Hearthome City || Morning 
It was a rare sight to see a nidoking cry. The great purple dragon stood in silence, staring down at the freshly buried grave with tears running down his broad face. A makeshift, wooden cross stuck out of the earth, the name ‘Ellie’ almost ineligibly engraved onto the material. It had been a tense hour, but Arthur had managed to bear the news of his trainer’s death with his partner’s support. The nidoqueen stood by his side, her head resting on his shoulder, an arm hooked protectively around Arthur’s own as the pair brought their mourning to an end. With a deep exhale, the nidoking forced a weak smile whilst turning away from the grave, Molly copying his movements as the pair made their leave. There was nothing to be said. It was unfortunate that their old trainer had fallen victim to the epidemic, but sadly, they lacked the skill to turn back time. All they could do was hope that she was in a better place. Arthur had no doubt she would be.“Now what, dear?”
Molly asked, looking up to her mate. She hadn’t known Ellie quite as well as Arthur, but the human had been kind to her nevertheless. Without Ellie, she’d have never met her beloved Arthur – she’d probably be rotting in an alley, beaten and tired from her past treatment. She shook away the thought before it could engulf her attention.“We survive. It’s what she would have wanted...”
Arthur met his mate’s gaze, his own eyes moist as a smile found its way to his face. You survive, was what he meant to say, but she’d only get herself in a state over the idea. Nothing was going to hurt Molly - that was something the nidoking could guarantee. He gave her hand a squeeze, shaking away the heartbreak that had accompanied Ellie’s death and mentally announced his dedication to protecting his mate, and his mate alone.
As they exited the dilapidated home that they’d once inhabited, the faint echoing of voices came to Molly’s attention. She stopped abruptly in the doorway, alert and straining to catch the slightest sounds of speech, or movement. Arthur was oblivious. He wiped his face with the back of his arm, removing any evidence of tears before finally noticing how tense the nidoqueen had become. He frowned, concerned as he gently nudged her with his arm.“S-Sorry... I thought I heard something,”
Molly finally admitted, forcing her attention back to her mate. She persuaded herself it was nothing – perhaps the epidemic was simply taking its toll on her. She wasn’t as young as she used to be, and with all sorts of horrors on the loose there was no telling when she might begin to lose her marbles. She smiled up at Arthur whose expression had hardened slightly. “Shh, nothing to worry about, dear,”
She tightened her grip on his hand as they emerged into the deserted streets of Hearthome City. It certainly wasn’t as it used to be. If the collapsing buildings and occasional splatters of blood wasn’t enough, the lingering scent of decay was bound to ward off any survivors. Molly hated it. She subconsciously moved closer to Arthur.
Arthur came to a gradual halt at the sight of a small gathering of creatures near the town’s pokémon centre. His wary expression soon developed into one of shock as he observed the group. Mainly birds accompanied with a large, fox-like creature; but most importantly, they seemed healthy. Molly had seen them too.“Arthur? Are they...?”
The nidoqueen looked between her mate and the group, disbelieving what she was seeing. They hadn’t seen anything living in weeks; the sight of four survivors was enough to stun the pair into a silent awe. As realization kicked in, Molly began to giggle, her free hand covering her mouth as her face lit up. “Hello there!”
The nidoqueen called, her voice melodic as joy established itself over both her expression and speech. She raised a large, blue hand, waving it to the creatures, before turning to look at Arthur, a rarely seen excitement surfacing in the nidoqueen. Arthur was smitten. He hadn’t seen this side of Molly in a good while – it was a pleasant change which he’d almost forgotten. However, it was contagious. If Molly was happy, then he’d gladly follow her example.
They began walking towards the small group, Molly letting go of the nidoking’s hand as she trotted ahead, beaming down at the pokémon. On closer inspection, she noticed that the bird sitting atop the zoroark’s head was particularly young, excited to be inhabiting the creature’s mane. Her heart melted, eyes softening into longing as her maternal desires kicked in. Arthur was so disinterested in parenthood when all she truly wanted was a child of her own. “It’s certainly a surprise to meet other survivors,”
Arthur had appeared at Molly’s side as the female finally forced her attention away from the pidove. She shared her mate’s smile, moving to wrap her arm around his waist once more. “It’s a pleasure to meet you all,”
Arthur was always notoriously polite. Even given the circumstances, he couldn’t resist offering the strangers a slight bow. Molly shook her head at his actions, chuckling lightly.“My name’s Molly. That idiot’s Arthur,”
He would have offered his hand had not the majority of his audience been birds. “We're not as scary as we look, honestly!”
The both chuckled again, used to the stereotyping of their species.