff, happening in it and it is going through a serious rewrite, so it's unfortunately delayed. But don't worry, you won't have to wait until Valentines 2022 to read it!
Venia Silente - Consulting WorldbuilderSocial·🐘ⓜ · · Direct·
Looking for background art.
[World] The Suocéverse «Thread» «Wiki»

Fic stuff~
SWC Selections
: Playfield : As They Were : Simpler than Magic : Beyond Today :

Other Releases
: FF&W Library : Stories : AO3 :

The Meta Journey!
Nidoran : Carnivine : Trapinch


Venia Silente

Inspectious. Good for napping.

Male
on the second floor's nest
Seen 3 Days Ago
Posted 4 Days Ago
1,022 posts
12.6 Years
Owo wat's this? A new episode? Not in Valentine's day?

Yep that's right. Let's just say it's the compensation for having to go two years between updates - now we have a little side story with the story going on, with Baluarkos venturing into a new locale in order to find his missing child.

More is coming. Enjoy!



Tricks of the Love Fast


Episode 3.2





The mist covered the difficult terrain of the mountain, adding to the canopy’s dense cover to create an open but obscure environment where Baluarkos could not help but flick his ears and turn around to retrace his steps every once in a while.

The Nidorino worked his way up the mountain as steadily as he could on the mossy ground, checking every other patch of mushrooms and violet shining herbs that grew so far from Frith’s light. Every once in a while he would cross path with a rock Pokémon, or perhaps a spider; and in two occasions with another Nidorino about as lost as he was. Such encounters were silent and never lasted long: in the Misty Peaks, each inhabitant went about their own business freely so long as you did not meddle with matters such as food... or were not it.

Baluarkos’s ears turned to a brief shuffling from one of the nearby trees, high enough above the ground that the Nidorino suspected it to be a bird Pokémon. He looked up the branch to see a curious winged creature, one that he had never seen – certainly not a bird. Blue-ish like a Nidorina, but had only two legs and pointy, leathery wings.

The Nidorino turned to examine the other Pokémon more closely. The creature looked down at Baluarkos and opened a big mouth, dark as the night and about as big as the creature’s entire body. Baluarkos felt his blood run cold at the sight of such a display, not to mention the bright white fangs; his ears flared up and the Nidorino straightened himself up for a fight, yet the strange creature made no motion for a long while until Baluarkos, feeling his time waste, opted to just turn back and walk away further into the mist.

As he ventured further into the mountain, the slope became less pronounced and the ground, once rich in strange moss, gave way to trees with wide trunks, to clusters of crab-like Pokémon with huge mushrooms on their backs, to long rock snakes; but what Baluarkos disliked the most was having to wade through the strange reddish slime that pooled under the trees and slurried just about everywhere. At least it seemed the weird insect Pokémon seemed to like it as they greedily licked at those spots.

Baluarkos’ focus was broken by a pointy leave, one of many he found embedded in the slime, that left a foul odour on touch and that every so often threatened the Nidorino’s footing. The Nidorino dragged his foot more carefully for a couple steps, took a long look back the way he came, and sighed. So far, only the canopy remained a permanent and trusted sight.

Yet other than seeing a few Nidorino at a couple places, scouting the mountain like he was, Baluarkos found no clear signs that younger Nidoran would make their homes anywhere nearby. Even though the Nidorino could see a path heading to a lower forest, of the more classic green and sunlit variety, he had to admit this was simply no place a Nidoran would ever call home... no offence to the flat out weird local insect dwellers.

A bird shrieked in the sky. Baluarkos turned his head up to try and track the movement yet found nothing. The calling was not that of a white death, rather it seemed to be that of one of the more common birds like Pidgeotto that Baluarkos was more familiar with. Baluarkos’s heart sank for a moment, reminding himself that he probably had ventured very far and for very long.

Looking for better directions, the Nidorino flicked his ears around. The wind seemed to be coming from behind him and rushing towards some sort of opening the way of the morning sun, not very far from where he currently was. Curious about the different kinds of forests meeting up in the place, Baluarkos followed the winds from clearing to clearing, taking any path that led to fewer weird mushrooms and more sunlight. To his dismay, the weird mushrooms insisted on trying to thrive under the new, more sunlit sections of the mountain.

Soon enough Baluarkos ran into more familiar Pokémon, including a Linoone family poaching the pointy-leaves, and a few minutes later he reached the edge of a cliff with a clear view of the sky and the world below.

The Nidorino breathed in, straightened his footing and hesitantly approached the border to take a look at the world before him. The wind buffeted his ears and his behind and threatened to drag him past the edge, but Baluarkos held his ground. Firmly planted he took a look at the world below, letting his sight wander from right to left; he could see a number of fertile, vast lands: the edge of the mushroom hills he had just popped out from, a rocky land covered in spires and shadows, the flat lands of humans coursed by gray trails, then a pine forest. All to end to his left with the chain of rocky mountains now going down, unveiling even more forests full of trees he had never seen.

Baluarkos realized what he was looking at – what he had achieved so far – and dropped his head. He turned around and walked back to the clearing. It was time to make a choice given the three paths laid before him.

Baluarkos quickly discarded the idea of climbing down and heading to the rocky lands or the human realm. Inka had insisted in raising all their litters to live fully in the wild – often stressing how much she disapproved of approaching humans on the tall grass for their journey. Plus it would take the younglings entire days to climb down the mesa anyway.

That left him with the options of exploring further into the misty mountain (and facing more of all those weird creatures), or heading to the lower mountains with more familiar Pokémon, with richer grass and with ampler clearings. Baluarkos let out a content growl: yeah, the road absent of mushrooms was quite clearly the way to go.

Yet nature was unkind to Nidorankind this day – for not more than a few minutes into the path that went down the hills, Baluarkos found himself at another edge of the world, not even very far from where he had looked down before. Before him, the lands below even looked the same as before. Betrayed and tired, the Nidorino hurled whatever expletives he could think of into the winds, cursing them like he would curse the Elil and the white deaths, and the winds were at least so merciful as to furiously tear his words amidst the thin air and into non-existence.

Baluarkos closed his eyes and for a brief moment in his mind he saw himself back in the day when his first kitten left the den for the last time, a couple of troopmates by his side, off to try and understand the world on his own.

After a moment to breathe hard and gather his thoughts, the Nidorino got back to work.

Carefully he retraced his steps up the hill and steeled himself for what he hoped was the hard part of the trip, as in order to reach the greener forests he was now forced to delve once again into the weird moss and mushroom maze. Not wanting to pick up any malady from the local mushrooms or leaves, Baluarkos opted to skip a meal and only gave cursory looks at the small insects of various kinds that he met on the way, sipping from the weird slime. This time, a bunch of furry, yellow and very small spiders had joined the pool of slime-eaters, in enough number that the new yellow added a lively change to the strange mountain forest.

Baluarkos decided to ignore everything related to the slime for the time being, and turned to the west to try and find the next passage into the forest below. In the back of his mind he caught notice of something, of a weird rumbling in the ground coming from further beyond into the mountains; but busy as he was with not-getting-lost, he chalked it down to some strong winds from down the mountains and decided to carry on.

All he needed was one mountain, one Pokémon to ask to, one lucky break.

But more and more as he went, all he had around him was the furry-spiders.
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