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Fanfiction Calem’s Alola Adventure

Discussion in 'Literature Library' started by warriorseadra, Nov 4, 2017.

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    warriorseadra

    warriorseadra PKMN Breeder
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    Legendary Triforce ★★
    Chapter 17


    Calem, despite his late night, is one of the first to awaken the next morning. The only person up before him is Gladion who's at the dining table sorting through various documents. Aether foundation employees enter the room to pass him documents or boxes. Calem decides he shouldn't disturb and passes through with a "morning." With nothing to do, he sets out for the courtyard to care for his Pokémon.

    Lana is the next person to awaken. With a "Good morning," she claims a spot across from Calem and does the same with her Pokémon. They exchange a few words, but most of their attention is on their Pokémon. Almost an hour and a half passes before anyone else joins them. First, Acerola, then, Serena, and finally, Mahina.

    Not long after, Lillie steps out of her mother's quarters. No longer wearing her hat, she blocks the sun with her hand as she approaches them with her head held high. Her hair, outfit, and bag are all different. She still mostly wears white, but now it's a hooded shirt and pleated skirt. An orange backpack replaces her duffle bag. She faces everyone with a confident smile and eyes full of determination, "These are the clothes we picked up in Malie…"

    Lana and Acerola both clap their hands and circle Lillie to examine her. Acerola says, "I was worried about the orange at first."

    Lana says, "Yes, I really thought a teal or aquamarine would be better, but I see now how wrong I was."

    Mahina giggles, "Told you. Sometimes a new color just makes an outfit bloom."

    Calem says, "I would have at least added green a hair band for to her pony-tail. You know, to compliment her eyes?"

    While Lana, Acerola, and Mahina give him looks of disbelief and shock, Serena says, "I said the same thing, but we failed to agree on what shade would compliment her best."

    Acerola cups her chin as she appraises Calem, "Calem has a sense for fashion, I would have never guessed." She then pats Lana's back, "You should definitely let him take you out shopping. Who knows, maybe he'll be able to add some life to your wardrobe."

    Calem pretends to ignore the scene for Lana's sake. He says to Lillie, "You look great."

    Serena says, "Be careful around Calem. He likes to pull pony-tails."

    Calem turns to Serena, "We were ni- wait. Is that why you stopped wearing one?"

    "Yes! Every day I wore one, you tugged it. You did it every, single, time!"

    Calem thinks back, "Yeah, I guess so… Why did I do that?"

    "How would I know? You should tell me!"

    "Maybe I'd remember if I could pull it again?"

    Serena shakes her head and makes an X with her arms while saying, "Not! Happening!"

    Lillie and everyone else giggle at the exchange. Calem also gives a rare smile as he turns to Lillie, "So, what brought this on? A sign of your determination?"

    Lillie nods once, "I feel like there's so much I have to do now… to save Nebby… to save my mother… I… I want to be like you. All of you. I want to be strong enough to face any trial. That's why I'm going to try my hardest! This is my Z-powered form!" She then does a Z dance that ends with her arms making a Z.

    Serena claps while saying, "Lillie-Z!"

    Gladion steps out onto the courtyard while saying, "So this is where you were." He hands Lillie a silver flute, "The Moon Flute, it was in one of the labs. It's an artifact from Alola's past that's said to be played under the moon's light. If you believe the old myths, you can call the legendary Pokémon by sounding the sun flute and moon flute together. Looks to me like that woman was even planning to add legendary Pokémon to her little collection. Calem," He tosses him a master ball and adds, "I'm counting on you to help Lillie. This is the least I can do."

    Lillie says, "But… what are you going to do, Gladion?"

    "Deal with this mess. I've going to clean up Aether Paradise. I wanted to get as far away as I could with Null from this place, but in the end, it looks like Silvally and I both ended right back here again…"

    Hau calls to everyone upon stepping onto the courtyard. He runs up to them, "Morning, guys! You all sleep well? Hey, Lillie, is that you? What happened? You look… fantastic!"

    Gladion shoot Hau a look full of murderous intent, "What was that?"

    Lillie glows with excitement at Hau's question, "Yes, it's me! Now I'm ready to use my full force, too!"

    Hau ignores Gladion with a smirk, "Yeah, me too! I'm going to train even harder! I've gotta do more! I didn't contribute nearly enough like all of you. No way am I becoming a weak link in the future! If I can't save Pokémon on my own, then I'll never be an Island Kahuna and never be able to make people smile."

    Calem says under his breath, "You know, at least Beedrill have wings…"

    Lana says in a just as quiet tone, "Kahuna, not kakuna."

    Hau turns to Acerola, "And I still haven't done your trial or anything. I've got a lot of catching up to do."

    Mahina hammers a fist into her palm, "That's right!" She turns to Lana, "I still need to do Akala Island!"

    Gladion says, "I'm sorry for dragging all of you into our family mess."

    Hau says, "Yeah… but we got to see things that almost no one would ever get the chance to see! Maybe if I set out to train harder, I'll get to see more amazing things like that again!"

    Calem and Serena exchange looks. Serena smiles and says, "That is true. You never know what life will show you when you are alongside Pokémon."

    Gladion scowls and says, "Yeah, well… our mother likes taking things to extravagant scales."

    Lillie says, "I was really glad that you came too, Hau."

    Gladion sighs a Lillie's words. "I can get all of you to whatever island you need to go after breakfast. Come on, Wicke said we can eat whenever we want."

    Calem turns to Acerola as they all follow Gladion. "Where does Nanu keep that medicine? I think I'll take some now."

    Everyone boards the boat after breakfast. Calem, able to enjoy sea travel for the first time, sits on one of the railings. He secures himself by keeping a firm grasp on the rail with both of his hands and wrapping a leg tight around one of the supporting bars. The occasional spray against his back from water breaking against the boat is a novel and enjoyable experience.

    Midway to their first destination, Poni Island, Lana says, "You know, Sharpedo love challenging boats. They make a habit of ramming into them as fast as they can. They consider it a victory if anything falls into the water. The bigger the object, the better the prestige."

    Calem looks over his shoulders, first his left, than the right. A triangular fin breaks the ocean surface off in the distance, but swims in the opposite direction. "I think I'll be fine."

    Hau stands up, "That reminds me!" He walks toward Calem with his arms wrapped behind his head. He wears his usual grin as he says, "Remember what happened when we first went to Akala Island?"

    Lillie giggles, "That's right, Ca-" A splash cuts her sentence short. She whips her head towards the sound, but Calem has vanished.

    Hau laughs from where he stands, "You were too sea sick for revenge before, but now is different!"

    Serena jumps up from her seat and dives over the railing. Her sudden action ends Hau's laughter. The others join him and look towards where Serena dived. All of them stare with clueless expressions. Serena surfaces a few moments later with Calem under her arm. He hacks and gasps for breath, but also tries not to struggle.

    Gladion, having heard the commotion, brings the boat around. Lana tosses the two a life ring. Serena ensures that Calem has a firm grasp on it before signaling for everyone to pull the ring back.

    Calem climbs onto the boat first and Serena follows. No longer in the water, he's able to clear his lungs and take deep breaths. "Honestly… didn't think I'd… come that close to dying… again so fast."

    Everyone but Serena give him a questioning look. She backs away while Lana asks the question everyone else is thinking, "What do you mean?"

    Calem averts his gaze to the side. His voice is soft, but everyone hears him says, "I… I can't… swim…"

    Acerola looks to the rail. "And you were sitting there? What would you have done if Serena wasn't here?"

    "Drown? Depend on the good will of a passing Pokémon?"

    Lana says, "That isn't funny! What about that time we went fishing? You were casually swinging around Lapras's back! That's being too reckless! Aren't you afraid about falling in?"

    "Not really, I just have to make sure I don't fall in. If I do, all that'll happen is that I'll drown." He then looks himself over, "More than that, I'm soaked…" He strips off his shirt and lets it drop against the ground with a wet plop.

    Lana blushes and turns her face at first, but feels silly realizing she's the only one. She moves her hands away from her face and takes a hesitant look towards Calem. A black, flame shaped, scar spreads around his waist below his bandages.

    Hau points at Calem's side and says, "Dude, what happened? Did you get that yesterday?"

    Calem looks down at himself and shrugs. "No, I got that during the Last Night of Kalos. It's usually just a reminder to always be careful around legendary Pokémon. Right now, it a good distraction." Calem then looks towards the inside of the cabin.

    Curious, everyone follows his gaze. Serena, having changed into fresh clothes without any of them noticing, waves with a smile. She then tosses Calem a fresh shirt she pulled from his bag.

    Rotom floats out of Calem's wet clothes and says, "On the pluszzz szzzide, I'm water proof! Buzzt!"

    A bit later, when everyone is busy with their own conversations, Lana sits down next to Calem. She speaks in a low voice so only he can hear. "Is that… from Yuveltal?"

    Calem nods, "It's healed now. The skin just looks dead."

    Hau walks up to Calem and says, "How is it you don't know how to swim? What did you and your friends do during the summer?"

    Calem clicks his tongue, but shrugs. "I didn't really go swimming with them all that much. The few times I did, I would play near the shore and watch."

    "And you never cared enough to learn?"

    "I'm a racer. That means going to the stables early in the morning until evening whenever I had free time. Nothing else really mattered."

    Acerola's joyful shouts of, "Lana, Lana, when were you going to tell me about your date?" grabs everyone's attention. In her hands she waves one of the pictures of her and Calem dancing.

    Serena holds the rest in her hands. "Calem, how exactly did the two of you kill time back then?" She didn't stop at getting him a fresh shirt, she raided his bag.

    Lana panics at everyone's smirks and blushes. She shakes her head, "No, no, no, no!"

    The first stop is for Calem and Lillie on Poni Island. Gladion says to them, "The Kahuna of this island also watches over a shrine where Alola's people worship the legendary Pokémon. You might be able to find some clues there."

    Lillie says, "Gladion… thank you for this. But… when you took Null and left Aether Paradise two years ago… you left me alone with mother! She was so bad after you left! If I hadn't had Wicke with me…"

    "I'm sorry… I wasn't there for you when you needed me. All I could think about back then was finding a way to save Silvally… That was the battle I was fighting. Now, you've found your own battle to fight. I know you can handle it."

    Everyone waves their goodbyes as the boat sails away. Mahina says, "Give us a call once you find something. We've come all this way together, don't exclude us at the end!"

    Calem and Lillie wave goodbye and turn to explore the pier they disembarked onto. Calem says, "How are you holding up?"

    Lillie shakes her head. "I'm OK. You don't have to worry. I know what I have to do now. And… I don't know. Maybe this sounds strange, but I'm kinda excited." Her eyes shine with anticipation as she speaks.

    Rotom says, "Well then, Poni Island, here we come! Bzzt-bzzt! What kinds of new Pokémon will we get to rub elbows with here, eh, Calem, Lillie? If only I had elbows, bzzt!"

    Lillie giggles at the joke. As they're walking, someone from atop of one of the ships says, "Nice to see some new faces around here! This island is pretty uninhabited, so new comers always stick out."

    He jumps down, and as Calem and Lillie approach him, Lillie says, "I-I'm sorry. Who are you?"

    The man stands proud and says, "Me? I'm the chief of the seafolk. It's my job to keep everybody together."

    Lillie says, "The… seafolk?"

    "Yes ma'am! What'd you think all these boats 'round you are here for?" He gestures to the various ships docked to the pier, "We seafolk have spent years navigating the seas and searching out new wonders. When we find rare things, we bring 'em here to Alola to trade. The ports of the other islands are busier these days, but we still always seem to end up back here on Poni, eh? So, what did you two come here for? You collecting berries, like us? Or is this some sort of date?"

    Lillie turns crimson as she shakes her head and hands, "Oh, no. I-I could never do something like that! Not to Lana and Serena…" She struggles to regain her composure as the man laughs.

    Calem says, "We're here to visit the kakuna."

    To the man's confusion, Lillie says, "Kahuna! Really, do you say that on purpose?"

    "It's actually a habit now."

    The man says, "The Kahuna? Hmm. Maybe you should go to little Hapu's place? Her house is the only one still standing on Poni, after all? Where else would you go, eh? You can recognize little Hapu's house at a glance… thanks to Mudsdale. That Pokémon is huge."

    Lillie says, "Oh! So Hapu lives here on Poni Island? Serena and I ran into her back on Ula'ula. She was really helpful in visiting the temple ruins. Thank you very much."

    Lillie turns to Calem as they leave, "Let's go. It will be good to see Hapu and Mudsdale again!"

    "For you. She doesn't like me."

    "I'm sure it'll be fine once we explain it was a misunderstanding."

    Calem shrugs and says, "More importantly, did you really have to panic that much back there?"

    Lillie blushes and says, "Me? How about you? You didn't panic at all! Actually, I don't think I've ever seen you panic!"

    Calem places his palm over his heart. "That's true. I lost that ability during the Nightmare following the Fall of Kalos. I do still feel fear and anger, though."

    An uneasy smile comes to Lillie's face. "So… what do you think of Lana and Serena? Sure, Lana might still be a kid to you, but in a few years…"

    "Honestly, I can't feel such complex emotions right now. I'm too traumatized about Kalos. But, when I think back to everything I felt during my adventure in Kalos, and if the Final Night never happened… Well, I'd probably never have come to Alola, not like this at least. I'm getting off track… If I wasn't like this, then Serena and I, we wouldn't have remained just friends."

    Lillie blushes at Calem's words. "How… how can you say something like that so… so… so easily?"

    "I'm a very emotionally mature person for my age. Seeing the end of the world does that to people."

    "I know you're being serious, but it really feels like your teasing me…" She sighs and smiles, "Then again, the current you is much livelier than when we first met."

    "I'm probably not that different from you. A lot of horrible things happened, but I'm… happy… I guess? Whatever I'm feeling, I just know that I don't regret being here."

    "You're right. Going through all of this with you really has been an experience. I really don't feel like I have anything to worry about with you here."

    Calem scratches his cheek. "You say that, but I tend to run from most battles."

    Their conversation lasts through the Poni Wilds to Hapu's house on Ancient Poni Path. Mudsdale grazes on the front lawn. He neighs upon seeing Calem and snorts. Calem says, "Well, let's get this over with."

    Lillie walks towards the ground Pokémon with a smile, "You're worrying too much." To the Pokémon, "It's good to see you again, too, Musdsale! You look to be in fine form." At Mudsdale's proud neigh, Lillie says, "Wow… Pokémon trainers really do amaze me. It seems like a hard path to walk, but even so, you don't let the fear of seeing your Pokémon friends get hurt hold you back…"

    Calem doesn't respond. That fear crippled him for years and continued to prevail when he started this journey. He controls it better now, but it still nags at him during every battle. Then, when he reflects on those battles, if nothing breaks his concentration, he's liable critique himself for hours.

    Lillie's final sentence, "You just keep striving forward together," leads Calem to say, "That's all we can do."

    Hapu steps out of her house at her Mudsdale's commotion. From the exhausted and forced way that she walks, she must have recently given her all against an impossible adversary. She didn't lose, but she didn't win either. "Oh! Been a while, Lillie… I see you brought this guy along?"

    Lillie says, "Yes, it's good to see you, Hapu! But, you may have misunderstood about Calem. He's a really good person."

    Hapu looks Calem over, "The person in question doesn't care much about what I have to say, though." She then looks back to Lillie, "Gotta say, you look different now. Like you're ready to go all out in something."

    "Thank you, Hapu. I've finally discovered what I need to do. This is my Z-powered form!"

    "Ho! Then you do your best, Lillie! No one could call you lily-livered!"

    Lillie gives a bashful grin, "Um, so, Hapu… do you know where we can find the Kahuna?"

    "The Kahuna? Hrmm, don't have one here on Poni."

    "What! Calem, what do we do now?"

    Calem gestures to Hapu with his face, but doesn't say anything.

    Hapu says, "Sharp, I'll grant you that much. To tell the truth, now that I've finished my battle against that odd little thing that appeared out of the sky… All right, let us proceed to the ruins. Make sure you stick with me, Lillie. I'll take you to the Ruins of Hope."

    Calem tries to follow, but Hapu says, "Not you, you're not qualified. Wait here."

    Lillie goes to complain, but Calem stops her and shrugs. He sits on a broken wall and calls out his Pokémon to groom them. Lillie says, "Then, I'll be back as soon as I can, Calem. I'm going to see if Tapu Fini can wash away whatever is happening to Nebby with its mystic water…"

    "You really think that will work?"

    Lillie puffs her cheeks, "I'm gonna make sure it does just to show you, Calem! This time, I'm going to be the one who saves Nebby."

    "Good, that's exactly the spirit you need to do this." Lillie nods and leaves with Hapu who says, "Come on, Lillie."

    Mawile places herself in front of Calem so he can scrub the back of her head. She sighs out and says, "Maw?"

    Calem says, "Normally, yeah. But right now, we can't really let ourselves be that selfish. We're depending on the Tapu's good graces after all."

    Noibat squeaks in agreement from atop of his shoulder.

    Lillie and Hapu return a few hours later. From their happy expressions, something must have happen. Not seeing Nebby means that whatever happened must have been to Hapu. Did she become the new kakuna?

    Lillie runs up to Calem upon spotting him. "We need to go to Exeggutor Island! According to Kahuna Hapu, we can find the Sun Flute there. After that, we can hold the ceremony to call forth a legendary Pokémon."

    Hapu says, "That's right, but we'll do best to wait until tomorrow. It's a full day's trek to get there. I'll go with you to see the seafolk chief in the morning and have him ferry you over."

    Calem says, "Then, I'll head back now and see you all then."

    Lillie says, "What, you're leaving?"

    Hapu sighs and says, "You really are a sharp one. Honestly, for you to be scum is a real waste. Come on, Lillie, there's a spare bed at my place you can use tonight."

    Calem's Pokémon burst from their pokeballs as he walks back to the port. They voice their complaints to which he says, "We'll battle her soon enough." He rubs Mawile's head at her, "Maw," and says, "Sorry, Rapidash will be fighting Mudsdale."

    Rapidash's snorts to which Calem says, "Exactly."

    End chapter 17
     
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    warriorseadra

    warriorseadra PKMN Breeder
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    Legendary Triforce ★★
    Chapter 18

    Lillie and Hapu are already speaking with the sea chief by the time Calem leaves the Pokémon center the next morning. The chief says, "Exeggutor Island, huh? I see, you're going after the flute. Well, if the new Kahuna asks, who am I to refuse?"

    Hapu says, "Well then, Lillie, I wish you the best of luck."

    Lillie says, "But what about Calem?"

    Calem swallows some of Nanu's sea sickness medicine while Hapu says, "Ah, forget him. You'll be fine on your own."

    Calem ignores her comment as he joins them. "Ready when you are."

    Lillie jumps, "Ca-Calem, when did you get here?"

    Calem looks towards the chief and with a flat tone says, "Exeggutor Island, huh?"

    The chief tilts his head. While rubbing his chin, he says, "Do I really sound like that?"

    "No, I'm just not that energetic of a person."

    The chief laughs and says, "Well, alright then. All aboard, everyone!"

    Calem climbs onto the S.S. Magikarp while Lillie thanks Hapu. The journey takes an hour, but the first fifteen minutes feel like three for him. Upon arriving, the chief says, "Hah… Here we are at Exeggutor Island! This place used to be a trial site, but that was a long time ago. Anyway, it's a full day's trip to the flute and another to get back, so I'll fetch you tomorrow evening. Feel free to take your time and look over the island."

    Calem and Lillie thank the man and set off to explore the island. Most of it is a plain covered in tall grass and coconut trees. Off at the far end is a large mountain. Lillie walks a head of Calem with her hands held behind her back. "Trainers really can go anywhere as long as they have their Pokémon, can't they. The appeal is really starting to grow on me."

    Calem says, "In some cases, they've even gone to alternate worlds."

    Lillie sighs, "If I want to rescue my mother, I'm-"

    "We," Lillie turns to Calem in surprise at his correction. "You're not alone in this, Lillie. Nous sommes la aussi."

    Lillie gives a bright smile as she thanks him. "You're right… Okay, we are going to travel to another dimension. I feel like being a trainer opens the door to any future." A coconut tree she walks past shakes and roars. She runs back to Calem screaming. "What is that?"

    The tree uproots itself and roars again. Calem cranes his neck as he looks up and sees faces on the coconuts. "A… ridiculously tall Exeggutor?"

    Rotom says, "Alolan variant, grass/dragon type. Alola is the beszzzt environment for this Pokémon. Localszzz take pride in its appearance, saying that this iszzz how one should look. As Exeggutor grew taller and taller, it outgrew its relizance on psychic powerszzz while awakening the power of a sleeping dragon from within. Good luck! Bzzt!"

    Calem throws a dusk-ball while saying, "Mimikyu, play rough!" The ghost Pokémon ignores Exeggutor's outrage and scurries up his neck where she attacks each head in turn. Exeggutor falls after the final head gets smacked by a shadowy hand.

    Exeggutor gets up with a snort. The battle's outcome leaves him frustrated to the point of stomping his feet as he walks away. The mini-earthquakes he generates makes walking impossible for a few minutes until he's gone.

    Lillie stares at the Pokémon's back in shock. "I think that the good weather in Alola has let it grow a bit more vigorously than I'd prefer." Her surprise changes into a smile and, after covering her face with a palm, begins to giggle.

    Rain begins to fall as Calem and Lillie reach the mountain's edge. They duck into a small cove and wait for it to pass. As they sit down, Lillie says, "Rain in Alola, huh… My skirt got a bit wet…"

    Calem, uncertain as how to reply, waits for her to continue.

    "Looking out at the rain like this… reminds me of this one time when I was little. I'd seen it in a movie… this man singing and dancing in the rain. It captivated me so much that I had to try it for myself. My mother spotted me out in the rain, and she was so shocked that she ran right out after me without even bothering to get an umbrella… And then… she smiled… and she danced with me in the rain. Of course we both ended up catching a cold. She let me sleep in her big bed with her. I was so happy that I kept waking her again and again, just to be sure it wasn't a dream… But… then she changed. All she would think about was the ultra beasts, and Null, and Nebby… They both ended up suffering so much… and I couldn't do anything… But you know what, Calem? Whenever I feel like there's nothing I can do, you seem to show up and… you do something. Every time, you've shown me that it's possible… to do something."

    "In this world, nothing is impossible. If you can dream it, you can do it."

    "The first time we met… Nebby was being attacked, and all I could do was look on in horror… And at Aether Paradise… all I could do was wait for you and the others to save me… Whenever I'm in any sort of trouble, you're always there… I… Um, Calem… What are you going to do… once you finish your island challenge?"

    "Je me demande… I'm not sure. I want to see Professor Kukui's Pokémon League first. I want to see all the trainers come together and battle. I want to see the League Champion emerge on top. Once I see all that… well, I guess my Alola adventure would end, but I get a feeling that that is when I'll know what to do."

    "So, you don't really know either? I'm relieved to hear that, honestly. It makes me feel that you and I, we're not so different after all. Right now, I think… I'd like to become a trainer, too. And travel together with you, Calem…" She grows silent and her face gradually turns red as she realizes what she said.

    The rain stops and Lillie runs out from underneath the cove. The stars twinkle as meteors rain across the sky. Lillie's expression can't be made out from the darkness, but her tone is happy, "Maybe there really are good omens sometimes, wouldn't you say?"

    Calem doesn't answer, he can't answer. Instead, he recalls what Lana said about shooting stars being the spirits of flying Pokémon. The tranquility of the thought brings a gentle smile to his face.

    Calem and Lillie decide to camp inside the cover for the night. Calem glances towards Lillie as he lays down to sleep. The words he repeated to Lana return to him. The feelings of those saved really can't be imagined.

    He wakes up the next morning to find Lillie missing. According to Rotom, "She went on ahead, bzzt!" Maybe she's trying to feel like a real trainer? Calem considers running after her, but doesn't. She'll be fine with her repels.

    Lillie is already at the top by the time Calem reaches her. She's out of breath, but looks at him with triumph. For him to have not caught up to her partway, she must have woken up super early. "Calem!" In her hands she holds a golden flute with a sun carved onto it. "The sun flute, now we've got both of them! I don't know if this will summon the legendary Pokémon, but we can at least try! If nothing else, we'll have sounded the flutes in offering like the ancient people used to do. Thank you for coming this far with me, Calem!"

    Calem smiles, but doesn't say anything. Lillie starts to walk off saying, "Come on, let's go back and meet the chief. We have to hurry if we want to make it on time."

    "It's already too late for that. We'll never make it back in time walking." Before Lillie can comment, Rapidash bursts from his quick-ball. The silver flames on his back blaze as he stands up on his rear legs and neighs.

    Lillie gulps, but nods.

    Calem helps Lillie onto Rapidash's back. She rides side-saddle right behind him. As soon as she wraps her arms around him, he says, "Hold on as tight as you can and clench your teeth."

    Lillie tightens her grip before the idea to ask why dawns on her. Before she can say anything, they leap off the mountain side. The way she lifts off of Rapidash's back makes her realize that she would have been left behind if she wasn't holding onto Calem.

    An accidental glimpse over his shoulder reveals how far off the ground they are. The few Exeggutor she can make out are no bigger than grains of rice. She wants to scream, but then she remembers Calem's advise to clench her teeth. Despite turning blue, she tightens her grip around Calem and buries her face into his back. She doesn't look up until after Rapidash comes to a complete stop. They've reached the waiting area.

    The chief arrives to pick them up a few hours later and ferries them back to Poni Island. He sees them off with, "Look at you, trial-goer! You going to the altar to play the flutes?"

    Lillie says, "That's right. We're setting off first thing tomorrow!"

    "Well, good luck. The path there is like nature's own trial! Make sure to tell Hapu before going."

    Calem and Lillie make their way to the Pokémon center for the night. After eating and getting ready for bed, Calem calls Serena, Lana, Gladion, Mahina, Acerola, and Hau to let them know of tomorrow's plans.

    The two head off for the altar the next morning after breakfast. At the edge of the crossroad leading to Vast Poni Canyon is a row of Team Skull thugs. Calem grabs a Pokéball and he steps forward to meet them.

    Plumeria waves her hands to signify she doesn't want to fight. "We heard you have a way to save our boss, Guzma." She then turns to Lillie, "You're really going to do this? To be honest, I've treated you really badly. Even if I was just doing the work the president told me to do, I shouldn't have done all that. Even if I apologize now, I know it's probably too late for you to forgive me, though. See, Guzma… he really likes the president. She's the only adult who ever seemed to see how strong he was."

    Lillie says, "The president… My mother is- She's selfish. She lavishes her love only on those she deems worthy, not caring whether it is wanted or not. But I will save her. I still have something I need to tell her. And I think I can save Guzma as well."

    Plumeria says, "You know… deep down, you're kinda like the president. You've gone in a different direction, but I can tell you have the same strength in your convictions. Bring Guzma back, if you can. I know you've got no reason to help… but no one can make up for what they've done if they're gone. Calem, you're the real deal. You didn't just take on Team Skull, you defeated the darkness of Aether Paradise. Take good care of our little princess here." She then tosses him a Posionium-Z crystal. "Take it, it's my way of saying sorry. Well, I'm out of here."

    Once they're alone, Lillie says, "I suppose even Team Skull is not all bad…"

    Calem says, "No one is really all bad. Not Lysander, or Team Flare… Those guys in Team Skull just gave up."

    They continue to the Vast Poni Canyon and find Hapu and Mudsdale waiting for them by a dead tree. Lillie smiles and says, "I called her last night before going to sleep."

    Calem shrugs, "She is the island kakuna. Knowing these things is probably part of her job."

    "Kahuna." Lillie says while waving to Hapu.

    As they get close, Hapu steps towards them. She ignores Calem and says to Lillie, "Did everything go well?"

    "Yes, it did! Calem had to help me out of all sorts of trouble, like usual."

    Hapu says, "People have to help each other out, same for Pokémon, too. That is what my grandfather always used to say… Just, not everyone helps 'cause it's the right thing to do. Sometimes it's just in their interest ta do so. Either way, I'll need to confirm this strength that makes you smile so." Her expression hardens as she turns to Calem. "This is the first grand trial of Kahuna Hapu and I'm sullying it against you…"

    Rapidash snorts as he bursts from his quick-ball.

    Hapu says, "If that's how you want to play, Mudsdale, earthquake." The attack is just as they predicted.

    Rapidash leaps into air to avoid the attack. Mudsdale stops stopping his feet and tries to run for cover. Rapidash hops from the canyon walls and pounces on Mudsdale's back. Mudsdale snorts as he falls to his side, but Rapidash continues with, "Hypnosis!"

    Mudsdale, who is getting up, stares straight into Rapidash's eyes and falls over. Rapidash neighs with pride as he hops up on his hind legs. Calem pats his Pokémon's side, "Nice going."

    Hapu calls back her Mudsdale with a sigh. "Well, a loss is a loss. Even if I hate to admit it, this battle has taught me a few things. The ground type Z-crystal, groundium-Z is yours." She then turns to Lillie, "Well, character aside, Lillie, you sure found yourself a strong trainer to befriend. Well, just walk straight through the cave and you'll find the altar!"

    Calem and Lillie nod to each other and enter the cave. The only excitement at the beginning of their trek is the rope bridges. Each time they reach one, Lillie says, "I'll- I'll overcome this challenge. I'll become just as strong as you so I can save my mother!" And then holds her breath as she runs across them.

    The path within the cave leads out onto the mountain's side. Lillie walks to the ledge and upon looking down, "Pfft."

    Calem says, "Not high enough?"

    Lillie says, "After jumping off that cliff with Rapidash?"

    "But rope bridges make you want to scream?"

    "Hey! Those are different!"

    The cliff side leads into a second cave that brings them up and out onto another ridge. Lillie, upon seeing the rope bridge they'll need to cross, pales. "Calem, you make this journey seem like nothing at all."

    Calem steps onto the bridge and looks over the side. This bridge is much higher than the ones inside the cave. It also shakes with the blowing wind. Anyone would be nervous. "Lillie, how easy someone makes it to a destination doesn't matter. That they get there is the important part."

    Lillie nods. She gulps upon looking down, but shakes her head to drive away the fear. "I'm not going to be afraid of heights anymore! I've overcome my fears enough to cross even a high bridge like this one! Watch this!"

    Calem steps off the bridge for her as she takes a deep breath and does her Z-dance. She climbs up onto the bridge and looks around for any danger. With the way clear, she sprints forward only for three Murkrow surrounding her.

    Calem says, "Lillie, don't stop!"

    Lillie clenches her fists and pushes past the flying Pokémon. She darts between the two in front of her and doesn't stop until she reaches the opposing ledge. Her face brightens with glee upon turning around and seeing Calem on the other side. "Calem! I did it! I made it all the way across! I cleared my trial!"

    Calem crosses the bridge to catch up to Lillie. The three Murkrow step aside and let him pass without any problem. They were just messing with Lillie. They could tell she was nervous, but never had any intention of harming her. Well, that's fine. They made her trial that much more valuable in overcoming.

    Lillie says, "I've completed my first trial!"

    Calem says, "Don't forget that feeling. Whenever your journey begins to feel impossible, don't forget that you can get past it."

    Lillie giggles and nods.

    Calem looks back at the bridge and then looks down. Below them is the dead tree marking the entrance to the cave. He sets down his bag and says, "Let's break for lunch."

    "Shouldn't we press a little further?"

    Calem shakes his head. "This is a good spot. Trainers should always make sure to be in top form when they can. There is no telling what will happen later."

    The cave path leads downward only for a rope ladder to lead upward again. Another rope bridge awaits them outside. Midway across it they meet a girl staring at the mountain scenery. If the ring on her finger is any indication, she's a trial captain. She uses her two hands to make a portrait of Calem and says, "Oh! Now that's a great composition! I could paint a picture of you- the visitor to Poni!" She doesn't seem to have heard any of the negative gossip about Calem shared among the other captains. She continues, "Guess I didn't introduce myself though. I'm Mina. I'm the captain. I mean, I sort of am. I actually just wander around doing my art, so I don't have an actual trial or anything… But Vast Poni Canyon sure is a wonder, huh? Once you've been through this place, you can really get to understand why that Ilima boy designed his trial the way he did, right?"

    Calem shrugs, "I guess? The last half was pretty much the equivalent of a creator."

    "Anyway, here. Take this Fairium-Z as a token of our acquaintance."

    Calem looks the Z-crystal over. "Does finding you count as your trial?"

    "Hmm, as the captain and all, I still need to come up with a trail. I was thinking it could involve painting pictures and picking flowers, but your idea doesn't sound bad…" She walks past them and waves, "See you later then! Alola, alola!"

    Once Mina is gone, Calem says, "She will be the most hated captain in Alola if she makes that her trial."

    The bridge leads to a downward slope that requires them to cross by hanging from a tree. Calem says, "Lillie, don't worry. I'm right here if anything happens."

    Lillie nods despite her shaking and presses forward. She collapses onto her knees upon reaching the ground again and releases a weak laugh in an attempt to hide her fear. With a thumbs up, she says, "See? I made it."

    Three trainers block the next leg of the Vast Poni Canyon. Behind them are the gates signifying a trial area and totem Pokémon. Calem is given the impression of warriors guarding the dungeon of an evil dragon. He could fight them with Mawile, but from the intensity Noibat gives off, he wants to fight the totem. The guards give him a good warm up.

    Lillie heals Noibat after defeating the third trainer. After a short break, Lillie says, "We're almost to the altar now, Calem."

    Calem looks back at the path they trekked. He then looks into the cave ahead of them. No, the entrance looks like a cave, but it's really a fissure within the mountain. Further in he can see sunlight shinning down from above. "Yeah, looks like we just have one final trial to overcome."

    "And you're not the slightest bit afraid. With Pokémon that are full of energy, trainers really can go anywhere in the world…"

    A stone tablet awaits at the shaft's entrance. The carved script reads, Ahead lies a sacred ground of trials. None who do not take part in its trials will be allowed to walk upon this earth. Those lacking the courage to defeat the totem guarding this land will be denied entry. But those who believe in their Pokémon and walk beside them shall gain great power!"

    The shaft itself is a straight line with a shrine housing a Z-crystal at the far end. Calem grips Noibat's luxary-ball as he steps forward. "Lillie, stay at least seven steps behind me." He calls out his dragon Pokémon upon feeling a piercing gaze.

    "Dragon pulse!" Noibat releases a shockwave of air from his mouth at a Jangmo-o who attacks from the side. The attacking dragon Pokémon takes the attack full on and falls.

    Calem scratches Noibat's side as the Pokémon lands upon his shoulder. An even fiercer gaze hits both of them once Jangmo-o scurries away. "Stay sharp, we're not through yet."

    "Noi!"

    Calem walks seven steps when a Pokémon roars at him from above. Noibat leaps from Calem's shoulder as he flies off to face the attacking Hakamo-o. Noibat darts underneath the fighting Pokémon's guard to deliver wing attack against his chest.

    Hakamo-o regains its balance by flipping around in air and lands on his feet. He roars and holds up his fists as he charges forward. From the way he bends his knees…

    "Fall back!" The wind from sky uppercut ruffles the fur on Noibat's face. "Dive!" Noibat ducks underneath the dragon claw follow up. "Air slash!" Hakamo-o takes the hit with his stomach and runs away.

    An even fiercer set of eyes drill into Calem as Noibat lands on his shoulder. Even Lillie feels them as she says, "You and Noibat aren't even flinching. You two really can come and go as you please."

    Calem ignores the gaze and pat's Noibat's side. "We trust each other." They reach the shrine at the far end of the shaft and find a Z-crystal on it. A Pokémon roars as Calem reaches for it.

    The ground shakes as a large Kommo-o drops from above the shaft. It pounds the ground with his fists as he lands across from Calem. While he maintains his balance, Lillie falls over. Without removing his eyes from the new Pokémon, Calem pockets the dragonium-Z while saying, "Noibat."

    "Noi!" The flying Pokémon charges the fighting Pokémon with air slash.

    A flaming aura surrounds Kommo-o as he swats at Noibat. The flying Pokémon uses his small size to evade the fists. Lillie gasps each time Noibat disappears behind one. She's probably imagining the same thing as Calem. A single hit will end Noibat's challenge.

    Calem says, "Lillie, falling back to regroup is okay, but never give up. If there's a chance, take it. Noibat, hurricane!"

    Noibat squeaks out a cry and flies circles around Kommo-o. Each lap is faster than the previous. After the third lap, he begins to pick up loose dirt and leaves. Kommo-o roars out and thrashes his arms and tail, but he can't hit the small flying Pokémon.

    Kommo-o's movements grow wilder as damage from the attack and annoyance from being unable to hit Noibat builds into frustration. His anger peaks with a roar as he uses outrage. A lucky back hand knocks Noibat into a cavern wall.

    Kommo-o stops thrashing about as the hurricane surrounding him dies down. Confused and unable to find his opponent, he growls at Calem and Lillie. "Lillie, don't be afraid."

    "But-" the rest of Lillie's words are overshadowed by Kommo-o's roar.

    "Don't look away!" Calem says despite Kommo-o pouncing for them. Just as Lillie screams, a large black bat rams into Kommo-o's side. Noivern bites into the fighting Pokémon's side with super fang as he crashes him into the wall. Noivern then leaps away while unleashing a dragon pulse.

    Kommo-o shakes his head as he gets up. He roars at Noivern and charges with a headbutt. Noivern loops around the outstretched head and uses air slash on the fighting Pokémon's backside.

    "Super fang!" He loops up and latches his fangs onto Kommo-o's neck.

    Kommo-o thrashes around, but can't get Noivern to release him. After a minute of ramming himself into the wall, he collapses.

    Noivern lands at Calem's side and nuzzles his head against Calem's neck. Calem rubs the dragon Pokémon's head, "Great job and congratulations on evolving."

    Lillie says, "Congratulations, Noivern!"

    Noivern chirps and returns to his luxury-ball for rest.

    End chapter 18
     
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