A/N: This is a ONE SHOT. Do NOT review to ask me to "Please write more!" It's a one-shot. There IS no more. :)
A fic based on two seperate ideas I had about Pokémon Mystery Dungeon...
1. Know how once we're able to do harder missions, we basically start ignoring all those stupid E ranked things to get better challenges and payments? The morbid side of me wondered what happens to the pokémon whom we ignore...
2. In a world like Mystery Dungeon, where everything is sentient, what do the carnivores eat?
I think this story will answer both questions. ;)
By Pink Parka Girl
The pichu cried.
Her pathetic whimper rose and swirled with her misty breath; the sweeping wind, tinged with northern chill, ruffling the fur along her spine as she stood, looking sadly towards the horizon, on the small ledge overlooking the woods. The sun had risen two times since she had last seen her mother, and the pichu, following instructions, had simply stayed where she was, awaiting rescue.
The pichu kept her ears pricked as the remnants of her whimpers echoed across the expanse, waiting for an answering acknowledgment of her sorrow that never came. With a sigh, she made her way down from the outcropping, senses on edge. Although it was going against every rule her mother had ever told her, she simply had to move on. Her gnawing hunger, near unbearable after two days, would not allow her to stay still for one more minute.
She would need sustenance to survive.
Please rescue my pichu, Kala! She's a little cutie who can't charge power well yet. Please!
Client: Virri the raichu
Place: Tiny Woods
Reward: 100 p.
The humble message, scratched with an end of charcoal upon a birchbark sheet, dangled humbly on a corner of the bulletin board, rocking back and forth as the breeze, meeting little resistance from the solitary twig that held it in place, struggled to tear it free.
"Horrid posting job," said the breloom idly to itself, placing one hand on the notice to hold it still. Watching him, a zangoose, heavily scarred across the muzzle, chuckled.
"A veteran like you is actually going to waste their time with a birchbark missive?"
"Birchbark missive?" The breloom, baffled, slapped its tail upon the ground. "How's that different from any other job?"
Sitting up on his haunches, the zangoose placed a heavy clawed forepaw on the breloom's shoulder. "Hard to believe you've got a Gold Rank team without ever having seen a birchbark missive before. They tend to be terribly simple jobs, the ones that beginning rescue teams – which we all were at one point, to be fair - find a challenge, but could be done with your eyes closed by anyone else. Usually by destitute mothers with barely a poke to their name wanting their wandered-off hatchlings back, you know."
Nodding, the breloom examined the job offer again. "The reward does seem pathetically small, even for a quickie run like that. Is it worth it?"
The zangoose scoffed. "Let one of the little teams handle it. To them, a mere handful of poke like that will be like heaven, and they could do with the experience it gives them. But us, Pardo – teams like yours and mine have more challenging things to do. Better paying, as well."
Releasing the missive, Pardo turned to the other pokémon. "You're probably right, Korsan," he replied, sloppily wiping charcoal dust on his ruff. "It's a little job, and best suited for the little teams. Someone else will handle it."
The pichu lifted her head, her ears flicking slightly forward as they swept upwards into a position of fearful listening. She stood up on her haunches, tensing her muscles as she swiftly swung her head towards a motion she thought she perceived.
All was still.
"I thought I heard something," she said softly to herself, drawing her scarf closer to her chest, her small claws catching slightly in the fabric. The moon hung low in the sky, its pale light filtering through the spread branches of the scrub trees, casting a silver-tinged glow to the packed dirt floor, occasionally interspaced with a clump of struggling grasses. Dropping back down to all fours, the pichu carefully sniffed the earth, hoping for the scent of anything edible. There must be food.
Small creatures rustled nearby; the sound of claws pattering against dried leaf matter causing the pichu to spark unintentionally. The flash of electricity lit up the space like a torch, illuminating, only a few paces ahead of her, a pidgey.
The pichu froze in pure fear, one forepaw dangling, muzzle gaping in a scream she could not emit. The bird, dun-colored and fearsome, was as large as she was, and had a decidedly wicked gleam in his eye.
"Well," said the pidgey, circling the terrified rodent with a few short hops. "Well. Lost pichu. Where are all the oh-so-heroic rescue teams now? There is nobody to save you. And there never would have been." He laughed, a harsh, squawking sound that caused the pichu to fold her ears back in revulsion. "Can move your ears, but not your legs, huh? I am so glad your kind's fear instinct is to freeze. It makes things so much easier."
"Easier...for what?" It was a chore to choke out the words, but the pichu finally managed.
"For my boss to...ahem...eat you." Seeing the pichu's strangled attempt to question him further, he snickered. "What do you think the carnivores have been eating all this time? Berries? Heavens, no. They know there aren't any fledgling rescue teams in the area, and that no respected team seeking money and glory would bother with a simple job trudging through Tiny Woods for the likes of you. So they simply wait for people to forget...and then they eat up all those who get lost. Eat them all up!"
The pichu struggled to get away. Heart racing, throat dry, she fought against that cruel instinct that kept her forever frozen, forever still. If only...if only...
Will my cry truly go unheard?
"Pichu. Succulent little creatures, they are. A treat, for sure. You did good work, Torkraka."
Korsan smiled at the pidgey, who dipped his head in meek acknowledgment. "Remember your part of the bargain though, zangoose."
"When have I ever forgotten? Rest easy, featherball, there will be plenty for you to pick off the bones." Flexing his claws, the zangoose leered at the pichu. "Had to fight to get that foolish breloom Pardo from taking a job far below his Rank and station, you know. But it was worth it...for you."
The pichu buried her muzzle in her forepaws.
Tensing his body, Korsan propelled forward. Forepaws tensed, he hit the ground and sprang forward again, straight towards his foe. Cowering, the pichu didn't realize what happened until she felt the mass of the zangoose slam into her ribs, sending her reeling backwards. Gasping, she struggled to get her bearings as Korsan came at her again, claws slashing downwards, finding their mark across her throat. Streaks of blood flying from his spread claws, Korsan grinned with satisfaction.
"This, indeed, is a job well done."
"Not a single one of you went out after my baby?" The raichu, tail lashing, stood in the center of the square, glaring daggers at the team leaders, who only moments before had been peacefully shopping.
"It didn't pay well," said a delcatty, lifting her nose ever so slightly.
"It was easy! No one wants to bother taking jobs in Tiny Woods. Those are for beginners!" replied a cocky jolteon, smoothing his head-fur with a paw to make sure it looked especially rakish. "Course, there aren't any new teams around here lately. But someone would have done it eventually!"
"A damn fine lot of teams you are!" Virri spat, her fur fluffed in disgust. "It's all about the money, the challenge, the glory, isn't it? What ever happened to rescuing? Helping those in need? Have you forgotten that?"
Korsan, leaning against the Felicity Bank stall, sucked on a claw. "We work for profit, lady," he said casually. "Rescue teams always have, you know."
With a furious huff, Virri stalked off from the compound.
The scarf lay under a tree, thick with blood, stinking in the heat of high noon. Carefully approaching the object, Virri tensed her body. It certainly looked like Kala's scarf, and yet she hoped, so very much, that it would prove to be only a scrap, unrelated to her child.
With a final burst of speed, Virri ran right up to the object, paws giving way when she realized with finality that it was indeed the scarf of her daughter. Hooking a claw into one corner, she pulled the object closer, clutching it to her chest, muzzle and paws buried deep within its folds.