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Old August 7th, 2017 (8:25 PM). Edited October 19th, 2018 by Bay.
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Bay Bay is offline
Darkinium Z
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Dani California
Gender: Female
Nature: Sassy
Posts: 5,380
Foul Play

Warnings/Author's Notes
So I mentioned this little project on Tumblr and some Discord servers I'm in, and I think I'm ready to give this a go. Main reason is I want to write some Grimsley and Nanu interactions (and Grimsley interacting with other characters), so yeah we'll be getting some Dark type trainers bonding going on. This won't be too long compared to some fics here, maybe around seven or eight chapters for main story and perhaps a couple extra backstory chapters stuff if I'm motivated enough.

With warnings, I think it'll mostly be the general non-gruesome violence in Pokemon battles and some references to lighthearted gambling, since it's Grimsley we're talking about... Occasional language too. Also some instances of depression and PTSD to be on the safe side.

There's a lot more I want to say, but I'll save those after each chapter. Thanks to bobandbill for betaing the first chapter!

Edit October 22, 2017- Did some minor changes to the first chapter, added description in some places and fixed the prose a bit.

April 7, 2018- For those that read this on other sites, I made a couple changes from the original version. I took out the conversation Grimsley had with his mother and added a new scene with meeting some of his fans before leaving Unova. For those interested, I have the original Chapter One posted on Dreamwidth for comparisons sake.

Chapter Index


xxx

Chapter One
Knock Off



Chapter One
Knock Off

Another battle, another loss for Grimsley.

He looked on as his opponent, a female trainer named Kelly, picked up her Whimsicott. Kelly twirled around with her Pokémon as she told the dual grass and fairy type how proud she was of him. Despite having scratches all over his body, the Whimscott waved his arms and cheered. Grimsley’s stare then lingered at his fallen Liepard, her body sprawled on the green carpet floor. The platform itself hung from the walls by golden chains, the entire battle area suspended from the ground. Grimsley didn’t mind the drop below. His fingers twitched as he muttered, “Good work, Raz, you deserve a nice rest,” and returned the feline. Grimsley clipped the pokeball on his belt, and then he approached his opponent.

“You and your Pokémon shined brilliantly out there while I’m nothing more than the one that lost his light,” he said, trying to sound positive for her, and that caused Kelly to stop and beam at him. She still held Whimsicott in her arms.

“I really enjoyed our battle there, Mr. Grimsley!” she said, and the two shook hands. “You’ve been the toughest Elite Four member I have gone against.”

“I was, huh? That means you have defeated every member of the Elite Four, astonishing.” The small smile on Grimsley’s lips faded. He shifted his face and sighed, his shoulders lowered. “There is one more opponent against whom you must prove your strength.”

He told the trainer to check the statue at the plaza, and he watched as Kelly returned her Pokémon, thanked him once more, and waved goodbye to him. After she used the teleporter to exit his room, Grimsley walked back to his sofa and sunk down. He plopped his elbow on his seat’s arm, and he stared up at the chandelier that hung from the ceiling.

There are bad ways to win and good ways to lose. That was what he always told himself. After losing the last several battles, that distinction grew hazier for him.

About half an hour later, Grimsley left his room and stepped into the plaza. Four doorways, each one leading to the corresponding Elite Four’s rooms, pulsed in blue light. There was also the large statue at the center of the plaza, glowing in the same color. He stepped into the ring that was around the statue, the warm light bathing his skin, and waited a few seconds before he was lowered to the courtyard. It was another several minutes of hiking up to the Champion’s room that resided in the temple at the summit, but once Grimsley reached there he stepped inside and passed through the pillars that towered over him. He made it up to the stairs, and stopped when he saw the Champion, Iris, gazing at the starry sky backdrop behind the throne, the four emblems and the large crest floating around like balloons. When Iris noticed someone had stepped inside, she spun around and grinned at Grimsley.

“Oh, hi Grimsley! If you’re wondering, Kelly has beaten me and is already inducted into the Hall of Fame. Boy, she sure is a force to be reckoned with.” She then furrowed her brow at him and gripped her hands at her sides. “Hey, are you feeling okay?”

Grimsley flinched. He released a deep breath, running his fingers through his hair. “You know how I’m the type of gentlemen to take his losses and victories with stride? Well, lately the past several battles I feel there’s a certain… spark missing.”

“Spark?” Iris titled her head, her eyes blinking. She crossed her arms. “You mean there’s no more excitement in you whenever you battle?”

“I guess you could say that.” Grimsley’s gaze fell on the floor, and he tugged at his scarf. “Because of my predicament, I’ve been pondering over my next battle. One where I’m not carrying the title of Elite Four.”

Iris pursed her lips and rubbed her chin. When she thought of something, she snapped her fingers and beamed. “Perhaps you need a nice long vacation!”

“Vacation? Like how Caitlin and Shauntal visit Undella Town on occasion?”

“Yes,” Iris said and nodded. “You take the least vacations compared to the other Elite Four members here. Some time off should do you good.”

Releasing his grip on his scarf, Grimsley said, “It would be nice to be out for a while. Although, what if I decided to be away longer than expected?”

“No problem!” Iris’s grin widened. “I’m sure Alder would be more than happy to take your place. And I think I know where your destination should be.”

“Oh? Where, then?” Grimsley raised an eyebrow with great curiosity.

“Have you heard of the Alola region? Very tropical climate and several islands you can drop by at. One of the most unique things about Alola is it doesn’t have a Pokémon League like Unova.”

“It doesn’t?” Grimsley asked skeptically, and Iris shook her head.

“There are no gyms in that region, but the place still has a similar system where you battle strong trainers on each island, or something like that.” A smile tugged onto Iris’s lips. “You said you want your next battle where you’re not an Elite Four, so I figured Alola might be just what you wanted.”

As Grimsley pondered over Iris’s suggestion, his gaze locked at the background. He looked back at her and pulled out a coin from his jacket’s pocket.

“Tell you what, I’ll flip a coin. If it lands heads, then I’ll visit Alola. If tails, then I’m not taking that vacation.”

Iris glared at him, her hands on her hips. “Oh, really?” She sighed, then said, “Fine, do your coin flip thing.”

“Thank you.” Grimsley rubbed the coin with two fingers, tossed it in the air, then caught it with both palms of his hands. He lifted his left palm to show that the coin landed heads. “Well, guess I’ll go to Alola after all.”

“Great!” Iris clapped her hands and her feet bounced. “We should let Caitlin, Shauntal, and Marshal know that you’ll be away for a while and I’ll ask Alder to take your place temporary.”

“That would be appreciated,” Grimsley said, smiling in anticipation. While he had no knowledge of that region, Alola did sound interesting and he liked taking chances. Perhaps this gamble might be worth it.

xxx

Grimsley wasn’t sure how his other colleagues would react to him taking a temporary leave from the Elite Four. He worried that Caitlin, Shauntal, and Marshal would mock him for not taking his role seriously and not giving it his all. Then again, even an Elite Four needed some time off to recharge. So when he announced the news to everyone in the lounge the next morning, they reacted favorably.

“Oh, so a long journey to a new region?” Shauntal said, tapping her pen on her chin. Her notebook was set aside on the coffee table, the pages spilled open. “A change in scenery could do wonders for inspiration. It worked for me whenever I wanted new ideas for my stories.”

“I’ve never been to Alola myself, but I’ve heard it’s beautiful,” Caitlin said. She sipped some of her tea, then set her cup on the table. “I might consider going there for my next vacation.”

“I too think you should go for it,” Marshal said. “Before I became part of the Elite Four I traveled to several regions to develop my strength. I’m sure that’ll be the same for you, too!”

“That is one of my intentions, yes.” Grimsley then said, “It’s good to know that all of you are fine with me being away for a while.”

“When you get back, we can do a Pokémon battle to test out what you’ve learned from your Alola trip!” Marshal flashed him a huge grin.

Smirking, Grimsley said, “If we were to do that then we must agree on a wager. The loser has to groom and clean the winner’s Pokémon for a week.”

“Clean and groom the other’s Pokémon for a week? Ha, I’m game!” Marshal said. He and Grimsley shook hands.

“The both of you can be immature sometimes,” Iris said, shrugging and shaking her head. Beside her, Caitlin covered her lips and yawned, as if agreeing with her.

“Don’t forget to bring all of us souvenirs!” Shauntal said. “I bet Alola has all kinds of stuff you can take home with you.”

“I’ll make sure to do that,” Grimsley said with a small smile. His mind was more at ease now that he got the announcement out of the way. Well, now to get started with planning for his trip.

xxx

Grimsley prepared for his trip by first looking up some basic information on Alola online. Their set up was indeed different from Unova’s— they had a system called the Island Challenge that fit Iris’s island hopping and battle description. That sounded interesting to him, and made him wonder how it looked in action. Grimsley also briefly looked up some of the hotels for his stay there, his mother’s voice nagging in his head each time he checked the prices of the rooms. For now he had reserved a room at a hotel in Hau’oli City and would worry about trying to find other accommodation during his journey. Once he was satisfied with his travel plans, he booked a flight to Alola and packed his clothing and other essentials.

He first used the Pokémon League’s helicopter to have a pilot take him to Castelia City’s Airport. When he arrived there, many people were scrambling in and out of taxis and buses with their suitcases. He went inside the entrance to Terminal 2, where his plane would be at. It was another hour or so until he had to leave, so he went to one of the coffee shops to grab something for lunch. The smell of coffee sneaked into his nose and acoustic music strumming in the background. He approached to one of the baristas at the counter after she handed the coffee to one of the customers.

“Welcome to the coffee house, how may I—” She stopped and gasped. “Oh my gosh, aren’t you Grimsley from the Elite Four?”

“The one and only,” Grimsley said with a tired smile. Even though he had mixed feelings being in the Elite Four now, it still felt nice to be recognized now and then.

“I’m Emmy! I’ve always enjoy watching your matches on television. Before I get your order, you think you can give me your autograph?”

Grimsley responded that he would love to, and the barista pulled out a small notepad from her pant’s pocket. He signed “To Emmy my most charming fan, Grimsley,” and handed his autograph back to her.

“Thank you so much!” Emmy squealed. She put the notepad away and scratched the back of her neck sheepishly. “Anyways, what can I get for you today?”

“Just a medium sized hot coffee and sandwich, please.”

It was a few minutes until Emmy came back with his order. He stole a sip of his coffee, bitter and hot against his lips and tongue. He was about to take a seat to eat his sandwich, but stopped when a male voice screamed “I can’t believe it’s you!” at him. He turned around to see three people, two teenage boys and a girl, locked their gazes at him.

“Oh my, even more fans are here to see me off,” Grimsley said, his smile widening.

“We’re also big fans of yours!” the girl said. “I’m Kitty, and these are my friends Charlie and Jack!”

“Nice to meet you Kitty, Charlie, and Jack.” Grimsley noticed each one having pokéballs on their belts. “Are all of you trainers?”

“We are!” Jack said. “Right now we’re going on a plane to Driftveil City and participate in the Pokémon World Tournament.”

“Is that so?” Grimsley mused how after the Pokémon World Tournament was opened a few years ago, Driftveil City’s tourism boomed. He could see why many trainers like to go there. “I wish you all three good luck. I’ve heard competition there is fierce, especially if you go against a gym leader.”

“Thanks!” Charlie said, grinning. “Each of us have a few badges already, so we should be fine. Perhaps someday we’ll get to the League and battle you!”

Grimsley’s heart sunk and his smile wavered. They didn’t need to know what had been on his mind. “Then I look forward to that when the time comes.”

“Hey, do you think we can take a few pictures with you?” Kitty asked.

After some consideration, Grimsley said, “Sure, I got some time.”

The three trainers cheered with each other and pulled out their phones. Grimsley took several shots with them, and each one his face bore bagged eyes. His fans didn’t mind, being content with having their pictures taken with an Elite Four. They thanked him for taking the time to talk with them, and when they left he sighed and shook his head. He took a seat to eat his meal and waited until it was time for him to catch his plane.

xxx

His flight from Unova to Alola took several hours and the plane landed at Hau’oli City Airport. He got off, put his luggage in his room at the hotel he was staying, then took a ride on a carriage pulled by a Tauros. The breeze that picked up was warm but crisp, tickling his skin. He glanced around, drinking in the sights and sounds around him. Grimsley’s ride passed through the beachfront where several people sunbathed, strolled near the edge of the shore, or swam in the ocean. In the shopping district, customers came in and out from the shops and more people lined up at the fruit and vegetable stands. Grimsley spotted many trainers and Pokémon together with smiling faces, looking like they enjoyed themselves here. One of the buildings with the sign Alola Tourist Bureau caught Grimsley’s interest and he told the driver to stop his Tauros.

Stepping inside, Grimsley first fixed his gaze on the colorful posters highlighting the region’s cities and famous tourist sights. He moved a little further and stopped at an area that displayed various souvenirs like cups, postcards, and Pokémon plushies. Grimsley picked one of the toys up, a black bird with blue eyelids and a large shiny beak, his fingers rubbing at the soft fabric. After he put the souvenir down, he headed to the right where the brochure stand was. He glimpsed at the television screen on the wall that showcased videos of Alola’s outdoors and people chanting “Alola, alola,” and then he picked up a few brochures from the stand. Grimsley first looked at the ones that had facts on Melemele Island and Akala Island, and while some of the sights featured looked fun they didn’t grab his attention. He checked out Ula’ula Island’s brochure and this time he smirked. He liked the aesthetic of Malie City from the pictures, and the island also had two mountains and an area that used to be a village called Tapu Village. Grimsley shoved the other two brochures back in the rack, and approached at the receptionist area where one of the ladies at the desk greeted him with a smile.

“Alola, welcome to the Alola Tourist Bureau. What can I help you with?” the female receptionist asked.

Grimsley cleared his throat. “Yes, well, I’ve got my eye on Ula’ula Island and I was wondering if you could tell me your own opinions on it,” he said, and handed the brochure to the receptionist. She gave it a quick look, and her smile widened.

“Sure! As you can see from the brochure, Ula’ula Island is home to two of the tallest mountains. I went to Mount Hokulani some months ago and it’s gorgeous. Malie City is also a great city to check out. ” Grimsley then asked about Tapu Village and Mount Lanakila, and the receptionist added, “While I didn’t get to climb Mount Lanakila due to it being reserved for trainers taking part in the Island Challenge, I did check out Tapu Village. You should check that place out!”

“Hm, I see,” Grimsley said as he scratched his chin. “How about this ‘Ruin of Abundance’? Apparently it’s home to one of your tapu guardians?” When he was looking through the brochures, he caught on fast that Alola has Pokémon that acted as its guardians for each island. It didn’t sound too much different from Unova’s own legendary dragons and the musketeers.

“Oh, you mean Tapu Bulu? Yes, the people of that island worship it, though in order to visit the temple you need to pass through the desert. If you want to know more about Tapu Bulu or any of the other guardians, Malie City’s library should have more information on them.”

“The brochure did mention something about that library…” Grimsley grunted in consideration. “Very well, then, that shall be my next destination after I do some sightseeing here.”

“The Marina has a ferry that can take you to Ula’ula Island. You can go over to the terminal and check the schedule.”

“I’ll make sure to do that. Your input there has been very valuable.”

“Not a problem! Have fun at Ula’ula Island!” The receptionist flashed him another smile. Grimsley responded back with a nod of acknowledgement before he left the building.

Grimsley headed to the Marina next. When he reached there, he passed by a guard and a few people gazing at the crashing ocean waves and stepped inside the terminal. More people were sitting on the seats, either waiting for their ride or waiting to pick up someone that was on their way back. He gazed up at the large screen that showed the schedule for all the ferry rides. Grimsley bought the ticket for the morning ferry for Ula’ula Island that would leave in three days. He then left the Marina and strolled around the shopping district a little more.

The next few hours Grimsley passed the time by visiting a few shops and walking along the beach. When night fell, Grimsley made his way back to the hotel, passing the receptionist still helping guests in the lobby on his way up to his room. He turned on the light. He put his bag of clothes on the chair that was in front of the desk, lied down on his bed, then grabbed the remote to turn on the television. On screen, a female reporter was speaking.

“Over at Akala Island, an incident occurred in Diglett’s Cave, a short distance from Heahea City. Several Team Skull grunts were harassing the Aether Foundation employees and Pokémon in that cave, but then Kahuna Olivia and two other trainers, Hau and Moon, managed to defeat them.” As the reporter was speaking, a picture of two young men wearing dark baggy clothing and chains with a silver S around their necks was shown. Their headwear resembled a skull. The screen then changed to a young woman in pink clothing and nice jewelry being interviewed.

“When I heard that the Diglett had been growing restless for sometime, I thought I should go see what the commotion is about,” the lady, that Grimsley assumed to be Olivia, said. “Turns out some Team Skull grunts have been up to no good there. Fortunately Hau and Moon have helped me in getting rid of them, and now the Pokémon inside the cave have settled down.” After the interview with Olivia finished, the screen turned back to the news reporter.

Grimsley pressed his lips and tapped his chin at the mention of “Team Skull” and “gang”. He recalled several years ago when Unova was invaded by Team Plasma twice. The group had taken over the Pokémon League upon their first incarnation; a rather unpleasant experience. If Team Skull were acting the same way in this region, then he would keep an eye on them. His eyes getting heavy, Grimsley yawned and pulled out from his bed to change into his nightclothes, and then he went to the bathroom to wash his face and brush his teeth before going to sleep.

xxx

Heavy rain cascaded down Route 17. Dark clouds covered the sky like smoke from a forest fire. As Nanu patrolled the area with his gray furred Persian by his side, many Pokémon took shelter next to the trees. There were a few exceptions that still rummaged through the wet grass, such as the Goomy and Pancham. For today’s patrol, he had on a raincoat over his regular clothes and rain boots that splashed the puddles left on the cobbled path. After Nanu stared at the fortified wall that fenced all of Po-Town, he turned his head to see Persian growled in dissatisfaction and shook her fur.

“Never a fan of water, huh buddy?” he asked, and Persian mewled. Nanu dropped on his knees and stroked the blue gem on his Pokémon’s forehead, causing her to purr. “Hmph. Me neither.”

Suddenly an explosion shook the earth, and a shockwave knocked back Nanu’s raincoat. Smoke rose and stained the rain black. He stood back up to see smoke coming from the cliff, his ears ringing and heart pounding. His mind raced with concern that Pokémon and people were in danger, and he gritted his teeth as he reminded himself that he needed to do his damned job and get there as soon as possible.

They trudged through the dry grass and steep climbs, the mud getting stuck on Nanu’s boots and Persian’s paws. Eventually they made it to the top and stopped at the end of the cliff to see three people there. A female trainer cradled his injured Golduck in her arms while the other two with their Pokémon, a Haunter and Raticate ready to pounce, stood in front of her.

“We won fair and square, so hand over your Pokémon,” one of the trainer’s harassers told her. He and his female partner both wore the Team Skull clothing Nanu had been familiar with for a long while now. Nanu groaned and his shoulders slumped.

“Not surprised you clowns are at it again,” Nanu said.

“Yo, Dennis, it’s that police officer one of our homeboys warned us about,” the female grunt said.

“Yeah, I think it’s him, Felicia,” the other grunt said, glaring at him. “Nothing to see here, old man. This nice girl here is about to hand over her Pokémon to us like she promised before leaving.”

“I didn’t promise anything! You guys forced me to,” the trainer sobbed, hugging her Golduck closer against her chest.

“I’ll have to agree from the way that Golduck got beaten up there,” Nanu said. “Why don’t you guys mind your own business and scram back to your playground?”

The grunts exchanged disgusted looks, then Felicia pulled out her knife from the pocket of her pants and pointed it at the trainer. The trainer gasped and her face grew pale.

“Leave, or the kid and her Pokémon are done for,” she warned, her fingers curled around at the knife’s handle.

Before Nanu could react, he heard Persian growl deeply. He looked down and saw her claws had dug on the soggy dirt. He stared back at Team Skull to see their Haunter and Raticate had also assumed battle stances. A crooked smirk pulled onto the corners of Nanu’s mouth.

“I think you two should have listened to your homeboys, then,” he said. He pressed his fingers close to his lips and whistled.

The grunts swung their heads in confusion when a bird’s cry and flapping wings were heard. Coming from the air, Nanu’s Honchkrow dove at the female grunt and grabbed the knife from her hands with his claws. He approached Nanu, dropping the weapon onto his hand.

“That’s some dirty trick you did there,” Felicia seethed through gritted teeth. Besides her, her partner wore a similar expression.

“You kids shouldn’t play with knives, anyways,” Nanu said as he put the knife back in his raincoat’s pocket.

“Oh that does it!” Dennis said and thrust his arm forward. “Haunter, get back at that Honchkrow with Thunderbolt!”

“Move at ten o’ clock and then Nightslash,” Nanu said calmly compared to the grunts.

The ghost Pokémon chuckled in glee and electricity burst out from his body. Honchkrow was able to dodge and his feet glowed with a purple aura. When he got in contact with Haunter, his claws slashed his opponent and left three deep scratch marks on his face, causing the ghost type to scream in pain.

“Raticate, go ahead and Hyper Fang that bird!”

Felicia’s Raticate opened his mouth wide open, his teeth flashing, and rushed towards the Honchkrow. Nanu commanded Persian to hit the Raticate with Swift. The gem on Persian’s forehead glowed and an array of stars shot at Raticate. The rat Pokémon screeched each time he got barraged with those, and when that was finished his already fluffy cheeks puffed up like a balloon and his tail thumped on the ground.

Both grunts clenched their fist and gritted their teeth. Dennis ordered Haunter to use Poison Jab at Persian whereas Felicia had Raticate use Ice Beam at Honchkrow. Nanu countered by having Honchkrow use Steel Wing and Persian Play Rough. Haunter’s arms turned pink and punched Persian’s cheek. The cat Pokémon growled and a bruise appeared on her face, but then she pounced at her opponent. Thick white smoke surrounded with stars puffed up, leaving Nanu unable to see clearly, but from the shadows’ movements and Haunter’s screeches he could tell the ghost Pokémon wasn’t enjoying any of that. When the smoke faded, more scratches and bruises were shown on Haunter’s body and he panted as Persian lifted her head and smirked. While that was going on, Raticate inhaled cold air and let out a beam of ice from his mouth, which shot straight at Honchkrow’s chest and made him screech. Honchkrow shook his wet feathers, and then his wings changed into a metallic color just as he flapped those rapidly. He dived at Raticate, smacking his back with his wings and that caused his face to smash onto the mud. Raticate bounced back after a few seconds, spitting the dirt out.

“You know, I’m getting bored already,” Nanu said, then he yawned. He pulled out the black shard from his necklace, held out his arm that had his Z-ring bracelet, and slip the shard inside there. “Let’s finish this with our Z-move, Persian.”

His Persian growled in agreement, and Nanu got ready his stance. In one fluid motion, he moved his arms around, bent his back, and stretched his arms wide after he got himself back up. A warm aura surrounded both his and Persian’s body as he watched as Persian’s gem glow. A black ball was shot up in the sky and within seconds it turned into an eclipse that began sucking the mud, grass, and leaves in its reach. As the black hole grew stronger, the grunts and their Pokémon tried to withstand its force, Raticate digging his feet and hands onto the dirt and Haunter floating away from as far as possible, but that proved to be futile when Raticate and Haunter too got sucked in. Seconds later, the eclipse faded and Raticate and Haunter dropped on the ground hard and collapsed instantly. The grunts reacted unfavorably, Felicia taking her hat off and stomping on it while her partner dragged his hands on his face.

“Hey, you can’t do that! That’s foul play!” Dennis complained. He and Felicia then returned their defeat Pokémon. Nanu snorted, and behind him his Persian shook off her wet fur.

“Funny you should say that as I used that move to make that Z-move. Now would be a good time to hurry your ass off or my Pokémon won’t hesitate to hurt you.” On cue, his Persian growled and Honchkrow let out a sharp chirp at the grunts.

“All right, all right, we’ll leave,” Felicia said, lifting her hands in defeat. “This is way whacked, man.” Both grunts hurried out, not turning back.

Nanu dragged a sigh and touched his forehead, then he turned around to see the trainer, still holding her Golduck, looked at him in awe. He and his Pokémon approached her.

“Are you alright, miss?” he asked, bending his knees.

“I am, but my Golduck isn’t,” the trainer said, her voice laced with worry. Her Golduck’s chest moved very slowly and he made uneven breaths.

“I have some potions and other medicine down at the police station. I’ll take you there.” Nanu stood up and waited for the girl to return Golduck in his pokéball. He then took the girl’s hand and they headed out together.

Po Town’s police station was a fairly small building with only a handful of jail cells and rooms. The bookshelf, bulletin board, and his clothes were settled on one corner of the room. One of the couches had bags of chips, cans of various food, and Pokémon food dumped there. Various stray Meowth walked around inside, a couple of them sleeping on the beds Nanu had put on the desks. After Nanu grabbed some potions and sprayed them on his Pokémon, Persian went to play with a few of the Meowth while Honchcrow ignored them. As soon as the trainer let Golduck out, she and Nanu laid him down on another couch that was across Nanu’s workspace, a computer and monitor on a table. Nanu touched Golduck’s forehead, which was very warm against his palm. He sprayed the rest of the potions all over Golducks’ body. It was a few minutes until a portion of the Pokémon’s cuts and bruises began to disappear. Nanu then let Golduck slowly chew some berries from his palm.

“Your Golduck is starting to have a fever and will still have some scars on him, but he should be good after he gets some rest,” he said just as the girl puffed up a pillow for Golduck and tucked him in under a blanket. She faced Nanu, smiling at him in gratitude.

“Thank you so much for saving me and Golduck out there. I was trying to find the kahuna of this island, but then I bumped into Team Skull and they harassed me to giving my Pokémon to them.”

Nanu didn’t flinch, but he did raise an eyebrow and glanced at the colorful amulet attached to her bag. “Oh, so you’re one of those kids that’s taking part in the island challenge, er…”

“Rachel,” the girl Rachel said. “And yes, I am. I already challenged both Sophocles and Acerola’s trials and defeated their totem Pokémon, so I’m wondering if you know where I can find Kahuna Nanu.”

“You did, huh? Well, you’re looking at him right now.”

Rachel’s eyes grew wide. “Wait, you’re Kahuna Nanu?” she asked, and Nanu nodded. She grinned. “Oh, can we have a battle right now?”

“Woah, hold up,” Nanu didn’t hesitate to say. “How about your Golduck there? He’s still in bad shape.”

“I have other Pokémon I can use, so it shouldn’t be a problem.”

“There isn’t a working Pokémon Center nearby and I don’t think I have enough potions for the rest of your friends. Besides, the next island, Poni Island, doesn’t even have a kahuna yet last I heard.”

“Oh, I see.” Rachel hung her head down with a frown, her gaze at the sleeping Golduck.

Nanu stared at Rachel, regarding her in silence. He still thought it was dumb of her to ask a battle like that, but he was hasty in denying her request. With a sigh, Nanu pinched his nose.

“Tell you what, why don’t you stay here for a night or two and then we can have our battle. I ordered some more potions earlier that should be sufficient, but I won’t go easy on you.”

This time, Rachel’s face lit up. “Oh thank you, thank you thank you,” she said then threw her arms around Nanu’s waist. He froze, taken aback by her reaction. At length he rolled his eyes and forced her to let go.

“All righty, that’s enough sappiness there.” He shifted his head, his finger pointing at the couch where the food got piled. “I’ll move that junk in the other room and then I can make us some sort of meal to eat.”

“Okay!” Rachel said and nodded. When she turned back to watch over Golduck, Nanu moved away from them and began grabbing some cans and bags from the other couch that he intended to put in another room.

He wasn’t the most welcoming person and easiest to warm up to, but this should do.

xxx

Chapter One Commentary
Spoiler:
-I admit, some of Grimsley's backstory I lifted from TikTok13's A Grim Deal (from Serebii), a very cool Grimsley fic that got discontinued. ;_; Unlike that story, I decided to have Grimsley's mom be the one to teach Grimsley the gambling trade because dang it more female gamblers please. No, I don't condone gambling. Another thing is I thought of Grimsley half Johotoian because of him wearing the kimono in Sun/Moon. Granted, Grimsley could've just bought one while in Alola and liking it so much, but I thought I might try this angle since Hawaii does have a sizeable chunk of the Japanese population.

I thought of more backstory differences between their story and mine, but we'll see how much I'll put my version in since the main thing will be Grimsley traveling Alola and interacting with Nanu.

-If you guys didn't catch, yes I had Grimsley nickname his Liepard, Raz. Reason for that is there's actually a poker game called "Razz poker." I don't know how appropriate to link gambling sites here, so I'll refrain from that and let you guys check it out yourselves. In fact, I'm gonna have the names of Grimsley's Pokemon based around gambling somehow.
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  #2    
Old August 8th, 2017 (2:40 AM).
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    Your opening chapter is looking good :) I particularly like Nanu's character.
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    Old August 8th, 2017 (11:45 AM).
    Vragon
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      This was a good start.

      While I will confess that this side of Grimsley will take some time for me to get used to since he is my favorite elite four member of all of them, I can say that you still retained a good amount of his charm and his betting demeanor.

      Now there are two things I'd like to say.

      1) The narration parts.
      While this I will admit was necessary I think there are ways to make it more lively. The first part of your narration (while he was still in castelia), the reader was not just what he did but how he felt doing it. (Taking pictures etc.)
      The middle seemed lacking in this save till the tourist store. Then we lose it at the Hotel.
      While I would say you shouldn't overly integrate it, I would have liked some more reaction if you will on his part.

      2) A weird wording
      Let me know if I'm wrong about this, but I will say that the wording was a bit leaning to what I'm about to say.
      In his conversation with Iris, she brings up how Alola doesn't have a league like Unova.
      The line in question:
      Quote:
      “Have you heard of the Alola region? Very tropical climate and several islands you can drop by at. One of the most unique things about Alola is it doesn’t have a Pokémon League like Unova.”
      Later he says that Iris told him that Alola's league isn't like Unova's. Not that isn't a contradiction nor am I implying that it is. All I'm saying is that it is worded to sound like it doesn't have a league, yet later it tells of their league not being like Unova.
      Also, in Alola the league isn't built at the time and the Island Challenges aren't really considered league related till one is built. However, even then that does appear to be more customary and while you can challenge the league after the trials that is something implemented after it is built.

      Other than those 2 things I liked this chapter.
      I liked how you did Nanu's character and you were accurate in my opinion.
      And I like you grimsley too. (Still got to get used to that side of him)

      Keep it up and don't flip out. (Get it.......okay)
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        #4    
      Old August 8th, 2017 (6:21 PM).
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        It's funny, because yesterday I was looking at your signature and wondering how the progress was going on this fic. Glad to see it's out, and now I know what it's about!

        It'll be interesting to see how Grimsley and Nanu get along, since they're both not exactly the most friendly people around. And I wonder what the spark is that Grimsley will find in Alola.

        I do agree with Vragon about the narration. It's nice that it's detailed, but it didn't feel that interesting to read. The story was moving along, but there wasn't much of Grimsley reacting to anything. He's in a new region, and it would be nice to see some of his reactions to the differences between Alola and Unova. (Especially because I'd figure it's like reacting to the differences between New York and Hawaii.)

        One weird typo that was missed:
        Quote:
        a picture of two young males of two young males wearing dark baggy clothing
        "two young males" is used twice here.

        You do have a great premise for a fic! I'm always up for a fic that explores more of the characterization of NPCs. It gives them more of a life than what the players usually see. And Nanu is a favorite of mine.
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        Old August 9th, 2017 (2:02 PM).
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          A very strong start!

          The narration is very interesting and the characterization is really good. I always loved reading more about Elite Four members. They are so unique and competent, but they rarely have any screen time.

          I'm fond of your Team Skull, who seem to be a bit more bloodthirsty in your canon (and more competent with those moves).

          I look forward to reading more of your work!
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            #6    
          Old October 21st, 2017 (9:42 PM). Edited October 21st, 2017 by Bay.
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          Hey guys, dropping by to talk about Chapter Two's progress. Funny story, originally I was going to have Grimsley and Nanu meet next chapter, but then after some comments mentioning Grimsley's thoughts on Alola more, I decided to write out a new chapter during Grimsley's stay in Hau'oli City. So now Grimsley and Nanu's meeting is pushed back to Chapter Three. Besides that, been busy with judging both PokeCommunity's Get Together writing contest and Serebii's Platonic Contest oops.

          Last factor for the long wait is after reading Psychic's review from Serebii, I was preparing some slight revisions to Chapter One. There are some parts, like Grimsley and his mother's conversation, that will be changed.

          So yeah, Chapter Two should be posted within a few days after my beta finishes checking it over. In addition, I'll have slight edits of Chapter One ready by then too. In the meantime, some replies!

          Cool Porygon: I've been getting comments how much a lot of folks like Nanu here, and glad you did!

          MyFavoriteWordisRollerBlade: I had other folks kinda mixed about Team Skull's portryal, but good to hear you like it. I have plans to bring those two back.

          Astinus and Vragon Both of you mentioned the description could use work. What I was trying to go for is Grimsley kinda detached, since we see him in Ula'ula Island be like "why people bothered to come here and all." But yeah, I could work making that apparent more and have him compare Unova and Alola more. Next chapter I have Grimsley stay Hau'oli City a bit longer so hopefully his reactions will work better.

          Bardothren: The beginning could use a bit of a polish up, sure. Psychic let me know some ways to make it slightly stronger, so I'll use some of her advice for that. Grimsley and his mother's conversation I'll expand/fix the most, but otherwise I don't think I'll change too much of the description yet.

          The sentence with Nanu and the explosion there Psychic also mentioned could use work, haha. That I'll fix soon too.
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            #7    
          Old October 22nd, 2017 (10:15 PM). Edited April 7th, 2018 by Bay.
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          Ok, Chapter Two finally ready! Before we get to that though, I made some edits to Chapter One. Most of it is changing some of the wording and expanding on the descripiton. Biggest changes though:

          >The very beginning paragraph's description
          >Grimsley and his mother's conversation. I try to add some small talk in the beginning, but still not too sure if I succeeded
          >The scene where Nanu notices the explosion. Changed the prose a bit and added more of Nanu's reaction and thoughts there.

          With that out of the way, onto the second chapter. Thanks for bobandbill for looking this over! Next chapter we'll get the Nanu and Grimsley interaction you guys have been waiting for (which I hope to try to post before Ultra Sun/Ultra Moon's release).

          Edit 4/7/2018: For those that read Chapter Two in other sites, I made a few changes. Originally I had a flashback scene with Grimsley at his father's funeral, but I took that out in this version. For those interested in the original Chapter Two, I have it at Dreamwidth for comparisons shake.

          Chapter Two
          Brutal Swing


          Chapter Two
          Brutal Swing

          The next day Grimsley went to the Hau’oli City Mall. It was a little smaller than the malls back in Unova, but there were still a variety of shops and restaurants to explore here. He frequently had to squeeze past people. Several movie posters popped up all over, including ones that starred Champion Diantha of the Kalos League and Brycen of Icirrus City Gym. Grimsley in particular had enjoyed the Bryceman series, so it was amusing to see that Bryceman Strikes Back Harder was being shown here. He wanted some new clothes, so Grimsley went inside in an apparel store called Gracedia.

          Like the few other apparel stores he had been into, there was an assortment of colorful clothing that suited the region well. He continued to check through more of the racks, seeing different kimonos in various colors and sizes until he found one that caught his eye. It was a simple white kimono, with black patterns, and a black scarf. His stomach flipped when he checked how much this kimono was.

          “Alola! I see you really like that kimono there,” someone said to him from behind. Grimsley turned around to see a man, most likely working here from the uniform he was wearing, smiling at him. He offered him a low chuckle.

          “My mother came from Johto, and I would wear them on special occasions.”

          “Ah, I see. Yeah, we have a lot of Johotians living here, especially in Malie City! I think you would look good with the one you’re holding now.”

          Grimsley stared down at the kimono, thinking further on whether to take this new piece of clothing. He decided to have his coin decide for him, so Grimsley pulled one out from his jacket and flipped it in the air. When he caught the coin on his palm, it landed tails. Buying the kimono, it was. After he grabbed a few more clothes, Grimsley went to the cashier and paid for all them including the kimono.

          He wandered around the mall for another half hour or so. When it was mid-afternoon, Grimsley grew hungry and a restaurant called the Battle Buffet caught his interest.

          Upon entering, he was greeted by the waitress who told him that trainers would battle if they wanted the same dish. Grimsley had heard of some restaurants in Kalos and Hoenn having trainers gamble for food through Pokémon battles, but none in Unova had done that. There was also a “battle damage fee” that was included with the meal cost, which had Grimsley stared blankly at the waitress for several seconds. He hoped the battles here would provide some entertainment.

          After the waitress had shown Grimsley to his seat, he headed to the buffet line of a dozen people already. A few tables had been set up with an assortment of desserts and refreshments like cake, cookies, juices, and coffee, and another table that actually had food reserved for Pokémon. There were around four chefs in front of the buffet table, each one serving a different dish. Grimsley checked to see the Take Down steak, Milktank cheese pizza, Vanillite parfait, and Tamato pasta were being offered at the moment. The smell of the pizza’s cheese satisfied Grimsley’s senses the most, so he reached over and was about to grab that first until—

          “Hey, that last piece is mine!” someone yelled. Grimsley looked over his shoulder to see a young boy, probably in his teens, glaring at him. He stared back.

          “I was here first, so I should be the one to have it.”

          “Well I think there’s only one way to settle this,” the boy said as he pulled a pokéball from his belt and tossed it in the air. “Go, Oricorio!”

          The pokéball cracked open and released a small pink bird Pokémon that was dressed in a skirt. The Pokémon moved her hips and chirped a sweet melody, and Grimsley was reminded of the dances he saw videos of in the Tourist Bureau. With no other choice, he sighed in resignation and released Queen, his Bisharp. She raised her bladed arms above her head, locking her gaze at her opponent. Almost everyone that was in the buffet line stopped to look at the battle about to take place.

          “Almost forgot, I’m Ricky. That’s a cool Pokémon you got there.”

          “Grimsley, and thank you,” Grimsley said with a proud smile. “Queen has been my faithful companion since the beginning.”

          The boy, Ricky, grunted, indifferent to how long the two had been together. He thrust his arm forward. “All right, let’s start out with Air Slash!”

          Upon command, Oricorio let out an upbeat chirp and soared up in the air. She flapped her wings and a sharp gust of wind rushed at Queen, but the Bisharp didn’t flinch and only took a few steps back. She looked at Grimsley to await his command, but he shook his head and wiggled his finger to let her know to not act yet. Meanwhile, his opponent’s face and shoulders stiffened.

          “Try Revelation Dance instead!”

          The little bird landed on the floor, shrilled an angry chirp, and twirled around. After several spins, Oricorio started to sway her hips and her eyes glowed blue. The Bisharp’s body was surrounded by an aura with the same color, but within a few seconds, the light faded. The boy’s eyes grew wide in puzzlement.

          “Huh, what just happened?”

          “Queen here is part dark type,” Grimsley said as he pointed a finger up in a manner someone would when they would give a lecture. “Psychic moves won’t do anything to her.”

          Ricky growled and clenched his fist. He next commanded Oricorio to use Double Slap, who obliged by slapping Queen hard three times on the face. A slap mark was left on both of Queen’s cheeks, and she glared at Oricorio. Knowing that his opponent was at a disadvantage, Grimsley let out a bored grunt and snapped his fingers.

          “Psycho Cut,” he told her. Queen raised her arm, which glowed pink, and slashed at Oricorio. That caused the psychic bird to cry and shoot up in the air like a baseball after a home run. Seconds later, Oricorio crashed on one of the buffet tables and did not get back up. Some of the cakes had splattered on the tablecloth, and the bird Pokémon herself was smeared with the frosting. The other trainer grimaced and returned his Pokémon.

          “You did your best, Oricorio,” he said to her pokéball, and then pulled out another one. “Graveler, you’re next!”

          After his Pokémon was released, the boy’s Graveler fell on one knee and flexed his muscles. Queen crossed her arms and rolled her eyes, unimpressed by his pose. Grimsley, on the other hand, raised his brow with curiosity. Black and yellow crystals poked out from the Pokémon’s body and a uni-brow above his forehead. Grimsley also noticed this Graveler lacking defined fingers on its hands compared to the ones he had encountered.

          “Impressed?” Ricky said and smirked, catching Grimsley’s expression.

          “Your Graveler looks somewhat different from the ones I’ve seen.”

          “Oh right, I heard the Graveler in other regions aren’t like the ones here.” Ricky’s smile widened. “But no matter, we can take you down. Spark now!”

          A large stream of electricity cloaked Graveler’s body, and he rammed onto Queen. The Bisharp was shaken slightly and grunted, but she immediately went back to her battle stance. Queen retaliated by smacking Graveler on the forehead with her arm and made him drop on the floor. Graveler bounced back up and balled his fists like a boxer. The boy tensed up for a second, but he regained his composure.

          Grimsley ordered Queen to use Sucker Punch while his opponent told Graveler to hit hard with Thunder Punch. Both Pokémon rushed at one another, Queen’s right fist meeting with Graveler’s that sparked with electricity. A small explosion occurred between them, and the blast sent them back a few feet. Queen flicked her hand and rubbed her wrist while Graveler shook his arms. Grimsley and the other trainer gave out their next commands at the same time.

          “Rock Blast!”

          “Sucker Punch, again!”

          Graveler hurled several boulders at Queen, but each one she punched and shattered into several pieces that glittered on the floor. She then punched her opponent’s face that sent him flying where the tables were. A young couple had to stop eating their steak and rush out of their seat before Graveler slammed into the wall and fainted. His opponent rushed to his Pokémon’s side and cradled him in his arms. Several people from the crowd erupted with cheers and claps.

          “Graveler, are you alright?” he asked. When his Pokémon groaned, the boy sighed in relief. He told him that he did a great job and returned him.

          “Are you done, or do you want to continue?” Grimsley asked when he approached him. The crowd also followed and gathered around them.

          “Yeah, I think that’s enough.” Ricky gazed down at his pokéball with a frown, gave Grimsley a sideways glance, and began heading out toward the exit.

          Grimsley stared on in confusion. While he had experienced trainers being upset like that before, that boy’s behavior there still rubbed him the wrong way. That wasn’t the right way to lose, that was for sure. He was distracted from his thoughts when someone tapped on his shoulder, and in front of him was a middle aged man that looked at him with great interest.

          “Aren’t you the same Grimsley of the Unova Elite Four?” the man asked, and Grimsley smiled a little. He didn’t think someone in this region would recognize him, so this came as a pleasant surprise.

          “Looks like I have fans overseas too. Or were you a former challenger of mine?”

          The man shook his head. “I never went to the Pokémon League, but my niece did.” He raised an eyebrow at him. “You looked much older than how she described you, especially with your hair.”

          Upon hearing that, Grimsley tensed and he scratched on the hair on his temples. He had been aware of the white streaks for a while already but kept forgetting to change that. He should’ve done that before he left Unova. Grimsley cleared his throat.

          “I’ll pretend that you didn’t say that,” he said, and the man laughed.

          “I take it that you’re on vacation now?” he asked, and Grimsley said that he was. The man patted Grimsley’s shoulder and grinned. “Well, I’m Ronald. Welcome to Alola!” he said, and left him alone.

          Grimsley wasn’t sure what to think of that interaction, so he just shrugged it off. He grabbed the cheese pizza, the Tamato pasta, and the Vanillite parfait, and went back to his table. The pizza grew cold due to him battling with his opponent longer than he had liked and the pasta was as dry as the matches he watched while eating, but the parfait was sweet and fluffy. Queen also grabbed some food herself, eating cupcakes and meat made specifically for the Pokémon. After half an hour, Grimsley left a tip on the table, returned Queen, and headed out of the restaurant.

          By the time Grimsley reached the beach’s shores, there were a lot of people upon the sand. He spotted a few of them playing volleyball and a man playing frisbee with his Herdier. Several more people lied down to sunbathe while others just strolled around. He stopped near the ocean and Grimsley thought how one of his Pokémon would like some fresh air, so he released his Sharpedo, Blackjack.

          Blackjack swam around like a jet ski but stayed near him. Grimsley stroked his snout and fed him the pokébeans he had bought from the Pokémon Center yesterday, and the shark Pokémon crunched on them with loud bites. While Blackjack continued to swim, Grimsley gazed onto the sparkling ocean and smiled a little. He remembered one time Caitlin and Shauntal had invited him to their resort in Undella Town and everyone there either wanted their autographs or to battle them. The day before they returned to the League, he battled against the two ladies and it wasn’t a surprise that he defeated them. Hau’oli City was a much bigger community with many more houses and shops compared to Undella Town.

          Grimsley shifted his gaze, and he tensed when he spotted the boy from The Battle Buffet on the beach too. He sat down and pulled his legs in his arms, glaring at the water. The way the trainer acted there still puzzled him, so Grimsley approached him and tapped his shoulder. Ricky turned his head and stared at him with wide eyes.

          “Mind if I join you?” Grimsley asked. The boy shrugged.

          “Sure, whatever,” he said, and Grimsley sat down next to him.

          “You were in a hurry to leave after our battle. I find it funny you would be upset over stale pizza.”

          Ricky looked over his shoulder and glared at Grimsley. He hung his head down, picked up a pile of sand with his palm, and let it sprinkle into the ocean. “This is like the fourth battle that I lost this week. You’re the toughest trainer I’ve gone against so far.”

          As Grimsley fixed his stare at the trainer, he thought about mentioning that he was from the Elite Four. He remembered that Alola didn’t have a Pokémon League, so the boy probably wouldn’t know that. He ran his fingers through his hair, thinking of something positive to say to him.

          “I was surprised by your Graveler there. I didn’t know there are ones that can use electric attacks. And your Oricorio has a certain charm, too.”

          “You really think my Pokémon are good?” Ricky asked, his grin stretching across his face. Grimsley got up and dusted the sand off from his clothes.

          “You’ve got the right cards, it’s only a matter of mastering them and to stay calm.”

          Ricky titled his head and looked at him with a puzzled face. “So you’re saying I should work on my Pokémon’s strengths more and keep my cool?”

          Grimsley had his gaze up at the sky, and the side of his lips twitched. “You can say that.”

          With a satisfied grin, Ricky got up and put his hands on his hips. “That helps a lot, thanks.”

          “It’s my pleasure.” He and Ricky shook hands. When they were done, Grimsley noticed his Sharpedo latched onto a Slowpoke that was sitting on a boulder. His brow furrowed and he yelled out, “Blackjack, that Slowpoke’s tail isn’t for dinner!”

          Upon hearing that, Blackjack let go of the Slowpoke’s tail and growled in disappointment. The Slowpoke moved its head with a blank stare, as if he didn’t feel any of that. The shark Pokémon soon swam back to shore, and Grimsley returned him back inside his pokéball.

          “Wow, that’s your Sharpedo?” Ricky asked, looking impressed. “I thought it’s one of the Poke Ride ones.”

          “Poké Rides? That’s one of your region’s services, right?” Grimsley recalled the brochures and posters back in the Tourist Bureau advertising that.

          “Yup. The Pokémon help with all kinds of stuff like flying, breaking boulders, and surfing.”

          “I see. I’ll take full advantage of that then while I’m here.” Grimsley glanced down at his bag of clothes and picked them up. “I need to put these bags away, so I’ll be leaving now.”

          “Hey, that’s cool. I’m glad that you came to talk to me!” Ricky said and grinned at him.

          “It’s my pleasure,” Grimsley said with a nod of acknowledgment, and left to go to his hotel. He reflected how his battle with Ricky didn’t fully satisfy what he was looking for but the trainer still has some potential.

          xxx

          Inside his room, Grimsley dressed in the kimono and black scarf he had bought earlier and looked himself in the mirror. His hairstyle was kept the same save for some white streaks; Grimsley reminded himself that he would need to find some hair dye soon. The clothing felt much looser and cooler than his suit and pants. He had only been in the region for two days, and already the tropical climate had him sweating and his skin burning. Unova had its hot days during the summer, but the air wasn’t as humid or dreary as it was here. The kimono didn’t look too bad on him, so he decided to keep it on. He later left the hotel and headed to Route 2 for a stroll.

          In front of him was a large hill with a dirt road path stretched across from afar. Thick palm trees, bigger and taller than the ones in Humilau City and Undella Town, loomed over Grimsley like streetlamps. As he surveyed around his surroundings, he noticed a few people and Pokémon picking some berries from the trees and bushes. He passed by a kid running with his Growlithe and an elderly couple gazing at each other while holding hands. After Grimsley reached over the hill, he noticed the sign “Hau’oli Cemetery” pointing to the right. He headed there out of curiosity.

          Grimsley stepped through the large black gate that was the cemetery’s entrance. His shoes sunk into the grass and soft ground that contained the buried. He often glanced at the names engraved on the gravestones as he passed through them, some with normal human names and others that fitted better for a Pokémon. Several people were already in front of the tombstones, some sobbing while others set aside flowers on the ground. Seeing this bleak atmosphere before him reminded Grimsley of his experience with mourning.

          He remembered this about his father’s funeral. He could feel this about it. The Mistralton City Cemetery was next to the Celestial Tower where more people would visit there due to its significance as a resting place for Pokémon, but the other cemetery would have several visitors too. Many of his father’s friends and relatives had attended his wake and a good amount of them stayed for his burial, too. He and his mother had stood in front of the gravestone with their hands squeezed together, the both of them uncertain what the future holds for them.

          Grimsley’s guts twisted and his throat ached now like it had back then. He shook his head and found himself back in Hau’oli Cemetery. He looked around to see most of the mourners were still around, and the ones that left had at least set aside flowers for their late loved ones. After gazing at the sunset that hung low against the orange tinted sky, he decided that it was time to head back to the hotel and left the cemetery.

          On Route 2, Grimsley surveyed the area to see a few people still hanging around. He was about to head downhill until he noticed two people in dark clothing were approaching him. One of them bumped into him, and they crashed onto the ground. Grimsley sat up and grunted in annoyance as he began rubbing the bruise on his side. He only had a few seconds to have a good look at the other man in front of him.

          He wore a hat that resembled a skull and a necklace with the letter “S” hung around his neck.

          Team Skull. Grimsley’s brow wrinkled and his jaw set.

          The man flinched, got up, and tried to catch up with his friend. When Grimsley managed to get up, another person ran passed him shouting, “Hey, get my pokéballs back!” Without hesitation, he rushed at the Team Skull grunts that were getting away.

          Grimsley was able to catch up with the bypassers after sprinting for several seconds. His legs were burning and his throat started to tighten, but he was able to pull out a pokéball from the sleeve of his kimono and release Dice, his Scrafty. The lizard Pokémon pulled his shed skin as he awaited his trainer’s command. Pointing at the grunts, Grimsley ordered Dice to stop them immediately.

          He watched as his Pokémon screeched and leaped up into the air like a rocket. Dice soon descended down, still gripping onto his shed skin, and kicked the nearest grunt’s back which caused him to collapse on the ground. The other grunt stopped with a confused stare on his face. Dice took that opportunity to strike him with an uppercut punch to his right cheek and he too fell down. The Scrafty held his chin up proudly.

          As soon as Grimsley approached the fallen grunts, he noticed one of them holding a belt with three pokéballs on it. He grabbed the belt from the grunt’s hands. He gazed at the pokéballs for a moment until the trainer that those belonged to came up to him with deep breaths.

          “Oh wow, thanks for stopping these guys for me,” he said once he was able to regain his breath.

          “It’s no trouble at all. They’re from Team Skull, so I know they’re up to no good.” Grimsley handed the belt back to him, and then raised an eyebrow as he recognized him. “You’re the man from the buffet earlier. Ronald, correct?”

          Ronald nodded. He chuckled and rubbed the back of his head sheepishly. “This is kinda embarrassing encountering you again like this.”

          Grimsley did wonder how Ronald crossed paths with Team Skull. Before he could ask that, though, the two grunts were getting back from being unconscious and sat up. They glared at Grimsley.

          “Hey man, your Pokémon didn’t have to knock us out like that,” the first grunt said. He did a pose where he stuck his arms out like a rapper in a music video.

          “Ah, but I beg to differ,” Grimsley said. Beside him, Dice screeched in agreement. “You two were stealing that trainer’s Pokémon, so I think it warrants getting them back to their rightful trainer.”

          “The way they did it was horrible,” Ronald said as he clipped the belt around his waist. “I was just getting out of the Pokémon Center and they approached me. They wanted me to give them my Pokémon, and when I said no, the grunts grabbed my belt and made a run for it.”

          “If you just gave us your Pokémon, then we wouldn’t have had to do that,” the second grunt said, doing the same silly gesture like his friend.

          “And yet you wanted to take his Pokémon anyways,” Grimsley said. His face hardened. “I’m all for playing dirty, but stealing is a low standard even for me. Now I suggest you leave before I have my Scrafty beat you up again.” On cue, Dice stepped forward and clenched his fist.

          The grunts exchanged frightened looks at one another. They got up and hurried off. Grimsley stared at their backs until they ran at a far distance.

          “Hmph, good riddance,” Grimsley said. He looked down at Dice, who nodded at him, and then he faced back at Ronald. “Are your Pokémon all right?”

          “I…I think so,” he said with a worried look on his face. “I’ll check on them now.”

          The man released his Pokémon from their pokéballs. His first two, Drowzee and Granbull, blinked at him in confusion. The third Pokémon, a Toucannon that Grimsley remembered seeing a plush toy of, narrowed its eyes and squawked.

          “Hey, you guys are all right?” Ronald asked, and all of his Pokémon responded positively. Granbull barked and licked Ronald’s face, Drowzee folded its arms and nodded, and Toucannon chirped and spread its wings wide. Their trainer laughed and sighed in relief, and he returned his Pokémon back to their pokéballs.

          “That’s great all of your Pokémon are all right.” Grimsley smiled for a second, but then he frowned. “Does Team Skull do this often?”

          “Yeah. They often would harass other people into giving their Pokémon or something else.” Smiling, Ronald then said, “I would’ve gone to the police, but thank goodness I found you.”

          “I happen to be at the right place at the right time, I suppose.” Realizing he was going back to the hotel before all of this happened, Grimsley said, “It’s about to get dark and I should be heading out now.”

          “Me too. But hey, it’s great seeing you again!” Ronald flashed him a grin.

          “Same here,” Grimsley said, smiling a little.

          Ronald waved goodbye and began heading out. He took several steps, but then he stopped and turned back to Grimsley. “Oh, the kahuna of Ula’ula Island specializes in dark type Pokémon like you. Maybe you’ll get to meet him!”

          Grimsley’s stomach dropped when he heard that. He only knew a few dark type specialists, like Karen from Johto and Sidney from Hoenn, and he wouldn’t mind meeting another one.

          “I’m about to head to that island next,” he said. “Perhaps we’ll cross paths once I’m there.”

          “Hope that happens, then!” Ronald chuckled, waved to Grimsley once more, and walked off.

          Grimsley stood still for a minute. He sighed, a little overwhelmed by today’s events. Looking down at Dice, he said, “Come on, we should go back to the hotel.” That earned him an agreed nod from his Scrafty, and the two made their leave.

          It took less than half an hour for Grimsley and Dice to reach the hotel. The instant they stepped inside the room, Dice jumped onto the bed and collapsed there. Grimsley shot him a sharp frown.

          “You can stay on my bed for a little while, but then you’ll need to move to the sofa,” he said. His Scrafty responded with an indifferent grunt and flicked his wrist at him. Grimsley sighed, shaking his head.

          He caught the time on the clock, almost six o’ clock. Unova should be a few hours ahead from Alola if he did the math correctly, about the time his mother would be getting ready for bed. Grimsley decided he would give her a call, so he turned on the videophone on his desk and dialed his mother’s number.

          Several seconds passed until the screen lit up, his mother greeting him with a grin. Minato Katsu was a woman in her mid-fifties with visible wrinkles underneath her eyes and graying wavy hair that barely passed her shoulders. While Grimsley had his black locks and angular face from her, he took his blue eyes and pale skin from his father, and why he was passed off as a Unovan on occasion.

          “Oh, hi Grimsley! Did you have a safe trip on your way to Alola?”

          “Yes, my plane ride to here went without any problems. I must say, the weather here is slightly warmer than Unova’s.”

          “Is that so? Sounds better than the constant rain in Mistralton City.” Minato chuckled, and then her eyes grew wide. “Are you wearing a kimono now?” she asked, and Grimsley nodded.

          “One of the stores I went to was selling them, so I bought this one to cool off from Alola’s tropical sun.”

          His mother let out a pleased hum, and she chuckled. “I remember the first time your father wore a kimono we were visiting a summer festival in Goldenrod City. Oh, it was such a romantic night for us, I couldn’t stop looking at him!”

          A sad smile curled around Grimsley’s lips. His mother and father had always been one of those parents that would show affection in front of their children and embarrass them. He didn’t like that sometimes when he was young, but he knew how much they had cared about each other.

          “Today I went to the city’s cemetery, and I was reminded of his funeral,” he said, and the nostalgic look on Minato’s face faded. She shifted her head, lowering her gaze.

          “Yes, I remember. I had you promise me to not fall into bad gambling habits like me.” With a proud smile, his mother said, “You did get yourself in ridiculous situations a few times, but you made a name of yourself in the end.”

          Grimsley blinked in confusion. “You don’t give out praises all that often.”

          “Only because you need to work on your poker face more,” Minato said, smirking.

          Grimsley pouted, his arms folded against his chest. “My poker face is just fine, thank you very much.”

          In that instant, a loud noise that resembled thunder boomed outside. Grimsley bounced off from his chair and hurried to the window. His gaze locked at the swirling wormhole that cracked open the dark sky, streaks of lightning shooting out. The thunderous noise and wormhole grew louder and louder, and then a few seconds after it disappeared. Down below, several people were shouting in confusion and a startled dog Pokémon kept barking. The bright crescent moon became visible once more.

          Dice, also startled from the commotion, jumped out of bed and approached Grimsley. His Pokémon tugged on the fabric of his kimono and titled his head, but Grimsley didn’t respond as he was just as perplexed over what had just happened.

          “Grimsley? Grimsley? Is everything all right?” his mother yelled from the videophone. Grimsley immediately sat back down and looked at the screen to see his mother’s worried face. He inhaled and exhaled to calm himself.

          “Sorry for being away like that. I don’t know how to explain it, but I think a wormhole just appeared.”

          Minato raised a skeptical eyebrow at him. “Wormhole? Aren’t those things only in movies?”

          “Well, I did experience Team Plasma taking over the Pokémon League and Kyruem freezing half of Unova, so anything’s possible.” Saying that had left a bitter taste on Grimsley’s tongue.

          “I suppose so. But still, be careful.” Minato’s face softened. “I need to go to bed now, so you can tell me more of your trip the next time we talk.”

          “Of course. You have a good rest.”

          His mother thanked him for that and wished him goodnight too. She hung up, and Grimsley stared at the blank screen. After a minute, he got out of his chair and sat on the bed with his elbows on his lap. Dice sat next to him and rested his head on Grimsley’s shoulder. He couldn’t help but smile a little, only for it to fade soon after.

          Encountering a criminal organization and seeing a wormhole in action. This wasn’t what he expected on the first couple days of his trip. Now he wondered what else Alola has in store for him.
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            #8    
          Old October 25th, 2017 (5:02 PM). Edited October 25th, 2017 by Astinus.
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          Astinus Astinus is offline
             
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            This chapter had some definite improvements compared to the first! The narration wasn't dry to read, and even the battle scenes were fun. I particularly like the details that you have, like the slap marks on Queen's face after Oricorio slapped her around.

            Poor Grimsley can't catch a break, even on vacation! He either has to deal with Team Skull, wormholes, or trainers fighting him for the last slice of pizza. Having Grimsley meet up with Ricky on the beach after their fight shows the kinder side to Grimsley, and even him stopping Team Skull shows that even if he doesn't act like he cares, he does.

            Noticed a few typos.

            Quote:
            Ricky trainer gazed down at his pokéball with a frown
            Don't think you need "trainer" here.

            Quote:
            Grimsley stroked his snout and fed him the pokebeans
            Every other canon word has the accented e, except for "pokébeans."

            Quote:
            Hau’oli City was a much bigger community with many more houses and shops compare to Undella Town.
            "shops compared to"

            Quote:
            he thought about mentioning that he was from the Elite Four He then remembered that Alola
            Missed the full stop after "Four."

            Quote:
            “I’m about to head that island next,
            "head to that island"
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            not as a call to battle, though embattled we are--
            but a call to bear the burden of a long twilight struggle, year in and year out."
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              #9    
            Old January 31st, 2018 (8:29 AM).
            DreamSayer DreamSayer is offline
               
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              Review for Chapter 1

              Hmm, this story was much better than I expected it to be now that I've read it. Grimsley is no doubt an interesting character to focus on, and I'm glad to see you're working with him. You did well in incorporating his backstory from the games and I liked the small detail about him being half johtonian. Adds a little more depth to his character.

              We already see Nanu being a badass in the second half of the story, and I find it interesting that this takes place at the same time as SMs plot, which makes more sense the more i think about it. Regardless, I look forward to seeing where this goes.
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                #10    
              Old March 1st, 2018 (5:21 PM). Edited April 2nd, 2018 by Bay.
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              Bay Bay is offline
              Darkinium Z
               
              Join Date: May 2006
              Location: Dani California
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              Nature: Sassy
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              BIG ANNOUNCEMENT

              Alola, all! So I apologize for the long wait for the next update. After I posted Chapter 3, I got distracted by holiday stuff, writing The Scent of Roses, and US/UM. Then on January/February I was working on revising Chapter 4 (I actually got the chapter's first draft done... months ago). I already thought how I want some scenes to go, but thanks to US/UM and feedback on earlier chapters I got some new ideas I wan to try.

              I actually got some big announcements to make, but first some long overdue replies!

              Spoiler:
              Vragon: Glad you like that Skarmory scene! Yes I imagine Grimsley to feel too attached to his coin haha.

              Astius: Yeah after you guys mention the first chapter's weakness being not much comparison, I tried to make some references of Unova in latter chapters. And yeah, I imagine their first interactions Nanu at least is not impressed heh.

              Bardothren: Concerning the "random" events in Chapter Two, I can understand some of your concerns over them but rest assured they're there for a reason. The Battle Buffet being ridiculous is exactly why I wanted to showcase it along with showing Grimsley disinchanted with battling. And the scene with the Ultra Wormwhole there will be some foreshadowing and it will be referenced again soon.

              I admit it took a bit long but I do have a goal in mind for Grimsley and it relates to Nanu. Chapter Three has them meeting and Chapter Four (which I haven't posted yet) more interactions with them. After reading your comment, I have an idea that while I won't let him go through the whole Island Challenge I mind consider him try one trial, but that will relate what happens at end of Chapter Four.

              Dream Sayer: Ah man I like that backstory too, but that's actually something I plan to take later from Jax's feedback. At least Chapter Two has him shopping for his kimono so his background is still referenced haha. And yeah, I decided to have this take place during SM's (and US/UM's) plot since the scenes I thought of works best during that timeframe.


              Ok, with the replies done, the announcements. Some good news, and some very bad news.

              Good news: I'm almost done with Chapter Four being ready. My beta looked over it and suggested one big change from the original draft, so I've been working on that.

              Bad news: At the same time I decided to revise a few scenes from the earlier chapters based on feedback and reflection, so I want to get the edits ready same time with Chapter Four.

              Edit 4/2/2018: Hey, so originally left a message concerning me almost departing from the forums and such, but I decided since I'm still here might as well continue Foul Play. Chapter Four will get posted soon for those reading!
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                #11    
              Old April 7th, 2018 (11:45 AM).
              Bay's Avatar
              Bay Bay is offline
              Darkinium Z
               
              Join Date: May 2006
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              Hey, so originally I left a message concerning me almost departing from the forums and why that unexpected announcement came. However, after some reflection I decided to stick around PC a while longer, and while I'm still here that I'll go back to updating Foul Play here. So, here's Chapter Four finally!

              -This chapter is where we get to US/UM territory, so there will be some spoilers if you haven't played those games yet. Also I played Ultra Sun, so for now Dulse and Zossie will be making appearances.

              In addition to posting Chapter Four, I also went ahead and revised Chapters One and Two... er, again! More info as to what changes I did over those respected chapters. I'm planning to polishing up 3 also fairly soon.

              Chapter Four
              Night Daze


              The morning sunlight streamed through the windows and curtains, stirring Grimsley from his sleep. With a groan, he sat up and rubbed his eyes. He glanced around and noted his room was fairly simple with desks and drawers colored in blue, green, and red. Various toys like trucks, figurines, and Pokémon plushies littered the floor. He wore the pajamas Acerola had given him last night, the fabric soft and warm against his skin. Grimsley bounced off of his bed and went to the restroom to shower and get dressed.

              By the time he made it to the dining room half an hour later, Nanu, Acerola, Hunter, and Gracie had already gathered around the table eating bacon and eggs while Yungoos, Mimikyu, Oranguru, and Elekid sat on the floor munching their own food. When Acerola noticed Grimsley, she beamed at him.

              “Oh, good morning! Care for some breakfast and milk?”

              “Some food would be nice, please,” Grimsley said as he joined everyone at the table. Acerola got out of her seat to bring him a plate of bacon and scrambled eggs along with a glass of milk. He picked up his fork and chewed a piece of bacon. The grease slicked against his tongue but was otherwise soft and with a hint of sweetness. He tried the eggs next, and Grimsley could taste the pepper and salt dashed on it.

              “Did you have a good sleep?” Gracie asked after she finished chewing one piece of her bacon.

              “I did, thanks for asking,” Grimsley said. He gulped some of his milk. “I’m looking forward to today’s trip.”

              “Me too!” Acerola said. She explained how Becky had called the Poké Ride stable over at Route 13 to have them reserve a few Mudsdale for everyone.

              Hunter swallowed some of his eggs and asked, “Acerola, can we have pizza again for dinner tonight?” At that moment, his Elekid rushed to his side and pumped his arms up and down. “Elekid thinks so, too.”

              Acerola put her fork down after she finished chewing her food and wiggled her finger. “Now, now, Hunter, too much pizza can give you stomach aches. It’s better to not eat them back to back,” she said, and both Hunter and Elekid pouted.

              Grimsley hummed in agreement, drank more milk from his glass, and went back eating his breakfast. He had had an enjoyable conversation with everyone during pizza last night. Becky, Hunter, and Gracie had mentioned how they met and chatted about some of the Pokémon they took care of in the Aether House. The Aether employee had also mentioned Aether Paradise, a much larger habitat for endangered Pokémon that doubled as a research facility. Acerola meanwhile had talked about what it was like being a trial captain, which piqued his interest. Nanu didn’t say much, only offering a few comments on occasion as he preferred to reply with grunts and nods.

              While everyone ate the rest of their food in silence, Grimsley looked at Nanu who was chewing on his last piece of bacon slowly. He recalled how he had learned about the tapu deities choosing their island’s guardian. There was something about the kahuna that pulled Grimsley towards him already. When the door slid open and someone stepped inside, Grimsley shifted his gaze to see Becky approaching them.

              “Good morning, everyone!” she said, waving at them. Everyone said good morning to her except Nanu, who instead mumbled under his breath. “I called the stable and one of the guides, Carlos, reserved the Mudsdale for you guys. Also, you guys should have these.” Becky pulled out three goggles from the bag she was carrying and handed them to Acerola.

              “That’s great, thanks a million, Becky!” Acerola’s face lit up and she said, “Oh Uncle Nanu, since we’re here why don’t we give Iokua a call?”

              Nanu almost choked on the milk he was drinking. Grimsley stared at him, thinking it was odd for him to react like that. After calming down, Nanu shrugged.

              “Eh, it’s been a while since I last talked with him, so sure.”

              “I wouldn’t mind talking with him, too. I think he would like to know that I made it safely to the Aether House,” Grimsley said.

              “Sure!” After bouncing out of her seat, Acerola closed her eyes and grinned. “Let’s start putting the plates in the sink. I can make that phone call.”

              Smiling, Becky said, “I’ll have my tablet ready while you guys do that.”

              It took a few minutes for Grimsley and the others to put the dishes in the sink and clean the tables. Once that was done, they moved to the front hall as the Pokémon followed them. Becky went to the reception desk and pulled out a tablet from there. She punched some buttons on the screen, and handed it to Acerola. Gracie and Hunter played with the Pokémon while Grimsley, Nanu, and Becky gathered around Acerola. They waited a minute until the screen lit up and Iokua’s face was shown.

              “Acerola!” Iokua said with a grin. He sat in front of a desk with a pile of papers next to him. Behind him was the window and two bookshelves.

              “Hi, Iokua!” Acerola said. “I’m calling to see how you’re doing.”

              “I’m doing great, thanks. You’re as chipper as ever, still having fun as trial captain?” When Acerola responded that she was, Iokua grinned. “That’s wonderful. Ah, I noticed Grimsley has reached the Aether House. I take it you didn’t have much trouble getting your way here?”

              “It went smoothly for the most part,” Grimsley said, leaning his head closer to the screen. “I passed by Tapu Village, and while it left much to be desired it was still a treat to see.”

              “I’m glad to hear on both counts,” Iokua said, sounding satisfied. When he noticed Nanu, his grin grew larger. “And how are you doing, Dad?”

              “Hey, Iokua,” Nanu said, his hands in the pocket of his pants. “Not much, really. Same ol’ same ol’.”

              “So the usual patrolling Po Town and Grand Trials, huh? It’s great you’re still making a difference in this island.”

              “Maybe,” Nanu said with a flat face. With an arched eyebrow, Grimsley stared at him.

              “Patrolling Po Town? Is that where you’re living?” he asked.

              Facing Grimsley, Nanu said, “Ah huh. I’m the only officer there since no one else wants to get close to Team Skull.”

              “Team Skull?” Grimsley’s eyes grew wide. “I stumbled upon them once before. So that group has been causing trouble in this region for a while now?”

              “They have,” Iokua said, who had been listening in on their conversation. “Po Town got overrun by them several years ago and the police there got overwhelmed.”

              “At one point some of them used their Pokémon to hurt our own men,” Nanu added. “When I agreed to be transferred here, I asked for back up but got nothing. Eventually I just let those guys do their own thing as long as they stay in their turf.” A grunt left his throat and he shrugged. “It’s best to not get involved with them if you value even an ounce of your life.”

              While locking his eyes with Nanu’s, Grimsley considered his warning. He wanted to remind him that he was from the Unova Elite Four and could handle himself, but decided against it since Nanu wouldn’t care anyways.

              “If you’re having trouble getting reinforcements, why don’t you ask the Aether Foundation for help?” Becky asked. “I’m sure we’re more than happy to assist you.”

              At that instant, Nanu shot her a glare and crossed his arms. “I appreciate the gesture, but I don’t think they’ll do much good.”

              Grimsley looked over his shoulder to see Becky frowned in disappointment. He was baffled by Nanu’s refusal there. On screen, Iokua had a similar expression as Becky’s.

              “Nanu and I are actually about to take Grimsley to the Ruins of Abundance right now!” Acerola said.

              “Is that so?” Iokua let out a pleased smile. “Well, you three have fun out there, and I’m sure you’ll like what you see, Grimsley.”

              “I have no doubt I will,” Grimsley said. Shortly after, Iokua said that he needed to get back to work and everyone said goodbye to him before the application on the tablet turned dark. As soon as Grimsley and the others finished talking with Iokua, the two children and the Pokémon approached them.

              “You sure we can’t come with you to Haina Desert?” Gracie asked, and Acerola shook her head.

              “Sorry, but the desert is too dangerous for you kids. Maybe when you guys are a little older.”

              Together, Gracie and Hunter let out disappointed voices and hung their heads down. Becky chuckled as she walked up to them and dropped on her knees to touch their shoulders.

              “Acerola’s right, that desert tends to get sandstorms and you can get lost easily if you’re not careful. You guys will get your chance someday.”

              Both children still didn’t look convinced. Gracie pouted and crossed her arms against her chest. “Fine, we’ll stay,” she mumbled.

              “If those two are done complaining, I think that’s our cue for us to leave,” Nanu said, facing Grimsley and Acerola. They nodded in agreement.

              “I can take you guys to Acerola’s trial site and to Route 13 where the Mudsdale are. The jeep’s outside.” Becky turned towards Oranguru. “You watch the kids for a little while until I come back!”

              With a nod, Oranguru grunted and punched his chest like a drum. Becky chuckled and patted his shoulder.

              The two children wished the three a fun and safe trip through Haina Desert. The Pokémon joined in on sending them off too, with Yungoos and Mimikyu making high pitched growls while Oranguru and Elekid waved their arms. Grimsley and Acerola said their goodbyes while Nanu just flicked his wrist at them. They stepped out of the Aether House and the sliding doors closed behind them.

              A tan jeep with the Aether Foundation star symbol was parked outside. Grimsley and Acerola took the back seat while Nanu and Becky sat in the front. As Grimsley made himself comfortable against the leather seat, he waited a minute until Becky started the engine and the car took off.

              It was a fairly short drive from Route 15 to Tapu Village, and when they reached there only a few people gathered outside. The construction towards the path to Mount Lanalika was still off limits, so Grimsley was sure he wasn’t going to do some sightseeing there anytime soon. Once they reached the arrow signs that either led to Haina Desert or Route 14, Becky drove into the downward path.

              “Huh, looks like the construction for the Pokémon League is almost finished!” Acerola said, pointing at the construction site.

              “Pokémon League?” Grimsley raised an eyebrow. “I thought Alola doesn’t have one.”

              “It was just recently decided that Alola should have one,” Becky said, her eyes still on the road. “Looks like we’ll have our own Elite Four and Champion soon.”

              Acerola hummed in agreement, and she looked up at Grimsley. “You’re a dark type expert in the Unova League, right?”

              “Yes. I love the mysterious and crafty nature of dark types. Being an Elite Four has its perks.”

              Grinning, Acerola said, “I train ghost Pokémon and I feel the same way! Plus they’re fun to work with!”

              Grimsley couldn’t help but smirk. “You know a lady named Shauntal? She’s the ghost type expert in the same Pokemon League as me. You and her would get along splendidly.”

              Acerola’s face lit up. “I heard of her, yes! I even have one of her books with me!”

              After rummaging through her bag, she pulled out a thick blue book and handed it to Grimsely. He looked at the cover with a picture of a trainer and an Articuno. The title “Snowstorm in Johto” was engraved in silver letters.

              “Ah, I remember Shauntal bothering me brainstorming ideas for that story because I have family from Johto,” Grimsley said as he flipped through several pages. Once he was finished, he handed the book back to Acerola. “Glad she did as it’s a good read.”

              “I know, right? She’s great with characters and atmosphere!”

              Grimsley nodded in agreement, and shifted his gaze at Nanu’s direction. “How about you, Nanu? What’s your reason for training dark types?”

              “What?” Nanu moved his head slightly without looking at the back. After several seconds, he said, “I somehow just ended up with them. What can I say, misery loves company.”

              “Is that so...” Grimsley let out a puzzled grunt and scratched his chin. He decided to not ask further and leave it at that.

              Route 14 was a small coastal route with dried black sand and broken roads. Large waves crashed onto the shore. Grimsley spotted a few people already there to fish or have a Pokémon battle. When he glimpsed at the ocean through the window, remnants of destroyed buildings underwater flashed before his eyes. There was a large cracked road up ahead.

              By the time they reached the top several minutes later, they got out of the jeep. Grimsley stared at the abandoned building in front of him. Pieces of brick from the foundation had fallen apart and graffiti filled with less than appropriate words was sprayed across there. The windows were dirty and clouded with dust, tinted in darkness. Overgrown weed popped up in front of the store and around the fences with some trash that littered the ground. He heaved a deep sigh, facing everyone.

              “So this is the site of your trial?” he asked with a raised eyebrow. Acerola nodded, a proud smile reaching her lips.

              “Ah huh. I thought it would be cool to have a spooky theme trial be held in an abandoned location like this one! I let the trainers take pictures of the ghost Pokémon roaming around, and then they battle a Mimikyu that’s larger than usual.”

              Nanu snorted, one hand on his hip. “Half of the trainers that came to me mentioned how the totem Mimikyu scared them and their Pokémon half to death. I don’t blame them.”

              “Well, what’s the use of a ghost type trial if it doesn’t frighten anyone?” Acerola countered, lifting her chin up.

              Becky chuckled while Grimsley hummed in agreement. That statement reminded him when he talked with Shauntal over her Pokémon League room’s aesthetic design. He cleared his throat.

              “From what I understand, this region has trial captains and kahunas that work differently from the usual gym leaders and Elite Four from other regions. Iokua had explained the basics to me.”

              “He did, huh? Did he also tell you how kahunas chose their captains?” Acerola asked, and Grimsley nodded. She continued with, “However, I was the only other trial captain Nanu chose.”

              “She’s not lying,” Nanu said. He stared over his shoulder at the abandoned market. “We got one other trial captain here, but I let his cousin do it. There were some unusual circumstances in Ula’ula Island for a while, and Poni Island isn’t doing well either as they still lack a kahuna.”

              “An island without a kahuna, huh? I can see how that poses a problem,” Grimsley said. He recalled what he had read on the tapus and how they chose their kahuna. That meant that island’s tapu hadn’t chosen a successor yet.

              “You also look over the trials at Poni Island because of that, right Kahuna Nanu?” Becky pointed out.

              “Yeah, but not too many trial goers made it past frilly Mina’s trial.”

              “Oh, I remember trying her trial a few years ago!” Acerola said, her hands on her hips. “That Ribombee of hers is no pushover!”

              “So you’re actually overseeing two islands,” Grimsley said to Nanu. “It must be not easy in addition to being a police officer.”

              The kahuna gave a slight nod, but with a tight expression that said he wasn’t pleased with it. “I had no choice. I was chosen as this island’s kahuna, and Poni Island needed someone to watch over the trials there until another kahuna is ready.”

              Unsure how to respond to that, Grimsley folded his arms and pursed his lips up. He only met Nanu less than a day, but he thought him being a dark type trainer fitted him well.

              “Excuse me, but did I hear that there’s a trial captain and kahuna here?”

              Grimsley flinched upon hearing that familiar voice. He turned around and his heart jumped inside his throat. The visitor was dressed in a gray overcoat that looked to be too uncomfortable for him to wear in this weather. There was no mistake it was him with his glasses and strange hairstyle.

              “Yes you did!” Acrola greeted him with a grin. Becky smiled while Nanu had an indifferent expression on his face. “I’m Trial Captain Acerola, and Uncle Nanu here is this island’s kahuna!”

              “Hi there,” Nanu said with a lazy hand wave.

              “I’m Becky!” Becky said.

              “Wonderful!” He clapped his hand, and said, “My name is Colress, and I’m a scientist conducting my research here.” He stopped and his eyes turned wide when he noticed Grimsley. “Well well, what a pleasant surprise, Unova’s Elite Four Grimsley!”

              “Nice to see you too, Colress,” Grimsley said, giving him a sharp look.

              “Wait, you two knew each other?” Becky asked.

              “We’ve met a few times before.” Furrowing his brow at Colress, Grimsley said, “He forgot to mention that he was once part of a secret organization called Team Plasma.”

              “Wait, is that true?” Acerola asked, her eyes wide. Becky had the same shocked expression on her face.

              “He’s right,” Colress said, frowning. “However, Team Plasma has long since dissolved.”

              Nanu titled his head and narrowed his eyes. “I think I’ve heard of them before. Didn’t those guys cause havoc in Unova twice?”

              “Indeed they did,” Grimsley said, and he faced Colress. “Speaking of which, how are you able to run around and not get arrested?”

              “I’ve struck a deal with the International Police that I do research for them in exchange for my freedom,” Colress said without flinching.

              “What your research’s about, if you don’t mind me asking?” Acerola asked

              Colress smirked, and he began tapping the buttons on the sleeve of his overcoat. “Ah, yes. The theme of my research is: bringing out the power of Pokémon! And I believe it has to do with you and your kahuna’s Z-rings!”

              “Oh, you mean this?” Nanu held out the bracelet on his wrist, and Colress nodded. Grimsley noticed a slot in the center, and he glanced at the shard around his neck that could fit in it. He wondered if that shard was the Z-crystal he had read about.

              “Yes! While conducting my research here, I met a couple strangers who informed me the most fascinating facts about those bracelets.” Colress glanced over his shoulder and grinned. “Ah, here they are now!”

              Everyone turned around to see two more newcomers. They wore spacesuits that made Grimsley think of them to be astronauts and looked to be very pale. He gazed at the purple-haired man and red-haired girl approaching them.

              “Hey, there you are, Mr. Scientist Man!” the girl said, waving at Colress. Her grin widened. “And oh, looks like you have company!”

              “I was just talking about you two to them,” Colress said. “Everyone, let me introduce to you Zossie and Dulse of the Ultra Recon Squad.”
              “Alola, all!” Zossie said. She and Dulse attempted to greet them the Alola rainbow sign, but instead they made a more rectangular sign.

              “Alola to you, too!” Acerola greeted them with the proper Alola rainbow sign with her arms. She introduced herself and Nanu to them.

              “And I’m Grimsley,” Grimsley said with a small smile out of proper respect.

              “Wait, the Ultra Recon Squad?” Becky said as she stared at their suits. “I’ve heard of you guys! You’re working with the Aether Foundation on some research projects.”

              “You’re correct in that assumption,” Dulse said, sounding pleased. “I take it that you’re an employee of theirs?” he asked, and Becky nodded.

              “I work at the Aether House and watch over the orphans and Pokémon there.”

              “Dulse and I met with several other Aether employees like you!” Zossie said in excitement. “It’s amazing how you guys work hard in keeping the Pokémon safe.”

              Grimsley glanced over his shoulder at Nanu. The man had that same sour expression like this morning when Becky had praised the Aether Foundation. It seemed there were many things the kahuna didn’t like.

              “Your scientist friend here said that you guys know a thing or two about Z-Rings,” Nanu said as he leant forward and placed his hands on his sides.

              “Ah, yes we do.” Dulse gave Nanu a blank stare and cleared his throat. “You see, we came from another world that is filled with darkness caused by the beast called Necrozma. Our ancestors were greedy for its light, causing it to run wild and constantly hunger for light.”

              Grimsley’s head flinched back and his breath caught in his throat. Both Becky and Acerola’s mouths fell while Nanu gave them skeptical looks. A knowing grin crossed Colress’s face.

              “Another world? So does this mean you guys aren’t from around here?” Grimsley asked.

              “Yeah, I’m wondering the same thing,” Nanu said, scratching his chin.

              “We found Alola by passing through an Ultra Wormhole. Necrozma is able to open wormholes at will, and we need to find a way to stop it before it steals Alola’s light.”

              “Really? Must be cool traveling around space,” Acerola said, now grinning.

              “We recently visited Tapu Village where Necrozma fought against the tapu,” Zossie added. “We believed its light that it lost is what causes your guys’ Z-crystals and Z-moves to happen!”

              “Oh, I think I heard of that confrontation from one of my dad’s books. The tapus got exhausted after battling a powerful Pokémon that caused Alola to be dark. But thanks to getting help from Z-crystals, the tapus fought back and drove that Pokémon away!”

              As he let the Ultra Recon Squad and Acerola’s stories sink in, Grimsley’s eyes flew open. “I believed one Ultra Wormwhole just popped up a few days ago while I was in Melemele Island. You think that could be Necrozma’s doing? And how could it be stopped?”

              “Most likely!” Zossie said. “Dulse and I keep track of any Ultra Wormholes that appear, and we did pick up one from that location in our readings.”

              “They’ve asked for my help in creating a machine for them that would restrain Necrozma, and I accepted their request,” Colress said. “It still needs some tinkering, but I’m confident that it’ll produce marvelous results!”

              Grimsley’s scowl at Colress deepened. He told Zossie and Dulse, “I wouldn’t trust him if I were you. He could be using it for his own means.”

              Colress chuckled, sneaking in a grin. “Don’t worry, I have no intention of deceiving them.”

              “Colress proves to be knowledgeable in the ways of Pokémon, so his help will be greatly appreciated,” Dulse said. “Before we go, there is one request we would like from the kahuna of this island.”

              “Huh? What kind of request?” Nanu asked, raising his eyebrow.

              “You see, Necrozma is too strong for us, so we’ve been looking for some Pokémon trainers to help us.”

              “We heard that the island kahunas here are super strong!” Zossie said. “And we would like to have a Pokémon battle to see how good you are!”

              Nanu didn’t look pleased hearing that. “I usually only accept battles from trainers taking the island challenge.”

              “Is that so?” Dulse frowned, but he pulled out what looked like to be a blue pokéball with golden accents on it. It wasn’t like any pokéball Grimsley had seen. “Perhaps this will change your mind. Poipole, show yourself!”

              Dulse tossed the pokéball up, and a purple creature burst out from it. Three spikes stuck out from its large head, each one having a gray nozzle that could spray any liquid out. It gazed everyone with its glowing blue eyes and chuckled. Grimsley’s lips were slightly parted and his breath hitched as he stared at the creature.

              “Is that Adhesive?” Nanu asked, his voice on edge. Glancing over his shoulder, Grimsley noticed the kahuna’s chin raised and his eyes narrowed. Acerola and Becky gave him concerned looks.

              “Ah, so you’ve met this Ultra Beast before?” Dulse asked with a pleased smile.

              Nanu flinched and his face sunk. As he looked away from him he said, “Let’s just say it was a long time ago.”

              Taken aback by that response, Grimsley blinked. He was curious what was Nanu’s experience with this “Adhesive”, but withhold from asking for now.

              “Excuse me, but what’s an Ultra Beast?” Grimsley asked instead.

              “Ultra Beasts are what we called the creatures in our own world,” Zossie said, and the purple creature floated toward her. “We call this little guy Poipole because it likes to spray purple poison.”

              “What, poison?” Becky asked in shock, and Zossie giggled.

              “Don’t worry, as long as it doesn’t spray on your face you should be fine!”

              As if agreeing, Poipole nodded. It began flying around the group, and when it reached to Acerola she grinned and patted its forehead.

              “It is cute!” Acerola said, and that made Poipole cheer. The alien-like Pokémon soon approached Grimsley and already he backed up.

              “No, you may not spray on my kimono,” he said, holding his hand up.

              Poipole titled its head at first, but once it got the message the creature frowned. When Poipole hoovered at Nanu next, it giggled and twirled around. He gave it a hard stare and sighed.

              “Sorry, but I’ll still pass,” Nanu said as he faced back at Dulse and Zossie, the both of them frowning. “Funny you want a dark type trainer to go save ‘Alola’s light’. I have no interest in playing hero for a couple of strangers I’ve just met.”

              “Fair enough if you don’t want to take this momentous task. Alola has a lot of other trainers we can look into.” After Dulse finished saying that, he clapped his hands. “Poipole, back inside.”

              That caught Poipole’s attention and led the little Ultra Beast to fly back to him. Dulse pulled out the special pokéball and returned it inside its container.

              “So Acerola, what will you and your group be doing next?” Colress asked.

              “We’ll be going to Haina Desert to the Ruins of Abundance and pay our respects to Tapu Bulu!” Acerola said.

              “Oh, cool!” Zossie said. “Dulse, and I went to the desert a few days ago. It was too hot for us!”

              “We visited the altars of your other island guardians, but this one was the hardest for us to get through due to the sandstorms,” Dulse said. “We would like to investigate Poni Island’s ruins next when given the chance.”

              “You best wait until a new island kahuna has been chosen there unless you want to cross paths with Tapu Fini’s wrath,” Nanu said, one hand on his side. “Then again, I don’t care if you listen to me.”

              “We will keep that in mind, then.” Dulse nodded, and he faced everyone. “Well, Zossie and I still have a lot of work ahead of us so we must make our leave now.”

              “I should be going myself, too,” Colress said. “I need to continue work on the machine for you two.”

              “It was great meeting with you all!” Acerola said, grinning.

              “Same here!” Becky said, expressing the same enthusiasm in her voice.

              Zossie and Dulse gave everyone a nod and did their version of the Alola goodbye sign with their arms. After they headed out, Colress waved goodbye at everyone and began leaving himself. He took several steps, but stopped and spun around.

              “Oh, before I leave, we’re overdue for a long needed conversation, Grimsley. I’ll be in this island for a while longer if you want to talk,” Colress said in a firm tone, and he finally made his leave.

              “What’s that all about?” Becky asked.

              Grimsley knew exactly what he wanted to talk to him about. After all, he had stormed out before Colress could finish explaining his involvement with Team Plasma. With a sharp frown, he said,“Nothing that concerns you.”

              Nanu raised an eyebrow at him, and he shrugged. Grimsley was glad at least that the kahuna didn’t care to bother him about it. He was even more relieved when Acerola told everyone that they should get going to get their Mudsdale at Route 13, so everyone jumped onto the jeep and headed their way out of Route 14.

              xxx

              The drive from Route 14 to Route 13 lasted several minutes. Many of the trailers that Grimsley had seen were still there, which he assumed belonged to the people that plan to go to Haina Desert, too. Becky pointed out that they’re getting close to the PokéRide ranch, so they made a pitstop once they reached there. Like the one in Route 12, it housed several Pokémon to help travelers get through the island.

              The ranch was situated in between the oasis and Haina Desert with a few food stands and shops in between. They stopped when they were in front of an open field surrounded by a fence. Grimsley glanced around to see several Pokémon roaming outside and enjoying the fresh air. A man and a woman, who were feeding a Pelipper and Mudbray, noticed the group were here and went up to them, offering their guests warm smiles.

              “Oh, hello there Becky!” the woman said. “Carols and I reserved a few Mudsdale for your group here. We’ll get them right now.”

              “Awesome,” Becky said, smiling. “Thanks for letting us borrow them, by the way!”

              The woman returned with her own grin before she left with the man to get the Pokémon. They brought with them three Mudsdale, each one carrying a bag of supplies on their backs. Grimsley approached his Mudsdale, who greeted him with a cheerful neigh. He looked over his shoulder to see Nanu and Acerola hopping onto their own rides. Beaming, Acerola gazed down at her Mudsdale and rubbed his cheek.

              “Cotton here is a cutie!” she said, looked at Grimsley. “Yours is Walnut, I think?”

              Grimsley looked at the name tag on his Mudsdale, and indeed caught the name “Walnut” on it. “Walnut, huh? Sounds fine for a horse Pokémon,” he said as he hopped onto his ride.

              “I got Spindle, but he should be fine I guess,” Nanu said, staring at the sky. Some clouds drifted by, but otherwise it was sunny.

              Becky faced Grimsley and said, “Oh, Grimsley, these two are Yvonne and Carlos. They and a few others take care of the Pokémon here and make sure they get sent off to travelers smoothly.”

              “Ah, so you’re Yvonne and Carlos? Hanna told me that you two oversee the Mudsdale that help the people through the desert.”

              The man, Carlos, grinned at him. “You must’ve met with her back in Route 12. But yes, Yvonne and I let other travelers borrow Mudsdale if they want to go through the desert. We also have more Pokémon for those that want to use them for a different purpose. “

              “I take it Hanna gave you a ride pager and told how it works, correct?” Yvonne asked, and Grimsley said that she did. “Well, both Hanna’s ranch and ours will get contacted the second you ring it, and depending on availability and location either one of our places will send out a Pokémon for you. Nifty, huh?”

              “I see. I’ll keep that in mind.” Grimsley gave a curt nod while Walnut snorted and shook her head.

              “We’ll be heading to the desert now, but thanks again for giving them to us!” Acerola closed her eyes and smiled.

              “I’ll be heading back to the Aether House now,” Becky said. “All of you have a fun and safe trip there!”

              Everyone waved to Becky, Carlos, and Yvonne goodbye, and their Mudsdale headed out on a full gallop. As everyone was leaving the stable, Grimsley glanced over his shoulder to see Yvonne and Carlos getting back to work while Becky was already inside the car. He faced back forward to see the afternoon sun in the horizon.

              xxx

              A light sandstorm was already brewing once Grimsley, Acerola, and Nanu reached Haina Desert.

              They immediately put on their goggles so that no sand could get into their eyes, but some still got stuck on Grimsley’s hair and left a bitter aftertaste in his mouth. The Mudsdale’s hooves sunk into the heavy but soft sand, slightly slowing their movements. There were some rolling hills and rugged boulders like in Route 12 that he encountered, but Walnut was able to get through them with ease. On occasion a Sandile, Trapinch, or Dugtrio—the Alolan form ones in which luxurious golden hair grew out of their heads—would pop up and startled the group for a second. Grimsley was overwhelmed by the vastness of his surroundings and the sun burning his back.

              “I noticed there were several boulders stacked up together next to the exit we took. Is there any significance to that?” Grimsley asked, sweat rolling down on his forehead and kimono. His throat grew dry.

              “Haina Desert is very big, so there are boulders to let us know which path to take to the Abundance Ruins,” Acerola said. “2-1-4-3, that’s what my dad had told me.”

              Grimsley hummed in understanding. “This desert reminds me a little bit of the Desert Resort back in Unova. We also have Sandile and Trapinch running around, and our own ancient ruins in the middle of the desert.”

              “Really? Have you been there?”

              “When I was around your age. It’s an old castle built by one of the twin brothers that founded Unova over two thousand years ago. The ruins now had been buried in sand and an abundance of Pokémon taking residence there.” It was also where Team Plasma had tried to find one of the legendary dragons’ stones, but he didn’t mention that.

              “An ancient castle sounds amazing! My family used to be royalty, but we don’t have buildings like that here. Instead we have old property.”

              Grimsley’s eyebrow quirked with great interest. He recalled Iokua telling him how Alola didn’t have a monarchy anymore, but he didn’t expect Acerola to be one. “So your family has fallen from grace too? Iokua mentioned that your father had passed away.”

              “He got really sick when I was young, and that’s how I ended up in the Aether’s House. My family haven’t been in real power for generations, but they’re still well known in this island.” Acerola’s frown changed to a bright smile. “Anyways, I think you’ll like the Ruins of Abundance!”

              Grimsley returned a small smile of his own, admiring the girl’s spirit. He turned his gaze at Nanu. “How often do you visit there, Nanu?”

              “Less than I should have.” Nanu stared over his shoulder at them. “I should thank you guys for getting me off my butt doing this.”

              “He just hates the desert,” Acerola whispered. She giggled behind her hand, and Grimsley responded with a shrug.

              Everyone went silent the next few minutes. Grimsley looked around to see a few Pokémon running around and the sandstorm growing stronger. After he popped open his canister and drank some water, a Pokemon’s screech was heard that caused him to freeze and almost drop his drink. That also startled Acerola and Nanu.

              “What was that?” Grimsley asked.

              “Sounds like a Pokémon’s hurting,” Acerola said. She pointed to the right. “Look!”

              Grimsley turned around to see a short distance from them a Gabite biting a Sableye’s chest. The Sableye screeched and tried to pull away from the Gabite’s grip to no avail. Grimsley’s palm already touched a pokéball, but Nanu raised a hand at him.

              “Let me handle this,” the kahuna told him. He threw his own pokéball, and his own Sableye came out. Grimsley could tell this one was female as the gem on her chest was bigger than the male ones and her eyes were a darker blue. Nanu ordered her to help the other Sableye out, and she sprung into action.

              His Sableye’s arm was shrouded in dark smoke and she rushed at the Gabite. She slashed at the dragon’s belly, which caused him to open his jaw and release the Sableye he was eating. The Gabite turned his attention to Nanu’s Sableye and attempted to ram onto her. She jumped out of the way, and while in the air her eyes glowed and she fired a Power Gem that scorched her opponent's back. The Gabite roared in pain and slashed at Nanu’s Pokémon with his fiery claws. Sableye hissed and glared at him, a large cut left on her face. She retaliated by forming cold mist around her arms and punched Gabite’s chin. Part of the Gabite’s jaw froze, and he collapsed on the ground.

              Grimsley couldn’t take his gaze off throughout the whole battle. He looked at Nanu, who sighed and stared at the fallen Pokémon.

              “Kid, vampire boy, go check on that Sableye there while I fix this Gabite up.”

              Grimsley blinked upon being called that, but he hopped off Walnut and grabbed a potion from his bag. He and Acerola approached the other Sableye, who had been hiding behind a boulder after being saved. The Pokémon backed away and stared at them.

              “Hi there!” Acerola said, stretching her arm at him. “We’re here to help you feel better.”

              When Acerola looked at Grimsley and nodded at him, Grimsley handed her the potion he was holding. The Sableye continued to glare at them, but he eventually walked up to them and Acerola sprayed the potion on him. Most of the scratches and bite marks on his chest and legs faded, and he gave a sound in satisfaction.

              “There you go!” Acerola flashed the Pokémon a wide grin and offered him a few berries.

              Grimsley couldn’t help but smile a little. He looked over his shoulder to see Nanu giving the Gabite several sprays and the ice on his jaw melted. The Gabite stood up and growled.

              “Now you don’t cause anymore trouble, all right?” Nanu said. The Gabite glared at him for a few seconds, and he headed out.

              “Thanks for helping this Sableye out!” Acerola said as Nanu and his Sableye walked up to her and Grimsley.

              “That was more troublesome than anything.” Nanu scratched the back of his head and said, “Gabite likes to take down Sableye because both of them want Carbink. First I’ve seen this happen in action.”

              “What’s a Sableye doing alone in a desert?” Grimsley asked.

              “Probably a stray looking for crystals or something. Odd for sure, but eh.”

              “Sounds plausible.” He shifted his gaze to see Nanu’s Sableye talking to the other one. It seemed like she tried to comfort him as the Pokémon would nod at her on occasion. After a few more exchanges, the wild Sableye grinned and shook her hand. He waved goodbye at everyone, and began leaving.

              “Looks like that Sableye is feeling better now!” Acerola said. “Shall we keep going?”

              Nanu grunted in agreement and returned his Sableye inside her pokéball. “Come on, we should find a spot to rest before it gets dark.”

              After everyone jumped back onto their Mudsdale, Grimsley stared at Nanu’s tired face. He didn’t blame him for being annoyed over needing to break that fight up. The three continued on their way through the desert.

              xxx

              When the sandstorm died down by sunset, the group decided to set up camp for the night. Their Mudsdale stayed close to them, drinking at a nearby spring. They gathered around a fire and ate malasada that they had brought with them from the Aether House. There were some passing conversations in which Acerola explained more of Alola’s sites, and in turn Grimsley described Unova’s own cities and attractions to her and Nanu. Acerola often squealed whereas Nanu would respond flatly, “Sounds nice”. Shortly after they finished their meal they called it a night and tried to get some sleep.

              For over an hour, Grimsley stared at the night sky with his arms behind his head. He thought over how much he had learned about Alolan culture in the short time he traveled through here and how everyone he met so far had welcomed him with open arms. Well, save for Nanu, his distance already bothering him a little. As he sat up, Grimsley looked around to see the fire crackling and Acerola sounding asleep. Spindle, Cotton, and Walnut rested too, all three Mudsdale curled up together for warmth. Nanu’s sleeping bag, though, was empty; he instead leaned his back against a palm tree and he stared down at something he was holding in his hand. Grimsley pulled out from his own sleeping bag and stood up, dusting some of the sand off of his clothes. He approached Nanu slowly from behind, and when he was closer to him he saw that the other man carried with him a police badge that had his photo identification and a second picture with him and two other people. Grimsley’s stomach dropped.

              “That’s an international police badge,” Grimsley said and that caused Nanu to flinch and glare at him.

              “Aren’t you supposed to be sleeping?”

              “I could say the same for you. So does that mean you once were an Interpol officer? And you with those other people, are they officers, too?”

              A deadpan expression crossed Nanu’s face. When he remained silent, Grimsley continued badgering him.

              “When did that picture took place? Must’ve been several years ago from the looks of it. And did you three get along well?”

              “Can you stop asking so many questions? You’re giving me a headache,” Nanu snapped, rubbing his forehead.

              “You were outside with that badge there, so I can’t help but be curious.”

              “Have you heard the saying, curiosity kills the cat? You’re heading towards that path now.”

              With a smirk, Grimsley folded his arms against his chest. “You need to do better than that to scare me.”

              Nanu shifted his glare away from Grimsley and said, “The other guy in the picture, that’s his badge not mine.”

              Grimsley rolled his eyes, not buying it. “Oh please, you two don’t look remotely alike! Clearly you’re avoiding this topic.”

              “Well congratulations on that great deduction, Sherlock.”

              Grimsley cocked his head, and then shook it. “I can see why you’re known for your warm personality.”

              He gazed back at the picture. Nanu stared at the camera while one of his friends, a man in the tan jacket, beamed and the other, a woman in a dark suit, made a peace sign with her fingers. There was one person in the picture he was familiar with.

              “The man in the tan jacket, I recognized him.”

              Nanu stared at him with a shocked face. “You met him before?”

              “Oh, now who’s the curious cat here?” A grin stretched across Grimsley’s face as he realized that he could use Nanu’s reaction to his advantage. “Well, how about a trade? I’ll tell if you do.” He waited until Nanu sighed and dragged his hand across his face.

              “Urgh, fine you win. So how you two met?”

              “He and a few of his colleagues had to interview me after Team Plasma had barged in the Pokémon League. I didn’t come in contact with him after that.”

              Thinking about that incident left a sour taste on Grimsley’s mouth. He remembered the officer asking him, in a thick accent, several questions over what happened while N and Team Plasma took over the league. After the interview was over, the man offered him his card and to contact him if he had any new leads but Grimsley didn’t bother to, even after he found out about Colress being a member of the new version of Team Plasma. Iris, Alder, and Cheren were the ones to inform the officer of Team Plasma’s resurrection two years after.

              “You did mention Team Plasma earlier when we met with that scientist guy and his friends there,” Nanu said, and he scratched his chin. “Come to think of it, you were upset when he said he wanted to talk with you. Did something went on between you two?”

              Grimsley’s stomach twisted and an odd noise left his throat. Before responding, he bit his lip and tugged at his scarf.

              “Colress and I didn’t just meet a few times. We were in a relationship for a while, but that’s something I don’t want to discuss at this time.”

              Nanu’s face fell. “Oh, I didn’t see that coming. I won’t push the subject further, then.” He stopped and cackled. “Really, Interpol’s letting that man with the weird hair work with them? Boy, they suck.”

              “Not funny,” Grimsley said, scowling. He wasn’t in the mood for him poking fun at his former partner. “Now it’s your turn to trade.”

              “Fine, fine,” Nanu said, giving him a dismissive hand wave. “I had been in the international police for a little while, a pretty sweet gig. However, there was one mission where me and two of my colleagues were involved in but one of them, the woman in the picture, ended up gone.”

              Grimsley’s frown deepened. “I’m sorry to hear that.”

              “You have nothing to be sorry about. She and I didn’t get along all that well, but I was very upset when that happened.” Nanu put both the police badge and photo back inside the pockets of his short sleeved jacket. “Not long after that, I retired from that gig, becoming a regular cop and ending up being this island’s kahuna.”

              Stroking his chin, Grimsley said, “That reminds me, you said earlier that you had no choice as this island’s kahuna. Do you mind telling me how you were picked?”

              Nanu’s eyes grew wide. He shifted his head and shoved his hands onto his pants’ pockets. “I’ll tell you that story when we reach the Ruins of Abundance.”

              “Oh, leaving it as a cliffhanger, are we?” A smirk pulled onto Grimsley’s lips. When Nanu didn’t respond, he told him that he would be going back to sleep and slipped back inside his sleeping bag. Before closing his eyes, he glanced at Nanu to see him deep in thought with his eyes shut and arms crossed. Grimsley eventually drifted off to sleep.

              xxx

              The next morning, the group packed up their stuff and headed out. There was no sandstorm today, so they could see more clearly where they were going and follow the directions from the rock’s formations better. They trudged through more of the desert for another few hours until Nanu informed them the temple was just up ahead. Grimsley and Acerola followed Nanu and his Mudsdale a little further, and they stopped when the group reached in front of the ruins’ entrance. Everyone dismounted of their Mudsdale.

              They stepped inside a cavern with a large cobbled path that was above piles of sand. Grimsley’s shoes echoed through the walls as he followed Nanu and Acerola from behind. The air inside wasn’t as hot as outside, but sweat still spilled onto his eyebrows. He spotted two Sandile resting with their mother Krokorok. The larger crocodile Pokémon stared at them before going back to sleep with her children. He, Acerola, and Nanu left them alone.

              They entered the next room and stopped in the middle of the wooden floorboard, Grimsley lifting his gaze to see the altar loomed over them. Two wooden stairs branched out, and on top stood a totem with a menacing face painted on it. Piles of stone on the bottom stood as its foundation. Thick vines trailed along the walls like a river.

              “I promised that I would tell you how I ended up being chosen as the kahuna,” Nanu said, and that made Grimsley tear his gaze off the altar. The other man shuffled his feet as he looked up. “Around a few years before I returned back to Alola, the last kahuna did something bad and was stripped of his title. Turns out, the big guy himself had some other plans for me. One night he appeared and gave me both this Z-crystal and Z-ring. I thought it was a dream, but turns out it wasn’t. Wanting some answers, I went to the Ruins of Abundance and met Tapu Bulu here. It wanted me to battle him, and I was like why not even though I didn’t stand a chance.” He stopped to chuckle. “I did get my butt kicked, but before it could finish off my last Pokémon, Tapu Bulu healed them and chose me as the kahuna. I guess it sensed I was a mess and gave me some sense of purpose.”

              While listening to Nanu’s story, Grmsley’s fingers rubbed against his coin. “I must say, that is a fascinating tale there.”

              “It is!” Acerola said. “I was very young back, but I remember being excited over the island having a new kahuna.” She faced Nanu, her smile stretching across her face. “Aren’t you going to pay respect to our island guardian liked you said you would?”

              “Huh?” Nanu’s eyes blinked. “Oh, right. Let’s go up the altar right now.”

              After Grimsley put his coin away, he took the stairs, the wooden foundation creaking beneath his feet, and joined Nanu and Acerola up the altar. He and Acerola were behind Nanu, who stared at the large totem.

              “So, it’s been a while, Tapu Bulu,” Nanu said, scratching the back of his neck. “I’ve been busy with cop duties and watching over another island, you know? Anyways, looks like everything is in shape. I brought in a couple visitors and we came here to pay our respects. I’m not all into the ‘I give my blessings’ fluff, but… yeah.”

              When he finished, Nanu put his hand on the totem, which glowed a light green color. Grimsley gasped in awe while watching the spectacle before him. Soon the light faded and Nanu stepped aside for Acerola to be in front. She squeezed her eyes shut and touched the totem, but unlike Nanu there was no glow. Yet she still looked calm. After Acerola finished, she told Grimsley in a chipper voice that it was his turn.
              He swallowed, took two steps, and his palm rested on the totem. No light bathed all over his skin, the same way that had happened to Acerola, but the totem’s surface grew warm against his fingers. He tried to think of something to say to Tapu Bulu in his head, only to settle with he wished the rest of his trip in Alola was a safe one and that he would find what he was looking for.

              “I noticed that the totem glowed when you touched it, but not when Acerola and I touched it,” he said when facing back at the two.

              “That’s because I’m the kahuna and I tend the ruins if needed,” Nanu said. “Tapu Bulu doesn’t just show itself at random.”

              Acerola nodded. “Yep, Uncle Nanu is right on that. The tapus tend to not let their presence be known or felt by anyone else unless they deemed you worthy.”

              Grimsley hummed in understanding. “Do you think I might get to meet Tapu Bulu?”

              Nanu said, “Who knows, maybe you’ll get lucky.”

              “Lucky, huh? Hopefully luck will smile upon me.” Grimsley shot one last glance at the altar and smirked. Shortly after, everyone headed back down and left the room, leaving the ruins.

              xxx

              When everyone was back outside, the hot air and harsh sunlight returned to blast Grimsley’s face. He wasn’t looking forward to going back to the sandstorm, but trekking out of the desert shouldn’t be too hard thanks to Acerola and Nanu knowing where they were going.

              “Would you like to head back to the Aether House with us, or you’re going back to sleep somewhere else?” Acerola asked as they were getting ready to hop back onto their Mudsdale.

              “I think it’s reasonable for me to return with you. Perhaps I’ll drop by Blush and Hounlanki Mountain before I leave the island.”

              “You definitely should! Both have great science observatories you can check out!” Acerola beamed at him.

              “Glad to hear,” Grimsley said, smiling back. He looked at Nanu, who went back to his flat expression. Grimsley thought back to their interactions and what he had told him of his past. Despite his less than friendly demeanor, he was the most interesting person he had met.

              And Nanu could be what he was looking for in this trip.

              “Hey, Nanu.”

              That caused Nanu to stop Spindle and shift his stare at Grimsley. “Yeah?”

              Grimsley flinched, hesitant to say it at first. He cleared his throat. “I felt lost while being in the Elite Four, so I gambled by visiting here. Before I return to Unova, do you think we can have a Pokémon battle?” He glimpsed at Acerola, a stunned expression on her face. With a smirk, Grimsley approached Nanu. “Come on, take a chance.”

              Already Nanu furrowed his brow at him and grunted. “What makes you think I’ll battle you? You were with me when I declined that astronaut man’s request.”

              “Grimsley’s from the Elite Four, though! A kahuna versus an Elite Four would make a great battle!” Acerola said in excitement, clenching her fists.

              “Honestly, I never cared for the Elite Four and their glamorous lifestyle. Right now, I’m not interested.”

              “I understand, it was foolish of me to request that on a whim.” Grimsley sighed in disappointment. He gazed up at the sky and got up on his Mudsdale.

              As he and the others were heading off, he glanced over his shoulder to see the Ruins of Abundance growing farther from him. Grimsley drew another heavy sigh, turned his head back, and looked forward the rest of the way.



              xxx
              Author's Notes 2: Haha, I dropped the bomb on Grimsley and Colress, huh? I admit I haven't considered that pairing until I made some changes to this chapter. The Gen 7 games has them visiting Alola. And um, my mind suddenly went Colress and Grimsley interacted and probably dated too oops.

              The two will meet again, so their past relationship will get resolved (story will still mainly focus on Grimsley and Nanu being tired dark uncle grumps together).
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                #12    
              Old September 11th, 2018 (10:43 PM). Edited September 12th, 2018 by Bay.
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              Bay Bay is offline
              Darkinium Z
               
              Join Date: May 2006
              Location: Dani California
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              Spoiler:
              Hey guys, so this story isn't dead! Sorry for the long delay, a few reasons for that:

              -During March and April I've been revising Chapters One to Four. I added/rearranged/took out a few scenes and fixed some prose too. I made udpates on what changes I did in the corresponding chapters notes if you guys are interested.

              -Speaking of revising, I did like several versions of this chapter and I think the version I'm posting I'll settle for now. Maybe. Also this grew bigger than I anticipated, oops.

              -Been busy working on some Tumblr fanzines! Funny story about that, I was writing one idea for it, but after it went over 4K words I scrapped it for various reasons and did another idea last minute. Shortly after that, I got accepted into another fanzine and was focusing on that too.

              -Been distracted with watching playthroughs of Detroit Become Human. Also, I may or may not want to do an androids au story that features Nanu and Looker (the latter as an android)...

              -Loads of real life sheinigians and other fandom commitments.

              Considering how slow I've been updating lately and I'm considering some changes to stuff from the original outline, I don't know when the next one will be. I hope to not it too long a wait, though! Thanks to bobandbill for the great betaing!

              Quick trivia before we begin the chapter: I have Acerola nickname the totem Mimikyu "Mimikins" as that's the name of the ghost Mimikyu in the dub version of the anime!


              Chapter Five
              Snatch


              Nanu was relieved to be out of the desert. He felt like a Magikarp being cooked in a frying pan, and the sand on his clothes and sandals irritated him. He could tell Grimsley didn’t look comfortable out there too, especially with him carrying that black scarf around.

              The orange sunset sky faded as stars slowly popped up, and a cool breeze kicked in. He, Grimsley, and Acerola returned the Mudsdale to Carlos and Yvonne, the two glad the Pokémon were a great help and more than happy to lend them again whenever they want. After that, they waited until Becky came to pick them up. Everyone took their seats from before.

              “So how was the trip through Haina Desert?” Becky asked as she was driving them back to the Aether House.

              “It was great!” Acerola said. “Before going to the ruins, Nanu saved a Sableye from being eaten by a Gabite. Grimsley and I helped healed it!”

              “Really? Sounds like an adventure.”

              “Going through the desert was icky, but we managed to make it to the Ruins of Abundance and pay our respects to Tapu Bulu.”

              “Did you guys get to see Tapu Bulu, then?”

              “Nah, the big guy didn’t show itself up, but it did communicate with me when I touched its totem,” Nanu said. When he had touched Tapu Bulu back in the ruins, bright light shrouded his whole body like a silky robe and his skin tingled. The island deity’s voice reached him, appreciating that he came to visit him even if had been a while. The tending the ruins part of his kahuna duties was at least done and over with.

              “That’s still pretty great though!” Becky said, beaming. “How about you, Grimsley? Did you enjoy the trip?”

              “I did, yes,” Grimsley said. “I told Acerola and Nanu how much the desert reminds me of the one I went to in Unova, and the Ruins of Abundance was lovely. When we get back to the Aether House, I’ll take a nice hot shower.”

              “I think we all will.” Nanu glanced over his shoulder to see Grimsley staring outside with tired eyes and his arms folded against his chest. Acerola meanwhile hummed blissfully, her feet kicking up in the air.

              Becky chuckled. “Well, you two looked exhausted, so I’ll whip you guys up something for dinner in the meantime.”

              As Nanu leaned back against his seat with his arms behind his head, he gazed at the starry night sky in front of him. Shower and dinner did sound nice after that trip through the desert. The rest of the car ride went on in silence.

              Xxx

              He found himself in Poni Meadows again. The streaming waterfall and Oricoro’s cries rushed through his ears, and the sweet nectar from the purple flowers hanging from the trees clung to his nose. Cold mist began to form, almost obscuring his vision. Next to him, his Persian rubbed her head affectionately against his leg.

              “I’m ready when you are, Triple Zero.”

              He recognized that voice like one would with a former lover. Nanu turned around to see Resolution Cave, and outside its entrance stood a woman in a dark suit.

              “Sana, what are you doing here?” he asked with a slight croak in his voice.

              “Did you forget already? We need to get to Glutton.” She pressed her lips and folded her arms against her chest. “And you’re supposed to be my superior.”

              Sana, always with the sharp tongue. Nanu pinched the bridge of his nose and shook his head.

              “We can throw insults at each other later. Right now, I need you to get away!”

              “Huh, why?”

              A sharp pain pushed through Nanu’s chest. He frowned.

              “I shouldn’t be saying this, but you’re being used. Interpol is sending you to your funeral.” He took a couple steps forward, his hands gripping on her shoulders. “Please, run while you still can.”

              Sana’s eyes shot wide open with horror. After a long stare, she dropped to her knees and a bitter laugh left her throat.

              “So you knew all along that I was a Faller. Even if you had warned me beforehand—”

              The sounds of the waterfall and Oricorio were replaced by wind and static. The sky darkened and mist thickened to smoke. Persian moved her gaze all over and let out a worried meow.

              Just then, a large crab-like beast burst out from the cave. It opened its jaw, which was stuck in the middle of its torso, and screeched. Both the bigger eyes on Glutton’s face and the tinier ones on its much smaller head glowed the same blue color like its insides. Two tendrils with large pincers sprouted out, one of them grabbing Sana’s waist. Nanu urgently called out her name despite his voice being drowned out by Glutton's roar.


              (By now Sana would’ve screamed for help and he and 100KR had their Pokémon fight off that creature. After the fight was over and Sana was long gone, he would see his partner pale and shake so it was up to him to snap him back to reality. Where was 100KR now?)

              As she was hung upside down like a lynched victim, she cracked a wicked smile. More static, Sana’s voice distorting.

              “—it’s already too late.”

              Glutton threw Sana into its mouth like a berry, and snapped its jaws straight through her midsection. Blood dripped onto Sana’s mouth and on the ground. It crunched on her several more times before swallowing her up.

              Nanu stood in frozen horror. His arms shook and he gritted his teeth. He snapped his head to his Persian and ordered her to attack with Power Gem. Persian hissed and the gem on her forehead lit up. She released a bright beam straight at Glutton’s mouth, only for it to swallow the assault and scratched its smaller head. The beast used one of its tendrils to yank Persian and crushed her with its pincers. Persian howled in pain and got tossed to a nearby tree before collapsing to the ground. Glutton roared and stomped, shaking the earth.

              After returning Persian, Nanu grabbed another pokeball from his belt, but Glutton swatted it from his hands and snatched his arm. Nanu struggled to wiggle out of the beast’s grip, and before he could scream Glutton closed its jaws shut and everything went red.


              Nanu’s arm slammed onto the coffee table the instant he jolted awake. He screamed in pain and cursed as he rubbed his arm. He glanced around to see he was inside the Aether House and that he slept on the couch. His breathing grew heavier with each second. The commotion caused Oranguru to stir from his sleep and growl in confusion. Acerola, Grimsley, Becky, and the kids rushed out of their rooms.

              “We heard both you and Headmaster screaming, is everything all right?” Becky asked, panic in her voice.

              “I just had a bad dream and I scared the Oranguru, that’s all.”

              “That must be a really bad dream if you woke up Headmaster like that,” Gracie said, frowning. Behind her, the Oranguru growled as if in agreement.

              This wasn’t the first time he had that nightmare. It would sprung up to him like a cat’s claws digging into his shoulders. Over ten years now, and it wasn’t going to stop anytime soon. He sighed, sat up straight, and rubbed his forehead.

              “Do you need a glass of water? You look kinda pale there,” Acerola asked.

              Nanu shook his head. “Not thirsty. I’m fine, really.”

              Both Becky and Acerola exchanged worried looks at one another.

              “We all should go back to sleep,” Becky said. “Let’s go.”

              Acerola and the kids followed Becky back to their rooms while Oranguru went back to the reception area. Grimsley, who had been raising his eyebrow at him the whole time, stayed behind.

              “Is there something that you needed?” Nanu asked, giving him a vacant stare.

              “Oh, I was just wondering something.” A hesitant look crossed Grimsley’s face. He shifted his gaze away from him and scratched his neck. “That nightmare you had, would it happen to be about that late colleague of yours?”

              Hearing that made Nanu grimace. He jerked his head and glared at him.

              “What I told you back at the desert was all you needed to know.”

              Grimsley shot him a funny look, and he sighed. “Fair enough. Well, I’ll be going to sleep now. Good night.” He waved goodbye at him and went inside his room.

              When left alone, Nanu collapsed back on the couch and stared up at the ceiling. Between that and how Grimsley wanted to have a Pokémon battle with him, he wondered why that man had a great interest in someone as messed up as him. He hoped that Grimsley didn’t plan to stick around too long now.

              His thoughts were interrupted when one of his pokéballs from the table burst open and Persian appeared. She approached him with an upset look on her face and growled. Nanu frowned.

              “Perry...” he said in a low voice. Usually he wasn’t one for nicknames and was content calling her Persian ninety-nine percent of the time. Perry, short for the periwinkle flower and what Iokua would often call her. Perry was saved for whenever he was his most vulnerable, like right now.

              Persian let out another sad growl, had her front paws on Nanu’s stomach, and nuzzled against his neck. Her silky fur was warm against his skin. Nanu couldn’t help but crack a smile and scratch her forehead.

              “Just another one of those nightmares buddy, don’t worry about me.”

              Nanu continued petting her a while longer until she decided to rest her head on his stomach. He smiled, fine with her company for tonight. He soon drifted off to sleep.

              xxx

              By morning, Grimsley woke up to see how Nanu was doing. In the living room he approached the couch the kahuna had slept on, but only a pillow and unmade blanket were left behind. He then went inside the dining room to see Acerola was eating while the kids playing were playing with their Pokemon. Becky and Nanu weren’t around.

              “You know where Nanu and Becky are at?” he asked Acerola.

              “Becky is taking care some of the Pokemon now and Nanu’s taking a walk outside. Want to join me for breakfast?”

              “Sure, since I’m here.” Grimsley took a plate of pancakes and sausages from the counter and joined Acerola at the table. While eating, he thought back to Nanu having a nightmare last night. He swallowed a piece of his sausage and put his fork down. “Say Acerola, did you know about Nanu having bad dreams?”

              After Acerola finished swallowing a piece of her pancake, she frowned and gazed down at her plate. “I’ve seen him been woken up by nightmares before, but he never wants to talk about it. Maybe that’s why he’s taking a walk now.”

              “How about him working for the international police? You know about that too?” Grimsley asked, and Acerola nodded.

              “I’ve overheard some people that knew him say that, and when I asked him he only told me he had retired. Are you worried about him, too?”

              That caused Grimsley to stop drinking his milk midway through and almost choke. He set the glass down and said, “Not exactly. Moreso bothered how he reacted last night.”

              “Oh, okay.” Acerola flashed him a grin. “He’s the type of person that likes to keep things to himself, so I got used to it!”

              Grimsley blinked, taken aback by Acerola’s expression there. As he continued eating his meal, his mind switched to when he asked Nanu to battle with him. The kahuna declined the offer, but Grimsley still desired to have one with him. He cleared his throat.

              “There’s one other thing I wonder. Do you know any way to convince Nanu to battle me?”

              Acerola’s face perked up, and she hummed in deep thought. “Why don’t you take up the island challenge?”

              “Aren’t I a little too old for that?” he asked with a furrowed brow. When Acerola realized his point, she frowned.

              “Oh, right. It would be silly for someone from an Elite Four to do it. Still, if you have a Z-crystal, perhaps Nanu will let you battle him!”

              Grimsley stared down at his plate while chewing the last few bites of his breakfast. He wondered if there were other ways to get a Z-crystal besides being in the trial challenge, but he wasn’t so sure how to go about that.

              “Perhaps he’ll change his mind once we get more acquainted with one another. That’s the only approach I can think of.” After wiping his mouth with his napkin, he leaned back on his chair with his arms behind his back. “For your trial, you need to take some pictures and then battle a large Mimikyu, correct?”

              “Yes. Mimikins’s a fierce one, but she’s also sweet and fun to play with like the one we have here!”

              Grimsley gave her a puzzled look. “You gave the totem Pokémon a name?”

              “Ah huh!I knew Mimikins long before I became a trial captain, and I thought it would be cute to give her one.”

              Grimsley blinked, and then he glanced over his shoulder to see Gracie laughing and twirling around with Yungoos while Mimikyu tried to keep up with their pace. He now imagined that Pikachu look-a-like being several times its size, and that made him shudder.

              “Can’t believe there’s a bigger version of that strange Pokémon,” Grimsley said, pointing at the Mimikyu. That earned him a giggle from Acerola.

              “Oh, can we do your trial?” Gracie asked excitedly as she and Hunter approached her. Their Pokemon followed them from behind.

              “Not yet as the totem Pokemon will be too strong for you guys. Also you can’t do trials until you’re eleven.”

              Both Gracie and Hunter groaned in disappointment and their shoulders slumped. Behind them, Yungoos and Elekid let out upset sounds too while Mimikyu jumped and screeched. With a grin, Acerola got out of her chair and squeezed the kids’ shoulders.

              “Tell you what, later today I’ll teach the both of you my Z-move!” she said, and the kids’ faces lit up. “I can even teach you too, Grimsley!”

              “Really?” Hunter asked. When Acerola reassured them that she would, both children cheered and bounced up.

              Grimsley smiled a little and crossed his arms against his chest, and thought it was sweet of her to do that. “I never tried Z-moves myself, perhaps I’ll take your offer on that.”

              “Hey, what’s with all that cheering?” someone asked in a stern voice. Grimsley turned his head to see Nanu stepping inside with a gray cat Pokémon beside him. The feline looked very similar to the white furred Persian he fought on occasion in the Pokémon League, but she had a much bigger head and a blue jewel on her forehead.

              “Acerola’s gonna teach us her Z-move later today!” Gracie said, pumping her fist in the air.

              “Huh, is that so?” Nanu looked down at the children and shrugged. “Guess it won’t hurt for them to learn those early.”

              “How’s your walk this morning, Uncle Nanu?” Acerola asked.

              “Eh, it was okay I guess. Persian wanted some fresh air, too.”

              The Persian let out a low growl and began walking. When she reached Grimsley and rubbed her head against his hip, he scratched her chin. Her fur was soft and silky, like Raz’s fur.

              “An Alolan Persian, hm? She’s very lovely.”

              Nanu gave him a blank stare, and then a small smile pulled on the corner of his lips. “She has been with me since I started my island challenge.”

              “I also have a cat Pokémon. My Liepard, Raz.” After Grimsley finished petting Persian, she walked back to her owner’s side. “I find it interesting we both raise dark type felines.”

              Immediately Nanu’s face went back to a flat expression. “Us being dark type trainers is probably the only thing we have in common.”

              “Of course, I don’t expect us to have many similar interests,” Grimsley said, frowning. So much for being acquainted with him. He looked up at the clock on the wall. While it was morning here, it would be mid to late afternoon already in Unova. “I’ll need to make a phone call now.”

              Before Grimsley left, Acerola let him know he could ask Headmaster the Oranguru for the tablet at the reception desk as Becky was busy at the moment. He thanked her for letting him know and did just that.

              xxx

              Grimsley went back inside his bedroom to use his tablet to call his mother. When he reached her, she was overjoyed to talk with him again. He mentioned everything that happened in his trip including meeting up with Colress, which shocked his mother. Back when they dated, she was very supportive of their relationship and even teased that they would get married someday. Thinking about that now left him drained.

              “Will you talk to him before you leave?” she asked. That made Grimsley clench his fist. Colress’s words before he left with the Ultra Recon Squad echoed back in his mind. He told her that he didn’t want to think about him right now; that left his mother confused, but she respected his wishes and didn’t pursue further. After that, he continued talking about his adventure through the desert with Nanu and Acerola and what happened in the Ruins of Abundance.

              “It’s not surprising that Kahuna Nanu rejected your request. You only just met him!”

              “I’m well aware of that. I’ll trying to get to know him better, but it might prove to be difficult.”

              His mother hummed in understanding. “From what you told me of him, he’s not very social. Give it time, and he might warm up to you.”

              “And if he doesn’t want to battle with me?”

              “Then don’t force him to. You already had him take you to the desert with a coin toss.”

              Grimsley tensed. She was right that he did force Nanu to take him to the Abundance of Ruins. Doing that same trick to get him to battle him wouldn’t work.

              “Don’t worry, that won’t happen.”

              “I hope so. Wouldn’t want you to get kicked out of the island for that!” She paused, then asked, “So, any plans you have for today?”

              “I might explore Ula’ula Island a bit more. I heard there’s a power plant and observatory here that might be interesting. And you?”

              “Well, I plan to go see your father soon since today is our anniversary.”

              “Really? I was so busy in Alola I totally forgot.”

              “Thought so. You have his ring with you at least, right?”

              Grimsley’s eyes widened. His father had given him his wedding ring before he died as a token to remember him by. Every year on the anniversary of his parents’ wedding, his mother would visit his grave and he would wear his ring. He believed he didn’t forgot to bring it with him on this trip, so he told her to wait a moment and checked his bag. After almost a minute, Grimsley found the ring and slipped it on his finger.

              “See, I have it with me!” he said with a grin, showing the ring on his finger to her.

              Minato’s face lit up and she clapped her hands. “Wonderful! Now keep it close with you at all times.”

              Grimsley rolled his eyes and sigh. “I haven’t lost it yet, so I think I’ll be fine.”

              “If you say so. I need to head out now, but it was great talking with you again!”

              Smiling a little, he gave a single nod. “Enjoy your upcoming visit with Dad. I’ll give you another call soon.”

              He hung up on her and gazed at his ring that gleamed with the morning sunlight. His father would be just as excited how he was doing on his trip if he were here today. Grimsley rose out of his seat and left the bedroom.

              xxx

              After Grimsley went back to the lobby and returned the tablet to the Oranguru, he went outside without letting anyone else know. There was a beach just down the slope, so he headed toward the shore. As he got closer he spotted Becky there with a Gorebyss and another pastel colored fish he never saw before. When the Aether employee noticed Grimsley, she beamed and waved at him.

              “Hey, Grimsley! Taking a walk too?”

              “You can say that. Just a lot on my mind now.” He shifted his head for a second. “I’m curious, how well do you know Kahuna Nanu?”

              Becky looked to be taken back by that question. “Er, I know he has a family and is both a policeman and kahuna here, but otherwise not much really.”

              “I see. Acerola told me he’s someone that keep things to himself.”

              “Yeah, I get that vibe from him, too. When he was outside earlier, he didn’t want to talk about his dream last night.” She shrugged, but then her face brightened back up. “Do you want to help me feed the water Pokémon?”

              Grimsley responded that he would be delighted. Becky handed him a bag of shrimp and he approached the Pokemon. Both the Gorebyss and the other fish Pokémon swam up to him and raised their heads, waiting for their meal. He fed them the shrimp and watched as the Pokemon chew on their food in satisfaction. A large wave crashed onto the shore, almost reaching up to Grimsley’s shoes.

              “This is another interesting looking Pokémon here,” Grimsley said when the pastel colored fish rubbed its rough skin against his hand. He spotted several cuts on its body that looked to be healed.

              “That’s a Bruxish, and she has strong psychic powers and an even stronger jaw! I found her and Gorebyss injured, so me and a few scientists here helped them recover.”

              Grimsley let out a low hum, already figured Becky would do that. After he finished feeding them, he picked himself back up. The two fish Pokémon began to swim, not straying too far from the shore. He faced back at Becky.

              “You seemed very passionate with your work. How did you end up in the Aether Foundation?”

              “I always wanted to do something like this, so a friend of mine referred me to one of the higher ups. I first worked in one of their stations in Akala Island, but then I transferred here.”

              “I bet it isn’t easy protecting all the Pokemon from harm,” Grimsley said, and Becky shook her head.

              “No it’s not, and there are occasions where we were too late saving them.” As soon as she finished saying that, the Bruxish and Gorbyss reached to her and she patted them. “We saved more Pokémon than losing them, however, so it all works out!”

              “I see. Well, that’s good to hear.”

              After swimming near the shore a while longer, the fish Pokémon finally moved further into the ocean and dived down. Grimsley gazed at Becky to see her wave at them goodbye. The late morning sunlight bathed her face like a spotlight on stage.

              “Alola, Bruxish and Gorebyss! Come back anytime!”

              Grimsley stared at the ocean a brief moment before a cawing noise caught his attention. He glanced around to see three Murkrow on top of a palm tree squawking and flapping their wings. They stopped and gave him keen stares. A cold sensation crawled through the back of his neck.

              “That’s a nice ring you have there,” Becky asked, and that caused Grimsley to whirl his head at her. He gazed down at the ring on his finger and gave a sad smile.

              “It’s my late father’s, and I wear it on special occasions. Today was supposed to be my parents’ anniversary.”

              Becky’s eyes grew wide, and her gaze fell on the sand. “Sounds like you got along with your parents. I haven’t spoken to mine after…”

              “After what?” Grimsley asked, quirking an eyebrow.

              “Let’s just say they weren’t happy that I only wanted to date women.”

              So Becky was unfortunate to have close-minded parents, Grimsley mused. Frowning slightly, he felt sorry for her.

              “I told Nanu this already, but you remember the scientist Colress from a few days ago? We actually dated for sometime, but went through an unpleasant breakup.” It felt weird saying that to her after his conversation with his mother, but he felt it would comfort her that he too prefer someone of the same gender.

              Realization hit Becky’s face, and she nodded. “I totally get that, must be tense meeting with your ex.” She rubbed the back of her head and let out a sheepish laugh. “I’m sorry, didn’t mean to let out my sad story like that.”

              “Seems you did well on your own in the end, you should be proud. Also, if you ever want to talk about relationships and such, let me know.”

              A shocked gasp left Becky’s throat. She relaxed and said, “Thanks, that means a lot.”

              Grimsley smiled back, touched by her response. He remembered how he comforted the boy he had battled in the Battle Buffet back in Melemele Island, and he did the same to Becky. Sometimes he would say kind words to trainers that went through the Pokémon League, but he couldn’t recall the last time he did that in a genuine manner.

              In that instant, the Murkrow’s caws grew louder and Grimsley’s expression changed. Becky screamed for him to watch out, but the birds were already pecking at him. Gritting his teeth, he pulled out two pokéballs from the knot around his waist and released them. Raz and Roulette, his Liepard and Absol respectively, gave out determined glares and readied themselves.

              “The both of you, get these pesky birds out of the way!”

              The two dark types sprang into action. Raz jumped up as her tail shined into a white light, and she used it to hit one of the Murkrow on the face. Roulette meanwhile waited until the scythe on her forehead glowed purple and slashed the other two Murkrow. All three birds cried in pain and flew away. Grimsley sighed in relief, Raz and Roulette approaching by his side.

              “Are you all right?” Becky asked with a worried face. Grimsley noticed the ring on his finger was missing and his throat went dry.

              “I’m fine, but the birds got my father’s ring.” He looked down to see his Liepard and Absol giving him sad gazes, as if they recognized what had happened.

              “Maybe Kahuna Nanu and Acerola would know where the Murkrow went. Let’s go talk to them now.”

              Grimsley grunted in agreement and nodded. He returned his Pokémon back in their pokéballs, then he and Becky rushed back to the Aether House.

              Once they made it there, both Acerola and Nanu were in the lobby. Acerola was teaching the children some sort of dance move while Nanu sat on the couch and watched with his Persian curled up on the floor sleeping. Grimsley assumed it must be the Z-moves he and the girl talked about before.

              “There you two are!” Acerola said cheerfully when she saw them. “I was teaching the kids my Z-move!”

              “You wanna see?” Gracie asked. She and Hunter kneeled down, moved their bodies like a floating ghost, and had their arms forward as if they were about to grab them. Grimsley blinked in confusion while Becky beamed and chuckled.

              “Woah, you guys scared me there!” she said, and both children grinned in satisfaction.

              “Thanks!” Hunter said. “We still gotta practice more, though.”

              “You kids are still very young, so there’s no rush to get it perfect,” Nanu said. “It took me some days until I was able to get my own Z-move right.”

              “Oh, can you teach us your Z-move, too?” Hunter asked. Both he and Gracie gave hopeful expressions, but already Nanu shook his head and raised his arm.

              “Black Hole Eclipse is too advanced for you kids! I would wait at least another year or so before attempting it.”

              “Uncle Nanu’s right,” Acerola said when Hunter and Gracie pouted at his response. “I tried that Z-move during my island challenge and I almost got caught in that black hole! Don’t worry, it won’t be long until you guys can use it!”

              Grimsley’s face perked at the mention of Black Hole Eclipse. He was very interested in learning that Z-move, but knew Nanu wouldn’t let him if he didn’t want to battle him. He pushed that thought off for now and cleared his throat.

              “Do any of you happen to have lost something to the Murkrow here?”

              Nanu quirked an eyebrow at him. “Not really, but I have a Honchrow that sometimes bring back a shiny bottlecap or the like. Did that happen to you?”

              “A few Murkrow got his ring while we were outside,” Becky said. “We’re wondering if either of you would know where they went.”

              Tapping her chin, Acerola looked up at the ceiling deep in thought. “Actually, I do see Murkrow hang out at the Thrifty Megamart sometimes.”

              “The same one we visited a couple days ago?” Grimsley asked, and she nodded.

              “Ah huh! I often go there to do some preparations and see that Mimikins’s doing okay.”

              Immediately Grimsley’s face twisted into a disgusted look. She did talk about a large Mimikyu earlier this morning and he hadn’t like the sound of that. “So there’s a chance I might run into that Pokémon.”

              “Maybe, but as long as you don’t disturb her you should be good. I can come to make sure that doesn’t happen.”

              An impish grin pulled on the corners of Nanu’s mouth. “You scared of some Mimikyu coming behind you?”

              “No!” Grimsley said defensively. He crossed his arms and looked away for a second. “I rather not deal with it, that’s all.”

              “Well in either case that’s where we should go,” Becky said. “Acerola coming with us will be a big help.”

              “Does this mean the kahuna man will watch us while you’re away?” Hunter asked, and Nanu’s eyes went wide.

              “Ah huh!” Acerola said with an enthusiastic nod. She looked up at Nanu. “You’ll take good care of them, right?”

              An annoyed look crossed Nanu’s face, but then he sighed. “Seems I have no choice.”

              “Okay, great!” Acerola cheered and clapped her hands.

              Besides dealing with the Murkrow once more and the possibility of meeting an overgrown Mimikyu, Grimsley would be reminded of his meeting with Colress a few days ago. The thought of going back there made his skin crawl.

              Acerola told everyone that they would be back in a few hours and he followed her and Becky outside. He hoped that they would be able to find the ring there.

              Xxx

              Becky took Grimsley and Acerola to the Thrifty Megamart once more. As soon as everyone got out of the jeep, he tensed upon seeing the ruined building once more. It was already in such a poor state outside, so inside would be even much worse.

              This was where he talked with Colress not that long ago. To think he would cross paths with him in this very region. His hands grew clammy as he tried to push that thought away.

              “I found them!” Acerola shouted, and he and Becky turned to see the three Murkrow fairly close to the entrance. When the birds spotted them, they cawed angrily at them and flew inside one of the cracked windows above.

              A lump formed inside Grimsley’s throat. “Do we have to go in?”

              “We do if we want to get your ring back,” Acerola said with a grin, her hands behind her back. Becky gave him a funny look.

              Grimsley stared at them and sighed in irritation. “Fine, let’s get this over with.”

              He, Becky, and Acerola stepped inside, and it was as bad as he imagined. Several boxes and carts, some of them with toys, were left behind. Torn flyers and shattered glass scattered all over the floor. As they slowly made their way through the store, dusty shelves sometimes would block their path and it was fairly dark to see.

              “Man oh man, can’t believe you have this sad place for your trial site,” Grimsley said when they squeezed themselves through another few shelves.

              “This is my first time coming in here,” Becky said as she glanced around. “When I was younger my friends and I would hear stories of real ghosts living here. I thought it was just the older folks scaring us.”

              “There’s some truth to it, though,” Acerola said, cracking a smile. “Some of the ghost Pokémon are thought to be souls from humans that passed on. But don’t worry, the ones used for the trial won’t hurt you!”

              Grimsley’s lips twitched as he listened in on their conversation. In Johto there was a lot of respect for the souls of the deceased and heavy warnings to not disturb their graves. The night after his father had passed away, his mother set aside his picture and incense on the corner of the living room and whispered a prayer for the legendary Ho-Oh to carry his soul to a better place. He looked down to see no ring on his finger and his frown deepened.

              They continued to move a few more minutes. When a loud crash was heard, everyone stopped and saw carts and boxes being thrown in the air. Grimsley and Becky flinched while Acerola pouted.

              “All right you guys, that’s enough!”

              Upon being screamed at, a Shuppet and a Haunter appeared. Both Pokémon glared at one another.

              “You know those two?” Grimsley asked, blinking in confusion.

              “Yeah. They don’t get along all that well and I often have to stop them from fighti--ahhh!”

              Before Acerola could finish, she dodged an incoming box being thrown at her direction and the ghost Pokémon resumed throwing objects like catapults.

              “Um, do you want me to help you calm them down?” Becky asked.

              Acerola let out a deep breath and nodded. “That would be appreciated! Grimsley, you go find the Murkrow while Becky and I deal with those ghosts.”

              Grimsley made an acknowledging grunt, and left Acerola and Becky to confront the ghosts. While moving he could hear Acerola arguing with Shuppet and Haunter from behind, but he didn’t pay particular attention as to why that fight had occured. Eventually he stopped when he saw a room and stepped inside.

              He found himself to be inside what would be the store’s backroom. It was mostly bleak and empty except for the several pictures and drawings of Pikachu on the walls. Several caw sounds were made, and Grimsley whirled around to see the three Murkrow near a pile of trinkets. One of the birds held a golden ring on its beak while the other two fought over a bracelet. He needed to approach them with caution, so Grimsley took a couple steps forward and waved at them.

              “Hello, there! It seems that you have stole something very important to me.”

              The two Murkrow that were fighting earlier stopped and dropped the bracelet. The other Murkrow still had the ring on its beak. All three birds titled their heads and stared blankly at him. Grimsley gave them an icy glare.

              “I know you guys love shiny things, but that ring isn’t yours to keep. If you would return it back to me, that would be appreciated.”

              After a few seconds had passed, the Murkrow cawed in laughter and flapped their wings. With a scowl, Grimsley stepped forward and pointed his finger at the birds.

              “Now listen here you little thieves! Either you return my ring right now or I’ll have my Pokemon hurt you once more!”

              While he spoke, the Murkrow glared and looked as if they weren’t going to listen to him. Shortly after, their expressions changed to panic and launched themselves in the air, flying towards the door’s exit. Grimsley blinked in confusion but noticed his ring had been left behind. He picked it up and put it on his finger.

              “Looks like my threat worked,” Grimsley said with a proud grin. He felt a tap on his shoulder, and when he whirled around he froze.

              In front of him was a large sized Mimikyu. It--no, “she” Grimsley remembered Acerola referring her as--made sharp hisses and wobbled like an inflated balloon. Two shadowy claws lashed out from underneath her rag, ready to strike. So it wasn’t him but the Pokemon that scared the birds away. Grimsley’s chest tightened in shock.

              “You’re Mimikins, right? Acerola has told me a lot about you.”

              Mimikins tilted her head and stared at Grimsley for a moment, and nodded.

              “I apologize for intruding here, but a few pesky Murkrow stole my ring and I came to get it back. It won’t happen again.”

              Mimikins continued to sway back and forth. When she hissed once more, Grimsley shot her a baffled look.

              “What is that? I don’t understand.”

              Seemed to take offense by that response, Mimikins screeched and made several slashing movements with her claws. Grimsley blinked, but he had an idea what she requested now.

              “You want me to battle you?” Already Grimsley shook his head. “I would have to decline. I’m only here to get my ring back, that’s all. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be on my way.”

              He took a few steps forward, only for Mimikins to skid in front of him and jeered. That made him flinch for a second. More hissing noises came out from her.

              While staring at the totem Pokémon, Grimsley bit his lower lip. Mimikins seemed very insistent in wanting to fight with him. He wondered how the young trainers had fared going against this monstrosity; she could be a good challenge.

              “A Pokémon like that taking a gamble on me? Fine, I’ll play along!”

              Grimsley pulled out a pokéball and released his Liepard. Upon seeing Mimikins, Raz tensed and growled.

              “Don’t let that Pikachu wannabe fool you, Raz! Shadow Ball, now!”

              Raz shook off her anxiety, giving out a confident scream. A crimson ball was formed in front of her, and she tossed it at her opponent. The attack hit Mimikins’ chest, but she didn’t flinch and her head tilted slightly as if her neck was broken. Both Grimsley and Raz looked on in confusion.

              As soon as the Mimikyu whipped out a shadowy claw towards Raz, Grimsley told her to watch out. The cat Pokémon was able to avoid a few instances of that, but Mimikins eventually grabbed her leg and slammed her at a nearby shelf. Raz growled in pain and picked herself up slowly, but otherwise she was fine.

              “That Mimikyu’s stronger than I anticipated,” Grimsley said, taken aback by that Pokemon’s strength. A realization occurred to him, and he grinned. “Use that to your advantage with Foul Play!”

              Raz turned her face at her trainer and nodded. Mimikins threw her claw at her once more, but she dodged and grabbed her opponent with her jaws and front legs. She flipped the Mimikyu in the air, causing her to hit the ceiling and crash on the floor. Proud of what she had done, Raz held her chin high.

              A few seconds passed until Mimikins picked herself up. She let out an urgent growl, as if calling for someone. Sure enough, a Banette popped up from thin air and cackled, which caught Grimsley off guard.

              Both ghost Pokémon already let loose their assaults. Mimikins lashed out her claws at Raz, scratching her several times. Banette meanwhile vanished through the floor for a moment and then became visible and punched Raz on the face. Grimsley narrowed his eyes at the opposing Pokémon.

              “Well that’s a bit unfair. In that case, I’ll bring in another Pokémon, too!”

              Grimsley took out Roulette’s pokéball and released her. After shaking her fur, the Absol turned around and shot Mimikins and Banette a sharp look.

              He ordered for Raz to focus on Mimikins while Roulette take care of Banette. Mimikins approached Raz and about to use her wooden tail at her, but the feline was able to block the hit with her own shining tail that then caused them to back away.

              While that happened, the Banette released several white flames at Roulette, only for her to wave her scythe and set up a rainbow forcefield around her. The Will-O-Wisp bounced off from Roulette’s Magic Coat and hit back at the Banette, burning it in the process. The Banette screeched as small flames began to lick all over its body.

              “Great! Iron Tail once more, Raz. Roulette, Night Slash go!”

              Before Raz made her move, she readied a pouncing stance and licked her mouth. Her tail glowed and she slammed Mimikins on the face. The Pikachu look-a-like hissed and retaliated by crossing her claws, which lit up a faint green color, and sliced her like a gullentione. Raz gritted her teeth and her legs shook, two deep cuts visible on her body.

              Roulette’s scythe turned purple and she slashed at the Banette, leaving a large cut on its body. The marionette winced and its eyes and body glowed. It fired a series of crimson rings at Roulette, and when she got caught in that her eyes grew wide. The Absol kept shaking her head and growled aggressively, as if seeing a disturbing scene in front of her. The Banette held its belly and laughed, then stopped when it got burned once more.

              “Whatever you’re seeing isn’t real!” Grimsley yelled out to Roulette. He knew that was Night Shade as he had seen Shuantal used it on her opponents on occasion. Not as deadly as the move Nightmare, but still a concern for him if not handled quickly. “Shake it off and fight back!”

              Upon hearing her trainer’s voice, Roulette stopped thrashing around and barked. She leapt onto her opponent and sunk her jaws onto its stomach. The Banette screamed and struggled to get out from her grip. A moment later, Roulette tossed her opponent like a yarn ball and the Banette collided onto a cart. The ghost Pokémon was about to prepare a small Shadow Ball between its hands, only for the flames finally taking a toll on its body. It dived and sunk through the floor, disappeared just like that.

              Roulette’s expression switched from grinning in satisfaction to horror when she turned around and noticed Raz visibly tired from her fight with Mimikins. The Absol howled, rammed onto the Mimikyu with great speed, so fast she almost became a blur, and left a large gash on her disguise. Just as Roulette approached Raz’s side, Mimikins screeched and dark vapors poured from her. She swung her tail at them and they flew in the air and crashed on the floor; the force of that attack caused her to recoil and scream in pain. While seeing all of this, Grimsley’s eyes grew wide.

              Both of his Pokemon slowly picked themselves up, breathing heavily and their legs trembling. Mimikins didn’t wait for them to recover as she went and jumped in the air, and that caused Grimsley to yell at them to get out of the way. Roulette was able to leap out of the way while Raz struggled to move and got pounced by Mimikins. Thick white smoke exploded and obscured Grimsley’s vision, Raz’s growls tugging at his chest. When the smoke faded, Raz collapsed and lied on the ground.

              “Raz!” Grimsley rushed to Raz’s side and let her head rest on his lap. Beside him, Roulette looked down and whined. “You deserve a good rest,” he said with a sad smile and returned her into her pokéball.

              Mimikins hissed and waved her claws around, more dark mist surrounding her body. Grimsley’s face tensed and he faced Roulette.

              “All right, it’s all up to you now. Think you can handle it?”

              Already Roulette gave him a determined look and barked. A pleased smile touched Grimsley’s lips.

              “Good, now go and grab that ragdoll like you did with that Banette!”

              Mimikins stretched her claws out and tried to grab Roulette, but she was able to dodge her assaults and leaped on top of her. She sank her teeth onto the Mimikyu’s head, causing her to screech and trash around. Roulette hung onto Mimikins, like a trainer on a Rapidash, until she grabbed her with her claws and threw her away.

              As soon as Roulette got herself back up, Mimikins’ claws lit up a green color and she made a large gash on her side that caused the Absol to howl in pain. She countered by having her scythe lit up and left another deep cut onto Mimikins’ rags. The Mimikyu hissed and backed away.

              Roulette snarled and followed up by having one of her paws be surrounded by dark vapors and slashed Mimikins with her claws, tearing another piece of the ghost type’s clothing. Mimikins screamed and lashed her own claw onto Roulette, only for the Absol to block the attack with her own. After a short struggle with them pushing their claws at one another, Mimikins let go and smacked Roulette’s face with her tail. Roulette yelped and took deep breaths, as a large bruise appeared where she was hit. Like last time, the Mimikyu recoiled and cried in distress. Realizing the totem Pokémon was close to collapsing, Grimsley grinned and stretched out his arm dramatically.

              “Finish this right now!”

              His Pokémon barked and rushed at Mimikins with a high burst of speed. She slammed onto the Mimikyu, her scythe going through Mimikins’ clothing. Mimikins gave out strangled noises and crashed on the floor. When her opponent didn’t get up, Roulette winced but grinned and held her chin high. Grimsley wiped his forehead and sighed in relief.

              “You and Raz are marvelous,” he told his Pokémon, scratching her chin. Roulette gave a joyful bark and rubbed her cheek against his hand.

              After he finished petting her, Grimsley noticed that Mimikins wasn’t in the room anymore. He assumed she vanished like any other ghost Pokémon, so he grunted and mentioned to Roulette that he would heal her and Raz back in Aether House. He returned Roulette in her pokéball and left the room.

              Still inside the abandoned supermarket, Grimsley had tried to find Becky and Acerola the last few minutes. Fortunately they caught him first near the store’s exit.

              “There you are!” Acerola yelled as she and Becky rushed at him. “After dealing with the ghost Pokémon, we tried to find you.”

              “Well I managed to find the Murkrow and got my ring back. After that, I stumbled upon Mimikins and she wanted me to battle her.”

              Acerola’s mouth dropped and her hand close to her face. “Really? Oh dear, I could’ve prevented that from happening!”

              “You’re right that she’s a tough foe, but the battle was a good experience as to how your region’s trials work. Now that I have my ring back, it’s time that we leave this wretched pl--”

              Before Grimsley could finish, he screamed when Mimikins reappeared behind the ladies. Becky jumped while Acerola giggled.

              “Hi, Mimikins!” Acerola greeted, waving at her. “How are you doing?”

              Mimikins made clicking noises while swinging back and forth. Acerola grinned and nodded.

              “Oh, you mean Grimsley? He just told me you two had a battle!”

              Grimsley shot Acerola a funny look. “You can understand what she’s saying?”

              Acerola nodded. “I can talk to ghost Pokemon since I was little. My father and many of my ancestors were able to also.”

              “Really? Huh, sounds like the royal family is more interesting than I anticipated.”

              “Acerola talks about Mimikins a lot, but this is the first time I’m seeing her myself,” Becky said.

              Mimikins continued to sway back and forth. When she hissed once more, Acerola listened what she was saying and she gasped.

              “Mimikins wants to give you something before you leave.”

              Before he could respond, Mimikins approached him and dropped a small crystal on his palm. He and Becky shared baffled looks.

              “Is this a Z-crystal?”

              Acerola beamed and nodded. “A Ghostium-Z to be specific!”

              With a small frown, Grimsley shook his head. “I can’t have this. I’m not taking part in the island challenge.”

              Mimikins spoke again, and he waited until Acerola translated it for him.

              “Mimikins says you’re a nice change from the kids she has battled, and wants to give it to you as a thanks!”

              Like how gym leaders would give badges to the winning trainers taking the Pokémon League, Grimsley believed the Z-crystal should be given to the trainers participating in the island challenge. On the other hand, this was a good opportunity to try out Z-moves and perhaps have Nanu take him seriously and battle him. He would keep it for now, maybe give it to Shauntal as a souvenir like he promised her. He gave Acerola a firm nod.

              “All right, I’ll accept this,” he said, and that made Acerola cheer. Grimsley slipped the crystal inside his kimono. “Since I have a Z-crystal, you think this will convince Nanu to battle me?”

              “Maybe! We should go show it to him right now!” Acerola faced Mimikins and patted her. “My friends and I have to leave now, but I’ll come back to see you soon!”

              Mimikins sounded upset at first, but then she nuzzled herself against Acerola, causing her to giggle.

              “Congratulations on getting it!” Becky said to Grimsley, grinning. He smiled back.

              The large Mimikyu waved goodbye to everyone with her shadowy claw. Everyone did the same to her, and they left the store.

              Outside the sunlight hit Grimsley’s eyes and face, but he was grateful for that after being stuck inside for a while. As they headed back to the jeep, he thought about those posters in the backroom and it bothered him once more.

              “Say Acerola, do you know anything about Mimikins having posters of Pikachu?”

              Both Becky and Acerola stopped and they gave him odd looks.

              “Huh? What you mean?” Acerola asked.

              “The ones in the backdoor. There were many posters of that Pokémon on the wall.”

              “That’s not possible, because there isn’t another room on the back of the store!” Acerola beamed at Grimsley, her hands on her hips. “For a dark type trainer, you’ve to come up with something better than that!”

              “Maybe one of the ghost Pokémon created that backdoor,” Becky said, though she didn’t sound too sure herself.

              “I know there are Pokémon that could pull off small illusions, but a whole room sounds a bit of a stretch,” Acerola said. Right after, she shivered. “Brrr, I feel like I’m getting chicken skin. Let’s hurry up to the jeep and get back home!”

              Acerola walked a few steps ahead of them with he and Becky followed suit. Grimsley gave the building one last look and winced. The sooner they leave, the better.

              xxx

              As he got older Nanu hated babysitting more and more. He didn’t mind watching over Acerola when she was younger, annoying as she was, but any other children and his head would explode. And this afternoon he was stuck watching over the two Aether House rascals.

              “Can we play with your cat?” Gracie asked. She leaned closer toward Nanu, who was sitting on the couch.

              “For the fourth time, no.” Nanu rested his elbow on the armchair, his palm pressing his cheek. Persian was curled up on the floor and glanced up for a second. “Now let me and Persian get back to our naps.”

              “I’ll only just pet her a little bit!” Hunter said. Before Nanu could respond, the boy dropped on his knees and cupped Persian’s cheeks. Gracie too approached her by giving her a tight hug. The feline growled uncomfortably.

              “Hey, stop that!” Nanu already got up and pulled his Pokemon away from the children. Persian glared at them. “How many times did I have to tell you? Her head is not a toy!”

              “Aw, but her fur is soft and face is fluffy!” Gracie said. Behind her, Hunter nodded in agreement.

              “You kids already have Pokemon you’re taking care of. You should know better than to do that to ones not your own.”

              Both children hung their heads and their shoulders slumped. Hunter then said, “Fine we won’t do it again.”

              “Good. Now go play somewhere else. Maybe the Oranguru there would like some company.”

              “You mean Headmaster? Okay!” Gracie said, and then she and Hunter ran off to the Oranguru at the receptionist desk.

              Nanu sighed and rubbed his temple. He sat back down and watched as the Oranguru drummed his chest and lifted the children up onto his shoulder, much to their delight. Someone then stepped inside, and Nanu shifted his head to see Professor Kukui approaching him.

              “Hey, Nanu!” Kukui said with a grin and waved at him. When he saw Nanu with the children, his eyes went wide. “Oh, did I interrupt anything?”

              “Nah you didn’t. I’m just babysitting these rascals right now,” Nanu said, scratching the back of his head.

              Gracie and Hunter noticed Kukui here, so they jumped off the Oranguru’s shoulders and hurried toward the two men.

              “Alola!” both Gracie and Hunter cheered. They moved their arms like a rainbow sign.

              “Alola to you, too!” Kukui said and greeted the same way. “I’m Professor Kukui, a researcher from Melemele Island. And who you guys might be?”

              “I’m Hunter, and she’s Gracie!” Hunter said. “We both want to become trainers and take on the island challenge when we get older!”

              Kukui chuckled. “That’s a tough but awesome goal to strive for. I wish you the best of luck!” He dropped halfway to his knees to be at their level. “I take it you two live here?”

              Both children nodded, then Gracie said, “Aether House is our home!”

              Kukui glanced around for a second and whistled. “This is some fancy living space you got here, yeah! The Aether Foundation sure went all out.”

              Nanu rolled his eyes and stared at the ceiling. “Went all out” was an understatement. This building, the employees, the headquarters, and even the Ultra Squad he encountered a few days ago. Everything about the Aether Foundation was too white, too bright, too pristine. Maybe it was the dark-type trainer side of him talking, but he didn’t like that at all.

              There was a loud beastly grunt, and Nanu turned around to see the Oranguru pointing to one of the rooms. Terrified looks struck the children’s faces.

              “Ah oh, looks like Headmaster wants us to clean our room now,” Hunter said. He faced back to Kukui and beamed. “Nice talking to you, though!”

              “Same here, cousin!” Kukui said, grinning. “We can talk more next time if you like!”

              The children cheerfully said goodbye to Kukui and rushed to their room. Kukui let out a blissful sigh and sat down on another couch across from Nanu.

              “They seem like sweet children, yeah?”

              Nanu snorted and shook his head. “You think so? Earlier they tried to play with Persian’s head and that made her angry.”

              His Persian growled in disgust, as if responding, “Yes, that had happened.” Kukui chuckled.

              “Hopefully they learned to not do that next time.”

              “Same here.” Nanu then asked, “What brings you here to this miserable place?”

              “Well, first, there is construction going on over in Mount Lanakila because of the new Pokémon League being formed.”

              “The Pokémon League, you mean with the gym leaders and Elite Four?” Nanu asked, and Kukui nodded.

              “Like that, but without the gym leaders. The island challenge will still be here, and the League will be similar to our region’s kahuna gauntlet that was usually the final test.” Kukui leaned back against the couch, his grin widening. “I’m rounding out our strongest trainers for the Elite Four, and so far Molyne and Olivia agreed to it! Our former Island Champion Kahili is coming here to help too, woo!”

              “How about Hala? Did you ask him?”

              “I did, but he declined also. He didn’t want to get too distracted from his kahuna duties.”

              Nanu gave him a long stare. “Let me guess, you’re gonna ask me if I want to join as an Elite Four. If so, then I’ll have to reject your offer.”

              “Oh, but why?” Kukui asked, his eyes blinking in confusion.

              As he rose out from the couch, Nanu crossed his arms and squeezed his eyes shut. “I had no choice in the matter when I was chosen as the kahuna of this island, so I’m not gonna let you force me into more responsibilities I’m not interested in.”

              Kukui regard him in silence, then he offered him a supportive smile. “Well, it’s awesome that you were honest with me there. No need to worry, yeah! However, if you can think of someone who should take your place as the Elite Four, then let me know, all right?”

              “Sure, I’ll let you know if I think of someone,” Nanu said, his lips twitching. Even if he wasn’t interested in those high profile trainers, he would still choose one carefully. “Speaking of the Elite Four, not sure if you’ve heard but we have one visiting now.”

              Kukui’s face lit up. “Yeah? And who might that be?”

              “Grimsley from Unova’s Elite Four. I recently gave him a tour to the Ruins of Abundance, and he wants me to battle him.”

              “Really?” Kukui grinned and chuckled. “He’s a dark type trainer like you, yeah? Perhaps battling him will be a good Power Trip experience!”

              Nanu cringed at that move pun and grunted. “I initially declined, but something tells me he’ll keep persisting. We’ll see if I later change my mind.”

              “Hey everyone, we’re baaack!” Acerola yelled out all of a sudden. She, Becky, and Grimsley entered the lobby.

              “Oh good, you guys are back,” Nanu said in a bored voice. “Professor Kukui’s here now.”

              “Alola, Professor!” Becky said. “I’m Becky, one of the employees here.”

              “That’s great!” Kukui said, smiling. “Well nice to meet you, cousin!”

              “Professor Kukui?” Acerola looked toward where Professor Kukui was and gasped. “Oh my gosh, long time no see!”

              “Indeed it has, Acerola!” Kukui flashed her a wide grin. “You’re as bright as always, like a Dazzling Gleam!”

              “Why thank you! I always try to keep a positive attitude, especially with me being a trial captain.” Acerola glanced around and asked, “Huh, where are Gracie and Hunter?”

              “The Oranguru wanted them to clean their room,” Nanu said and shrugged. “Guess the kids respected him enough to do just that.”

              “Yes, they love Headmaster very much,” Becky said. “I’ll go and check on them now.”

              As soon as Becky left, Kukui rose out from his seat and approached Grimsley. He smiled and pulled out his hand in front of him.

              “And you must be Grimsley, Unova’s Elite Four! Welcome to Alola, cousin!”

              “An Alola to you, too,” Grimsley said and shook Kukui’s hand. “So you’re a Pokemon Professor, hm? What’s your main study?”

              Kukui’s grin grew larger. “I specialize in Pokémon moves! Nothing gets my blood pumping more than two Pokemon battling all out, woo!”

              “Pokémon moves? My, that sounds fascinating,” Grimsley said, sounding interested.

              After waiting for them to finish introducing themselves, Nanu asked Grimsley, “So did you managed to get your ring back?”

              “Yes, I have. I didn’t have to fight against the Murkrow again for it, but the totem Mimikyu didn’t want me to leave, and so I battled her.”

              “He did!” Acerola said and nodded. “After the battle, Mimikins gave him a Ghostium-Z as thanks!”

              Nanu raised his brow, his face pulling in a shocked expression. “Hold up, that Mimikyu gave you a Z-crystal?”

              Grimsley seemed hesitant at first as he glanced at Acerola, who beamed and gave him a thumbs up. He showed Nanu on his palm a small dark purple crystal that gleamed like a star. The corner of Nanu’s lips twitched and he placed his hands on his sides. Kukui approached behind him and whistled.

              “Well, I’ll be!” Kukui said. “It’s not often a Pokemon gives you a Z-crystal. Doesn’t the Kommo-o totem often give them out?”

              “He does, but not as often as you think. Even when using a Ride Pokémon, it’s still a pain to get there.” Due to the trial in Vast Poni Canyon not having a captain, Nanu was the one to make sure the trial goers didn’t get eaten by the totem Pokémon or anything else that might go wrong. At least he didn’t have to make the trip to Poni Island all that much.

              “Since Grimsley has a Z-crystal now, perhaps that’ll convince you to battle him!” Acerola said with a grin, and that made Nanu’s eyes grow wide.

              “What?” he asked, an edge in his voice, and glared at Grimsley. “So all of that was a ploy to battle me?”

              Both Kukui and Acerola flinched upon witnessing that reaction. Grimsley didn’t tense, but a frown did tug at his lips and forehead.

              “I did admit to wondering about a way to battle you, but going to the Thrifty Megamart wasn’t my initial plan. I genuinely just wanted to get my ring back.”

              Nanu continued to furrow his brow at him. A part of him wanted to yell at him to get off the island and never come back, but for some reason he didn’t have the heart to do that. He dragged out a deep sigh.

              “I’m still not going to battle you, but you can keep that Z-crystal. That can be a souvenir at least.”

              “Right, that is fair.” Grimsley’s voice was firm, only for him to lower his head and broke eye contact from him. Nanu already expected him to be a little disappointed there.

              Acerola made a disapproved hum, but then she faced Kukui and smiled. “Oh, I wanted to ask Professor, how’s the forming of the Pokémon League going?”

              “It’s going great, yeah! Right now I’m recruiting some folks to be the Elite Four, but Nanu here declined the offer.”

              Acerola gasped and she turned toward Nanu. “Really? But why?”

              “This was before you guys came here, but I told Kukui that I couldn’t refuse Tapu Bulu choosing me as kahuna. And I’ll be darned if I’m forced into the Elite Four in because some guy asked me to.”

              A disappointed look crossed Acerola’s features. “Aw, that’s too bad. I think you would’ve been a great Elite Four!”

              Nanu’s face twisted into a grimace. That girl was always over optimistic, bless the tapus.

              “Wait, you’re the one establishing this region’s Pokémon League?” Grimsley asked Kukui.

              “That’s right! I want to show the world Alolan trainers are just as great as trainers from other regions, and thought a Pokémon League is a perfect opportunity to do so. In fact, since you’re from the Elite Four, I was wondering if you’re up with giving me and the Elite Four a few pointers on what it’s like to be in the League.”

              Grimsley pressed his lips and scratched his chin, looking to take his request seriously. Shortly after, he gave Kukui a small smile. “I see no harm in doing that. All right, I’ll do it.”

              “Awesome! If you like I can show you the construction site at Mount Lanakila and introduce you to my chosen trainers.”

              “I would like that, thank you,” Grimsley said with a nod.

              Nanu folded his arms against his chest and watched their exchange. When they finished, he gazed down at Persian and scratched her cheek.

              “Well, I think it’s about time I head back to Po Town. The Meowth there probably finished eating the food I left them and are waiting for me.”

              Both Kukui and Acerola reacted normally while Grimsley gave Nanu a blank stare. His reaction there also didn’t surprise him.

              “Oh, okay!” Acerola said, beaming. “Thanks for taking me and Grimsley to the Ruins of Abundance! I’ll come visit you again soon!”

              “Indeed I appreciate you showing me that sacred place,” Grimsley said with a genuine smile. “Hopefully we can meet again soon.”

              “You have a safe trip, yeah!” Kukui said.

              Nanu turned around and did a lazy goodbye wave without facing anyone. After he and Persian stepped outside, he glanced at the building and grunted.

              He felt this wouldn’t be the last time he saw Grimsley.
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                #13    
              Old September 23rd, 2018 (11:35 AM). Edited September 23rd, 2018 by gimmepie.
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              gimmepie gimmepie is offline
               
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              Keeping the chain going, this is a review for chapter three.

              Before I get into the more complex stuff, you accidentally called Flygon a Flying type and it wouldn't hurt to proof again for missed words and the like. I only caught one instance, a missing "was" and I can't seem to find it again but I'm pretty sure it was there. I'll also say, and you already know this one is coming from talking earlier, that jumping around between settings too much is still an issue in this chapter. Getting into the more detailed stuff.

              Quote:
              Guardian Deity of Ula’ula Island, dual grass and fairy type. Considered one of the laziest deities, but it could control plants and use its horns to do heavy damage. A drawing of Tapu Bulu depicted the Pokemon having a large shell with different marks and two large horns. Its lower body had a bell-like tail, and it strikes a huge resemblance to a bull. Grimsley absorbed that information for a moment, his finger tapping at that particular page. He was reminded of one of the legendary musketeers, Terrakion, also known for their great strength.
              This particular paragraph jumped out at me both on my original read and when I went back through looking for the missing "was". Largely the fault of the first two lines, it feels quite clunky, almost like you're just listing things about Tapu Bulu instead of giving us an excerpt from the book or showing us Nanu reading it to himself. I think you should have made use of dialogue, inner dialogue or spoken, more and when showing us what was written within the book used a much more formal voice.

              Through reading this, I realised that a lot of the things that bug me you could fix by improving on the same thing. Maybe it's just because my own writing is very description heavy, but I feel like if you worked on your descriptive writing it'd be a big plus to your work. When it comes to scenery and settings, you rely a lot on us knowing more or less what places look like in the games instead of actually describing what we're looking at. It makes it hard to imagine what your characters are seeing in a scaled-up more lifelike version of each location. For example, when Grimsley sees the city, you tell us he's shocked by how Johto-like it is and then just move on. This would have been the perfect place to describe in more detail the environment we're following the character through.

              You do much the same thing with a lot of plot events. While the events in question tend to be insignificant really, you often just give us a list of things your character happened to do in a day, like we're reading their itinerary instead of following the character through their day. This is particularly notable in the Grimsley sections. I would advise you to either cut superfluous lists like that out where you can, or take more time to explore your characters exploring to give us a greater sense of the word. Basically, at any scale, spend more time exploring your world instead of frequently hopping from place to place just to keep things moving. Don't be afraid to break things up a bit more and to use space in your chapter to tell us the when, where, how and why instead of just the who and what.

              Where I will continue to give you high praise though, is on your character work. The problem from the first chapter where your characters didn't feel like people is mostly gone from chapter three. Becky and the trainer with the Skarmory, mostly the latter, could still have been better. What impresses me though, and I've already said this, is that you are able to explore new sides to canon characters without distorting who they are meant to be. You've done a really good job of staying true to Grimsley, Nanu and Accerola where a lot of fan fic writers would have butchered them for the sake of their narrative.

              You continue to write battle sequences very well also. Although the skirmish between Persian and Golduck was short-lived, it was immersive and exciting. The tension was there because we didn't know who was going to win and you didn't telegraph the result early on. You kept the writing short, snappy and descriptive too which always makes for a good battle. I noticed also that the same holds true to other action scenes like the mess with the kids, Grimsley and the Mimikyu when you really delve into them.

              The only other thing bothering me is that the wormhole seems all but forgotten. Overall though this is still a good read and I'm finding it entertaining. Now that Nanu and Grimsley are together I'm excited to see how they interact with each other given their similarities and differences. Keep up the good work.
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                #14    
              Old October 11th, 2018 (8:50 PM). Edited October 12th, 2018 by Bay.
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              Bay Bay is offline
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              Quote:
              Originally Posted by gimmepie View Post
              .
              Hey gimmepie sorry this is a bit late but thanks for reviewing the first few chapters so far! To point out a few things you mentioned:

              >Thanks so much on complimenting on the canon characters! Yeah one of the things I'm worried about is if my interpretation of them will be somewhat off, but most people mentioned I've been doing the characters justice so far!

              >I already told you how in Chapter One's case, at least with the airport scene I added in that scene and those characters last minute hence why their dialogue isn't stellar. As for the Elite Four, I have most people say they liked that scene actually but maybe I'll look over it again and see if I can add their dialogue quirks more.

              Glad to hear the other original characters are fine. With Becky she'll be making more appearances and a bit more development (or so I hope).

              >I do admit to jumping settings a bit too much there. Part of the reason is because I want Grimsley and Nanu to meet as soon as possible and I'm afraid if I have Grimsley sightseeing a little longer the readers would get bored. I'm flip-flooping if I want to rewrite Chapter Three in the future and if I go with that there are some ways I can do that.

              I'll also warn that Chapters Four and Five are long and I could've broken into more parts now I think about it orz. But yeah, I think for now I'll focus on having Chapters Six and after not have too much stuff being jammed and after I finish this story I might reconsider restructuring the chapters.

              >Concerning that wormhole, that will get mentioned a couple more times don't worry. Lots of stuff that have been revealed but not talked about in next chapter will still come up again later.

              Again, thanks for your reviews so far and I hope you'll continue to check out Foul Play as it progresses!
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                #15    
              Old October 17th, 2018 (9:02 PM).
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              gimmepie gimmepie is offline
               
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              After reading Chapter Four, I'm realising that your story would be better without the Utlra wormhole subplot. It feels kind of tacked on and unnecessary at this point for a story that seems meant to be focused around Grimsley and Nanu's personal growth. Maybe this is just me personally but I'm enjoying Nanu and Grimsley's story a lot without the game plot interfering with it.

              You were also right that the chapter was too long. It would have been better to do the desert as a separate chapter to the rest. I will continue to praise you on how you handle characterisation though and also on the description of the desert because that drew me in and felt very real. I could practically taste the sand myself.
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                #16    
              Old October 19th, 2018 (3:16 PM).
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              Vragon2.0 Vragon2.0 is offline
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                I have to say, this is probably my favorite chapter so far. You really delve into Nanu here, from Grimsly's perspective and show the little hints of a person behind that gruff expression.

                I like how you do it too. The lazy going along to the ruins, the know how, the little scuffle with the Sabeleye (and the statement to the Gabite so like Team Skull) and the nice little touch about his past. Overall, I have to say Nanu is my favorite of your characterizations by far.

                Grimsley, I'm sorta less pleased with, but still enjoy him. I dunno, it's probably how I'm not used to seeing him this "fickle" in behavior compared to his normal mischievous and riddlelistic self yes I make up words, shut up

                The highlight was no doubt their conversation. You've focusing on them well. I did find one or two potential errors

                Quote:
                Originally Posted by Bay View Post
                When did that picture took place? Must’ve been several years ago from the looks of it. And did you three get along well?”
                I think you mean "take" place, and personally I kinda feels weird wording, for what is essentially asking, "when was the picture taken?".

                Quote:
                Originally Posted by Bay View Post
                Come to think of it, you were upset when he said he wanted to talk with you. Did something went on between you two?”
                I'm guessing this is more dialect, just a little unsure that's all.

                though while we're on that conversation.
                Quote:
                Originally Posted by Bay View Post
                Grimsley rolled his eyes, not buying it. “Oh please, you two don’t look remotely alike! Clearly you’re avoiding this topic.”
                Quote:
                Originally Posted by Bay View Post
                Grimsley cocked his head, and then shook it. “I can see why you’re known for your warm personality.”
                My goodness Grimsley such a pryer you are. Which makes the sour taste of his own medicine even more satisfying.

                Overall, I liked it. Nanu is already my favorite of your group and Grimsley little invitation at the end that was declined is leading me to gather they will fight. How so, I dunno, but if they do I'm rootin' for Nanu.
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