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  1. BraviaryScout

    BraviaryScout Way of the Wind

    Dauntless
    (Rufflet)
    Level 23
    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2017
    Posts:
    1,777
    PokéPoints:
    ₽1,040.9
    Crown of ValorPoké Ball ★
    Alola readers, BraviaryScout is here and bringing over probably my most ambitious fanfic project I have ever undertaken. I've been working on this one for a while after finally finishing my own playthrough of Moon. Alola is by far my favorite region out of the seven core ones, which would inevitably make me want to write about an adventure and how awesome life would be there for our hero once it's over. (Sorry Kanto and Unova)

    So I can't wait to share what I've been writing up with everyone. I've always wanted to try my hand at a novelization of sorts in a Pokémon game and I think Moon is a good start. This is slightly modified from the original version on fanfiction.net, which I will post the link to here.

    My primary pairing and new favorite is Sun X Lillie after it seemed like she developed a crush on the player as the story progressed. Sun has his default appearance throughout his journey, but will change when he gets older. I also decided to make him, Hau and Lillie older so they'll be sixteen. I imagine Gladion is a bit older than his sister, so I've marked him as eighteen.

    Some Hawaiian/Alolan terminology is used in this fic. There will be more of what was given in the games and I will provide translations to them as I go along. (If I remember) I probably will miss a couple, which will surely get covered in successive installments. There's no feature for line breaks here on LV, so I've covered that aspect by making the first word of the new section in bold text and in this color. Hopefully that won't make things too confusing.


    So that being said, this story will contain spoilers for Pokémon Sun & Moon, excessive violence, strong language, suggestive themes and other mature content. I will post warnings for them as I go along.
    There will be laughs, tears, friendship, romance and dark moments, but most of all; an entertaining read nonetheless. Hopefully it's good enough to keep everyone coming back in anticipation for another chapter!

    I don't own Pokémon.


    Chapter Index

    As they continue on separate paths; the newly crowed champion of Alola, Sun looks back to remember the memories of the one person who gave him the strength he needed to complete his island challenge while he awaits her return. A recap of the events of Sun & Moon as well as the life of being a champion in the following years.


    It will take a while until I find a suitable format to begin posting and writing. Mahalo for reading. Please leave a review either on here or on its fanfiction.net installation which can be accessed here (Or both if you really want to make me happy :))
     
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    #1 Jun 19, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2018 at 2:57 PM
  2. BraviaryScout

    BraviaryScout Way of the Wind

    Dauntless
    (Rufflet)
    Level 23
    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2017
    Posts:
    1,777
    PokéPoints:
    ₽1,040.9
    Crown of ValorPoké Ball ★
    Alola readers again. Brav is here with the pilot chapter!
    Please leave a comment or review down below on what you liked/didn't and such. This project is still ongoing, so any and all suggestions for future chapters will be taken into consideration.
    Without further ado:


    "Meow!" The tiny white scratch cat Pokémon known as meowth peered into the bedroom and looked around. It was still undeveloped, with some cardboard moving boxes strewn about close to the walls with a layer of dust covering their surfaces. The person who resided her hadn't used his bed or touched much in his room for quite a while. A ditto pillow and poke toy were in the far corner, covered in the cat's scratch marks. Straight across was a desk next to a television screen with a small globe, a few books and an office chair. In the middle of the wooden floor was an elegant blue rug with a wave design all along the edges.

    Finding its mission; it scurried right over to the side of the bed and purred once more to wake the person up. When there was no response, he pounced on the bed, only to find it completely empty with ruffled sheets and blanket pulled back. Whoever had slept there had neglected to make it in order to look neat.

    Meowth's face went to concerned and it was about to report the find to the person who had sent it there when the door to the bathroom off on the side opened up and a young boy stepped out, jumping back at the Pokémon's sudden appearance with a foaming toothbrush in his mouth.

    He was Elio "Sun" Northstar, a sixteen year old who had recently moved to the beautiful Alola region and was also its first champion, having attained the title yesterday in the Champion's chamber on the region's highest peak of Mount Lanakila.

    "Oh hi there Meowth," Sun reached over and stroked the Pokémon's fur with his free hand. It gave off a soft purr in approval, "You scared me there."

    As if forgiving him; it nuzzled its face into Sun's arm causing the boy to chuckle before turning around to scamper back into the main room of the house.

    "First day as a champion," He said to nobody in particular as he spat out the toothpaste and ran a comb through his long and rather messy hair. He threw on a fresh pair of clothes and dropped the old ones in a wire laundry basket beside the entrance to his room, "Still can't believe I did it." He glanced over at the clock, surprised that it was nearly eleven in the morning. He had slept for just a few hours after attending the big celebration in Iki Town.

    Sun ascended to the summit of Mount Lanakila, challenged and defeated all four members of the Alola League's Elite Four; Hala, Olivia, Acerola and Kahili. At first it had seemed like it wasn't much of a challenge as only Olivia and Acerola had given him any real trouble.

    He had suspected his mentor and friend Professor Kukui had accompanied him inside for a reason and it was proven correct that the eccentric man himself was the final obstacle that stood between him and the title once he defeated all the Elite Four. Cameras were positioned all around the battlefield to capture the historic battle. The professor wasn't joking when he said that news of the event had reached all of Alola and there was hardly a soul who was going to miss this.

    The stage presented couldn't have been bigger for Sun and he remained undaunted. He had come this far and had no intentions of failing.

    The battle was difficult. Kukui had a well-rounded team of powerful Pokémon and proved to be his toughest opponent yet. During the action; Sun still felt like he had been backed into a corner. He had no choice but to tread carefully. Professor Kukui had led off with his lycanroc setting up a deadly trap of stealth rock, which mercilessly smashed Sun's team whenever he would send in a replacement Pokémon, limiting him in switching for better type matchups. Despite his careful analysis of balancing out his team during the course of his island challenge, he had discovered that four of his six Pokémon on his party were weak to rock.

    Although the jagged stone trap had done its number on his final Pokémon Incineroar during the battle's climax; it soundly defeated the penultimate ninetales to leave both sides with their last Pokémon each. Sun's was standing on the field with its hands on its legs in a tired posture, but its eyes glimmered with determination; knowing what was at stake and would do everything not to let its trainer down. On the other side, the professor's final card had yet to enter the battle.

    Sun definitely started to feel uncertain when it was revealed to be a primarina, the final evolution of the water type starter popplio family. He had no type advantage against it and defeat had seemed almost inevitable.

    He wasn't about to call it quits. Although a lot of encouragement would come from his friends and family, the fact that he was so close to winning would haunt him if he didn't make it. The fear of being embarrassed at losing had felt like a crushing weight on his shoulders. There was no way he could face everyone…especially Lillie if that happened.

    At the same time; Sun fully intended to use whatever was necessary to win. Even if his back was against the wall. He also knew that while Kukui was his friend, he was not going to hold back in any way.

    With the type advantage, primarina had fought well and Sun was nearly defeated. However he had devised a strategy at the last moment, involving Incineroar's Z-Move Malicious Moonsault which had miraculously worked! Primarina and Incineroar were on their respective sides in the aftermath of a huge clash of power; both struggling to remain standing and outlast the other in a battle of attrition.

    A rush of elation had reached Elio when he saw the water type collapse to the floor once more and remain unmoving. On the giant screen above the field, its active status winked out before bold letters flashed across the screen indicating Sun had won the championship.

    Incineroar was on the verge of fainting himself when Sun tossed his hat up into the air and ran onto the field to giving a triumphant shout and threw his arms around his Pokémon in a joyous hug. At the same time, he let out the rest of his party; who immediately perked up from their exhaustion to partake in his celebration when he broke the news.

    The rest of the day had blurred by for him. The return to Iki Town for the huge festival being thrown in his honor. He had heard that there was also going to be a big celebration with the Kahunas and Trial Captains in Iki Town to all celebrate his achievement and then a much bigger stage in an elaborate coronation ceremony in downtown Hau'oli City. Kukui made certain that Sun was available to partake in it.

    In the middle of the Battle Royale being hosted in the center as part of the celebration, he had faced his best friend Lillie for the first time since he had caught the evolved Lunala that she had affectionately nicknamed Nebby. After their battle, the professor said he would make sure Lillie knew that he had won and when the party was going to take place. Sun was about to ask the same question and immediately suspected that Kukui knew of his attraction to her. In the middle of the party, she made the suggestion to go back down Mahalo Trail where they first met and thank the island deity that had saved them.

    To their surprise; Tapu Koko had appeared and challenged Sun to a battle. It was powerful and took several big hits before he finally managed to bring it down. The deity didn't seem upset at its defeat at his hands and remained there long enough to accept both of their gratitude for saving him on the first day he was in Alola.

    So today; Sun had his mind made up on the next thing he intended to accomplish. It was something he wanted to do ever since he met her back on Mahalo Trail.

    He was going to ask Lillie out on a date.

    The big party in downtown Hau'oli had taken up virtually his entire day aside from his scheduled tour of all the big cities in the region over the course of the week. He signed autographs, posed for pictures, even got a kiss on the cheek from a couple pretty girls. His plaza page on the Festival Plaza social media site had jumped from having a couple dozen followers to almost ten thousand in a span of a day and kept on growing.

    Elio was exhausted when he had come home later that evening and opened the front door to plop right on the couch in front of the TV. Mom had put the news on, which was still covering the big party in the city that was replaying his coronation. At the center stage before a crowd of thousands, Professor Kukui had presented a large lei of different colorful flowers over his head. Sun wasn't a big fan of huge parties and almost immediately preferred the smaller celebration in Iki Town on the previous night, but still told himself to enjoy his newfound fame.

    "Good evening my champion," His mother greeted cheerfully as he was slipping on his shirt and walking into the kitchen. She already had a neatly made plate of pancakes, scrambled eggs and shredded hash browns set at the dining table and just smelling the food made his stomach gurgle. He had hardly ate since Mallow's feast last night basically stuffed everyone completely full.

    "Hi mom," He glanced down at the breakfast, "What's this?"

    "Champion's breakfast! They're even calling you the grand kahuna now! Now I wonder what else will happen today? How was that big party in Hau'oli?"

    Sun was flattered, finding himself hungry again, "Oh yeah that's right! Breakfast for dinner? Thanks, but you didn't have to do this. I'm perfectly fine with toast and sitrus jam." That was a lie since he was starving, but his mother seemed to have some sixth sense to know how much food her son really wanted.

    As he stabbed a bit of egg, the doorbell rang.

    "Was that the doorbell?" Mom asked from the other room. "Oh that's got to be Kukui! Why don't you let him in Sun?"

    "Hang on, I'll get it!" Elio popped a piece of pancake in his mouth and started for the living room when the entrance was nearly thrown open.

    "SUN!" Hau had a face abundant of panic as if he had seen a gengar becoming his shadow. "It's a disaster! A total disaster!"

    "Hau? What's going on?"

    "What's wrong Hau?" Mom had heard the commotion and had come back into the house's foyer to see what was happening.

    "Oh!" Realization hit his other best friend as he had let himself in automatically. She didn't mind though, he was family and Professor Kukui already told them countless times, "Since when does family knock?"

    "Auntie! Hi, sorry! I'll explain later but Sun has to come with me right now! If we don't hurry the ship is gonna leave!"

    "What ship?" Sun had begun to ask, but Hau had already turned tail to sprint out the front door again. He turned to his mother, who gave him a knowing look before nodding. His best friend's panic told him that this was going to be upsetting, but he had to see it off whatever it was.

    "I'll be back."

    Wanting to save time, the two called a pair of tauros via the ride pager and quickly raced down the roads into Hau'oli city. Traffic on the roads and highways were fairly light as the evening rush hour had passed, but they still weaved through lanes to go around the slower movers. Neither paid much attention to the couple of honks and shouts of indignant handling thrown their way. As they approached the marina, Hau told Sun that it was Lillie that was leaving, completely taking the champion by surprise.

    "What?!" Sun felt as if his own heart had split in two. She hadn't even bothered to tell him. "Why?"

    "I just heard it from Professor Kukui! She was going to leave this evening and not tell us!"

    Sun guided his ride Pokémon out of the way as he swapped lanes to pass a slower moving car. "Friggin traffic. The one time I need to get somewhere in a hurry, it's jacked." He was also violating the speed limit for a ride Pokémon, but didn't care right now. All that mattered was getting to Lillie.

    "You know Lillie," Professor Kukui started as they waited at the marina for boarding, "Kanto is a long way from here. Try not to let the jet lag hit you too hard." He shook his head, "Burnet's…well…upset and she was going to cry her eyes out if she came along. Can you forgive her this time?"

    "Of course professor," Lillie sighed, turning back to the large passenger ship that had just begun boarding passengers. "Please give her my thanks for letting me stay with you guys,"

    "She did tell me to let you know that the loft in the lab if yours to use indefinitely. So you can come back and stay whenever you like!"

    "Thank you so much professor!" She said, putting her arms around the man in a grateful hug. She would never admit it out loud, but the cozy shack by the beach was going to be missed dearly.

    The call for boarding echoed across the ferry terminal and Lillie looked back at the skyline of Hau'oli city, possibly for the last time. "I'm going to really miss Alola."

    "You didn't tell us!" A voice shouted from the end of the pier as both the professor and former assistant turned to see the two boys sprinting to the end. "Lillie what are you doing?!"

    "Hau," The blonde looked down, "I'm really sorry about that…but I've decided. I have to go to Kanto."

    "What?! Why?!"

    "My mother…she needs help getting better, but I also have to get stronger."

    "You're already strong!" Hau countered, "You're one of the strongest people I've met." Sun nodded in agreement.

    "No, to get stronger as a trainer."

    If Sun wasn't so saddened to see her leave, after everything that happened between them; he would've been more than happy to express his excitement for her.

    "Of course I'm sad to leave Alola, but the thought of going to Kanto also fills my heart with excitement! I'm going to be a real trainer and meet all kinds of fantastic Pokémon! Travel all around Kanto to take on my own trials just like we did here on Alola for the island challenge!"

    Hau was still too upset at the news of her impending departure, "Lillie! Why? Ugh! I'm gonna send you a letter! A really long one! You'd better wait!"

    "Of course I will want to hear from you Hau! Both of you! And no matter what happens, I'm going to be okay! I will always remember Alola for all the smiles everyone gave me! That's why one day…one day I will return to Alola; where I have found home and ohana!" She dug into her bag and handed Hau a small box, "Hau…Please take this with you!"

    "I will!" He brought her in for a tight hug, "I'll miss you."

    "I'll miss you too."

    When they separated; she turned to face Sun.

    He hadn't said a word since they arrived and it looked painful seeing the different range of angst emotions play across his face.

    "Sun…sorry...Elio,"

    "I don't think you want to leave, without saying goodbye to a certain someone," Alola's champion cut her off, pulling out a familiar Poké Ball and releasing the creature inside.

    "Mahiiiina!" The legendary Lunala flew up and floated in front of Sun between them.

    "Nebby!"

    "Mahiiina!" The girl embraced the friend that had traveled with them everywhere as a tiny cosmog, "I'm going to miss you!"

    Lunala gave her an odd look as if to ask; why?

    "I'm going to go on a trial of my own in Kanto! Unfortunately, that means I have to leave Alola…"

    The Pokémon shook her head and gently pushed her towards Sun with one of its wings.

    "Ah!" She gasped stumbling forward, trying to stare at anything except the boy in front that caught her with his arms. Their faces were now inches apart, prompting both to noticeably blush.

    "Why?" He finally asked her, "Why didn't you tell me you were leaving?"

    "I was going to!" She said, shaking her head, "But you seemed to be having the best time ever while at your celebration and I didn't want to ruin that!"

    "You weren't going to ruin it!" Although that was a lie, he didn't want her to feel any worse, "Please…just don't leave me! I'll come with you back to Kanto!"

    Lillie shook her head, despite being overjoyed at hearing his commitment to stick with her, "Sun…you have an obligation to Alola as its champion…"

    "I'll give up my title!" He compromised with desperation etched onto his face, "Look, you promised back on Exeggutor Island that you wanted to travel with me! We can do that! Together!"

    "I know!" Lillie stammered, "Elio…As much as I'd love that; I have to do this alone…by myself…and you'll understand if you truly care."

    "I understand," Elio let out a sniffle to avoid losing his composure, "I really do…but it just doesn't make it any less painful. Please…just don't leave me! Alola needs you!..." His voice trailed off to a whisper that both barely heard him, "I need you..."

    "I'm really sorry Sun, but I have to do this. For my mother…and for myself." Lille fought back the next wave of tears as she put her head on his shoulder and finally gave into the torrent of emotions threatening to spill over. She cried into it for what seemed like an eternity. Sun's arm slowly wrapped around her back as he held her close, trying hard himself not to cry either.

    Lillie felt as if she had doomed him with the separation and already feared that it was going to be hard to say goodbye to everyone…Sun was by far the hardest to part ways with.

    "You know what Lillie? You're right…I understand what you have to do and I'm sorry for acting like that," Sun finally said as they faced each other again, he looked apologetic and absolutely adorable to her when he pursed his lips, "It would be very selfish of me to keep you away from your calling. I'm going to miss you…so good luck in Kanto. You'll love it there and just…promise you'll come back soon."

    "Of course I will!" She wiped the last of the tears from her eyes, "After all; I want to challenge you to a battle one day so that you can see how strong a trainer I've become!"

    "You'll make a great trainer Lillie," Sun agreed, "Kanto won't know what hit it."

    "I want to give you something to remember me by."

    "What?"

    "So here," Lillie pulled a small pink plush doll that resembled a clefairy from her bag. "It may look a little worn, but that is because this was my most treasured belonging once."

    Sun looked at it and then to her in disbelief, feeling his face heat up as she approached and pressed it into his hands. "Lillie I can't take this."

    "You can and you will. Please…" He saw that she was not going to take no for an answer. "For you to cherish all the memories we made together,"

    "This is the most meaningful gift I've ever been given," Sun managed to choke out after accepting it, feeling another wave tears begin to well up in his eyes. Looking over, he saw she too was trying not to make this any more of a forlorn goodbye. "Mahalo."

    "Here," His hands went up to the gold pendant around his neck. It was in the shape of Melemele's guardian deity, Tapu Koko, whom they had seen together when they first met on the Mahalo Trail. Sun had gotten it from his mother and with Kahuna Hala's blessing, wore it around his neck so that it would keep him safe.

    He undid the clasp and took one of her hands; gently placing it in her palm.

    "My mother got this for me. She thought that since I was saved by the great Tapu Koko that this pendant would keep me safe and allow me protect my family while on my journey. Now I want to pass it onto the next member of my family while she's out on a journey of her own. Lillie, you're family to me…you're ohana and I want you to just…just be safe out there. Give it your all. And when you come back to Alola," Her green eyes met his gray, "Find me."

    Lillie couldn't take it anymore. She flung her arms around his back in one last hug, knowing that this might be the last time for a long period that she would be able to see him. Just like the embrace when he finally found her being reprimanded by Lusamine at Aether Paradise, they stood perfectly still, wanting to be with one another for as long as possible. Neither wanted to part.

    He wished he could have the feeling of her in his arms forever…as if there was nothing else in the world except each other.

    "Alola Lillie," Sun whispered the traditional greeting of hello and goodbye in her ear, only for the two of them, "A hui hou kakou, k'ou alola."

    "Alola Elio." Lille said back to him using his real name, "I'll never forget you."

    They wistfully separated from their embrace as she walked across the gangplank onboard. A few minutes later, the ship's horn sounded across the harbor as it cast off.

    Sun was about to turn and walk back down the marina when he saw movement on the ship's stern.

    Lillie had walked onto the deck to face them and waved. She shouted something, but none of the three boys could hear it over the wind and hum of the engines.

    Both he and Professor Kukui rushed to the edge of the platform, raising a hand in farewell.

    They stood at the end until the ship vanished over the horizon, heading westbound for Kanto.

    Onboard the ferry; Lillie remained on the back deck until the familiar figures began to disappear in the distance. It was followed by the night lights of Hau'oli's skyline before the rest of Melemele Island…her home had vanished over the horizon. She wasn't even away from Alola for a full day and already began to miss it.

    Lillie retreated to her double bed cabin that was booked for the voyage and checked the occupied one first.

    Her dear mother, Lusamine had been wheeled into her quarters in a wheelchair before easing herself onto a bed, where several sophisticated looking machines were monitoring her prognosis. An array of tubes inserted into various sections supplied her body with IV fluids while another one was leeching out a thin black noxious fluid; what remained of Nihilego's toxins.

    Aside from a few moments to eat and bathe, she was hardly awake for much which Lillie was happy for. Kanto was a six-day trip by boat but only a nine-hour flight and while she could easily afford tickets, she wasn't sure how her mother's fatigued body would react in a different environment like an airplane.

    Her mind was focused on three things that day; the first getting to Kanto to fully cure her mother. Once that was done, she aimed to finally get a Pokémon to begin a journey that she had now readied herself to do. The drive remained dormant until she had met Sun and Hau, who flung the doorway open in spite of her attempts to keep it shut or even acknowledge its existence.

    Lastly was the phrase that Sun said to her at the docks before they separated. Sure, she was going to miss everyone she had met over the last nine months; Professor Kukui, Burnet, Hala, Hapu and Hau, but for some reason a blooming feeling in her chest made her realize that Sun was the biggest reason she would long to return to Alola's shores. He said to find him when she returned, so it appeared that he was not going anywhere and would wait however long it would take her to come back to him.

    Lillie knew little of the native Alolan language aside from the region's name which doubled as a greeting of hello and goodbye.

    Sun had said it twice while they had tearfully embraced. Unless he was saying farewell twice…but does it have another meaning?

    Curiously she reached over to her datapad and opened it out of the Aether Foundation logoed cover. She typed in the browser's search engine, spelling it out as best as she could and got a result.

    Her breath hitched at the result and tears suddenly welled up in her eyes the second time that night as she too had felt her heart had been split in half that was left behind. It was now too much after just finding out that he harbored similar feelings for her.

    Lusamine was vaguely aware of her daughter sobbing in her stateroom as she groggily awoke before lapsing into slumber again. She would question Lillie about it when she had enough strength back.

    "I'm sorry Sun," Lillie sniffled into her pillow, absolutely horrified that she had broken his…no both of their hearts. "I'm so sorry Elio…"

    She cried herself to sleep that night.


    And there's the first chapter. I want to say that I appreciate everyone who reads and provides invaluable feedback to me. This is one fanfiction that I have had an absolute blast writing and can't wait to share the rest with you guys. I know much of it doesn't make sense right now, especially starting at the end, but I feel that this is a different approach to my novelization of sorts.

    Mahalo for reading and reviewing, you give my writing purpose.


    Translations:

    Alola - Hello/Goodbye/Love

    Mahalo - Thanks/Thank you

    Ohana - Family

    Kahuna - Chief

    Lanakila - Triumphant/Victory

    A hui hou kakou, k'ou alola - Until we meet again, my love
     
    #2 Jun 20, 2017
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2017
  3. BraviaryScout

    BraviaryScout Way of the Wind

    Dauntless
    (Rufflet)
    Level 23
    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2017
    Posts:
    1,777
    PokéPoints:
    ₽1,040.9
    Crown of ValorPoké Ball ★
    Alola readers. Brav is back with another weekly update for A Hui Hou Kakou. I'm actually quite ahead of myself with ten and soon to be eleven chapters written and will continue to update on a weekly basis every Monday or Tuesday.
    Let's get to it shall we?


    The stars twinkled overhead in the clear night sky as Sun and Professor Kukui made their way back out of Hau'oli City. Hau trailed just behind them and said no more than seven words before he bade goodbye and began to head up the hills in the direction of his house in Iki Town.

    Similarly, both the Champion and the professor made the walk back in silence. The men were deep in thought and a bit of a shock at what had just happened. Lillie was gone and she wasn't coming back. It wasn't just for a few months or a year…it was indefinite.

    The first thing Sun felt from her unexpected exit was anger; directed right at Lillie's mother Lusamine for forcing her away to Kanto and away from him. It gnawed at his side and made him wanted to emit a pained scream for ripping one of the people he truly cared about…a girl that he had fallen for over the time they spent together, away from him. Through all of that anger though; what Kukui saw in the boy was upsetting, sadness…heartbreak.

    Hau was initially upset when their friend announced her sudden trip to the other side of the world, but he had quickly overcome his sorrow with the cheerfulness he was well known for. Kukui knew that Hau harbored a crush on his former assistant, but he wasn't completely sure how she felt towards him other than as a great friend. He would get over her absence quickly.

    Elio was a different story. The professor had been suspecting for a while that all the time Lillie and Sun had spent together on their journey that past few months spurred a strong budding romantic relationship between the two. He knew that as soon as she broke the news to him about her booked voyage to Kanto that Alola's Champion was not going to take her absence very well.

    Sure enough, he predicted it spot on. Sun kept up his stoic façade and tried his best to share Hau's contagious optimism, but he eventually had to concede defeat and remained deep in thought during the walk home.

    His house quickly appeared on the side of the road on Melemele's east side. Homes here had larger properties and spaced farther apart to combine luxury with affordability, but also were a fair distance away from downtown Hau'oli so that the commute issue was distance rather than mass traffic. It was a very nice neighborhood.

    "Well," Kukui said as they stopped right by the front door, "You're still on for the party yeah? I better get going home myself. Burnet must be worried sick already!"

    The door opened and his mother and Meowth walked out to smile in their direction, both were excited to see him.

    "Sun!" She waved, "You can heat up your food if you like!"

    "I'm not hungry," Sun replied. He sounded so absentminded as if not fully paying attention. He turned back to the professor and smiled forcibly.

    "I'll see you later."

    Kukui watched him walk back towards his house and almost saw the fire Sun normally had in his eyes that burned intensely bright, thirsting for adventure, battle and enjoyment of life in general become extinguished in an instant. He had been right. The Champion was in love with Lillie and she had just broken his heart. There wasn't a way he could be angry at her, she was ready to open the next part of her life with helping her mother and starting her own Pokémon journey. Unfortunately, the new beginning did not include him and he had a new obligation to his new home region and a title to defend.

    "You know Sun. I went through the same thing you're going through now."

    He stopped and turned around, not able to hide his surprise at the professor's revelation.

    "I had to say goodbye to people I've cared about before. Multiple times I might add. It hurts. Believe me. Just like a luvdisc using attract and captivate before running away. Although it's the same thing I told Hau back at the marina. You just have to show one last smile yeah?"

    Sun's cheeks turned just slightly red and he stared at the ground.

    "Lillie's onto the next chapter in her life and the best thing we can do is to be supportive of her. It is upsetting to see her go, but she wouldn't want us to be sad forever. Make the best of the memories you two had together."

    "She had become such an important part of my life," Sun whispered. He still sounded distant.

    "I know cousin, but we heard what she said before leaving. One day, she'll return home to Alola and Lillie is someone who keeps her promises. Don't worry champ, you'll see her again one day. I'm sure of it."

    He nodded, "Thanks professor."

    "Anytime brotha. I'll see you around. Alola!"

    "Alola,"

    Sun closed the front door of his house and slipped off his shoes, setting them to the side rack.

    "Sun…are you alright?" Mom greeted him with great concern etched onto her face. She had seen the display from the front windows after going back inside and the lack of a smile was quite bothersome. Beside her, Meowth was also curiously looking at the two humans.

    "M-Mom…" Sun stammered, "It's Lillie…"

    "What?" She moved closer, already sensing and filling in the blanks on why her own son wasn't himself. Anyone else would probably be still in joy over being the champion of a region and he would be too…it would have to be a great magnitude if he barely talked about anything other than battling after getting his title.

    "She's…she's gone…to Kanto," He was fighting tears for the second time that day, "Why?"

    To her; this side of Sun was one he did not show often to others. She couldn't even recall the last time he openly cried like this. He was normally a stiff, wooden person who rarely let his emotions to anyone or let it get the best of him.

    Except when it concerned the people he cared deeply about.

    To him; he felt absolutely humiliated at the fact that he was Alola's Champion…the strongest trainer on the islands. He had a formidable team of Pokémon at his side that would follow him to the gates of hell. He dauntlessly faced down Team Skull, the Aether Foundation and the Ultra Beasts with a confidence and swagger that he had developed both as a trainer and as a person, culminating with five of the most difficult battles of his career from the Elite Four and the professor himself.

    Here he was…the mighty champion of Alola bawling his eyes out because of one girl.

    His mother put her arms around him as his body was racked with sobs. He hardly made a sound, save for sniffles and irregular breathing. The champion made no attempt to push her away or break away from the irregular display. He just leaned into her, giving in to the reassuring respite his mother offered.

    "I'm sorry Mom," He whispered after a few minutes, "I know it's not proper of me to do this."

    "It's nothing to be ashamed of, sweetheart." She soothed, "It's perfectly okay to cry."

    "Over a girl?"

    "Of course. I know heartbreak when I see it."

    Sun looked away in embarrassment and he wiped away eyes full of tears, "Mom…"

    His mother saw that she had successfully taken some of the sadness out with that suggestion, although it was replaced by a very flustered expression, "What? You think I couldn't see that you were falling head over heels for her? If only those fireworks went off a half second later!"

    "Mom!"

    She laughed, "The whole town was pulling for you on that one!" Her expression softened, "Sun…I'm not going to lie when I say that something like this takes time to heal. But you've changed…in my eyes, you have become a better person…you've made Lillie a stronger person too. Would you have believed it six months ago that she would be going to Kanto to begin a journey of her own?"

    "No,"

    "Well I will tell you that she didn't get all confident and assertive by herself. Hau, Professor Kukui and you were the main factors in that. She knows it too."

    "She had it in her…all this time. Just need a push in the right direction. Still, that doesn't help the fact that she's gone," Sun's expression darkened, "If anything…it says that she left because of me." He shook his head and cursed to himself, "I'm sorry. I shouldn't be thinking selfishly like that."

    "Come," His mother put an arm around him and led the way to his room, "We can talk about it some more later. Right now, you need a good rest. You've got a title to defend."

    Awakening the next morning, Sun yawned and stretched his limbs, letting the last strands of sleep fade away. He was grateful to have gotten his sleep cycle back on track since his new schedule was set in stone in terms of defending his title.

    Alola's Champion rolled out of the bed and went over to the sink. A couple minutes of brushing his teeth and facewashing, he headed back into his room.

    Despite living in the region for nearly a year by now; Sun hadn't actually spent a lot of time at his new house. The neighborhood was quiet and most of the other residents were the typical Alolan friendly. He didn't have a lot of things that he brought from Kanto, but a lot of moving boxes remained unopened with a layer of dust covering their tops. He figured it would be a good time to unpack the rest of his things since he figured that his mother was still asleep.

    Lillie's pokedoll sat right on top of his dresser and Sun stopped to give it a long glance, still wondering and hoping that her leaving was just a bad dream. Back when they had first met, she had it kept in her loft of Kukui's lab as one of the few items that she took when fleeing Aether Paradise with Nebby. Lillie fiercely defended her personal quarters when he and Hau went to the place to get a Pokédex. When everyone was away, he couldn't help himself but head upstairs to take a look despite not wanting to disturb her privacy. That's when he spotted the doll alongside a collection of pretty advanced books of varying genres. It seemed that romance and adventure dominated the rows. Her diary was on a small desk with a glittering lock. The murkrow that was perched up in the loft gave it a lustful glance but apparently knew that she would be angry if it decided to attack that part of her property.

    He remembered her forlorn expression last night. It was her most treasured possession and she had given it to him without hesitation. It looked like one of the older models and parts of it seemed a little worn and faded. That was enough proof that it was a well-loved object.

    Sun lifted it in his hands. The fur felt soft and he caught a whiff of a sweet smelling scent that instantly reminded him of her. Turning it over, his eyes immediately drifted to a tear in the back where some of the clear colored stuffing was beginning to show.

    Now curious, he felt that even more of the stuffing had been pulled out and felt his fingertip hook on something that felt like a ring.

    Pulling it out of the doll, he saw that it was a long silvery key that glittered in the sunlight drifting into his room. The fake gems lining the edges were identical to the ones on her diary. The size and shape of the teeth were about the right size to fit in the slot.

    Did she want him to read it and reminisce about their adventures together? It was possible that she had taken the diary with her and forgot that the key was now halfway around the world. He realized that it was where she always had kept it and could've easily read her entries had he known where it was stashed.

    Then again, Sun was a man who respected someone's privacy; excluding that one time he took a peek in the loft and considered it sacrilege, especially without consent. If the diary was still in Kukui's lab, then he figured that she would be essentially giving him permission to read it.

    He headed through the bedroom's door into the main room. Mom had already left for work and Meowth was napping again in his favorite bed. A stack of neatly folded laundry was in a basket next to the washing machine from the load she had done last night. He grabbed all of his clothes from the stack and placed them inside his wardrobe.

    Snagging an energy bar from the kitchen pantry, Sun left the house and made his way down to Professor Kukui's lab, eating as he went. Like normal, the front door was unlocked. Alola had a very low crime rate and the energetic man preferred to have the Pokémon residing at his lab to act as security of sorts.

    Sun was a regular visitor so the professor's lycanroc that he had used in the champion battle was the primary guard of the lab. He perked his head up hearing the door open and trotted over.

    "Hey buddy," He stroked the Pokémon's fur, "How's it going?"

    The midday form Lycanroc let out an approving rumble and moved off, most likely somewhere else to lie down. Sun didn't see the other Pokémon moving around. The big aquarium that had three luvdisc bubbled at the far end of the building, but the rendezvous Pokémon that swam crazily about in the glass were nowhere in sight.

    He quickly scaled the ladder and found himself in the familiar layout of Lillie's loft. Looking towards the desk, his heart stopped for a moment when he saw that her diary was still there.

    Murkrow was nowhere to be seen and he had just taken the diary when he heard the lab's door open.

    "Sun?" It was professor Kukui.

    For a moment, he felt as if he was a sneasel that was caught stealing eggs, but realized that the professor must've known he was coming.

    He cautiously peered over the edge of the railing and saw that Kukui was looking right up at him as if he knew he was going to be there.

    "Yes?"

    "Alola cousin! What are ya doing up there?"

    "Umm. I forgot something. Yeah, I came back to get it."

    "Did you now? You misplaced something in my loft? Or are you here for Lillie's diary?" He gave off a knowing smirk having caught him red-handed.

    Sun realized that he had figured it out all along, conceding defeat. "Fine. Yes, I was coming to see if Lillie had left her diary."

    "Good! She wanted to make sure you got it! I can tell you already miss her already yeah?"

    So it was true that Lillie wanted him to take it.

    "Okay! Sounds good! Just keep your phone ready since challengers are now going to be coming for your throne! You've got a championship to defend! I'll be finishing up some last minute things for the league in the basement if ya need me yeah?"

    With that, the professor headed downstairs whistled to himself. It wasn't long before he heard something get smashed and a loud thump in the basement. He must've had another idea and was taking hits from one of his Pokémon to further his research. From the sounds coming from below, it seemed like he was locked in a session with either poliwhirl or stufful.

    Although he was welcome to stay however long he pleased; Sun called out that he was leaving and started the walk back home.

    Clouds were starting to roll in as the afternoon settled after closing the front door, so he went to sit on his bed.

    The key fit perfectly into the lock and the clasp sprang open when he twisted it.

    As if he was carefully handling a priceless item; Sun gently opened the book.

    Now we come to the main section of the story after setting it up. In case you missed it, the novelization is going to be told through Lillie's Diary by entries both in the game and others that I had made up myself. I can't wait to get started! See ya guys on the update next week!

    Please read and provide some feedback. Mahalo for doing so, you give my writing purpose.

    Translations:

    • K'ou malu - My secret
     
    #3 Jun 26, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2017
    WavePearl likes this.
  4. BraviaryScout

    BraviaryScout Way of the Wind

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    Alola readers, Brav is back with the newest chapter of A Hui Hou Kakou, K'ou Alola.


    This is what it looks like; an entry and novelization of the Sun & Moon story told through entries in Lillie's diary. Although we get a small glimpse at what she's written in the game, I decided to make my own entries after leaving off since she likely continued writing up to the point where she departs for Kanto.

    So without further ado, enjoy the first diary entry. Enjoy guys.

    I've finally decided.

    I have to leave Aether Paradise so that I can protect Nebby. I told Wicke about my plans in secret and she told me to find someone named Professor Burnet and that she might be able to help. Wicke thinks that this Professor Burnet is researching the Ultra Wormholes.

    I wonder what kind of person she might be? And how will I ever find her? I don't even know were in Alola she might be right now…

    Lillie grabbed a tiny pink doll off her shelf and threw it into the big white duffel bag that Miss Wicke had secretly brought into her room. It was this, her diary plus a few other personal items that she was planning to take with her.

    She was about to make the hardest decision in her life. The thought of it scared her half to death, as she had never been outside the Aether sanctuary by herself. Lillie knew that once she made her move…there was no turning back. She would never walk through the grounds on good terms ever again.

    But she had to do this for herself…for her mother…for her brother…for Nebby.

    All that remained was getting Nebby.

    The clothes she had used to wear were locked away in a wardrobe that her mother kept in the room. She'd have to leave wearing the white sundress that her mother forced her to don every day of the week. It was only when she went to bed was there allowed to be a change of clothes. The sleepwear was a white nightgown with long flowing straps that breezed behind her when she walked.

    Her mother claimed that she always looked beautiful in the dress and never wanted it to fade away, so her wardrobe of older clothes were put away and sixteen sets of the identical dresses were replaced instead. She had found it to be a bit uncomfortable to wear, especially for prolonged periods of time.

    Nebby was the little Pokémon called cosmog that remained the centerpiece of her mother's obsession. It appeared ever since father disappeared and Lusamine began a slow but inevitable spiral into madness, where every unexpected reaction of fruitless attempts in opening ultra wormholes was the next eureka breakthrough in accomplishing her goal of finding and bringing him back. She and her brother were constantly shunted aside by her regardless of the time or place. Rather than appreciate the pieces of her family she still had; it became a never-ending narrow minded ambition to get the piece that was lost.

    Her older brother Gladion had ran away two years ago, stealing one of the irreplaceable top secret Type: Null experiments and now it was her turn to vanish with a part of Aether's research. Lusamine was about to lose the other pieces, but she was so focused on experiments with Nebby that they seemed to be hardly a bother. Lillie had seen her mother's livid rage when the news broke out of both her brother and the Null's disappearance. It was about to happen again.

    She had seen some of the tests, using the cosmog's gases it emitted. They seemed painful and yielded little results which only served to further Lusamine's persistent anger at being so close. Lillie couldn't stand it being in pain and decided that saving it meant getting both of them as far away from Aether Paradise as possible.

    Wicke was the only person she could trust with this matter. She had come on as the new Assistant Branch Chief when she was just a little girl and became a favorite among the foundation's staff due to her caring personality. Lusamine's busy schedule hadn't freed up any time to raise both her and brother as they grew up, so Wicke had stepped in to become their surrogate mother. Without her; living with their actual biological one would be pretty unbearable at this point.

    She had told Lillie to find a woman named Burnet, who resided somewhere on Alola when she finally escaped. There would be a small boat at the docks with a preprogrammed navigation system in order to save her the time it took to instruct her on how to operate a waterborne vessel.

    Two nights ago; Lillie had overheard some staff talking among themselves while visiting in Lusamine's office by their house. Apparently, the cosmog, which she had already nicknamed Nebby had shown signs of extreme pain after a recent test proved too much for it to endure. It had produced favorable results, so they had claimed. Although she didn't know what it meant; the words stung at her heart and she immediately sought Wicke to tell her that she intended to run away within the next three days.

    Lillie took one last look around her room. Everything was put up in an orderly fashion and glancing at the holo-clock on her nightstand next to the exeggutor lamp, it read was a half hour until midnight.

    Lusamine always went to bed at eleven after reading the final night reports submitted by Wicke and Faba before arising the next morning at precisely six. She quietly passed the master bedroom and snuck a look inside.

    Her mother was sound asleep.

    The only way to get inside the labs where Nebby had been experimented on was getting a pass in order to access both the elevator to the sublevel as well as getting into the lab itself. Rules were quite strict in allowing one person in a door to a secure area at a time and the same badge was not to be used twice for different individuals. Not all employees had equal access around the Paradise either; she had to get one that had a higher clearance tier of four or higher. Out of the five tiers, only the top two had unrestricted access to the secret labs below.

    Only three people had tier five access. Lusamine, Wicke and Branch Chief Faba. Lillie didn't care for the older man. He wore bug-eyed green sunglasses and possessed a wiry build. His pompous, boasting nature often meant that he cared little for children. Other than curt greetings; neither Lillie nor Gladion managed to get much else out of him. The hypno that accompanied him around gave off quite a creepy vibe as well, strutting by its trainers side, giving a weighted glare at the two teens whenever they crossed paths.

    Lillie silently thanked having a tile floor as she slowly made her way over to Lusamine's bedside. Her socks made moving across its smooth surface silent. Years of memorization came into play as she always knew that her mother kept her badge in a drawer just by her nightstand.

    She quietly opened it up and found the plastic card in its clear jacket. Lillie glanced over at her mother's sleeping form. Her long blonde hair was disheveled and the fresh sleeping gown she wore had wrinkled despite having been pressed earlier in the day. The chest rose and fell in a steady rhythm, which meant that she was already in a deep sleep.

    I'm sorry mother. She thought somberly, But I have to do this for Nebby and for me.

    Quietly exiting, the girl slipped a large brimmed white hat over her head and quietly exited the house. There was a house security alarm that was state-of-the-art that had been installed and upgraded almost annually. The master control panel for the entire mansion was just next to the front door that led out onto the main courtyard. Opening any connection to the outside of the house would trigger an alarm unless it was disabled.

    A couple nights past; Lillie had watched Lusamine enter the arming code and woke up early to secretly watch the sequence of numbers required to turn it off.

    She cautiously approached it and punched in the six digits, wincing automatically as if she had gotten it wrong.

    Her fear dissipated when the panel flashed green and she silently thanked the fact that the disarming chirp was quiet enough not to wake her sleeping mother.

    Exiting the house; the warm humid air of Alola hit her and the nerves of getting caught had caused her skin to prick.

    "Hang on Nebby," She whispered and hurried down the path.

    The courtyard to their house was elongated, preceded by a massive building that towered ahead with giant glass panes that stretched to either side as if moving to embrace the house in a hug. Circling the entire facility was a large barrier that stretched a good distance around the floating structures to protect it from rough waves when the weather took a turn for the worse.

    She continued along the path; fighting tears that threatened to boil over in her eyes. Leaving her home was going to be the hardest decision she had made thus far. She had to do this…in order to save cosmog and herself from her mother's obsessive clutches.

    The night shift in the atrium was a skeleton crew; staffed by sleepy employees who often took to reading books, watching television or listening to music to pass the time. She had made her way over to the main elevator and had yet to see anyone glance in her direction.

    Flashing the badge in front of the panel, it lit green and she hit the button for the lower levels.

    The labs looked just like she had last seen them. Everything was bare white and spotless with a cool dry air. There wasn't even a speck of dirt on the floor.

    Cosmog will be in Secret Lab B. Wicke's words echoed in her head, Once you've taken it out of its test chamber, the security staff will be immediately alerted since the President nor Branch Chief Faba have not authorized its withdrawl.

    Lillie used Lusamine's badge to open the lab and peered inside. The equipment looked to be powered down save for the low humming of a few systems.

    Cosmog lay in the tiny chamber at the lab's center. It must've been asleep since it quickly sensed a presence and perked up, immediately backing away in fear.

    "Nebby?" Lillie cautiously asked.

    "Pew?" The tiny Pokémon still looked a bit apprehensive, but it clearly recognized her, coming closer to the glass.

    "It's okay," She reassured it, hitting the release button causing the test chamber to slide open, "I'm getting you out of here." Gesturing to the bag at her side, she opened the zipper, "You're going to have to stay in here until we're safe. Okay?"

    "Pew!" Nebby hesitated for a moment before floating over and diving inside.

    "Okay," Lillie breathed. Her plan had to be set in stone now. As soon as she walked out that door; there was no going back.

    She was just to the entrance of the elevator room when a shrill alarm resonated through the hollow confines of the floor. The sudden loud howl caused both her and Nebby to jump in fright.

    "SECURITY BREACH DETECTED IN LAB BRAVO. UNSANCTIONED RELEASE OF TEST SUBJECT HAS BEEN NOTED! LOCKDOWN PROTOCOLS ARE TO BE ENGAGED AND REMAIN IN EFFECT UNTIL CONTAINMENT LEVELS HAVE BEEN RESTORED TO CONDITION GREEN!" The intercom was a deep male voice that boomed from unseen speakers that was felt more than heard. After the message had finished, it repeated itself all over again.

    Lillie broke into a run for the elevator and hit the button for the docks. The whole foundation was on high alert and she knew that the lockdown drill was practiced once every three weeks. It included shutting off the facility's access points by air and sea.

    If she didn't hurry, this was going to be the shortest escape plan in history.

    Panic seized Lillie's body when the elevator didn't ascend.

    She tried hitting the button for the docks again. No response.

    "Come on," Every second she spent trying to get it to work meant another second they would have at finding her.

    The badge! Of course!

    She swiped it again and her hand flew to the panel in desperation. Her eyes widened when she realized what she had done.

    No!

    She had hit the wrong button. Instead of going to the docks, the elevator rose past them, headed for the top floor of the conservation area.

    As soon as the platform stopped, she cautiously stepped forward. The preserve was unnaturally quiet, devoid of the usual sounds of the many different species of Pokémon that inhabited this part.

    "Hey!" A voice came from behind her. "She's on the conservation floor headed for the north exit!"

    Lillie whirled around to see a trio of white uniformed employees, who quickly sprinted in her direction. The girl's feet left before her mind and she ran ahead, down another one of the walkways. She heard the footsteps of the men; they were right on her heels. Her feet hit the floor, jarring her entire body with each impact. Breaths became more frantic as her limbs demanded additional oxygen for the increase in movement.

    I have to keep going! I have to keep Nebby safe!

    "We'll stay on her trail! Go to the north exit and cut her off!"

    "Got it!"

    As Lillie ran; she went through the various choices in her head. The docks were likely to be locked down, so her best chance of escape was gone thanks to her impulsive decision to hit any button on the elevator. She thought that maybe, she could weave through the walkways to lure away her chasers in order to get back to the elevator for a second chance, but figured that even it was going to be restricted from access in an escape situation like this.

    What should I do now? I can't keep running forever!

    Nebby glanced about nervously inside her bag and made a soft cry, shaking in terror. It had no idea what was going on.

    "It's okay Nebby," Lillie reassured, even though she knew it was everything but that. She glanced down, a mistake that caused her to trip right in front of the floor's north exit.

    Pain shot up the side of her leg and she felt tears welling up in her eyes after losing balance. Yet, she struggled to her feet and continued running, despite the persisting ache in her legs threatening to hamper her progress.

    Her heart sank when she saw two more of the employees waiting for her, standing between her and the north exit, which meant freedom. Beside them were two Pokémon; one was a rocky quad-armed creature with electrical crystals lining its body. The other was a small blue figure with a large swirled pattern over its stomach.

    "Gotcha!" The same voice came from behind her.

    The other two employees pursuing her had caught up, releasing a big blue Pokémon with reb orbs on its head and a multitude of deadly looking stinger tentacles. The other partner was avian with a large horn on its head with red wings and a sleek metallic appearance.

    No! Lillie thought in defeat, I can't go back! Nebby can't go! What do I do?

    "Just hand the cosmog over," The one with the tentacruel said. His voice was reassuring, but the rather malicious smirk plastered on his face betrayed the promise.

    "I won't give Nebby up!" She defiantly cried, "Not to you or my mother!"

    His partner shook his head, "Fine." He gestured to the bird, "Skarmory; get the bag."

    The Pokémon let out a harsh caw and extended one of its sharp claws out. Lillie stepped back as it came closer with the intention of tearing it apart and snatching Nebby with its talons.

    A glow caught her eye as the cosmog began to glow bright. The flash caused the skarmory to break off its run and it swooped up above the action, screeching loudly in protest.

    Lillie gasped as she was enveloped in the strange energy as she suddenly faded into unconsciousness. Her last thoughts went to Nebby and grew increasingly worried if it was safe.

    The four Aether employees gasped in surprise as a sphere of bluish energy encapsulated the girl before she vanished inside and it zoomed upwards, effortlessly passing through the glass roof out of sight.

    Skarmory followed it up, powering a steel wing strike and quickly called off its course when it was clear that it wasn't going to catch it.

    "President," One of them spoke into the radio on his wrist device, "The girl got away."

    Lusamine's steely voice sent shivers down the spines of all four men, "What?! How!? I thought you had the north exit locked down?"

    "We did. We believe the test subject's power was what aided in her escape."

    There was a bit of silence on the other end of the channel and all four glanced nervously at one another, no doubt fearing their hard-earned careers could very well be in jeopardy.

    "Understood," Her voice never wavered, although they knew that she was seething in anger at her house, "Inform Mister Faba that the emergency has subsided and tell him to report to my office as soon as possible."

    I'm sorry mother

    Lusamine stared at the lone piece of paper sitting on Lillie's nightstand inside her room. Although the handwriting was precise; after having hours of practice from homeschooling, she thought nothing of how meticulous or even the significance behind the three words her daughter had left.

    The President's mind wandered to everything she and Lillie had done together. She was given her unconditional love alongside her brother, even after her husband vanished and now she had ran away with the cosmog. Both of them stole something important to her…the center of her work for months.

    Her hand balled into a fist as she picked up the note and gave it a furious rip; tearing her daughter's heartfelt apology into pieces. Now it meant nothing.

    "Miss President?" Faba's voice came from the doorway. He leaned against the side with folded arms and a rather concerned expression on his face. The gesture shocked her, as the normally calm and collected Branch Chief rarely ever showed his emotions.

    "Mister Faba. We have a lot of work to do."

    "You're right," He seethed, "Your little bratty girl ran off with our research and best hopes of opening potential ultra wormholes! How are we supposed to maintain our schedule now?"

    "Patience," Lusamine reassured him despite harboring similar resentment herself, "Spread the word to all of our offices on the islands to begin searching. Alola is not a big place and eventually, she'll have nowhere to hide and nobody to protect her." She paused, "How many samples of the cosmog's gas do we have in store?"

    "Just one,"

    "Begin additional testing when possible. Let her think the trail's gone cold. We'll catch up with Lillie soon enough."

    Lillie heard the faint crashing of ocean waves and slowly opened her eyes.

    Again, panic seized her body when it felt difficult to move her arms and legs. The ocean stretched all around her, pulling on her bag and dress as she flailed about to try and stay afloat.

    She had been given swimming lessons by her mother when she was young in order to go and play in the reservoir with the water type Pokémon that resided in the Paradise.

    Lillie knew that the worst thing to do when stranded in the middle of the ocean was to panic. Yet it was hard to avoid that when the weight of both her long dress and bag were both weights dragging her down. Her breathing became more rapid with fright as the severity of the situation began to set in. She was out of Aether Paradise, which was good news, but now floating in the middle of nowhere on an endless ocean was just as bad if not worse. While it was widely known for its beautiful appearance; the sea could turn deadly in a matter of seconds.

    As she kicked to continue treading water; she felt her muscles as if they were made of lead. Every stroke and lash with her limbs made them burn with lactic acid that made trying to stay afloat a battle of its own. The waves crashed all around her, threatening to swamp her fragile body down. The torrent was relentless, as if it knew that it would only be a matter of time before claiming its latest victim. Remarkably, the bag with Nebby inside kept to her side, as if it didn't want to part from the girl either.

    Her foot dashed against something solid and she could barely make out sand under the moonlight. Further ahead, there was a sandbar that led to a brush of tall palm trees that were dense enough to mask the other side of the land.

    She didn't even know if she was still in Alola. The entire world felt disoriented and everything had fazed right by Lillie's mind as blackness began to close around her eyes once again.

    "Nebby…" She groaned, finally giving in to her body's protests and falling to her hands and knees on the sand. The next wave crashed onto the beach, washing up and eroding away the sand around her.

    The bag was opened by a trembling hand and it showed cosmog snugly asleep inside. The rest of her belongings were also intact; not even soaked. At least Nebby had a much less stressful journey than her. From what it looked like; it had slept through just about the entire ordeal after whisking both of them out of the Paradise's confines. At least something good did happen for once today.

    Lillie breathed a sigh of relief, thanking Wicke for bringing her a watertight duffel. Sleep and fatigue once again began to gnaw at her as she gave in to its seductive embrace before finally collapsing on the beach.

    She saw the prone figure lying facedown on the sand as she took her morning walk down the trail that led close to the beach. The sun was just peeking over the ocean's horizon and a small breeze drifted over Akala Island as its inhabitants began rising up to start their day.

    Although she was unconscious, the newcomer noticed the duffel shaking beside her as a pair of tan colored Pokémon stood in front of it. Neither of the two sandygast had opened it up, but their presence was enough to frighten whatever lay inside.

    The sand Pokémon quickly dispersed when a bigger blue and gray Pokémon with two robotic arms approached, raising them menacingly. Seeing that they were outmatched, both of the possessed mounds vanished into the ground, knowing that their curiosity was going to get the better of them if they decided to stay and fight.

    "Thank you Metang," The Pokémon gave off a low rumble as its trainer knelt down next to Lillie. She put a pair of fingers on her neck, relieved that there was a pulse.

    "You're alive," She said to nobody in particular, "That's good."

    She scooped up the girl in her arms as her Pokémon secured the bag and together, they headed right back to the trail. Instead of completing her morning jog, the turn of events made her go straight home.

    When Lillie awoke again, it was strange to not hear the rhythmic sound of surf waves crashing against the shore. Instead; she felt her heart pounding in her chest even though she knew that there was nothing to be frightened immediately about. Even in this unfamiliar place.

    Her eyes opened a tiny bit as she found herself lying on a sofa inside a comfortable looking apartment. Sunlight filtered through a pair of closed blinds to her right. On her left was a television screen on top of a desk with a computer.

    Lillie figured that if she was going to be taken back to Aether Paradise; there would've been something to prevent her escape. She had a few blankets over her body and had finally gathered enough warmth to stop shivering since fading from consciousness.

    Where's Nebby?

    Lillie opened her mouth to ask for her cosmog companion, but her throat felt dry and it took some effort to even produce a sound. All she made was a muted groan that sounded like a dying Pokémon.

    She heard a shuffle of footsteps outside the small room and a young woman entered, giving her a warm smile. She wore a gray tanktop and a green headband around her white hair. Although the girl was a little uncomfortable at the new presence, the woman gave an easygoing smile to help calm her nerves.

    "Hi there. How are you feeling?"

    Lillie tried to make another response, but couldn't do anything except for a muted croak.

    The woman reached over on her desk and opened a bottle with a straw on its cap. She held it tenderly up to the girl's lips, "Here."

    Although there was no flavoring; the water seemed to taste sweet like honey and felt like the first rain on a desert. She sucked greedily at the straw, enjoying it sluicing around and erasing the parched sensation in her mouth.

    "Nebby," Lillie moaned, "Where's Nebby?"

    "Nebby? Oh you mean this little fellow," The woman opened the door to reveal the nicknamed cosmog chattering excitedly to a small spherical Pokémon that had a pair of U-shaped magnets on its side and a bigger blue Pokémon. "Cosmog, Metang and Magnemite here have become quite good friends in such a short amount of time!"

    "Who-who are you?" She stammered out, "Where am I? And how do you know what Cosmog is?"

    "You're on Akala Island sweetie and perfectly safe. I made sure to let Wicke know that."

    Lillie's eyes widened, this woman knew who Wicke was?

    "Don't be alarmed," She chuckled at the girl's discomfort, "You're quite safe here with me. I'm the one she told you to seek. I just happened to take a jog on the beach early this morning and found you washed up in the sand. Why don't we get you cleaned up and get something to eat? I bet you're starving."

    Lillie had completely forgotten about her stomach, which growled as soon as the matter had come to light. Although still a little apprehensive having just met the woman; the fact that she knew Wicke had put some of her nerves at ease. For the first time since leaving Aether Paradise, she finally felt like this was someone she could trust. "Sure. I'm Lillie and that's Nebby."

    "It's very nice to meet you Lillie. You can call me Burnet. Professor Burnet."

    So that'll close the first of many diary entries. See you guys around. Please leave a comment or feedback. I really enjoy reading what you all think of my work. No translations for this one.
    Go Team Valor! #Valorsquad
    Malalo for reading and reviewing, you give my writing purpose.
    Brav
     
  5. WavePearl

    Krystal
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    The highlight here is how you portray Sun's emotions in chapter 2--showing us that a main character can be vulnerable, and have emotions besides anger and happiness can really make them that much better.
     
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  6. BraviaryScout

    BraviaryScout Way of the Wind

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    Crown of ValorPoké Ball ★
    Alola readers again! Brav is back with another update for AHHKKA. It's been quite an interesting couple of weeks, but I hope everyone had a good 4th and still having fun participating in the Summer Scramble. This is my first and I've been having a blast! Get to meet a bunch of awesome people both on my own team #Valorsquad and the other two as well.

    Big thanks to @WavePearl for her comments. That's exactly what I was aiming for; even our awesome hero is still a human and can feel something other than anger/happiness/determination. I think I've made a very complex character and think you'll like what else I have planned for him down the road.
    Enjoy the chapter everyone.


    Nebby shone brighter than anything I've ever seen in my life! And before I knew what had happened, we had found our way to meet Professor Burnet. But how did we get there? Is it some strange power that Nebby has? Did it do this?

    Professor Burnet called her husband at once, a man named Professor Kukui. He came to meet us and he walks around half-naked all the time! I don't know about that…is that some kind of Alolan fashion or something?

    In the end, it was decided that Professor Kukui would let me stay in his research lab with him. He took me there on his boat. It didn't look like it could even survive the voyage, but we arrived in one piece and the sea breeze was delightful.

    When we arrived at the marina on Melemele Island, the kahuna was there with his grandson. That is how I came to meet Kahuna Hala and Hau. I've since come to learn that the Alola region has no gym leaders or champions or any of that.

    Lillie had stayed with Professor Burnet for about a month. The woman graciously offered her spare bedroom on her Heahea apartment for as long as she wanted.

    Although the offer was the most generous one she had received from someone else; it was cramped. The twin sized bed in the middle was flanked by boxes full of papers with varying jargon that Lillie couldn't understand and she felt as if it was squeezing and enclosed in a sort of way.

    Burnet worked at her lab from the early morning hours and sometimes didn't return until ten in the evening. Every time she left, "Make yourself at home," was the saying.

    Lillie's mother would never have done that for her without expecting something in return. Burnet had given her the gift of a place to stay and didn't even ask for money.

    Still, she felt extremely guilty that she was freeloading on someone else, no less an acquaintance of Wicke's. Lillie found out that Burnet and Wicke went to college together in the Lumiose Science Academy of Technology in the Kalos region. The professor had gone to studying astronomy and inter-dimensional research while Wicke went into Pokémon nursing. They continued to keep in contact and it had been purely coincidental that she had been hired into the Aether Foundation as an assistant branch chief and was at one of their Akala facilities and ran right into her college friend along the way.

    They had been in close contact ever since.

    Today was no different; Burnet was up and gone to work well before Lillie was even close to waking up. She had been close to another breakthrough and although she did take her to visit the lab in order to learn more about Nebby, today was not a good time. The Dimensional Research Lab was located right next to an Aether office and she had seen employees out and about much more today. Lillie was adamant that she not be seen by any of them, which the older woman quickly understood.

    While she was away, the young girl busied herself with reading the library of books that was kept in the living room for both entertainment and possibly to find out more on Nebby's origins. She used her microwave to heat up insta-tapu cocoa and plopped herself down on a comfortable recliner in front of the TV. Speakers in front played chill music and it was just a place where she and Nebby could simply relax. The latter spent most of its time sleeping or playing around with Magnemite or Metang.

    Even though she absolutely loved reading, it was apparent that something like that was going to get boring fairly quick, even when Burnet's preferred novels of romance had her hooked from page to page. She still felt ashamed that she was unable to do anything in return since the professor had been so kind to her.

    Lillie set her mind. She was going to cook today.

    At her own house, she seldom saw her mother or father cook any food. They went right to the table and a couple of stewards would come out, placing a plate or bowl of a fancily arranged dish in front of them. Their chef was apparently a multi-award winning executive whose restaurants in Castelia City had consistently ranked as one of the must-try five star restaurants that lined its downtown streets.

    Mother always had strict manners at the table when eating; take petite bites, never chew with your mouth open, never talk with food in your mouth. Don't ask for seconds, you are not allowed to leave the table until your food has been finished with bathroom being the exception. No asking for something else.

    Food was usually light meals. Meat was a rarity and they often left both her and brother quite hungry before they went to bed. It had been so bad that sometimes it rendered both of them unable to concentrate when mother was homeschooling them for half the day. That part was definitely frustrating for her. Neither of them dared to go raid the fridge for leftovers or ingredients. Gladion had done that once and Lusamine was absolutely livid when she discovered it.

    When she arrived at Burnet's apartment, there was a fridge full of food, but much of it had been spoiled since its owner seldom had time to cook. She had always resorted to takeout from the few restaurants that were remaining open at such late hours.

    The only thing was that Lillie had little experience in cooking. Mother gave her an important lecture on how she was going to have to take care of her and a future husband plus "beautiful grandchildren" by making food, but didn't elaborate on the more important fact of the culinary actions itself.

    She sat down at Burnet's computer and woke it up, typing in for recipes of something…anything she could make. Since she was still at a beginner level, the search was narrowed for simplicity. Many traditional Alolan dishes were far from that.

    Before she could click on the recipe for a really good looking food called a burger, the phone rang.

    Lillie picked it up before taking a deep breath and answering, "Hello?"

    "Lillie! It's me Professor Burnet!"

    She breathed a sigh of relief, for some reason, she was expecting to hear from Aether or even her mother. "Professor. I thought you were still at work!"

    "I just got off. My husband's coming over tonight for dinner. Why don't we make something instead of takeout? I'll stop by the store before I get home and figure something out."

    "Oh-okay." She felt a little apprehensive about having someone else over, especially a man, "Yeah…that sounds great."

    "We will have to talk about a few things when I arrive since I am not sure how safe you are staying with me."

    Burnet arrived a half hour later, carrying a couple of bags through the apartment entrance. "Hi sweetie. How are you today?"

    Lillie didn't know what became of her, but she rushed towards the other woman, wrapping her arms around in a tight hug, "I'm good professor. Hungry too. Hope you brought something good."

    "I sure did. And if you're going to hug me, then don't call me professor. Burnet is my name. My first is Linda."

    "Yes Linda."

    "Very good." She set the bags on the counter in the small kitchenette across from the living room, "It's been quite a while since I cooked a dinner for myself. Let's see if we can do it together."

    Lillie beamed, finally getting an opportunity to make herself at least some help to the person who offered her shelter.

    Burnet opened the fridge and recoiled, making a face at the rancid smell coming from inside.

    "Ugh, I also forgot about all this stuff. Good thing I bought everything we needed."

    She closed it and together they started in cooking. Burnet handled the electric stove while she instructed Lillie to carefully chop the pinaps, onions as well as toss an Alolan salad. The girl's eyes watered at the sting from the moisture of the latter, but gladly accepted a pair of offered lab goggles.

    Burnet must've read her mind about burgers since that was exactly what she planned to make tonight. A few minutes later, the smell of sizzling beef along with caramelized onions made Lillie's mouth water. It was unlike anything she had ever smelled before and she already couldn't wait to find out what it tasted like.

    There was a knock on the door.

    "Oh, he's here!" Burnet rushed to the front, "Keep an eye on those burgers for me!"

    Lillie wasn't sure what that meant or how she could help, but looked over the stovetop at the cooking patties.

    Voices drifted down the hallway. She discerned Burnet's and another masculine one that gave out a hearty laugh.

    "Keep it down Emilio! She's quite shy. And why did you have to dress like that when you know I had a guest?"

    "Yeah yeah…but c'mon. Alola has to make a good First Impression!"

    "Lillie?" Burnet called out, "I want you to meet someone."

    She cautiously peered around the corner.

    Next to her roommate was a tall man with dark hair in a man bun. He had a rainbow white cap on his head with rimless green glasses. His skin tone was quite tanned and his face looked like a smile was permanently stuck.

    What really set her off was his long lab coat that draped around his back and the fact that he had no shirt on underneath. There was absolutely nothing to be embarrassed about on his physique. He was chiseled, but not overly muscular. Like Burnet, he seemed to be in his late twenties.

    Lillie had seen a health magazine with male models in her mother's bedroom one time and it felt like Burnet's husband could easily have graced the cover. Still, it was a little unnerving about him being shirtless.

    "Oh my goodness!" She gasped, "He's not…not wearing a shirt?!"

    The man chuckled, apparently unaware of her discomfort, "Alola! I'm Professor Emilio Kukui! It's quite nice to finally meet the new friend Burnet's been talking about oh yeah!"

    Lillie felt flustered from having the attention, "Uh hi there. I'm Lillie."

    "Pew!"

    Her eyes widened, "Nebby! You can't be seen! Get out of here!"

    Burnet laughed, "Lillie it's fine. Emilio already knows about cosmog."

    "It's quite an interesting Pokémon yeah! I've never seen anything like it!" They heard a bark from a puppylike Pokémon in the back. Kukui had turned around, "Let's go Rockruff or we're leaving ya!"

    "For another time." She said, "Let's eat first."

    "I'm down for that yeah! Did you make Alola teri-burgers again?"

    Lillie was definitely impressed with Burnet's cooking. While making introductions, the woman had made a timely save on the unattended burgers that were still cooking to prevent them from being overdone. The teriyaki seasoning and sliced pinaps with grilled onions was making a perfect harmony of flavor. It was intense enough that Lillie had to restrain herself from eating the whole thing at once.

    Kukui had kept the conversations flowing as they ate. Burnet baked some fries and served it alongside the salad and they talked as if they had been a family from the start as opposed to him arriving just a few minutes ago.

    "I have to ask Professor Kukui," Lillie started, "If you're married to Burnet, why are you still called that?"

    "Oh!" Burnet put down her fork, "It's mainly because if I changed my last name to his, then we'd both be called Professor Kukui. So yes, we're married but I'm also called Burnet-Kukui to make things easier between us."

    "Makes sense," Kukui agreed, "You can call me whatever you like. Professor Kukui, Kukui in general or even Emilio. Just don't say professor with both of us here yeah. Then we'll both come runnin in a quick attack!"

    Lillie giggled, "Okay. Sounds good."

    Burnet cleared her throat, "Lillie's been with me for a little more than a month and although I love having her company around, I don't think this is the best place for her to stay."

    "Why do you say that?"

    "The Aether Foundation's been getting restless lately."

    "Ho!" He turned to her, "So you know the Aether Foundation? They're crazy awesome people who take care of sick and injured Pokémon!"

    "Yeah," Lillie seemed to shrink in her chair, "I don't want to go there." She glanced at the two adults, "I don't really have a lot of people I can trust with Nebby and all, but can you both keep a secret?" She was certain after knowing Burnet about a while, but she had only just met Kukui.

    His wife nodded, "You can trust Emilio just as much as you do with me."

    "Okay…see Nebby isn't a Pokémon from this world, so I'm trying to help it find its way back home. The problem is that the Aether Foundation wants Nebby too, but it's not for a good purpose. That's why I have to protect it. They're looking to hurt it!"

    "Hurt it? I thought the Aether Foundation protects Pokémon."

    "Trust me when I say that neither Nebby or I can go back! Something horrible will happen!" Lillie pleaded with desperation, "So please…can you help me? I'll do anything! Whatever you ask! Just don't make me go back to Aether Paradise!"

    "I'm sorry," Burnet apologized, after seeing that she was upset about bringing up Aether. She shot a glare at Kukui, "I didn't mean to do that, but I had to in order to understand why you and Nebby ran away. Do not worry keiki. Neither Emilio nor I will make you go back there."

    Lillie's mood brightened at the reassurance, "Oh really?! Thank you so much!"

    "But you cannot stay here."

    "What?"

    Burnet spoke up, "The Aether Foundation is getting restless. The office close to my lab has been asking around Heahea City about a girl that matches your description. While I do trust all of my staff, I am worried that you will be found eventually."

    "Soon?" She looked over at the two adults, "What…what can we do?"

    "She can come with me," Kukui said, "I have a spare bed in the loft and she can help me out as an assistant."

    "Would you like that Lillie?"

    "Uh…sure." Really, she didn't have much else of a choice other than being made eventually. "You guys have been so gracious to me ever since I've met you both."

    "Alright! We'll set sail tomorrow morning and I'll do my best to make things as comfortable for you as I can. Woo!"

    "Be safe!" Burnet said as she hugged Lillie while the three were at the Heahea Marina. By now, the sun was just beginning to rise over the ocean's horizon.

    "Thank you for everything Burnet," Lillie said, almost wanting to cry from all the kindness the other woman had given her, "I don't know what I would have done without you!"

    "Just make sure you come and visit me when you come back to Akala Island. If I find out you're here without letting me know," She had a stern look that was quickly replaced by a smirk.

    "Of course. You know I will!"

    Lillie was a bit appalled by the appearance of Kukui's boat. It was a dual hulled catamaran that had clearly seen better days. The wooden deck was rotting in some areas and its hull sounded like it was creaking as it rocked on the smaller waves.

    "C'mon Lillie!" Kukui gestured, "It may not look like it, but my ride's perfectly seaworthy!"

    "Are you sure?"

    "Sure am yeah! It got me this far!"

    Together, they got onboard although Lillie had to grab ahold of the handrails running along the side of his boat to steady herself. She hadn't been on a boat for so long and its rocking made it feel as if she was about losing her balance. Nebby must've sensed her discomfort back in its duffel as it shook.

    "I'll let you know when we arrive back on Melemele." Kukui said to Burnet just on the pier, "I've already let Kahuna Hala know we're coming. Lillie understands and trusts him too."

    "Alright. You take good care of her. Even though I've known her for barely a month, she's like a keiki to me."

    "Any keiki of my wife's is one of mine as well!" They chuckled and parted with a chaste kiss before he jumped onto the boat and they soon cast off.

    Burnet waved as they began to leave the harbor and Lillie wistfully returned the gesture, saddened to leave Akala and the only person who selflessly helped her ever since she ran away.

    There was still a strangely happy feeling in her chest. She knew that this adventure was far from over.

    That's right! This adventure is just beginning. The names for Kukui and Burnet are completely made up by me since Pokémon hasn't released their official first names. Emilio is a Portuguese version of Emile and fits Alola quite well since Hawaii in real life has a lot of Portuguese influence. I am part Portuguese myself, so it's a bit of ethnic pride :D
    I was torn between Amber and Linda, but another good friend and fellow author of mine already "claimed" Amber as Burnet's first. So I decided on Linda. It was my paternal grandmother's name, but could also be attributed to the 6th Governor of Hawaii as well.

    Translations:
    • Keiki - Child

    Go Valor. #Valorsquad
    Mahalo for reading and reviewing, you give my writing purpose.
     
    #6 Jul 13, 2017
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2017
    WavePearl likes this.
  7. WavePearl

    Krystal
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    @BraviaryScout

    I always wondered how Lillie came to Prof. Kukui, and you came up with a plausible and believable explanation. Nicely done.
     
  8. BraviaryScout

    BraviaryScout Way of the Wind

    Dauntless
    (Rufflet)
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    Crown of ValorPoké Ball ★
    Alola readers. It's the postfest and I figured it's a good time to add another chapter in, even though it's only been a couple days.
    Big thanks to @WavePearl again for the feedback. It was left pretty nebulous on how they came together, so I added some depth. That wasn't originally in my draft...heck none of these next few chapters were.

    Enjoy the chapter everyone.


    Professor Kukui's place is a lot different than Burnet's. He lives on Melemele Island right by the beach which I find the waves crashing against the shore to be sooo soothing. The house…or more like a shack is kind of broken here, there and everywhere like one of those Pokémon battles take place inside. He has quite a few Pokémon living with him. A snubbull, stufful, rockruff just to name a few.

    Even though it's far from what I've been used to living at Aether and Burnet's place, it's where I've called home for the past two months.

    Either way, I decided to take a walk on the beach today. Kukui told me that he was going to call a woman who was going to be moving in a couple days down the street from us. She supposedly had a child that is about my age and he suggested that we could become great friends. That's really exciting! I hope it's a girl!

    I've never felt sand underneath my feet. It felt coarse yet soft and the warm ocean water felt so good! I wish I could just stay like that forever with the serene scene. Maybe everyone was right…Alola is paradise.

    "Hey Lillie!" Kukui said next to his computer as his assistant walked by. "I'm about to make a video call oh yeah! You wanna see?"

    Lillie bounded down from the loft next to the professor. She was wearing her usual dress minus her heels and socks. "Um, I was going to maybe go for a walk on the beach if you don't mind. What video call are you planning to do anyway?"

    "We got a new face comin over here to Alola! There's a lady moving into the house just up the hill. She has a kid about your age so you and Hau be nice to the new people yeah?"

    "Of course professor. You know we will." She knew that Hau was warmly open to new strangers and had a feeling no matter if it was a young boy or girl that the kahuna's exuberant grandson would instantly become their best friend. Lillie hoped that their new neighbor's kid was a girl. Figuring it would do some good to try and reach out to the new face.

    Maybe both she and the new girl could become best friends!

    She had been staying with Professor Kukui for a couple months now and had fallen into a routine with him, working as his dutiful assistant. Whenever he wasn't out and about, which was almost every day, he was conducting research

    As for Lillie herself; she never really had someone to call her best friend or even one in general. There was brother, but many times as they grew older, he acted like playing around together felt like a chore. She was homeschooled and aside from Gladion; Hau was the first other kid she really talked to that was around her age. While he was overly outgoing in contrast to her shyness, she still enjoyed his company. He had a big heart that was so mellow that it was hard NOT to like him.

    Maybe Wicke could be considered a friend, but she highly doubted that someone hired to look after her could be called a friend. Not that she wasn't, but had it not been for her presence, mother would have been unbearable with her irrational ranting and zeal.

    "Anyway don't be gone too long. It's going to get dark soon."

    "I won't."

    She slipped out the door and walked down the steps. Grass quickly gave way to white sand that split the land and the ocean, which crashed down upon the shore in foamy white waves.

    Lillie saw the beach that was ten steps away from the lab and laughed to herself. Her face broke out into a huge smile as she ran down the hill. Pale toes felt the soft sand shifting under her feet and the peals of laughter continued as she stepped into the water's edge. Her feet made tiny splashes and its warmth felt comforting.

    She read books and watched movies about people who saw beaches for the first time when they were alone and felt so at peace. This was a place where she could come to think about everything and not panic over the situation. Of course, it didn't solve anything, but at least the stress would briefly melt away, giving to relaxation and comfort that she hadn't felt in a long time.

    If mother was here; she would've already been reprimanded for running and getting her clothes dirty.

    But she wasn't here and she was free to do whatever she pleased. Nobody was going to tell her otherwise. Nobody was going to outlaw this new rebellious behavior.

    So she blissfully skipped along the shoreline, savoring the soft sand in between her toes and carefree, ignorant of what anyone else thought of her.

    Several thousand miles away over open seas lay the region of Kanto. A big contrast to Alola; it was a sprawling landmass with lush forests, rugged mountains and bright blue oceans. Many cities were scattered across, some small and others home to several millions.

    Up north was Cerulean City. Kanto's largest northernmost city sat close to the base of a huge mountain range to the west and the big oceans to the east.

    At one particular household in a northeastern suburb; there was one big moving truck in front of its driveway and a handful of big blue muscular reptilian Pokémon carrying multiple cardboard boxes from the inside out to the trailer.

    Inside it was a hive of activity. More machoke and their machamp leader continued to ferry items out. Wardrobes, tables and additional boxes were put inside.

    A woman with long brown hair and slightly tanned skin was directing them, finally dusting off her hands once the final arrangements had been made. The amount of possessions that they were taking with them only occupied half the mover's truck, so a pair of machoke began to loop ropes through hooks built inside to keep everything from shifting and breaking.

    "Thank you guys so much!" She said, handing some money over to the lone person in the moving company's uniform, "Your machokes and machamp did exceptionally well!"

    "No sweat," He smiled and shook her hand after pocketing the cash, "I've gotten hold of a moving company over in Alola, so when the cargo touches down, they'll be there to take everything to your new house and there to unpack, set up when you arrive!" The man sighed, "Wish I was going. Alola seems like such a nice place to live."

    "That's what I think. I'm excited to move there with my son. He's been kind of stressed out lately, so hopefully moving to a better place will cheer him up."

    After thanking him again, the movers piled into the big truck and pulled out of the driveway, heading down the street and going out of sight to head over to Cerulean City's airport.

    The woman gave a sigh of relief before heading back inside the house. By now, the inside was almost bare, with the front door showing dusty in its wooden floor of where furniture once sat.

    "Elio!" She called upstairs. Even though it was getting close to nighttime, her own son had spent the majority of it packing before napping on his bed. The previous night was going to be their last one in Kanto for in a few hours; they would be moving to the tropical Alola region.

    "What?!" A boy's voice called back in a bit of a grumpy and irritated manner.

    "Don't forget that Professor Kukui is going to be calling you soon! Be ready to answer it!"

    "Yeah yeah sure!" Elio snapped back, "I know that already!"

    "And be nice," She smiled up at him, "Don't be such a downer. We're moving to a new place, so don't make the professor feel bad!"

    Elio "Sun" Northstar cast a longing glance around his room. It had been stripped down to nothing except for a bed, handful of boxes and his computer that sat on a cleared wooden desk. It felt strange seeing his own inner sanctum so bare after filling it with decorations, his sports gear, a television with gaming systems and wardrobe full of clothes that his mother would often pick out. What he didn't want to bring over to Alola was sold to antique shops and he was able to reduce the junk in his room to a half dozen boxes, full of things that were more valuable to him.

    In contrast to his mother; Sun inherited more of his father's traits. Five foot six, paler skin tone with a build that wasn't overly muscular or slim. He had long dark hair reaching almost to his shoulders. His eyes were gray like steel and they constantly shined with a relaxed complexion of warmth. He wore casual clothes, his favorite white and blue striped tee and long gray and red shorts that went to his knees.

    When his mother broke the news to him about their move, he was far from thrilled. It came just three months ago as the affairs began to be put in order. She had bought a house on an island called Melemele and they began to slowly, but steadily pack their things in preparation for the big move. Alola was halfway around the world and completely different than Kanto, so she had bought him many brochures that covered various topics about their new home. Sun had skimmed through it, but he had been so set on upset goodbyes to what friends he had than to pay attention to the new things that were awaiting him. Hardly any of it was even touched.

    He still couldn't figure why they had to move to Alola out of all places. At least if they moved somewhere else in Kanto like Celadon or even in nearby Johto, he could still go and see his friends, hang out at the same place and go to the same eateries that his family had been going to ever since he had been born sixteen years ago. It would still be a trip, but a couple hours was more bearable than whatever time it took to fly from Alola.

    Sun grew up in this house…he grew up in this room.

    His computer buzzed, indicating that a video call was being placed.

    That must be the professor.

    Straightening his hair to make his bedhead at least tamed, he plopped himself into the chair, angling the camera at its top so that his entire face could be seen.

    The professor was younger than he expected. By comparison, he looked to be in his late twenties as opposed to the renowned Professor Oak, regarded as the top Pokémon professor in Kanto who was pushing sixty. He wore a white lab coat and green rimmed glasses that reminded him of a safety visor. His easygoing face smiled, radiating a healthy dose of excitement.

    "Hang on, gimme a sec," The man said as the camera on his end was askew just slightly. He straightened it offscreen and the image was now centered on him.

    "Hey there! Good evening!"

    "Good evening to you," Sun said, trying his best to heed his mother's advice and smile, even though he was not keen on moving at all. "You must be Professor Kukui?"

    "That's right! So the day has finally come that you're moving to Alola!"

    Sun shrugged, "I suppose so. I mean we're not leaving Kanto until later tonight. The flight's supposed to arrive there sometime in the morning."

    "Close enough." Kukui brought up an image showing the familiar map of four large islands that were loosely close to one another. Sun barely made out a tiny white dot in the center of the water between the two top ones, "You're gonna be moving to paradise, so I'll let you know all about your new home! Alola is a region made up of several islands. That could be the reason is chock full of nothing but rare Pokémon yeah!"

    Elio wasn't sure why he had to put a "yeah" at the end of the sentence, but brushed it aside, "Maybe. I suppose we're going to be calling one of these rocks home soon."

    "Yup! There's no shortage of cool Pokémon out here in Alola, either!" He held up a familiar red and white Poké Ball, "They're such mysterious creatures and you'll find them all over. In the grass, the caves, skies and sea!" He tossed the ball into the air, causing it to split open and release a tiny brown canine Pokémon that he had never seen before. It barked happily, climbing onto the desk and staring intently through the camera, curious about the new face on the other side.

    "Here in Alola we love our Pokémon and we depend on them in heaps too. Some of us battle with them, if we call ourselves Pokémon trainers!"

    Elio felt a rush of excitement at the thought of battling. While he was a standout athlete at his school, his other aspiration was to be a Pokémon trainer. It was possible at any age to catch and train a Pokémon, although official licenses in Kanto were offered at the age of ten and it was common for them to develop over a few years in order to enter the competitive world of battle. He couldn't exactly place the reasoning why he hadn't taken the initiative yet. There were quite a few images of different times he had run into some famous trainers and gym leaders in a scrapbook he was bringing along.

    The tiny puppy sniffed the screen, prompting Kukui to gently move its head out of the way. "Hey Rockruff! Can you wait until I'm done talking to play?"

    Rockruff gave a whine of sadness, but obliged and jumped down, out of the screen's sight.

    "All right, I gotta ask you a few questions about yourself so I can introduce you to everybody! I'm gonna snap a photo of you for your trainer passport." He chuckled when he saw Elio smooth out an untamed wing on his hair, "Do you need a sec to look good?"

    "Wha-" Sun shook his head, "No! I'm good!"

    "Alright. So hold still." He typed a couple commands on the keyboard below the camera, "And done! So now can you spell out your name for me? Remember this is the name you'll have on your passport!"

    "Alright. I'll use my formal name. E-L-I-O. Last name Northstar, spelled just like it sounds."

    "Elio Northstar…YOW! That star stuff sounds like it's hotter than a lava plume! So just to make sure," He held up a piece of paper with Sun's printed picture and written name.

    "Yup. That's it."

    "10-4, good buddy! I'll let everybody out here know you're on your way! Elio!" He crossed his arms as Rockruff and another tiny orange, black and white bird fluttered down to perch on the professor's right shoulder. "Yeah that's a name that hits you like a thunderbolt outta the sky! Woo! I can't wait to see you in person then, cousin!"

    Sun nodded, "Okay. I'm looking forward to coming."

    That was a lie. He did NOT want to leave Kanto…the place where he grew up. Made so many happy memories, friends…lived a happy life.

    Although through his life, there were some tough times, some instances where leaving Kanto was the only way to keep the hardships that he and his mother endured at bay. It devastated him so much that only bad memories were brought up when it was mentioned.

    That was why he was so conflicted on moving. It would mean leaving friends…some of which he had known for years. At the same time, he had an opportunity to go explore a new region with a fresh start.

    Kukui waved goodbye before he shut off the call. The screen reverted to his desktop and he shut it off.

    "Sun! Come help me with these boxes!"

    He sighed again, "I'm coming!"

    Glancing down as he stood, he finished off his drink of lemonade, seeing the open magazine his mother had gotten for him with different bookmarks. The page he was about to start reading was talking about an organization that helped with the conservation of Pokémon. It was headquartered on a big artificial island in the middle of Alola. There was a woman with a long white dress with blond hair in the picture with a hand on her hip being described as its main representative.

    Next to it was a pair of plane tickets, scheduled for later that night.

    Closing the magazine and setting the tickets on top, he moved downstairs to help out with whatever his mother needed.

    A couple of hours later, both mother and son stood in front of their former house. She had already put it on the market and accepted a tolerable deal from another family that was coming out of Viridian who was looking to find a place close to the coast. To his house, the ocean was just a half mile to the east.

    Mom slipped an arm around Elio's shoulder to draw him close. He longingly stared at their soon-to-be old house, "I don't want to leave Kanto."

    "Me neither sweetie." She glanced over at him, "Don't worry. You'll be sure to make many friends while you're in Alola! I'm sure of it."

    "If you say so," He said. The tone sounded worried and unconvinced.

    Goodbye everyone, Sun thought in his mind as the reality set in, I'll miss you all.

    The boy was silent for nearly the whole ride to the airport. In the car, they passed by shopping centers, eateries, his old schools, all places he had known for his whole life that were now going to be halfway around the world.

    His mother tried to pry him with small talk, asking about what Professor Kukui had talked with him during their video chat, but he remained closed off, staring longingly at the city he had called home. Eventually, she had given up, knowing he was too upset about everything that had happened.

    She felt a pang of regret, unexpectedly dropping the news on him a short while back. That meant that he would only have a limited time to go to all the places he wanted, hang out with his friends; she was pretty sure he could count on his fingers the total amount of people he considered a friend.

    Elio had mostly been a reserved and introverted child. He was friendly to anyone who approached, but not significantly outgoing unless you really knew him. Now if you had gotten into his inner circle; he was someone who was always dependable, loyal to a fault and would never turn his back on anyone.

    She felt like this move betrayed the bonds he had with those friends he had here in Cerulean City. Many of them they had known since he was able to walk.

    Unbeknownst to her, when he had gone out to dinner and a movie the other night with their small tight-knit group, each one had voiced their support for his move. Even when they were sad to see him go, they encouraged him to dive headfirst into a new adventure and explore one of the most popular tourist spots that would soon be his home. It had put him at ease a bit, but still didn't make the pain of separation any easier. They guaranteed that living in Alola would change him for the better.

    Much to his mother's relief, the first plane ride went smoothly. It was a short hop on a small Patriot Airways Embraer RJ-145 jet from Cerulean to Celadon City's massive airport hub where they had a ninety minute connection to head over to the international terminal for the longer overnight flight that would take them to Alola.

    They sat in a couple of chairs beside the gate as Sun stared out onto the dark ramp, watching the show of various lights as planes continued to move all around the airport. It was definitely a surprise that so much traffic was out and about this late at night. She checked her watch, noticing that the time was an hour until midnight. Their flight was expected to depart in the next half hour. Boarding was starting.

    He continued to look out, taking in every last detail of Kanto. This was it. He was finally leaving.

    "Come on," His mother sleepily said, tugging his shoulder, "It's our turn."

    No sooner had they found their seats when the aircraft was pushed back to leave the terminal. Before long, their four engine Airbus A340-600 rumbled down the runway. Its nose pitched up and soon enough, Sun saw the ground get further and further away, knowing that a few seconds ago would be the last time he would set foot on Kantoan soil.

    Sleep was beginning to overtake his body. Eyes slowly slid shut as he drifted off to the white noise of the engines outside.

    The Airbus banked eastbound, taking both mother and son to a new home and a new adventure.

    No translations this time around. Please leave a review/comment on my work. I deeply appreciate it.
    Go Valor. #Valorsquad
    Mahalo for reading and reviewing, you give my writing purpose.
     
    WavePearl likes this.
  9. BraviaryScout

    BraviaryScout Way of the Wind

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    Alola readers! It's postfest and I'll start out by adding another chapter to AHHK. We're down by ten, but I imagine there will be a point where we catch up to my progress and it'll be up to date as the other one. Still waiting for a line break feature. That'll make formatting this a lot easier, but I hope the different colored text is enough!
    Enjoy guys.


    Today's the day that the new neighbor that Profeesor Kukui talked with yesterday is coming here to Alola. He didn't say much about the child that the woman had other than they were about my age.


    I'm still hoping it's a girl. Fingers crossed!

    Elio stirred, finally coming out of his sleep as he shook himself awake. He wondered for a moment where he was before realizing that he was still onboard the plane bound for Alola.

    "Good morning," His mother cheerfully said from the seat right next to his, "Sleep well?"

    The boy rolled his neck, feeling something pop inside after sleeping in a rather awkward position for nearly six hours, "Slept the best I could, although it's not the most comfortable." He yawned again, "How long was I out?"

    "You slept a half hour after we took off and we're about an hour away from landing."

    Either way, he did feel refreshed. Opening the window shade, he was greeted by a blinding barrage of sunlight that glinted off the silvery wing on the other side of the fuselage.

    "Woah!" He quickly shut it again, "It's morning already?"

    His mother giggled, "That's why they call this a red eye flight sweetie. We leave late at night and land in the daytime!"

    "I bet this was a lot cheaper too, which is why you picked it." He muttered under his breath, rolled his eyes, "Can't we just fly somewhere and get there on the same day like normal people?"

    His mother sighed, "Can you just stop with this missing Kanto stuff? I know how hard this must be for you,"

    "No you don't." That caught her off guard. His normal mellow persona had evaporated into a snappy, defensive one, "Mom, you have no idea how hard it was to say goodbye to all my friends and everywhere we used to go. Don't give me this it's for the better crap."

    "But it is. This is just as difficult for me to accept as it is for you, Elio Kai Northstar. I too miss Kanto dearly already, but after your father-" Her voice trailed off.

    "Mom, we haven't heard from Dad in years."

    "I know. It's been hard for both of us."

    Sun's expression softened. Even when he had been so resistant to leaving, he never wanted to upset or hurt his mother, "Mom, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to upset you. But I loved our home. No, we weren't the perfect family you used to talk to me about but we had friends, you had a stable job at the hospital. To ditch all that for an island region I've never heard about halfway around the world is crazy. As much as what's happened back in Kanto, I never wanted to leave." He sighed, "It's just…ugh! I'm already gonna hate this place."

    "You haven't even set foot on it yet. Don't be so judgmental."

    "I can't help it." Sun said, "I'm sorry, but there's no way I can look forward towards this."

    "Maybe not now, but I promise that you will love our home eventually. Do not worry; Kanto is not going anywhere anytime soon. You can go back whenever you like."

    "Whatever you say mom,"

    At that moment, the captain had come over the PA, "Good morning ladies and gentlemen; we are about to make our final descent into Hau'oli City Airport. Should be touching down on the early side of twenty minutes. As always, it was our pleasure to serve you on Melemele Airlines and look forward to having you aboard a future flight. Welcome to Alola. Flight crew, please prepare for landing."

    Elio stared out the window as the big widebody cruised over the ocean. A few white clouds hung low in the sky close enough that he believed that he could touch them. Even as they descended, he saw no evidence of land anywhere from his view.

    "Are you sure we're landing in the right place?"

    They were now close enough to the surface that he could see foamy waves crashing down on one another. Sunlight sparkled on the horizon, contrasting two hues of azure blue between the sea and sky.

    Just when it seemed like the aircraft was going to touch the water; land popped up in the form of a concrete runway appearing underneath the wing.

    The pilot of the big four engine Airbus gently brought the lowered wheels down, kissing the runway with a slight jolt that was barely felt. Spoilers were deployed and the engine cowlings split in two as the reverse thrusters were applied to slow down the immense speed of the giant vehicle. When it taxied off the runway and turned left, Sun got his first look at their new home.

    Alola was nothing short of stunning. The airport was backed by several tall skyscrapers that sat at the base of a lush green mountain. A few clouds obscured the top of the cone. Just on the edge of the airport, he saw a big bridge highway that stretched from it to head downtown into the main city edging by the shore. Even though he couldn't see much of it from here, it was almost like entering another world. There was nothing like this remotely close back in Kanto.

    "Whew," His mother breathed out a sigh of relief a couple minutes later as the pilot brought the plane to a stop at the jetbridge. "This is almost over."

    Elio had forgotten about the stress of moving to a new home. His mother worked tirelessly through the days and nights after finally putting in her two weeks at the hospital she worked at. School was about done for him, so it presented the perfect opportunity to relocate.

    There was nothing simple about it. It was all about meeting deadlines, making arrangements. They had to sign many official documents with the government in order to be registered as official immigrated Alolan citizens. She apparently took an open position at a hospital in Alola and had been the one to get in touch with Professor Kukui for him to start his own journey.

    Elio had been so hyped over taking on the Indigo League. Part of his spare time had been spent on researching the various gym leaders, specific landmarks he would have to traverse and the pros and cons of many Pokémon that could be found in the Kanto region. He wanted to make sure that he was more than ready when the chance came along.

    Moving to Alola basically rendered all of his planning as moot. He knew nothing about this place other than the fact that there were four islands and that it was much much smaller than his homeland. Kukui said it was "chock" full of rare Pokémon, some that couldn't be found anywhere else in the world.

    He wondered about all the different gym leaders and elite four that were here. What types they specialized in and how he could train up a diverse team to rise to the challenge. Although it was a good idea to plan ahead on what he would catch, part of going on a Pokémon adventure was expecting the unexpected. Go with the flow per se.

    Elio stretched his legs when it came for their turn to deplane. His joints popped and felt a little sore from sitting down for so long.

    They headed through the airport, going right for the exit. A customs agent quickly verified their new documents and they passed through, now able to view the other side of the airport.

    Along the longer line of road where cars were constantly moving, they saw more of the city's skyline just behind a group of tall palm trees. Part of a mountain went into the clouds hanging low overhead.

    The air felt hot and sticky, making Sun already begin to sweat, even though the temperature was still not extremely warm. It felt as if he had stepped into a steamer.

    It didn't take long for their ride to show or recognize since he had held up a sign with their last name on it in the baggage claim lobby and soon enough, their car loped through the morning traffic, getting onto an onramp leading to a landmark that was called the Alaloa Highway.

    Their driver was a local who was associated with the moving company and he and his mother chatted excitedly about life in Alola. Elio paid scant attention to their conversation, but already knew that it was going to be very different than life in Kanto.

    The Alaloa looped to the far side of the coast, around a few congregated tall towers. Much of the larger downtown area was in the other direction. Further uphill to his left were a rainbow of different colored buildings and multiple streets extended below the highway. Only a handful of other cars were with them, so they made good time in getting out of the city. Eventually, the bigger structures had disappeared behind them, replaced by a more natural setting. Green hills and the rocky face of a large hill to their right winded right by their road, towering over them.

    And there were palm trees. Palm trees everywhere. Some of them looked to be taller than the towering ones that were at the Viridian Forest.

    He was definitely not expecting such an urban sprawl. From what he had gathered on Alola, it was in the middle of the ocean, at one of the most isolated parts of the world. If he remembered right, this remote archipelago region was separated from the closest landmass by over two and a half thousand miles away.

    It was right in the center of nowhere, yet somehow people had been recorded living on this rock close to three hundred years ago. Why they chose to settle here was beyond him.

    A chuckle from the driver brought Sun out of his musings and sightseeing. He was in the middle of explaining that the place was called Ten Carat Hill, the highest point on the island.

    "Really?" Mom asked excitedly, "That looks like it's just a short walk from our house!"

    By now the highway curved at the base of the hill before looping around at its end and trailing back to the city.

    "Yes," The driver replied, "If you get a chance, you can see both the sunrise and sunset from its summit. It can be a bit of a hike, but I assure you it's well worth it! Almost like it would belong on a postcard!"

    "Wow!" Mom said, "We sure did strike gold in moving out here!"

    "You're lucky to have done so. It can be quite expensive to live in Alola."

    That definitely caught the boy's attention. It seemed that every little revelation he was getting about their move made him feel more regretful about having so much animosity to the change. Sure there was the option to go somewhere else in Kanto. Saffron, Vermillion, Celadon, even the Johto side would've been more affordable and painless.

    Yet his mother chose Alola. Sure, she was going to get a new job at the hospital, but there were plenty of openings in just about every other city back home. Nurses were always in high demand and Mom's work was widely praised by her peers enough for medical centers to even come and ask for an offer of employment.

    Nevertheless, his mother was surprised, but also not when she earned the job at the hospital in Alola.

    She didn't just move for herself. Sun had always talked when he was a kid on how he would be a Pokémon trainer and take on the various leagues around the world. For a time, Pokémon battling, football, baseball and basketball were his three obsessions. The endless talk about being a pro player made Mom smile.

    They moved to Alola for him too.

    It was a fresh start and he could begin by not griping so much about it.

    The car finally stopped in front of a house along the suburbs. Their own place was sort of off from the other large homes along the road. A path just to their left led up the hill while another one headed downhill a ways to where they could see the nearby shoreline.

    "And here we are," The driver parked in the driveway, "Welcome to Alola."

    "Thank you so much!"

    "You're welcome. Give us a call if you need anything else."

    Thanking him again, Elio and Mom waved as their ride backed out of the driveway and headed down the road where they had come from.

    "Phew," She sighed, turning back to the house, "Wow! Our house is even better looking in person! Come on Sun! Let's take a look inside!"

    Without waiting for a response from her child, she gently grabbed his arm and pulled him through the front door. The house was a single story, with a light gray color and darker slate roof. A single car garage was on the left and a lanai on the right that offered a distant view of the azure ocean.

    Both mother and son stopped in the foyer and glanced around, eyes wide.

    "Woah."

    Their new house was much less spacious than their previous one, being a single large room that had a smaller kitchen and dining table. The entire floor was tile, brown at the entrance and going to a lighter tan that stretched the rest of the room. Just across from the latter on the far side was a new sofa and stand with a big flatscreen television. Checking the back, Elio was surprised to see that it and the network box had been already hooked up and functioning. The windows allowed for much of the natural light outside to filter in, but the neatly woven lamps on the walls and the big one over the table would provide fluorescent illumination.

    "Look at this Mom!" He plopped down on the sofa, finding its cushions to be almost perfect in softness. "We can totally watch the playoffs in style!"

    "That's awesome!" She said, "Hope you packed all your fan gear!"

    "Of course. I wouldn't forget that!"

    "Speaking of forget," Mom took out a Poké Ball, "I suppose you should come out and get used to your new home too!"

    She threw it up, causing the device to split open and release a feline cream colored Pokémon with thin whiskers. A golden coin was set on its forehead.

    "Nya!" The scratch cat Pokémon known as meowth yawned, stretching his limbs. Upon seeing two familiar faces, he jumped up running over to Mom first.

    "Hi Meowth!" She cried, giving him an affectionate hug, "I'm sorry I had to keep you cooped up in your Poké Ball for so long. I know you don't like it."

    "Nya!" Meowth purred, nuzzling her. He got down, jumping over to Elio, who kneeled down and stroked his head.

    "I missed you too buddy," He laughed, "I bet you're tired too from such a long trip."

    "It's pretty amazing on how the moving company and their Pokémon managed to set everything up!" Mom said, looking around the house, "I love their setup! I might not even change much of it!"

    Sun followed her gaze. Just about everything, save for the few stacks of boxes in the corners had been neatly cleaned and decorated in a format that was very similar to their Kantoan home. He could even see his room on the right next to the lanai. A desk had been set up with some of his books and his bed on the far wall. To the left was a sliding closet with a Ditto pillow and poke toy lying in front. He knew it was one of Meowth's favorite toys with many scratch marks over the object. In the center of the wooden floor lay a blue and white rug, accenting the ocean coastal theme of their new place.

    The kitchen was a smooth white marbled counter that went at a ninety degree angle with enough room on the inside to fit three people working. A cabinet was by a new stainless steel fridge with the former already filled with the dishes and silverware they had packed from Kanto.

    Near the wall, a long obsidian panel contained a big glass stove and double oven that was superior to a dishwasher. Elio knew that his mother would make full use of the new kitchen equipment to make more mouthwatering meals. All that remained was getting ingredients, so it was paramount that they find a grocery store to frequent.

    "Pretty amazing huh Sunshine?"

    "Yeah," Elio hated that nickname, so he hoped that nobody else was going to call him that. "I'm really tired though."

    "I think the movers' Pokémon set up your bed. Go and take a nap. Meowth and I will start to unpack everything!"

    Elio trudged into his room, kicking off his shoes and flopping onto the familiar mattress. He found the familiar scent and fabric of the sheets comforting. It was another piece of home brought with them.

    Don't think about Kanto. He willed himself as he lay down, There's no going back. Only forward from here.

    His mind began to relax, drifting gently into a peaceful sleep.

    Mom stretched out on the lanai with Meowth, both enjoying the warmth of the sun bearing down on the island.

    "Ahh!" She breathed in a breath of fresh air, "Can't you just feel that warmth?"

    "Nya!" Meowth smiled, jumping up in the air and stretching his arms and legs under a patch of the unshaded deck.

    "The first day spent under Alola's sun and eventually night under its moon! We better get started on unpacking all these boxes. Meowth, we better make sure Elio's ready for his first day too! Go get him for me, would you?"

    "Mrow!"

    Scampering into the boy's room, the scratch cat Pokémon took a look around the tidy space. It gave a longing look at the ditto plush and poke toy before dashing to his right.

    Elio was sound asleep, sprawled on the mattress as usual wearing nothing but his pair of black and red shorts. His favorite striped shirt was carelessly thrown into a crumpled pile on the blue rug.

    "NYA!" Meowth said, raising his claws in an attempt to wake him up. The cry didn't go noticed as he remained still, save for his care chest rising and falling steadily with each breath.

    Then as if he had been persuaded under the threat of another rude awakening in the form of fury swipes; Sun stirred, opening his gray eyes. He blinked, now feeling a little better from the power nap he had taken. From his estimates and time zone differences, it was about the time Kanto was waking up.

    "Nya!"

    "Hi Meowth!" Sun allowed the normal type to approach him and he scooped it up, rubbing its head fondly. "I'm guessing Mom sent you in to wake me up?"

    "Me!" He nodded ecstatically.

    "Figures." Setting him down, "Thanks buddy."

    He grabbed the shirt off the floor, proceeding to wiggle his arms through the sleeves back on his top while leaving.

    "You were out like a light huh?" Mom said, walking in from the lanai as he went back into the main section of the house, "You ought to be full of energy by now!"

    "How long was I asleep?"

    "Couple hours. I can't have you sleeping your first day in Alola away!"

    "Maybe it was better I did go back to bed. I mean we're just gonna be unpacking the rest of the day anyway right?"

    "Maybe," Mom shrugged, "I still do have to go to the hospital to take care of some things. But are you pumped to meet some Alolan Pokémon?"

    Elio knew that his mother had used to be a powerful trainer in the past. It was on her own travels that she had met his father and decided to call it a career to start a family. She went into nursing school, graduating at the top five percent of her class, which quickly landed her a job at a hospital in Cerulean City. Even though it was a totally different career than professional Pokémon battling, she still harbored a deep interest in various Pokémon species around the world. Alola had been known to her for some time and she had once written in a time capsule letter to herself that she would always want to come and live in the island region.

    "I guess," Sun shifted his weight on one foot looking down, "I still kind of owe you an apology for acting all stuck up. Although I do have to say, this place isn't exactly what I imagined. It's basically a hot, palm tree infested hellhole in the middle of the ocean."

    Mom laughed, but was unsure if he was being serious or not, "Well at least you're giving Alola a chance! Even if it hasn't made an impression on you yet; it is still a beautiful region that everyone wants to visit!"

    Sun rolled his eyes, Except me. I've visited enough. Can I go home now?

    "I'm sure the Pokémon living in a place like this must be friendly?"

    He nodded, "Yeah sure, but you know just as much as there is friendly Pokémon, there will be unfriendly."

    I can name a couple of annoying ones that I'm practically guaranteed to run into somewhere on these islands; zubat, spearow, grimer.

    "Of course. Remember to keep your distance if you're not sure which one it is."

    Before Elio could say anything else, there was an electronic chime that came from the front.

    "Was that the doorbell?"

    "I think so."

    "That has to be Professor Kukui. I told him we were arriving today. Elio, why don't you let him in?"

    He headed straight for the door.

    Only to have the knob turned and pushed inward.

    Professor Kukui strode in with a smile plastered on his face. He was taller than Sun had imagined him, a little over six feet with handsome features; tanned skin, a neatly trimmed goatee and dark brown eyes.

    Sun noticed that aside from the big lab coat and a pair of long shorts; there was an absence of a shirt, showing part of a well-muscled and defined chest. The shirtlessness did kind of catch him off guard, he hadn't expected that. Was the professor hot all the time, showing off or was it just fashionable? It was hard to tell.

    After his self-invited entrance, the professor strode the counter, greeting both Sun and Mom.

    "Hey there Elio! Or should I call you Sun?"

    "Um either works."

    "Okay then! The name's Kukui! It's good to finally meet you cousin!"

    Wait, what? I'm not his cousin!

    "You both have to be tired after such a long trip all the way out here to Alola! You feelin any jet lag?"

    "Heh. Yeah I do."

    "Well we sure are a long way from Kanto! If my memory serves me right, it's just about mid-morning over there."

    That was actually spot on.

    "Oh," Sun saw his mother stop and gaze in admiration at the professor. She wasn't sure if it was a genuine like or ogling his physique. "Hello professor! We actually just arrived this morning!"

    Either way, his mother went right up to the young man and shook his hand eagerly.

    "Hey there Mom!" Kukui chuckled, "I just let myself in! Oh…and you can just call me Kukui or Emilio."

    "I like Emilio," She giggled lightly, "It suits you…and I'm Elaine...Elaine Northstar."

    Mom sauntered back into the kitchen, "Do you want anything to drink? I've been dying to open a bottle of Kalosian Sauvignon. Maybe some of Laverre's Amour du Vin?"

    "Mom, you've still got a hospital to go to for your job curriculum." Sun reminded her, a little embarrassed at her brazen flirting. As soon as the professor walked through the door, he instantly saw a difference in her demeanor. Starting from her approval of Emilio and then giggling. She was WAY too comfortable around the professor. Sun had known of him since yesterday, but even his outgoing mother had displayed quite a different side since he had known her, "So I don't think having wine before you drive the car is necessarily a good idea."

    "Oh relax sweetie!" She leaned against the counter, never taking her eyes off the professor. "Is there Rallypoint drivers around here?"

    "There sure is!" Kukui said, "And your offer for wine is very tempting Elaine, but I'm afraid I have to take a rain check on that yeah."

    "Of course. I still remember seeing you battle the Indigo Gym Leaders back in Kanto all those years ago you know!"

    That caught Elio's attention, "Wait a second, you challenged THE Indigo League?" His eyes lit up with newfound admiration.

    "I've been in love with Alolan Pokémon ever since you fearlessly took on the Elite Four! So I decided this would be the best place to come here and live myself! I also want Elio to experience all that the islands have to offer to the fullest!"

    Kukui laughed out loud, "Well back then I was supposed to be visiting to research Kanto Pokémon moves and all. Thought I knew it all about battling, but all those Kanto Gyms proved me wrong! Don't even get me started on the Elite Four either! They're no pushovers!"

    "Well maybe one day I want to take them on. See it all for myself!" Sun pumped a fist, now finding out this was the first time he displayed any form of eagerness since he had arrived.

    "Well then why don't we get a move on to the next town over cousin? Time for you to meet the island kahuna and get yourself a Pokémon of your very own yeah!"

    "Wait a second; I thought the acting Pokémon professor of the region handles that kind of thing. And what's a kahuna?"

    "Nope! Not here though! I'm sure you know the species of the common starters in Kanto yeah?"

    "Bulbasaur, charmander and squirtle," Sun said, "Will I get to pick one of those?"

    "Well, none of those are native to these islands cousin! You'll find your first Pokémon quite different to what you've been seeing in Kanto." He took a deep breath from talking at a pace that was almost impossible to keep up, "And those kahunas are crazy-strong Pokémon trainers here in Alola, cousin! They're unbeatable for folks like me and you unless you've trained real hard and found a way with the Pokémon of your own to take them down! The kahuna who lives in Iki Town is always happy to give any kid who wants to have an adventure their first Pokémon, oh yeah."

    "They will simply give my boy a Pokémon?" Elaine asked, "Then those kahunas really are worth meeting!" Their conversation was interrupted by her phone ringing.

    "Hello? Yes this is Elaine. Oh yes! We got here this morning and are still settling in…of course. I can come by today if that works for you. Sounds good. Bye."

    She hung up, "That was the hospital. I will be over there to set up my workplace and schedule. You better hurry Elio and get ready! I think your bag, hat and other things are still in the moving boxes!"

    "Woah! I bet you've got a stylin hat that'll match mine yeah?"

    Sun looked at it; the cap snugly on the professor's head was a pristine white, with a rainbow set in the center. He was right about the style; it was definitely neat looking.

    "Yeah. I'll be right back."

    He dashed to his room, glancing around at the bunch of boxes. Each one looked nearly identical in size and shape, but he had already forgotten which one contained his items. His bag was sitting next to his bed to be slung on his back.

    "Come on."

    Where is it?

    He opened another box, a white one with a red Poké Ball on the front logo. Right on the top was his dark gray backpack and underneath was his favorite hat. It was the same black and blue one his mother had given to him when they went to a pro football game together.

    "Go 'Canes," He grinned to nobody in particular as he slipped it on his head and practically sprinted out the door.

    The commotion of a story from Kukui followed by laughter from his mother had continued to find his attention. Once again, she was indiscreetly flattering the handsome professor. The copious amount of flirting was enough to make him cringe. As a single mother, she had constantly reminded him that a relationship was in no hurry for her to prioritize.

    Things will be very awkward if Mom finds out if Professor Kukui is single.

    "You look ready to take on the world now!" Elaine gushed, "Or at least Alola! I'm headed off to the hospital to get my schedule, so stick with the professor! He'll bring you back home! Have a good time out there! I'll be sure to come back and get our new home ready to meet your new Pokémon!"

    "Either me or my assistant will escort him!" The professor headed for the door, "Don't worry, he'll have the same number of eyes, ears, fingers and toes by the time he gets back here! Don't want Alola to have the wrong impression yeah?"

    Sun paused…still trying to find out the newly established relationship between the professor and his mother. That was another question for another time. "Oh right! I'll see you later Mom! Bye Meowth!"

    "Your mom is excited for you to get your first Pokémon yeah?" Kukui asked as they headed down the pathway, "She sure is a nice lady."

    She's been awfully flirty with that display I saw back at our new house. There was no doubt that she was smitten with the young professor.

    "Sometimes I don't really understand her or women in general," Elio said, "But she is my mom and I love her just the same."

    "That's the spirit! Welcome to paradise cousin! Folks here in the Alola region get along with Pokémon by living and working together too! You can go anywhere you want as long as you've got Pokémon to help you yeah!"

    "I like the sound of that."

    "First we're off to Iki Town! Come on, it's not far if we cut up here."

    He followed the man uphill on the dirt trail. By now, the later afternoon had settled in from shimmering heat. There were chirps of bird Pokémon and a chorus of different cries from other species. Turning around, the view out to the sapphire blue ocean from such a height was breathtaking.

    "So Elio, are ya lovin Alola already yeah?"

    "I guess…" He glanced up at the intense sun, shielding his eyes with the bill of his hat. Sweat beaded on his forehead, "Does it always have to be this hot though?"

    "What are ya talking about? It's not that warm."

    Oh great. So that means that it can get even worse!

    "Sure is a different heat than in Kanto yeah. Always remember to pack plenty of water to hydrate yourself while out and about!" They continued up the hill. More palm trees lined the edges of the path and some of the breaks in the trail gave way to tall grass.

    "What's over here?" Elio started for it, but felt a firm hand grasp his shoulder.

    "Woah there cousin! There's wild Pokémon that live in the tall grass! Always remember to stay out if you don't wish to encounter them! When you've got your first Pokémon, you can go in there and other grass patches around Alola to catch all the wild Pokémon you can find!"

    By now, they were almost at the top of the hill, looking even further up. Just over the treeline in the distance, he could see that there were some wooden fences and the roof of a couple buildings.

    "Come on cousin!" Kukui waved, heading for the left side of the forked road that was lined for a big wood arch overhead, "Iki Town is right here!"

    That'll do it for this chapter! I thought at the beginning, that the players' mother had a slight crush on Kukui...it's too bad he's married, so I decided to make that dialogue a bit more interesting.
    Remember to leave comments and likes and all! I really appreciate it.


    Translations:


    • Alaloa - Highway
    • Amour du Vin - Love of wine

    #Valorsquad Mahalo for reading and reviewing. You give my writing purpose.
     
    #9 Jul 22, 2017
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2017
  10. BraviaryScout

    BraviaryScout Way of the Wind

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    Crown of ValorPoké Ball ★
    Alola readers again! Brav is now back with another chapter of A Hui Hou Kakou. Things have been quite eventful recently for me and I may have a big opportunity at my work for another position higher up. This was actually going to be the very first of the diary entries, but I figured that more depth would make this story really take off, which it did.
    Enjoy the chapter guys.


    Today was certainly an eventful day! Nebby kept acting like it wanted to go see the Ruins of Conflict, but when we did try to visit them, it was attacked by Spearow! It was just terrible.


    All I could do was stand by and watch. But then a stranger appeared and helped us. At first I thought it had to be someone from Aether; that they had tracked us down at last. But it was actually a boy the professor knows.

    Elio…I won't forget him.

    Iki Town was a comfortable looking settlement a ways up the hill that overlooked the bigger city at the base of the tall range. A handful of houses were clustered together on stilts with a fence surrounding the entire area. Palm trees waved in the light breeze as the sun finally dipped under the horizon to cast a dark purple glow over the sky. No clouds were present, giving off a twilight shine of hundreds of stars at the darker points.

    "And we're here!" Professor Kukui exclaimed as he and Sun made their way up the hill to reach the town's edge. "This right here is Iki Town! This town is where folks come to worship the Pokémon that watches over Melemele Island. Tapu Koko keeps us all safe and happy!"

    "Looks deserted," Sun commented, glancing around the place. "You sure everyone's home?"

    "Huh, you're right," The professor said, now seeing that hardly anybody was out, "What's going on here? We were supposed to meet everybody right here, yeah." He crossed his arms in thought, "Maybe they're all back on Mahalo Trail. That's where the ruins of our guardian deity, Tapu Koko are yeah."

    "Where's the Mahalo Trail?"

    Kukui turned back to me, "Sun! Do me a solid and go find the island kahuna! I'll wait around here to make sure we don't miss each other."

    "Who's the island kahuna?" Sun asked.

    "The island kahuna?" Kukui repeated, staring at him as if he had come from another planet, "You can't miss him. He looks just like a kahuna!"

    "I don't even know what a kahuna looks like," The boy protested, but the professor had already run off to do something else.

    "Great," He sarcastically muttered. He knew nobody here and barely remembered the way back home. One wrong turn and he'd end up in the tall grass to get attacked by wild Pokémon, completely violating the rule of never going to such a place without a one of your own or with someone who did. Maybe he could ask around for someone to escort him back? Sleep was tugging at his eyelids since the jet lag from the seven hour flight from Kanto earlier in the day was still affecting him. Although Sun was a little excited in coming to a new region to live, he couldn't help but really miss Kanto, despite everything that had happened there. He did have to admit that it was more than what he wanted to like about this place. There was already the steamy heat that he hated.

    I haven't even been here a whole day and I already hate this place. My guide has disappeared and everyone's looking at me like I'm from another planet. Why did we have to move to the other end of the freaking world?

    With little guidance available, Sun ventured deeper into the town and tried his best to look like he knew what he was doing, but kept getting stares from the few folks just outside their homes as he passed by. Some greeted him in a friendly manner and asked if he was new to Alola, yet nobody seemed to know where the kahuna was at.

    Since he was going to be living here, he figured that learning names and faces would be a start to becoming an Alolan. In truth, he had to admit not everything about Alola was entirely bad; he actually liked the close community vibe that Iki Town gave off. Everyone knew everyone and lent a hand when needed. Way different than the bigger sprawling Cerulean City. It was especially helpful when the population numbered around two hundred people.

    Sun saw a large house at the far left corner of the main square, where a wooden platform with ornate carvings stood. There were no electric lamps and lighting instead was provided by a few lit torches on the borders. Night was rapidly falling overhead, the sky now turned a deep violet with a couple twinkling stars already visible.

    "Really? You want to go up to the ruins? I don't know what you hope to find there,"

    The voice came straight ahead and he caught a glimpse of a long haired blonde girl with a white duffel bag slung over her shoulder just in front of a path's entrance that led further up the hillside. He saw nobody nearby and immediately wondered who she had been talking to. Maybe she knew the kahuna.

    It surprised him when the bag suddenly shook as if it had a mind of its own. The girl was clearly startled by it, but held the straps with both hands and moved down the open path that led out of the town. He was even more curious now. It seemed like she was hiding a small Pokémon inside.

    Since nobody seemed to know where the kahuna had gone off; Sun decided to follow.

    A sign indicated that he was entering the Mahalo Trail and he remembered Kukui thinking this was where everyone had went, but he didn't see anyone come or go other than the girl.

    Although the moon had come out to cast a little bit of illumination; the trail remained quite dark so he dug around his backpack. His fingers groped the object he had been looking for and they snapped it onto the left strap. With a twist, a beam of light quickly showed that the night trail ahead ascended even further up the hilly landscape.

    Elio continued to make his way higher, passing various carvings that resembled the ancient Alolan idols or totems he had read about in the moving brochure. The ends of the path were fairly easy to identify by the carefully lined rocks marking the boundaries. Some of the climbs were steeper, so logs had been built into the face. Much of the ascent was tougher than expected, making Sun realize he was a little out of shape when he felt himself panting a bit heavily. The faint roar of a waterfall could be heard. Several diverse cries of unseen Pokémon echoed from the foliage.

    "You can't come out!" He heard the same girl whisper. Straining his eyes against the light, he saw the figure just a little ways above him. She still hadn't spotted him, even when he was less than twenty feet down. "We'll get in trouble if anyone sees you!"

    He waited until she walked out of earshot and slowly made his way up the last of the trail.

    Sun was about to say something when he saw her break into a sprint. The view at the summit top was amazing with a huge gorge in front of a clearing spanned by a rope bridge. The waterfall he picked up earlier was to his left, now much louder and creating a foamy layer on the jutting rocks below. Judging by the sound of it rushing against the ground, he knew that the stream was quite strong.

    The bag suddenly lifted itself up and despite her attempts to keep whatever inside suppressed, a Pokémon emerged from the open zipper, confirming the boy's suspicions.

    "Nebby wait up!" The girl cried.

    It was unlike any Pokémon he had ever seen before, glowing purple with two blue cloudlike appendages above its head and a gold stripe around its back. It happily let out a cry that sounded like it was saying "Pew!" before it jumped in the air and floated across the bridge.

    It stopped all of a sudden and Sun knew exactly why. He heard the caws of multiple spearow and caught sight of three of the vicious birds in the moonlight, all homed straight for the mysterious Pokémon. Immediately, it dropped to the bridge and shook with fear. The spearow circled their prey from above and lunged at it with their claws, cackling with delight as the tiny Pokémon continued to cower beneath.

    "Oh no," Sun hated spearow. They were plentiful back in Kanto and were known to be quite vicious birds. Flocks were known to overwhelm prey by sheer numbers and their beaks and talons were sharp enough to pierce skin. Most of the time, spearow and their fearow evolutions were regarded as pests and bullies, taking sadistic pleasure in picking on weaker Pokémon who were either too weak or scared to fight back.

    He knew it would only be a matter of time before the bloodthirsty birds decided on an opportunity to strike and hurried just behind the girl.

    She heard him approach and turned around with a startled gasp, eyes wide. "Ah,"

    Elio got just a brief look at her; she had long golden blonde hair that was braided in the front and emerald green eyes. She wore a wide brimmed hat that matched the white color of her sundress and boots. He noticed that most Alolans usually had a T-shirt and shorts since the weather was warm year-round. This girl's attire looked as if she was going to a formal ball.

    "What's wrong?" Sun asked, even though he knew the obvious answer.

    "H-Help!" The girl pleaded with worry evident in her face, "Please! Save Nebby!"

    The Pokémon called Nebby let out a cry of distress as the spearow continued to relentlessly harass it.

    "Those spearow are attacking it! But…but I'm too afraid to go out there. My legs feel like they might give out."

    "Okay. I'll go. Just hang on…okay?" Sun knew he was going to have to go across, so he passed her and hesitantly stepped onto the bridge. His hands grabbed the side of the rope since it looked quite old and he wasn't sure how stable it was. A visible wince came across his face as he fully expected it to break apart. Thankfully, the plank floor didn't give under his weight, but it did let out a squeak of protest.

    He slowly made his way across, knowing that the spearow could dive bomb and seriously hurt Nebby at any moment.

    "Be careful!" She cried behind him.

    Although he was heeding her plea, Sun picked up the pace and felt his adrenaline spike when he felt the bridge shake about a quarter of the way. He couldn't turn back now. This was getting bad really fast.

    Pressing onward, the bridge shook again and one of the planks suddenly snapped off as his leg pressed down on it, plunging into the water below and he had nearly lost his balance. The stream quickly picked up the splintered pieces and carried them out of sight. His breathing increased in pace as sweat began to lightly coat his palms.

    Let's get off this thing!

    He was never really afraid of heights or bridges, but the thought that something could happen began to creep in his mind. Focus had to shift to getting Nebby and then off this unstable span.

    The Pokémon was still shaking from the circling spearow when Sun reached them. He carefully got down on his knees and hunched over Nebby. In school, he had learned that covering a person or Pokémon that was being targeted by the spearow would often discourage them from attacking. They'd fly off and he'd carefully make his way back to safety.

    "Hey there," Sun greeted gently as Nebby stopped shaking to glance up at the new presence on the bridge, "It's okay. I'm here."

    The spearow continued to circle overhead, cawing with annoyance that their prey was being covered. One of the birds extended its claws out and swooped down dangerously close. He felt the tips of the talons rake through the fabric of his shirt and slice right through his back. Although he fought the punishment, the feeling was akin to being slashed with a red hot razorblade. He gritted his teeth, but a cry of pain still managed to escape his lips.

    Just a little longer. Hopefully those spearow will think we're not an inviting target anymore.

    Suddenly Nebby glowed and a wave of purple energy pulsed out, quickly scaring the spearow away. The sudden brightness in the dark had startled him, causing his eyes to reflexively squeeze shut. It had also blown the bridge apart with incredible force, disconnecting the suspending ropes and sending the floor flying out underneath them. Sun felt himself briefly in midair for a moment before gravity took over his body in a rapid fall down and quickly panicked, grabbing the Nebby and holding it as close to him as possible in a last ditch effort to protect it. A hundred different things ran through his mind and it was hard enough to picture his mother's heartbroken face when she found out that he wouldn't be coming back. He squeezed his eyes shut again and waited for the inevitable.

    He hadn't even been on Alola for a full day and right now it seemed as if the dream lifestyle was never going to come true. Just when he was beginning to enjoy his new home, his own life was about to take a turn for the worse. The rush of air was overwhelming, he couldn't even scream.

    I'm sorry…I'm sorry Mom for not giving this Alola a chance. Now I guess I'll never know if I truly could call this place home.

    Sun was dimly aware of the girl's scream back on the cliff; horrified that she was about to see someone die.

    A gleam in the sky caught her eye as they fell and something shot out, zooming down at an astonishingly fast speed.

    It was definitely a Pokémon of sorts as it quickly released three bursts of lightning that vaporized the three spearow thugs. Its descent never slowed and it swooped just underneath Sun and Nebby, snatching them just as they were about to hit the deadly stream.

    Elio continued to hold the Pokémon and counted in his head the time until it took to hit the rapids. Without warning, he felt something grab him on his back and felt an air rush downwards as something had now brought his body up.

    He opened his eyes, suddenly finding himself right next to the girl back on solid ground again. Following her gaze, both he and the purple Pokémon stared agape at the black and yellow Pokémon with a large orange crest facing them. It was about their height, bouncing from side to side nimbly as if ready to charge into a fight. The sides of its arms each held half of what appeared to be an ornately designed yellow shell.

    "Koko!" It screeched, lighting up its body with crackling electricity and giving them both a long curious glance before it launched itself back up into the sky.

    The silence that followed was long as neither person nor Pokémon could speak about what had just happened. Sun was still a little in shock on how he was just saved from certain death by a strange Pokémon while trying to protect another strange Pokémon. His heart rate was beating quickly like machine gun fire as the adrenaline from falling hadn't worn off yet.

    "Pew!" Nebby's coo brought both humans back to reality as Sun dusted himself off. He grimaced for a moment, remembering the cut in his back, but actually welcomed it for a change. As much as it wasn't enjoyable, he had taken more than his share of cuts and bruises in his life. If he felt pain; that meant he was still alive.

    "Oh, oh thank goodness!" The girl dropped on her knees to embrace Nebby. "You tried using your power again didn't you?" She sighed, "Oh Nebby. You know what happened last time you used it. You couldn't move for ages after that. I don't want to see you like that again!"

    Nebby looked rather remorseful, so she lightened her tone, "No I shouldn't say that. I'm sorry Nebby. I know you were trying to save me that time and I couldn't even help you in return."

    "Pew!" The Pokémon floated over to something sparkling and stared at it for a moment before scooping it up and moving right towards her.

    "A sparkling stone?" She gently took it from its grasp and turned the gem over in her hands, "It feels almost warm somehow."

    It was then she had noticed the presence of the stranger next to her. She gasped, realizing how rude it must've felt before turning to him and giving a short bow.

    "Please forgive me. I am so grateful for helping us out of that dangerous spot."

    "Who are you?" Elio finally asked, speaking for the first time since his near-death experience.

    "I think this stone must belong to you," She grabbed the sparkling stone and extended her hand out to him. It was gray with a few other colors sparkling in the moonlight and she was right; it did feel a little warm.

    "Please don't tell anyone about this. About seeing Nebby. It's a secret okay?"

    "Okay," Sun said, nodding and still mulling over the near-death experience, "I won't tell anybody." He was puzzled, still having not gotten her name and already sworn to keep a secret with this stranger.

    "Come on. Into the bag Nebby."

    "Pew." Nebby seemed reluctant, having struggled five of the longest minutes in his life earlier to get out, but she opened the zipper on the duffel and it dove inside.

    She closed it and began to walk off but stopped, cursing herself once again for not even acknowledging this boy who almost risked his life for the both of them. "Um, I'm worried we might get attacked again by some wild Pokémon or something. I know it's too much for me to ask, but do you think you could see us back to town?"

    Sun held himself back from asking if she was afraid of the dark, but nodded. "Sure. I'll lead the way."

    The light on his strap was still working and he snapped it on as they descended the hills. He was careful not to go too fast since he didn't know how quick the girl could walk in her dress and shoes.

    The downhill walk back was done in silence and she kept to his side, likely not wanting to stray too far from her new escort. Night had now completely fallen over Alola as they saw the familiar orange lit torches on the borders of Iki Town.

    Professor Kukui was on the platform's other side and he waved when he saw the two approach.

    "Hey, Elio! Looks like you missed the kahuna yeah? But you found my assistant, oh yeah!"

    They walked around to stand before him and Sun found himself grateful to see a familiar face for once.

    "Hang on a second," He turned around and lifted his shirt, looking back to inspect the injury he received. There was a stain of blood where the fabric had ripped from the claw, but it seemed that the bleeding had mostly subsided. A mental note was made for Mom to take a look at it later.

    The girl gasped at the sight and Sun grimaced at the wound, but it would eventually heal.

    "It's just a scratch," He assured them, "Nothing I haven't had before."

    "Looks like you already met," Kukui continued, gesturing to the girl, "But just in case, this is my assistant!"

    "Oh…um yes!" She stuttered, "You can call me Lillie."

    "And Lillie, this here is Elio. He just moved here to Alola! Take good care of him!"

    "Lillie?" Elio repeated, "That's a beautiful name." He stuck his hand out to her, "I'm Elio, Elio Northstar. Although most everyone calls me Sun. I don't care which one you use."

    He swore Lillie blushed ever so slightly at his praise, but she just gave a faint smile and bowed, "So you're also one of the professor's acquaintances? It's nice to meet you." As she shook his hand, Sun noticed that there wasn't a lot of strength in her grip and she seemed very shy and nervous. Her skin was amazingly soft to the touch.

    "It's nice to meet you too."

    Lillie looked like she disappointed of sorts and wanted to say something else, but someone else had interrupted, beating her to the punch.

    "The kahuna is back! Kahuna Hala has returned!"

    "Our guardian's chosen one is back!"

    "Only one of the strongest Pokémon users in all Alola yeah!"

    So this was the kahuna that the professor was talking about.

    An older man with a heavyset build and a yellow robe walked up the steps approaching them. He had graying hair and a moustache with tanned, weathered skin. Elio couldn't quite pin down his age, but his dark eyes sparkled with youth. The vibe he gave off radiated power and respect, but also humbleness. It was not just in his appearance; he also moved with authority, confidence and wisdom. His presence in the vicinity was undeniable.

    Sun had to agree with Kukui's claim earlier. He does look just like a kahuna.

    "Have I missed something?" The man had a rich buttery voice which added to his apparent status. It was enough for anyone in the area to put their undivided attention on what he had to say.

    "Naw, but where'd you go off to, Kahuna? I thought we were meeting here?"

    Kahuna Hala nodded, "I am kahuna of this island, after all. Whenever there is a problem on the island, it is my duty to resolve it."

    So a kahuna isn't just the strongest trainer. He's also sort of the chief of the island.

    "Sorry Lillie," He gave a short bow, "What were you saying before? For some reason I thought I saw Tapu Koko flying about."

    "Oh um…yes, Kahuna Hala. Nebby was being attacked by spearow on the plank bridge at Mahalo Trail when this boy helped it get away. But the bridge collapsed and I thought both of them might fall to the bottom of the ravine! And that was when the island's guardian deity swooped in to save them!"

    There were audible gasps from the crowd that was beginning to surround them and they were loudly talking among themselves. Clearly this was an unusual event.

    "Woo!" The professor exclaimed after the noise died down, "That's something you don't hear every day!"

    Even the kahuna was impressed, cracking a smile, "Ho! Although it's said to protect us, our Tapu Koko is a rather fickle creature. Yet our guardian was moved to save you."

    "I'm thankful it did." And he was, now knowing that Tapu Koko didn't always appear to help those in need.

    "Kukui, my boy, I think we have more cause to celebrate at the festival later this week! It seems I should entrust this brave and kind young boy with a Pokémon of his own. We shall make a fine trainer out of him!" He approached Sun and extended his hand, "I'm glad to meet you, child. I am Hala, the kahuna of Melemele Island."

    "I'm Elio," Sun replied, noticing a big different in the handshake from Lillie's. While hers felt delicate and nervous, Hala's had plenty of confidence and respect. There was strength in his grip, but it also felt gentle at the same time. "Most people call me Sun. Either one works for me mister kahuna."

    "Then please allow me extend the warmest welcome to Alola! Young Kukui had told me of your coming! I'm glad we got the chance to meet tonight! And please dispose of the formal kahuna title…I may be one, but I prefer to simply be called Hala."

    "Wait, I'm going to get my own Pokémon?" Sun asked, his steel gray eyes lit up with excitement over the big news.

    "That's right." Professor Kukui said, "Right here and right now!"

    "Yeah!" Elio pumped a fist into the air and practically jumped up, but suddenly realized that this behavior wasn't particularly appropriate just yet. Especially in front of the island kahuna.

    He was quick to apologize, "Sorry. Got carried away."

    To his surprise, everyone chuckled at his outburst. "There's no reason to apologize," Hala reassured, "When I was your age with my first Pokémon, I reacted in the same way. It's a big responsibility, but also very rewarding."

    He turned to the platform, "Come my Pokémon. Let's have a look at you!"

    Hala tossed three pokeballs into the air and three small Pokémon that Sun had never seen before, stood in a single line right in front.

    "First is the grass-type rowlet." It was a small birdlike one that cooed happily and spun around in a circle.

    "Next is the fire-type litten and last is the water-type Pokémon popplio!"

    The tiny cat litten let out a soft meow and scratched its nose while the popplio, a mammalian creature resembling a seel of sorts bounced happily up and down, waving its flippers excitedly.

    "They're so adorable!" Lillie gushed beside Sun.

    He moved closer and gave his options a long look. He didn't want to ponder on it too much, but knew once the decision was made; it would be set in stone. They all seemed appealing and while they were far from the bulbasaur, charmander and squirtle trio, things in Alola were going to be quite different.

    Elio made his selection.

    "I choose Litten." Sun declared, pointing at the cat. He moved his hands towards the respective Pokémon's ball, but Hala moved it out of his reach.

    The kahuna chuckled at Sun's surprised expression, no doubt expecting him to automatically get its Pokéball and be on his way, "Not so fast keiki. Only when you have both chosen each other can you truly call one another partners. So let's see if little Litten there also decides to choose you!"

    "What?"

    "You may have chosen Litten, but it may not be a mutual partnership. Here in Alola, this type of connection goes both ways. You clearly do see something in Litten there to deem it worthy of a partner Pokémon and it is only natural that it must see something in you that deem you worthy of being its trainer."

    "What if it doesn't choose me?"

    Professor Kukui sighed, "Unfortunately; a litten can be very choosy when it comes to trainers. If it does not select you, there still are the other two to pick from. It's rare that none of the starter Pokémon pick a trainer, but I'm sure you won't go empty handed tonight."

    Sun figured it could be worse. He thought that Litten was absolutely adorable, but would have been satisfied with any of the three. He was just overjoyed that he had the chance to finally get a Pokémon!

    Hala directed Sun onto the platform and gently set the fire-type on the floor across from him.

    "What am I supposed to do?"

    "Wait. Give your Pokémon a look and see if it wants to have you as its partner."

    Elio put his hands on his knees and tried to look as inviting as possible. Litten however, was distracted, having its eyes closed and enjoying the evening island breeze. It then stared at him inquisitively before giving off a light meow and bounding right over to his feet. It gave off a cute smile before nuzzling Sun's leg with his face.

    "Aww," Sun gently reached over and lifted his new Pokémon in his arms. "You're too cute buddy. What do ya say? Want to go on an adventure with me?"

    Litten meowed again as he set it down. There was a round of applause from the crowd that had decided to come and watch the little ceremony. Sun hadn't even noticed them congregating.

    "Ho! So Litten has accepted you as well!"

    "Having accepted one another, you'll surely be friends for life!" Kukui added.

    "Nice to meet you Litten!" Lillie said. Nebby was just beside her, offering its own greeting.

    She jumped back, "Oh, when did you get out again? I know that Kahuna Hala and the professor will keep you safe from any harm, but you should still stay in the bag and out of sight." Turning her attention back to Sun; Lillie smiled again, "I think you chose a wonderful Pokémon. Please take very good care of it!"

    "That's it Sun!" Professor Kukui said, "Now that you've got a Pokémon, you're a real trainer, yeah! And here's a lovely gift from me to help make it special, cousin."

    Sun did a double take, "Cousin?"

    "That's just something we say to one another. We're practically ohana! You know…family yeah?"

    "Oh okay. Good to know."

    The professor dug in his coat pocket and handed him a flat device. It was red with a dark screen in the center with rounded edges.

    "Is this a Pokédex?" It was way different than any other Pokédex he had seen before.

    "Yeah! A Pokédex is a real high-tech kinda tool yeah, that can automatically record facts about any Pokémon that you meet. You new partner Litten is already registered, so check it out yeah."

    He nodded and activated it. There was already a single Pokémon entry recorded in its databanks.

    Litten…Fire Cat Pokémon. This Pokémon prefers solitude and can be difficult to earn its trust. Seldom displaying emotions, it grooms itself, collecting fur in its stomach, setting it alight. The fur produces flammable oils and it burns in a blaze whenever it sheds. Litten in your Pokémon roster is a male and has the ability blaze, which will boost the power of fire-type moves when it is in a pinch.

    Kukui gave Sun something else. Unlike the Pokédex, it had a leather cover containing several blank pages with an Alolan design in the background. "And this is a trainer passport that I had put together for you. Now why don't you go introduce your new friend to your mom Sun?"

    "Sure! I'll bet she will be thrilled to meet him!"

    As Sun left, he swore that he heard the professor mention that he had forgotten someone else to introduce to him. He remembered one of the main paths from Iki Town's main entrance was a road that led right next to his house.

    "Hey! You and me! Let's have a Pokémon battle!"

    Sun looked up to see a tan skinned boy about his age with long hair, a brown shirt and boardshorts right in front of him. His face broke out into another easygoing smile.

    He heard Hala laugh behind him as the others came down to see what was going on, "Ho! Where's the fire boy? And what kind of battle would that be where you don't even give a first name?"

    The boy gave off a sheepish smile, "Fair enough. I'm Hau and my partner's Rowlet! Your Litten looks really cool too!"

    "Thanks," Sun said.

    "Yeah! So let's battle! I couldn't wait to find your way to Iki Town so I've been all over looking for you!"

    Lillie spoke up, "Um, I don't really like to see Pokémon battles where they can get hurt, but I'll watch for you."

    Elio looked back at her in disbelief, You don't like watching battles?! What kind of trainer are you?

    "You will battle me right?" Hau egged on.

    "Sure!" Sun took out Litten's ball, excited that he was about to have his first battle. He had waited for this moment since he was a young boy, "And I won't lose!"

    Hala offered to serve as the battle referee after saying that he expected a no-holds barred fight from both sides.

    Lillie watched as Sun and Litten took on Hau's Rowlet. Even though the new kid had a type advantage with fire; he was still a little clueless on battling. Even throwing out the Pokéball looked like it was a sloppy job. Rowlet took an early advantage by hitting Litten with a leafage attack while Sun was still trying to figure out how to even issue commands. Kukui rushed to his side of the field and had to quickly explain that he could use the Pokédex to see the general summary of his Pokémon, including the moves that were able to be used.

    "Okay Litten," Sun pointed at the rowlet, still a bit unsure on how to proceed. The insecurity made him realize how little he had prepared for the actual thing. It was nothing like the manuals and tutorials that he had skimmed as a kid. "Ember!"

    The tiny cat blew out a tiny fireball that struck Hau's Pokémon, causing it to keel over. Seeing this, Lillie instinctively flinched, knowing that the super effective attack would be painful.

    Seeing how good it was against his opponent, Sun commanded two more embers after Litten had to endure additional leafage attacks to knock out Rowlet. His mouth was open in complete shock that he had won. Litten happily jumped into his arms, relishing the praise he was receiving from his new trainer.

    "Elio…or Sun right?" Hau didn't even look a bit bummed after losing and went to shake the other boy's hand, "Your litten was awesome!"

    "Thanks!" He smiled at the enthusiasm, "Your rowlet was great too!"

    "Now that settles it!" Hau declared, "I'm going all out tomorrow!"

    Sun was about to reply when the stone he had gotten from Lillie sparkled in his pack.

    Hau gasped, "Tutu…is that?"

    "Woah." Hala stepped forward when he saw it too. "Hmm, Sun. Would you be so kind as to give me a look at that sparkling stone you have there?"

    "Uh sure," He grabbed it from his pack and handed it over. It was still a little warm, even though he had taken it more than an hour ago.

    The kahuna turned it over in his hand, "Could it be?"

    "Is that?"

    "You were rescued by Tapu Koko at the bridge. Isn't that what I heard Elio?"

    "Yeah, that's when I got the stone."

    "So it even deigned to give you a stone. Perhaps you are here in Alola, Sun because this is where your destiny lies. Allow me to borrow this stone for now."

    "Of course kahuna, can I have it back though? It looks important."

    "Fret not! I'll return it to you in due time! It would seem that you have the makings of a fine trainer. You must do us the honor of joining in our festival in a couple of days."

    "First I'll make sure you get back home safe tonight though," Kukui stepped in, "Lillie, you two should come with us. Wouldn't want to go losing you twice in one day! You or that precious Pokémon of yours!"

    "Yes!" Lillie quickly agreed, "I will keep an eye on…"She reached over to her bag and stopped, realizing that Nebby wasn't inside. "Nebby?"

    Sun caught a glimpse of something floating behind her and saw that the Pokémon was trying to sneak away. He casually pointed at it.

    "Oh you!" Her tone was a mix of worry and scolding, but he found it to be quite sweet. "Would you try not to escape the very moment you were told not to wander off?"

    Everyone burst out into laughter as Lillie gestured for Nebby to go back inside her duffel.

    After bidding everyone goodnight, they went their separate ways. Kukui and Lillie stopped at Sun's house to see the new trainer off. Sun waved goodbye before heading inside. There was a lot to talk about with Mom.

    Litten trailed happily behind his new trainer as they made their way up the steps to their house.

    "Mom!" Elio opened the door, "We're home!"

    "Hello sweetie!" Elaine was behind the kitchen counter, laboring over a stove. There were some big paper sacks on the top, suggesting that she had found a place to buy groceries. An aroma wafted over that made his stomach growl and mouth water. "So? What kind of Pokémon did you get? Don't keep me waiting!"

    "Oh yeah," He stepped aside, allowing her to look at Litten, who was gazing curiously at his surroundings, sniffing the floor. "Mom, this is Litten."

    The tiny cat let out an adorable meow that made Mom gush. He stuck close to Elio's side and rubbed his head against his ankles, purring in delight.

    "Aww! I think I'm falling in love! So why did you choose this sweetheart?"

    "I don't really know," He glanced down at Litten, "It definitely was cool."

    Elaine put her hands on her hips and smiled at him, "Well then you picked right, because I'd say that this little charmer is definitely cute and cool!"

    "It…it just felt right…you know what I mean?" Sun asked, "So after I met the kahuna, he took us both on the stage where we could only call each other partners if we accepted one another. It's just," He paused, "Completely different than Kanto. Over there, you are handed it, a Pokédex and then expected to go on your way without a second thought. Here, we had to already make sure that we trust one another, even though we had just met."

    Elaine nodded, going back to the stovetop, "That's definitely true sweetie. Here in Alola, the relationship between people and Pokémon are much different and most likely stronger than on the mainlands. The kahuna clearly knows that the biggest factor in being a Pokémon trainer is to make sure your Pokémon trust you."

    Sun's mother had once been a Pokémon trainer, so he took her advice to heart.

    "The two of you look great together. I feel happier just looking at the pair of you!"

    Sun neglected to tell her about the other things; like meeting Lillie and almost dying after protecting Nebby. That was something that she didn't need to know.

    "Well dinner is about ready! I bet you two are hungry! There's plenty of broccoli and cheddar soup to go around!"

    "Yeah," He agreed, already looking forward to eating something familiar, "I'm starving."

    He started for the table, always setting it for the two of them whenever it was dinnertime. He got an extra bowl for Litten, who was busy in conversation with Meowth next to his own eating area.

    Unfortunately for him, his mother would almost always seem to find a way to squeeze out any unspoken things that he purposefully chose not to disclose.

    "Elio, what happened? Are you alright?"

    "Wha-" He started, "What makes you say that Mom?"

    "You're bleeding on your back."

    Sun completely forgot about the wound.

    "Yeah…I scratched my back on some thorns. No big deal."

    The weight of Elaine's stare told him that his lie was not convincing.

    I hate the fact that Mom can see right through a lie. How in the world can she tell?

    "Elio Kai Northstar," She began.

    "Mom, it's fine. I'm fine."

    "Those look like claw marks…spearow claw marks." She put her hands on her hips, "So, you're going to tell me what else happened while you were out there and we're not going to eat until you do so."

    He had been caught red-handed.

    No point in trying to get out now.

    Elio sighed, "So please don't freak out like you did when I got hit by the tackle okay?" When his mother nodded, he took another deep breath, "Well, while up at Iki Town, Professor Kukui and I were waiting for the kahuna when I saw this weird Pokémon up on a trail." He had thought about mentioning Lillie, but decided not to since his mother would completely ignore his near-death experience and "interrogate" him about the girl he was with. "Anyway I followed it up to a bridge over a ravine where it was being harassed by spearow. The bridge was in pretty bad shape, so I went over and covered it like you taught me. That's when one of them hit my back."

    Elaine nodded in satisfaction before retrieving an extensive medical kit she kept in the house. Being a nurse; she did have access to higher quality equipment and constant practice of patching various types of trauma. A scratch by a spearow was merely trivial.

    "Lay down," She ordered, gently but sternly.

    Sun allowed her to slip part of his shirt up to expose his back. Elaine took an antiseptic wipe, dabbing it at the reddish gashes in his side. He let out a hiss of pain.

    "It'll eventually heal," She declared, as he sat back up, "You'll have one more scar to impress the ladies."

    "Here's the best part though. As soon as this Pokémon was protected, it used this strange power and destroyed the bridge."

    "So you fell?" Her face blanched.

    "Yeah and we were saved by Tapu Koko, the guardan deity of Melemele Island."

    "WHAT?!"

    Totally expecting her to have a meltdown right now.

    To his surprise, Elaine broke out into a smile. "The guardian deity is looking out for my baby! I knew that moving to Alola was the right place! Come on! Let's eat and you can tell me more about what happened!"

    Sun thought about all the new people and his new Pokémon he had met in the past couple of hours. Professor Kukui, Hala, Hau, Lillie and Litten.

    Maybe Alola isn't so bad after all.

    That'll wrap up this chapter. Please comment, review and let me know how I'm doing. Mahalo for reading and reviewing, you give my writing purpose.
    Brav
     
    #10 Jul 30, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2017
  11. BraviaryScout

    BraviaryScout Way of the Wind

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    Alola readers! Ready for the next update? Here we go!

    Professor
    Kukui said that there was going to be a festival held in Tapu Koko's honor today. Everybody in Iki Town was going to go and he promised I'd get to see both Hau and Elio…I mean Sun again. I'm not sure why he goes by either name; but I figure that I'd just call him Sun unless he says otherwise. What's wrong with Elio though? I think it's a nice name.


    Anyway, he battled Hau in the last match with just Litten. Still can't stand seeing Pokémon get injured, but I was still going to watch them go at it. I thought it was an unfair match since it was a two on one battle, but the advantage actually went to Sun! Hau fought well, but Sun and his litten were already on the same page! I have a feeling that both boys are going to be great trainers in the future!

    Sun had received Litten just a couple of days ago and he was picked to partake in a fun battle that was being fought as an offering to Tapu Koko today.

    Even though it wasn't until later in the evening, he busied himself helping his mother continue to unpack everything. The amount of boxes of different things had been enough to take up the entire truck when they moved. As much as he wanted to go out and try all the new things with his Pokémon, Mom reminded him that even before he went out on a journey; all the chores at home had to be done for the day.

    That meant cleaning the kitchen, dining room and bathrooms. Since it was only them on their own for a few years now; they often rotated various chores during the course of the week. This was reduced during the school year when Sun was busy with that and after school practice and games for the three sports of football, basketball and lacrosse he would play. But during the summer, the ever constant demand to keep their house tidy would take up a big chunk of his free time.

    It wasn't that he minded either; most of his friends back in Kanto would be busy with plans of their own.

    Meowth and Litten spent most of their day playing around one another. It was Mom's day off too, so she was busy with laundry and finally setting up the internet. Now Elio could also get his computer started just as he finished scrubbing his bathroom and clearing up all the other empty boxes he had on the floor.

    Connecting wires to the outlets and sockets; he turned it on and immediately opened a browser.

    It was the middle of the offseason for football and he found himself disappointed that the 'Canes hadn't made any big acquisitions other than someone else to put on the defensive line depth chart.

    After parting ways with Hau at Iki Town, they decided to exchange numbers. The other boy was very approachable and shot him a text message less than ten minutes after he got home that day. Through the entire night; the two continued to text one another about everything, from school to Pokémon. Before he knew it; the time was nearly midnight and he found himself drifting off to sleep. So he texted Hau goodnight one last time and settled in.

    "Elio," Mom peered into his room as he continued looking at 'Canes rumors and free agent visits, "Don't forget to be ready when Professor Kukui picks you up for the festival!"

    "I know."

    It was almost an hour later, when the two of them were watching Five-0 when the professor had arrived. It was one of the most popular fictitious drama shows set in Alola based around a crime fighting police group set on chasing down some of the most dangerous criminals that came to the islands. It had been running for seven seasons already and renewed for an eighth.

    "Hey there Elio!" Kukui had let himself in already without permission, "It's about that time we head out to the festival tonight, yeah!"

    "I thought it wasn't for another hour?" He found himself still being a little put off by the older man barging in like that.

    We really should think about locking the front door.

    "Well first of all. Now that you're a real Pokémon trainer with your Pokémon and all, I've gotta show you something. Come with me to Route 1 just outside your house!"

    "Sure," Elio looked down at Litten, who had moved over by his side, "You ready to go?"

    The tiny cat let out a happy meow and rubbed his head against the boy's leg.

    "Alright. Bye Mom!"

    "Have fun at the festival sweetie!" She called from inside her room, "I'll be up there soon! I'm sure you'll have a good time with your new Pokémon pal!"

    The sun hung low on the western horizon, casting an orange glow. It spread to the sea, which sparkled in another warm hue. Not a single cloud could be seen overhead.

    "Hurry!" Kukui waved, "This way! Pretend you're a Pokémon and use your extremespeed!"

    Sun quickly recalled Litten back into his Poké Ball and stared at him, "Why would I do that?"

    "Because we don't have much time yeah! The festival is going to start soon and you don't wanna be late!"

    Sun had to almost run to keep up with the professor. His longer legs and sense of urgency made losing him as they crossed through the neighborhood kind of a chore.

    Okay so maybe using extremespeed would be kind of nice right now. I'm gonna lose him again.

    Two of the houses flanked a large pathway that led around the edge by the coast. Elio could see thick blades of tall grass that went right up to his chest in height.

    Kukui was standing right at the end of the thicket and waved back, "Yeah, over here cousin!"

    Sun sprinted up right next to him and they turned to face the tall field.

    "So," The professor began, "You remember how I told you that it would be dangerous to go in tall grass like this?"

    He nodded.

    "Good. Wild Pokémon live here and if you manage to run across them; they might jump out and attack you yeah. Now that you've got yourself a litten there, not only can you battle wild Pokémon, you can also try and catch them. Woo!"

    "Can't you try and catch a Pokémon without using one too?"

    "You can, but I highly advise against it. If you miss or are out of options, it can be disastrous!" Emilio's expression turned serious, "I had one trainer that tried that. She went after a yungoos and it escaped the only Poké Ball she was carrying. It attacked her and she had to go to the hospital for several serious bite wounds." He closed his eyes before opening them and staring at Elio in a stern expression, "Do not try to catch a Pokémon if you don't have one yourself to battle it."

    The young boy nodded, seeing the sincerity behind the warning. "I understand."

    "Good," Kukui's exuberant persona returned, "Now I'm gonna show you how to catch wild Pokémon, all right? Keep your eyes on the prize!"

    He strode into the grass and almost immediately, Sun heard an angry chirp and a blur of motion as a black, white and orange bird flew out, landing on the ground to face the professor.

    "We've got a pikipek! Let's go Rockruff!" Tossing out a Pokéball, it revealed the dark brown canine creature Elio saw in the video chat just a few days ago. It lowered down on its legs and awaited instructions.

    The bird's beak glowed white before it darted forward, jabbing Rockruff in the side.

    "Tackle!"

    Rockruff yipped in response, charging forward to slam its body into its opponent.

    "Good job!" Kukui praised, "So Sun, you've gotta weaken the Pokémon first before you try and catch it. It'll be more likely to break out of a Poké Ball if it's at full strength! He reached into his pocket and took out another Poké Ball, "This one here's empty, so we can use it!"

    Clicking the button, it popped open slightly and he tossed it forward, aimed directly at the little bird. The capsule device opened at a much wider angle and it quickly found the target Pokémon, enveloping it in a reddish white energy before snapping closed.

    Settling on the ground, Elio saw it wobble once and then again and a third time, barely shaking before an audible snap was heard that ceased its movement.

    "All right!" The professor pumped a fist, "Gotcha!"

    If Sun's eyes could sparkle with amazement; they did, "Woah! That was amazing professor!"

    "Oh yeah!" The professor's grin went from ear to ear, "Wild Pokémon do attack people if they get too close, but catch them all and they will join your team and be a big help to you yeah! But if you find your Pokémon get tuckered out by all the fighting, just head home for a bit and rest up. They'll be ready to go again in no time yeah!"

    He gave Sun a handful of empty pokeballs and few white bottles with spray nozzles on their end, "Here are some poke balls and potions to get you started."

    "Potions as in healing items?"

    "That's right cousin! Potions can heal your Pokémon in a pinch if they get wounded or tired in fighting. It's always good to have some on you in case you get into a tight scrape! So why don't you have a fun little adventure for a half hour before you come to the festival?"

    Everyone had come to the town's square to watch the matches with eager anticipation. Sun even spotted his mother, who gave him an affectionate hug in front of the entire town when he had arrived, much to his dismay.

    Island music was being played by a five man group just in front of the centre, being heard even before Sun climbed the last of the hill and there were several stands selling light snack food nearby. Everyone in the town was there; some dancing, others talking over drinks. Children ran weaving through the clusters of adults in a big game of tag. There was also a group of Pokémon playing with another group of younger kids.

    The festival wasn't just allowed only for locals; many tourist groups had chartered up into the area from the city and mixed in with the rest of the people. Nobody was left out. Sun learned that while outsiders were welcome to the festivities, they were required to register with tour guides who reported to Hala so that he could get a head count for the people preparing the food in order to make enough.

    Elio was still wondrously glancing around at all the festivities when he sensed a presence approaching him from the front.

    "Kahuna," The boy erected his posture. He remembered that the man had taken his stone the other day. The question for it was going to pop into his mind, but he ended up getting interjected before anything came out of his mouth.

    "Greetings Elio," Hala's easygoing face smiled. "The Alola region is composed of four islands and each one has its own guardian Pokémon. The festival we hold once a year today is to express our appreciation and thanks to these great Pokémon deities for always remaining by our sides." He chuckled, "Well, we may call it a festival, but it's just a gathering here you see. Aside from the tourists you saw earlier, there may not be many of us, but at least we here go all out!"

    "That sounds awesome Kahuna!"

    "Indeed keiki. And please, call me Hala. We will be ready for dinner soon, so I encourage you to go and enjoy yourself. I remember that my boy Hau is looking for you. Why don't you go and find him?"

    "Ho!" A voice called. "Howzit Sun?"

    Hala chuckled. "I spoke too soon."

    Hau bounded right next to the other boy, his little rowlet in tow. "Man, I thought you'd never make it! Me and Rowlet here have been waiting for an uku billion minutes!" He paused as the tiny owl cooed in agreement, "So did uh…anyone explain to you about tonight?"

    "Oh yeah! Right on time," Professor Kukui interrupted them from behind with Lillie next to him.

    "Right on time for what?" She glanced curiously over, quickly grabbing her large duffel that shook when Nebby inside let out a "Pew!" in agreement.

    "This is a full-powered festival for Pokémon and battling!" The man put his hands on his hips and grinned again, "We battle in the name of Tapu Koko, pitting new trainers against one another to demonstrate our skills to please our guardian. Woo!"

    Lillie turned back, "So you two will be taking part in the battle?"

    "Yeah!" Hau pumped a fist, "Me and Sun here are going to be the main battle tonight!"

    "Well, I don't like seeing Pokémon fight one another since they so often get hurt. But you know what? This seems like a very important event, so I'll be sure to watch and cheer for you both!"

    "Thanks!" Both boys said, glancing at one another in surprise at saying the same thing in synchronization.

    Elio stared at Lille, She doesn't like Pokémon battles because they get hurt? Is that because she doesn't want to fight? Who in the world doesn't want to be a trainer? This girl, obviously.

    Before the main ceremony, it was time to eat. Tables had been set up in a buffet style with stacks of extra trays since there were hundreds to be served and everyone was getting into a line. Sun and Hau noticed this quickly and secured themselves a spot close to the front, not wanting to fall too far down. To their amazement, just behind them were Professor Kukui and Lillie who had the same idea.

    "Hey guys," The professor waved, "Love festival food! Woo! Always great when you eat as an ohana yeah?"

    "Hey professor!" Hau greeted back, "This one's gonna be awesome since I'll be with my Pokémon!"

    Kukui smiled, "Definitely much more fun when you eat with them! Hey Sun, I hope you're hungry!"

    "Yeah I am!" Sun smiled back with enthusiasm, "I'm really looking forward to trying Alolan food for the first time!"

    They saw the familiar figure of Hala approach and stop in front of them. He held up a hand and the chatter from the line for food quickly died down. Even the small group of Pokémon seemed to know that this was a queue for silence as all eyes in the entire town shifted to the island kahuna.

    "And now I may ask everyone to join me in our prayer before the feast. Please link hands with those next to you and bow your heads as we thank our island guardian for the gift of food it has given us today."

    As everyone turned to face the lit fire next to the town center, they interlocked their hands. Sun felt his friend's as he looked over. Hala had taken his place on Hau's other side.

    Professor Kukui had taken his other side and removed his cap, showing smooth dark hair in a man bun. Elio and Lillie did the same out of respect and bowed their heads.

    Next to Hala; a man that was dressed in traditional Alolan attire with ceremonial symbols on his colorful robes stepped forward with a long silver flute in his hand. He took a deep breath and brought it up to his mouth to play a tune. It was short; but the music flawlessly drifted out and echoed through the town, sending chills down the spines of everyone present.

    After bowing, he retreated back into the line, allowing Hala to continue with the ritual. When he started speaking, the rest of the town quickly joined in.

    "Oh great Tapu Koko. For this time and place,"

    "For your goodness and grace,"

    "For each friend we embrace,"

    "For food, for raiment,"

    "For life and for opportunity,"

    "For friendship and fellowship, we thank thee great Tapu Koko."


    Sun glanced over at Hau. His eyes were shut as his lips moved in perfect sync as he recited the prayer. Although he didn't know it by heart himself, it was only a matter of time before he would get it memorized.

    "Thank you," Hala said as everyone parted and formed the line once more, "Let's give our flute player Keoni a hand for his performance,"

    "Yeah!" Everyone chanted, followed by applause. Now it was time to dig in.

    Food was a big plate with a generous helping of steaming rice, cold creamy pasta that was apparently called macaroni salad and lau lau, some sort of fish wrapped in leaves and cooked. Either way, from this meal, Sun found that he really liked Alolan cuisine, although he had a feeling that there was something else missing that was Hau's favorite food. An interesting new thing he had tried was poi; a staple food that looked like purplish pudding and tasted slightly bitter and sweet.

    They sat and ate at a long table beside other strangers who were quick to welcome the two kids and before long, he found himself and Hau seamlessly integrated into the conversation with the older adults when the subject about Tapu Koko had come up. Before long, a dark-haired girl about their age joined in, talking excitedly to the boys about how this festival was her favorite. Her name was Leilani and she had been the winner of the ceremonial battle last year with the little popplio and butterfree trailing behind her.

    Elio also noticed that Hau looked at her in an endearing way.

    The kahuna's grandson laughed at his curiosity when she had went back up to get more food, "I'll tell you right now that Leilani is the prettiest girl in the town. All the boys are after her!"

    "She single?" He did have to admit that her shapely body and heartwarming smile was quite charming.

    "As far as I know," Hau sighed, "But we've noticed that she's nice, but real picky when it comes to dating."

    After eating, several events were happening on the stage from fire dancing to non-combatant Pokémon competitions and soon it was almost their turn to battle one another as more of the townsfolk offered a brief ceremonial dance as a prelude before the main battle. Hala offered a brief prayer to the Tapu before summoning both contenders.

    In addition to Rowlet, Hau also caught a pichu. Sun hadn't caught another Pokémon yet, so he had to use Litten for the entire battle. He still came out on top, having trained it on the way up and defeated both of his opponents even though Hau put up quite a fight. His new friend wasn't even fazed by his loss, saying that he had a lot of fun despite not winning.

    "It was a good battle," Hala said stepping forward with a smile on his face, "With this even Tapu Koko…"

    "Ko-ko-kooo!" Somewhere out of sight, they heard the familiar screech of the deity itself that resonated across the valley.

    "Ho! You heard it yourself! Tapu Koko's song of approval!" He turned back to Sun, "Oh, I nearly forgot! I think it is time you take this Sun."

    He gave him the sparkling stone, now with a band attached like a watch, which Sun clasped around his left wrist.

    "Your Z-Ring, a mysterious armband that can draw out the power that lies deep within your Pokémon. It can bring forth their Z-Power! We kahunas can make them by refining stones like the sparkling stone you received from Tapu Koko."

    "What's a Z-Power?" Sun asked.

    "Z-Powers can activate Z-moves, which are amplified and more powerful versions of normal Pokémon moves," Kukui explained, "They require a special bond with your Pokémon to be perfected and Z-Crystals."

    "Although until you collect more Z-Crystals during your island challenge, you will not be able to draw out the Z-Power of your Pokémon."

    Kukui smiled, "In other words, it's time for you to get out there and start your island challenge!"

    "What is the island challenge?" Sun asked.

    "Four islands!" He held up his four fingers, "You'll travel to each of the four islands here in the Alola region. The island challenge is a rite of passage for each trainer who will all aim to be the strongest! Woo!"

    "Sounds great right?" Hau asked, "I can't wait to have a real adventure!"

    The professor nodded, "It sure does. I'll explain the island challenge later, but now it seems as if the festival is winding down. Kinda early if you ask me. Let's help clean up!"

    They assisted in taking down stands and moving things back to a storage shed where a lot of festival equipment was kept. The entire community helped out, making the task quite fast and simple.

    "Goodnight!" Professor Kukui waved to Hau and Hala beside the kahuna's house once they were done. They bade the others goodnight and everybody began to retreat back to their homes.

    Sun was deep in thought as they began to exit Iki Town with Lillie next to him. Professor Kukui was leading the way just ahead.

    "Hey!"

    He turned around to see Lillie rushing to catch up to him.

    "Hey," He greeted back.

    "You battled good. Both you and Hau."

    "Thanks." The compliment coming from someone who hated battling caught him a bit off guard, "I do owe a great debt to Tapu Koko,"

    "Tapu Koko is amazing, isn't it?" Lillie asked. "I hope I can meet it again someday and thank it for saving Nebby."

    "Yeah it is," Sun agreed, "I'd like to thank it too."

    "Suppose it's time we get you kids home yeah?" Kukui said, approaching the two from behind after talking again with Hala, "Don't want to be out too late, even when you've got Pokémon to protect you!"

    Lillie turned to Sun, "Then I suppose this is goodbye. I'll um…see you later Sun."

    "Goodnight Lillie. I'll see you around."

    Elio awoke the next morning and found his mother humming happily to herself as she hovered over the kitchen range. A delightful aroma wafted through the house as he heard something sizzling in a pan.

    He wouldn't be missing one of his mother's famous breakfast scrambles for anything. It was a trait of hers he reminded himself not to overlook. Elio had almost no cooking skills whatsoever.

    "Morning mom,"

    "Morning kiddo," She slid some scramble; essentially a combination of scrambled eggs, hash browns and ground sausage onto a plate and handed him a fork, "You have fun at the festival? My arms and legs are sore! I danced my feet off last night!"

    "Yeah, I didn't even know that Hau and I were going to be the main battle." Sun opened a brand new jug of milk from the fridge and poured himself a glass, "Still can't get over the fact that I have a Pokémon and am battling now."

    A meow caught the boy's attention and he looked down to see both Meowth and Litten sitting next to one another, glancing up at him expectantly. From the looks of it, the two had already become quite good friends.

    "Oh!" Sun grabbed Meowth's bowl and poured some feed into it before sliding it to him. He got a spare dish and filled it with milk instead, which his own Pokémon was more than delighted to receive.

    "You battled good and won! That's a start right?" She filled a plate of her own breakfast and sat down across from him, "I think you do have some of both me and your father in you." She sighed, "Your father's good looks and your own mother's battling skills."

    "Mom, you've never talked about Dad that way in a while." Sun reminded her.

    "I know and despite what's happened, he's still your father and I miss him dearly. You looked just like him when you were on that stage last night!"

    They ate in silence as their minds went back to the festival even as they began to wash the dishes together and continue where they had left of in watching Five-0. Those thoughts were interrupted when the doorbell rang again.

    "Oh I wonder who that is," Mom grabbed the empty plates, "If that's Professor Kukui, he'll probably let himself in."

    "Why does he do that?"

    "I kid you not…when I asked him about it, his response was; when does ohana knock?"

    "Ohana?"

    "It's Alolan. It means family. You know, how everyone treats one another like family?"

    Sun nodded, knowing that the same wasn't practiced back in Kanto. He was still kind of getting used to the big culture shock.

    He opened the front door with Litten at his side and to his surprise it wasn't Kukui.

    It was Lillie.

    "Hi Lillie," He breathed, breaking out into a smile and finding himself strangely happy to see her again, "Good morning!"

    "Oh. Hello Elio…sorry I mean Sun. Um…" She averted her gaze, still sorting out what she had planned to say to him, "The professor said, Hey there Lillie! Bring me that great new Trainer. Woo!" Lillie waved her hands up in the air, emulating the energetic man.

    Sun's face immediately split into another grin and he laughed out loud. Her impersonation wasn't picture perfect, but he found it to be funny for a rather uneventful morning. Even when he couldn't see it, Lillie smiled herself; she hadn't gotten anyone to laugh in a long time.

    "That was pretty good," His laughs had died away, but his contagious smile didn't, "I really liked it."

    "Thanks. So I'm here to show you the way to his Pokémon lab, if you'll come with me. It's um…this way."

    "Hang on a second," Sun stopped her, "Gotta tell Mom I'll be back."

    "Sun!" Just as he was about to go inside, his mother peered out from the door, "A little pocket money for you! Don't go wasting it on anything too silly!"

    He glanced at the wad of bills that she slipped into his hand, "Mom, this is seven hundred dollars! A little pocket money is a bit of an understatement, don't you think?"

    "Oh! Well done Sun!" Her attention had already passed on the cash and onto the wary blonde next to him, "You're already making friends aren't you? And what a cute little girl friend you've found! I knew Alola would be a great place for us to live! We just keep meeting wonderful people here!"

    Both Sun and Lillie glanced at one another looking a little flustered especially at the mention of a female friend, but she still gave a curt bow, smiling more out of her embarrassment than the received praise, "M-me? Well, thanks Missus…"

    "Miss…" Sun corrected her.

    "Northstar. Please call me Elaine though. Any friend of my Elio's is a friend of mine." She shot Sun a glare before it softened towards Lillie.

    "My name is Lillie." She regained a bit of her composure, but still appeared to be feeling awkward from the endearing display, "It's very nice to meet you Miss Northstar...sorry, Elaine."

    Elaine turned back to Sun, "Looks like it's finally your time to shine sweetie! Enjoy yourself out there with Litten and don't be gone too long!"

    "I will," He gave her a hug, "Thanks for the money. I'll see you later Mom. Bye Meowth!"

    The scratch cat Pokémon happily jumped up when Sun waved to him.

    "You have a very nice mother, don't you?" Lillie asked longingly when she was gone. He detected just a hint of envy in her voice.

    "She used to be a very strong Pokémon trainer before I was born," Sun explained, "As I'm sorry for that cute girl friend part; I've never really had a lot of friends that are girls."

    "I noticed you forced miss instead of missus in there," She had caught on. "Something happen to your father?"

    "Neither of us have spoken to him in three months, but that's a story for another time."

    "I see. We should get going then. I'll show you to the Pokémon research lab. You can only reach it by going through the tall grass." She looked down at her feet, "I'm not a trainer though, I have to rely on repels all the time."

    He stared at her, wondering if she didn't want the confrontation or was just too scared. "I can lend you a Pokémon to-" His sentence was stopped because he remembered that she hated fighting.

    Seeing Pokémon get hurt. That's right. "My bad. Anyhow, of course. Lead the way,"

    Sun
    had never taken the path across from his house that split the homes on the other side, but saw that it opened up after a decline into a big clear field. The ocean could be heard crashing against the sandbar just in the distance.

    Although it had been a hard to discern at night, seeing her in the day really made him notice that Lillie was incredibly pretty. Her bright emerald eyes, long full blonde hair and shy, but friendly, caring personality really stood out to him. She had a flawless complexion, with a sweet voice that was enough to captivate anyone she came across, likely leaving even the most cynical players tongue tied. He had no idea if she was aware, but it wasn't hard to see that she caught a lot of attention from the opposite gender in her presence, even if he or anyone didn't agree with her pacifism. Lillie had to be just a bit taller of mid-five feet in height, which put her a couple inches taller than him.

    Back in Kanto, Sun didn't actively date like many of his friends in school as he got older and there were few females that showed interest in him. Although it changed when he became the starting point guard on the varsity basketball team that made it all the way to the national playoffs, there was just no reason for him to chase girls down, even with his mother's encouragement for him to socialize more. Elio preferred to keep his voice down and enjoy a party, rather than be the life of it.

    The lab was more of a house that resembled a mismatched shack along the beachhead. Sun saw many lighter shaded planks of wood boarded over what looked like holes and a spinarak's web of cracks in one of the window panes.

    There was a sound of glass breaking that was heard from inside the house, followed by a menacing growl. Both of them flinched at the sound that made it seem as if the building was being ripped apart from the inside.

    "Oh yeah Rockruff! Let's go!" Sun heard Professor Kukui's shout loud enough to be heard even from the beach, "Give it everything you got! My body is ready! Woo!"

    "Ahh," Lillie gave a defeated sigh and rubbed her head tiredly, "There they go again. The Pokémon research lab has its own…well, unique charm, as I think you might agree."

    "This normal?"

    She nodded, "I've actually been um, imposing on the professor here for the past two months. I'm not really much of an assistant per se, but it's the least I can do to pay him back for letting me stay. Maybe I'd be more help if I were a real trainer too."

    "Why don't you get a place? I'm sure Kahuna Hala could make some arrangements and even if that doesn't work, you can stay with us," Sun flashed another smile, "We've got a spare bed in our couch and I'm sure my mother would understand."

    Lillie flushed at his generosity, "Thanks, but I'm actually fine with the professor. It's quite comfortable and cozy for the most part. Although he never stops researching moves, not even inside the lab itself."

    Another growl resonated from inside the lab, this time much angrier.

    "Looks like we'll have to patch the roof again and I just washed his lab coat, finally getting it clean too. Now it'll be in shreds and I'm no good at mending clothes. So he'll just have to buy another one…or I will, you know…with having to go online to order and all." She shook her head, probably dreading what more laborious work was to come.

    "Seems like living with the professor is a full-time job of its own." He observed, "He's clearly not the kind of guy who wants to sit at a desk all day,"

    Lillie nodded, "We should probably go inside before he does any more damage."

    Sun agreed and they entered the lab together.

    Kukui was chuckling with Rockruff next to him as they stretched their legs. Although Lillie had droned on about all the damage, it didn't seem as bad as they expected. There was a glass cup shattered in the kitchenette to their left and only one part of the white lab coat was torn. Kukui's left sleeve had an enormous gash right down the elbow, but Sun saw no blood. He was now wondering if the crazy man actually took direct hits from Pokémon to further his research.

    Despite the look as if a typhoon had ripped through the front, Kukui's lab looked very cozy, with antique furniture and a huge glass tank where three pink heart-shaped Pokémon were swimming inside. To their left was a big wall that had a ladder up to what looked like a loft area.

    "Luvdisc," Sun knew what they were and what they symbolized, "The lover's Pokémon."

    "Hey there Sun!" Kukui waved, finally noticing their appearance, "Thanks for getting him Lillie!"

    "Of course," Lillie said, bowing in response, "However I can be of help. I'm supposed to be your assistant right?"

    "Rockruff's moves were just so stylin' and I was making good progress with my research."

    "Wait," Sun interjected, "You made your own Pokémon attack you? How are you not injured?"

    "My body can take all kinds of punishment yeah! Plus, I fully trust them and know that if I'm still breathing, I'm willing to keep going. Isn't that right Rockruff?"

    The puppy Pokémon called rockruff gave a bark of agreement.

    "Say Sun, lemme see your Pokédex for a second, yeah?"

    "Sure," He rummaged around his backpack to hand it over.

    "What do you think of the place? Not bad right?"

    "I like it. Looks like someone's home more than a lab though. You live here?"

    "Sure do cousin! But that's not why I called you here eh? Here, it finally arrived!"

    "It?" Lillie and Sun asked at the same time.

    "What's wrong Lillie?" Kukui asked, "Don't make me do all the talking! See there's this Pokémon inside your Pokédex called rotom."

    "Really?"

    "Oh I can tell you about rotom," Lillie perked up, clearly a little more relaxed since this was something she was more familiar with, "It's a peculiar Pokémon with a body made up of something like electricity. It can take up residence in machines."

    "Yeah buddy! And to put that crazy skill of rotom's to work, it's the next generation of pokedexes, but it's only complete once rotom has gone into this body specially developed for it! A whole new way for people and Pokémon to communicate. There's only a few of these beauties out in the world so far! Woo!"

    Professor Kukui grabbed a cardboard box that was opened behind and set Sun's Pokédex on a shelf, "And now if I power up your Pokédex with the parts that I just got in…"

    As he assembled the device together, a crackling sound followed by a loud buzz came from the machine as Rotom appeared in a flash of light. It was orange colored with blue eyes and a pair of jagged bolts that fluttered up and down. It looked around the lab with curiosity.

    "Hey now! Sorry about that Rotom. Guess I surprised you?"

    "Zzzt?" Rotom responded to him.

    "I powered up your favorite dex! Give Sun a helping hand yeah?"

    Rotom happily buzzed again before it quickly jumped right into the Pokédex Kukui was holding. It shook, sparking the ends all over before emerging again, now floating about. It retained its bluish eyes and the bolts on the sides were now a pair of bent red arms.

    "Zzzt!" The Pokédex's voice sounded robotic, but also as if it was a younger child inside. "Nice to meet you, pal! Gentle on the goodzzz okay?"

    "It's um…nice to meet you Rotom. I'm Elio and most people call me Sun, either of them is fine with me."

    "See Sun? Now Rotom can talk right to you! From what I can tell yeah, it looks like Rotom has already taken a liking to you!"

    "I sure have!" The Pokédex…no Rotom responded, "We're going on so many adventurezzzz together!"

    "And how will this help exactly?"

    "Lillie, Sun hasn't been here in Alola too long yet. So I decided to give him this special rotom dex to help him navigate around."

    All three of them turned when they heard the front door opening and saw Hau stick his head inside, "A-lo-la!" He happily waved.

    "Alola Hau!" The professor greeted back.

    "Whoa!" He went right up to the nearby ladder next to the kitchenette, "Is that a loft? That's awesome!"

    Lillie's eyes widened in fright and she scrambled right in front before Hau could start grab a rung and start climbing, "No it's not! It's private! The professor has been kind enough to let me use it."

    "If you see a person or Pokémon in need of help. You help them. Right Sun? Hau?"

    "Of course," The boys agreed, nodding enthusiastically.

    "That's why I'm letting Lillie stay up there in the loft. So Sun, I'm leaving this rotom dex in your hands! Rotom, you look after my boy yeah?"

    "Of course profezzor! Elio izz in good handzzz!" Rotom happily chirped back.

    Rotom's definitely going to need some getting used to. Sun thought. It was quite odd hearing that other voice pipe up.

    "Alright, there are some important things you need to know about the island challenge." He placed a hand on his hip, "The island challenge is your chance to become the strongest trainer around; the island challenge champion. It's a great adventure for you and your Pokémon to go on together! Plus it's sort of a rite of passage for all Alolan children when they turn sixteen! Once the trials have been completed, it is custom that they will be recognized as an adult."

    Lillie seems to be about that age, Sun thought. Why isn't she doing it?

    "There are four main islands that make up the Alola region," Lillie took over, "And a kahuna for each one of them. If you wish to be recognized as the kahunas as worthy, it's said you must clear seven trials."

    "Sun! I want you and Litten to get out there and give it a shot! You were able to fully use your Pokémon's moves in your very first battle. I think you must have a talent for drawing out Pokémon's strengths yeah."

    "Talent?" Sun had only done four battles. Two of them against Hau and the others were a couple other young trainers also heading to the festival. He still only had Litten as his only Pokémon, but knew that he had to catch more if he wanted to do this. "Then yeah, I'll do it." He didn't feel as if he could call himself talented, but still appreciated the praise the professor gave.

    "Here! Everyone on the challenge gets their own amulet!" Kukui slipped it on his backpack, "Now get a move on!"

    "Where?"

    "To the trainers' school! You've gotta learn the basics of being a trainer through battling. It's a long road to becoming the island challenge champion and the trainers' school is the first step!"

    "Where is the school?" Sun didn't particularly like school since all the classes he was enrolled in basically bored him to death, but all the friends he had made while back in Kanto had made it that much tolerable. He had no intentions of sitting again in a classroom for hours on end again.

    Still if he wanted to complete his island challenge, he had to figure out the basics.

    "Then let's get started."

    That'll wrap up this section! Hope everyone is enjoying it so far!

    Translations:
    • Keiki - Child
    • Ohana - Family
    • Macaroni Salad - Just like it sounds. It is like a potato salad except the starch being a macaroni pasta. It's served cold with mayonnaise, onions, celery and pickles. A big scoop or two is a popular side to a Hawaiian plate lunch.
    • Lau Lau - A Hawaiian dish that is part of their plate lunch. Lau Lau is usually chicken, pork or fish wrapped in taro or luau leaves and steamed in an imu (oven) for a couple of hours.
    • Poi - Poi is made from mashed taro (kalo) root and is a purplish paste. It's a staple food in Hawaiian cuisine and has a consistency like peanut butter, but a cross between a bitter and sweet taste.
    Please comment, review and let me know how I'm doing. As always, mahalo for reading and reviewing. You give my writing purpose.
    Brav
     
    #11 Aug 5, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2017
  12. BraviaryScout

    BraviaryScout Way of the Wind

    Dauntless
    (Rufflet)
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    Alola readers! Looks like I missed the weekly update and all, but here we go!


    The professor assigned me to be Sun's guide in Hau'oli City later that day after he completed the trainers' school lesson. Other than the little vacations mother and father took us on, I don't really remember much of Hau'oli at all. There had to be a million people living there with a lot of stuff! Sun was probably going to be just as lost as I was, but that was better than nothing y'know? So I had spent the majority of that morning, reading on all the tourist attractions and places to see and eat before going to get him from his house. We wouldn't be able to cover everything in a day, but he would see a good portion to know what it's all about.

    When I did, his mother found us talking on the front porch and she seemed very nice and caring, even to me, who I had just known for a couple minutes. Wish I could say the same for myself. By the time we were ready to leave from the lab, it was already well into the afternoon.

    The teacher of the school gave him a lesson; assigning him to find and defeat four other trainers to learn about the basic skills of Pokémon battling. It took him a little while, but I wasn't surprised when news got out that he defeated them all, including the teacher who wanted to see his battling skills for herself. Sun even caught his first Pokémon; a grimer on the school grounds! I guess it's a pretty good thing if he says that they're more dangerous elsewhere. He was definitely surprised it was green and I think this was what Professor Kukui was talking about as a sort of adaptation to the Alolan environment. He calls these subspecies Alola forms.

    Even though I can tell that he is going to be a one of a kind trainer, I can't help but feel like he doesn't really like me for some reason. Granted, I was expecting the new kid that Professor Kukui mentioned to be a girl. I was kind of disappointed when it turned out to be a boy. But I like Sun...Elio...Gah! So confusing! I hope he will be open to being friends with me soon!

    "Attention, all students." A bell chimed over the trainers' school. Lillie was standing at the entrance and looked up at it along with the other kids who were also outside, "Sun has completed his lesson at the trainers' school!"

    "Awesome!"

    "Sweet!"

    Among the students all cheering in the building's courtyard; Lillie couldn't help herself smiling. The feeling was like watching a newly hatched Pokémon grow so quickly. Just yesterday, he hadn't even been able to properly throw a Poké Ball or even understand how to battle. Now he had defeated Hau, four other students that had more experience under their belt and news eventually had emerged that he had also beaten the instructor.

    Sun and Professor Kukui emerged from the building entrance with his litten and a second green bloblike Pokémon with long arms, no legs and a viscous liquid coating its entire body trailing behind, looking up at their trainer expectantly. If she remembered right, it was called grimer, a Pokémon originally native to Kanto, but had been brought to Alola and changed forms due to the drastically different ecosystem.

    "Be good to your Pokémon!" One of the boys said.

    "Good luck with your island challenge!"

    "I hope you get close to a lot of new people!"

    Sun chuckled and thanked everyone for the lesson. Once the congregation had dispersed; Lillie headed for the entrance. He said nothing as he glanced down at his Pokémon while digging out what she recognized as a Refresh kit. A smile did flicker across his face a second later as he gently brushed loose sand out of Litten's fur. The little fire type shivered at the contact and let out a delighted purr as he scratched just underneath his chin.

    "You seemed to be in perfect sync with Litten and Grimer, weren't you? I even saw that your technique of throwing the Pokéball has greatly improved."

    He smiled, putting a hand behind his head. "Thanks Lillie. After one of the students told me that my throw was horrible, yeah. I wised up and was willing to listen and practice. I'm used to throwing basketballs and footballs with my arms and pokeballs require a different approach."

    "At least you've caught yourself another Pokémon!" She said, "That's a start right?"

    "It sure is." He glanced back at the living lump of sludge who was chatting excitedly with Litten, "He's a lot different than a grimer back in Kanto."

    "What do you mean?"

    "I've got thizzz covered!" Rotom buzzed, popping out of Sun's backpack and floating right in front of them. On his screen just below the eyes; the image displayed was its standard form. Instead of its yellow and green form in front of them; this one was purple and black in color.

    "Grimer...Sludge Pokémon...standard form. Grimer is a result of sludge puddles exposed to irradiated rays from the moon. It feeds on slimy industrial waste that is generated from factories and their presence is always foretold by a foul-smelling stench. Grimer's slimy body allows it to fit though nearly any opening and its body leaks out a germ infested fluid that instantly taints any surface it comes into contact with. While it multiplies in heavily polluted areas; recent efforts to conserve precious resources and reduce waste output have been cause to this form's declining numbers in recent years."

    "Woah," Lillie looked a little pale, "That sounds really horrible!"

    "I almost thought he was a shiny, since their coloration is green. Then I saw another one and realized that wasn't the case," Sun sighed, "Oh well."

    "What's a shiny?"

    "Shiny Pokémon are Pokémon that come in an alternate coloration of their species' standard appearance. They're extremely rare and considered to be valuable by trainers even though they're hardly any more different. The grimer I'm used to seeing are colored green as their shiny form. So I thought I had struck gold when I saw it, but when one of the kids told me that's how they looked here in Alola, I knew that it was too good to be true." He glanced down at Grimer, "Although I hope to find and catch one hopefully."

    "Well," Lillie wanted to give some encouragement to him, despite hearing of a very tiny probability it happening, "You've only started. There's plenty of time."

    Sun glanced back up at Rotom while nodding, "So Rotom, what makes Grimer here different than the ones in Kanto?"

    "I'm on da cazze!" The talking Pokédex shuffled his screen, floating between them, "Grimer specimens were brought to Alola to help deal with the rampant garbage issues on the island developed into this form over time. Unlike its cousin; Alolan grimer feed on garbage instead of toxic waste and do not produce a stench or secrete dangerous residue from their bodies. Their own poisons are stored in crystals adorning its body. Poisonous fluids will leak out of the crystals if they are removed from its body."

    Rotom buzzed again, "Analyzing...Grimer in your party is a male. His current moves are pound, poison gas, harden and bite. It has ability poison touch, which can cause the target to get poisoned when Grimer makes direct contact."

    "Hmm," Sun put a hand to his chin deep in thought, I can definitely use that to my advantage in battle.

    "Um…since we've come this far together, why don't I show you more of the city? Come on. There's lots to see and it might be late by the time we're done."

    "Sure! We better get going then!" He waved back to the crowd of kids still gathered to watch him go, "Bye everyone!"

    "Bye Sun!"

    Turning back to the entrance, Lillie had disappeared in just a matter of seconds. Sun wondered if he had already lost his guide?

    "Sun! Over here." She called from behind. He quickly joined her and they started walking towards the group of highrise buildings in the distance.

    Night was beginning to settle over Alola again, since the lesson had taken up the majority of the afternoon. Traffic was beginning to increase on the streets as commuters were beginning to disperse out of the downtown section back to their homes for the day. In contrast to the golden sky sunset, the city lights were bathing the area in a beautiful orange and white glow.

    "You know," Lillie had broken the silence and saw that he too was deep in thought when she stared at him, "I was really impressed seeing how you battled with your Pokémon at the trainers' school and even back when you weren't yet a trainer, you were still able to save Nebby."

    "I'm glad Nebby is safe," Sun agreed, "And thank you. Least that lets me know I'm doing something right."

    "You were chosen by your Pokémon so quickly. I understand why now."

    The boy glanced behind to see both Litten and Grimer following closely behind; likely also not wanting to get separated from their trainer. He started walking again running right into something that was knocked away.

    Lillie gasped and stumbled forward, but found herself not falling down to the pavement. From behind; Elio had quickly reached out and grabbed her arms before she had completely lost balance. Glancing behind at her savior, she instinctively pulled her arms out of his after standing back up again and held them close to her body. Sun's expression was one of complete shock.

    "Sorry," He quickly apologized, "I didn't mean to do that."

    She didn't respond to him and just kind of shook as if he was about to strike her.

    "Are you okay Lillie?" A pang of fear crept into his mind that he had hurt her somehow. She may not like Pokémon battles, but he found that the scene of her being distressed was upsetting to him too.

    "No…sorry," She squeaked, "It was an accident. Forget about it okay?"

    "Alright, but are you sure you're okay? You look like you just triggered a static ability and got paralyzed,"

    "Don't worry, I'll be okay." She looked up when the sound of clanging hooves had gotten louder and quickly darted behind the boy. "Oh I forgot about Tauros!"

    Tauros had been blocking the roads when they had initially come up to Hau'oli's outskirts, but it was in front of the majority of the city and they were only planning to go up to the school. Now it had moved further down the street and this time, it wasn't alone.

    Both Hau and Hala stood on either side of it, ignorant to the car horns that sounded from the city side. Their faces brightened as both Sun and Lillie approached.

    "Ho!" The kahuna greeted joyfully, "If it isn't Lillie and Sun! Sorry for scaring you hoa. I guess it's time I get old Tauros back home." He looked over at the big Pokémon staring intently at Elio, "Oh! But why don't you give him a little pat first, Sun?"

    "Um…sure," Sun knew that a tauros could be a dangerous Pokémon, often charging with its sharp horns at whatever it wanted without any noticeable warning. Although this one seemed to be rather tame, he still cautiously approached with a hand out. Butterfree began to form in his stomach since this would be the closest he had ever come to the horned Pokémon.

    As his fingers barely brushed the side of Tauros' face, it huffed from contact. Elio felt a rush of hot breath down his arm as it cried out again, quickly retracting his hand and wondering if he had provoked it.

    Hala didn't seem to think so and laughed at the touching moment, "You see that? This rascal here already loves you! Pokémon become happier when we show them some care." He gave Tauros a friendly tap, "C'mon troublesome. Let's head home."

    As the older man escorted his Pokémon down the street to allow the cars through, he waved back before heading down the road's sidewalk.

    "The kahunas sure are something eh?" Hau said, coming to their side, "Able to calm even a raging Pokémon without even needing to battle. Now that's something!"

    "You sure you're not biased?" Sun teased, "Even a little?"

    "I mean I like Tauros and all, but it is pretty scary! I don't want to ride on it!" He decided to change subjects, "So where are you two off to now? Sun, did you finish the school lesson?"

    "He sure did! I was thinking after that, I should show Sun around Hau'oli City a bit."

    "Nice idea! You're always on top of things, Lillie! Then let me tag along too! I wanna get something good to eat!"

    "Sure Hau. We could use the company," She said, turning to the other boy, "Right Sun?"

    Sun was about to protest, for some reason he just wanted the two of them to tour the city, but at the same time, Hau had really grown on him as a good friend and he probably knew the city better than the both of them. It would do him no good to be lost in a foreign place.

    Might as well see all the sights here while I've got time. This is my new home after all.

    "All right. Let's all go together!" Hau ran off excitedly. He disappeared around the turn moments later.

    "Oh Hau," Lillie sighed, "I guess we should go catch up with him before he gets too far Sun. Hau'oli City is the biggest city in Alola after all. Close to a million people."

    "Yeah, wouldn't want to get lost on my first time." He accepted her offer and they took off after their energetic friend.

    Lillie's estimate on its population had been close enough. Hau'oli City's official census had about seven hundred thousand people living in its general area, making it the most populous section in the Alola region. Smaller buildings with apartments and shops lined the inside of the road while a big sandbar of a fantastic beach stretched far down to a long set of marinas that jutted out into the harbor. Just across from it were many hotels that looked quite lavish and touristy.

    The sand felt silky soft when he slipped his hand through it and was mesmerized by all the different people doing all sorts of things; relaxing, swimming, playing games and even standing on long ovoid boards to ride big waves back to the shoreline.

    He recalled the activity as surfing.

    I want to learn how to surf one day.

    Further inside the city were some tall skyscrapers that raised above all their surroundings. The rest of the urban development had spread seemingly around the entire span of the island, hugging the shoreline.

    In terms of the total area; the entire vicinity of Hau'oli was maybe about a quarter of the size of Cerulean City while only having half its population. Sun found the place to be dense with properties and sections smaller than normal.

    Not really a lot of places to expand on an island. With Cerulean City, you could always just build out from the center.

    Hau dragged Sun into a small office called the tourist bureau, saying something about getting an upgrade since he had a rotom dex. They had been gone for about five minutes before Lillie arrived at the front when they had just exited.

    "Sun, Hau. Did you visit the tourist bureau? How was it?"

    "We got his rotom dex upgraded!" Hau cheered, "Now it can take pictures too!"

    "Wow!" She smiled, "What a wonderful helper you are Rotom!"

    "Thankzzz!" The device said inside Sun's backpack. "Now how about a little photo to test thizzz out!"

    "Hey!" Sun tried to grab the Pokédex as it unzipped his bag's pocket and floated up in front of them. Before he could grab his pesky companion, it emitted a bright flash, catching the three by complete surprise.

    Lillie's mouth was open as she still tried to figure out what had just happened while Hau on his other side had his signature goofy grin plastered on his face. Sun was in the center, frozen in mid-dive with outstretched arms grabbing for the elusive floating electronic.

    "What was that for Rotom?" Hau demanded, "Go and put that little trickster back in your bag Sun and follow me! Enough feasting for the eyes! It's time we take care of our stomachs!"

    Sun had to agree, as he hadn't eaten anything since breakfast, but he held up.

    "Hau wait up. Let's take another picture…one we're ready for."

    The energetic boy agreed and the three of them found a good spot just next to the sandy beach where the camera would face the ocean. Although it was nearly dusk, there was just enough orange light to capture a worthy picture that would be treasured.

    "Okay Rotom," Sun took him out again, "You can take another photo of us."

    Both Hau and Lillie stood next to him and smiled. The boy stuck his free hand in front of him and extended both his thumb and pinky finger.

    "What are you doing Hau?" Lillie asked.

    "Hanging loose. You guys should try it too. It just means to relax and take it easy!"

    "Sure," Both others replicated the gesture. Lillie was a little nervous, but joined anyway.

    Rotom flashed again before floating into Sun's hand as the main screen displayed the photo. They crowded around him to see as well.

    "I like it," Lillie commented.

    Hau nodded his agreement, "Me too."

    "When I find a place to print, I'll send you both a copy."

    "You don't have to do that," She said.

    "Sure I do," Sun disagreed, "After all you're my friends."

    "F-friend?" Lillie stuttered, now a bit off at what he had called her. Unbeknownst to them; she never really had much of a friend, especially one around her age.

    "Of course you're my friend Lillie!" He said, "Unless you don't want to be,"

    "Sure! Now c'mon," She walked further down the sidewalk towards the city, "Hau, I think I will go stop by the apparel shops and do some shopping of my own. I'll go ahead and take Sun with me and maybe meet up for dinner or something."

    "Okay," Both boys agreed and they split up, going in separate directions. Sun trailed Lillie as she headed past the multitude of fancy looking boutiques that were joined into a larger building just past the beaches and the tall hotels that lined their sides. Part of it separated where even more shoppers were going to the stores further inside the area.

    "Oh Sun," Lillie stood right next to him, "Tell me, do you pick out all your own clothes?"

    To be honest; he had never really picked out many garments he wore at the store. Mom did a lot of shopping for him and he just picked out what he wanted to wear for the day. As long as nothing was horribly mismatched, he wasn't choosy.

    "Actually, my mom does it for me."

    "Really?" She was surprised at that, "You too? I…I've always just worn the clothes that my mother wanted me to wear. It's good to see that I'm not the only one. I don't really know what kind of things would suit me."

    Sun nodded, "Well I'm actually kind of excited when I decide to start buying stuff I want to wear. Maybe one day, when we've got nothing to do, we can shop all day. I don't mind clothes shopping; in fact I actually kind of enjoy it." His cheeks turned a little red from admitting that.

    Lillie giggled; from what she knew, most boys loathed going out to shop for garments.

    "Actually I wanted to give you this. I didn't even buy anything. They still gave it to me saying I was like the ninety-nine thousandth customer to visit, but I already have the same one, so I thought you might want it."

    "A lens case?" Sun asked. He had seen them advertised before, with a set of different colored contacts that altered the appearance of one's eye color. "Thanks."

    "It looks like we have something in common now, don't we Sun?" She giggled, "Although I don't see why you would need to change your eye color."

    "Me neither," He thought that almost any of the eye colors he had seen on people looked great. "I'm glad I got gray. Even though green is nice too,"

    "Yeah," She sighed, "Um Sun. Sorry I haven't been that much of a guide yet, but this is Kalakaua Avenue, it's the big shopping and entertainment of Alola and as you can see, it's huge. There's a few big shopping plazas, a lot of cool restaurants and tourist galas and all the like. Always something to do here for everyone! You could even get a haircut in the salon if you wanted."

    "Wow," Sun could only stare in wonder at the sight. Kalakaua Avenue was enormous, with palm trees every now and then, providing much needed shade from the intense Alola sun. They preceded large buildings on their right, which had a wide diversity of different logos for the many shops that lined this section. Some paths opened into promenades that people could go further inside to explore even more venues set up inside the city. Right on the sides of the sidewalks were some musicians with guitars and ukuleles, playing soft and calming island music that almost seemed to meld perfectly with the waves crashing on the beach just thirty feet to their left.

    People of all kinds were walking around them from families to groups of giggling teenage girls. Everyone seemed very happy and lively.

    It's like just being here on Alola makes all these people vibrant.

    "It's pretty neat," Lillie agreed, "How about we go and see what's inside?"

    "Okay,"

    "Hey you!" They were interrupted by a young brunette dressed in a white T-shirt with a beach image on the front. She bounded over to them accompanied by a popplio and butterfree following close behind.

    "Leilani?"

    "That's my name!" She cheerfully said, "You're Sun right? Or is it Elio?"

    "I don't have a preference." The boy replied, "How did you know?"

    "Well Hau talks about you all the time since you got here! You tend to get a little suspicious when your hoapili talks so much about someone else other than yourself."

    "I have to agree on that," Sun scratched the back of his head while Lillie looked away shyly. Glancing back at the girl, he did have to admit that Hau was right about Leilani being very pretty. "He's around somewhere though. Lillie and I split up from him while they show me the city."

    She smiled, showing off neat straight rows of white teeth, "Well be sure to take him all around Kalakaua Lillie! That's where all the best stuff in Hau'oli is at! I bet you I know where Hau is at, so maybe I'll stop by!"

    "Sounds good. I'm sure he'll be happy to see you."

    "But still, you can't go around Alola like that! Everyone's going to tell that you came to Alola from someplace far off right?"

    "Well...yes."

    "I can tell and so can everyone else. So don't be offended by this, but you're clearly a haole and you don't want to come off as one."

    "Haole?"

    "Yup," Leilani nodded, "People in Alola use that term to describe someone who isn't native to the region in a rather rude way. But at least it's easy to become ohana to us! How about I help you out in the proper way in showing how we greet one another?"

    "Sure," Elio agreed, "Customs are way different here than in Kanto and I better get used to them."

    "All right!" She put her hands in front of her chest and waved them both outward at the same time, "Alola!"

    "Alola!" He repeated the gesture.

    "See! Just like that! You'll make a lot more friends and be less of a haole if you say it!"

    "That doesn't make me less of one right?"

    "No, but take the term with a grain of salt Sun. Most people will just use it to lightly tease and generally, they mean well."

    "Okay. Got it."

    "Well I better go meet up with Hau before both of us lose track of him! Remember Sun, make sure you say Alola to everyone you meet! It's the same whether you are saying hello or goodbye! Take care of Lillie!"

    "Bye Leilani!" Sun and Lillie waved as the older girl took her leave down the sidewalk to head further down the street.

    "She sure knows how to make friends," The blonde said longingly after she had long departed.

    "Hau says she was his childhood friend and they basically grew up on Melemele Island. Also says there's a lot of boys in Iki Town who have a crush on her."

    "Explains a lot. Are you one of them?"

    "Kind of hard to say at this moment. I've known her and just about everyone else here for less than a week. Speaking of which; did you grow up here in Alola Lillie?"

    She shook her head, "Well...yes and no. I was born here in the Alola region, but I didn't live on this island until I started staying with Professor Kukui for the past couple months."

    "Was it hard? You know, having to adjust after coming from so far away?"
    She saw where he was going with this and subsequently shook her head, "I'll admit that I don't really feel all that comfortable when I'm in an unknown place with lots of people...I really don't know why, but it just makes me nervous. Even though I've been to Hau'oli City a couple of times, I only relax if I am with someone or at someplace familiar like here...with you."

    "Well then I guess we're both in a foreign place and out of our comfort zone. So how about we go together?"

    "Yes," Lillie agreed as she felt the anxiety melt away at his suggestion. She lifted her large white hat up to meet his eyes. "Let's do that."

    The biggest shopping center on Kalakaua was the Makiki Center, a big open-air venue that had large department stores and hundreds of smaller trendy boutiques that lined the sides of the multiple floors that surrounded the complex.

    They stopped at an ice cream stand to buy a couple of cones after their conversation came to favorite desserts as they continued to explore more of Makiki. Lillie had sat down for just a minute when Elio returned to her side, holding a pair of swirled frozen treats in a grid waffle cone.

    "Sun?"

    He held one out to her, "Here."

    "Are you sure?"

    "Yeah I am. Pretty sure it's not a good idea to try and eat two big cones of ice cream by myself." This incited a chuckle from both of them.

    "How did you know vanilla is my favorite flavor?"

    "Well you were talking about vanilla ice cream. After all, it's the most plain but best flavor. Not too flashy or distinct, but it tastes good. What more could you ask?"

    Lillie nodded, "How much was it?"

    "Don't worry about it."

    "What?"

    Sun laughed, "Lillie, did you see how much money Mom gave me? I've got plenty to spare and I'll be earning more by winning battles."

    She nodded nervously, "Okay Sun. Thank you for buying. Hau was right when he said that going to get treats is way better when you're with someone else."

    "Good." He glanced around at the crowd, "So did you want to keep shopping around?"

    "Well yes actually. Um, I was looking for this store called Alola Sunrise. It's the most popular boutique accessory shop that sells only the best kind of stuff for girls on Melemele Island. Do you want to come with me?"

    "Uhh," Sun felt his heart stop. He knew all about these kinds of girls shops. It was going to be an awkward experience when going in, since he was probably the only boy inside the entire store. There was one time when his parents took him to Celadon City's huge shopping department where he saw a bunch of older teenage boys and young men all loitering around close to the place's hot pink colored entrance. Each one was bored out of their minds on their cell phones and they all had fancy looking bags handing loosely on their arms as they awaited agonizingly for their girlfriends to come back out. He had laughed at the display, but almost having to experience it firsthand made it was a lot less funny.

    Still, he didn't want to leave Lillie all by her lonesome.

    Game face on Elio. He thought to himself, This better be worth it.

    "Okay sure. Must be a neat place."

    Oh it's a neat place all right...if I were a girl.

    It was right after they finished their ice cream. Truth be told, there was hardly anything inside the trendy looking place that caught his attention. There were a lot of shiny display cases with everything from bracelets, rings, necklaces to hair products. There were also girls inside...a lot of them. In fact; Elio was the only boy inside the entire store and he received stares from everyone else as if he was a different species.

    This is literally a no man's land. I should've tried my luck with all those boyfriends standing outside the store.

    As Lillie continued to browse through the various things; Sun actually found himself drawn to one of the jewelry cases. There were several rare items including pearl strings, stardust pendants and star pieces that were all made into valuable accessories. While they did look nice; the prices were eye-popping and he decided against getting one for Lillie as a gift.

    One item did catch his attention; a pendant that was in the shape of the island guardian Tapu Koko. The detail was incredible and the diamonds sparkled from the display lights, giving it a bright radiance that set it ahead of everything else in the shop.

    "Alola," The lady greeted him, "Finding everything okay?"

    "Yeah," He droned off, trying to act as if he was excited to be there, "Just looking around at what you've got."

    "You don't have to pretend," She caught his attention, "You're not the first boy that's come in here trying to look interested. I get it. This isn't a boy's shop."

    "Yeah, no kidding." He stared longer at the Tapu Koko pendant, oddly very intrigued about the piece of jewelry.

    "You like the Tapu's pendant?" She asked, catching on to the teen's curiosity. "You can get it blessed by the kahuna of Melemele Island and it is said that anyone who has had an encounter with Tapu Koko and wears this pendant is believed to be someone that the guardian watches over and keeps safe."

    "Yeah, it's pretty neat." He had really grown interested in its appeal. Maybe it was because he and Lillie shared a personal encounter with the elusive Pokémon. Maybe it was because it had an exhibit of its own inside this hip place. Maybe it was because it cost almost double the amount of money his mother gave him. With enough battles and prize money won, he would be able to afford it. "Although I could probably do without all the gems and maybe tone down the price a little."

    "Actually you're in luck," She reached down behind her desk and pulled out a box. Opening it, the velvet cradled an identical one, now having detailed dark carvings into the golden luster. There were no gemstones on this one and she had named the price significantly less than for the blinged one. It was still way more than what he was willing to pay, so he politely declined the offer.

    "Alright," The lady put it away, "It's here if you want it though."

    "Thanks,"

    "Don't mention it. Oh and here," She reached over to hand him a small rainbow colored scale of sorts. "It's not much, but I do understand how you feel when you're out of your comfort zone in a place like this. You seem to be a trainer, so I heard this item here can be useful on your island challenge. A prism scale like the one in front of you is said to evolve some sort of Pokémon found at Brooklet Hill."

    "Hey Sun," Lillie came up to him from behind, "I'm done shopping. Hope you're not too bored." She looked at the shiny scale in the boy's hands, "Oh...wow. You came with me here when I wanted to look around and then you end up buying something while I'm empty handed." Her laughter brought the corners of Sun's mouth upwards, "Wow. Talk about ironic."

    "Oh right," He fished for his wallet, "How much for this ma'am?"

    The lady shook her head, "You've already paid for it in time. And like I said, I can totally correlate when my husband forces me to come with him to the electronics store. Besides, I've been trying to get rid of that for a while now and since so little trainers come here nowadays; it's almost a chore to try and get someone to buy it. I believe a fine trainer like yourself will find a way to make good use of it."

    "I will," Elio nodded, clasping the palm sized item and slipping it into his backpack, "Thanks...sorry. Mahalo."

    "'A'ole pilikia."

    "Wow," Lillie gasped in wonder as Elio held up his new prism scale which sparkled in the evening lights that lined the side of the street. "A prism scale. So does it evolve a Pokémon?"

    "That's what the lady said. Didn't specify, but said it could be found at Brooklet Hill."

    "Oh that's on Akala Island. But we won't be going there today. It is getting late after all."

    "We should head home then. I don't want my mom getting worried." Sun glanced down at his phone as a text from Hau was pushed to him, "Oh?"

    "What?" Lillie peered over at him.

    "Hau wants to meet up for mala-sadas?"

    "Oh Hau," She sighed, "I should've known he wasn't going to end a day without getting some of those."

    "What is a mala-sada?"

    "I think it's better if he tells you." The blonde glanced down the street's sidewalks, "You should go meet up with him before it gets too late."

    "You don't want to come?"

    "It's not that. I'm already quite tired from today."

    "Okay," Sun nodded and stepped closer, "You want me to walk you and Nebby back home?"

    "I thought you were going to see Hau and get malasadas?"

    "Those can wait," He said, "I just moved here, so I don't think missing out on something that gets him so excited is going to kill me."

    "It might kill him," They shared a round of laughter at that. "I can tell he's dying to introduce them to you! Trust me...you'll like them." Lillie glanced down at her bag, silently thanking the fact that Nebby had slept through almost their entire journey through the city, "I'll be okay. I promise."

    "Okay," He nodded and a faint smile graced his face, "If you say so."

    After seeing Lillie off to head back to Professor Kukui's lab, Elio headed for the Pokémon center on the west side of town to heal up his two companions.

    "I saw those Team Skull numskulls loitering around the Marina again. I reported it to the captain of course."

    Sun had crossed another street when he heard a pair of workers conversing over at a parkside bench. From what he observed, this group called Team Skull was not regarded highly by the denizens.

    "This is what happens when young people have nothing to do and too much time on their hands!"

    "What a bunch of useless thugs! All they do is drag trainers into battles they don't want and try to steal people's Pokémon!"

    "I heard they keep trying to sneak into the trial site to steal Pokémon to sell and that they fail every single time," His cohort added. The boy couldn't help his curiosity at the conversation and decided to butt in.

    "So why hasn't anyone done anything about it?"

    The man chuckled darkly, turning to the newcomer, "Look kid, it's best to let the authorities take care of them. Don't go trying to be a hero."

    "Authorities haven't done a good job." Sun countered, "Otherwise this Team Skull wouldn't be much of a nuisance as you say."

    "You sure do have guts," The woman said, "I'll give you that."

    "Wouldn't you want to do something about these numskulls instead of griping all day?"

    "If we could, we would." The man replied, "Team Skull often picks fights with weak trainers, especially newbies and then take their Pokémon once they win. No offense kid, but you'll be a tempting target."

    "I have to try," Sun said, "I won't stand for something like that."

    He made his way closer to the marina, running into Hau along the way. His friend emerged from a restaurant that had a pink Pokémon logo on the top with its tongue sticking out. It came as no shock to Sun when Hau told him that this malasada was his favorite food. Eager to find out for himself, he went inside to try the delicacy.

    "It's the miraculous munchy born in Alola! Welcome to your neighborhood Malasada shop!"

    The malasada shop was tidy and he was instantly hit with the smell of fried dough. Menu was straightforward so he decided on the Big Malasada because he had skipped lunch. Sun was directed to a seat inside and a clerk eventually set it in front of him with a big wrapping of foil paper in case he wanted it as takeout.

    It was way bigger than he thought, but once he took a first bite, he was already in love. The taste was a combination of sweetness along with the eggy cakelike dough. As he worked his way towards the center, reddish filling began oozing out that really accented and complimented the dryness of the confection. There was sugar coated on the edges that stuck to his fingers, so he licked them off. No shame in doing that, since most others were also eating with their hands. This affair looked as if it could get quite messy, but he figured that was part of the experience.

    At the same time, the Big Malasada was quite filling and he had begun to feel rather full after eating only half of it. As much as he wanted to wrap it up and carry it with him, the filling was likely going to leak if he didn't properly wrap it and get the inside of his pack dirty.

    Not wanting to take any chances, Sun split the pastry in two and tossed out his Pokémon. Litten and Grimer walked on the floor before they stared up at their trainer with the tasty looking piece of food.

    "I'm stuffed," He explained, lowering a half to each member, "You guys try some."

    Both Pokémon sniffed his offering before slowly nibbling away. Grimer grabbed it with both his hands while Litten continued to eat out of his palm, using his tongue to wipe his fingers clean of the sweet filling.

    He was definitely happy to see that both Pokémon were disciplined when it came to eating. This would definitely make mealtimes while out on his own an easier and stress-free affair.

    Litten purred again as they looked back up at him, expectant for more. Sun noticed a bit of filling that clung to his whiskers.

    "Sorry, I'm out." He held up his hands in explanation, "We'll get some more. I promise." He grabbed a napkin and gently dabbed his starter's mess away.

    "You guys ready to go?"

    His Pokémon nodded and he pulled out their balls to recall them.

    "Alright. Where to next?"

    Even though it was almost nine in the evening; Sun decided to check out the Marina and see if the other's assumptions of Team Skull loitering around was true.

    As he came closer to the ocean again; the touristy section was starting to give way heading westward to many big skyscrapers with reflective panels shining the lights of the recreational district. There were a couple of blinking lights in the sky as the traffic from Hau'oli's busy airport continued to feed out and take in many commercial flights even at such late times.

    Many other people were still out after the sunset, enjoying the cool breeze wafting through the air. The crowds at the beach had since dispersed although he saw several other figures still wading through the water at various depths. A handful of surfers were still up and about, catching more waves. There were even a few couples taking evening strolls here and there with hand in hand.

    There was one familiar face he did recognize.

    "Ah," The pink haired boy turned from leaning out on the Marina's guardrail, "Greetings. It's me Captain Ilima."

    "Hey Captain," Sun greeted, shaking the hand that was outstretched to him, "Good to see you again."

    "The pleasure is all mine. Elio is it?"

    "You can say that or Sun. I'm not picky."

    While at the Trainer school on his one-day lesson on Pokémon battling; Sun had run into Melemele's Trial Captain. A preppy young boy by the name of Ilima who had once been the academy's star pupil. He came off as very personable, easygoing and formal, but was warned that underneath his perfect intelligent exterior lay a man whose competitiveness rivaled any glory-hungry trainer out there. One of the students had said that he had taken a semester off to study abroad in Lumiose City halfway around the world in the center of the Kalos Region. Sun would later learn that his trial would be the first he would undertake on the island challenge.

    "Very well." He smoothed out an untamed part of his otherwise neatly combed hair, "I take it your friends showed you around the beautiful Hau'oli City?"

    "Hau and Lillie were good guides sir. Although there's still much to explore."

    "There always is plenty, my friend. I have lived here all my life and still experience things in Alola that I've never seen or done before. It truly is home and I hope you will one day think the same."

    "Oh," Elio looked down in a little bit of embarrassment. It seemed nowadays that everyone was aware of his reluctance to move and call this island chain home. Either they didn't take it very well or wanted to avoid someone having a bad experience. "Well I'm sorry if I hurt anyone's feelings. It's just hard to have to find out you're moving halfway around the world in fourteen days."

    "Ugh," Ilima sighed, "I can understand that. My parents were the same when I went to Lumiose City for six months. Although I have to say that the experience of being on my own out there has enriched me for all the better, especially when I chose to embrace the cultural change. Do give Alola a chance and maybe it will wiggle its way into your heart so that you can always fondly think of this island as a place to call home."

    He smiled again, showing a row of perfect white teeth, "And do drop the sir stuff. Makes me feel older than I actually am. Only eighteen after all."

    "Thanks Ilima." The boy found that he quite liked this Trial Captain. "You sure know how to turn the tables."

    "You would not believe the times before the state I was in now. School wasn't always this easy."

    "Agreed," Sun said, "Work was intense; especially as the grades got higher. Peer pressure, bullies."

    They chuckled a bit at that, "Every school has its fair share of all that. You had some in yours?"

    "Yup. Thank goodness they never picked on me since I was in sports. Apparently, being on a team granted you immunity. But I still felt bad for all the others that they harassed."

    "Yo yo yo! Check it out!" A heavy voice boomed from the end of the Hau'oli Marina that pierced the tranquility of the evening. "Whenever, wherever we meet ya, Team Skull don't even greet ya!"

    "Speaking of bullies," Ilima said, glancing to his right.

    Sun followed his gaze. Two shadowy figures made their way over to the duo. They were maybe a little older than them, probably in their late teens or early twenties. The dark clothing they wore almost camouflaged them from the light and their faces were hidden by a scarf that covered their nose and mouth, showing only a pair of malicious eyes. A do-rag that resembled a skull covered their heads and there was a silvery chain of some sort of bling that sparkled and jingled noisily.

    This is the Team Skull? They sure are subtle.

    They homed right in on the two, standing in front proudly before crossing their arms and striking them downwards in a curve that Elio had to admit was one of the most ridiculous intimidation poses he had ever seen. It did take a bit of effort from him to restrain from laughing out loud on the spot.

    "So Cap, just give up da Pokémon yo." The taller one of the two said, "Ya don't wanna mess with us!"

    "Wait a second," Sun said, "You guys are Team Skull?"

    "Yeah dat's right!" The grunt's partner said proudly, "We part of da hardest most rad group there is in Alola."

    "So anyway," Ilima continued without giving them another second of his attention, "I hope that my school has taught you the basics on being a trainer, although there is still much to learn. I still don't know everything and each passing day is an opportunity for me to continue my growth to become the best Pokémon trainer and battler I can possibly be."

    "Wait, WHAT!" They were interrupted once again by the two delinquents who were clearly less than amused at being ignored, "Why ya tryin to act hard when we're already hard as bone out here homie?" The two Skulls began to wave their hands about to some sort of dance that was in an even more laughable manner as part of their so called "swag"

    "Yo! Let's check these fools!" His partner said, "Cap, ya still a brain and all, so be smart and hand over da Pokémon!"

    This finally got the older boy's attention, but instead of snapping, he shrugged indifferently. "Oh my...I'm absolutely terrified."

    The deadpan was enough to stifle a chuckle from Sun.

    Neither of the two Skull grunts found it funny, "Ya gonna regret sayin dat bro! And don't ya dare ignore us again!"

    "You will find no interest from me for any of your joke of activities. I suggest you take your loud selves elsewhere." Ilima replied bitterly, "So that this fine young man and I can continue our civilized conversation in peace. As for being quote on quote hard as bone; you must know that while your skeleton can be quite strong, it is not indestructible although that can be partially remedied by intake of calcium at an early age. Clearly you should've thought of something more durable. Of course, neither of you would know that; since you likely indulged yourselves on soda pop instead of milk."

    The lecture sounded so sophisticated that it had rolled right over both teens' heads. Sun's face split into an enormous grin and he couldn't help the laughter that boiled out from his body hard enough to make him clutch his stomach. Ilima didn't seem to care that they listened or tried to interpret anything from it, but instead caught their irritation. "Did he just call us stupid bro?"

    His partner turned to him, not wanting to admit the latter part of the sentence was almost spot-on, "Wha? I dunno. Who cares anyway bro?! Da only thing stupid around here is dat pointless Island Challenge!"

    "Yeah! So when we beat ya two wimps, ya gonna see how much better we are than trainers doing all those crappy trials! We gonna take yo Pokémon and you can go cry to mommy!" The second grunt mock rubbed his eyes and took a Poké Ball out of his pocket with his partner.

    Ilima scoffed, holding one of his own in his right hand, "Elio, only thieves steal other people's Pokémon and only bullies pick on others. I won't stand for it."

    Sun smiled, knowing exactly what he was thinking. "Neither will I."

    "I will ask you to deal with that one while I get rid of this one. Your battling style; I would like to see it firsthand. Why not have some practice?"

    "We ain't no pushovers bro!" The grunt facing Sun taunted, "You'll see!"

    He threw the ball out, opening it up to reveal a familiar blue and purple winged creature.

    A zubat?! Really?!

    "I've detected a new Pokémon! Bzzt!" Rotom buzzed from inside Sun's backpack, "Zubat...bat Pokémon. It sleeps in caves during the daytime due to the fact that they suffer severe burns from prolonged exposure to sunlight. Because it does not posses eyes, it relies on ultrasonic waves to perceive objects and communicate."

    Huh interesting, He took out Grimer's Poké Ball, "Grimer, you're up!"

    The big blob of greenish sludge hit the Marina's floor and formulated upward until a pair of gooey arms sprouted out.

    "Yo check out how I change the game with my mad Pokémon skills bro!" Grunt waved his arms about again, "Ya wish ya were on my level bro!"

    "I wish you would stop saying bro," Elio said dryly, "I like saying it too, but you don't have to end it in just about every sentence."

    "I can say whatever the damn hell I want bro." The grunt pointed at Grimer, purposely trying to annoy the teen, "Zubat, use astonish!"

    The fluttering pest of a Pokémon opened its mouth and let out a high pitched piercing scream that made him almost jump out of his skin. Grimer visibly jumped, shaking itself as it tried to recover from the attack.

    "Use pound!"

    The poison and dark type raised its arms up and brought them down on his flying opponent.

    "Absorb!"

    As Grimer finished slamming down; the zubat flew back up, baring its four sharp fangs and biting down on a part of his exposed body. The sludge bent at the force of the bite and the siphon of energy caused him to shake in pain.

    "Use poison gas! Get it off you!" Sun commanded.

    "Heh," The grunt snickered, "Ya know dat poisoning doesn't work on a poison type? Ya sure ya went to school?"

    I know poison types are immune to poisoning...He dryly thought, But I didn't use it to do that though.

    Grimer breathed out a puff of sickly green gas that covered both combatants. Both trainers could smell its foul odor and even his own trainer had to keep himself from gagging. Zubat had the worst of it; fluttering back up in the air again as it made a loud hacking noise and continued to flap the tiny wings to disperse the murky cloud.

    "Bite!" The bat rushed forward, baring its fangs once again.

    "Counter it with pound!" Grimer had taken the hit and the second time being bitten caused him to visibly cringe from having the sharp fangs. Despite flinching and canceling out his attack by not moving, the blob's body remained remarkably resilient to most of the damage he had received.

    It might be because he's part dark type too, but Grimer's body can easily take all those hits back at the school too.

    Zubat rose back up again by his trainer, who pointed once again at Grimer, "Bite dat worthless blob again!"

    "Poison gas!"

    "Supersonic!"

    Sun jumped as the zubat opened its mouth, releasing a ring of bluish energy that encircled Grimer. He let out a low moan of startled before belching out another noxious cloud; this time aiming completely off target. The zubat easily maneuvered around. Confusion meant that now his Pokémon was likely to attack itself just as easily as its foe.

    "I know you're confused and all, but find that zubat and bite it!"

    Grimer's response was to expose its own teeth, much more rounded and dull than the zubat's and nick itself on its lower lip. He let out a startled cry, hastily pawing at the fresh injury he had inflicted on himself.

    "I guess ya Pokémon's gonna knock itself out for me!" The grunt chuckled darkly, "Dat makes my job a lot easier! Use a sick shotzz bite zubat!"

    "Grimer, harden!"

    By a stroke of luck; he had manged to shake his head from all the overwhelming thoughts that had swarmed his head. He immediately stiffened into a solid form that almost resembled dried jelly. The zubat had been in the process of clamping down its sharp fangs. Instead of something soft and malleable; the incisors met something much more solid and the bat quickly pulled away, letting out a hiss of annoyance upon finding out the hard way.

    "Pound before it gets away."

    Grimer let out a happy groan as it lashed out with one of its arms in a slapping maneuver. The zubat was swatted down on the ground and struggled to get up.

    Elio clenched his fist as he knew that the battle had now turned in his favor and was intent on delivering the final blow, "Finish it with a bite!"

    His teeth glowed white as they came down on a part of zubat's wing, holding it inside the jaws for just a moment before slowly letting go. The defeated Pokémon shook once before it would faint on the cement floor in front.

    "Fo real bro?!" The grunt looked back at Elio in surprise, "It over already? Dat ain't fair bro! I was playin' a different game!"

    The boy gave a victorious grin back, "I play to win bro." He said, mocking their overuse of the word, "Game, set and match!"

    "Ya know what?! I kinda hate ya already! Ya ain't far at playin'!"

    "C'mon," The grunt's partner said, equally shocked at having his own Pokémon get handily defeated by Ilima, "Let's get up outta dis port bro! Nobody gotta know about dis! Keep yo wack Pokémon Ilima! We don't need it anyway!"

    "You should've thought of that before you barged in on our conversation." The Captain wasn't fazed by them at all. "Now do us all here a favor and get out of my sight."

    Neither grunt seemed to hear that as they ran back down the docks, shoving a man aside who happened to be right in their path. He shouted at them angrily, but they fell on deaf ears.

    "Don't hate the player!" Sun shouted to their retreating figures, "Hate the game!"

    "Oh my...that was terrifying." Ilima dryly remarked, "Don't you agree Elio?"

    He nodded in reply, "They sure were a scary bunch."

    "My thanks to you and your Pokémon. Why don't I heal your team to express my thanks?"

    "Sure," He handed Grimer's Poké Ball over after calling him back. Ilima applied a couple bits of medicine to get him back to full strength, "Although honestly, I think you could've taken both at the same time."

    "Double battles sure are fun and they require some extra teamwork up from singles, but I also wanted to see how you battle." He placed a hand on his chin and stepped away, facing him, "I must admit that I've been wondering about you since we first met at the Trainers' school. The professor had brought you along and you and your Pokémon seemed to defeat some of the best students and even a teacher there with relative ease."

    "I'll tell you it wasn't all easy," Sun admitted, "They were all good in their own right."

    "Nevertheless, I now believe that you are ready for my trial!" He took out a Pokéball and threw it forward, "Behold the magnificent Pokémon of the one and only Captain Ilima!"

    Closing out another chapter! Hope everyone liked it!
    Translations:

    • Hoa - Friend
    • Hoapili - Best friend
    • Haole - Literally means; no breath. Usually referred to a foreigner. Typical people subject to this racial slur are caucasians.
    • Mahalo - Thank you
    • 'Aole' pilikia - No problem/You are welcome
    As always, mahalo for reading and reviewing. You give my writing purpose.
    Brav
     
    #12 Aug 15, 2017
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2017
  13. BraviaryScout

    BraviaryScout Way of the Wind

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    (Rufflet)
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    Crown of ValorPoké Ball ★
    Alola readers!
    On the good side; this project will busy me here for most likely the rest of the year and then some. So some of the later chapters of the Sun X Lillie shipping on the other islands, Akala, Ula'ula and especially Poni will be some of my favorite to write and I hope you really enjoy what all I have to share when it comes for their time to shine! Enjoy this one!

    Okay; I think I've talked enough. How about we get to the story?


    I haven't seen either Hau or Sun for almost two weeks. Professor Kukui says that they're on the other side of the island which is a long way away. Melemele might be the second smallest of the region, but the diameter is pretty gigantic to go across, even in a straight line. I haven't stopped thinking about them since they left Hau'oli. What if they get tired or overrun? Team Skull is everywhere causing trouble, but it seemed like Elio…I mean Sun easily handled his own battle with Grimer alongside Ilima. He even said that a couple of their grunts actually helped him out during the trial session! You definitely don't hear something like that everyday!

    I was really really excited when Professor Kukui had told me Sun cleared his first trial! It was a difficult battle against a rarely seen Totem Pokémon. Hau had actually beaten him to the trial site and already completed his battle against a really big gumshoos! For Sun, he decided to go at night and got something a little different! A rather huge raticate challenged him and it proved to be a strong opponent, but I was both surprised and not to hear that Sun emerged victorious. All that was left is the grand trial, which he would have to battle Hala.

    Nebby was also ecstatic at the news and escaped from my bag again when he heard Sun might be nearby. He really has formed an attachment with him, even though we've only known one another for just under a month now! He had wandered off when we went to the Melemele Meadow which made Sun take a detour to help me get him back. That was a whole fiasco of its own and it was pretty funny, although it came at his expense.

    Sun eventually scheduled a match against the kahuna! We made sure not to miss it, even though I still don't like seeing Pokémon get hurt and Hau was lagging a bit behind, but even he wasn't going to miss the battle of a lifetime!

    Unfortunately he lost. Sun managed to get all the way to through Hala's last Pokémon, but lost his two in the process. I think he's taken the loss really hard…

    It was another shining sunny day on Melemele Island as Professor Kukui happily strolled down a pathway on the east coast.

    This part of Alola was known for its fantastic views, out to the sea that stretched over the horizon that glowed a beautiful palette of colors depending on the time of day. Right now, it was a deep sapphire blue and the first of the incoming waves began to batter the shoreline in a white foamy spray.

    Lillie wiped a bead of sweat off her forehead while she stood next to him. The man had stopped at a patch of grass and was typing rapidly into the datapad he had brought along with him.

    As they continued down the stretch; Kukui had pointed out a place called Kala'e Bay, which was a large alcove just below them on the route with a sandbar in the center. Although the cave entrance that was underneath the cliffs seemed hard to access; it was very rewarding for the trip, earning one of the top places in the region to view the sunrise as it crested over the distant surface of the ocean.

    Kukui was quick with his work, handing her his datapad and opening an app so she could write down his observations. His readings were relayed to her and quickly typed in the appropriate entry boxes. This clockwork had gone on for almost a half hour.

    Although she was more than happy to assist the professor on his newest research trip; Lillie couldn't stop thinking about Sun and Hau. Both were capable trainers of taking care of themselves, but there was a looming shadow of Team Skull that had been the buzz around Melemele recently.

    The story of a young dark-haired boy fitting Elio's description that had shown up a pair of grunts at the Hau'oli City Marina had quickly circulated around the city, being the talk of the town like wildfire. Not many had decided to stand up to the delinquents as they usually ended up continuing their harassment even after the battle had been won. Worry had been on her mind and she hoped that neither Sun nor Hau would have to deal with them; although at their current rate of strength as trainers, it was inevitable they would cross paths with the villainous gang again.

    "Earth to Lillie?" Professor Kukui waved a hand in front of her blank face, "You got the last entry yeah?"

    "Oh!" She jumped up in surprise before scrambling to grab the tablet out of her bag again, "I'm sorry Professor!"

    "You're thinking about them," It was clear who he was referring to, "Aren't you?"

    "Wha-?"

    "You're worried about Hau and Sun yeah?"

    Lillie nodded. "I haven't seen either of them in two weeks. They each wrote a letter to me, saying how they fought Team Skull again at the berry plantations, but that was still several days ago!" Her voice dropped to a whisper, "I just want to see Elio again."

    "It's perfectly cool yeah. They are capable cousins who are good trainers. I just heard from Hau that Sun had just completed his first trial last night. They actually battled two different Totem Pokémon! Hau defeated the Totem Gumshoos and Elio took down the Totem Raticate!"

    "Whoa." Her eyes widened in excitement, at both the fact of the Totems and that both trainers had cleared their first trial. "That's amazing! So what happens next?"

    "They have to do the grand trial! Face Kahuna Hala!"

    "They can do it!" She made a fist, fully confident in both the boys, "I know they can!"

    Kukui laughed, starting to head further down the pathway, "You betcha! Come on, let's get the last of the data we came here for and we can head over to the trial gate to meet them in time for lunch!"

    As she opened the zipper again; the worst possible scenario happened.

    Nebby had been biding its time while cooped up inside her duffel to escape. Although it was shaded and dark, which gave it a perfect place to sleep, the Alolan sun and humid heat were being merciless right at the time of past noon. The cosmog's caretaker had been talking about it today before she left the house. Kukui reminded her to bring a bottle of sunblock lotion, as her pale skin was going to be easily susceptible to being burned.

    "Trust me when I say it's better to get sunblock than aloe relief." He chuckled, "The moneymaking venture makes the latter cost twice as much."

    So she had made care to keep a layer on to protect herself from the harsh rays. All in the meantime; her bag and the tiny Pokémon inside was trapped in the dark chamber, longing for fresh air and coolness.

    Nebby shot out, to her surprised cry and shook its two blue clouds as it smiled to enjoy the new sight.

    "Nebby! Get back in the bag!" Lillie pleaded.

    "Pew!" It ignored her order and floated down the pathway, seemingly uncaring on where it was going.

    "No!" The blond cried, "You can't stay out! We'll get in trouble!"

    By the time he realized that she wasn't with him when he headed to the trial gate; neither of them were in sight.

    "Uh oh,"

    "Nebby!" Lillie cried, "Nebby come back!"

    She was standing at the edge of the rocky base of the big Melemele Meadow, looking out across the bright field of yellow flowers. It stretched nearly a kilometer in diameter and was impossible to see the ground under where the stems of countless plants grew out of. A multitude of cutiefly and yellow birds buzzed in the air, eager to search for the smallest bit of nectar in a high stakes competition. As soon as one spotted some, the others of its respective species would quickly follow, homing in on the area in an attempt to get a piece of the newfound discovery. Although they couldn't be seen, cries of multiple other bug and grass Pokémon could also be distinctly heard along with rustling within the foliage.

    Lillie reached into her bag pocket where the repels were kept, but found it to be completely empty.

    "Oh no,"

    The closest Pokémon center was about a twenty minute hike further up the island, but it was through a crevice area where fierce bird Pokémon preferred to hang out up top. She couldn't make it, as they tended to ignore repels, plus there was no way Nebby was going to be left by itself.

    To make things worse, Professor Kukui got distracted when he got a call from captain Ilima saying that Sun had finished the trial and was out of sight by the time Nebby seized the opportunity to cool off from its oven. Lillie was definitely glad that he cleared it, but she was too focused on getting to Nebby to really think much initially on his first accomplishment. Now he was nowhere to be found.

    "Hey Lillie!"

    Relief flooded her body when she heard Elio's familiar voice. She turned to see him approaching behind her, looking ever so concerned and out of breath from most likely running. A bunch of conflicting thoughts ran through her head as she found his sympathetic look to be extremely sweet, "Where have you been?! The professor's been looking all over for you!"

    "Ah, Sun. Nebby ran off into the meadow here and right after it got into so much trouble on the bridge too!"

    "Where is Nebby?" He asked, suddenly turning serious.

    Lillie pointed across to the other side. Sure enough, there it was happily bouncing around and gazing at the flowers as if they were the most interesting things in the world.

    "What if a wild Pokémon attacks it again? It doesn't have any moves it can use in battle!"

    "It's all right," Sun reassured her, "I will go and get him."

    Her grateful smile warmed his heart, "Thank you. Be careful!"

    He nodded and brought out both Litten and Grimer. "Stay close."

    His two Pokémon nodded, following closely behind as he took slow steps in the grass, careful not to startle any wild Pokémon nearby. Although Nebby was within seeing distance, many paths along the meadow's sides were ups and downs that made the trek a lot longer.

    Sun used his arms to brush away the first plants and stepped through, almost completely disappearing into the tall plants. Lillie only saw the rustling of the yellow flowers as an only indication of where he was at.

    An angry cry split the air, startling her.

    "Litten use ember!" She heard him command.

    A moment later, a tiny white and green Pokémon jumped out of the meadow trailing smoke behind it and quickly fled the scene.

    It took him a few minutes to traverse the field, but Sun emerged from the brush just below Nebby and made his way up the hill. The tiny Pokémon sensed his presence and turned around.

    "Pew!"

    "Hi Nebby!" Sun knelt down, "Decide to do some exploring on your own?"

    "Pew!" Nebby looked over at him curiously. The boy likely knew for once on why the cosmog was so set on constantly trying to escape its confines.

    "You were probably hot too. Yeah, I'd hate that if I was cooped up in that bag all day."

    "Da heat index sayzz it'zz gonna be another hot one too!" Rotom said as he slowly came out of Sun's backpack. "Not to mention da zzunlight being harsh!"

    "Agreed." Elio looked over, "Say Rotom, did you happen to get any data on the Pokémon we just encountered blocking our way? I've noticed quite a few new ones. Think the professor called them cutiefly and oricorio."

    "I sure did!" His animated Pokédex flipped his main screen to a display of the green and white fluffy Pokémon. "Cottonee…Cotton Puff Pokémon. Cottonee prefer to stick together to feel more at ease. Large masses of them resemble cumulonimbus clouds. Cotton produced by this Pokémon that is put in pillows, beds and clothes are said to have a superior quality of softness and lightweight. Additional information is available upon catching this Pokémon."

    "Wow," Sun said, "I bet some of the clothes from the cotton are also quite expensive."

    "Yup!" Rotom chimed, "Zome of it izz nearly double the price of normal shirtzz!"

    "Alright then. What do you say we get you back to Lillie?" He gestured behind and turned to walk back down. Litten and Grimer gave their new friend a gentle nudge and made sure it was following him.

    Lillie heard the angry shriek from earlier and looked over the meadow's edge.

    "Oh no,"

    The cottonee that Sun had defeated earlier while trying to cross was now back and giving him a determined stare. Behind it was a huge mass of something white and fluffy. It took only a moment to realize that it had brought friends…at least a dozen. Its Pokédex entry was spot on…it was an ominous puffy cloud that blemished an otherwise clear azure sky.

    "I got him!" Sun shouted triumphantly across the field, still oblivious to the looming threat, "Lillie, I got Nebby!"

    His gaze followed her wide-eyed stare as the big cottonee group closed in on him. All four pairs of eyes on his side immediately widened when they saw what had her so alarmed.

    "Oh crap."

    The cottonee swarm jumped into the meadow and rapidly made their way over to Sun, beginning to close the distance in a matter of seconds.

    "Run!" Lillie screamed out, even though he could barely hear her over the angry Pokémon's cries.

    Sun vanished into the flowers again with Litten and Grimer kept up flanking him and he had scooped Nebby in an arm, cradling it close to his chest. The attempt to flee was already futile, so he ordered his starter to scare them off with ember.

    Litten's tiny fireball hit the two cottonee in the lead, doing supereffective damage and knocking them out. As they fell into the flowerbed trailing smoke and glowing ash, it seemed like six more were willing to take their place.

    The dense plants that were close together hampered and slowed down his progress. Wild caterpie, cutieflies and the yellow bird oricorios quickly fled the scene in front of them, hearing the incoming swarm.

    Although they were generally harmless, the cotton Pokémon often were quick to call for help on others of its kind and go after whatever upset it. This was especially prevalent during their mating season, when they were fiercely territorial. Their fluffy bodies would end up tickling its opponent although they could still stir up pollen from the flowers, causing anyone with allergies to have a bad time.

    Lillie could only watch as Sun burst through another clearing with just a little more to go. The cottonee came right from the same end, blowing past Grimer and homing right on the boy.

    "Gah!" Sun gasped as the first Pokémon's fur easily latched onto his clothing and caused him to stumble. At his command; Grimer launched a bite that knocked it off his shirt, but more cottonee seized the brief time he took to get their ally off of his body to embrace him themselves. His lower extremities were covered in a combination of white and green as he continued to pluck and fling the attacking Pokémon off him.

    The clump together was still moving as she could still see part of Sun's body underneath. It was pretty incredible on how he managed to keep his balance. Litten was just next to him, firing embers repeatedly towards the rest of the cottonee group just at the edge of the field to keep them at bay in a desperate move to get them off his trainer. So far, none of their comrades decided to come any closer.

    He had managed to free an arm thanks to Grimer's help and tossed it off him. With another growl, he worked it again, ripping off two more. The weight had lightened considerably as he slowly dragged himself through the final patch of flowers right in front of her. Sun felt a burning sensation in his nose after getting the last cottonee off his chest and gave a violent sneeze, scaring off the remainder before angrily tossing it somewhere in the meadow. He looked up at his friend exasperatedly, with eyes wide as saucers.

    Lillie couldn't help giggling since he looked so funny yet she felt kind of scared for his well-being.

    "It's not funny," Sun glared at her. "I almost died there!"

    "Oh you," She turned into her motherly self and addressed Nebby, who was still in Sun's arms. He was cradling it as if it were a loaf of bread…or a baby. The trainer shrugged off the encounter and set him down on the floor.

    Litten and Grimer bounded up to his side, both looking quite relieved that their trainer was alright.

    "Thanks guys," He gave them an affectionate pat and handed each one a poke bean treat before returning them to their poke balls.

    "All joking aside; thank you Sun and I guess I should be thanking Grimer and Litten too." She took his two Pokémon from him and healed them up, "Here. It's the least I could do."

    "Thanks." He turned back to look over the meadow. The cottonee swarm had since dispersed, likely thinking that he was not an attractive target anymore, "Although I ask that we never do that again…and don't tell anybody. If Hau got word that I was smothered by cottonee, I'll never hear the end of it." Sun tugged on his shirt and doing so loosened a packed layer of soft cotton that fell out like an avalanche at their feet. "I do have to admit that the cotton on their bodies is quite soft. Wish I had one of the pillows they stuff with that."

    "Okay sure," Lillie giggled at the display, "Your secret's safe with me. Actually, I'm glad you're okay."

    "Thanks." He sat down on the rocky bed, "I'm just glad Nebby is safe."

    "Pew!" The cosmog was pleased at how concerned the boy was for it and gave him a nuzzle on his leg.

    "You need to listen to Lillie, little one." Sun said, petting it on top of the head, "She's always worried about your safety."

    "Pew."

    "I know you want to explore and all, but only do that when she says it's okay."

    "Are you hungry?" Lillie asked. "Sun, why don't we take a quick break and you can tell me all about the trial."

    He agreed and they found a shady spot close to the arch entrance of the meadow and they snacked together on the bag of Alolan trail mix she carried with her. He had some beef jerky added and just a little bit of the two protein snacks quickly energized both teens.

    Lillie's smile continued to grow as Sun animatedly talked about how he had battled the big Totem Raticate in its den deep within Verdant Cavern. He had gone in, fully expecting to face the same thing Hau had earlier that day, a massive gumshoos. So it had been a complete surprise when he found out his own opponent was far different.

    Elio had also discovered that the Totem Raticate and its rattata allies were a bit different than those found in Kanto. The battle had definitely been a hard fought one, but she was immediately proud of him when he displayed the pearly white Z-Crystal that was set in his Z-Ring.

    "Back home," He started, "Rattata are all over the place. They multiply quickly and can sometimes be a bit of a pest. Hey Rotom?"

    "Yezz?" His trusty Pokédex buzzed himself online after hearing his name being summoned.

    "Pull up the data for rattata and raticate please."

    "Of courzze! And hello to you Lillie!"

    The blonde giggled, "Hi Rotom! Nice to see you again!"

    "Zzame to you! Looking good thizz morning aren't ya!" The Pokédex's flattery caused the blonde to giggle lightly.

    "Rotom," Sun reminded him, shaking his head in irritation.

    "Zzorry mazzter!" He flipped into his database, bringing up an image of a rattata in purple and cream colored fur, "Rattata…mouse Pokémon. This Pokémon has a tendency to bite anything when it attacks. Small and very quick, it is a common sight in many places with groups of nearly forty close by if one is sighted. Rattata are notoriously hardy, reproducing quickly and will make its nest anywhere it deems fit. Rattata native to Kanto are Normal type. Additional information is available upon catching this Pokémon."

    "So I was a little confused on why they looked a bit different," Sun scrolled on Rotom's screen until an image of an Alolan rattata appeared, "And then Rotom got this."

    "Rattata came to Alola as stowaways aboard visiting ships and their population went unchecked. This prompted people to bring in yungoos and gumshoos from a distant region as their natural predators to control their invasive numbers. In order to minimize danger from its new nemesis; Rattata altered its habits on the islands, becoming more nocturnal and making its habitat in urbanized areas. They form large nests headed by their evolved form; raticate and constantly bring it fresh food. Alola rattata are normal and dark type."

    "Huh," Lillie opened her mouth in curiosity, "So what about raticate though?"

    "Raticate…mouse Pokémon. In Kanto, Raticate will stand on its hind legs with bared fangs when it is attacked and shrieks. Their steadily growing teeth are tough enough to cut through cinder blocks and it constantly gnaws on anything in sight to grind them down. They have webbed feet that enable it to adeptly swim through rivers and even oceans. Raticate's disposition is more violent that its looks. It has the capability of biting off a human hand effortlessly if one gets too close. Raticate native to Kanto are normal type. Additional information is available upon catching this Pokémon."

    "Yikes," She said, "Kanto raticate sound scary. Do they change forms like rattata in Alola too?"

    "I would imagine so. Rotom?"

    "Raticate native to Alola exhibit a heavier average weight due to its higher calorie diet. Like its rattata minons; it remains nocturnal to avoid yungoos and gumshoos predators while using its nest as a food stockpile and commanding its underlings to bring it new morsels. It is very selective on what it eats; only choosing fresh, high quality foods. There are some restaurants that use its taste to their advantage, having good reputations by having Alolan raticate taste test new ingredients and dishes. Alola Raticate are normal and dark type."

    "So you can bring one along to help shop for groceries."

    "Yeah, but you probably have to keep it in check." Sun said, "While it does have a good taste, they're still kind of pests around here." He glanced over at her, "I'm just amazed at how interesting Alola is. Some Pokémon change forms, which is absolutely crazy. You definitely don't find something like that anywhere else."

    "You know that reminds me." Lillie's face brightened as she remembered something, "I did read something interesting in a book once. It seems the Pokémon oricorio changes appearance when it feeds on the nectar from different kinds of flowers."

    "That's really cool." Sun tapped Rotom again, "Rotom. We saw an oricorio in the meadow. Do you have information on it?"

    "I sure do! Oricorio…dancing Pokémon." The single birdlike Pokémon split into four forms, three of them being blank. "Oricorio feed on nectar from special flowers grown only in Alola and it can change its form and typing depending on the type of nectar that it consumes. Additional information is available upon catching this Pokémon."

    "It's not evolving really, but more undergoing a form change. Anyway, I found it pretty interesting."

    "Pew!" Nebby had seemed to voice its agreement.

    "So what kind did we encounter? That has to be pretty cool if you can just swap out a Pokémon's typing by it feeding on specific nectar."

    Wonder if I could use that in battle?

    "Oricorio in the Pom-Pom style charge their feathers with static electricity and they dance cheerfully to melt the hearts of their enemies. Upon losing the will to fight, they are subject to a series of shocking electrical strikes. Pom-Pom style Oricorio are electric and flying type."

    "Wow." Sun was impressed, gazing back out across the meadow to a group of them all gathered around some more flowers, "So it disarms its foes as sort and then hits. Talk about a low blow."

    "Back into the bag please Nebby." Lillie chided, "I know there aren't many people around to see you here, but that's hardly an excuse."

    "I guess we should also be going now." She said after zipping up her duffel again, "The professor will probably be worried after the way we disappeared on him."

    "Sure," Sun agreed, more than happy to leave after what just happened, "Let's get out of here."

    Both teens were pretty relieved after the fiasco as they exited the meadow together and they heard footsteps running up to them.

    "Hey!" Hau jumped up, skidding to a stop at the entrance, "Howzit Elio? Oh and Lillie's with you too!"

    "Hey brah," Sun bumped fists with him plastering a grin on both boys' faces while now finding himself saying the habitual lingo when greeting a close friend. "Good to see you."

    "Yeah." Lillie agreed, "What are you up to Hau?"

    "I finished my trial yesterday!" He reached into his pocket and proudly stuck his hand out with the Normalium Z between his fingers, "Now I want to see if I learned anything from my trial. Do ya wanna battle again?"

    "Yeah sure!" Elio took out a Poké Ball, "Lillie's healed my party so I'm ready to go whenever you are!"

    As he glanced at her, he noticed a slight pink tinge grace her cheeks.

    "Um…um, I don't like to see Pokémon getting hurt like usual. But you know what…I want both of you to do your best again!"

    "Aww yeah!" Hau could barely contain his excitement, "Okay Pikachu, I choose you!"

    "Pika!" A yellow mouse burst out of Hau's thrown Poké Ball and got on all fours, red circular cheeks crackling with electric energy.

    "Pikachu huh?" Elio had seen one with the Poke finder back in Hau'oli City, but they were seldom wild. He knew that Hau had to have evolved it from the pichu that he had caught. It was another Kanto-native Pokémon and extremely popular after one particularly powerful specimen had stolen the spotlight in the hands of a very powerful trainer that originated out of the region's southern sector.

    "Rotom," As if on cue, his sentient Pokédex was summoned at a moment's notice.

    "Pikachu…mouse Pokémon. They gather together in groups that can cause lighting strikes. It can release energy through its tail that can be used to electrify other pikachu as a sign of socialization. It's in its nature to store this electricity, so it may become stressed if it is unable to discharge it. Pikachu is an electric type. Additional information is available upon catching his Pokémon."

    "Grimer, let's go!"

    "Woah a grimer!" Hau's eyes sparkled, "What a cool Pokémon! We're gonna start this off! Use thundershock!"

    "Pika…chu!" His mouse jumped up, flashing his cheeks and firing an arc that jumped across the air, crackling and swirling around Grimer. He let out an annoyed groan, but continued to endure the hit.

    "Grimer, use bite!"

    "Gri!" The sludge Pokémon lurched forward, baring his dulled teeth and clamping down on Pikachu's leg.

    "Watch out! Dodge it!"

    The yellow rodent quickly leaped out of the way with surprising speed.

    "Use thundershock again!"

    "Disable!" Sun yelled. He had learned that Grimer's newfound move proved to be useful in some situations.

    As Pikachu jumped up again to unleash another thundershock; Grimer's eyes glowed blue, causing his opponent to land back on the ground while struggling to let the charge loose. Its dark eyes widened in a panic to attack again, trying fruitlessly over and over.

    Then let's keep Pikachu stressed out. It'll be easier to hit.

    "Hang in there Pikachu!" Hau called out, "We can get through this!"

    "Use pound!" Elio planned to take full advantage of his disruption, finally pleased with himself that he was starting to develop a battling style. Grimer slithered forward, its amorphous arm stretching to nearly double its length, slamming right into Pikachu's side, causing a cry of pain to erupt.

    "Good job Grimer!" He complimented. The blob gave him a toothy grin, but suddenly stopped as tiny sparks of electricity began to course around its body. "What?"

    "You paralyzed it with static!" Hau raised a fist, "Good job buddy! Now let's finish this."

    Sun had been caught off guard. Pikachu's ability static possibly could cause paralysis on contact, suckering him right into the offensive after disabling the electric type's own move.

    "Grimer, try to move."

    "Gri," It let out a groan of protest, now moving even slower thanks to the field surrounding it.

    "We got him right where we want him! Pikachu, sweet kiss!"

    "Pi!" Hau's Pokémon put a paw in front of its mouth and winked at Grimer, while also putting his limb back out to mock blow the gesture.

    He opened his mouth again and now lazily moved about as if tipsy.

    "Grimer! Listen to me, use disable again!"

    "Jump in the air and use electro ball!"

    "Chu! Pikachu!" He leaped into the air, forming a golden sphere at the end of his tail before flipping over and launching it downwards.

    Grimer's paralysis and confusion made it an easy target, allowing the deadly ball of energy to home right in on his drunken form. It vanished in an explosion, puffing smoke everywhere before they heard an audible wet slap as the poison and dark type slumped over, unmoving.

    "Awesome work Pikachu!" Hau called out, encouraging his Pokémon. "We did it!"

    Lillie watched as Sun returned Grimer back to his Poké Ball after the smoke cleared. Notably absent from his eyes was the confidence that he normally had. Clearly, he was not expecting his own Pokémon to have been defeated so handily by Hau.

    He had used it to his advantage, knowing Grimer's physical contact attacks could trigger the static ability and make way for an improved power electro ball.

    "That's a good strategy Hau," Elio said, "You definitely got me off guard with that."

    "Thanks! Me and Pikachu have worked hard to perfect it!"

    "Pika! Pikachu!"

    "I'm still gonna win," He said, "Litten, you're up!"

    "Don't give him a chance Pikachu, use charm!"

    "Ignore it." Sun commanded, "Ember!"

    Pikachu stood still for just a moment to use his charm, but as he did, Litten took the opportunity to shoot a fast moving tiny ball of flame right on target. He hadn't escaped unscathed as his wariness had been lowered thanks to the opponent.

    "Okay, now use electro ball!"

    "Ember again!"

    Litten nimbly dodged the next thrown attack while firing his own.

    Pikachu wasn't so lucky. The flame bits splashed out at his feet allowing a second attack to put it into the ground.

    "Pi-" Hau's Pokémon groaned before it fell down. He took out his Poké Ball.

    "You did good Pikachu. Take a nice rest." Looking back at Elio, the boy grinned, "I gotta admit Sun, you're an awesome trainer and I want our first Pokémon to have an epic battle right here!"

    "Bring it!" Sun said, "I'm more than ready!"

    "Let's go Rowlet!" Hau flashed his bracelet, "Let's bring forth the potential of your Z-Power!"

    His Z-Ring began to glow as the Normalium installed in the slot activated. He formed an X with his arms before swinging them out and crossing them over his body.

    Coming out swinging huh?

    Sun turned on his own Z-Ring. "Litten! Bring forth the potential of your Z-Power!"

    He imitated the pose that he had been taught by Ilima as the flow of superpowerful energy began to connect both trainer and Pokémon.

    "BREAKNECK BLITZ!" Both boys shouted together.

    At the same time; Litten and Rowlet exploded forward, encased in a brilliant white aura that surrounded both as they shot towards one another with incredible speed.

    "Don't let up!" Sun shouted, even though he doubted that Litten would be able to hear him.

    Both the owl and fire cat smashed into each other with a loud slamming sound, kicking up a good layer of dust that blanketed the space between the trainers and Lillie.

    It hung in the air for a few moments before winds picking up began to clear out. The two small starter Pokémon lay just in front of one another, fainted.

    "Wow!" Lillie had a wondrous look on her face, "Both Pokémon equally strong that they knocked each other out! Z-Power sure does give them a lot of potential!"

    "Aww man!" Hau's disappointment was betrayed by the light chuckle he gave, "I wanted to show off my Pokémon's best side more!"

    "They did," Sun pointed out, "You used your newfound Z-Power as did I."

    "Yeah true." He put his hands on his hips after the two trainers returned their defeated Pokémon, "So both you and me beat that Totem Gumshoos huh Sun?"

    Elio nodded, "Well actually I faced a Totem Raticate. Might have to be because of the fact that I took the trial right before I went to bed last night."

    "It looks like we're getting to be stronger trainers! I wonder if I'll ever be able to beat my gramps at this rate?"

    Before Sun or Lillie could answer, they heard a familiar voice call out to them. "Hey there Sun! I knew I could count on you yeah! Thanks for tracking Lillie down for me!"

    "Professor Kukui!" He straightened his posture immediately, "It's no problem. I wanted to see Lillie again anyways."

    "I saw the battle you two cousins were havin!" Kukui said with a knowing ear to ear grin, "Seein you two use both of your new Z-Powers tells me you both finished the trial!" He laughed, "You know what? Kahuna Hala's probably rubbing his hands together in glee right about now, oh yeah!"

    "Huh?" Lillie looked intrigued at what he had said, "What do you mean?"

    "It's part of the trials!" Hau said, "After you clear all the trials on an island, you have to pass the grand trial by battling and defeating the island kahuna!"

    "Oh yes!" Kukui agreed, "It's the perfect time to see some fierce battles and some styling new moves! Woo!"

    "Let's go Crabrawler!" Hala crossed his arms together before thrusting his fists forward at a rapid pace before striking his pose with one outstretched. Right in front of him, the purple and yellow crab Pokémon was mimicking his actions, "Unleash the full potential of your Z-Power! All-out pummeling!"

    On his side of the platform that Sun had battled on during the festival a couple weeks back, Hala's Pokémon was enveloped in energy before a fusillade of glowing fists slammed into Litten. Crabrawler reared its right pincer glove/fist back and sent it flying towards Sun's Pokémon at an astonishing speed.

    The strike kicked up a thick cloud of dust that covered the entire stage that petered a couple moments later. When it cleared out, Litten was lying limply in front of Sun.

    A man that was refereeing the match held up a hand and examined the fallen Pokémon before extending a hand to Crabrawler. "Litten is unable to continue battling, Crabrawler wins and the match's victor goes to Hala; Kahuna of Melemele Island!"

    The audience that had gathered to watch the battle erupted into cheers as Hala bowed his head as an encore of his performance. Among the crowd, Hau was torn between who to cheer for; he was more than happy to see one of them win, but it was pretty heart-wrenching to see the other lose.

    Lillie was also just as surprised. From what she had heard; Sun had relentlessly trained his two Pokémon in the days approaching the matchup, even when he only had two. Much of it had already paid off when she saw him fend off the cottonee swarm and then battle against Hau, despite tying it.

    It also pained her to see him on the other side squatting down to recall his defeated Pokémon and putting his hands in his face. The hat she had never seen him without was precariously tilted on his head and he slowly straightened it when he stood back up.

    "You fought well Sun," Hala interrupted his thoughts as he crossed the stage, "Even though I have emerged victorious, I had to draw out my Pokémon's Z-Power, something I don't do often in every Grand Trial."

    "Well thank you for the battle Kahuna Hala," Sun bowed. Tears were threatening to stain his face, but he forced himself to remain humble in the defeat, "Even when the outcome was not optimal,"

    "I sense you are frustrated. It is harder for your Pokémon to achieve victory when you have less than your opponent. You may be a little confused when I tell you to learn from this battle, but also don't look back. You are welcome to try the Grand Trial again…after all, the Island Challenge favors persistence."

    "I will try it again."

    Hala chuckled, "That's what I like to hear boy. We'll make a fine trainer out of you yet!"

    After the battle, the crowd began to disperse. Sun remained behind until most had left back to their homes. A handful of people gave him sympathetic looks and encouraged him not to stay down.

    "Sun," Hau was right by his side to offer advice, but was brushed off by the other boy apologetically without another word as he walked past. With nothing else to do and unable to help his friend, he decided to retire for the night.

    Lillie saw him slip out of Iki Town's entrance and head back towards the Melemele Meadow. He walked up to the path on those large cliffs that overlooked the ocean along the route and gave a picturesque view of a cave that was apparently called Kalae'e Bay. She had remained out of sight, but kept him within seeing distance the whole way. There was no need to, since he didn't seem to suspect anyone following.

    He let out Litten and Grimer beside him at a spot and the three of them sat down close to the edge when he started throwing poke beans in the air towards them. One of them would jump up and snatch the treat out of the air before letting out a cry of approval.

    "Hey guys. I want you to know that even though we lost our battle, I'm proud of you." She heard him say quietly, "Even when the fight started, our backs were up against the wall, the two of you against the Kahuna's three. We fought to the bitter end and still didn't come out on top. Sucks to lose and it feels like our hours and hours of practice just was undone in just a few minutes, but I know without it, the battle would've been much worse."

    His Pokémon let out soft sympathetic cries as they tried to reassure their trainer.

    "That Totem Raticate sure was hard too," Sun sighed before suddenly grabbing a nearby rock and whipping it out in the direction of the sea as hard as he could in anger. The action clearly startled both Pokémon, who scampered a bit away from their trainer, not wanting him to vent his frustration on them, even right after he gave them a well-deserved compliment.

    He turned to see their worried expressions and immediately recognized the reasoning, "I'm sorry. I shouldn't have done that…but it seriously hurt to lose! In front of everyone…the professor, Hau, Mom…" His voice trailed off, "Lillie. Everyone was pulling for me…wanting me to win…even the kahuna himself! And we didn't…"

    From her spot and what she had heard him say; he was a lot like brother. In another lifetime, the two of them would've been really close friends. All three of them would.

    "Mind if I sit down?" Sun turned to the voice.

    Lillie appeared right in next of him, carrying her duffel close to her side. He nodded and gestured to his side. The blonde saw evidence of tears on his shirt. It was just so admirable that he was so hard on himself when it came to Pokémon battling.

    Although Nebby was out of sight inside, he couldn't help but feel like he was automatically given an absent task of protecting the two of them when she was nearby. Lillie had already told him it was incapable of battling and the birds that had bullied it that day solidified his protectiveness, not just for Nebby, but Lillie as well. This was prevalent even though he continued to disagree with her stance of not wanting to be a trainer.

    "You doing okay after getting swarmed by those cottonee?" She was the first to ask as the two sat alone in silence for the first few minutes.

    "Yeah," He chuckled at the memory earlier in the day, "Still finding fluff in my shirt and pants, but I'm alright thankfully. Next time, we're going in more prepared."

    "Thanks again for looking after Nebby."

    He nodded; giving off a silent welcome.

    "Why are you here?" Elio turned to her and was giving off a penetrative stare, sounding a bit apprehensive.

    "I was worried about you Sun." She said, fiddling around with her skirt, "I saw what happened."

    "We battled the best we could. Right guys?" His Pokémon gave an affirmative cry of affection as they stood on the side of their trainer, nuzzling his legs with their heads. He made no attempt to show any signs of being frustrated that she had secretly witnessed.

    Lillie smiled at the display.

    "I still take it you're not over the loss?"

    "I hate to lose as much as the next guy," Sun admitted, "Although my mom says that I often dwell on it more than I should."

    "Even though you lost, you fought well. Take the Kahuna's words to heart…he said that he had to use Z-Power to win and he doesn't do it all the time."

    "That is true," Sun felt a spark of optimism at the statement, "We did kind of make him panic a little."

    "There you go! Now that's the positive things I'm talking about," The two shared a laugh at that. She turned serious, "Still Sun, when you went to save Nebby on that bridge, I immediately knew that you were going to be a special trainer. I know it, the Professor knows it and even the kahuna! But you have to know at the same time that it's going to be impossible to win all the battles you face. Keep on charging and moving forward! Look back on what you did wrong and learn from it instead of looking back to being upset. I know losing stings, but how you cope with the end of a battle often tells a lot about you as a trainer and I don't think you want to come off as a sore loser."

    Sun smiled at her enthusiasm again, "Thanks Lillie. It's just that…well…I just don't want to lose a battle where failing is not an option." He glanced over at Rotom, who had conveniently popped out of his bag to hover between the two. It displayed an alert on the clock, making them realize that they had been gone for almost a half hour, "Crap. We better head back home before anyone realizes we're missing."

    He helped her up and led the way back on the rocky path. There was the fluttering of wings from above and he looked up to the sky, scanning the area for bird Pokémon. They were known to swoop down on those groundside in this area.

    "Hold here," Holding a hand for her to stay put, he waited until it was gone before proceeding.

    It didn't take that long before one of the birds spotted them.

    The spearow landed right in front, blocking their exit and stared at the two humans challengingly.

    Lillie gasped and immediately moved beside Sun for protection, wrapping her hands around his arm.

    "I hate spearow," He muttered, pulling out Grimer's Poké Ball and releasing him. "Pound!"

    He lunged forward, stretching his long viscous arm as he smashed it into the spearow and sending it tumbling back. The bird quickly recovered, moving just as quickly to retaliate with a peck. No damage was visible as the Pokémon's thick slimy body seemed to shrug off the jabbing.

    "You okay?" He called out to Grimer. He shook himself and bared fangs threateningly. "Good. Use bite!"

    His Pokémon slid forward, maw open with teeth glimmering in the moonlight. Before Grimer could reached his target, the spearow cawed loudly and suddenly it had a second spearow swooping down to join the fight by its side.

    "Uh oh," As he clamped down on the first one's wing, its partner jumped forward, jabbing his side with the sharp beak in another peck.

    "Bite again! Get it off you!"

    The two combatants tussled on the ground, kicking up a bit of dirt as they continued to struggle. Grimer's fluid body got the upper hand, sinking his teeth again into the spearow's exposed stomach and tossing it away. The bird let out a sharp scream of pain before cawing again for help.

    Sun saw another spearow descend from above in response to the distress call and readied Litten's Poké Ball. Grimer's endurance was shining, but he was beginning to wear out and show signs that battling two foes were already taking its toll. He wasn't sure he'd last a third.

    Another blur came down from above. Instead of a spearow, it looked to be bigger and more eager to battle.

    As Grimer finished off his own foe, he was quickly blindsided by the third spearow and tumbled right in front.

    "That's enough," He recalled him back inside his ball and switched battlers, "Okay Litten, you're up!"

    His starter materialized in front of him and took a springing stance, ready to attack the angry spearow at his command.

    The other bird Pokémon came around again, spreading its wings out wide to strike the two others again and the impact spun it around until it collapsed.

    Both Sun and Lillie couldn't hide their surprise. This newcomer had taken out the spearow in one hit.

    "Ember!"

    Litten breathed another tiny fireball as the Pokémon landed beside its defeated victim. Unlike the rugged looking spearow it had eliminated earlier, it was quite larger, blue in color with larger talons and a head full of whitish feathers in a bonnet with one partially red that was a bit longer than the others. It gazed at Litten with fierceness in its eyes that burned with a desire to fight.

    Litten's attack hit the new Pokémon, causing it to screech in protest before it sped forward, hitting him with its wings again. He halted right in front, shaking off the attack, but also looking a bit off guard, the hit was harder than he expected.

    "Use ember again!" As Litten prepared the ranged shot, the bird once again shot forward, faster than the spearow that it fought before. "Quick! Scratch it!"

    Just as it was about to close the gap between the two battlers, Litten's paw extended out, brandishing his claws as he raked them down in one swift motion. The attacker had not anticipated this and stumbled, falling down to the ground.

    Sun frantically dug in his bag, feeling an empty Poké Ball, primed and tossed it forward. The red and white device opened up, locking onto the bird's signature before it and pulled it inside. The ball settled on the ground and shook once, before it quickly broke back open as the Pokémon easily managed to wrest free.

    "Aww!" Sun gritted his teeth in frustration. That was his last Poké Ball.

    No wait…it wasn't! He still had those great balls that captain Ilima gave him. They supposedly gave off an improved capture rate over their standard counterparts, he had seen them on sale at a Pokémon center after clearing the Normal Trial, but they were three times as much in cost.

    He fingered one out and tossed it towards the bird before it had a chance to launch another offensive. The great ball quickly recognized its target and settled on the ground. It shook once, twice and then a third time before an audible snap was heard to signify the capture.

    "All right!" Sun formed a fist with a triumphant grin on his face, "Gotcha!"

    "Wow!" Lillie was amazed at both the battle and his capture, "You caught another Pokémon! Let's see what Rotom has to say!"

    At the mention of his name, Rotom flew out of Sun's backpack and hovered right in front of the two of them, "Why don't you check out what kind of Pokémon you just captured?"

    His screen faded into an entry of the Pokédex where an image of his new companion popped up.

    "Rufflet…Eaglet Pokémon." He said out loud, "With its sharp claws, this Pokémon pierces its prey and then pecks at them. They pick fights indiscriminately and their resolve grows stronger every time regardless of victory or defeat. It is a carnivore at heart, but will use its sharp beaks and talons to crack open berries and nuts. Rufflet is a normal flying type. Analyzing, Rufflet in your party is a male and knows the moves; peck, leer, fury attack and wing attack. He has the ability hustle, which increases attack, but lowers accuracy. How about that bucko? You caught a hidden ability Pokémon!"

    "Hidden ability?"

    "Yeah! Zometimezz you can find Pokémon that have a different ability than normal. Rufflet normally have either keen eye or sheer force as their standard, but yourzz hazz hustle! Hidden ability Pokémon are quite zpecial and rare to find!"

    "That's a lot like you," Lillie commented, "Except you know what battles to pick."

    Sun chuckled, "Yeah that's true." He held the great ball in his hands and tossed it out.

    Rufflet looked a little worn from the capturing battle, but he stared curiously at the two humans.

    "Hey buddy," He knelt down while taking out his Pokémon refresh kit. "You've got a little bit of sand on ya,"

    The eaglet Pokémon flapped its wings and flew forward; now much calmer than its belligerent self a couple minutes ago.

    Sun took the brush and meticulously, but gently dusted his feathers off. Rufflet had closed its eyes, enjoying the grooming and new attention. When he was done, he happily cried out and flapped his wings in appreciation. It was another surprise when Rufflet came up and half jumped-half flew right into Sun's arms. He caught the Pokémon, laughing at the new sign of affection.

    "Wow!" The boy smiled again, "You were easy to win over!"

    Lillie knew that with the powerful Rufflet on his side; Sun was for sure going to beat the Kahuna on the rematch tomorrow.

    She was certain; Elio was a one of a kind trainer.

    That'll do it for this chapter! I've got a bit of revamping for the next one planned, but I will see to it that I get it out as soon as possible with the adjustments that I want!

    Mahalo for reading and reviewing, you give my writing purpose.

    Brav
     
    #13 Aug 22, 2017
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2017
  14. BraviaryScout

    BraviaryScout Way of the Wind

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    Alola readers! Brav is back with another chapter! Enjoy everyone!

    I knew that now with three Pokémon on his side, he would be able to stand more of a chance even with a rather feisty rufflet that he had added to his team, but he had said earlier that he wanted to do some practice battling, since he had no experience on Rufflet. He showed us his new pendant that his mother gave to him. It was one of Tapu Koko and said to protect the wearer if he or she encounters the deity personally. I think it fits well and is such a wonderful gift! Wish I had one...

    Leilani actually took him back out to Hau'oli City or something to further hone his training. He readily agreed to that, but I wish I was the one who offered to go with him and we could go together and do two things at once. He could get stronger and I could be around him. I'm not a trainer, but I still find it just strange that the boy who helped save Nebby doesn't really want to talk with me when Leilani is around. I get that he doesn't want to lose again to Hala, but am I making a bad impression? Does he only want to be friends for now so that he can be a trainer and go around with others that are strong like Leilani to take on the island challenge? I hope not, because I thought that what Elio and I had together was special! I don't want anyone else to take that away from us!

    Anyway I decided to tag along with them. Sun hardly paid any attention to me the whole time until he noticed me being upset when he was about to challenge Kahuna Hala again.

    Sun blinked his eyes as the morning light streamed into his bedroom through closed blinds. He then started to hear pikipek chirping in a harmony that meshed well with the slight sound of crashing waves against the shore. The blanket on his bed was casually draped over his body, providing some warmth balanced out with the cool air conditioning provided through vents in his room.

    Next to his pillow; Litten had curled up with part of his covers and was sleeping soundly. Rufflet was right next to him, surprisingly competent and quickly obeying the few ground rules Elio had given out before retiring. Unlike the other two; he had kept Grimer in his Poké Ball. While his mother Elaine had welcomed the poison and dark type into the house, she was adamant that he stay in his Poké Ball while sleeping. His room had an expensive carpet and newly made floor, so she didn't want to spend hours trying to clean the thin trails of fluid that the slimy Pokémon left in his wake.

    Elio's mind wandered back to the previous night on the few things that went right and the even more that went wrong.

    Grimer and Litten had battled their best. He had continued to hone his battling prowess and establish himself a style of fighting through several other trainers that were hanging around Melemele Island.

    Then came the Grand Trial. Hala proved to be quite a formidable opponent and seeing how none of his two Pokémon were weak to the fighting type; he figured that they would prove to be enough to handle whatever thrown their way.

    Boy was he wrong.

    At first; things seemed to be going well. He had to make a few switches between his two partners in mid-battle, but they worked together to take down the kahuna's makuhita and mankey.

    What caused him to collapse was the crabrawler. Immediately, Sun knew that this tough purple crablike Pokémon was going to be even more difficult to deal with than his two other teammates. The prior two battlers had already done a number and with Crabrawler yet to enter the battle; they both made for easy finishes.

    Hala's words rang in his mind, "It is harder for your Pokémon to achieve victory when you have less than your opponent."

    His luck had come through later that night when he ironically went out to vent his frustration of losing. He didn't know where Rufflet had come from or why it did to help fend off the attacking spearow, but for some reason; he was definitely glad that the feisty little eaglet had been added to his team. The potential was already there, now he had to learn how he battled in order to maximize their effectiveness.

    Lillie's words also hung in his head. As much as he did frown upon her for avoiding being a trainer, he had to give her the fact that she gave good advice. For some reason, he found that her unexpected appearance made him feel even more embarrassed after losing. She had taught him so much about Pokémon, even though she wasn't a trainer herself. Until she had managed to calm him down, Elio couldn't bring himself to look her in the eye.

    Sun rolled out of the bed onto his feet and stepped into the bathroom, twisting the handles on his shower. Fifteen minutes later; he stepped out, fully clothed and ready to take on the day again.

    "Good morning sweetheart," Elaine greeted her son as he entered the kitchen with Litten following close behind and Rufflet perched on his left shoulder, "Did you sleep well?"

    "Yeah Mom," Elio replied, running a hand through his messy hair before slipping his hat back on, "Have you met Rufflet?"

    "No I haven't," His mother said, "I know you said that you caught a new Pokémon before going to bed last night, but I didn't get to see it."

    Sun gestured for the little bird off his shoulder and he fluttered onto the dining table, carefully walking up to Elaine's outstretched hand. He cocked his head to one side before letting out a cute caw and affectionately rubbing his feathery head against her palm.

    "Aww," She was already in love with his newest team member, "He is so adorable!"

    "Let! Rufflet!" The bird chirped excitedly.

    "I went to get some fresh air after the battle," Sun explained, "And then while Lillie and I were heading back to Iki Town, we were attacked by spearow again. That's when Rufflet here decided to join the fight, except he wanted to attack everyone. I just had to catch the new face."

    "Wow," Elaine was very impressed by his story causing her son to smile widely, "You and Lillie?!"

    The boy's smile faded when he realized that his mother's excitement was with the girl accompanying him than the new Pokémon he had.

    "Mom."

    "Oh don't mind me young Elio!" She gushed, "You're just looking out for all your friends, that's all! I'm so glad that a girl like Lillie has you around to keep her safe! That's a man's job after all!"

    Elio groaned, "Yeah that's great and all, but can we get some breakfast going?" He was more hopeful that she would drop this conversation about Lillie than getting actual food.

    "Of course sweetie. What would you like?"

    "I'll just have some cereal." Elio got up and moved to the fridge, "Grimer's already been fed the trash from last night,"

    "Good. Although I'm still not set on having him in the house, he sure is useful. You've caught wonderful Pokémon so far!"

    Sun nodded, pulling out some more milk for Litten. His hand moved to a carton of berries before stopping.

    "Mom, can I feed Rufflet some of your berries?"

    "Of course!"

    "Thanks," He grabbed a handful and dropped them into a bowl, sliding it over to the bird.

    "Rufflet!" He grabbed one in his beak and began to gobble up the fruit eagerly. The height of the dish was taller than the Pokémon expected, so it stretched up its talon feet, partially tilting to his side. The bowl was partially against his head as he happily continued to eat his breakfast. It was hard not to laugh at his persistence and silliness. Elio poured himself a bowl of cereal, handing Litten his bowl of milk and sat down at the table.

    "So what do you plan to do today?" Mom asked while getting breakfast of her own.

    "I don't know, maybe go out to Hau'oli City again and see what else there is to see. I want to schedule a rematch with Kahuna Hala today too."

    "Really? Right after you lost?"

    "Yeah. I was so close last time, so now I'll be able to win!"

    "May I offer some advice," His mother asked, "When I went around Kanto to challenge the gyms, a lot of them were quite difficult. I first lost against our own Cerulean City Gym and challenged the leader to a rematch the next day. I lost again."

    "What?"

    "Sun, you have to ask yourself how badly you want to win. It may be your greatest ambition to continue overcoming these decisive battles and persistence is key, but continuously challenging the Gym Leaders or these kahunas at every opportunity without a plan will only get you even more frustrated."

    "What are you saying Mom?" Sun asked. The conversation had also caught Rufflet and Litten's attention as they briefly paused from their meals.

    "It's good that you're eager to go and challenge Hala again, but do you have a plan?"

    "I do. I now have three Pokémon, one of which now has a type advantage over him."

    "That's good, but you need to know that just because you have that type trump does not guarantee you a win. Highly skilled Pokémon that work well with their trainers can overcome many adversities in battle, including counters."

    "Okay,"

    "So have you even tried to battle with Rufflet? You need to get used to using him and give him experience as you work together. Trust me sweetie, I've tried battling with a Pokémon I had just caught, sometimes it can be rough, but it's part of being a trainer."

    Sun nodded, "You're saying that just because I may have a whole team of flying and psychic types doesn't mean I will win?"

    "Absolutely not. If that were the case, then most of the gym leaders would be pushovers."

    "Okay. I understand. Maybe we should go and see what you've got huh?" He reached over to stroke Rufflet's head. The eaglet let out a happy caw from the contact. "But what could I do? I suppose we could go and practice."

    "Maybe there's something in Hau'oli to hone your battling skills," Elaine said, taking a bite of her cereal, "Go and ask Hau. Professor Kukui might know something. Even that little cutie Lillie!"

    "Mom," Sun groaned. He was already getting irritated with his mother's adoration of the blonde. "Do you have to?"

    "Of course my Elio!" She gushed, "I know how you are about making new friends and I think that both you, Hau and Lillie will become close very soon! You can't deny that she is incredibly pretty."

    "Yeah," Sun's voice trailed off, "Well anyway, I'm going to head out and try to schedule a rematch with Kahuna Hala tonight."

    "Okay! Good luck and be safe!"

    "Thanks Mom." The boy stood up, pulling out two poke balls, "Let's get going."

    As he turned to leave, Elaine realized something. She grabbed the box off the countertop and set it on the table.

    "Hey Elio?"

    He stopped, almost out the door when hearing his name called, "Yeah?"

    "I got you a little something." She extended a hand towards the tiny box, "Go ahead. Open it up."

    It resembled one of those jewelry cases containing rings and the like, so prying the clamshell open, he was definitely surprised to see a familiar gold piece of metal inside.

    "A Tapu Koko pendant?" It was exactly just like the one he had seen at Alola Sunrise.

    "Mhmm. I saw it at a place called Alola Sunrise! It's supposed to be a super popular jewelry and accessory shop for girls! Kind of strange that I instead found something for my own boy!"

    "Oh cool," Sun feigned not knowing about it because he knew that if his mother caught on that he and Lillie went inside once; he'd be interrogated with plenty of questions. The teasing of the two of them together was already enough.

    "I asked Kahuna Hala last night and he told me that I could get a piece of jewelry that is said to help keep new trainers safe. Tapu Koko watches over anyone wearing one of these pendants!"

    Sun stared in amazement at the golden luster and the incredible details of the fine metalwork. The lines were extremely defined and sturdy with the chain being attached to either side of the guardian deity's shell "armor"

    He gently removed it from the box and slipped the chain around his neck, allowing the bottom to fall under his shirt.

    "Thanks Mom. I really like it."

    "Alola Sun!" Hau came running up to him as he entered Iki Town again. There was hardly any evidence of the previous battle fought on the stage since every prop there had been cleaned up and disposed. Today, the sunshine was notably absent, instead replaced by many low hanging clouds that seemed to be touchable by lingering close to the top of the Ten Carat Hill.

    "Alola Hau," His greeting was more strained since the loss last night continued to dwell in his head, "Hey check this out," He reached back under his shirt collar and pulled out the pendant, "Look what my mother got for me."

    "Woah!" Hau's eyes widened in amazement, "You got a Tapu Koko pendant! That's so cool! I heard that if you've ever met it, it's supposed to watch over and protect you while on the island challenge if it's blessed by gramps!"

    "That's what my mom thought and I guess he did do it last night." He slipped it back underneath, "I wish Lillie had one too, but she isn't a trainer though."

    "I'm sure you can still give it as a gift," Hau suggested, "So what you got planned for today? Gonna schedule a rematch with my gramps? You're still not down over it are you?"

    Elio shook his head, "Yesterday I was, but today is a new day, so I'm only looking forward! This time I'm going to win though! But my mom says that maybe we should get some more practice. Especially when I just caught this Rufflet."

    "You caught a Rufflet!" Hau's eyes practically shined with glee, "I wanna see!"

    "Sure," Sun grabbed the great ball, "Okay Rufflet. Come on out!"

    "Ruff!" The tiny blue eaglet cawed upon being set free from his capsule. He looked around at his new surroundings and flapped his wings, flying up to Sun's shoulder and perching on top.

    "Cool!" He allowed Hau to gently stroke his beak, "Kind of awesome now you have three Pokémon! I still got two."

    "I don't remember catching Pokémon being a race," Sun replied indifferently, "As long as they enjoy being with you and you with them, I don't think the number matters."

    "You're right! So do you need to get stronger?"

    "That's also what my mom says. Rufflet may have an advantage over fighting types, but that doesn't mean I'll have it in the bag."

    "Just like Nebby."

    Sun stifled a snicker at the mention of Lillie's elusive little cosmog as he returned Rufflet back to his great ball, "Yeah. Like Nebby."

    "Well maybe we can go into Hau'oli City. I heard there's a place where you can eat and battle at the same time."

    "That's right!"

    Hau and Sun turned to the girl's voice who had piped up from behind them.

    The kahuna's grandson had a blank flustered expression on his face, "Le-Leilani?"

    "Howzit boys?" She gave a cheerful wave before turning serious to face Sun first, "E kala mai i'au,"

    He stared at her blankly, "I'm trying to learn Alolan Leilani, but that went right over my head."

    The girl giggled at his confusion. "I am sorry you lost last night. That was hard to watch."

    "I know," Elio bowed his head. "I came into the battle woefully unprepared."

    "Well you live and learn. Maybe a trip back to Hau'oli City is in order. Are you guys hungry?"

    "I just ate breakfast, but I probably will be once we get there."

    "I know a place where you can take care of your Pokémon skills and stomach at the same time. In fact, I might just go there today since I've been dying to battle again since I passed the Melemele grand trial!"

    "Wait a second, you beat my gramps?!" Hau's eyes immediately doubled in size and an ear to ear grin split his mouth as he jumped up, raising a clenched fist, "Way to go Leilani! Ho'omai'ka'i'ana!"

    "Mahalo Hau!" She beamed, "Soon it will be your turn and yours too Elio! Now let's get going so that time will come faster!"

    "Alola cousins!" They heard Professor Kukui coming up to them as he arrived at Iki Town's centre with Lillie. When they were approaching; the blonde assistant saw both Hau and Sun react excitedly to something that Leilani had said. For Hau's jump upwards, she didn't really care since it was nearly all he did when he was excited.

    That's pretty much ninety-nine percent of the time. She dryly thought.

    What really seemed to get under her fair skin was Elio's own reaction. It was more subdued that Hau, who clearly wore his own emotions on his sleeve, but the boy's genuine smile and undivided interest meant that he greatly admired the other girl for something she did.

    I thought he admired me so much. Does he like Leilani? Like "like" like?

    "Hey Lillie!" Hau completely ignored the Professor as he went right over. Before she could react, he threw his arms around her shoulders in a friendly hug.

    Hau…you're holding me too tight!

    "Hi Hau," She gasped, barely able to suck in a breath of air, almost losing her hat, "How are you?"

    "I'm awesome as awesome can be! So happy you're here!"

    "Me too, now can I at least go say good morning or Alola to Elio?"

    "Oh right," He sheepishly released her from the death hug, "Sorry,"

    "It's okay." Lillie said, walking up to Sun and Leilani, who were both sharing a knowing look.

    Next time, don't hug Lillie so tight Hau, He thought to himself, She looked about to pop like a balloon.

    "Hi Sun. Good morning."

    "Good morning to you Lillie. Howzit?" He waved his hands in the traditional Alolan greeting.

    She giggled, sending shivers down his spine, "Pretty good. I hope now with your rufflet, you will be able to beat the kahuna this time around. I'll be pulling for you!"

    "What about me?" Hau said cutting in. Sun wanted to at least knock him down a notch for ruining the little moment they had, "Are you going to cheer for me too?"

    "Of course I am." Lillie said, although she had said it with a little less enthusiasm than when she addressed Elio. Still, the boy felt a pang of jealousy. "I'll be sure to watch both of you and make sure you do your best."

    "All right!"

    "Say Sun, what's that?" Kukui cut in pointing to the gold chain that was just partially visible in between his neck and shirt.

    "Oh this?" He reached down and pulled it out, "This is a Tapu Koko pendant."

    The others gathered around, eyes widened as they gazed wondrously at his new piece of jewelry that he held for all to see, "I really like it."

    Lillie gasped when she recognized the design.

    That's the one he was looking at when we went to Alola Sunrise! I didn't see him buy it! Maybe he went back?

    "It's beautiful," She blurted out loud. Coincidentally, it was the same thing Leilani had said right at the same time. The two girls exchanged surprised looks, not expecting the other to comment likewise abruptly.

    "Thanks." Elio grinned, oblivious to it, "My mom got it for me and said it was blessed by Kahuna Hala. Someone once said that if you ever personally encounter Tapu Koko and receive a blessed pendant by the kahuna, that it is said to watch over you while you embark on your journey."

    "Well I think it's a nice gift." Lillie didn't know what became of her, but she couldn't help reaching over and gently cradled it in her hands, "Really. It suits you."

    "Mahalo," When his pidgin of appreciation caught Leilani and Hau's attention, he couldn't suppress another grin, "See I'm learning Alolan. Slowly but surely."

    "Oe i ike iki," He said, making Leilani giggle and even a short exhale of amusement from Professor Kukui.

    "Well then. Why don't we make our way down to Hau'oli City? I can show you and Elio a very good place to take care of battling experience as well as fill our opu!"

    "Actually um," Hau shut his eyes and put both hands behind his head, "I remembered that Tutu wanted me to help him with patching the roof."

    "Oh that reminds me," Sun said, "I better go and find your gramps. There's a rematch I have to schedule as soon as possible."

    "Come on. We can look for him together."

    "Um," Lillie hesitantly stepped forward, "Sun, would you like to come to Hau'oli City again with me?"

    "Sure!" He said, "Hey Leilani, do you mind if Lillie tags along? We can go shopping and battling together and maybe even go get something to eat!"

    "Uh," The brown haired girl stopped, suddenly fidgeting with her hands. Across from her, Lillie's own confidence took a sudden dive too. Unbeknownst to Elio, both of the girls had been secretly wishing that they each would be going into the city alone with him. Neither expected him to offer the other to accompany them.

    She sighed, "Yeah, that's fine."

    "Awesome." He turned to the other end of Iki Town, "We can go as soon as I talk to Hala!"

    Before either of the girl could reply, he dashed off after Hau to go and find the Tutu, leaving them both contemplating what exactly they had gotten themselves…and each other into.

    They found Hala sitting cross-legged on the floor inside his large kahuna house at the top of Iki Town. He was on top of an elongated tatami mat, hands placed at his sides and head bowed. His eyes were closed and he had remained perfectly still, not moving a muscle.

    Sun passed Hau upon entering his home and strode over on the open floor.

    Only to have a hand grab the back of his collar and the other boy quickly shunting them out of sight.

    Elio's mouth was open as he was in the middle of protesting when Hau's expression turned serious and he slowly put a finger to his lips.

    "Tutu's meditating right now," He whispered quietly, ushering them to a table, "He can get very upset if disturbed."

    "Right," Sun hushed, "Sorry."

    They heard footsteps in the big room as Hala finally made his way into the kitchen. His easygoing face broke out into a thin smile as he saw the two boys sitting down at the dining table just behind the counter island.

    "Ah Alola Elio."

    "Alola Kahuna Hala."

    "Hala please." The man gently said. "I have told you before."

    "Sorry, old habit." Elio said. "But I would like to challenge you to another grand trial battle."

    "Oh. Really?" Hala studied the boy's expression. It was hard, with a determined stare, but also with a newfound reassurance that maybe the outcome of their future battle would not be the same. It had only been one night since their battle, so unless he was training all while everyone else was sleeping; hardly anything would have been improved.

    "I must say that I am surprised." His rich voice penetrated the air around them, "While I do admire your persistence keiki, I must ask; what have you done to further yourself in battle? It is commendable that you are not giving up, but without a newfound strategy, another battle would simply be a waste of my time."

    "I caught another Pokémon," He said suddenly. There was no intent of his to reveal what it was though, so he wanted to keep its identity concealed for as long as possible.

    Hala's eyes twinkled, "Excellent. Now we will battle on equal terms. Still, you need to find a suitable approach, especially now that you have a team to coordinate how you want to use them in a Pokémon battle. Be sure that you are fully in sync like what young Kukui says; finding that one perfect move."

    He saw that Sun nodded, still trying to understand the information bit by bit.

    "Listen here keiki. I did not mean to lash out at you when I said that it would be wasteful for a rematch. I and everyone here want you to succeed. Now that new Pokémon of yours; have you battled with it yet? Bonded with it? I know you are very selective when it comes to catching them, so I understand it must have done something significant if you desired to add it to your team. Still, it is necessary to learn how it wants to battle and find out what its strengths and weaknesses are. Throwing an inexperienced Pokémon into an important battle immediately is almost doomed to fail."

    He walked over and set a heavy hand on Sun's shoulder, "It's clear that Tapu Koko has taken an interest in you for some reason, flying down to save you on the Mahalo Trail and give a Z-Stone that day. Just because our guardian deity seems to favor you does not mean that we will make this Island Challenge any easier."

    "I don't want you to Kahuna," Sun said, "I won't feel as if I accomplished anything if I knew you were holding back."

    "Oe i ike iki."

    "What?"

    Hala chuckled, "If you know how truly strong I can become, I would never be granting a Melemele Stamp to any trainer passports! Do not worry about that…at least for now. What you should shift your focus on is your upcoming grand trial. The young kaikamahine Leilani seems to have also taken an interest in your battling prowess and it seems that she and Lillie want to help you improve. Why don't you take her up on the offer? If we are thinking of the same place, you will no doubt get stronger quite quickly. Go hungry too as the food there is very irresistible." He waved, "Go. Best not to keep your friends waiting."

    "Mahalo Hala."

    He smiled in response. "Now you go enjoy yourself. Be back at here in Iki Town tonight with you and your Pokémon ready for battle!"

    "Sorry I took so long," Sun sprinted back to the town's entrance where the two girls were apprehensively awaiting his return. Neither of them looked particularly happy but their moods brightened up immediately when they sensed him arriving..

    While he was away; Leilani had tried to initiate some sort of conversation that didn't revolve around either of the two boys. Lillie tried her best to keep it polite, but found it difficult to find a generic topic for some unconfirmed reason. Weather was no different, hardly any exciting news other than Hau and Sun completing the Normal Trial in the Verdant Cavern. There was Team Skull, who had since seemed to be out of their hair for the moment, but the last either girl had heard; there was a boy who had stopped their efforts at trying to take Pokémon at the Hau'oli Marina.

    They both knew exactly who the unspoken boy was.

    For the blonde, her own opinion of Leilani was beginning to change even when they had met a couple of months ago. At first, the other girl was polite, friendly, upbeat and easygoing. Lillie thought she might actually find a good friend besides Hau.

    Then Elio came into the picture and Leilani's demeanor changed when she did see him for the first time at the Festival during that following week. His focus shifted almost immediately to the new fact at the time and other than at the main battle's end, he hardly paid her any attention at all. He had been the only person she could talk to besides Hala and Kukui that wasn't either a complete stranger or overbearing like Hau.

    A lot of the boys there in Iki Town had always been endeared with Leilani and for good reason. It was rumored that she was among the girls on Melemele Island that were picked to advertise some sort of sun care products that were always in high demand in the Alola region. On the other hand, there was hardly any attention from the kids of the opposite gender directed her own way with the exception of Hau and now Elio, but she didn't mind it for some reason. In fact, it was better to lay low.

    That still didn't help a surge of envy rile up within Lillie's body as she trailed behind her two companions who were deep in conversation while walking. Sun was clearly very interested in what the other girl had to say and he was cracking a smile at her at least once every sixty seconds. Even though she tried to pry and see if he was one of the boys chasing her down, the answer from him was vague.

    She wished that it was her in Leilani's place, saying something exciting that made him light up with one of those heartwarming smiles or laughs. Her mind went back to the time Professor Kukui asked her to go and fetch him from his house. At the last minute when he opened the door after she did get there; her mind had done its usual job of drawing a blank on the reason behind her trip in the first place. Quickly thinking of something to say, she did a visual impression of him that ended up accomplishing two things at once; letting him know that the professor wanted to see him and giving off a performance that made him laugh out loud at her satirical attempt.

    "In case you don't know," Leilani continued, holding out Rotom in her hands, "You can have Rotom out and about to record your battles with the Versus Recorder feature on its camera function. This is especially helpful in tournaments."

    The Pokédex buzzed happily at the mention of his capability, "Of courzze! I will do whatever I can to azzizt my boy!"

    "Okay," Elio looked at it again when she opened the menu on the screen, "So you can kind of watch what you do wrong and change it around."

    "Exactly! That's right! Now let's look at the fighting type. You know their strengths and weaknesses?"

    "Yeah, they're strong against bug, rock and uh dark. Weak to flying, psychic and fairy."

    "Good. One thing I will tell you about fighting types is that like it sounds, they're very physical. Many of their moves require them to directly strike their opponent. Think how your Pokémon can counteract that."

    Sun seemed to ponder her words, "Well I can have Grimer absorb a lot of hits with his body and Rufflet can fly around, avoiding those attacks. Maybe we can expose a weakness that way."

    "That's the spirit. Now be ready to implement all of that in the battling we're about to do! So are all of your Pokémon ready to go?"

    He glanced down at the two poke balls and one great fastened around his waist, "Um, yeah. Let's do it!"

    "And I hope you're hungry too!" Leilani cheerfully said, "Because we're going to stuff ourselves full!"

    Sun recognized many of the sights of Hau'oli City as Leilani led them down Kalakaua Avenue again towards the shopping district. The Makiki Center was bustling with shoppers of all kinds and although some of the ramps and walkways displaying multiple venues of different kinds, Elio actually didn't feel as lost as he did last time. Sure, it had been a solid two weeks since being there, but a lot of it was familiar.

    Including the two girls accompanying him. He already noticed that many others were staring at the opposite gender in their party with thinly concealed interest. He wasn't sure if it was admiration or jealousy.

    Leilani stopped at one of the stands in the middle of the walkway, flipping through a magazine. Elio and Lillie peered at the cover, seeing a breathtaking shot of the Alolan ocean preceding a half circle of the red setting sun. Just under the layer of water; they saw some elongated boats with men seated neatly in a row, all leaned back and holding the edges of oars that dipped into the waves.

    The title read; Hana Hou!

    "This is Hana Hou!," Leilani explained as she paid for it, "It's the most popular magazine here in the Alola region! I love reading all the interesting things that they have to say, even though I've grown up here my whole life. I read the new issue that comes out once a month and still continue to discover things I've never discovered before. You know, one day I would like to become a journalist or editor for Hana Hou!"

    "Wow!" Despite her conflicting emotions, Lillie found a bit of admiration for Leilani's aspiration. She did seem to know what she wanted to do. "That's amazing!"

    "I know right? One day, I, Leilani Taula will be traveling around the world, showing everyone how great our home of Alola is while I telling the rest of Alola about what else is out there to experience! Maybe one day when you become the island challenge champion Elio, I'll be an editor and you'll be on the front cover!"

    "I like the sound of that," Elio flashed his contagious smile again.

    "I just wish that I knew what I wanted to do," The blonde's face fell and she glanced around, holding the bag containing Nebby close to her. "Things can be so confusing sometimes."

    "That's life for you," Elio said, sounding absentminded, but still listening to the conversation as he browsed the magazine stand, "Look at me. I would never believe it if I told myself that I'd be embarking on an island challenge with Pokémon of my own halfway around the world. I'd just tell you that you'd be crazy."

    "Really?"

    "Yeah." He looked over at her and cracked a smile. This time, Lillie was the intended recipient. There was just a faint pinkish tint barely visible on her cheeks.

    Leilani smiled and shook her own head.

    They spent another few minutes continuing to check out the other magazines and politely declined offers for subscription forms by the owner. Sun recognized many of them that could also be found in Kanto. Poke Chic, Coordinator Monthly, National Pokegraphic, and Pokémon Go were all there, but it clearly seemed at Alola's favorite was its own Hana Hou! Also present were the daily issues of the Hau'oli Star Advertiser, the city's primary newspaper press.

    "Alright, let's get going. " Leilani declared. The trio finally left the stand and followed her further into the Makiki Center.

    "Oh hold on!" She quickly moved to a directory in the middle of another big square, "We're here," She mused, "Okay, so just follow this way down and go to the big building. The place we're going to is in the back. You'll have to cross the street. I'll catch up. I think I forgot something at the stand!"

    "Okay," Sun said, hesitantly. He glanced at Lille almost having what looked to be a relieved expression on his face, "C'mon, let's go."

    They continued down the next walkway towards the bigger building close to the end of the big shopping gala. Sure enough like Leilani had said, a big street split the final section, connecting further down with Kalakaua and right towards the beaches and highrise hotels lining the coast.

    Sun saw that traffic was stopping and a pedestrian light flashing green, allowing them to cross.

    Absentmindedly, his hand gravitated towards Lillie's and they firmly clasped them together as they moved with the rest of the crowd across the warm pavement.

    Her hand felt amazingly soft as if it were made of a luscious velvety material. It was slightly warm and her long slender fingers were entwined with his.

    Lillie almost shivered at the contact. In a big contrast to hers; Sun's hand felt a little rougher and there was something small and coarse like sandpaper in between each of his digits. As one, they walked hand in hand onto the sidewalk and towards the Makiki's main building. While moving through the crowds and weaving through other groups of people, many of their heads turning in their direction.

    She was worried one of them was with Aether on orders to come and track her and Nebby down, but the only thing they offered to her was easygoing smiles. What neither of them realized was all those nice gestures towards them were a result from the attention they were attracting. Even just strolling casually with their hands interlocked, they gave off the perception of a very striking couple. A lot couldn't help but glance at them, admiring to themselves what they thought were two teenagers very much in love for one another.

    Even though Lillie knew his hands were rough from doing quite a bit of physical activity, Sun's touch was incredibly gentle and it did feel really good to hold someone's hand. After mother changed and her own brother grew distant to run away; she finally came to find out that it was something she really missed.

    Elio was the first person in nearly two years to calmly hold her hand. She didn't mind it at all. Actually it was very enjoyable.

    "Lillie," She glanced over at Sun, quickly finding out that they were still attached together. He looked at her curiously, "You're still holding my hand."

    "Yeah,"

    "Oh…okay. Do you still want to keep doing that?"

    "Yes," She nodded, "Sorry Sun. I'm still a little bit nervous. Is it okay if we keep holding hands? It'll make me feel more comfortable."

    The boy's face lit up with another smile, "Of course it is! I don't mind! To be honest though, I'm glad you like it."

    Both teens noticed a slight pink blush flash across their faces before turning and continuing on, not bothering to loosen their grip on one another.

    Lillie frowned while they were walking, Does he like Leilani as more than just a friend? I've barely even gotten past the friendship point with the boy who saved Nebby and he's jumped ahead to her, already wanting to spend time together through Hau'oli City. I wish that was us.

    She suddenly was very glad that the other girl was absent for the time being. The time together alone was very enjoyable and it felt an immense pressure taken off her shoulders.

    "Lillie," Sun repeated, snapping her out of the train of thoughts plaguing her head, "Hello? Alola? Earth to Lillie?"

    "Huh!" She suddenly gasped, "What?"

    "Oh, heh." Sun chuckled, "You were zoning off. Everything okay?"

    "Wha-I mean um…yeah. Thanks Sun."

    "Ah! There you two are!" They turned to the voice to see Leilani running over to catch up to them. She stopped right in front and cast an intrigued glance at their entwined hands, "Oh. Did I miss something?" She asked with a growing smirk on her face.

    "No," Elio was oblivious to her suspicions, "We're just waiting for you."

    "I see," Her expression didn't change, "Well thanks for that. Even though I'd know my way around anyway."

    "Neither of us do," Lillie said, openly admitting that she still wanted to explore more of Hau'oli with Sun when given the opportunity. "So we're glad someone here knows where we're going."

    "It's not too far!" Leilani said in a sing-song voice, "Come on alola manu! By the way, you two look soooo cute together!"

    Neither of them had any chance to process what she said before they took off after their guide, not wanting to get lost again.

    I wonder what Leilani was going to get? Lillie wondered, Was it a gift for Sun?

    The large building in the Makiki Shopping Center was nice and cool, compared to the humidity outside. Sun was breaking out in sweat with his skin pricking from the steamy weather and his head felt hot.

    Maybe a haircut is in order. He scratched his rather shaggy scalp.

    "All right! We're here!"

    "Woah," Sun heard the sounds of trainers and their Pokémon that seemed to be…engaged in battle?

    "What is this Leilani?" Lillie asked.

    "This is the Battle Buffet! Where you can satisfy your hunger for food and Pokémon battles!" She gestured to the entrance, "C'mon! Let's go!"

    Sun turned to her, "Sorry Lillie, I know you don't like Pokémon fighting. If I knew this was what she was going to take us, I wouldn't have asked you along."

    "Don't worry about me," She shook her head, "Even though I hate to see them getting hurt, you've shown me that you are a talented trainer. Besides," Her green eyes met his, "I'm starving, so you better go and win us a ton of food!"

    "Okay," Elio made a fist, "Let's do it!"

    "Alola and welcome to the Battle Buffet!" The host greeted politely as they entered, "Table for three?"

    "Yes please,"

    "Excellent. That will be eleven please."

    Lillie started digging in her bag for her wallet when Sun automatically stepped forward to hand over the appropriate amount. Leilani was just as shocked.

    "Excellent. Now who will be participating in the battle?"

    "You want to battle?" He turned to Leilani, who nodded, "Just me and her."

    "Good. Please follow me."

    After showing them to their tables and bringing over glasses of ice water, the host returned.

    "Is this your first time here?"

    "Theirs," Leiliani pointed to her two companions, "I've been here before."

    "Welina to the Battle Buffet then! Before we get started, let me go over some rules for you." She handed out the drinks, "You are free to take as much food as you would like, however there are others that may try and claim the same dish as yourself. This must be settled with a one on one Pokémon battle! There are different dishes with different values that will stack up over the course of your visit."

    Leilani nodded, "You will have a total of ten minutes of battling time for settling on contested dishes and that will end up being your choices for dining here!"

    "I assume you're a new trainer?" The host asked.

    "I tried the grand trial against the kahuna last night," Sun admitted, "I lost, so hopefully I will be able to become stronger by taking care of my Pokémon's skills and stomach at the same time."

    "There's no better place to do that than right here!" She said, "Enjoy your time and feel free to get started whenever you like!"

    With that, the host left their side, leaving the three teens alone.

    "Sun," Lillie started, "You didn't have to."

    "Didn't have to what?"

    "Pay. Pay for lunch for me."

    "Why not?" He looked over at Leilani, who appeared to also say something similar, "You're both helping me become a better trainer and get ready for my big battle tonight. This is the least I can do. Besides," His rare, but signature grin returned to his features, "I'm not going to say no to taking two beautiful girls out for lunch."

    "Mahalo,"

    "Yeah Elio…mahalo."

    "'A'ole pilikia."

    "C'mon let's go before all the food is gone!" Leilani jumped up and grabbed Sun's arm, pulling the surprised boy towards the big serving counters.

    They stopped right in front as two other trainers moved to claim a big bowl of salad that looked to be decently full. Once both sides affirmed that it was the dish they wanted, a cook pulled it back and directed them both to one of the elongated floors just to the side of the restaurant that were closed off for battles only. Already there were two other battles going on and they immediately saw more people coming back up to seize more food.

    "Okay, so we've got three kinds of dishes. Bronze, silver and gold. Gold yields the highest points and it multiplies your total by three and whatever servings you earn. Silver does two and so forth. However if you do ignore certain dishes out there, they depreciate as one or two servings may be taken from uncontested dishes while you're battling. This is called stealing and you're perfectly okay to do this as well."

    "Why can't we take the whole thing if nobody wants it?"

    "It's not allowed unless someone else claims it and settled via a battle." Leilani glanced over at some of the other battles happening, "You're also going to encounter quite a diverse array of battlers here. Some will try and take you out quickly to minimize time spent fighting and gain as much food as possible. Others will use stall tactics to force their opponents into situations where the amount of food earned gets less with every passing minute whether it be by stealing or on one battle. You have to choose carefully though as sometimes, trainers watch certain dishes for opportunities to claim it for themselves, deny it to others or reduce the clock on others in a time costly battle."

    "Okay. Are we allowed to heal our Pokémon in between fights?"

    "Yeah. Here," She handed him a couple of revives, "These are quite useful."

    "Thanks. Now let's do this! Come on Rotom! I need some help over here!"

    "Yeah!" The two trainers exchanged a high five and went right to work. Hearing his name called; the Pokédex flew out of Sun's backpack to join him, rambling all about how epic battles and food could get here at the renowned restaurant in Hau'oli City.

    From her seat, Lillie watched with curiosity as the Sun and Leilani came into the buffet with totally different approaches. The latter quickly set her sights on a bronze ranked dish that was quite full; Eggant with chili sauce. Another boy also wanted it and they immediately went to determine who would earn it in battle.

    The boy used an Alolan rattata and tried to put up a fight with its impressive reflexes, but Leilani used her small cutiefly, using both its own blinding speed and type advantage to secure a quick victory and earn herself a decent amount of winnings.

    Going back to Sun; she saw that he used her stealing tactic a couple of times. Although there was a gold dish; he hardly saw any food inside which was why people passed up on it. When nobody was paying attention, he went right in to snag the last piece of miltank cheese pizza.

    He tried his luck on a newly arrived silver dish that looked like whirlpool sushi, but there was a trainer who had also tried to claim it herself. Neither backed down, so the cook set it aside, allowing them to settle it with a battle. He opted to use Litten while she revealed a red and white birdlike Pokémon that was carrying a sack over its shoulder.

    "Delibird," Rotom stated beside Sun, "Delivery Pokémon. It always forages about for food to share with other people and Pokémon. Although it prefers cold environments, this Pokémon seems to tolerate the heat in Alola to some extent. Delibird is an ice and flying type. Additional information is available upon catching this Pokémon."

    "Ice and flying huh," Sun saw that he had the type advantage, "Okay. Use ember!"

    Litten hissed before spitting out a ball of tiny flames. The delibird took the hit, but surprisingly recovered quickly.

    Must be because it's used to heat, even though its super effective!

    "Delibird, present!"

    "Del!" It reached into its sack and hurled a boxlike object at Litten. He was struck rather hard and tumbled back, struggling to get up.

    "Don't let it take you down buddy!" Sun encouraged, "Try a scratch!"

    "Present again!"

    Another box came Litten's way as he stood back up, but instead of receiving damage, his wounds were quickly healed."

    "What?"

    "Delebirdzzz move prezzent can either damage or heal its opponent. It izz randomly decided!" Rotom said.

    "Huh," I've already wasted enough time battling what should've been an easy win, "Litten, ember again!" The fire cat launched another one, connecting for a second time and easily knocking the delibird out."

    "Aww," The girl said as she recalled her defeated Pokémon back into its ball, "Oh well, it was worth a try. Your Litten is crazy strong! Let's battle again soon! Enjoy the food!"

    It was a close matchup. Sun had tried to minimize the time he had spent battling by either winning quickly or stealing for dishes that were being ignored by the others. At the same time, his allotted window for battling over contested food was edging closer to Leilani's. Both seemed to be fairly close in allotted points though. They had accumulated a bunch of food. Rindo salad, eggant with chili sauce, vanillite parfair, Hoenn style ramen, blaziken nuggets just to name a few.

    Elio used Litten a couple of times and brought Grimer out once, but the Pokémon he used the most was Rufflet.

    Hala had been right in getting a new Pokémon. At first, neither him or Elio were on the same page. Rufflet was fully obedient, but not much felt right in the fact that Sun used him for mainly his type advantage against a couple of grass and bug Pokémon.

    Then he switched his approach on the next battle over some lau lau, his opponent's wingull was also fast, firing water guns that Rufflet barely had enough time to dodge. Sun finally realized what his new Pokémon's strengths were; having speed and power while also able to fly bravely through attacks to disrupt their coordination. His ability of hustle came in handy with powerful pecks and wing attacks, but the hindrance of accuracy had caused him to miss a couple of chances to close out a battle, costing him valuable time. Still, Lillie was very impressed that the two clicked almost immediately once Sun had found out what he was good at.

    Soon enough it all came down to one and a half minutes of battling time for both Sun and Leilani. Each trainer had a pretty good amount of food from stealing and winning battles, but they wanted to go for one more dish.

    "This is our super popular take down filet mignon!" One of the chefs called out, placing a gold plate down on the serving aisle, "First come first served!"

    A handful of trainers heard the new valuable dish coming out and eagerly moved to claim it. Some already had their Pokémon's poke balls out in hand for an inevitable battle about to take place.

    Sun was there first and right about to take a helping when he sensed a presence beside him and turned to look.

    "I'll be taking it all," Leilani declared.

    "Oh no you're not," Elio said, reaching for the dish again, "This is mine."

    A knowing smirk grew on their faces, "Fine, we'll settle it with a battle! Then we'll see who gets it!"

    They quickly took one of the vacant stages and Sun was the first to throw out Rufflet's great ball.

    "All right Machop! Let's go!" Leilani cried, throwing out a Poké Ball. It burst open to reveal a reptilian bluish-gray skinned humanoid Pokémon with readied fists and a determined gaze.

    "Machop?" He recognized the Kanto-native Pokémon, "Rotom?"

    "Yezzir! Already regizzterrd! Machop…Superpower Pokémon. Machop always loves working out and exercising its muscles and every defeat resolves it to train even harder the next day. It is capable of throwing Pokémon much larger than its size such as graveler with little to no effort. Machop is a fighting type. Additional information is available upon catching this Pokémon."

    A fighting type…Elio wondered, Was Leilani wanting this to happen so I could have more experience against it?

    "Rufflet, lead this off with peck!"

    With a loud caw; he jumped forward, glowing his beak and jabbing it into Machop's side. It flinched and was moved slightly back, but it didn't do much damage.

    "Bulk up!" Leilani called.

    "Don't let it get comfortable!" Sun said to his Pokémon, "Use leer!"

    If she wants to make this a long battle, so be it!

    Rufflet's eyes became intense as it stared harshly at the machop.

    "Smack down!"

    "Dodge it!"

    Machop held a stone in its hands as Rufflet took off. But when he flapped his wings to get airborne, the other Pokémon threw the rock, hitting directly on the side and causing the bird to fall. He just barely managed to raise them again and prevent a hard landing. But the damage had been done. Not only was it a super effective attack, but Rufflet's ability to fly around things had now been impeded.

    She purposely targeted his flying ability to take away that advantage!

    "Guess it's a ground game now," Elio muttered, "Peck again!"

    "Grab it!"

    "What?!" Sun stared in surprise as Machop's big hand lashed out, wrapping firmly around Rufflet's beak. The tiny eaglet struggled, moving as much as possible to loosen or break free, but the superpower Pokémon continued to hold firm.

    "Karate chop!"

    "Block it with wing attack!" Although the circumstances were less than ideal, Rufflet managed to raise its undamaged wing to counter Machop's other forearm. The two canceled one another out.

    "Do it again, but hit Machop instead!"

    Cawing again; Rufflet's wing glowed white and he swiped it across his midsection. The attack had caught it by surprise and released him.

    "Okay, now fury attack!"

    "Counter with low kick!" Leilani yelled, "Trip it up!"

    He rushed forward, intent on jabbing his beak into Machop's side multiple times. The fighting type planted its left foot in front, moving it out and sweeping in a circular motion just as the two Pokémon came together again. One of his sharp talons was suddenly brought out under him as Machop's kick dropped him like a sack, doing a considerable amount of damage.

    "Machop, seismic toss!"

    "Get back up!" Sun called out to his stunned Pokémon, "Peck quick!"

    Machop reached down just as Rufflet jumped up again, pecking Machop's exposed chest. The surprise knocked it back again.

    "Alright let's finish this," Sun clenched both fists, "Wing attack!"

    "Let!" Rufflet swooped out, using its injured, but still functional wings to take a brief glide and close the distance faster. He glowed once again and slammed both right into Machop, catching it with enough force to toss it airborne for a brief second.

    "Machop!"

    The tiny lizardlike Pokémon tumbled to the ground, landing in a fainted heap right in front of his trainer.

    There was a ding on their battle timers just a moment later, indicating that their clock for battling on food had now fully elapsed.

    Sun's mouth dropped open. I won? Right in the nick of time?!

    "Well," Leilani looked a little down at the loss, but forced a smile at seeing the boy opposite her run right over to his bird and scoop him up, hugging him tightly while showering him with praise. Rufflet chirped happily, nuzzling his face against his trainer's shoulder.

    "Thank you so much Leilani!" Sun flashed another smile, "That was an amazing battle!"

    "You rocked out there." She high fived him, "You and Rufflet look like you've been battling together for months. I think you're now ready to take on the grand trial again."

    "Really?"

    "Yeah I do, but first, let's eat!"

    Lillie could hardly believe all the food both Sun and Leilani had won over battles. The dishes kept on coming and there was more than enough to go around for the three of them.

    Her thoughts of jealousy towards Leilani had since evaporated when they ate, chatting excitedly about different things and ate some more. An even more heartwarming gesture that Sun displayed was liberally sharing the prime grade take down filet between the three them. Lillie now knew why it was a highly desired dish. The rub, marbling and juices of the beef melded together into something absolutely incredible with bursting intense flavors.

    "This should be worth twice as much as the price of admission," She admitted after chewing another piece.

    "I know," Leilani groaned, leaning back into her chair. Having so much food had satiated all of them and they felt like they were ready to burst, "Whenever I come here, the take down steak is something I'll always seek out. It's basically their most popular dish."

    "I can see why," Sun had to tap out already and had surprisingly finished just about everything he had won. It wasn't helping that he had to loosen his Poké Ball belt to help relieve his innards of having food overload. His eyes felt heavy, "I could really use a nap right now."

    "Me too," Lillie added, "I don't think I've ever eaten this much food before in my life!"

    "I feel like I have to run around Melemele Island again."

    "Has everyone gotten enough to eat today?" The host asked, coming up to their table, "Let's evaluate your guys' score. Hmm," She paused, "All three of you look pleasantly full to me! Leilani, your score was forty six and Elio had forty four. Thank you for dining with us today and we hope to see you again soon! Alola!"

    The teens watched her go and groaned in their seats from their full stomachs.

    "Gee, I wonder what gave away the fact we were full," Sun deadpanned.

    Leilani laughed, "So would you come back here again?"

    "Yes, but not today or tomorrow. Or next week."

    After leaving a tip at the table, the three made their way back out to the promenade and headed back towards Iki Town. It was in the mid-afternoon when they were just at Kalakaua Avenue where the ocean crashed against the shoreline. Both Sun and Lillie noticed that the crowds along the beach were much more dense than usual.

    "It's about that time," Leilani explained, "Hottest period of the day plus the waves are at their best. No better opportunity to go surfing."

    "Surfing," Sun repeated, "Wow. I'd like to try that one day."

    "Sure," She smiled at him, "When we get an opportunity, I'll teach you." Glancing over at Lillie, "Hau and I will teach you both."

    "Hau knows how to surf? Woah, that's pretty awesome!"

    "I don't know," Lillie was looking out, "It looks pretty scary."

    "Yeah it does at first, but when you're used to it, then it's not so bad."

    Leilani began to walk away and Sun began to follow, but he quickly didn't notice the other girl's presence beside him. Turning back, he saw that she was still staring at the azure ocean, mesmerized by its foamy waves and skilled surfers on their boards, effortlessly gliding over its surface.

    "Lillie!" Sun called out to her, "Are you coming?"

    Sun seems so interested in everything Leilani has offered him. Pokémon battles, food and now surfing. What have I done except make him go out of his way to protect Nebby?

    "Lillie!" He shouted again with his hands cupped, earning himself a bit of attention thrown his way, "Come on, let's go!"

    "Pew!" Nebby shook inside her bag, snapping the blonde back to her senses. She rushed over to his side again.

    "Sorry Sun. I'm just wondering about things,"

    He glanced at her soft features curiously, "What things? Lillie, are you alright?"

    "Yes," She gently nodded, "You're right. We better not be late to Iki Town. I have to be there to cheer you on when you take Hala down!"

    Elio smiled, "Awesome. Let's go!"

    He extended his hand out to her, completely catching off guard with the gesture. A sheepish grin spread across his face and the familiar blush returned, "I uh...I kind of liked it when we held hands back at the Makiki Center. Really, you're the only one I'm comfortable doing it with."

    Lillie felt the same. Normally she'd be kind of shy if it was Hau or someone else, but the boy who risked his own life to save Nebby just felt...right to hold hands. Like him; her confidence took off into the sky whenever he was around. Interlocking fingers was almost as if she was feeding off the calm energy he radiated and it felt like they could tackle anything together.

    Me too. She slipped her delicate hand through his and they walked back towards Iki Town.

    So we've gotten the Battle Buffet, which I've kind of tweaked to give it a more realistic take than the turn based game variant. And is Lillie getting a little jealous of Sun and Leilani spending time with each other? The latter ran off at one point to get something! What could it be?

    Translations (there's quite a few in this one :D):


    • E kala mai ia'u - I am sorry
    • Ho'omaika'i 'ana - Congratulations
    • Oe i ike iki - You know nothing
    • Opu - Belly
    • Tutu - Grandmother/Grandfather
    • Keiki - Child
    • Kaikamahine - Girl
    • Makiki - Park
    • Hana Hou! - One more time!/Encore! Hana Hou is the bi-monthly inflight magazine of the real life Hawaiian Airlines usually featuring hot trendy tourist areas on all the islands as well as travelogues, interviews and tips whenever one is visiting the Hawaiian islands. In the Pokémon universe I've created, this Hana Hou! has a similar purpose and is the local Alolan people's most popular magazine, instead coming out once a month.
    • A'ole pilikia - No problem
    • Alola Manu - Lovebirds
    • Welina - Welcome

    As always, a big mahalo to everyone who has read, favorite, followed and especially reviewed so far! You give my writing purpose.

    Brav
     
    #14 Aug 29, 2017
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2017
  15. ShinigamiMiroku

    ShinigamiMiroku Pokémon Professor

    ... Serebii?
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    Red Orb ★★★★★
    'Tis really cool so far. Personally, I like all the tiny details you added, like the airplane model from Sun's move to Alola. :D
     
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
    BraviaryScout likes this.
  16. BraviaryScout

    BraviaryScout Way of the Wind

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    Really appreciate the feedback bro. I've been having a lot of fun writing this! :)
     
  17. ShinigamiMiroku

    ShinigamiMiroku Pokémon Professor

    ... Serebii?
    (Celebi Egg)
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    Red Orb ★★★★★
    Heheh, I can tell. ^_^
     
  18. BraviaryScout

    BraviaryScout Way of the Wind

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    Double posted. Apologies. Next one is the chapter update.
     
    #18 Sep 6, 2017
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2017
  19. BraviaryScout

    BraviaryScout Way of the Wind

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    Alola readers! Brav's back, just a day late of my weekly update, but I promise it'll be on time next week!
    Quick note before I get started, I've modified the previous chapter titles to individual diary entry numbers instead of that 0-1, 0-2 crap. It was getting WAY too confusing and it was time for me to figure out a way to put in all these other chapters that I didn't write while drafting this story into the fold. Hope that cleans up things quite a bit.

    So anyway, here's the next chapter. One I know many have been waiting for and I have personally been excited to write. The kahuna battle. Enjoy guys!


    Elio was quick to challenge Hala to a rematch after we got back and it was just like the other night. Everyone in Iki Town came out to see the big battle! I made sure to let him know that I was going to cheer him on. Even though the Pokémon got hurt, I know that this is part of the battle and we all want to believe that Elio is a very special trainer. He already is. I see it. Hala sees it. Hau sees it. Professor Kukui sees it. You know what? Even Leilani sees it, especially if she took him out on that date…no…please don't let it be a date!…To the Battle Buffet.

    You know what though? It might have been for the better anyway because he passed! He defeated Hala! Way to go Sun…whoops Elio!

    As much as I was happy to hear that they were growing as trainers, it is a little saddening in that they will eventually be leaving Melemele Island for the others in Alola to continue their island challenge. Professor Kukui was definitely intrigued when I pretty much squealed with excitement after he told me that he was going to take them to Akala and Professor Burnet wanted to see me, so I'd be tagging along. I can spend more time with Hau and Sun…Elio! Maybe that thing with Leilani was just to get stronger. I hope that's the case.

    "Hmm," Hala mused as he stared into Sun's eyes when the young boy had returned from his daily adventure to boldly challenge the kahuna to a rematch of the grand trial, asking him once again inside the man's house.

    "Your uhane burns bright my boy!" He clapped him on the back, "But how do I know that you were not preparing your Pokémon for battle?"

    The question made Elio realize and wonder how much training he had actually put into the Battle Buffet in order to get a good grip on Rufflet's battling. Sure, they were now aware of each other's' strengths and limitations, but he hadn't used him in a trial yet. He wouldn't be used to that.

    He needs experience and now the only way to give him that is to throw him in headfirst.

    "Kahuna, I don't think I am ready for this battle. After I lost last night, I'm starting to not think that I ever will be, but that's also the best opportunity to prove myself wrong and dive into the challenge. Even though I have my doubts. I believe in myself and my Pokémon enough to come out victorious."

    "I see," Hala said, "Then the kaikamahine Leilani has definitely taught you something new. Very well Elio. I accept your challenge and will meet it with all the power in my uhane!"

    Ever since getting word of the upcoming battle, Sun was getting wishes of good luck and encouragement from the townsfolk. Everyone was extremely friendly and all wanting him to succeed as Tapu Koko's waeia kekahi. It seemed now as if every time there was an event of some kind happening, the Alolan people used it as a reason to gather the entire community together in the gala of sorts and celebrate for who knows how long. Parties like these lasted until everyone had enough and turned in, which could mean well into the morning hours.

    Sun's angst about moving to Alola was slowly being squashed by how everyone looked out, helped one another and they celebrated together. When someone fell down in a race, there was everyone else right upon their side to come and pick them back up, even carrying them to the finish line if need be.

    "Kahuna, may I ask you a question?" Elio started as they took their place on the stage, "This has nothing to do with the battle though."

    "Of course keiki. What is on your mind?"

    "Kahuna…I'm sorry." I guess I have to break the habit of being too formal here, "Hala; when you said that this is where my destiny lies, but will completing the island challenge fulfill that? I see all these other people from Team Skull, who I've been told were trainers that failed to complete the Island Challenge. What if I fail too? Will I be in that same boat?"

    The Melemele kahuna paused, certainly not expecting to hear such worried words from the boy, "Well, yes you do have until you are twenty to complete the island challenge, but many of those you see with this Team Skull are those that merely did not put forth the effort required when they were more than capable of conquering it. The Island Challenge is meant to test every part of your strength, knowledge, willpower and the bond you have between you and your Pokémon, but it is not insurmountable. In fact, it is to be an enjoyable part and always to have fun! Unfortunately, something like this can be discouraging to some, such as those in Team Skull, who turn back and give up when the trail begins to get more difficult." He looked over at him, "When I see you Elio, I see a person who has a fiery uhane and is undaunted by the mauna that lies before you. I am a firm believer that you will one day hold a special place here in Alola…and Alola will hold a special place in your heart."

    "Okay," Sun felt a bit of reassurance by that. It felt like he was able to easily defer to the kahuna for advice when it became trying times.

    "'A'ohe pu'u ki'eik'e ke ho'ao 'ia e pii." Hala drawled before he glanced down at the boy again, "Do you know what that means?"

    Elio's face lit up as he recognized the old Alolan proverb, "Yes I do. No cliff is so tall it cannot be climbed."

    This earned a rare open smile from Hau's Tutu, "I'm glad you are getting a grasp on our native language. You are slowly becoming an Alolan."

    "Mahalo kahuna. Owau no ke aʻo 'ana."

    "The point is; that any challenge, whether it be a trial, grand trial, island challenge or any of its own is never impossible. Even when you cannot conquer the mauna by yourself, you will have the support of those close to you; your friends, your family and your Pokémon. And even when you are ineligible to complete it, should you fail, as long as you tried without regrets, then nobody here will think any less of you."

    Voices drifted just outside the kahuna's home as Hau opened the front door, walking inside to find them.

    "Howzit Elio?" He waved his hands to his best friend, "Are you ready to battle my gramps again brah?"

    Sun grinned back, "You know it and I'm going to win this time!"

    "Yeah!" The two boys slapped their hands together in a "brah" handshake before Hau pulled him in and they did a customary slap on the back. Sun had done it before with many of his sports teammates back in Kanto, but with Hau it was different. In a matter of a couple of weeks, the duo had grown from friends to rivals to the point where Elio considered him almost as a brother.

    Would that make Lillie kind of like a sister? Leilani?

    Hala laughed heartily at their antics, "Ah, you two amuse me very much! It seems that the rest of your friends are here to give you advice and wish you luck. Very well! I shall await your challenge at the stage where we had battled yesterday. Come there once you are ready."

    Just like the previous night, the many folks of Iki Town were all starting to crowd around the center square where Hala and Sun were about to commence their rematch. The audience gathered around with many setting up tables at the same area where the festival had been just a few weeks ago and brought out full dishes of different foods for everyone to feast on.

    Unlike the previous time, both sides had an even number of battlers, but he knew better than to let his guard down.

    As Hau separated from the group to go talk to his grandfather on the stage's other side, Professor Kukui and Lillie walked up to Sun's.

    "You ready cousin?" He asked, giving off his signature smile.

    "No," Sun joked back, "I think I'll have overdone it if I ever was."

    "The kahuna's still a strong trainer yeah; I've never seen him hold back against anyone except for Hau."

    "Why's that?"

    Kukui shrugged, "I really don't know. He just does…but you also have to remember that the Pokémon you've faced in the grand trial are specifically used for that. Trust me when I say that if he truly never held back, he would decimate you easily."

    "Don't worry," Lillie assured him, "Everyone here wants you to win! Even the kahuna, but he's going to do everything he can to make sure it's as challenging as possible! It's called the grand trial for a reason."

    "That's how I want it too," Sun agreed, "I'd rather win against an opponent who went all out rather than held back,"

    Their conversation was interrupted when Hala strode across the platform to their side. His face remained impassive, yet quickly broke out into a smile. Almost immediately, the crowd surrounding them had all quieted down, leaving only the night sky and the crackling of flames illuminating the stage to resonate on the island. Not even the sounds of the city were audible.

    "My boy Sun…are you ready to retry your grand trial in a Pokémon battle?"

    The boy straightened his posture and turned to face him directly, regarding his upcoming opponent. "Yes sir…I challenge you kahuna of Melemele Island to a battle in order to complete the grand trial!"

    "Excellent." There was a twinkle in Hala's dark eyes, "I am eager to see the fire in your own eyes burn bright enough to overcome your final trial on this island!"

    They took their spots at opposite ends and each held out a Pokéball. Talking among the audience began to quickly dissipate as they gathered beside the stage in anticipation.

    The match's referee stepped forward, "And now…the grand trial of Melemele Island shall begin between our challenger Elio Northstar!" At the introduction, the surrounding observers cheered lightly and Elio saw his mother, Hau, Kukui and Lillie waving frantically. There was even the familiar pink hair of Trial Captain Ilima showing up to watch.

    "You can do it Sun!" He heard his mother above the claps and shouts of encouragement.

    "Go Sun!" Leilani's voice added from another area, although he didn't see her.

    I should cheer him on too. Lillie thought from her spot in the audience. "I believe in you Elio!"

    "And opposing him is island kahuna Hala!"

    When his name was announced, the rest of the crowd let out a low throaty "HO-AH!" It was sudden, loud and pierced the tranquil night air around them like a flying spear. Hala stomped the ground twice, widening his stance as part of the traditional ritual to intimidate his challenger.

    "The grand trial will be completed when all Pokémon on one participant's side are incapable of battling! Both sides may only have one Pokémon on the field at a time. The challenger is allowed to use as many as six Pokémon during the battle and both parties may switch at any given time!"" The ref turned to Sun, "Do you accept these terms?"

    "Yes."

    "Kahuna Hala, do you accept these terms?"

    "Yes."

    "Then let the battle begin! Trainers, send out your Pokémon! Sun, your grand trial starts now!"

    The kahuna held out the Poké Ball of his first battler, "My boy…I want you to pass this trial more than anyone here! But I will not make it any easier because of this! Mankey will make sure of it!" He threw out the ball, revealing a mankey, a furry pig-nosed Pokémon that let out a battle-ready cry when it lightly landed on the floor before raising its arms and bobbing up and down in anticipation of the upcoming battle.

    "Actually, you're wrong! I'm the one who wants to pass this the most!" Sun threw out his own Pokémon. "Grimer! You're first!" He had chosen Grimer as his first contestant.

    As the sludge Pokémon emerged, falling to the deck with a wet slap, murmurs came around the crowd…he was using the same strategy as the last time. The other night he had led off with Grimer against the mankey and it hadn't fared well. Although he was more durable, Sun was forced to recall him after he suffered immense damage due to his lack of speed and used Litten to finish it off. He used the same strategy to take out Hala's Makuhita, but both were quite exhausted after defeating the two when Crabrawler had come out, making them easy pickings for the kahuna's ace Pokémon.

    "New Pokémon detected!" Rotom buzzed, popping out of Elio's backpack to briefly interrupt the match, "Mankey…pig monkey Pokémon. A single mankey's fits of rage can cause the entire colony to rampage for no apparent reason. A sure sign of it becoming enraged is when it visibly shakes and has rough breathing. Mankey is a fighting type. Additional information is available upon catching this Pokémon."

    He was starting off with a type disadvantage and everyone else knew it.

    The referee waved his hands, affirming that both parties were ready to get started before backing off the center stage.

    "Grimer, let's lead this off! Use pound attack!"

    "Grime!" His long amorphous arms stretched quickly, growing to many times their original length and striking mankey with incredible speed before Hala could even order an attack of his own. Just as quickly, he shrunk back, retreating to his side of the field, remaining alert for a counter strike as well as Sun's next orders.

    "Mankey, use karate chop!"

    With its left arm, the fighting type lunged forward to close the distance between them.

    "Bite its arm and pound it again!"

    "Pursuit!" Grimer had no need to swiftly jumped aside from the swinging strike, it merely shrunk down before widening back up an arm's length away. For him though, the mankey stopped just short of the platform's edge after running ahead and went right after him, hitting its mark. Grimer opened his mouth to bite down, but the pig monkey nimbly moved out of his reach, also jumping right over his elongated arms that tried to go for the successive pound.

    Could go for a poison gas. "Use poison gas!" He sucked in a breath of air before blowing it back out, covering his part in a green cloud of noxious fumes. "Good! Now bite it before it has a chance to attack again!"

    Grimer bared his incisors again and they chomped right down onto mankey's tail. The pig monkey Pokémon let out a loud howl of pain, flailing wildly before angrily ripping its tail free and shaking its body as the gas began to dissipate in the air. It sent a death glare at its opponent before letting out an animalistic howl.

    "Oh crap," Sun had completely forgotten about mankey's anger point ability, maximizing its attack power if he had scored a critical hit on one of the Pokémon's weak point or did more damage than normal.

    Mankey's going to be a real problem if it's still on the field for much longer.

    Hala knew the advantage was going back to his side and seized the opportunity, "Mankey, rock tomb!"

    Mankey let out a snarl to tell everyone how pissed it was before it shot forward, thrusting its arms out and firing a barrage of good sized chunks of stone that accelerated downward at rapid speed.

    "Minimize to escape! Go under it!"

    Grimer easily avoided the attacking move by shrinking his own body down to a fraction of his original size before racing right underneath its charging legs. Confused at the sudden turn, mankey stopped its assault and looked down for its target.

    "Do it again!"

    "Mankey, use focus energy!"

    "Mank!" His Pokémon formed a pair of fists and stared intently around, prepping for another attack while searching.

    I gotta finish this thing off. The longer it stays on its feet, the bigger chance I have losing. I didn't put in all this training for nothing!

    "Use pound!" An idea stuck itself in his head.

    "Grab it!"

    As Grimer's arms came forth, the mankey's paw latched out in the blink of an eye, grabbing one of his forearms and clinging on with impressive tenacity. He automatically tried another pound with his other free arm, but the fighting type was quick to catch the second attempt, locking both in place and moving with it as he tried to use his slimy body to squeeze out of the grip.

    "Get yourself free!" As the combatants listened to their trainers' orders, Grimer again tried to escape, finally slithering a sludge arm through the openings of the mankey's fingers. It let out a loud screech and slammed a karate chop right into his face in retaliation. The freed arm struck back in another pound, which allowed him just enough time to finally escape with his other arm.

    "Mankey, rock tomb!"

    As it launched another round of huge stone chunks, Grimer belched out a cloud of poison gas, quickly covering the stage in the foul smelling stench. The rocks clattered on Sun's end of the field, yet he never heard them hit his Pokémon nor it cry out in pain.

    "Grime!" Mankey's screech came out abruptly when it was apparently surprised at its foe's sudden appearance.

    "Alright Grimer!" Sun made a fist, "Let's finish this with bite!"

    "Grime!" He stretched above his victim, but instead of biting with his normal teeth, they glowed a bright purple, chomping down right atop Mankey's entire body.

    "Woah! Bzzt!" Rotom exclaimed in surprise, "Elio! Grimer hazz learned poison fang!"

    "Huh, all right then! Poison fang again!"

    Hala looked puzzled, "Mankey, stay alert!"

    "Now!" Grimer came right out of the poison gas shroud, attacking directly from behind. The pig monkey was in the midst of turning around when the second attack found its mark.

    The fighting type let out a loud agonizing screech, clutching its wounded leg before falling to one knee, wobbling slightly and then finally keeling over. It had fainted.

    "Mankey is incapable of battling…Grimer is the winner!"

    Elio heard a lot of cheers from the crowd, but he heard Lillie's excited squeals over just about everyone. Looking back over, he was greeted with waves from the blonde alongside his mother, Hau and Professor Kukui. At that point, he felt as if he could take on anything.

    Although he felt extremely excited that he was ahead in the race; Sun instead forced himself to breathe out a sigh of relief. He was well aware that the battle could have gone bad quickly right from the start and it was far from over. Mankey's anger point ability and focus energy combo would have been devastating and although Grimer's viscous fluid body had adequate defense to handle tougher attackers, a double combination like that would've been enough to take him out for good.

    "That was impressive Sun," The kahuna recalled his fallen Pokémon, whispering something to it, "I remember that Grimer struggled against Mankey the last time they battled."

    "Thank you kahuna…but the battle isn't over yet. I can't let my guard down,"

    "That's what I like to hear from you my boy! Hau has picked a good rival in you!" Hala cackled, throwing out his next Pokémon. Unlike mankey, the big circular makuhita was much heavier and bulky. It shook the stage when its feet hit the ground and stomped a couple of times.

    "Grimer, come back." Sun switched out and put him away, "Rufflet…you're up!"

    As the eaglet Pokémon came out, he gave a nervous glance at Sun. The trainer saw the fire in its eyes in anticipation for the fight at the same time, but they had only practiced during the Battle Buffet and he actually hadn't used Rufflet in an official battle like this where the stakes were so high. The type advantage was his this time and Rufflet's stronger power could make things easier, but he didn't know if it was able to crack the makuhita's bulk. Thanks to its thick fat ability; it gave Litten a hard time, shrugging off its ember attacks as if they were nothing.

    "New Pokémon detected bzzt! Makuhita…guts Pokémon. Despite being brought from Hoenn, makuhita from Alola are now more famous. They have a daily routine of morning training, afternoon rest and eating, followed by more training that increases its fighting spirit every day. Makuhita is a fighting-type. Additional information is available upon catching this Pokémon."

    "Relax Rufflet," Sun assured him carefully, "We got this." He pointed right at the Pokémon, "Use wing attack!"

    "Fake out," As he closed the gap with his wings spread wide and ready; makuhita clapped its hands together one millisecond before Rufflet could hit his target, catching it off guard. The move stunned him as Hala took advantage of the flinch. "Now arm thrust!"

    With a deep bellow, makuhita struck its imposing arms out at Rufflet, who was still recovering from the flinch and too helpless to move. He took three blows before tumbling back to Sun's side, standing up and examining the new wounds it had received.

    "Rufflet! You okay?" He got a bloodthirsty caw in response. "Good!"

    "Use arm thrust again!"

    "Ka!" Makuhita lunged forward at a very surprising speed for its bulk. Its feet slammed into the platform with loud thuds as it pulled its arms back for another multitude of strikes.

    "Dodge and use fury attack!"

    Rufflet flapped his wings once to put a sizeable distance between the swinging arms before taking flight again and unleashing a flurry of jabs with his beak into makuhita's side. As it escaped another arm thrust, Sun was surprised that even with Rufflet's strength and hustle ability; it hadn't done any visible damage.

    This thing made of metal? He mused. Rufflet just has to stay in the air to avoid its attacks, but they know we have to go in close if we are to do damage ourselves. Really only flying type moves are what really hurting it.

    "Now Rufflet, use peck!" His beak glowed as he dived back down, ready to attack.

    "Dodge it." With its surprising speed, the makuhita sidestepped the charging bird.

    Everyone watching gasped in surprise, including Sun. Rufflet's run down swooped far past, with a huge gap in between the two combatants.

    "How in the world does it evade that fast?" He muttered to nobody in particular, "It didn't do that last time!"

    "Now use force palm!" As if moving so quickly hadn't given enough of a wakeup call, the gutsy Pokémon jumped up astonishingly high into the air in a move that everyone hadn't thought was remotely possible. It closed its fingers together right in front of it before shoving them forcefully into a wide-eyed Rufflet. They both fell back onto the stage. Makuhita landing with an audible thud but on its feet and holding up a pair of baggy fists in a ready stance to await the next orders. Rufflet wasn't so lucky, stumbling around as he tried to recover from the sudden blow. His body twitched from the sheer shock of the move as he struggled to stay upright.

    Yet his eyes continued to glimmer with determination, despite already receiving massive damage from the attack. He moved spastically, as if part of his body was no longer under his control.

    "Rufflet!" What's wrong with him? The realization dawned immediately, "Oh no…he's paralyzed."

    Sun felt a bit of panic begin to settle into the pit of his stomach. Rufflet had the only typing that was highly effective against fighting and able to outspeed them both on the ground and in the air. With it paralyzed; he was going to be significantly slower and sometimes the stress of the condition would leave him incapable of moving. Hala would have easy prey.

    "If you can pull through!" Sun encouraged his Pokémon, "Use peck again!"

    With a strained cry, Rufflet jumped forward, his beak glowed again before it was driven into its opponent's thick body. The move this time around did a fair amount of damage when it visibly stumbled.

    "Use force palm!"

    "Watch out!" Since he was up close, there wouldn't be a lot of time to dodge. Rufflet saw it coming and flapped its wings to avoid the blow. As he did, his muscles gave off a brief spasm that halted his flight and he fell right back into the oncoming path of the force palm.

    "No!" He was blown away, tumbling back to Sun's side of the platform before slowly rising to his feet.

    "I'm taking you out…" He was about to recall him with the great ball in hand when Rufflet cawed in protest, giving a disagreeable glance back at his trainer. "No! Rufflet return now!"

    "Makuhita, use arm thrust. Wrap this up!" As they were debating on their next move, Hala had decided to take the initiative.

    No time! "You wanna finish this? Wing attack!" Sun yelled, slipping the ball back on his belt. Rufflet continued to struggle moving, but managed to remain on its feet, rising wide and closed the gap between the fighters.

    Even with the paralysis crippling it, the bird's wings spread out and they glowed white before he flew forward to slam makuhita right in the center mass. The attack was enough to send it off balance and fall to its arms.

    Sun knew that the paralysis could kick in at any time and wanted to maximize Rufflet's potential before it was taken out or had a chance to doom him at the worst opportunity. "Wing attack again!"

    "No!" Hala growled, "Makuhita, bulk up!" Makuhita turned around, ready to tense his muscles, just as it got struck again over the chest from above, felling it over on its side. While it collapsed to the ground, Rufflet flew up before descending to stand in front of Sun.

    "Makuhita is incapable of battling!" The referee stated after a moment of examination of the fallen Pokémon, "Rufflet is the winner!"

    "Yeah!" Sun formed a triumphant fist as the crowd cheers returned, "Nice job Rufflet!"

    "Ruff! Rufflet!" Rufflet cooed at the praise.

    "You deserve a rest," He looked ready to protest the decision again, but Elio held up his great ball, "I may need you later. Okay?"

    He seemed satisfied with that and allowed himself to be recalled into the red beam of light that sucked him back inside his home.

    "Familiar place huh?" Hala asked as Sun put him away on his belt clip.

    "Maybe."

    "I have one Pokémon left," He took a third ball out, "And you know too well who it is. Crabrawler, let's make this as worthwhile as possible!" The kahuna threw it onto the field.

    Crabrawler emerged, swinging its pincer fists and waved them in a taunt to Sun.

    "New Pokémon detected! Bzzt!" Rotom said, "Crabrawler…boxing Pokémon. Crabrawler's pincer fists are powerful enough to break open the hard shells of its primary diet, coconuts and other fleshy berries. When a pincer gets worn, it can break off but can grow back rapidly. This Pokémon is competitive in battle with others and with each other, hating to lose. Crabrawler claws and legs are considered a delicacy in Alola. Additional information is available upon catching this Pokémon."

    I knew this was coming. Sun stared at it; It's definitely gotten stronger since I last battled it. He still had all three of his Pokémon, although Grimer was damaged somewhat and Rufflet was paralyzed. Litten had yet to enter the battle, but he wanted to save his starter Pokémon in case he needed him.

    From the looks of it, I'm going to have to use him sooner or later. Here goes. "Grimer, you're back up! Poison fang!"

    "Use bubble!"

    Crabrawler shot a short stream of bluish bubbles out of its mouth as Grimer had moved fluidly, wasting no time to cancel his attack and change his irregular direction, ducking easily out of the way.

    "Now power-up punch!"

    Hala's Pokémon moved forward, bobbing and weaving slightly, its left fist glowed as it extended forth, hitting him right in the jaw with a solid hook just as he was coagulating up again. He was still shaking off the bubble when the crabrawler attacked again with its right pincer in a second power-up punch, slugging Grimer again.

    "We're not done yet!" Sun shouted, grabbing his Pokémon's ball and readying it, "Grimer, return!" Across from him, a visible smirk on the kahuna's face told him that he was just waiting for an opening to present itself to spring a trap. "Pursuit."

    As the beam of red light was about to pull him off the battleground; Crabrawler scuttled rapidly over, slamming both its gray glowing pincer fists into Grimer's slimy body. This abrupt interference had halted the recalling process, causing the beam to cut itself short. The poison and dark type hadn't been switched out like he had intended and instead fell over, knocked out of the fight.

    "Grimer is incapable of battling!" The referee waved his flag in Hala's direction, "Crabrawler is the winner!"

    Murmurs came across the crowd as they continued to talk among themselves of the battle. Although he wanted to minimize losses, the fact that he was down to two Pokémon instead of three now put more pressure on him. He glanced over at Hala, who was in the midst of praising Crabrawler for a job well done and Hau, who seemed apprehensive about the whole thing. He was pretty sure that the other boy was torn on who to cheer for. His palms began to feel a little slick from sweat as the thoughts of it being another easy battle were once again pushed out of his mind.

    Elaine and Lillie had concerned faces, since they had seen a similar situation last night and were afraid that Elio was about to fall right back into the same hole earlier. Professor Kukui was grinning, since he was enjoying every minute of the intense fight so far. Hau looked torn, with no idea on who he should be pulling for.

    Elio considered his options; Rufflet had paralysis, so he was going to be quite slow and another easy picking. But was Litten going to be enough to come out victorious?

    "Choose wisely keiki," Hala said, "Crabrawler here has shown me quite a bit of promise."

    Screw it. "Let's go Litten, we're going to win this!"

    His starter landed on the platform with grace and nonchalantly gazed at his opponent before taking a battle-ready stance on all fours and narrowing his eyes. This was one he was all too familiar with.

    "Just like we practiced! Ember!" Sun yelled, pointing at the crabrawler.

    Hala countered with a bubble and the two attacks collided, kicking up dust with mist and tiny fiery sparks. Smoke poured from the center before clearing again to reveal both battlers staring intensively at one another each one canceled out.

    "Use bite!"

    He saw that familiar smirk on Hala's face again. "Power-up punch,"

    Litten quickly closed the distance, fangs bared as crabrawler lit its fist once again and swung it in another jab.

    "Back off! Ember it again!"

    As crabrawler extended its pincer claw, Litten nimbly jumped away, avoiding the blow by mere inches. When they separated, the fire cat blew out another tiny flame that hit its carapace. Crabrawler cried out in pain as the fire briefly coated its entire body before almost collapsing. It used its claws to keep itself standing for a moment before righting up again and swaying in a ready stance.

    That ember didn't do much damage.

    Hala was about to order another attack when the crabrawler reeled from something that had hurt it. Both trainers glanced closer from their respective ends of the field, seeing a smoldering patch located about midway down its left pincer fist where Litten's ember attack had struck directly. If he remembered correctly, that was part of Crabrawler's weak points.

    Litten had scored a burn. Sun couldn't believe his luck.

    A burn suppressed a Pokémon's physical prowess as well as causing continuous damage, which was good on his side, but that didn't make crabrawler any less dangerous.

    "It seems now it's only a matter of time before he falls," Hala said, "I can't remember the last time a different trial-goer had me on the ropes with an intense battle such as this!" He pointed towards Litten, "Use power-up punch!"

    Litten shot another ember, but the crab Pokémon's fist plowed right through, despite the burn it suffered. The flame was snuffed out, sparks flying onto the platform before quickly dying out.

    "Litten, watch out!" Sun cried, but it was too late. He was slugged again in the face and sent backwards, digging his extended claws into the floor to skid to a halt in front of his trainer.

    "You okay?" His fire cat gave a nod to reassure his trainer, baring his teeth at the opposition. Sun knew that the burn had lessened the attack power of crabrawler's power-up punch, but the move also increased its physical attack status every time it successfully hit. It eventually wouldn't matter about its hot status condition, if it kept using power-up punch, Litten and Rufflet would be done for.

    Crabrawler took its position next to Hala and Sun noticed that it was hammering its left side. Looking closer, he saw part of a big black scorch mark that was glowing a dull orange.

    That part of the burn seems to be hurting it…

    "I shall take the initiative then," Hala declared, "Pursuit!"

    With a loud hiss, Crabrawler charged forward with its claws glowing dark. Litten fired another ember attack in an attempt to scare it off, but the boxing Pokémon was intent on carrying out his trainers' order.

    "Litten, ember again…aim for the left side."

    He meowed and once again, spat a tiny flicker of flames towards crabrawler. The crab was ready for this, easily swatting the fire away harmlessly as it continued its advance. When they finally closed the gap in between, it swung them rapidly. Litten didn't need to be told what to do, now dodging the recklessly thrown blows.

    Elio was about to order another attack when he noticed something peculiar. As Litten continued on the defensive for evading; the crabrawler would push out its pincer fists, giving only an extremely brief moment for a wide open shot of the irritating burn as it overextended its punch on the left fist.

    I need to get it to do that again.

    As if someone or something was listening to him; Litten's back fur glowed bright in a fiery blaze as it opened its mouth like it was going for a bite attack. His sharp incisor teeth glowed bright orange as the tiny flickers of flame emanated from his mouth.

    "Litten has learned fire fang," Elio whispered to himself and hardly paying a sliver of attention to Rotom vocalizing the same thing. He regained his composure and stood up again, "Alright, now use ember!"

    With a loud meow; he jumped up and spat another weak flame down at Crabrawler.

    "Go through it with power-up punch!" Hala yelled, "Hit it again!"

    Litten had landed back on the ground after launching his attack when the crab quickly advanced again, baring its left fist up and ready to jab.

    "Get ready," Sun told him, "Wait until it punches." He got a nod in response.

    Crabrawler had started to swing its pincer as Litten automatically moved back to avoid the blow. As he dodged, Hala's fighting type did exactly what Sun had thought, overextended his thrust and leaving the burned area wide open.

    Perfect. He seized the opportunity, "FIRE FANG NOW!"

    Litten knew where it was wanted and wasted no time, powering up his new move and quickly clamping down right on the injured area.

    Crabrawler's eyes immediately doubled in size as Elio's Pokémon struck it right on its weak point. It hissed loudly, swinging its free fist around and powering up another power-up punch. Litten was hastily slugged in the face with enough force to rip it off his victim. As he tumbled back, the crabrawler spread his arms out and shot a handful of bubbles that splashed him over, doing super-effective damage.

    The crowd gasped at the sudden turn of events, although many were still hopeful that Sun would still be able to come up with a win. Litten was a little slow to get up on his feet, firing a warning ember that was aimed way off its intended mark, but it managed to keep the other Pokémon at bay.

    "Crabrawler…it is time." Hala crossed his arms and activated his Z-Ring. A harsh glow emanated from the top as if it were a lone flaring star that pierced the night. Swirls of energy surrounded it as the Z-Power warmed up and finally activated.

    "Oh no," Sun looked over at Litten, who was likely waiting for the same thing, "Stay on your feet and be ready to dodge!" He had no idea if a Z-move was even avoidable.

    "Now Crabrawler; unleash the full potential of your Z-Power with my MIND, BODY and SPIRIT!" The kahuna roared as he formed an X with his hands and posed with a fusillade of punches on both arms before rearing back and striking the pose in one final strike, "Channel your power-up punch into ALL-OUT PUMMELING!"

    The bright aura of Z-Power surrounded crabrawler, who proceeded to punch forward in mimicking Hala and instead of a single blow; a massive endless barrage of red hot glowing fists that seemingly came out of nowhere, homing right in on Litten sounding a deafening crash in spite of the latter's attempts to dodge them. He managed to jump out of the way on the first few, but one had crashed into his side and the rest were quick to follow suit. Crabrawler unleashed one final ultimate superpowered strike, hitting him again with immense force that sent big shockwaves across the whole area. The force was enough to send Sun's starter shooting away and crashing into the platform floor, shattering several wooden boards and cracked the foundation underneath to a significant degree. There were cries of worry and amazement from many of the townsfolk around them at the awesome display of power.

    When the dust finally cleared, Elio's heart sank when Litten lay in a heap at the stage's edge with many visible grievous injuries from the relentless Z-Move. The referee stepped onstage and waited a few moments before he extended his flag to crabrawler, who landed back on his own side and swung his fists in intimidation and in triumph, "Litten is unable to battle! Crabrawler is the winner!"

    No! Sun gritted his teeth in frustration as he returned Litten back to his Pokéball and hung his head low, "I'm sorry buddy." Last battle on the previous occasion; he had fared even better against Hala's Crabrawler, but it seemed to regard him as a pushover tonight. Again he had been taken down by that Z-Move.

    "I'll make sure your effort didn't go to waste. Both of you." He slowly took out Litten's Pokéball and returned him back inside. You deserve a rest and I'll make sure you're stronger than ever!

    Elio was both frustrated and unsure of what to do. He had to send out the last Pokémon he had…Ruffet. Now panic was really starting to creep into his veins as the fear of failing a second time consecutively was very real. He didn't want to embarrass himself all over again, not in front of all these expectant eyes.

    Rufflet's flying type moves had it at an advantage, but the hustle ability being possible to miss some of those moves plus his exhaustion could conspire to bring him down.

    Just stay calm. Sun reminded himself as he threw out his last Pokémon. You can do this.

    The referee waved his hands to resume the battle.

    "Rufflet, use wing attack!"

    The eaglet slowly raised his wings before shaking again and stumbling.

    "Oh no," He had forgotten all about the paralysis.

    "Crabrawler…finish this with pursuit!" Hala shouted. Despite his command being clearly heard by everyone else, his Pokémon seemed to ignore it. "Crabrawler?"

    Sun was still shaken over the fact that he was going to lose again, that he failed to notice that Hala was struggling to maintain things on his own end.

    The ember he had used earlier on the burn had sped up its damaging process, thanks to Litten's fire fanged efforts. The kahuna had been so focused on taking down Litten that he failed to notice how severe the status ailment was until too late.

    Crabrawler drunkenly swayed on its feet as if it were confused, sporting several marked bruises of damage before falling backwards with a loud thud to faint upside down on its blackened carapace at Hala's feet.

    The referee waved his hand towards Sun's side, "Crabrawler is unable to continue battling! Rufflet is the winner and the victory goes to Elio, who has completed the Grand Trial of Melemele Island!"

    The crowd started clapping and quickly gave way to loud cheering and a couple approving whistles. Sun stood there in disbelief, still not getting the fact that he had won.

    "I won?..." It hit him full force, "I won!" His face broke out into a huge grin as he jumped up and down excitedly, raising both arms in the air and letting out a victorious cry, "Yes!" Despite their tiredness, all three of his Pokémon came out of their thrown balls and joined in on his celebration, crowding around their trainer with tired cries and nuzzles of affection. After all, they were the ones who made it possible. "Thank you guys so much for putting your all into it!"

    Hala recalled his crabrawler back into its ball, muttering a thanks and strode over across the platform. His stoic expression gave way to a quick smile, "The results of your rematch on the Grand Trial come as no surprise to me."

    "KOKO!" A loud screech abruptly came from above, echoing throughout Iki Town. All eyes looked up to search for the guardian deity; however it was already quite dark to discern anything. A bright golden surge of electricity arced across the sky, lasting only for a blink of an eye before vanishing, allowing the darkness to take over once more.

    "Ho!" Hala throatily laughed again, "And our mighty Tapu Koko agrees! Perhaps it is hoping that one day you will become strong enough to battle it as well! In the meantime, accept this Z-Crystal! It allows trainers to share their power with their partner Pokémon!"

    Sun felt the tiny stone fall into his hands before kneeling down, holding it close to his chest while spinning around in a circle and striking a pose with his fist skyward as the crowd let out another round of applause. "Yes! Grand Trial, complete!"

    Just below him, his three Pokémon had all recovered enough to jump for joy. He broke his stance and knelt down to their level, "Thanks for all the work you put in to this! I am so proud of you all right now! Couldn't have done it without you guys!"

    In response, the team members rushed forward and practically jumped into his arms, giving off soft cries of affection. Grimer had caught his legs, causing him to fall over on his back into the ground while Rufflet and Litten dove right for his chest. Elio wrapped his arms around his Pokémon and hugged them as tight as he could.

    "Aww," Just about everyone cooed at the sight.

    "Observe Sun," Hala hated to break the touching moment between Pokémon and trainer, but he wanted to conclude the trial ceremony sooner since it was getting late. "If you wish to use the new fighting-type Z-Power, move your arms like this…." He crossed his arms in an X stance, opening them out before unleashing a flurry of punches with his arms, "Bend your hips like this and pose!" He stomped forward and performed one final punch with his opposite arm. "With this victory, you will have cleared all of Melemele's trials thanks to the Melemele stamp, the first of Alola's islands and now can move on to the second island at will!"

    "Yes!"

    Hala chuckled thoughtfully, "The moon in the daytime…the sun at night. Now to see if you can pour your heart…your uhane into something that cannot be seen, but is very much real. As you continue on your island challenge, consider what makes up the people and Pokémon that you meet and how they will influence you on your hana komo pae; both in what you can see and what you cannot. You will surely meet Tapu Koko again someday."

    He thanked everyone for coming and the crowd began to disperse shortly thereafter. In stark contrast to yesterday; Sun got a lot of compliments…ho'omaika'i from many of the people for completing Hala's grand trial while others wished him luck on the rest of his island challenge.

    "Aweome!" Hau jumped up and down excitedly as Sun stepped off the platform, "One island down! Three to go!"

    "Aww yeah!" The two boys shook hands with a nod and grin on their faces before they fist bumped, raised their arms up waving and moving their hips as if dancing and finally clasping hands once again in a "bro" hug that was completed with a loud slap on one another's back.

    "Woah!" Professor Kukui was clearly impressed by their little ritual, "That's one stylin' handshake if I saw one!"

    They heard a squeal as Sun turned around, only to get crushed in a big hug by his mother. Chuckles were shared around the small circle of friends as the boy began to gasp for air.

    "I'm so proud of you sweetie!"

    "Th-thanks mom," He looked quite flustered and pointed to his three team members, "But it was my Pokémon team that really won the battle,"

    "Of course. I just can't stop thinking back to my days as a trainer! You remind me so much of myself when I was your age!"

    "That was such an intense battle cousin!" Kukui said next and he held up his hand for an open high five, "Wish I could borrow your Pokémon because I just got a new research breakthrough!"

    "Yeah sure," Elio looked down at his team, "Would you guys like that?"

    They let out quiet affectionate cries, seeming to agree wholeheartedly.

    "As much as I want to get going to the second island…I'm tired," He declared, "How about we head out another day?"

    "Whatever works for you yeah?"

    "MOOO RAR!" A loud bellow interrupted the commotion. Sun turned to it, facing a wildly galloping tauros that looked dead set on flattening him over, kicking up a fair amount of dust as it charged down the trail towards them.

    "Holy-!" He started, but stopped in mid surprise when he saw kahuna Hala stand in front and bent his knees.

    The tauros showed no sign of slowing down and right before he would've been gored; Hala moved with surprising agility, grabbing it by its horns and although he was being forced back somewhat, he let out a loud yell of force and seemed to effortlessly flip the half-ton beast onto the ground.

    "Ho!" He bellowed, scratching more of the Pokémon's fur, causing it to huff and finally relax, "You sure were excited there weren't you?"

    Elio's mouth dropped open as he was not expecting what had just happened at all.

    The kahuna is like four or five times my age! How the HELL did he do that without suffering a scratch?!

    Hau glanced over at everyone else with similar aghast expressions on their faces and chuckled as he got up. Professor Kukui smiled and shook his head.

    "Whoa there Tauros! I see you were eager to say ho'omaika'i to Elio here after completing his grand trial! That gives me an idea! How about I set you up so that you can ride Tauros here whenever you like? No reason why he should not get to enjoy the island challenge too!"

    "Uh sure," Elio's mind went right back to when he had pet it in Hau'oli City a couple of weeks ago. He had seen Tauros riding on television and the riders who were thrown off their bucking mounts had suffered some painful looking injuries, "He's not rowdy is he?"

    "Rowdy?! Ha!" The kahuna let out another deep laugh, "This rascal loves you! So he's especially gentle with those he likes. I will take care of the things you will need in order to ride a Pokémon Sun!" He reached into his pocket and pulled out a flat device, turning it on and handing it over.

    "This is a ride pager," Elio glanced at it in his hand, "You can use it to call upon any ride Pokémon that is registered to you."

    "Here you go tutu!" Hau said as he came out from the direction of the kahuna's house and carried a large box. "This is the ride gear right?"

    "Yes." Hala glanced over at Elio, "So why don't you hop on up there? Be sure to put on your gear first so you don't get hurt!"

    "Yeah sure,"

    The ride gear consisted of a few parts. First there was the sleek bodysuit that barely managed to fit over his clothes. It took a minute of stretching parts of it out to put his legs through and when he was finished, it felt very stiff, limiting his range of movement.

    "This is the basic ride gear," Hau explained when he saw his best friend's discomfort, "There's a company called Alola Transit downtown in Hau'oli that manages all the ride Pokémon here in Alola and you can also customize your ride wear to something more likeable."

    "Okay," Sun didn't look too interested in the design of the bulky looking helmet, but he slipped it on his head nonetheless, "Because I want to see what else there is. Reminds me of my old football gear. I'll go tomorrow and check it out!"

    "All right!" He pumped a fist and jumped up, "You're a hundred times braver than me Elio! I could never try and ride one of those!"

    Elio looked back at Tauros, who was just being fitted with a harness himself by Hala, "Well wish me luck then."

    Lillie hadn't said a thing since, but the look of concern on her face was unsettling, especially when they had come face to face with it earlier. She wasn't entirely sure about the idea. Tauros was certainly a dangerous Pokémon if it was angered.

    Just be careful Elio.

    With a grunt; Sun approached his side, grabbed ahold of the handlebars atop the harness and pulled himself up on Tauros' back in one smooth motion.

    The place where he was supposed to sit was a bit odd, being humped and slightly uncomfortable, but the handlebars were easily accessible and it required him to lean forward slightly. He figured that his butt would become numb after a half hour of riding or so.

    "Here in Alola, our Pokémon will lend us their strength and let us ride about on them! Controlling Tauros here is fairly intuitive and easy to figure out. In fact, he had bust some of those big piles of rocks that can sometimes block pathways. Why don't you have a little romp around Alola with Tauros here? I'm sure you'll be charmed by him! Hit whatever you want on the ride pager and the requested Pokémon will kindly come to your side in minutes whenever you may be!"

    Sun nodded, "Easy enough,"

    After practicing moving the beast around a little and taking off the ride gear to stowing it away in his pack, Hala led Tauros away, allowing the others to congregate around. He saw the familiar face of trial captain Ilima approach him with a thin smile on his face.

    "Congratulations Elio," He shook the boy's hand, "I hope you find the ride pager useful. I worked on developing it with a friend of mine. You know," The captain smiled again, "I am very impressed that you managed to win even without having to use your Z-Power. How about we have another battle next time we meet and I won't hold back this time!"

    "Yeah that sounds good," Elio said as they shook on it, "You have a good night."

    "To you as well. Alola!"

    With that, the young man turned and walked off into the night.

    "Elio!" His attention was grabbed once more as Leilani bounded up to them and threw her arms around his shoulders in an affectionate hug that made even Lillie fume slightly. Hau noticed the change in her normally passive expression, but he was too shocked himself at seeing one of his crushes hug his best friend so hard, "You did it! You beat the kahuna!"

    "I can't take all the credit for it," He said, laughing and returning the embrace, "My Pokémon did a lot of the work and you showed us the way."

    "Yeah, well this is what I wanted to tell you!" Moving so that only the two of them could see, she opened up a tiny brochure, "This is happening tomorrow. You should go see it!"

    Sun stared at it, already earning his interest, "Huh, you're right. I should!"

    "You should bring a friend. Maybe even ask a certain someone if she can go with you!"

    As everyone began to head back home, Sun noticed Lillie trailing behind Professor Kukui, who was deep in conversation with his mother. Hau had bade everyone goodnight, promising to meet up with everyone tomorrow sometime. They were planning to head out to Akala Island in a couple of days, since Elio wanted to relax, go find that ride gear shop and then take up Leilani's suggestion. She had left the brochure in his care.

    Stargazing at Ten Carat Hill. I wonder if Lillie would be alright to come with me on that.

    "That was a really good battle Sun," She stopped and turned back to him, "I was afraid you might lose. It was already hard enough seeing your Pokémon in pain."

    "Pew!" From the bag at her side, they heard Nebby offer its own congratulations.

    "For a moment I thought I might lose too. As for the pain…well Rufflet likes getting hit as long as he gets a chance to hit back." Sun paused, "And thank you Nebby."

    "Pew!"

    "Can't wait to go to Akala Island in a couple days." He glanced up at her, "Are you coming with us too?"

    "Of course! Even though I've already been to Akala, I go wherever the professor needs me."

    "All right!" Sun exclaimed, finding himself a little too excited to hear she would be tagging along. "Although it's getting late and we're not heading out tomorrow. Do you want to meet up with me, Hau or Leilani to do something?"

    "It's kind of hard to tell when I wake up. Kind of a heavy sleeper," She sheepishly smiled at the fact, "Well um. I want to ask a favor of you first. If that's all right?"

    "More time to sleep in?"

    Lillie giggled, a soft sound that sounded like fine china clinking together that completely enthralled the young boy, "No silly!" She turned serious, "You see, Nebby. Um…Nebby's came from a place really far from here and I want to help it get home."

    Elio reached over, hesitant, but zipping open Lillie's bag and cradling the tiny Pokémon in his hands, "Okay. So do you know where it came from?"

    She nodded slightly, "It's like I told you before. Nebby once saved me when I was in trouble."

    "Trouble?" His face immediately turned into concern and he felt quite a bit of worry flooding through his veins, "Lillie is everything okay?"

    "Elio!" His mother called from the edge of town, "Are you coming sweetheart?"

    "Yes Mom!" He shouted back, "Just talking to Lillie!"

    "Okay." She exchanged a knowing smirk with Professor Kukui, "Try not to kiss too early!"

    "Yes Sun, I'm okay." They both hadn't heard what Elaine had just said, "But Nebby once was there for me when I needed it, now I want to save it!"

    "Save it? From what? From who?" He paused as a thought just manifested in his head, "Team Skull?"

    Another nod, "Team Skull wants to take Nebby because of the power it used to save me! I feel like there's not much I can do on my own since I'm not a Pokémon trainer. But if I had a real trainer like you…Elio helping me then maybe…y'know what? I probably shouldn't be asking this of you. It's too much right? I know it's just me being selfish and nothing to do with you."

    Elio gave her a quizzical look, "Lillie, where are you thinking that it's too much of a burden or being selfish? Nebby clearly needs your help if it wants to go back home and you're doing everything you possibly can to help it," He stroked the top of the cosmog's strange skin, earning him a coo of happiness, "Besides, of course I'll help in whatever it needs! You're my friend after all and there's no need to give me anything in return. That's what friends are for!"

    "Really?!" He saw that the pupils in her emerald eyes had dilated as she broke out into another grateful smile, "Oh thank you Elio! Thank you so much! I'm so glad because I really didn't know what else to do!"

    "Well now you do. You know Nebby is as much of a friend to me as you are Lillie," He said, smiling again and placing it back inside the open duffel, "I mean it. C'mon, let's get going. I'll walk you back home."

    How did I get so lucky with a friend like Elio? Lillie thought to herself as they made the trip downhill in thoughtful silence, He's such talented trainer and an amazing person!

    "Yes. Yes I would love to come with you back to that ride pager store." She answered finally, "But I'm really tired. See you tomorrow?"

    "Yeah of course. I'll come by the lab in the morning!"

    Lillie smiled, now feeling that she could really count on someone being in her corner when she needed him, "Okay Elio. Goodnight."

    "Goodnight Lillie."

    Closing out this chapter. Hope it was enjoyable enough! I'll see everyone next time!

    Translations:


    • Uhane - Soul, spirit
    • Kaikamahine - Girl
    • Ho'omaika'i' - Congratulations
    • Waeia kekahi - Chosen one
    • A'ohe pu'u ki'eik'e ke ho'ao 'ia e pii - No cliff is tall enough it cannot be climbed
    • Mauna - Mountain
    • Owau no ke aʻo 'ana - I am learning
    • Hana komo pae - Rite of passage
    As always, mahalo for reading and reviewing, you give my writing purpose.
    Brav
     
    #19 Sep 6, 2017
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2017
  20. BraviaryScout

    BraviaryScout Way of the Wind

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    (Rufflet)
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    Crown of ValorPoké Ball ★
    And Alola again everyone! Here's the next chapter of A Hui Hou Kakou. As you all know by now, this story is going to be my biggest project and it's already trumped all but two of my other stories ever written.
    This chapter explains my own take on Ride Pokémon since I would find it hard to instantly call in a tauros, stoutland, charizard and such. Actually got this idea from a friend and hope it does have a more realistic take on how it would function.

    Couple more chapters before we head off to Akala Island. It's going to be awesome too! Forgot to mention this but thanks for @ShinigamiMiroku for the feedback. I appreciate it a lot!
    So enjoy the chapter guys!


    Things could have gone really bad today! Well…sort of. It was Elio's quick thinking that got me out of trouble! First Nebby, then Professor Burnet and Kukui and now Elio? I have so much to make up to them for them going out for me! What do I do? Elio's been so good to me and I've been telling him that Team Skull are the ones after Nebby. That's partially true, but I know exactly who truly wants Nebby for her own reasons. I can't let that happen, even if I have to break Elio's trust!

    Earlier in the day, I did actually take him up on his offer to go back into Hau'oli City. We seem to go there every day, but there's so much to see and do anyway! He picked out his new custom outfit and I have to say that even though I first didn't exactly like what he got; it actually looks super neat and suits him really well!

    After a lunch, we headed back to the lab where he actually asked me to go stargazing at Ten Carat Hill with him tonight! Oh my goodness! Is he asking me out on a date?! Why hasn't he done that with Leilani though?

    Well either way, before we could go there, Professor Kukui had a visit from two Aether employees. Those Internal Affairs agents claimed that they were studying corsola habitats in the Melemele Sea, but I really think they were sent on mother's behalf to come and search for me and Nebby. The professor hid me and Elio in the wardrobe inside his basement while he talked with them and tried to get them out of his house as soon as possible. Unfortunately, they wanted to stay longer, but it was Elio's thinking that actually cut their visit short! I can't believe that I am so lucky to have him as a friend!

    "Alola kakahiaka!" Elio smiled as Professor Kukui opened the door to his lab and let him in, "Thanks for coming by cousin!"

    "Of course professor. Anything I can do to help out." He stepped through.

    "Make yourself at home," Emilio closed the door, "I'll see what I've got in terms of research material if I need to borrow any of your Pokémon."

    "Okay," Elio agreed, "Where's Lillie?"

    "She's in the shower, but I know she'll be looking forward to going into Hau'oli City with you!" He chuckled as he went over to the kitchenette, "There's hardly a thing besides you that she talks about nowadays."

    "Really?"

    "Heck yeah! Thirsty cousin? I have guava juice."

    "Yeah, I'll have a glass."

    He poured them both drinks and slid one over Elio's way, "How about that battle last night?! You had so many stylin' moves out there! Really, you reminded me so much of me when I was younger. Surprised you beat old Hala so handily."

    "Heh," He chuckled, taking a sip, "Professor, Hala was anything but easy."

    "Yours was still impressive nonetheless. You want to know how many times it took for me to figure out how to beat him on my own grand trial? More than a five time fury swipes!"

    "What?! You're kidding!"

    The professor shook his head, "I'm afraid not cousin. Back then, old Hala was less lenient on going easy on young challengers like you. He was tough, merciless and very strict. At the same time though, a lot of trial-goers were far better heading off into the other islands."

    "That doesn't sound like the Hala I battled. What changed?"

    "Age. You grow old and your outlook on life changes. You have a family and grandchildren in Hau's case and all of a sudden, a lot of things can affect you. Hala has had a couple of scares couple years back from cancer, but he's been lucky both times since the surgeries. Since then, I feel that he has had a much bigger appreciation of life." Kukui closed his eyes, "Trust me when I say you got it easy. Way easier than me."

    He stopped and went into one of the cabinets in the lab's foyer. Rifling through a file of portfolios, he pulled out an album.

    "Check this out," Kukui flipped to a page and slid it across the counter to Sun.

    He peered at the handful of older black and white photographs in the protectors. One of the pictures he had pointed to depicted a middle aged man that bore a striking resemblance to Hala in the center. He was still much older than the Professor was now, but looking roughly in his fifties, the Melemele kahuna was in excellent shape. Granted, there was a bit of a paunch at his age, but there was no mistaking the sharp chiseled features, dark skin and grayish white moustache across his upper lip. Inky black marks adorned the right side of his body on bare shoulders in a stark design that really had stood out.

    "Hala has tattoos?"

    "Sure does! A lot of Alolan art is through the body. Although they can be expensive, but worth it."

    "Huh," Sun said, "Do you have a tattoo professor?"

    He rolled up his coat and turned around to show a wide band of black waves with a very ornate and sophisticated design that ran across his entire back just under the shoulders.

    "You are thinking about getting one cousin?"

    "I don't know. Maybe. Tattoos are meant to show off something symbolic, so I want it to be meaningful."

    "Well you don't have to rush it. Give it some thought and remember it's permanent."

    "Okay." He glanced over past the image of the crossed arms Hala and to the three young teens just in front of him, all with wide, energetic grins. The boy in the center was definitely Kukui with tanned skin, dark hair and a happy looking rockruff perched on his shoulder.

    On Kukui's right, there was another boy with a lighter toned hair and wide rimmed glasses. Unlike the casual tanktop that the professor wore, this one had a collared T-shirt and was holding a Poké Ball by his side excitedly.

    It was the third person that really caught Sun's attention. He wore a plain black tee with a light colored basketball shorts that had stripes running on the side of the leg. His white hair was disheveled and there was a very tiny flat Pokémon that looked like a squished insect with a long antennae tail scuttling on his forearm that was wrapped around Kukui's back. Like him though, he had a passionate smile and instead had his other hand gently cradling a peculiar looking stone around his neck.

    All three of them were clasping the familiar island challenge amulet tightly in their fingers.

    "Who are the other guys?"

    "Oh that's Mo and um," Professor Kukui trailed off, trying to find an answer of sorts, "A couple childhood friends of mine."

    "Awesome. You keep in touch?"

    "Eh," He shrugged, "To be honest, I haven't really made the effort. It's hard to see where they're at nowadays, if they're even in Alola."

    Sun sensed that there was something behind the reasoning behind Kukui's reluctance to elaborate on the subject, so he decided not to further press the issue.

    They heard a door open downstairs and footsteps treading on the flight coming up.

    Lillie emerged, wearing a long white bathrobe wrapped firmly around her body. The braids on her hair had disappeared, blending into the rest of her long cascading blonde locks that were matted together from the water in the shower.

    Sun couldn't take his eyes off her, she looked exceptionally attractive like that.

    "Sorry for taking so long Professor Kukui," She started, "I just wanted to make sure that everything is perfect for when Elio takes me out to the city again."

    The man chuckled, "Why don't you tell him yourself?"

    He gestured to the boy mentioned, sitting on one of the barstools beside the kitchenette, sipping on aguave juice with an amused look on his face.

    "Gah!" Lillie practically jumped up in fright and looked away. "Sun?! What are you doing here?"

    "We're going to the Alola Transit shop remember?"

    "Y-yeah! Right! Sorry if I sounded so surprised. I just didn't expect you over so soon."

    Sun chuckled, "Yeah, Mom got called into work early this morning, but she should be back home by the time we're done."

    "I've got an idea," Kukui said, "Why don't you two come on over for dinner tonight? I've got to head back to Akala Island in a little bit and let them know we're headed over in a couple days. Really don't feel like cooking tonight oh yeah."

    "Uh, sure." Elio agreed, "My mom was talking about a pasta bake with her homemade sauce. It's to die for!"

    "Oh that sounds like something to stockpile on!" He paused, "So sorry about not having to borrow your Pokémon for research."

    "That's fine. I'll come back with Mom this evening."

    "Sounds good," The professor leaned over by the ladder leading up to the loft where the girl had climbed up as they were talking. "Lillie, you ready to go out on another adventure yeah?"

    "Almost done!" She called back, "I'll be there in a minute!"

    "I'll uh wait outside," Sun said before looking over at the loft again, "Lillie, I'll be outside! Don't forget Nebby!"

    "Okay!"

    "Have fun out there!" Kukui smiled, "See you back here tonight."

    "Oh," Sun stopped before he left and dropped his voice so that it was only the two of them that could hear the conversation, "Professor, can I ask you something?"

    "Of course cousin."

    "The other day, Leilani showed me this; I guess da kine where we go to Ten Carat Hill tonight to go stargazing."

    "Oh you mean the hoʻike o ka hoku?"

    "The what?" Even though he was slowly learning more and more of the Alolan language, there were still many things that continued to roll right over his head. He did manage to pick hoku out of there, which meant star.

    "Show of stars." Kukui explained, "The observatory on Mauna Hokulani gives us a prediction with the weather station and often times sets viewing parties up to Ten Carat Hill where people can go inside for and stargaze without the intervention of all the excessive light pollution in Hau'oli City."

    "Sounds neat."

    "It really is. You can see a lot more than on usual nights when it's all cloudy and stuff oh yeah. I went up there with someone really special to me and it was an amazing night." He looked over at Sun again, "You should too. I think you and Lillie share a very special friendship after the two of you witnessed Tapu Koko come to both your rescue. Yeah cousin, I think that's a fantastic idea! Lillie has never seen the stars dance before, so it'll be a good experience for both of you!"

    Sun nodded, feeling a bit of confidence return to his side, "Okay. Thanks for the advice professor."

    "No sweat cousin! Now you two have fun out there!"

    After the two teenagers had left for Hau'oli City, Kukui let out a long sigh as he gazed at the open scrapbook he had shown Elio. Many of the non-colored images were relics of old times that he greatly treasured. Rivals, Totem Pokémon, the trials, even the half dozen times he had tried to go up against a merciless Hala and continued to fail. They all were part of his unique story of how he conquered the island challenge. Finally finding that perfect strategy and moves were one of the sweetest moments when he took the Melemele kahuna down, passing the grand trial by the skin of his teeth.

    His thoughts were interrupted when he felt his cell phone vibrate in his pocket. Fishing it out of his pocket, he smiled at the name of the caller.

    "Hey there honey!" He greeted.

    "Emilio," The seriousness in Burnet's voice quickly brought his normally jovial mood out of place. His wife seldom called him by his first name in such a manner unless something was extremely urgent, "Listen carefully. You need to get Lillie out of there."

    Kukui paused, "Linda, is everything okay?" Like her, they talked on a first name basis for dire times.

    "No!" Her worried voice was being carried over, "You need to get Lillie out of the lab right now!"

    "What? Why?"

    "I didn't get much, but when I was heading down for work, I passed a pair of Aether employees that were heading down to the docks and overheard that they were on their way over to Waimanalo!"

    He frowned, knowing that Lillie was trying to avoid the Foundation's prying eyes from her story that she had told his wife, but it wasn't unusual that they made trips to all of Alola's islands for research on Pokémon habitats. Still, that could also mean that they were searching for her and the cosmog. "Linda, they conduct research on the island all the time and have given us no trouble. I don't understand what the fuss is all about."

    "Really Emilio?" Burnet scolded, "How can you say something like that when Lillie is endangered?! These weren't normal researchers and surveyors; they were both of part of their Internal Affairs section."

    Kukui felt his blood run cold at that. "You're sure?"

    "They had the uniforms and were talking about heading right over there to Waimanalo. Hurry Emilio! Get Lillie out of there now!"

    While it was clear that the Aether Foundation had noble intentions of the welfare of Pokémon, they had garnered a sizeable amount of wealth and power to influence the growing industry dedicated to the wildlife's conservation and role in nature. This obviously was going to make them several enemies. These internal affairs agents were shrouded in mystery and all held a very odd secretive vibe. It wasn't well known even throughout the Foundation itself, but those that did knew that only a small circle of the best battling trainers within were given the responsibility of protecting their interests and looking into future issues that could clog up their progress. On normal circumstances, they appeared as curt, but polite individuals although rarely seen and many that knew of their existence and role already assumed that each individual could be merciless in a battle or a formidable foe if they were opposed. They supposedly answered only to the head of the Aether Foundation and tasked with protecting its most interests and projects from both thieves and competitors.

    Needless to say, this small circle was entrusted with the foundation's closely guarded secrets and normally dismissed even by standard employees as preposterous rumor.

    "Lillie left with Elio to Hau'oli City fifteen minutes ago."

    "Tell them not to come back! If they're headed to Waimanalo, then they're probably really trying to find out where she's hiding!"

    "What about afterwards?"

    "I don't know," Burnet sounded apprehensive, but Kukui knew she was worried sick even over the phone, "If Aether is onto you, you might have some more issues on commissioning the Pokémon League."

    "I know," He sighed, "I've worked so hard to build this up and having a strong trainers in Elio and Hau could make this thing so much of a reality. They've already given me enough headache about the league. What do I do Linda? I can't just throw Lillie out of here!"

    "Calm down! We'll think of something."

    Lillie slipped her signature wide brimmed hat on top of her head before making her way down to the bottom of the lab's steps.

    "Well you took your time." Sun said. He was leaning against the porch with his arms crossed, an impatient and grumpy look plastered on his fine features.

    "Hmph," Lillie flipped a stray strand of blonde hair out of her face, unsympathetic to his incessant mocking, "A lady needs enough time to look proper doesn't she?"

    "I know some that can go from waking up to ready to go to work in a half hour and look just as fine,"

    She gave him an inquisitive look and the edges of her lips curled upward, "Oh really? Tell me one,"

    Elio opened his mouth.

    "And your mother doesn't count."

    He snapped it back shut again, at a loss for words. Lillie giggled, knowing that she had stumped him.

    "That's what I thought. Besides, I have to try and look as good as possible, even though I don't think I can do that. So I think it's worth all the time in the world."

    You're certainly not wrong about that. "What do you mean?"

    "I often get told that I don't look good."

    Who told you that? "Uh huh,"

    "So you know, that's why I want to um…ask around other people and see what kind of clothes they get and all." She stopped, "I do all of my hair each morning. What about you?"

    "Me?" Elio chuckled, lifting his cap to show off his longer disheveled cut, "I'm not picky; the pillow likes to be my stylist."

    The two shared a laugh again at his attempt of light humor before they realized that they were staring right into each other's eyes again.

    That green is just perfect. Just like the rest of her.

    "Say," He broke the connection before more of this "thoughts" came back into his head, "Why don't we head right on over to Hau'oli City? I think I'm going to try and use the ride pager."

    "Yeah sounds great."

    "Sure about that?" She hated the fact that his own gray eyes held an alluring expression of concern. "You did look a little worried when I got on Tauros last night. We can still walk over if you like. It's not far."

    "It seems a little scary to ride Tauros, but maybe if you help me out. I can enjoy it."

    Elio seemed satisfied by that and opened up the tiny green device. There was a big screen on the front of it which opened up into a menu. He tapped a few buttons, exploring the few options, but only the tauros charge was available for him to use.

    "I guess I'll get to access the others as I go." He muttered, Still gotta figure this out, "Alright. Let's request a ride."

    The touch option opened up to multiple choices, allowing him to choose the amount of passengers so that a different tauros with another saddle for additional people could be summoned or tracked instead. All on the side of Waimanalo, there were tiny icons of different Pokémon faces, indicating the location of an available to use ride.

    "Two seater."

    Lillie watched with amazement as Elio started to figure out how it worked. If she was handed it and expected to know everything within a few minutes of being lost, she wouldn't even know where to begin. For the most part, the young trainer appeared to have mastered it quickly.

    "And there!" He hit the finalize button and it opened a second screen that depicted a brief summary of his request. It had been acknowledged and one tiny marker with the head of a miniature tauros was seen gradually moving eastward to their location. Right below it was a tiny information panel that described the specifications of the normal type responding to them. Sun learned that many trainers on the island could be using the ride Pokémon for their services and the amount spending time to wait varied, depending on what was needed or in demand. Some were going to be much longer than others, so he figured that requesting a ride before needed was a smart thing to do in order to minimize being idle.

    "So his name is Hihiu." He said, "He's got two seats."

    "You won't go fast will you?" Lillie asked, a bit of worry quavering in her voice.

    "Of course I won't. I know you're not comfortable with this and to be honest, this will be my first real time on a trip riding a Pokémon. We'll be okay."

    "Okay," She nodded hesitantly, "You know, you have a really good way of putting people at ease."

    "It's nothing really." He sheepishly smiled, "I just say that there really is nothing to fear."

    "Maybe. But if I was doing this by myself, I'd be terrified. You make it seem like what you said; nothing to fear and I'm not scared at all when I'm doing this with you Sun."

    Sun's smile all but melted Lillie's heart, "Thanks Lillie. I'm glad that I put your worries at ease." His face turned to shock as he remembered something, "Oh shoot! The gear!"

    He quickly dropped to a knee and began strapping on all the pads, securing his harness firmly in place. Since the ride involved two people, Hihiu was going to arrive with a passenger harness attached to it in case one of them didn't have the gear of their own.

    Lillie stifled a laugh as Sun grumbled something under his breath as he slipped the helmet on top of his head after stowing his hat. "Oh relax Elio, you look fine. In fact, maybe a little cute."

    "I look like someone who wants to go rollerblading with kids half my age!" He threw his arms up in exasperation. "I can't wait to go to the accessory shop and find something better."

    "Maybe rollerblading isn't so bad. I heard it's fun and read in a book once that a lot of trainers in the Kalos region enjoy it since it's a lot faster and easier than running."

    "No thank you. I really don't want to experience any hint of it since going down a slope at an uncontrollable speed and a perfectly sized rock right in your path. Nothing like that."

    "You don't like rollerblades?"

    "No not really."

    Before either of them could say anything else, the ride pager in Sun's hand let off a light dinging sound. He turned it over and glanced at the front screen again.

    Your tauros has arrived. Please hold the pager up so that the Pokémon can see you better. Enjoy the ride!

    The sound of hooves hitting the sand grew louder and the big bovine Pokémon slowly trotted up to them from around the side of the lab, coming to a gentle stop just in front of the two teens. Compared to Hala's own, this one called Hihiu was much more even tempered and gentle, sliding to a complete stop right in front of them.

    "Hey," Elio was still a bit nervous; even though this was going to be the third time he had gotten close to one. He was reminded many occasions over that while some could be docile enough to allow him to ride, a tauros was still a very dangerous Pokémon.

    Sun wondered if all the red trim on his gear would accidentally trigger the beast into charging.

    Don't think about that. Not when you've got Lillie here all trying to squash her own fears too.

    "Hihiu," The tauros huffed at the mention of his name, "I'm Elio and this is Lillie. It's nice to meet you."

    His hand brushed against the snout and he rumbled quietly, closing his eyes and enjoying the contact.

    "Alright, shall we get started?" Sun turned to Lillie, who had taken the separate harness and already clicked herself in "After you."

    He got down on a knee next to the left side, "Here. Step on my leg and I'll boost you up. There's a little slot where your feet will go and handles right behind where I sit to hold onto."

    Maybe she could hold onto me or something. "Ready?"

    Lillie nodded and took a step on his calf.

    I hope I'm not hurting him. She thought as she found herself boosted up. Swinging her legs around Hihiu's back, she found the slots, having her feet rest perfectly in them. Much to her relief, there was no sensation of losing her balance atop its back. There were a couple straps where the safety sockets in her harness fit perfectly.

    What about you Eli- Her train of thought was cut off when Sun grabbed the top of the saddle and pulled himself up with a grunt.

    "Watch my leg," Lillie barely had time to avoid getting kicked by leaning back. He settled in the seat and quickly clipped himself into the safety sockets. "Sorry about that. Little bigger than I thought."

    "That's okay," She did have to admire the slightly taller height that they were both at, "So what do you want me to do?"

    "Nothing, just hold on and enjoy the ride."

    He did something that caused Hihiu to slowly move ahead and was quick to figure out the controls, remembering at least a couple things from controlling Hala's own Tauros last night.

    Lillie was clearly not used to the rougher ride and let out a startled squeak when she found herself being moved in place as the Pokémon effortlessly carried them back towards the street. Her hands quickly found the handlebars that were propped just behind his back and she held on rather tightly, not wanting to be jarred loose again.

    "You doing okay?" Sun asked after they headed through Waimanalo for the first couple of minutes.

    "Y-yeah," She stammered, "Sorry. Used to smooth rides on cars and stuff."

    "It's a whole different experience, that's for sure. Just think that almost a hundred years ago, we used to use Pokémon as vehicles. Amazing how far we've come."

    "And it's amazing how people here in Alola still continue to depend on Pokémon so much. It's the other way around too. I hope this place never changes."

    Even though she couldn't see his face due to him controlling their ride, it was easy to tell that he was smiling again, "Me neither."

    The trip to downtown Hau'oli City was surprisingly pleasant. Although signs made it forbidden for ride Pokémon to traverse on the Alaloa, they instead opted for the longer roads that led down through the residential Jookiba and Pilipaa neighborhoods. Houses, shops and smaller buildings were slowly beginning to become less common and eventually the tall highrises of Hau'oli loomed in the distance, their glass exteriors sparkling in the sunlight.

    Sun had found out that ride Pokémon were actually quite common in Alola. Although he hardly saw much of it when they took the sidewalks and the Alaloa to and from downtown, it was very surprising and neat to see how much of the city's infrastructure was tailored to their services. They saw mainly tauros on the roads, but at a part of the road that ran alongside the water; there were some others such as a large blue balloon-like Pokémon with fins and an even larger harness wrapped around its body.

    Although ride Pokémon were similar to the mechanical vehicles they shared the road with, there were still traffic laws to abide by. There were two separate lanes on each side of the streets for passing and parking. Traffic lights and signs were to be obeyed just like any other driver. Unless you were on some of the more rural roads, there was a speed limit and even trainers were susceptible to getting a ticket if they were caught violating anything by police. Ride Pokémon were also strictly forbidden by Alola Transit to both capture and use in a battle. They had made it clear by the terms and conditions that were displayed on the pager every time the user opened the screen. Failure to comply could land a serious fine as well as confiscation of the service.

    There weren't many who wanted to lose the ability to call for virtually free transportation on the fly.

    Elio had to guess that especially with a tauros that they had to be tamed greatly as they were also known to stampede when panicked or too stressed.

    He brought Hihiu to a stop in front of the light, finally seeing the Alola Transit building past the second intersection.

    "Sun?"

    "Yeah?"

    "Can we ride Tauros here back when you're done? I want to see what ride gear you pick out."

    "Yeah sure."

    The process of completing the service of the ride Pokémon was just as simple. Elio hit the terminate button as he brought Hihiu to the curb to "park" before dismounting. Linking it once again to verify that he no longer needed the Pokémon's service, it would pop back up on the availability for other users if it was still active and head over to them in order to continue.

    Elio helped Lillie out of the harness and extended a hand to help her down as well. The height was a bit taller than she had expected, since her foot landing brought her slightly off balance. The boy was quick to firmly grab her by the arms, instantly steadying her body once again.

    "Woah," She looked back at the animal, "Sorry. Maybe I should've brought better shoes." Her face fell, "Except I really don't have any."

    "Hey it's fine. You're alright. Right?" He had that concerned look in his eye again and she felt a strange blooming feeling in her chest when he bit part of his lip.

    "Yes, I will be fine."

    "Awesome! Let's go!"

    With that, he took off again, leaving the blonde to giggle at his never-ending enthusiasm whenever she was around.

    Lillie had to admit that she really underappreciated how much effort actually went into the usage of ride Pokémon. She had just found out that it was an entire business spanning all of Alola and it was astounding to know how many people depended on it throughout their daily lives.

    The Alola Transit building was one of the taller ones on the eastern side of the city, located a few blocks away from the tourist Malihini district. Like many of the others, its glass panel exteriors would reflect the orange sunset and sunrise whenever the shining light would stand on the horizon.

    Today though, it was in the afternoon and the clouds that shrouded the top of Ten Carat Hill had disappeared. Weathermen today had predicted another warm sunny afternoon and another cloudless night for the hoʻike o ka hoku. Heat waves shimmered on the roads as many people and Pokémon loitered in the shade, the latter trying to avoid the searing concrete.

    Luckily for them, the store was entirely in the drier, air-conditioned indoors and it was quite a noticeable difference. Elio had felt sweat begin to pore through his skin and the humidity made his clothes stick to his body no matter whether he was in direct sunlight or shade. He even had to do a double take as he had noticed that the tone of his normally pale arms were now ever so slightly tanned.

    It was a good thing I use sunscreen whenever I go out. Otherwise, I'd be red all over.

    Lillie too, was glad for once to be out of the sun's harsh rays. She straightened her hat and quickly followed Elio as some mannequins had caught his attention.

    "Woah," They marveled at the sleekness of the body suits on the plastic humanoids. It looked rather thin and streamlined, designed for speed over durability. These were racing suits.

    "Heh, I forgot about that." Sun said, "There are some derbies held around Alola. Can be pretty popular events." Although he didn't know the athlete that the brand sponsored, he couldn't deny that the suits looked infinitely cooler than his clunky one.

    Further in the shop was everything on display from the main suitpieces with malleable hardpoints to improved harnesses for specific roles from competitive racing to arduous labor on the farms.

    Elio was already in the middle, deep in conversation with one of the sales associates while expressing a lot of interest in one of the suits. Unlike the other ones, this one was more of a simplistic design, with small contoured pads for the shoulders, chest and legs that thinned out to a more flexible black wicking material. The accents and trim over the wear was an almost neon blue color that starkly contrasted the dark design, but made him look futuristic with the reflective surfaces. The man helping him offered access to a fitting room at the back of the shop. Elio emerged a minute later, fully clad in the suit with a big grin on his face. It clung to his body closely, giving it a tight appearance.

    "Hey Lillie, what do you think? Pretty cool?"

    "Woah," She smiled in amazement, "Yeah, it looks awesome!"

    "Hooray!" He pumped a fist forward, causing her and the salesperson to laugh, "At least someone likes it!"

    "You picked a good one," The man said, "That design was made by Endurance when their designers began to manufacture surfing bodysuits. It's one of their newer ones to come out. Really good for an all purpose riding, especially if you're a trainer."

    "I am and going on the island challenge. So it's a really good fit."

    "I agree. Are you in need of a helmet?"

    Elio thought back to the one that was the "default" of sorts. "Yeah, what you guys got?"

    "Just name it and we can do it. Our gear repair section can also customize just about anything you want. A lot of people put just as much into their ride wear as they do in the ride Pokémon themselves."

    "Huh," He went over to a big stack where several different designs of helmets were on display. There were some with simple over the top designs while others had elaborate features that closed off the entire head and concealed the face with a shadowy visor.

    "What do you think Lillie?" Elio had another helmet in his hands and slipped it over his head. It had a smooth rounded appearance with a "V" shaped faceshield, "I think maybe a closed helmet would do better. It looks super cool!"

    Although she did have to admit that it went well together, the fact that none of Elio's familiar features could be seen through all the black and blue made her feel uneasy as if he had been swallowed by something.

    "I like it Sun, I really do," Her sentence went off.

    "What?" The helmet turned to her and he walked over, "Lillie, you sure? If you don't like something about it, then tell me."

    "It's…it's just that I have no idea it's you other than when I saw you put on the helmet. Sure you'll be different than everyone else by your customs and all, but I would almost prefer if I saw you through. I want to see your eyes."

    "Huh," His gloved hands reached up and he removed the helmet, letting his long hair free from its confined prison, "I was also hoping to get something that could protect my eyes from the sun. This is good, but maybe I'll go with what Lillie suggests and opt for no visor."

    "Well this is where your customization comes in and you can get the best of both worlds." The associate said, "We can put in a sliding visor that can go into your helmet's top for a full removal and it can be polarized to your liking whenever you wish."

    "Really? You'd do that?"

    "Of course. Now it does cost extra to add those features in there, but remember that this ride gear is what expresses you to everyone else. If you want to look as good as possible while riding a Pokémon, spare no expense to tailor your options."

    He nodded, "Okay then. I'll go ahead and put a retractable polarized visor in this one. That way I can pull it down in the sun and when I'm around Lillie, I can make it clear or gone entirely."

    "What color?"

    Elio browsed the rainbow array of the nanolaminate visor colors, leaning more towards the blue section, although there was silvers, green, reds, purple, yellow, gold and so many more. There were a lot of hybrids too, blending two colors together depending on the angle that the helmet was looked at.

    "I'm going with this one," It was the closest blue that matched the trim on his picked suit, "Goes really well."

    "I'd agree." The man printed out a receipt and handed it over, "Okay, I've got everything you need on one bill here. Your custom helmet may take a day to finish, but we can send you a notification on your ride pager when it's ready for pickup."

    "Actually, I'm planning to head to Akala Island soon. Onto the next trials and stuff."

    "Oh well good luck. We do have another repair shop located in Heahea City, so I can send it there for you once it's ready."

    "Yeah that would be great!"

    "Awesome. So go ahead and head up to the checkout lanes when you're done and present the receipt for all the things. Good luck on your island challenge kid."

    "You know Sun," Lillie started as they exited the Alola Transit building together, "I think I was wrong about that. That suit really does look good on you."

    "Thanks Lillie. It means a lot. You still sound a little uncertain though,"

    "I don't know. Maybe it's just me."

    "Well say something at least." Elio said, "Come on Lillie, contrary to what others think, I do listen to my friends' advice from time to time. How do you think I got past defeating kahuna Hala?"

    "Remember what I said back in there? How I wanted to see your eyes even when you wear your gear?"

    "Yeah,"

    Lillie did that, she stared at his steely gray with her green, "I realized that this is how you want to display what kind of rider you are. I'm sorry. You'll look really good in your new ride Pokémon outfit!"

    "Sure." The eyes radiated a bit of mirth and a small smirk grew on his face, "Just remember that this is my unique suit! Maybe I'm that rider that'll go off into the sunset carrying a beautiful princess in my arms."

    Lillie smiled tenderly at his response, but felt slightly sad on the inside. After what her mother had said to her many times, there was no way she could be that beautiful princess that he had described.

    He probably means Leilani.

    The two of them got a light lunch over at a food stand close to the Pokémon center before calling another tauros to speed them back to the professor's lab. Sun introduced her to a Puka Dog, a pork sausage inserted into a sweet bun and filled with mago berry relish, Alolan mustard and a white garlic sauce. It was only an extra dollar and a half for freshly squeezed tart lemonade.

    "Woah," Lillie took another bite of hers while they sat at one of the tables waited for their paged ride to arrive, "This is really good!"

    "I know! Hau says that it's sold everywhere for like lunch and all, but this stand is the best on Melemele Island!"

    "He's definitely right," She wiped a bit of sauce off her lip with a napkin before looking over at him again, "Elio…thanks for everything today, even though I just kind of followed you around. A little ironic that you're the one showing me all these cool places compared to a month ago."

    "Yeah it is," They shared a laugh at that before he turned a bit more serious, "Hey Lillie, um…are you free this evening?"

    Her heart stopped for just a moment at such a trivial question, "Um…yeah, why? I don't think Professor Kukui has me doing anything for the rest of today."

    "Well he suggested that my mother and I come over to the lab for dinner tonight, which we are. And afterwards, there's this stargazing da kine whatever. I can't remember the name, but it means show of stars."

    "hoʻike o ka hoku?"

    He brightened up immediately, "Yeah that's it!"

    "Oh I've never been before, but really want to go. I heard there's going to be one tonight!"

    "Well I do plan on going and…"

    "And what?" Lillie inched ever so closer to him.

    "I was wondering…"

    Oh come on, Elio scolded himself, This should be easy! It's not like I am asking her on a date!

    "I was wondering if you wanted to come see it with me." The request or sentence, whichever he would call it was blurted out in such a way that it seemed to be one lengthy word.

    Lillie giggled, "Your face is a little red Elio. Are you okay?"

    "Y-yeah, I'm good."

    "Just making sure." She grabbed her trash, "And yes. I'd love to go see the stars with you."

    "Huh," Elio mused as he guided their new ride tauros, a different one named Texan, to the front of Professor Kukui's lab, "Normally I'd see or hear the professor by now."

    "Yeah me too. It's strange."

    The boy dismounted before helping Lillie off in another gentlemanly manner. She couldn't help but giggle at his show of chivalry again.

    "Thanks Texan." Elio patted his side before terminating his "use", "Alola!"

    "Moooar!" Texan bellowed before trotting off and going back onto the main roads in Waimanalo.

    "Hey Professor Kukui!" Elio called out as the two of them stepped through the front door of the beach house, "We're back!"

    His voice was met with silence.

    "Professor Kukui?" Lillie said, "Professor where are you?"

    "Sun? Lillie?" They heard a faint reply that seemed to come one level down.

    "Yeah?"

    "Come downstairs right now!"

    Like a pair of scolded kids caught trying to steal cookies, they hurried down into the messy basement where they found the older man pacing back and forth on his large training mat. Rockruff was eyeing his trainer curiously and unsure on what had him in such a panic. They had made a concerned face at all the masonry scattered about on the floor, but suspected that he had one of his researching breakthroughs that caused such immense collateral damage.

    "Professor," Elio started, "Is everything okay?"

    "No," His normal jovial attitude was gone, replaced by something more icy and serious, "I need to talk to Lillie for a moment in private."

    "Sure," He didn't know what was going on, but the request plus that urgent tone told him immediately something was not right.

    Kukui sighed as Sun went back upstairs before turning to face Lillie, "I was afraid this might happen yeah."

    "Professor?" She cocked her head to the side in confusion, "What's going on?"

    "Right after you left with Sun to go into Hau'oli City, I got a call from Linda. She said that there were some of Aether Foundation's Internal Affairs agents headed over here to Waimanalo."

    Lillie's blood ran cold, "Oh no,"

    "I thought that it was their normal surveyors and all, but,"

    "They're looking for me and Nebby." Fear came across her green eyes again as she had deduced the same thing, "Professor, what are we going to do?"

    "I don't know." He sighed, "But you can't stay here."

    "What?! Where will I go? Where will Nebby go?"

    "I'm thinking. Maybe we'll have to go to Akala Island sooner than I thought. My other thought was that you stay with kahuna Hala and Hau in the meantime." He knew that the leaders of the Aether Foundation would not dare to cross the island kahunas.

    "Or you can stay at Sun's."

    Before she had a chance to comment on that, they heard a loud knock at the front door.

    "I'll get it!" Elio's voice drifted down and they heard footsteps heading right to the front.

    "Sun!" Kukui practically sprinted upstairs, his longer legs covering three at a time in a desperate attempt to stop the boy. By the time he made it to the main floor, Elio was already reaching out to grab the knob.

    "Hold up cousin!" The professor practically shoved him away from the door and put an arm around his shoulders as he led him away, "That's probably who I think it is."

    "Uh okay?"

    "Listen to me carefully, go with Lillie downstairs and hide. Don't come out until I say so. I'll do what I can to get them to go as soon as possible."

    "Professor," Elio started, "What are you talking about? Who's them?"

    "Just do it!" Kukui's voice had a rare stern tone to it and the boy automatically moved, recognizing the authority.

    Elio half jumped, half slid down the flight, landing right in front of Lillie. He saw that she was extremely nervous, clutching the duffel bag containing Nebby with urgency.

    "Lillie, Professor Kukui told me what's going on. Let's go."

    "What?"

    "Hurry!" Elio whispered loudly, spotting an ideal hiding place, "Here! The closet!"

    Professor Kukui's bed was set in the corner beside his research computers and aquatic tank. Right across from it was his wardrobe. Inside was dark, a perfect place to hide things out. It was fairly spacious, allowing two people to walk abreast inside while cornering to the left a good ten feet.

    There were several casual shirts, belts, and shorts hung up on the racks and even a formal suit. It was actually the first time Elio had seen that article of clothing since moving to Alola.

    He placed a hand on Lillie's back, guiding her inside, making care of avoid the stuff knocked askew in Kukui's latest discovery with his Pokémon and placing a few of the hung shirts in front of her. Elio scooted over to the side closer to the door's side and slowly peered out. He heard Kukui's voice drift down and it was accompanied by another masculine one that he didn't recognize, but the tone was all-too familiar. Curt, cold and to the point.

    "Why are we hiding?" Elio asked in a whisper.

    "You remember when I said that we have to keep Nebby a secret on the Mahalo Trail?" When she saw his shadowed figure give off a simple nod, she continued, "Well I didn't want to tell you this right away, but it has to be a secret. There are some really bad people who are trying to find Nebby and hurt it."

    "Bad people? You mean like Team Skull?"

    "Yes, but there are others too. The man that Professor Kukui is talking with is one of them."

    Elio was about to reply when the voices came back and there were footfalls from the stairs.

    They were headed down.

    He looked back at Lillie and slowly raised a hand, putting a finger to his lips in the universal gesture for silence. She nodded and they moved closer together, hoping that this visitor would suspect nothing.

    Professor Kukui hoped that Elio and Lillie were in a good place to hide since he knew exactly what was to follow. He let out a deep breath and turned the knob to open the door.

    "Alola," He greeted with his signature smile, "Howzit? What brings you to the awesomeshack of Professor Emilio Kukui?"

    There were two men standing on his front porch, each with crew cuts and dark sunglasses with white frames. They wore white dress jackets and slacks that made them almost an eyesore in such a tropical place. Here, you were considered very foreign if you came to Alola dressed in something even as casual as a tie.

    "Professor Emilio Kukui," The taller man began and held up a laminated badge, not bothering to return the warm welcome, "Von Kaiser; Aether Foundation Internal Affairs. We're wondering if the Foundation could collect some of the data you have on Pokémon behavioral patterns on a date about three and a half months ago?"

    "Um," Kukui studied the man a little closer. Other than the glasses, there were no definite features that made him different than his partner other than the height. He had his hands clasped together and hardly any inflection in his voice while speaking. Almost as if he was more machine than human.

    "My apologies if this seems as an unexpected request."

    "Oh no, it's fine yeah." Kukui nodded earnestly, "I should still have my reports. It'll be just a minute."

    "Okay," Von looked past him inside the lab, "Do you mind if we come in for a bit while we wait? It is a little hot out here."

    Immediately, the professor's senses went on alert at that, but at the same time, he was right. It was mid-afternoon, when it was going to be the hottest in Alola. The humid heat was already drifting inside the house, making him break out into a sweat with the contrast to the cooler air inside.

    He didn't want Sun, Lillie or Nebby to be found, but refusing outright would tell them that he was trying to hide something or someone and it would be very un-Alolan of him to give a frosty welcome. Inwardly, he cursed their exploitation of his hospitality in circumstances like these.

    "Sure." He opened the door, allowing the two inside. "Come on in."

    They filed through the door and took a look around the foyer, almost as if they were searching.

    "Drinks?"

    "Not for me."

    "Okay, hang on a second, I will go and pull up my reports."

    "That would be excellent," Von said, nonchalantly as his partner was slowly walking around the house, taking a careful look.

    "I haven't seen you cousins out here recently, is everything all right?"

    "It is. Thank you for asking. We've suffered an anomaly at the Paradise and some of our assets have been disappearing."

    "Oh really?" Kukui retrieved a datapad and scrolled through tidbits of information, "That must not be good."

    "It's not. The President is very displeased and trying her hardest to get everything under control," Von said, "So you know how much pressure we're under when the leadership is demanding results quickly."

    The professor narrowed his eyes, surprised that the donphan in the room was already being addressed, "Mister Von, why don't you put your façade down and tell me why you two are really here?"

    A sigh escaped the Internal Affairs agent as he produced a photo from his pocket. Kukui tried his hardest not to react at Lillie's picture when it was presented to him.

    "This girl stole some valuable property to the Aether Foundation's interests and is currently at large. We're conducting a search around Alola so that we can retrieve what's rightfully ours."

    "Huh," Although he was aware of the exact thing that they were looking for, it made him almost sick to his stomach to call a Pokémon as an object that was "rightfully theirs"

    "Do you mind if we take a brief look around?"

    "Well," Now he was very much against their invasion of his privacy, but they at least had the politeness to ask. Still it was an unnerving question.

    "I don't see why not," Von continued, his eyes boring into the professor from behind his shadowy sunglasses, "You seem like an easygoing man with nothing to hide."

    "Well then of course. By all means," Inside his head though, Kukui was panicking. He had just given them free access to his lab and now it became only a matter of time before Lillie and Sun were discovered.

    "Is it really necessary though?" He asked.

    "We just want to be thorough," Von replied, already moving to the flight that lead into the lower level, "To be honest; I have no interest in seeing what your personal life is all about."

    "It's not that," They began to head downstairs, "The basement is a total-"

    The Internal Affairs agents stopped short of reaching the trashed basement. Some weights on his workout bench had been tossed about with a blue medicine ball. There was a half collapsed shelf and nightstand toppled over with a bunch of books strewn about. The lamp on top of it was shattered into several hundred fragments.

    Granted all of it was there when Sun and Lillie had arrived earlier, but seeing as if a typhoon had ripped right through, minus the water, both agents were somewhat astonished.

    "Wreck." He finished.

    Von turned back to him, "Professor is everything alright?"

    "Oh don't mind the whirlwind yeah!" He stepped past them, "I just get these awesome ideas and I do research on the job and all! Oh yeah!"

    "I see." There was an unsmiling nod.

    "So what exactly are you cousins looking for?"

    The silent partner was about to open his mouth before Von had cut him off, "It's classified at the highest level. I can't say anything more. We will be on our way once we either find it or are satisfied that it isn't here."

    Back in the closet, Elio scooted closer to the side of the door as Professor Kukui and the two men accompanying him traveled downstairs. He smirked as they made some unintelligible remarks about the state of the basement.

    The silence that followed as they did nothing but listened to the shuffling of feet.

    Lillie couldn't take it. Felt as if every passing second made it seem all clear, but then they would emerge out of hiding into the real trap.

    She felt Nebby move inside the bag and tightened her grip around it.

    I won't let them take you Nebby. I promise.

    Professor Kukui continued to talk to the two men while putting himself in between them and the entrance to the closet. His hands were by his side, strangely rooted in place. Had this been Kahuna Hala, herself, Hau, Sun or even Burnet, they'd be animatedly moving about to vividly compliment whatever he was saying.

    A Pokémon materialized out of a Pokéball that was released by the leader of the two. It was avian in appearance with dark patches of feathers and a pink head. It seemed to be wearing a belt of sorts that resembled a bone.

    A diaper?

    An audible breath caught his attention and he glanced back over at Lillie.

    She was huddled close by, hugging her legs close to her chest and putting a protective arm around Nebby in the duffel.

    The bird Pokémon cawed and fluttered up to Kukui's bed, almost on the other side of the drywall where they were hiding. Being this close to them, he couldn't risk directly peering over to see what they were doing.

    An idea suddenly popped into his head; Elio snaked an arm over to his backpack and dug around in one of the pockets. He drew out a long thin metal object.

    Lillie opened her mouth and was about to whisper something when the conversation suddenly dropped into silence. He had foreseen it and quickly, but gently placed his left hand over her mouth. The girl stiffened at his touch and he gave her a serious look, gently placing another finger over his lips.

    As soon as the talking between the two men and the professor resumed, Elio flicked the switchblade open and held it out in front of him. For a moment, Lillie was worried that he was going to use it on her for something. Fear was gripping her entire body icily, but she had found out that it was just being held back thanks to the boy's presence next to her. It was definitely interesting to note that he didn't seem to catch on to the burning sensation of her flushing cheeks.

    Elio continued to stare at the open knife in his hands at somewhat of an angle as if trying to examine its rugged features, the action was making Lillie even more curious on what about it made the tool so interesting in this situation.

    A glimmer of movement was spotted on the surface of the long blade and she finally realized why he was using it.

    He's watching the reflection.

    There was another flutter of wings as the bird Pokémon landed just in front of the wardrobe's entrance. It let out a single caw of curiosity, but still failed to notice how it was being watched from inside.

    Elio cursed in his head, if it caught the attention of its trainer, then it was all over.

    Another idea formed in his head, but he had to act fast. He set the knife on the floor and took out a Pokéball. Hopefully this was going to be as quiet as he could.

    Grimer was released and before he could let out a cry of affection, Elio put a finger to his lips. The sludge Pokémon quickly understood, awaiting directions. His trainer leaned forward, whispering only so that the two of them could hear. After about thirty seconds, Grimer slithered to the doorway, causing the bird Pokémon to let out a startled squawk.

    "Grime!" The poison type bared its purple teeth in a poison fang and lunged. Dodging the attack, the opponent's small dark beak glowed white and it quickly retaliated, jabbing his side multiple times with a fury attack. Grimer jerked quickly and launched a successive pound.

    Professor Kukui and the two men stared in disbelief at the sudden fight. Everyone was at a loss for words. He stared at it for just a moment before finally figuring it out. It was Elio's Pokémon. This was the distraction!

    "Grimer again?" He played right into the act, striding right over to the bottom of the staircase, "Rockruff, get down here! It's back!"

    Sun was banking on Kukui catching onto what he had planned and was clearly surprised that it was working so far. He held the knife again, now scooting even closer to the entrance while his Pokémon was locked in a frantic battle against the tiny chick.

    "Vullaby, stop screwing around!" Von shouted, "Get rid of that thing!"

    The Pokémon called Vullaby launched forward, readying another fury attack. Grimer saw it coming and belched out another cloud of nauseating green gas. With no time to dodge, the bird flew right into the smog and flapped its wings furiously, hacking and letting out an annoyed caw. There was some nasty liquid clinging onto its feathers, causing it to cringe up in pain from some of its damaging effects.

    From upstairs, Rockruff yipped and ran back over, running up and baring its teeth. The swagger attack quickly fazed the blob and it waved its arms around in an erratic manner while moaning loudly in the confusion.

    "Vullaby return!" Von pulled out the Pokéball and quickly pulled his Pokémon out of the action. It had been poisoned.

    Rockruff barked again and Grimer took the brief lull to run away. He slithered rapidly towards the three humans, who immediately became nervous and backed away. With the puppy in hot pursuit, he aimed for the half-bath on the other side, quickly making his way over and disappearing around the corner. Another burst of toxic gas slightly deterred Rockruff, but it was immediate to bound after it through.

    "Sorry about that guys," Kukui sheepishly put a hand behind his head, "After the garbage truck accidentally forgot to pick up my cans the other week, I've been having curious grimer hang out sometimes around here. For the most part, they're harmless, but I don't want another infestation like last time yeah."

    The silent partner finally spoke up, "Considering you've got that, I really don't want to look any more." He made a disgusted face at the thin trail of slime on the floor where Grimer had slithered around. Inside the bathroom, Rockruff was continuing to bark excessively.

    "You certainly have your hands full professor, even with just maintaining the state of your lab," Von stated, checking his clothes to make sure none of Grimer's gunk had touched him either. "I think it's safe to say that what we're looking for isn't here, so we won't take up any more of your time."

    "Okay," The professor nodded, "Sorry again for the mess. You sure you don't want to stay for drinks yeah?"

    Von's partner was already beginning to climb up the steps as he turned to face him, "No, that will not be necessary."

    "Fair enough yeah," Kukui gestured to the flight, "Come on, I'll walk you out before I have to go and take care of that pesky grimer. That particular one has been avoiding me with its detect!"

    The two Aether IA agents were more than relieved to emerge back out into the fresh air that served to stave off the rising bile in their throats after seeing all of the nasty appearance of the basement. While the rest of the house had been in working order, the sharp contrast from the virtually spotless Paradise to the dank lab's basement couldn't escape the minds of both men. Even the grimer and muk evolutions that were taken care of in the headquarters weren't as messy or nauseating.

    "If you do manage to find this girl," Von said as he stepped down from Kukui's porch and handed him a reflecting business card, "Please do contact us immediately. We may need to send several of us out as she has already evaded capture."

    "I will do that," Kukui had not even thought about any intentions of doing that at all, but neither of them needed to be told.

    "My apologies if we interrupted anything you were doing Professor," He continued, "Alola."

    "Alola cousins! Have a good day!"

    Back in the basement, Elio and Lillie continued to stay silent, even as Rockruff kept yipping unnecessarily as he and Grimer waited there until their trainers were back.

    "Are they gone?" Lillie whispered.

    Elio peered out and contemplated moving to check and see, but decided against it. He would only say that it was good if Kukui said so.

    Footsteps sounded down the stairs again and much to his relief, it was only one pair, not three.

    "Elio? Lillie?" Kukui's voice rang out, "It's safe to come out now yeah."

    "Come on," He stood on his feet and gently helped her up. She hesitated for a moment before accepting his outstretched hand.

    A slight smirk played across the professor's face when he saw them come out of his wardrobe and neither had let go of the other's.

    "Sorry about the mess of the closet and all yeah." He chuckled, "But it was just the first place I could think of."

    "It worked perfectly," Elio said. He leaned over, "Grimer! Good job on making it convincing! Come on out buddy!"

    "Grime!"

    "And yes, you do deserve a treat." He pulled out the refresh kit and tossed a couple beans, which the sludge Pokémon happily devoured, "Rockruff played his part too like a pro."

    "You hit me with a confuse ray when you let Grimer out," Kukui admitted, "Then I kind of saw where you were going since those guys didn't plan on leaving anytime soon. Elio, you've got a calm mind for sure!"

    "Thanks professor. Hey Rotom, what kind of Pokémon was that? A vullaby?"

    "Yezzir!" Rotom had been on low power during the scare, much to its dismay. It was more than happy to come back on to its normal self when it was all over, "Vullaby. Diapered Pokémon. They are incapable of flying on their own and must wait until they develop stronger wings. It hops about friskily when it's at a playful age. The bones on their posterior are made from the prey it has consumed. Vullaby is a dark and flying type and an all female species. Additional information is available upon catching this Pokémon."

    "Thank you Sun," Lillie said, holding the bag close to her, "I'm so glad you understand why I have to keep Nebby safe. I just don't want those bad people to find it."

    "Hey," He gently put his arms on her shoulders and looked at her in the eyes again. She couldn't help but stare into his since they were just so….so.

    So alluring. My goodness, I could look into them all day! Gah! What am I thinking?!

    "I won't let anything happen to you." He firmly said, "I promise you. Okay?"

    Lillie couldn't believe the overwhelming support she was getting from Elio. She gave a hesitant nod, but smiled at him anyway.

    "Okay,"

    Sun felt his insides melt from seeing that rare, but radiant smile from the shy blonde.

    Neither of them seemed to care that Professor Kukui was standing a few feet next to them. He had already gotten out a bucket and cleaning material to patch the mess, but the small touching moment had caught his attention.

    He chuckled to himself when he saw they both had faint reddened and flushed faces. Neither had taken their eyes off each other.

    So I've introduced another muscle from Aether. Von Kaiser does have the potential to be a recurring character although I haven't finalized what plans I have for him if he makes additional appearances. As always suggestions are appreciated.

    Translations:

    • Alola kakahiaka - Good morning!
    • Da kine - Dakine literally means "the kind" in pidgin. It is usually used as a placeholder for something. A similar analogy can be like; thingy, whatchamacallit. It can refer to anything from a person to an object to a concept. Basically the word you use when you don't know the word. If that makes sense.
    • Hoʻike o ka hoku - Show of stars
    • Hihiu - Wild
    • Alaloa - Highway
    • Waimanalo - Potable water. Waimanalo is the name of a city/census on Oahu (Melemele) located on the southeastern part of the island. It is roughly in the same location as the player's house and Professor Kukui's lab. I've designated it as the general neighborhood area where they live as an affluent neighborhood and home to many upper middle class residents.
    • Puka Dog - Although this isn't a Hawaiian word, Puka Dogs are a local delicacy with a Polish sausage inserted into a roll of Portuguese sweet bread and garnished with a fruity relish (usually mango or coconut) and served with freshly squeezed lemonade.

    As always, mahalo for reading and reviewing, you give my writing purpose.

    Brav
     
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